Page images








A series of monster fairs was held, in 1864, in the principal cities of the Union, for the purpose of aiding the funds of the United States Sanitary Commission. Philadelphia held her great fair in June, and on the sixteenth of the month, the President and Mrs. Lincoln, paid a visit to the fair buildings, in Logan square. There was a huge crowd


a present for the purpose of gazing upon the features of their beloved Chief Magistrate. After a collation had been partaken of, Mr. Lincoln made a characteristic address. In speaking of the war, he said :

“War, at the best, is terrible, and this war of ours, in its magnitude and its duration, is one of the most terrible. It has deranged business, totally in many localities, and partially in all localities. It has destroyed property, and ruined homes; it has produced a national debt and taxation unprecedented, at least in this country. It has carried mourning to almost every home, until it can almost be said that the 'heavens are hung in black.'

“It is a pertinent question, often asked in the mind privately, and from one to the other, 'when is the war to end ? Surely I feel as deep an interest in this question as any other can, but I do not wish to name a day, or month, or a year

when it is to end. I do not wish to run any risk of seeing the time come, without our being ready for the end, and for fear of disappointment because the time had come, and not the end. We accepted this war for an object, a worthy object, and the war will end when that object is attained. Under God, I hope it never will until that time. [Great cheering.] Speaking of the present campaign, Gen. Grant is reported to have said, 'I am going through on this line if it takes all summer! [Cheers.] This war has taken three years ; it was begun, or accepted, upon the line of restoring the national authority over the whole national domain—and for the American people, as far as my knowledge enables me to speak, I say, we are going through on this line if it takes three years more. [Cheers.] My friends, I did not know but that I might be called upon to say a few words before I got away from here, but I did not know it was coming just here. [!aughter.] I have never been in the habit of making predictions in regard to the war, but I am almost tempted to make one. If I were to hazard it, it is this : That Grant is this evening, with Gen. Meade and Gen. Hancock, of Pennsylvania, and the brave officers and soldiers with him, in a position froin


[ocr errors]

whence he will never be dislodged until Richmond is taken, [lond cheering], and I have but one single proposition to put now, and perhaps I can best put it in the form of an interrogatory. If I shall discover that Gen. Grant, and the noble officers and men under him, can be greatly facilitated in their work by a sudden pouring forward of men and assistance, will you give them to me? [Cries of "Yes!'] Then, I say, stand ready, for I am waiting for the chance. [Laughter and cheers.] I thark you, gentlemen."

The hint given by the President in his speech, was understood when a call was made the following month for 500,000 more men.

WASHINGTON THREATENED. Towards the middle of July, 1864, rebel raiders, under command of the traitor Breckinridge, audaciously threatened Washington. They approached as near the capital as Tenallytown, burned the residence of Postmaster Blair, at Silver Springs, destroyed passenger trains on the railroad between Baltimore and the Susquehanna, and burnt a large part of Chambersburg. President Lincoln re, mained placidly in Washington during this exciting period.

“ TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN." While these stirring events were in progress near the national capital, representations were made to President Lincoln that certain parties, who professed to represent the rebel government, were at the Clifton House, at Niagara Falls, and anxious to enter into negotiations with a view to the restoration of peace. Clement C. Clay, Beverly Tucker, and George N. Sanders were the active agents of the South in this business, and they succeeded in persuading Mr. Horace Greeley that much good would come of a conference. The project was doubtless a trick to induce Mr. Lincoln to recognize the Southern Confederacy, and to trap him into a betrayal of his plans. But the following manifesto issued by him overturned ali those hopes.

“ EXECUTIVE Masion, WASHINGTON, July 18, 1864.- To whom it may concern : Any proposition which embraces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the Union, and the abandonment of slavery, and which comes by and with authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States, will be received and considered by the Executive Government or the United States, and will be met by liberal terms on other substantial and collateral points, and the bearers thereof shall have safe conduct both ways.


Mr. Clay and Mr. Holcombe, who were among the chief plenipotentiaries of Jefferson Davis, took high offence at the tone and language of this paper, and they responded to it in a tone of ill temper that evinced their bitter disappointment at the failure of the trap set for the feet of Mr. Lincoln. Their complaints had no other effect than to make their authors ridiculous in the sight of the world.

