Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) online

. (page 10 of 42)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 42)
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them, was employed on purpose to exclude from the Constitution the
idea that there could be property in man.

To show all this, is easy and certain.

When this obvious mistake of the judges shall be brought to their no
tice, is it not reasonable to expect that they will withdraw the mistaken
statement, and reconsider the conclusion based upon it ?

And then it is to be remembered that " our fnthers, who framed th*
Government under which we live" the men who made the Constitution
decided this same Constitutional question in our favor, long ago
decided it without division among themselves, when making the decision ;
without division among themselves about the meaning of it after it was
made, and, so far as any evidence is left, without basing i i upon any mis
taken statement of facts.

Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to
bieak up this Government, unless such a court decision as yours is shall
b At once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action ?
But you will not abide the election of a Republican president 1 In that
anpposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union ; and then, you aay
the great crime of having destroyed it will be \.pon us ! That is cool. J
highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teetr
* Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer

To be sure, what the robber demanded of me my money was r /
own ; and I had a clear right to keep it ; but it was no more my o n
than wy vote is rny own ; and the threat of death to me, to extort y
money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my \ ife,
can scarcely be distinguished in principle.

A few words now to Republicans. It is exceedingly desirable that ill
parts of this great Confederacy shall ~be at peact, and in luir^t/ny on*
with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though
nuch provotod, let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even
though the southern people will not to much as listen to us, let u* calmly


comider their demand*, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of ox*
duty, ifft possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, and by the sub
ject and nature of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we car^
what will satisfy them.

Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally surrendered
to them? We know they will not. In all their present complaint*
against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned. Invasions and insur
rections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them if, in the future, we ha?
nothing to do with invasions and insurrections? We know it will not.
We so know, because we know we never had any thing to do with in-
rasions and insurrections; and yet this total abstaining does not exempt
as from the charge and the denunciation.

The question recurs, what will satisfy them ? Simply this : We must
not only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we
do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We
have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our or
ganization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we
have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone ; but this has had
no tendency to convince thorn. Alike unavailing to convince them is the
fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb

These natural and apparently adequate means all failing, what will con
rince them ? This, and this only : cease to call slavery wrong, and join
them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly done in
acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated we must place
ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas s new sedition law must
be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is
wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private,
We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure.
We mu^t pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere
must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they
will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.

I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way.

Most of them would probably say to us, " Let us alone, do nothing to us,

say what you please about slavery." But we do let them alone

-ve never disturbed them so that, after all, it is what we say which

dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of doing, until we

cease saying.

I am also aware they have not as yet, in terms, demanded the over
throw of our Free State Constitutions. Yet those Constitutions declare
the wrong of slavery, with more solemn emphasis than do all other
gayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have been
ilenced, the overthrow of these Constitutions will be demanded, and
nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that
they do not demand the whole of this just now. Demanding what they


do, and for the reason they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short
of this consummation, ilukling, as they do, that slavery is moruiij
right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national
recognition of it, as a legal right and a social blessing.

Nor can we justifiably withhold this on any ground save our conviction
that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and con
stitutions against it are themselves wrong, and should be silenced and
swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality- -it*
universality ; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension-
its enlargement. All they ask we could readily grant, if we thought
slavery right ; all we ask they could as readily grant, if they thought it
wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise
fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as
they do, they are not to blanae for desiring its full recognition, as being
right ; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them ? Can we
cast our votes with their view, and against our own ? In view of our
moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?

Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it
is, because that much is duo to the necessity arising from its actual pres
ence in the nation ; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it
to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here ia these
Free States ? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our
duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those so
phistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and bela
bored contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the
right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither
a living man nor a dead man such as a policy of "don t care" on a
question about which all true men do care such as Union appeals be
seeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine
rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance such
aa invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington
said, and undo what Washington did.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against
us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government
nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET us HAVH; FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES


The pre-eminent ability displayed in this address, com
pelled the people of the Middle and Eastern States to
acknowledge that Mr. Lincoln was not only one of the
foremost men of the West, but of the whole country, and
this estimate was confirmed by the speeches which he
subsequently delivered in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and


New Hampshire. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to state
that the joint effect of these efforts more particularly hia
speech at Cooper Institute and of his debates with Mr.
Douglas, was to make Mr. Lincoln decidedly the second
choice of the great body of the Republicans of New
York, as the candidate of the Republican party for the
campaign of 1860.

