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For Attorney-General, Edward Bates, of Missouri.
For Postmaster-General, Montgomery Blair, of Maryland.
There was considerable trouble up to the very day of inauguration, especially through Seward and his partisans, who objected to the eclectic nature of the cabinet. Lincoln did something to quiet their outcries when, commenting on rumors that Blair was to be dropped, he said: "No, if that slate is to be broken again it will be at the top." Seward withdrew his name March 2. Lincoln wrote to him inauguration day, saying to a friend that he "could not afford to let Seward take the first trick," and the Secretary of State withdrew his declination March 6 after a long talk with the President. A Republican described Lincoln's cabinet as "an assortment of rivals whom he had appointed out of courtesy (Seward, Chase, and Cameron), one stump speaker from Indiana (Caleb Smith), and two representatives of the Blair family," this last meaning that Frank Blair had procured the appointment of Bates.
When his presidential term began, Lincoln weighed about 180 pounds. He had few, if any gray hairs; marked rings under his hollow eyes; a sallow face, with deep lines, worn and full of care; ears which stood at right angles to his head; a thick and hanging lower lip. He
was slightly pigeon-toed. His dress was almost as careless, his tastes as simple, as ever. Besides his house and lot, his whole fortune, after years of successful law practice and politics, consisted of a little wild land in Indiana, entered for him under warrants received for his services in the Black Hawk War. His habits of distracted walks and long reveries continued. The general close opinion of him was that he was "at once miserable and kind." The first impression he made in Washington was partly of confidence and partly of distrust, but no one asserted that he was great. He had never held a ministerial or executive office, and he was generally deemed inexperienced. He himself felt now despondent over the magnitude of his task, now equal to it. He had no reverence for great men, no belief in their existence as a race apart, and he despised the biographies which painted them in the conventional way. He once refused to read a life of Burke on the ground that books about famous men could just as well be written in blank, names to be filled in as they were needed. Years before, when he first began to meet well-known statesmen in Illinois, he had remarked that they were much like ordinary men. Now in Washington he was about to face his advisers, his generals, his enemies, with the same level look of intelligence and suavity.
BEGINNINGS OF WAR
In spite of some fears the inauguration passed off without disturbance. In the presence of an enormous open-air crowd, Lincoln took the oath, administered by Chief Justice Taney, and delivered his first inaugural address from a platform on which sat James Buchanan and Stephen A. Douglas. One of the most picturesque minor incidents of the day grew out of the presence of the Little Giant. He who had done so much, in opposing Lincoln, to make him, had been among the first to come to his support as President, and now, when he saw his successful rival standing before a great audience of the people who had elected him, holding his new silk hat awkwardly and not quite knowing what to do with it, Senator Douglas quietly relieved him of the incumbrance.
Lincoln's practised voice carried the words of the inaugural to the multitude before him. That document, one of the most important in the history of the country, sounded a note of gentle firmness on the one great issue to which it was mostly confined, — Union against Secession. It was intended to breathe at once confidence to the
North and friendliness to the South. It succeeded, especially as it was read at leisure, in stiffening the courage of the loyal states; but soft words could no longer affect the trend toward secession, and what the Southern people saw was not that the President wished them well, but that he refused them their most important demand. “I hold," he said, “ that, in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the union of these states is perpetual." He declared that no state, upon its own mere motion, could lawfully get out of the Union, and that acts of violence against the United States were insurrectionary or revolutionary. One of his most definite statements was: "To the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the states." Although he gave the greatest amount of time and emphasis to the question of Union, he touched upon slavery, summing it up in his favorite way: "One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute." To the Southerners, he said: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict,
without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it.'" The famous end of this inaugural shows in its origin a quality which was one of Lincoln's strongest, an instinct for assimilating and impressing the thoughts of others. Mr. Seward made two suggestions for an ending, thinking that argument ought not, as in the President's first draft, to be the final word. His first suggestion was long and dull. His second was this: "I close. We are not, we must not be, aliens or enemies, but fellow-countrymen and brethren. Although passion has strained our bonds of affection too hardly, they must not, I am sure they will not, be broken. The mystic chords which, proceeding from so many battlefields and so many patriot graves, pass through all the hearts and all the hearths in this broad continent of ours will yet again harmonize in their ancient music when breathed upon by the guardian angel of the nation."
Lincoln took the central hint and wrote this: "I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth