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Lincoln the republican candidate for the presidency took form. He was present as a spectator at the Illinois state republican convention held at Decatur on the tenth of May. When he entered the hall, he was greeted with such enthusiasm as few defeated men are favored with. There was no mistaking the high honor and warm affection in which the audience held him, and no doubting the fact that they regarded that which was nominally his defeat as a great triumph, whose fruits would not long be delayed. He had hardly taken his seat when Governor Oglesby of Decatur announced that an old democrat of Macon County desired to make a contribution to the convention. The offer being at once accepted, two old fence-rails were borne into the convention, gaudily decorated, and bearing the inscription: “ABRAHAM Lincoln, the rail candidate for the presidency in 1860. Two rails from a lot of three thousand, made in 1830, by Thomas Hanks and Abe Lincoln—whose father was the first pioneer of Macon County.”

The effect of this upon an audience already excited can be imagined by those only who have been familiar with the effect of similar melo dramatic incidents under similar circumstances. The cheers were prolonged for fifteen minutes, or until the strength of the enthusiastic assembly was exhausted. Mr. Lincoln was called upon to explain the matter of the rails, which he did, repeating the story already in the reader's possession--the story of his first work in Illinois, when he helped to build a cabin for his father, and to fence in a field of corn.

It is the misfortune of great men who are candidates for office, that appeals must be made by them, or on their behalf, to the groundlings. It was a great misfortune to Mr. Lincoln that he was introduced to the nation as pre-eminently a railsplitter, and that it was deemed necessary to his political fortunes that he should be called such. There is no question that the designation belittled him in the eyes of all people of education and culture, at home and abroad. And this, not because there was any prejudice among these people against


labor, and not because they attached the slightest dishonor to Mr. Lincoln on account of his early poverty and humble pursuits. Splitting rails was in no way allied to the duties of the presidency. The ability to split rails did not add to moral or intellectual power. The fact that Mr. Lincoln had split rails did not increase his qualifications for office. Mr. Lincoln himself regretted that, while he was splitting these rails, he had not been in school or college. He felt that he should have been very much better fitted for the great duties that had been devolved upon him if, instead having devoted the best of his youth to splitting rails and other manual labor, he had enjoyed the advantages of a thorough education. The country took Mr. Lincoln at the estimate of his friends; and those friends thrust him before the country as a man whose grand achievement was the splitting of many rails. It took years for the country to learn that Mr. Lincoln was not a boor. It took years for them to unlearn what an unwise and boyish introduction of a great man to the public had taught them. It took years for them to comprehend the fact that in Mr. Lincoln the country had the wisest, truest, gentlest, noblest, most sagacious president who had occupied the chair of state since Washington retired from it. At this very period he said to Judge Drummond of Chicago, who had remarked to him that people were talking of him for the presidency: “It seems as if they ought to find somebody who knows more than I do." The rails and that which they symbolized were what troubled him, and, in his own judgment, detracted from his qualifications for the high office.

The latter part of 1859 and the first months of 1860 were broken by travel through various portions of the country, during which he delivered some of the best and most elaborate speeches of his life. He visited Kansas, and was received by her people with the honor due to one who had done brave battle for her freedom. On entering Leavenworth, although the weather was most inclement, he was met by a large procession of people, and escorted to his hotel, while a dense crowd gathered upon the sidewalks that lined the passage. All the doors, windows, balconies and porticos were filled with men, women and children, anxious to catch a glimpse of the man whose speeches they had read, and of whom they had heard so much. The Leavenworth Register, in its notice of the occasion, said:-"never did man receive such honors at the hands of our people, and never did our people pay honors to a better man, or one who has been a truer friend of Kansas.” Here he made a speech, and the following paragraph, selected from it, will show the state of political feeling at the time, and Mr. Lincoln's relation to it:

“But you democrats are for the Union; and you greatly fear the success of the republicans would destroy the Union. Why? Do the republicans declare against the Union? Nothing like it. Your own statement of it is that if the black republicans elect a president, you wont stand it.' You will break up the Union. That will be your act, not ours. To justify it, you must show that our policy gives you just cause for such desperate action. Can you do that? When you attempt it, you will find that our policy is exactly the policy of the men who made the Union—nothing more, nothing less. Do you really think you are justified to break up the government rather than have it administered as it was by Washington? If you do, you are very unreasonable, and more reasonable men cannot and will not submit to you. While you elect presidents, we submit, neither breaking nor attempting to break up the Union. If we shall constitutionally elect a president, it will be our duty to see that you also submit. Old John Brown has been executed for treason against a state. We cannot object, even though he agreed with us in thinking slavery wrong. That cannot excuse violence, bloodshed and treason. It could avail him nothing that he night think himself right. So, if we constitutionally elect a president, and, therefore, you undertake to destroy the Union, it will be our duty to deal with you as old John Brown has been dealt with. We shall try to do our duty. We hope and believe that in no section will a majority so act as to render such extreme measures necessary."

In September, Mr. Lincoln paid a visit to Ohio, following Mr. Douglas, and made two speeches, one at Columbus and another at Cincinnati. These were the first occasions on which he had ever had the privilege of speaking to Ohio audiences, and the introductions to these speeches betrayed his diffidence. In Illinois the people knew and understood him.

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He had won a reputation there, but, as he traveled eastward, he felt himself away from home. The names of Chase, Corwin and Wade were in his mind-eminent speakers, with whose voices the people of Ohio were familiar--and he felt that it would be difficult for him to establish his position as a political orator when brought into close comparison with them. His style of speech and mode of reasoning he knew to be his own; and he had misgivings touching their reception among those whose ideas of oratory were derived from other models. But these misgivings were groundless. His plainness, clearness, earnestness and thorough comprehension of the merits of his subject secured for him the honest admiration and esteem of all who heard him.

At Columbus, he devoted himself mainly to the discussion of a few points of an elaborate article that had previously appeared in Harper's Magazine, from the pen of Judge Douglas. In this article, the Senator had contrived to spread throughout the country his views touching the relations of slavery to the Constitution. It was the old talk of the senatorial campaign repeated with unimportant variations, though with some new illustrations. It was familiar ground with Mr. Lincoln; and, while his speech was a new one,

but few new ideas to those who had read his speeches of the previous autumn. Mr. Douglas had preceded him at Cincinnati, and had alluded to him there. It was the battle of Illinois repeated upon the soil of Ohio. The contestants were the same—the questions upon which they took issue were the same. Popular sovereignty, the Dred Scott decision, the right and wrong of slavery, negro equality, the nationalization of slavery—these subjects, presented and illustrated in every possible way already, were again made the themes of discussion by these two men; and the people of Ohio gave them abundant audience. One of Mr. Lincoln's most effective points at Cincinnati was made upon the assumption that, being near the Kentucky border, some Kentuckians were present, to whom he addressed himself in an attempt to prove that they ought to nominate Judge Douglas at Charleston, as peculiarly the southern candidate for the presidency. He told them that Judge Douglas was the only man in the whole nation who gave them any hold of the free states; and then he proceeded

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; to show that Mr. Douglas was as sincerely, and quite as wisely, for them, as they were for themselves. The points made in this part of the speech against his old antagonist were very ingenious and very damaging, so far as they related to his standing in Ohio, whatever effect they may have had upon the possible Kentuckians in the audience. After telling them that they must take Douglas under any circumstances or be defeated, and that it was possible, if they did take him, that they might be beaten, he told them what the opposition proposed to do with them in case it should be successful in the approaching presidential contest. The passage is worth quoting, as it is an embodiment of the policy he subsequently pursued when, the opposition having succeeded, he found himself endowed with the responsibilities of office, as well as a prophecy of the result of a collision then conditionally proposed.

“I will tell you, so far as I am authorized to speak for the opposition, what we mean to do with you. We mean to treat you, as near as we possibly can, as Washington, Jefferson and Madison treated you. We mean to leave you alone, and in no way to interfere with your institution; to abide by all and every compromise of the Constitution, and, in a word, coming back to the original proposition, to treat you, so far as degenerated men (if we have degenerated) may, according to the examples of those noble fathers-Washington, Jefferson and Madison. We mean to remember that you are as good as we; that there is no difference between us other than the difference of circumstances. We mean to recognize and bear in mind always that you have as good hearts in your bosoms as other people, or as we claim to have, and treat you accordingly. We mean to marry your girls when we have a chance--the white ones I mean-and I have the honor to inforın you that I once did have a chance in that way.

“I have told you what we mean to do. I want to know, now, when that thing takes place, what you mean to do. I often hear it intimated that you mean to divide the Union whenever a republican or anything like it is elected president of the United States. [A voice—That is 80.'] “That is so,' one of them says; I wonder if he is a Kentuckian?


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