Some incidents of this visit to New York, illustrate the
simplicity and earnestness of tne character of our late
President so forcibly, that they are well deserving being
placed on record. A prominent member of the Young
Meifs Republican Association, who was thrown much
in Mr. Lincoln s company during his brief stay, writes :

During the day, before the delivery of the address, a friend of Mr.
Lincoln called at the Astor House, where he was staying, and suggested that
the orator should be taken up Broadway and shown the city, of which he
knew but little, stating, I think, that he had been here but once before. We
accompanied him to several large establishments, with all of which he
seemed much amused.

At one place he met an Illinois acquaintance of former years, to whom
he said, in his dry, good-natured way : " Well, B., how have you fared
since you left Illinois ?" To which B. replied, " I have made one hundred
thousand dollars and lost it all ; how is it with you, Mr. Lincoln ?" " Oh,
very well," said Mr. Lincoln ; "I have the cottage at Springfield and about
$3,000 in money. If they make me Vice-President with Seward, as some
say they will, I hope I shall be able to increase it to $20,000, and that ia
as much as any man ought to want."

We visited a photographic establishment upon the corner of Broadway
and Bleecker street, where he sat for his picture, the first taken in New
York. At the gallery he met and was introduced to George Bancroft.
and had a brief conversation with that gentleman, who welcomed him to
New York. The contrast in the appearance of the men W**: most striking
the one courtly and precise in his every word and gesture, with the air
of a trans- Atlantic statesman ; the other bluff and awkward, his every
utterance an apology for his ignorance of metropolitan manners and cus
toms. u I am on my way to Massachusetts," said he to Mr. Bancroft,
" where I have a son at school, who, if report be true, aiready knows
much more than his father."

A teacher at the Five Points House of Industry tells
this touching incident, which doubtless transpired during
the same visit :


Our Sunday School in the Five Points was assembled, one Sabbath
morning, when I noticed a tall, remarkable looking man enter the room
and take a seat among us. He listeae-j fcritK fix^d attention to our exer
cises, and his countenance expressed Bitch gerfuine interest that I ap-
proacLed, him and suggested that he mjgto b iv fllfog; t# a$ feoihething to
the children. lie accepted the inviiatioii Wibh evident pleasure; and,
coming forward, began a simple address, which at once fascinated every
little hearer and hushed the room into silence. His language was stri
kingly beautiful, and his tones musical with intensest feeling. The littlo
faces around him would droop into sad conviction as he uttered sentences
of warning, and would brighten into sunshine as he spoke cheerful words
of promise. Once or twice he attempted to close his remarks but tho
imperative shout of "Go on I" " Oh, do go on!" would compel him to
resume. As I looked upon the gaunt and sinewy frame of the stranger,
and marked his powerful head and determined features, now touched into
softness by the impressions of the moment, I felt an irrepressible curiosity
to learn something more about him, and when he was quietly leaving the
room I begged to know his name. He courteously replied, " It is Abraham
Lincoln, from Illinois."

The following letter, written during this same period,
in reply to an invitation to attend a festival in honor of
the anniversary of Jefferson s birthday, given by tho
Republicans of Boston, is thoroughly characteristic of
Mr. Lincoln in the quaint humor of its illustration :


GENTLEMEN : Your kind note inviting me to attend a festival in Boston
on the 13th instant, in honor of the birthday of Thomas Jefterson, wai
duly received. My engagements are such that I cannot attend. ....

The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely
nothing, when in conflict with another man s right of property. Repub
licans, on the contrary, are both for the man and the dollar, but, in case
of conflict, the man before the dollar.

I remember being once much amused at seeing two partially intoxi
cated men engaged in a fight with their great-coats on, which fight, after
a !ong and rather harmless contest, ended in each having fought himself
out of his own coat, and into that of the other. If the two leading par
ties of this day are really identical with the two in the days of Jefferson
and Adams, they have performed the same feat as the two drunken men.

But, soberly, it is now no child s play to save the principles of Jeffer-
un from total overthrow in this nation. .... This is a world of
compensations; and he who would IP. no slave, must consent to have K
slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for
nd, under a just God, cannut long retain it,


All hor.ur to Jefferson ; to a man who, in the concrete pressure of
struggle for national independence |>y a single people, had the coolness,
forecast, amir capacity Wijhr,(xlce into a merely revolutionary docu
ment an abstract truth/ appFicablo to all men and all times, and so tc
embalm jte l^hjeri, \ifastt tQ-jdky ancsT-in all coming days it shall be a, rebuke
and a stunibling-biocic to thtf harbingers of reappearing tyranny and

Your obedient servant,


Messrs. H. L. PIERCE, and others, etc.

But we turn from this episode to resume the formal
record of Mr. Lincoln s political career.

The Republican National Convention of 1860 met on the
16th of May, at Chicago, in an immense "building which
the people of that city had put up for the purpose, called
the Wigwam. There were four hundred and sixty-five
delegates. The city was filled with earnest men, who
had come there to press the claims of their favorite can
didates, and the halls and corridors of all the hotels
swarmed and buzzed with an eager crowd, in and out of
which darted or pushed or wormed their way the various
leaders of party politics. Mr. Chase, Mr. Bates, and Mr.
Cameron were spoken of and pressed somewhat as candi
dates, but from the first it was evident that the contest
lay between Mr. Seward and Mr. Lincoln.

Judge Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, was chosen temporary
Chairman of the Convention, and in the afternoon of the
first day a permanent organization was effected, by the
choice of George Ashmun, of Massachusetts, as presi
dent, with twenty-seven vice-presidents and twenty-five
secretaries. On Thursday, the 17th, the Committee on
Resolutions reported the platform, which was enthusiasti
cally adopted. A motion was made to proceed to the
nomination at once, and if that had been done the result
of the Convention might have proved very different, as
at that time it was thought that Mr. Seward s chances
were the best. But an adjournment was taken till the
morning, and during the nii;M the combinations were
rnmle which resulted in the noiiilnatloii of Mr. Lincoln.
The excitement of the Convention ait- of the audience on


die morning of Friday was intense. The Tllinoisans had
turned out in great numbers, zealous for Lincoln ; and
though the other States, near and for, had sent many men
wno were equally zealous for Mr. Seward, it was quite
clear that Mr. Lincoln s supporters were in the majority
in the audience. The first ballot gave Mr. Seward one
hundred and seventy- three and a half votes to one hun
dred and two for Mr. Lincoln, the rest b^ing scattered.
On the second ballot the first indication of the result was
felt, when the chairman of the Vermont delegation, which
had been divided on the previous ballot, announced,
when the name of that State was called, that " Vermont
casts her ten votes for the young giant of the West,
Abraham Lincoln." On the second ballot, Mr. Seward
had one hundred and eighty-four and a half to one hun
dred and eighty-one for Mr. Lincoln, and on the third bal
lot Mr. Lincoln received two hundred and thirty votes, be
ing within one and a half of a majority. The vote was not
announced, but so many everywhere had kept the count
that it was known throughout the Convention at once.
Mr. Carter, of Ohio, rose and announced a change in the
vote of the Ohio delegation of four votes in favor of Mr.
Lincoln, and the Convention at once burst into a state
of the wildest excitement. The cheers of the audience
within were answered by those of a yet larger crowd
without, to whom the result was announced. Cannon
roared, and bands played, and banners waved, and the
excited Republicans of Chicago cheered themselves
hoarse, while on the wings of electricity sped all over
the country the news of Mr. Lincoln s nomination, to be
greeted everywhere with similar demonstrations. It was
long before the Convention could calm itself enough to
proceed, to business. When it did, other States changed
their votes in favor of the successful nominee, until it
was announced, as the result of the third ballot, that
Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, had received three hun
dred and fifty-four votes, and was nominated by the Re
publican party for the office of President of the United
States. The nomination was then, on the motion of Mr,


Evarts, of New York, made unanimous, and the Conven
tion adjourned till the afternoon, when they completed
their work by nominating Hannibal Hamlin for Vice-

Mr. Lincoln was at Springfield at the time. He had
been in the telegraph-office during the casting of the first
and second ballots, but then left, and went over to the
office of the State Journal, where he was sitting convers
ing with friends while the third ballot was being taken.
In a few moments came across the wires the announce
ment of the result. The Superintendent of the Telegraph
Company, who was present, wrote on a scrap of paper,
"Mr. Lincoln: You are nominated on the third ballot, "
and a boy ran with the message to Mr. Lincoln. He
lookod at it in silence amid the shouts of those around
him; then rising and putting it in his pocket, he said
quietly, "There s a little woman down at our house
would like to hear this I ll go down and tell her."

