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 16 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 16 of 42)
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bodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can Jii*
country be saved upon that basis? If it can, I will consider myself )ne
of the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. If it cannot fce
saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this coantry can
not be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would
rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. [Applause.] Now,
in ray view of the present aspect of affairs, there need be no bloodshed
or war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course;
and I may say in advance that there will be no bloodshed unless it be
forced upon the Government, and then it will be compelled to act in self-
defence. [Applause.]

My friends, this is wholly an unexpected speech, and I did not expert
to be called upon to say a word when I came here. I supposed it waa
merely to do something towards raising the flag I may, therefore, have
Raid something indiscreet. [Cries of " No, no . v ] I have said nothing but
what 1 am willing to live by, and, if it be the pleasure of Almighty God,
die by.

One object of trie visit to the Hall was, to have Mr.
Lincoln assist in raising the national flag over the ITa.ll.
Arrangements had been made for the performance of this
ceremony, and Mr. Lincoln was escorted to the platform
prepared for the purpose, and was invited, in a brief ad
dress, to raise the flag. He responded in a patriotic
speech, announcing his cheerful compliance with the re
quest He alluded to the original flag of thirteen stars,
saying that the number had increased as time rolled on,
and we became a happy, powerful people, each star add
ing to its prosperity. The future is in the hands of the
people. It was on such an occasion we could reason to
gether, reaffirm our devotion to the country and the prin
ciples of the Declaration of Independence. Let us make
ap our minds, said he, that whenever we do put a new star
upon our banner, it shall be a. fixed one. never to be


dimmed by the horrors of war, "but "brightened "by the
contentment and prosperity of peace. Let us go on to
extend the area of our usefulness, and add star upon star,
until their light shall shine over five hundred millions of
free and happy people. He then performed his part in
the ceremony, amidst a thundering discharge of artillery.
In the afternoon he left for the West. On reaching
Jjan caster he was received with a salute, and replied to
an address of welcome in the following words :

speech. I have not time to make a speech at length, and not strength to
make them on every occasion ; and worse than all, I have none to make.
There is plenty of matter to speak about in these times, but it is well
known that the more a man speaks the less he is understood the more
he says one thing, the more his adversaries contend he meant something
else. I shall soon have occasion to speak officially, and then I will en
deavor to put my thoughts just as plain as I can express myself true to
the Constitution and Union of all the States, and to the perpetual liberty
of all the people. Until I so speak, there is no need to enter upon details.
In conclusion, I greet you most heartily, and bid you an affectionate

On reaching Harrisburg, on the 22d, Mr. Lincoln was
escorted to the legislature, and was welcomed by the
presiding officers of the two houses, to whom he replied
as follows :

I appear before you only for a very few, brief remarks, in response to
what has been said to me. I thank you most sincerely for this reception,
And the generous words in which support has been promised me upoa
this occasion. I thank your great Commonwealth for the overwhelming
upport it recently gave, not nie personally, but the cause which I think
ft just one, in the late election. [Loud applause.] Allusion has beeii
made to the fact the interesting fact, perhaps, we should say that I for
the first time appear at the Capital of the great Commonwealth of Penn
sylvania upon the birthday of the Father of his Country, in connection
with that beloved anniversary connected with the history of this country.
I have already gone through one exceedingly interesting scene this morn
ing in the ceremonies at Philadelphia. Under the high conduct of gentle
men there, I was for the first time allowed the privilege of standing iu
old Independence Hall [enthusiastic cheering], to have a few words
addressed to me there, and opening up to me an opportunity of express
ijtg, with much regiet, that I had not more time time to express eouitJ