THE FALL OF ATLANTA. In the month of September, 1864, intelligence arrived of the fall of Atlanta, and the President appointed a day of Thanksgiving, for the success of an event that none who were not in the secrets of the administration could have imagined the importance of at that time.

MR. LINCOLN IS RE-ELECTED. The Presidential election took place upon the eighth of November, 1864, and it resulted in the triumph of Mr. Lincoln in every loyal State except Kentucky, New Jersey and Delaware. In some of the States, their soldiers in the field were allowed to vote, and the military vote was almost invariably cast for Lincoln and Johnson. The official returns for the entire vote polled summed up 4,034,789. Of these Mr. Lincoln received 2,223,035, and McClellan received 1,811,754, leaving a majority of 411,281 on the popular vote. Mr. Lincoln was elected by a plurality in 1860. In 1864 his majority was decided and unmistakable.

This result was considered a full endorsement of the

policy of Mr. Lincoln, and the war was more vigorously prosecuted from this time, many of its opponents being at least silenced, if they were not convinced.


ELECTION. At a late hour on the night of the election, the Fresi. dent was serenaded by a club of Pennsylvanians, who notified him of the fact of his being the choice of the people for a second term. He responded as follows:

“ FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS : Even before I had been informed by you that this compliment was paid me by loyal citizens of Pennsylvania friendly to me, I had inferred that you were of that portion of my countrymen who think that the best interests of the nation are to be subserved by the support of the present administration. I do not pretend to say that you, who think so, embrace all the patriotism and loyalty of the country; but I do believe, and I trust without personal in. terest, that the welfare of the country does require that such support and endorsement be given. I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day's

work, if it be as you assume, and as now seems probable, will be to the lasting advantage if not to the very salvation of the country. I cannot, at this hour, say what has been the result of the election, but whatever it may be, I have no desire to modify this opinion: that all who have labored to-day in beaalf of the Union organization, have wrought for the best interest of their country and the world, not only for the present but for all future ages. thankful to God for this approval of the people; but while deeply grateful for this mark of their confidence in me, if I know my heart, my gratitude is free from any taint of personal triumph. I do not impugn the motives of any one opposed to me. It is no pleasure to me to triumph over any one, but I give thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the people's resolution to stand by free government and the rights of humanity

I am


On the sixth of December, 1864, Mr. Lincoln sent into Congress his last annual Message. After dwelling at length upon our foreign relations, the state of the country, and the results of the election, which had at once demon. strated the strength of the people and their devotion to the cause of the Union, be said :



“ The public purpose to establish and maintain the national authority, is unchanged, and, as we believe, unchangeable, The manner of continuing the effort remains to choose. On careful consideration of all the evidence accessible, it seems to me that no attempt at negotiation with the insurgent leader could result in any good. He would accept nothing short of severance of the Union—precisely what we will not and cannot give. His declarations to this effect are explicit and oftrepeated. He does not attempt to deceive us. He affords us no excuse to deceive ourselves. He cannot voluntarily reaccept the Union. We cannot voluntarily yield it. Between him and us the issue is distinct, single and inflexible. It is an issue which can only be tried by war, and decided by victory. If we yield we are beaten. If the Southern people fail him, he is beaten. Either way, it would be the victory and defeat following war. What is true, however, of him who heads the insurgent cause, is not necessarily true of those who follow. Although he cannot re-accept the Union, they can. In presenting the abandonment of armed resistance to the National authority, on the part of the insurgents, as the only indispensable condition to ending the war on the part of the government, I retract nothing heretofore said as to slavery. I repeat the declaration made a year ago, that while I remain in my present position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation, nor shall return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation or by any of the acts of Congress. If the peuple should, by whatever mode or means, make it an Executive duty to reenslave such persons, another, and not I, must be their instrument to perform it. In stating a single condition of peace, I mean simply to say that the war will cease on the part of the government whenever it shall have ceased on the part of those who began it.”

MORE TROOPS WANTED. On the 19th of December, 1864, a call was made for 300,000 more men to finish up the great work on hand in the field. MR. LINCOLN HAS AN INTERVIEW WITH

REBEL COMMIŞSIONERS. In the early part of February, 1865, application was made to the National Government for permission for Messrs. A. H. Stephens of Georgia, R. M. T. Hunter of Virginia, and J. A. Campbell of Alabama, to pass through the Union lines as quasi commissioners from the rebel

« PreviousContinue »