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The 4th day of March, 1861, was a day of dress. His voice was loud, and very clear; painful suspense to the entire country. It his enunciation deliberate, and his manner was to determine the future of the Republic- impressive. If there was danger of assassinto witness the inauguration of a “sectional" ation, he did not betray the slightest apprePresident, upon whose words would hang hension. His entire action betokened the the issues of peace or war, of union or dis- man ready for duty. The crowd was remarkunion. The fears entertained of violence to ably orderly, composed as it was, in a great prevent the installation, and of danger to the degree, of those who had “ come to see the President's person, served to intensify the President safely inaugurated.” Though no apprehension of his friends and partisans, recognition was given, in the order of exerwhile the position he should assume on cises, to the Republican “Wide-Awake" soNational affairs rendered the anxiety in the cieties, as such, it was well understood that South especially acute.

at least ten thousand “Wide-Awakes" were At a quarter past one the President and present, at the ceremony, armed ready for President-elect having been ushered into the close conflict, should a resort to arms become Senate Chamber—where their appearance necessary. A knowledge of this, together was waited for by the Senate, House of Rep- with the imposing disposition of the military, resentatives, Foreign Ministers, Judges of the under immediate command of Generals Scott Supreme Court, &c.—the procession imme- and Wool, served to render the order of the diately formed and passed to the east front occasion exceedingly satisfactory. The Presiof the Capitol. A vast crowd was in attend- dent's voice reached to the outermost rim of ance, composed of persons gathered from all the immense assembly, so commanding were sections of the country. The President-elect, its tones. The Address, as pronounced, and stepping forward to the prominent position sent upon the wings of the telegraph to all assigned him, delivered his Inaugural Ad-/ parts of the country, was as follows:




service or labor, but shall be deliv.

OF Mr. Lincoln's Inaug.

ered up on claim of the parts to UNITED STATES :

Mr. Lincoln's Inaug. ural Address.

whom such service or labor may be ural Address. “In compliance with a cus. due.' tom as old as the Government itself, I appear be- “ It is scarcely questioned that this provision was fore you to address you briefly, and to take in your intended, by those who made it, for the reclamation presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of of what we call “fugitive slaves' and the intention the United States to be taken by the President before of the law-giver is the law. All members of Conhe enters on the execation of his office. I do not gress swear their support to the whole Constitution ; consider it necessary at present for me to discuss to this provision as well as any other. To the prop. those matters of administration about which there osition, then, that slaves whose cases come within is no special anxiety or excitement.

the terms of this clause .shall be delivered up,' their Apprehension seems to exist among the people of oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the the Southern States that by the accession of a Repub- effort, in good temper, could they not, with nearly lican Administration, their property, and their peace equal unanimity, frame and pass a law by means of and personal security, are to be endangered. There which to keep good that unanimous oath? There is has never been any reasonable cause for such appre

some difference of opinion whether this clause should hension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the con

be enforced by National or by State authority; but, trary has all the while existed, and been open to their surely, that difference is not a very material one. inspection. It is found in nearly all the published If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of but speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but little consequence to him or to others, by which quote from one of those speeches when I declare authority it is done. Should any one, in any case, that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to

be content that his oath shall go unkept on a merely interfere with the institution of Slavery in the States unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to kept? do so, and I have no inclination to do so.' Those “ Again, in any law upon this subject, onght not who nominated and elected me did so with a full all the safeguards of liberty known in the civilized knowledge that I had made this and many similar and humane jurisprudence to be introduced, so that declarations, and had never recanted them. And, a free man be not, in any case, surrendered as a more than this; they placed in the platform for my slave? And might it not be well, at the same time, acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me,

to provide by law for the enforcement of that clause the clear and emphatic resolution which I now

in the Constitution which guarantees that the cit. read:

zens of each State shall be entitled to all the privi16. Resolved, that the maintenanco inviolate of the rights leges and immunities of citizens in the several States?' of the Sentes, and especially the right of each State to order I take the official oath to-day with no mental reserand control its own domestic institutions according to its own vations, and with no purpose to construe the Constijudgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power tution or laws by any hypercritical rules; and, while on wbich the perfection and eudurauce of our political fabric

