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THE ELECTION, 1860.
THE campaign was one of intense excitement and unbounded enthu
siasm on the part of the Republicans, who felt that with the Democratic Party divided they could bring about the election of Mr. Lin
coln. Mass meetings were held throughout the Northern States.
The vital questions of the hour were the aggressions of the slave power, the attempt to force slavery into the Territories and the Free States, the Dred Scott decision, and the preservation of the Union. The young men organized “Wide Awake” clubs. They wore uniforms and carried torches. Little did they, in their enthusiasm, comprehend what would be the ultimate outcome of their midnight drilling and marching Further on we shall see them making other midnight marches as soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The friends of Senator Douglas saw from the outset that they were doomed to defeat. The men who supported the nomination of Bell and Everett in the Northern States endeavored to awaken enthusiasm by ringing bells mounted on wagons and drawn by horses, as their processions paraded the streets of towns and cities.
Breckinridge had not many supporters in the Northern States. It was but a small portion of the Democratic Party that followed his lead.
We are not to think because there was an uprising of people to restrict the further extension of slavery, the party supporting Abraham Lincoln was for its immediate abolition. The printer imprisoned at Baltimore thirty years before for saying the slave-trade was piracy, took no part in advocating the election of Abraham Lincoln, who was not an Abolitionist. Public sentiment cannot be changed in a day. Many good men in the Northern States, including ministers, lawyers, judges, opposed the Republican Party. They said it was sectional, and its success would bring about a dissolution of the Union. The slaveholders were threatening to secede, and establish a Southern Confederacy if Lincoln should be elected. He saw a dark and forbidding
future. Shall we wonder that his friends beheld the old look of sadness upon his face at times ?
“ Mr. Bateman,” said Mr. Lincoln to the Superintendent of Instruction, whose office joined the chamber where he received his friends, “here is a book-a canvass of this city, which my friends have madethe name of every citizen, and how he probably will vote. Here are the names of twenty-three ministers of different denominations, and all but three of them are against me. Here are the names of a great many men who are members of churches, and a very large majority of them are against me. Mr. Bateman, I am not a Christian. God knows that I want to be one. I have read the Bible ever since I sat at my mother's knee. Here is the New Testament which I carry with me. Its teachings are all for liberty. Now, these ministers and church members know that I am for freedom in the Territories-for freedom everywhere as far as the Constitution and law will permit, and that my opponents are for slavery. They know this, and yet with this book in their hands, in the light of which human bondage cannot live a moment, they are going to vote against me. I don't understand it." He rises and paces the room.
His voice is tremulous as he goes on, and there are tears upon his cheeks.
“Mr. Bateman, I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place for me—and I think He has—I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but truth is everything. I know that I am right because I know that liberty is right. Jesus Christ teaches it, and Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Christ and reason say the same, and they will find it so. Douglas doesn't care whether slavery is voted up or down; but God cares, humanity cares, and I care. With God's help I shall not fail. I may not see the end; but it will come, and I shall be vindicated, and these men will find that they have not read their Bibles right.”
He paces the floor in silence a while, and then goes on:
“ Doesn't it seem strange that men ignore the moral aspects of this contest? A revelation could not make it plainer to me that slavery or the Government must be destroyed. The future would be something awful, as I look at it, but for this.” He holds up the New Testament.
“ There is the rock on which I stand. It seems to me as if God had borne with slavery until the very teachers of religion had come to defend it from the Bible, and to claim for it a divine charter and sanction, till the cup of iniquity is full, and the vials of wrath must be poured out." ()
Before Mr. Lincoln was thought of as a candidate for the Presidency the slave-holders of South Carolina had purchased a cargo of slaves brought direct from Africa. They were sold to the cottonplanters. It was an attempt to reopen the slave-trade. No preachers of the gospel in the Slave States uttered a word in condemnation of the traffic. On the contrary, the leading religious publication of the South, the “Presbyterian Review," published in Columbia, S. C., was advocating the system of slavery as an institution expressly ordained of God for the welfare of the human race. (*)
Mr. Lincoln made a hurried trip to Chicago on business, and was received with great enthusiasm by Democrats as well as Republicans.
At the house of a friend he beholds a group of little girls. One of them gazes at him wistfully.
“What is it you would like, dear?" “I would like, if you please, to have you write your name for me.”
“But here are several of your mates, quite a number of them, and they will feel badly if I write my name for you and not for them also. How many are there, all told ?"
“Eight of us."
“Oh, very well; then get me eight slips of paper and pen and ink, and I will see what I can do."
Each of the little misses, when she went home that evening, carried his autograph.
If we had been in the village of Westfield, on the shore of Lake Erie, Chautauqua County, N. Y., on an October evening, we might have seen little Grace Bedell looking at a portrait of Mr. Lincoln and a picture of the log-cabin which he helped build for his father in 1830.
"Mother," said Grace, "I think that Mr. Lincoln would look better if he wore whiskers, and I mean to write and tell him so."
Well, you may if you want to," the mother answered.
Grace's father was a Republican and was going to vote for Mr. Lincoln. Two older brothers were Democrats, but she was a Republican.
Among the letters going west the next day was one with this superscription, “ Hon. Abraham Lincoln, Esq., Springfield, Illinois.” It was Grace's letter, telling him how old she was, where she lived, that she was a Republican, that she thought he would make a good President, but would look better if he would let his whiskers grow. If he would she would try to coax her brothers to vote for him. She thought the