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Of these Mr. Lincoln received 2,223,035, and McClellan received 1,811,754, leaving a majority of 411,281 on the popnlar vote. Mr. Lincoln was elected by a plurality in 1860. In 1864 his majority was decided and unmistakable.
The covert attempt to negotiate having failed, the rebels in February, 1865, applied directly for permission to send their Vice-President, Stephens of Georgia, R. M. T. Hunter of Virginia, and J. A. Campbell of Alabama, through the lines as quasi Commissioners to treat for peace. It had been distinctly stated that no recognition of the Southern Confederacy by the general Government must be expected; still the envoys wished to come, and President Lincoln proceeded to Fortress Monroe then, on the steamer River Queen. The conference led to no results. The envoys made the recognition indispensable, while Mr. Lincoln, in his friendly and genial conversation with them, as firmly insisted that he could not for a moment entertain it.
On the 4th of March Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated for a second term of four years, to which he had been chosen by so preponderating a vote of confidence. The day was rainy, and the ceremonies began in the Senate Chamber. A few moments before twelve o'clock, the official procession entered the chamber. First, came the members of the Supreme Court, who took seats on the right of the Vice-President's chair. Soon after Mr. Lincoln entered, escorted by Vice-President Hamlin, and followed by the members of the cabinet, the chiefs of the diplomatic corps, officers of the army and navy who have received the thanks of Congress, Governors, &c.
Vice-President Hamlin briefly took leave of the Senate, and his successor, with the Senators elect to the Thirty-Ninth Congress, were then sworn in. After this the official procession was formed and moved to the platform in front of the portico of the eastern front of the Capitol, where the ceremony of inauguration was concluded. After being welcomed with enthusiastic cheers, Mr. Lincoln pronounced the following inaugural :
"Fellow Countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations
have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the Nation, little that is new could be presented.
"The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
"On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. dreaded it; all sought to avoid it. While the Inaugural Address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in this city seeking to destroy it without war-seeking to dissolve the Union and destroy its effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish; and the war
"One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.
"Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause might cease with or even before the conflict should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding.
"Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered-that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of offences, for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to the man by whom the offence cometh? If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of these offences, which in the providence of God must needs come, but which having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offences came, shall we discern therein
any departure from these Divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?
"Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and till every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so, still it must be said, that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
"With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans; to do all that may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
The oath of office was then administered by Chief-Justice Chase and the re-inaugurated President escorted back to the White House.
On the 24th of March Mr. Lincoln went again to the peninsula to see the close of Grant's campaign. Petersburg was assaulted before his eyes, and while at City Point, April 2d, Richmond, the Rebel capital fell into our hands. The President immediately proceeded to the city, entering it in triumph, and in the evening held a levee in the late residence of Jefferson Davis. This was his hour of joy unmingled. His anxious hours of care seemed now to be fast closing and brighter days arising. His return to Washington had nothing to dampen this joy. The news of Lee's surrender followed soon after, and on the eventful 14th of April, 1865, the day appointed for raising once more the old flag at Sumter, while awaiting the tidings of Johnson's capture his life was brought to a sudden and startling close.