I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Con. depend, and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under gress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.'

will be much safer for all, both in official and private “I now reiterate these sentiments; and, in doing stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts so, only press upon the public attention the most which stand unrepealed, than to violate any of them, conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, trusting to find impunity in having them held to be that the property, peace, and security of no section unconstitutional.' are to be in any wise endangered by the now incom- “ It is seventy-two years since the first inauguraing Administration. I add, too, that all the protection of a President under our National Constitution. tion which, consistently with the Constitution and During that period fifteen different and very distin. the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to guished citizens have in succession administered tho all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever Executive branch of the Government. They have cause, as cheerfully to one section as to another. conducted it through many perils, and, generally,

“There is much controversy about the delivering with great success. Yet, with all this scope for preup of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I cedent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as

Constitutional term of four years, under great and any other of its provisions :

peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Federal

Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably "No person beld to service or labor in one State, under the laws theref, escapin: into another, shall, in consequence

attempted. of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such “I hold that, in contemplation of universal law



and of the Constitution, the National authority. The power Mr. Lincoln's Inaug. Union of these States is per- confided to me will be used to

Mr. Lincoln's Inang ural Address.

ural Address. petual. Perpetuity is implied, hold, occupy, and possess the if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all property and places belonging to the Govern. National Governments. It is safe to assert that no ment, and collect the duties and imports ; but, be. Government proper ever had a provision, in its yond what may be necessary for these objects, there organic law, for its own termination. Continue to will be no invasion, no using of force against or execute all the express provisions of our National among the people anywhere. Where hostility to Constitution, and the Union will endure forever-it the United States shall be so great and so universal being impossible to destroy it except by some ac- as to prevent competent resident citizens fronı hold. tion not provided for in the instrument itself. ing the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to

" Again, if the United States be not a Government force obnoxious strangers among the people that proper, but an association of States in the nature of object. While the strict legal right may exist of & contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably the Government to enforce the exercise of these anmade by less than all the parties who made it? offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating, One party to a contract may violate it, break it, so and so nearly impracticable withal, that I deem it to speak, but does it not require all to lawfully re- better to forego for the time the uses of such offices. scind it? Descending from these general principles, | The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be fur. we find the proposition that, in legal contemplation, nished in all parts of the Union. So far as possible, the Union is perpetual, confirmed by the history of the people everywhere shall have that sense of per. the Union itself. The Union is much older than the fect security which is most favorable to calm thought Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles and reflection. of Association in 1774. It was matured and contin- “ The course here indicated will be followed, unued in the Declaration of Independence 1776. It less current events and experience shall show a was further matured, and the faith of all the then modification or change to be proper; and, in every Thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that case and exigency, my best discretion will be exer. it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confed-cised according to the circumstances actnally existeration in 1778; and, finally, in 1787 one of the, and with a view and hope of a peaceful solution clared objects for ordaining and establishing the of the National troubles and the restoration of fraConstitution was, 'to form a more perfect Union.' ternal sympathies and affections. But, if the destruction of the Union, by one or by a “That there are persons in one section or another part only of the States, be lawfully possible, the who seek to destroy the Union at all events, and are Union is less than before--the Constitution having glad of any pretext to do it, I will neither affirm nor lost the vital element of perpetuity.

deny. But, if there be such, I need address no word “It follows, from these views, that no State, upon to them. To those, however, who really love the its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union, may I not speak? Before entering upon so Union; that "resolves' and ordinances' to that grave a matter as the destruction of our National effect are legally void, and that acts of violence fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its within any State or States against the authority of hopes, would it not be well to ascertain why we do the United States are insurrectionary or revolution it? Will you hazard so desperate a step while any ary, according to circumstances.

