Page images







Presiden: Lincoln-Journey towards the capital–Rumors of danger to the president-Passes through Ba.ti.

more by night - Inauguration — Inaugural Address — The cabinet - Sad and cheerless prospect before the new president --Abraham Lincoln as yet comparatively unknown His policy and views — Fernando Wood and New York as a free city - Seeming hesitation on the part of the government — Confederate commissioners in Washington - Result — Delegates from peace convention in Virginia to the president – Fort Sumter ordered to be reinforced – Beauregard bombards it — Fort Sumter surrendered - Major Ander. son's note to the war department - Rebel boasting – Feeling at the North — President's proclamation for 75,000 troops - Answers of governors to the call — Davis's proclamation inviting privateersmen — President orders blockade of ports in seceded states — Privateers to be treated as pirates — Address of Davis to Confederate Congress — Asks “ to be let alone" —Position of affairs at this date.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the newly elect- arrive in Washington in due season for ed president of the United States, was his inauguration. Up to this time he called to his work at an eventful period had maintained a quiet reserve with of our history. The condition of public respect to his views or plans as to the affairs, since his election, was such as to momentous crisis in national affairs; cause perplexity and apprehension in but now, as he went on his way toward the hosom of every lover of his country; the capital of the Republic, he not only and we know that Mr. Lincoln had his found it impossible to keep silence, but full share of anxiety and doubt as to he yielded to the frequent calls of the the impending dangers in his path. people and public bodies, and made a Early in February, accompanied by number of addresses, all more or less

his wife and son, he left his bearing on public matters, and all

home in Springfield, Illinois, marked by mingled simplicity and purposing to proceed slowly, and to shrewdness. He passed through In.



dianapolis. Cincinnati, Columbus, Pitts- ought to have braved every danger, burg, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Albany, and treated with contempt the threatand reached New York on the 19th of enings and plots against his safety and February. His reception on the route his life. But, it is to be rememberwas cordial and gratifying, and he ed, that in this he acted upon the showed himself ever willing to speak advice of those who knew and felt the to the hundreds and thousands gathered vast importance of his reaching the together. On the 22d, Washington's capital in safety, and entering upon the birthday, he was in Philadelphia, and weighty duties of his high office. by request raised the national flag on On the 4th of March, Abraham LinIndependence Hall. Here, too, he ad-coln went through the usual ceremonies dressed the people; but, as elsewhere, of inauguration, and delivered his in. he did not attempt to set forth any augural address in the presence of a definite line of policy, further than that crowd of deeply interested listeners.* he meant to strive for peace and har. The address was a carefully mony to the extent of his

power. prepared paper, evidently the Thus far, the journey of the president- result of Mr. Lincoln's own study and elect had been free from unpleasantness reflection, and characterized by a tone or apprehensions of danger; but in of firmness and decision, as well as by Philadelphia he received information an anxious desire to avoid the dire that it would be unsafe, even to the calamities into which secessionists were risk of his life, if he attempted to pass hurrying the country. It is too long to

through Baltimore in the day be given in full here; a few passages

time, or made any stay in that will serve to evince, in part at least, its city. He determined, therefore, to fol. spirit and purpose. low the advice of General Scott and “ I take the official oath to-day with others; and so, after visiting the legis no mental reservations, and with no lature of Pennsylvania, at Harrisburg, purpose to construe the Constitution or on the afternoon of the 22d he took a laws by any hypercritical rules, and special train for Philadelphia, and while I do not choose now to specify travelling thence all night he passed particular acts of Congress as proper through Baltimore, and reached Wash. to be enforced, I do suggest that it will ington early on Saturday morning, the 23d of February. This sudden change sensibilities of many friends, who would have much of purpose excited surprise among the preferred to form an escort of 100,000 armed men to people generally, and, as it was an easy

see him safely through Baltimore, thars to have him

pass through it clandestinely and like a hunted fugi. thing to do, many of those inimical to tive.”—Greeley's “ American Conflict," vol. i., p. 421. Mr. Lincoln indulged themselves in ill- * It was thought possible that some disturbance natured remarks and sneering comments

might be attempted on this occasion ; but, if any were

contemplated, it was put a stop to by the course pur on the event.* It was affirmed that he sued by General Scott ; who had, by considerable er.

ertion, got together about six hundred national troops, * “The prudence of this step has since been abun- and was prepared to maintain order, even at the point dantly demonstrated : but it wounded, at the time, the of the bayonet.


[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »