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retiring from the Presidency, was representative of a political era which on that day was to have an ending. Abraham Lincoln, by his side, was the incarnation of the idea which impelled the men of the Mayflower to cross the Atlantic and establish a government of the people. Roger B. Taney had trailed the ermine of the highest tribunal of justice in the mire at the behest of the slave power. Stephen A. Douglas had been a willing agent of the slave-holders for the extension of slavery; he had lost the Presidency through his want of fidelity to liberty. The life - work of Buchanan and Taney was ended ; that of Douglas was soon to close. Mr. Lincoln had once alluded to them a's house-builders (see p. 167). The fourth carpenter, "Franklin," was not present. Once only after his retirement from the Presidential chair had the world heard from Franklin Pierce. A letter which he had written to Jefferson Davis indicated to his fellow-citizens that his sympathies were with the Secessionists. The four "house -builders” were passing into oblivion, and the uncultured backwoodsman, under divine Providence, was to be architect of the new Temple of Liberty.

Clear and distinct the words of Mr. Lincoln:

“In view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken; and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws shall be faithfully executed in all the States. . . . In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government, and to collect the duties and imports ; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. ...

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow.countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend’it.

“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

“ The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearth-stone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Mr. Lincoln lays his right hand upon the open Bible. A hush falls upon the vast multitude as he repeats after Chief-justice Taney the words:

“I, Abraham Lincoln, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best

of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

It is done. The cannon thunder a salute cheers rend the air. James Buchanan, citizen, and Abraham Lincoln, President, ride to the executive mansion, one never again to enter it; the other to take up the work assigned him in the councils of divine Providence.

In November, on the evening of the election, when sitting in the telegraph office in Springfield, Mr. Lincoln had selected the men whom he would invite to become members of his Cabinet : Mr. Seward, of New York, Secretary of State; Mr. Chase, of Ohio, Treasury; Mr. Cameron, of Pennsylvania, War; Mr. Welles, of Connecticut, Navy; Mr. Smith, of Indiana, Interior; Mr. Blair, of Maryland, Postmaster-general; Mr. Bates, of Missouri, Attorney-general.

No President of the United States, upon his inauguration, ever had so difficult a task to accomplish as that which confronted Abraham Lincoln. Seven States had seceded from the Union, established a government, elected a President and Vice-president. Other slave-holding States were preparing to secede. Forts, arsenals, vessels, post-offices had been seized. Officers of the army and navy were resigning their commissions. All but two of the justices of the Supreme Court by their decisions had shown their sympathy with the slave oligarchy. The officials in the various departments knew they would be compelled to seek other employment. Those belonging to the Democratic Party from the Northern States were angry and morose under the prospect of losing their comfortable positions. Treason was everywhere. Neither the President nor any of the Secretaries knew upon whom they could rely. The people of Washington were far more in sympathy with the South than with the North. A very large proportion of them looked with disdain upon a man who had pulled an oar and swung an axe to earn his daily bread. They called him “ Abe the Rail-splitter.” The newspapers of the Southern States published false and malicious stories about his parentage and birth. They said he had negro blood in his veins. The “Black” Republican Party had elected him. It was natural for ignorant people in the South to believe that the mother of Abraham Lincoln might have been a negress. He was called an “ ape,” a “baboon.” A few weeks after the inauguration a “ Dramatic Poem," entitled “The Royal Ape," was published in Richmond. Women who gloried in their ancestry could not bear to think of one so low-born occupying the White House. One lady, who took pride in

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her ancestors, saw Mr. Lincoln in the parlor of Willard's Hotel before his inauguration.

“Is that Abe Lincoln ?” she asked, greatly astonished to see he was a courteous gentleman.

“ That is Mr. Lincoln, and I will introduce you to him," said Mr. Seward. “Shall I have the pleasure of introducing Mrs. Howard?"

Very stately the bowing of the lady. “I am from South Carolina," she said.

“I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Mrs. Howard.” No gentleman in Charleston could have been more courteous. She


looked into his face and beheld nothing but kindness. She listened in amazement to his conversation.

Why, Mr. Lincoln, you look, act, and speak like a kind, goodhearted, generous man!” she exclaims.

“Did you expect to meet a savage?"

Certainly I did, or something worse. But I am glad that I have met you. The best way to procure peace is for you to go to Charleston and show the people what you are, and tell them you have no intention of injuring them."

She left the parlor and met her friends.
“I have seen him."
“ Who?''

“ That terrible monster, Lincoln; and instead of being a monster he is a gentleman, and I mean to attend his first reception." (*)

While Mr. Lincoln was taking his oath to support the Constitution, Mr. Holt, Buchanan's Secretary of War, was reading a letter received from Major Anderson, commanding Fort Sumter, informing him that the bread he had on hand would be gone in twenty-eight days. His pork would last a little longer, but in forty days the last particle of food would be consumed. He could not buy anything in the Charleston markets. Slaves were building batteries on Morris Island and mounting

A floating battery protected by railroad-iron would soon be completed.

Several days passed before all the members of the new Cabinet arrived in Washington. They listened in amazement to the communication from Major Anderson. General Scott had informed President Lincoln that it would require 20,000 men to force their way into Sumter. No such number could be had. Captain Gustavus V. Fox believed that vessels of light draft could cross Charleston bar in the night and supply the fort with provisions. Each member of the Cabinet was asked to give his opinion as to what should be done. Nearly all said it would not be wise to attempt to relieve the garrison.

Three gentlemen, sent by Jefferson Davis, arrived in Washington : Martin J. Crawford, John Forsyth, and A. S. Romans. They requested President Lincoln to give up Sumter, and also Fort Pickens, at Pensacola. They held consultations with Mason and Hunter, of Virginia, and Breckinridge, of Kentucky. They found J. A. Campbell, one of the judges of the Supreme Court, an able ally. He was from Alabama, but professed loyalty to the Union. He had the confidence of Mr. Seward, who did not mistrust that Campbell was in constant communi


cation with Jefferson Davis's commissioners. Mr. Seward was pleased to see the gentlemen, but could not hold any official relations with them. He thought there would not be war. Fort•Sumter probably would be evacuated. Nothing would be done without notice, he thought. Mr. Seward gave Judge Campbell no assurance as an officer of the Cabinet, but only as a private citizen. He had no authority to speak officially.

I was in Washington during those March days. The hotels and

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