rhir.g of so y ov. ri ,i fillings, excited by the occasion, somewhat to harmoniat
and give shape to the feelings that had been really the feelings of rcr
whole life. Besides this, our friend? there had provided 11 magnificent
fl;ig of the country. They had arranged it so that I was given the honor
of arising it to the head of Us staff. [Applause.] And when it went up, I
was pleased that it went to its place by the strength of my own feeble arm,
when, according to the arrangement, the cord was pulled, and it floated
gloriously to the wind, without an accident, in the light, glowing sunshine
f the morning. I could not help hoping that there was, in the entire suc
cess of that beautiful ceremony, at least something of-an omen of what is to
come. [Loud applause.] How could I help feeling then as I often have feltt
In the whole of that proceeding I was a very humble instrument. I had
not provided the flag; I had not made the arrangements for elevating it
t.o its place ; I had applied but a very small portion of my feeble strength
in raising it. In the whole transaction I was in the hands of the people
who had arranged it, and if I can have the same generous co-operation of
fcbe people of the nation, I think the flag of our country may yet be kept
flaunting gloriously. [Loud, enthusiastic, and continued cheers.] I recur
for a moment but to repeat soine words uttered at the hotel, in regard to
what has been said about the military support which the General Govern
ment may expect from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a proper
emergency. To guard against any possible mistake do I recur to thia.
It is not with any pleasure that I contemplate the possibility that a neces
sity may arise in this country for the use of the military arm. [Applause.]
While I am exceedingly gratified to see the manifestation upon your
streets of your military force here, and exceedingly gratified at your
promises here to use that force upon a proper emergency while I make
these acknowledgments I desire to repeat, in order to preclude any pos
sible misconstruction, that I do most sincerely hope that we shall have
no use for them. [Applause.] That it will never become their duty to
shed blood, and most especially never to shed fraternal blood. I promise
that, so far as I may have wisdom to direct, if so painful a result shall !n
&Ay-wise be brought about, it shall be through no fault of mine. [Cheers.]
Allusion has also been made by one of your honored speakers to soTr>
remarks recently made by myself at Pittsburg, in regard to what is *
posed to be the especial interest of this great Commonwealth of IV-m,
vania. I now wish only to say, in regard to that matter, that the f*. *
remarks which I uttered on that occasion were rather carefully worded.
I took pains that they should be so. I have seen no occasion since to add
to them, or subtract from them. I leave them precisely as they stand
[applause], adding only now, that I am pleased to have an expression frcm
you, gentleman o f Pennsylvania, significant that they are satisfactory to
you. And now, gentlemen of the General Assembly of the Common
wealth of Pennsylvania, allow me to ^turn 7 oa again my most sincere


After the delivery of this address, Mr. Lincoln devoted
some hours to the reception of visitors, and at six o clock
retired to his room. The next morning the whole coun
try was surprised to learn that he had arrived in Wash
ington twelve hours sooner than he had originally in
tended. - His sudden departure proved to have been a
measure of precaution for which events subsequently
disclosed afforded a full justification. For some time pre
vious to his departure from home, the rumor had been
Current that he would never reach the Capital alive. An
attempt was made on the Toledo and Western Railroad,
on the llth of February, to throw from the track the train
on which he was journeying, and just as he was leaving
Cincinnati a hand grenade was found to have been se
creted on board the cars. These and other circumstances
led to an organized and thorough investigation, under the
direction of a police detective, carried on with great skill
and perseverance at Baltimore, and which resulted in dis
closing the fact that a small gang of assassins, under th^
leadership of an Italian who assumed the name of Orsini,
had arranged to take his life during his passage through
Baltimore. General Scott and Mr. Seward had both been
apprised of the same fact through another source, and
they had sent Mr. F. W. Seward as a special messenger
to Philadelphia, to meet the President-elect there, pre
vious to his departure for Harrisburg, and give him
notice of these circumstances. Mr. Lincoln did not
deviate from the programme he had marked out for him
self, in consequence of these communications ; except
that, under the advice of friends, he deemed it prudent
to anticipate by one train the time he was expected to
arrive in Washington He reached there on the morning
of Saturday, the 23d.

On Wednesday, the 27th, the Mayor and Common
Council of the city waited upon Mr. Lincoln, and ten
dered him a welcome He replied to them as follows :

MR. MAYOR : I thank you, and through you the municipal authorities
of this city who accompany yot^ for tJiis welcome A nd as it is tiie first


Jime in my life, since the present phase of politics has presented itself in
this country, that I have said any thing publicly witiiin a region of
country where the institution of slavery exists, I will take this occasion
to say, that I think very much of the ill-feeling that lias existed and still
exists between the people in the sections from which I came and the
people here, is dependent upon a misunderstanding of one another. I
lurefuve avail myself of this opportunity to assure you, Mr. Mayor, and
all the gentlemen present, that I have not now, and never have had, an.
other than as kindly feelings towards you as the people of my owi
tection. I have not now, and never have had, any disposition to treat
you in any respect otherwise than as my own neighbors. I have not
now any purpose to withhold from you any of the benefits of the Consti
tution, under any circumstances, that I would not feel myself constrained
to withhold from my own neighbors; and I hope, in a word, that when
we shall become better acquainted and I say it with great confidence
we shall like each other the more. I thank you for the kindness of thi*

On the next evening a serenade was given to Mr.
Lincoln "by the members of the Republican Association,
and he then addressed the crowd which the occasion had
brought together as follows :

MY FEIENDS: I suppose that I may take this as a compliment paid t
me, and as such please accept my thanks for it. I have reached this City
of Washington under circumstances considerably differing from those
under which any other man has ever reached it. I am here for the pur
pose of taking an official position amongst the people, almost all of whom
were politically opposed to me, and are yet opposed to me, as I suppose.

I propose no lengthy address to you. I only propose to say, as I did
on j esterday, when your worthy Mayor and Board of Aldermen called
up<m me, that I thought much of the ill feeling that has existed bt tweei
f ou and the people of your surroundings and that people from among
arhom I cme, has depended, and now depends, upon a misunder

I hope that, if things shall go along as prosperously as I believe we all
desire they may, I may have it in my power to remove something of this
misunderstanding ; that I may be enabled to convince you, and the people
of your section of the country, that we regard you ha in all things oui
equals, and in all things entitled to the same respect and the same treat
ment that we claim for ourselves ; that we are in no wise disposed, if it
were in our power, to oppress yc u. to deprive you of any of yoi2 rights
under the Constitution of the United States, or even narrow,/ ;o split
hairs with you in regard to these rights, but are determined to ?ve yon,
tut tar a*i lies in our hands, all your rights under the Constitr tion not


grudgingly, but fully and fairly. [Applause.] 1 hope that, by thus dealing
with you, we will become better acquainted, and be better friends.

And now, my friends, with these few remarks, and again returning mj
*hanks for this compliment, and expressing my desire to hear a .itO
more of your good music, I bid you good-night.

This closed Mr. Lincoln s public speeches down to tL*
late of his inauguration.



JULY 4, 1861.


ON the 4th of March, 1861, Mr. Lincoln took the oath
and assumed the duties of the Presidential office. He was
quite right in saying, on the eve of his departure from his
home in Springfield, that those duties were greater than
had devolved upon any other man since the days of
Washington. A conspiracy which had been on foot for
thirty years had reached its crisis. Yet in spite of all
that had been done by the leading spirits in this n ove-
ment, the people of the slaveholding States were by no
means a unit in its support. Seven of those States South
Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Florida,
and Louisiana had passed secession ordinances, anc*
united in the establishment of a hostile Confederacy ; but
in nearly all of them a considerable portion of the people
were opposed to the movement, while in all the remaining
elaveholding States a very active canvass was carried on
between the friends and the opponents of secession. In*
Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee especially,
the Government of the United States was vindicated and
its authority sustained by men of pre-eminent ability and
of commanding reputation, and there seemed abundant
reason for hoping that, by the adoption of prudent meas
ures, the slaveholding section might be divided, and the
Border Sla^e States retained in the Union. The authori
ties of the rebel Confederacv saw the importance of push-

11 MF.


ing the issue to an instant decision. Under their directions
nearly all the forts, arsenals, dock-yards, custom-houses,
&c., belonging to the United States, within the limits of
the seceded States, had been seized, and were held by
representatives of the rebel government, The only forts
in the South which remained in possession of the Union
were Forts Pickens, Taylor, and Jefferson on the Florida
coast, and Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and prepa-
rations were far advanced for the reduction and capture
of these. Officers of the army and navy from the South
had resigned their commissions and entered the rebel
service. Civil officers representing the United States
within the limits of the Southern States could no
longer discharge their functions, and all the powers of
that Government were practically paralyzed.

It was under these circumstances that Mr. Lincoln
entered upon the duties of his office, and addressed him
self to the task, first, of withholding the Border States
from joining the Confederacy, as an indispensable pre
liminary to the great work of quelling the rebellion and
restoring the authority of the Constitution.

The ceremony of inauguration took place as usual in
front of the Capitol, and in presence of an immense mul
titude of spectators. A large military force was in
attendance, under the immediate command of General
Scott, but nothing occurred to interrupt the harmony
of the occasion. Before taking the oath of office, Mr.
Lincoln delivered the following

fellow- Citizens of the United States:

In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear
before you to address you briefly, and to take in your presence the oath
prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the
President "before he enters on the execution of his office."

I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss thos*
aaatterrt of administration about whicn there is no special anxiety or
xci tern ant

Apprehension seems to exist, among the people of the Southern States,
that by the accession of a Republican Administration their prope *> and

f -


dieir peace and personal security are to be endangered. There ha* nevor
been any reasonable cause 1 or such apprehension. Indeed, the mass
ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open
to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of
him who now addresses you. 1 do but quote from one of those speeches
when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to inter
fere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe
I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Those
who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that 1 had made
ills and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And
nore than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a lavr
to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now
vead :

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States,
and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domes
tic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to
the balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our polit
ical fabric depend, and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force
of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, aa
among the gravest of crimes.

I now reiterate these sentiments ; and, in doing so, I only press upon
the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is sus
ceptible, that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in
anywise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add, too,
that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the
laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States, when law
fully demanded, for whatever cause as cheerfully to one section as to

There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from
service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Con
stitution as any other of its provisions :

No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof,
escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation
therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered
ap on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.

It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who
made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves ; and the inten
tion of the lawgiver is the law. All members of Congress swear their
support to th,e whole Constitution to this provision as much as any other.
To the proposition, then, that slaves, whose cases come within the terms
of this clause, "shall be delivered up," their oaths are unanimous. Now,
if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not, with nearly
equal unanimity, fr.-uiie an<l pass a law by means of which to keep good
that unanimous oath ?

There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should be en
forced by National or by State authority ; but surely that difference if


not a very material one. If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of
but little consequence to him, or to others, by which authority it is done,
And aliould any one, in any case, be content that his oath shall go uukept,
on a mere unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be kept?

Again, in any law upon this subject, ought not all tbe safeguards of lib
erty known in civilized and humane jurisprudence to be introduced, so
that a free man be not, in any case, surrendered as a slave ? And might
it not be well, at the same time, to provide by law for the enforcement
of that clause in the Constitution which guarantees that "the citizens of
each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in
the several States?"

1 take the official oath to-day with no mental reservation, and with .4
purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules.
And while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as
proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both
in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts
which stand unrepealed, than to violate any of them, trusting to find im
punity in having them held to be unconstitutional.

It is seventy -two years since the first inauguration of a President under
our National Constitution. During that period, fifteen different and greatly
distinguished citizens have, in succession, administered the Executive
branch of the Government. They have conducted it through many perils,
and generally with great success. Yet, with all this scope for prece
dent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief constitutional term of
four years, under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Fed
eral Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted.

I hold that, in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution,
the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not ex
pressed, in the fundamental law of all National Governments. It is safe
to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic
law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provi-
ions of our National Government, and the Union will endure forever h
being impossible to destroy it, except by some action not provided for in
fche instrument itself.

Again, if the United States be not a Government proper, but an associ
ation of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be
peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it ? One party
to a contract may violate it break it, so to spealr ; but does it not require
all to lawfully rescind it ?

Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that
in legal contemplation, the Union is perpetual, confirmed by the history
of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. li
was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was ma
tured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It wa*
farther matured, and the faith of all tho then Thirteen States oxpresaly


plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Con
federation in 1778. And, finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for
ordaining and establishing the Constitution was " to form a more perfect

But if destruction of the Union, by one, or by a part only, of the
States, be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before, the Con
stitution having lost the vital element of perpetuity.

It follows, from these views, that no State, upon its own mere motion,
can lawfully get out of the Union ; that resolves and ordinances to that
effect are legally void; and that acts of violence within any State or
States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or
revolutionary, according to circumstances.

I, therefore, consider that, in view of the Constitution and the laws,
the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as

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 16 of 42)