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of strict integrity and truth, and they went into the political contest with a zeal and enthusiasm which was the guarantee of victory; while the doubt and uncertainty, the divided counsels, and wavering purposes of their opponents were the sure precursors of defeat.
His nomination was the signal to the leaders of the slaveholders' party for pressing upon the Democratic Convention 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 execution, was not believed at the North. If it had been, while it would probably have scared away some votes from Mr. Lincoln, it would have brought to him more votes yet from those who, though following the Democratic banner, had not learned to disregard the good old doctrine that the majority must rule, and would have rushed to its rescue, if they had believed that it was really threatened. The vote which he received was that of a solid phalanx of earnest men, who had resolved that Freedom should be henceforth national, and Slavery should be and remain as it was meant to be when the Constitution was adopted. They formed a body of nearly 2,000,000 voters, who carried for Mr. Lincoln the electoral votes of the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California.
That the consequences of that election have been
very different from what was anticipated by the great body of the people is unquestionably true. Few men of any party then understood the secret influences that were conspiring against the peace and integrity of the Union, and fewer still were willing to believe any considerable portion of the people capable of so gigantic a crime as the attempted overthrow of the great Republic of the world, either to revenge a party defeat or to perpetuate the slavery of the negro race. No man can justly be held responsible even for the consequences of his own action, any farther than, in the exercise of a just and fair judgment, he can foresee them. In electing Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency, the American people intended to erect a permanent bulwark against the territorial extension of slavery, and the perpetuation of its political power. If they had foreseen the madness of its defenders, they might have shrunk from the dreadful ordeal through which that madness has compelled the nation to pass, but in this, as in all the affairs of human life, ignorance of the future often proves the basis and guarantee of its wise development: and we believe that even now, with their experience, through three of the stormiest and most terrible years this nation has ever seen, of the sagacity, integrity, and unswerving patriotism with which President Lincoln has performed the duties of his high office, and with their clearer perception of the ultimate issue of that great contest between freedom and slavery, which the progress of events had rendered inevitable, the people look back with entire satisfaction upon the vote which, in 1860, made Mr. Lincoln President of the United States.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S ADMINISTRATION.
FROM THE ELECTION, NOV. 6, 1860, TO THE INAUGURATION, MARCH 4, 1861.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN was elected to be President of the United States on the sixth day of November 1860. The preliminary canvass had not been marked by any very extraordinary features. Party lines were a good deal broken up, and four presidential candidates were in the field; but this departure from the ordinary course of party contests had occurred more than once in the previous political history of the country. Mr. LINCOLN was put in nomination by the Republican party, and represented in his life and opinions the precise aim and object for which that party had been formed. He was a native of a slaveholding State; and while he had been opposed to slavery, he had regarded it as a local institution, the creature of local laws, with which the national government of the United States had nothing whatever to do. But in common with all observant public men, he had watched, with distrust and apprehension, the advance of slavery as an element of political power towards ascendency in the government of the nation, and had cordially co-operated with those who thought it absolutely necessary for the future well-being of the country that this tendency should be checked. He had, therefore, opposed very strenuously the extension of slavery