portion of the ills you fly from have no reas exist. “I, therefore, consider that, in view of the Con- ence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to aro stitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken, and, greater than all the real ones you fly from? Will to the extent of my ability, I shall take care, as the you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake? Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that "All profess to be content in the Union, if all the laws of the Union be' faithfully executed' in all Constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, the States. This I deem to be only a simple duty then, that any right plainly written in the Constituon my part, and I shall perfectly perform it, so far tion has been denied? I think not. Happily, the as is practicable, unless my rightful masters, the human mind is so constituted that no Party can American people, shall withhold the requisition, or reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you in some authoritative manner direct the contrary ! can, of a single instance in which a plainly written

“I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, provision of the Constitution has ever been denied ? but only as the declared purpose of the Union, that If, by the mere force of numbers, a majority should deit will constitutionally defend and maintain itself. prive a minority of any clearly.written constitutional In doing this there need be no bloodshed or violence, right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revoAnd there shall be none unless it is forced upon the lution; certainly would, if such right were a vital

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ural Address.

one. But, such is not our case. case, still, the evil effect followMr. Lincoln's Inaug. All the vital rights of minorities ing it, being limited to that par

Mr. Lincoln's Inaug

ural Address. and of individuals are so plainly ticular case, with the chance assured to them, by affirmations and negations, by that it may be overruled, and never become a prece. guarantees and prohibitions, in the Constitution, that dent for other cases, can better be borne than could controversies never arise concerning them.

the evils of a different practice. At the same time, “No organic law can ever be framed with a pro- the candid citizen must confess that, if the policy of vision specifically applicable to every question the Government upon the vital questions affecting which may occur in practical administration. No the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by the foresight can anticipate, nor any document of rea- decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are sonable length contain, express provisions for all made from ordinary litigation between parties in perpossible questions. Shall fugitives from labor be sonal actions, the people will have ceased to be their eurrendered by National or by State authority? | own masters, having, to that extent, practically reThe Constitution does not expressly say. Must Consigned their Government into the hands of that emi. gress protect Slavery in the Territories? The Con

nent tribunal. Nor is there, in this view, any assault stitution does not expressly say. From questions upon the Court or the Judges. It is a duty from of this class spring all our Constitutional controver which they may not shrink, to decide cases properly sies, and we divide upon them into majorities and brought before them; and it is no fault of theirs if minorities. If the minority will not acquiesce, the others seek to turn their decisions to political purmajority must, or the Government must cease.

poses. There is no alternative for continuing the Govern- “One section of our country believes Slavery is ment but acquiescence on the one side or the other. right and ought to be extended, while the other be. If a minority, in such a case, will ‘secede' rather lieves it wrong and ought not to be extended. Tbis than acquiesce, they make a precedent which in turn is the only substantial dispute; and the Fugitivo will ruin and divide them, for a minority of their own Slave clause of the Constitution, and the law for tlio will secede from them whenever a majority refuses suppression of the foreign slave-trade, are each as to be controlled by such a minority. For instance, well enforced, perhaps, as any law ever can be in a why may not any portion of a new Confederacy, a community where the moral sense of the people imyear or two hence, arbitrarily secede again, pre perfectly supports the law itself. The great body of cisely as portions of the present Union now claim the people abide by the dry legal obligation, in both to secede from it? All who cherish disunion senti

cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, ments are now being educated to the exact temper cannot be perfectly cured; and it would be worse of doing this. Is there such perfect identity of in- in both cases, after the separation of the sections, terests among the States to compose a new Union as than before. The foreign slave-trade, now imperto produce harmony only and prevent renewed fectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived, secession?

without restriction in one section, while fugitivo “Plainly, the central idea of secession is the slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not essence of anarchy. A majority, held in restraint be surrendered at all by the other. by constitutional checks and limitations, and always “ Physically speaking, we cannot separate---we changing easily with deliberate changes of popular cannot remove our respective sections from each opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign other, nor build an impassable wall between them. of a free people. Whoever rejects it, does, of

A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity the presence and beyond the reach of each other, is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a perma- but the different parts of our country cannot do this. nent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, They can but remain face to face, and intercourse, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despot- either amicable or hostile, must continue between ism in some form is all that is left.

them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse “I do not forget the position assumed by some, more advantageous or more satisfactory after sepa. that Constitutional questions are to be decided by ration than before? Can aliens make treaties easier the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decision than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more must be binding, in any case upon the parties to a faithfully enforced between aliens than laws among suit, as to the object of that suit, while the decisions friends ? Suppose you go to war. You cannot fight are also entitled to very hig) respect and considera- always; and when, after much loss on both sides, tion in all parallel cases, by all other Departments of

and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identi. the Government; and, while it is obviously possible cal questions as to terms of intercourse are again that such decision may be erroneous, in any given upon you !




ural Address.

ural Address.

“ This country, with its insti- tion, by any extreme wickedMr. Lincoln's Inaug.

Mr Lincoln's Inaug. tutions, belongs to the people ness or folly, can very seriously

who inhabit it. Whenever they injure the Government in the shall grow weary of the existing Government, they short space of four years. can exercise their Constitntional right of amending, My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and or their revolutionary right to dismember or over- well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable car throw it. I cannot be ignorant of the fact that many | be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having any of you, in hot haste, to a step which you would the National Constitution amended. While I make no never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated recommendation of amendment, I fully recognize the by taking time--but, no good object can be frustratfall authority of the people over the whole subject, to ed by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied, still be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the instrument itself; and I should, under existing cir- sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under cumstances, favor, rather than oppose, a fair oppor. it; while the new Administration will have no imtunity being afforded the people to act upon it. Imediate power, if it would, to change either. If it will venture to add, that, to me, the Convention were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments right side in the dispute, there is still no single to originate with the people themselves, instead of reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotonly permitting them to take or reject propositions ism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who originated by others not especially chosen for the pur- has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still pose, and which might not be precisely such as they competent to adjust, in the best way, all our pres. would wish either to accept or refuse. I understand ent difficulties. that a proposed amendment to the Constitution “ In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-country. (which amendment, however, I have not seen,) has men, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Gov. civil war. The Government will not assail you. ernment shall never interfere with the domestic in

You can have no conflict without being yourselves stitutions of States, including that of persons held to the aggressors. You have no oath registered in service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have Heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall said, I depart from my purpose, not to speak of par- have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, ticular amendments, so far as to say that, holding and defend' it. I am loth to close. We are not such a provision to now be implied Constitutional enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. law, I have no objection to its being made express Though passion may have strained, it must not and irrevocable.

break, our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of "The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority memory stretching from every battle-field and patfrom the people, and they have conferred none upon riot grave to every living heart and hearth-stone all him to fix the terms for the separation of the States.

over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of The people themselves, also, can do this if they the Union, when again touched, as surely they will choose; but the Executive, as such, has nothing to be, by the better angels of our nature." do with it. His duty is to administer the present

The President was visited during the Government as it came to his hands, and to transmit evening and the succeeding day, by various it unimpaired by him to his successor.

delegations, and congratulations were freely “Why should there not be a patient confidence extended. But one voice prevailed among in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any his party friends, relative to the Inaugural. better or equal hope in the world? In our present It gave the most hearty Reception of the Indifferences, is either party without faith of being in satisfaction to them, as, in- augural by the the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with deed, it did to the large

People. his eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the majority of people in the still loyal States. North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that the complainants were among those of the justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal, the American people. By the frame opposition whose praise it was scarcely posof the Government under which we live, this same

sible to obtain. With such, fault-finding was people have wisely given their public servants but

a chronic disorder. little power for mischief, and have, with equal wis.

The reception of the Message throughout dom, provided for the return of that little to their the Northern States was enthusiastic in the own hands at very short intervals. While the peo- extreme. Its calmness, kindness, firmness, ple retain their virtue and vigilance, no Administra- and devotion to the Constitution, diffused a

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