Next day there arrived at Springfield the committee
appointed by the Convention to inform Mr. Lincoln
officially of his nomination. They waited upon him at
his residence, and Mr. Ashmun, President of the Conven
tion, addressing Mr. Lincoln, said :

I have, sir, the honor, in behalf of the gentlemen who are present
a Committee appointed by the Republican Convention recently assembled
at Chicago to discharge a most pleasant duty. We have come, sir,
under a vote of instructions to that Committee, to notify you that you
have been selected by the Convention of the Republicans at Chicago for
President of the United States. They instruct us, sir, to notify you of
that selection, and that Committee deem it not only respectful to yourself,
but appropriate to the important matter which they have in hand, that
they should come in person, and present to you the authentic evidence of
the action of that Convention ; and, sir, without any phrase which shall
either be considered personally plauditory to yourself, or which shall have
any reference to the principles involved in the questions which are con
nected with your nomination, I desire to present to you the letter which
has been prepared, and which informs you of your nomination, and with
it the platform resolutions and sentiments which the Convention adopted.
Sir at your convenience we shall bo glad to receive from you such a re
iponse as it may be your pleasure to give us*



Mr. Lincoln listened to this address TV ith a degree of
grave dignity that almost wore the appearance of sadness,
and after a brief pause, in which he seemed to be ponder
ing the momentous responsibilities of his position, he
replied :

and through you to the Republican National Convention, and all the people
represented in it, iny profoundest thanks for the high honor done me,
which you now formally announce. Deeply, and even painfully sensible
of the great responsibility which is inseparable from this high honor a
responsibility which I could almost wish had fallen upon some one of the
far more eminent men and experienced statesmen whose distinguished
names were before the Convention I shall, by your leave, consider more
fully the resolutions of the Convention, denominated the platform, and,
without any unnecessary or unreasonable delay, respond to you, Mr.
Chairman, in writing, not doubting that the platform will be found satis
factory, and the nomination gratefully accepted.

And now I will not longer defer the pleasure of taking you, and each of
you, by the hand.

Tall Judge Kelly, of Pennsylvania, who was one of the
committee, and who is himself a great many feet high, had
meanwhile been eying Mr. Lincoln s lofty form with a
mixture of admiration, and possibly jealousy ; this had
not escaped Mr. Lincoln, and as he shook hands with the
judge he inquired, " What is your height ?"

" Six feet three. What is yours, Mr. Lincoln ?"

" Six feet four."

" Then," said the judge, " Pennsylvania bows to Illi
nois. My dear man, for years my heart has been aching
for a President that I could look up to, and I ve found him
at last in the land where we thought there were none but
little giants. 5

Mr. Lincoln s formal reply to the official announcement
of Ms nomination was as follows :


SIB : I accept the nomination tendered me by the Convention over
which you presided, of which I am formally apprised in a letter of your
self and others acting as a Committee of the Convention for that pur
pose. The declaration of principles and sentiments which accompanies
your letter meets my approval, and it shall be my care not to violate it,


or disregard it in any part. Imploring the assistance of Divine Provi
dence, and with due regard to tho views and feelings of all who were
represented in the Convention, to the rights of all the States and Territories
and people of the nation, to the inviolability of the Constitution, and th
perpetual union, harmony, and prosperity of all, I am most happy to co
operate for the practical success of tho principles declared by the Con-
vention. Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen,


President of the Republican Convention

Mr. Lincoln s nomination proved universally acceptable
to the Republican party. Its members recognized in him
a man of firm principles, of ardent love for freedom, of
strict integrity and truth, and they went into the political
contest with a zeal and enthusiasm which was the guaran
tee of victory ; while the doubt and uncertainty, the
divided counsels and wavering purposes of their oppo
nents were the sure precursors of defeat.

His nomination was the signal to the leaders of the
slaveholders party for pressing upon the Democratic Con
vention their most ultra views, that by the division of the
Democratic forces the victory of Mr. Lincoln might be
assured, and the pretext afforded them for carrying into
execution the plot against the liberties of the country
which they had been for so many years maturing. That
they would dare to carry their threat of rebellion into exe
cution, was not believed at the North. If it had been,
while it might have frightened away some votes from Mr.
Lincoln, it would have brought him substantial acces-
eions from the ranks of those who, though following the
Democratic banner, had not learned to disregard the good
old doctrine that the majority must rule, and who would
have rushed to its rescue, if they had believed that it was
really threatened. The vote which he received on Novem
ber 6, 1860, was that of a solid phalanx of earnest men,
who had resolved that freedom should henceforth be
national, and that slavery should remain as the framers of
the Constitution intended that it should remain

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 42)