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LINCOLN AND DAVIS.
greatly his superiors in these respects, but who looked only to the good of the country, feel that its administra tion was safe in his hands. Such as were hoping for the overthrow of the government regarded him with hatred and disgust. When Mr. Seward desired to present to him Mr. Mason, who subsequently became one of the agents of the Confederacy in Europe, that senator, with a scowl of horror and scorn, shook his head and declined.
But Lincoln soon found that there was a sustaining power behind him on which he could securely rely-the people-the plain people, as he affectionately called them. They cared nothing about his fashionable short-comings; they looked only to the greatness of his purposes. If he chose to speak in parables, they knew that it was not the first time in the world that that had been done, and that parables have been delivered which will instruct the hu man race to the end of time. When it was said in foreign countries Davis is creating a nation and making history in Richmond, and Lincoln is telling stories in Washington, they were content to await the event.
His course com
pared with that They knew that for nations splendid talents
are not always the safest guide. While Davis was driving his rivals from his presence, and throwing into obscurity or exile the ablest men of the Souththose who could have made the rebellion successful, had that been possible-Lincoln was selecting his advisers from his political opponents. Davis was exasperating the passions of his people, and teaching them revenge; the weakness of Lincoln was benevolence. And the issue
was such as might have been expected. declines in influ- The enthusiastic devotion which had welcomed Davis to power was succeeded by distrust, dissatisfaction, hatred. The wreck of the Confederacy, the ruin of the people, were at last imputed to
him. On the other hand, the misgivings which attended Lincoln's accession were replaced by confidence; he ended by becoming politically omnipotent.
Clad in black, the ungainly-looking President might be seen, after the hour had come for visitors to be excluded, pacing to and fro past the windows of his apartment, his hands behind him, his head bent forward upon his breast, lost in profound meditation, a picture of sorrow, care, and Lincoln in his hours anxiety. The artist Carpenter, who enjoyed frequent opportunities of thus observing him in his moments of retirement, says, "His was the saddest face in repose that I ever knew. His eyes, of a bluish gray tint, always in deep shadow from the upper lids, which were unusually heavy, gave him an expression remarkably pensive and tender, often inexpressibly sad. A peculiar dreaminess sometimes stole over his face."
As is not unfrequently observed of Western men, there were mysterious traits of superstition in his traits of his char- character. A friend once inquiring the cause of a deep depression under which he seemed to be suffering, "I have seen this evening again," he replied, "what I once saw before, on the evening of my nomination at Chicago. As I stood before a mirror, there were two images of myself—a bright one in front, and one that was very pallid standing behind. It completely unnerved me. The bright one, I know, is my past, the pale one my coming life." And feeling that there is no armor against Destiny, he added, "I do not think I shall live to see the end of my term. I try to shake off the vision, but it still keeps haunting me."
He began to receive threatening letters soon after his nomination. He kept them by themselves, labeled, "Letters on Assassination." After his death, one was found among them connected with the plot which had succeeded.
"I can not help being in this way," he said; "my father was so before me. He dreamed that he rode through an unfrequented path to a strange house, the surroundings and furnishing of which were vividly impressed on his mind. At the fireside there was sitting a woman whose features he distinctly saw. She was engaged in paring an apple. That woman was to be his wife. Though a very strong-minded man, he could not shake off the vision. It haunted him incessantly, until it compelled him to go down the unfrequented way. He quietly opened the door of what he recognized to be the house, and saw at a glance that it was where he had been in his dream. There was a woman at the fireside engaged in paring an apple. And the rest of his dream came to pass."
"There will be bad news to-night," he said on another occasion. "Why, how do you know that, Mr. President?" "I dropped asleep, and saw in a dream what has often before been the precursor to me of disaster. I saw a ship sailing very fast." And that night bad news came!
Perhaps, in the opinion of the supercilious critic, these idle stories are unworthy of the page of history. The materialist philosopher may say, "Had Lincoln taken the trouble to hold up a candle before his mirror, he might have seen a dozen pale images of it! That is very true. But does not history record that some of the greatest soldiers, statesmen, lawgivers-men who have left ineffaceable marks on the annals of the human race-have been influenced by like delusions? There was connected with the most import ant of all proclamations ever issued by an American President-the proclamation of slave emancipation—an incident of the kind: a vow that in a certain contingency it should be put forth. Lincoln implicitly believed that it is the Supreme Ruler who determines our fate. Trifles though these may be, it is not for the historian to hide
But other great men have experienced similar delusions.
them from his reader, who perhaps may add the reflection that it is better to have the child-like, innocent dreams of Lincoln, than the guilty and appalling midnight visions of the conscience-stricken Davis.
Under a weight of responsibility and care pressing upon him unceasingly by day and by night, Lincoln instinctively felt the necessity of momentary relief. An anecdote well told, an amusing incident, would rescue him from deep depression. A strip of steel must be pulled back before it can spring forward. And so it was with Lincoln's mind-it must be relaxed before it could display its force. Perhaps this was never more strikingly seen than on the occasion of his submitting the Proclamation of Emancipation to his cabinetdeclared by himself to be the great and central act of his administration. He introduced it by reading some of the grotesque sayings of Artemus Ward.
Day by day the good sense and integrity of the rustic President shone forth more brightly in the sorest trials. It is not in foreign wars, but in domestic troubles that the greatness of a ruler is seen. In a country of the inhabitants of which it is said that every one forgets yesterday, the massive virtues of the President
His necessity for relaxation.
The unbounded con
fidence of the people were borne in mind. His countrymen learn
ed by experience to look upon him, unpolished as he was, as a monolith hewn out of the living rock, and capable of safely sustaining the heaviest weight of empire.
RETROSPECT OF THE PROGRESS OF THE CONSPIRACY AT THE INAUGURATION OF LINCOLN.
The conspirators, taking advantage of the approaching Presidential interregnum, had appointed a Convention to be held at Montgomery, and taken measures for raising an army. They proposed to seize Washington, and prevent the inauguration of Lincoln. They attempted to bring over the Border States to their cause, and succeeded with Virginia, agreeing to the conditions she exacted, that her internal slave-trade should be protected, and that Richmond should be made the seat of the proposed government.
The conspiracy may be considered as ending in complete success at the epoch of the opening of the Confederate Congress at Richmond.
After that epoch the Secession authority presented the character of an organized government.
THE entire secession movement presents two phases: 1st. A conspiracy of individuals against the republic. 2d. The action of an organized government.
It may be a question at what point we ought to place the line of demarcation between these phases. Some persons may be disposed to select the epoch of the estab lishment of the Confederate government at Montgomery; but for a long time subsequently to that event the aspect The boundary be- of a conspiracy was not lost. This is partween them ticularly manifested in the case of the secession of Virginia, which was brought about partly by intrigue and partly by violence. But it committed to the movement the most powerful of all the Slave States, and, by the seizure of the navy yard at Norfolk, contributed to it essential war-supplies. Had Virginia not joined the secessionists they could have had no hopes of success.
Again, there are reasons which would lead us to adopt
There are two phases in the secession movement.