« PreviousContinue »
upon me which is perhaps greater than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which sustained him, and in tho same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support; and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance, without which I cannot succeed, but with which success is certain. Again, I bid you all an affectionate farewell."
Along the route, multitudes assembled at the railway stations to greet him. At Toledo, in response to repeated calls, Mr. Lincoln appeared on the platform and said :
“I am leaving you on an errand of national importance, attended, as you are aware, with considerable difficulties. Let us believe, as some poet has expressed it, ' Behind the cloud the sun is shining still.' I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
He next proceeded to Indianapolis, where Mr. Lincoln was welcomed by the Governor of the State, and escorted by a procession composed of both Houses of the Legislature, the public officers, municipal authorities, military, and firemen. On reaching the Hotel he addressed the people as follows:
“Fellow-citizens of the State of Indiana : I am here to thank you much for this magnificent welcome, and still more for the very generous support given by your State to that political cause, which I think is the true and just cause of the whole country and the whole world. Solomon says 'there is a time to keep silence;' and when men wrangle by the mouth, with no certainty that they mean the same thing while using the same words, it perhaps were as well if they would keep silence. The words coercion' and 'invasion' are much used in these days, and often with some temper and hot blood. Let us make sure, if we can, that we do not misunderstand the meaning of those who use them. Let us get the exact definitions of these words, not from dictionaries, but from the men themselves, who certainly deprecate the things they would represent by the use of the words. What, then, is 'coercion ? What is “invasion ?' Would the marching of an army into Sonth Carolina, without the consent of her people, and with hostile intent towards them, be invasion ? I certainly think it would, and it would be coercion' also if the South Carolinians were forced to submit. But if the United States should merely hold and retake its own forts and other property, and collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any or all of these things be invasion or 'coercion ?' Do our professed lovers of the Union, but who spitefully resolve that they will resist coercion and invasion, understand that such things as these, on the part of the United States, would be coercion or invasion of a State? If so, their idea of means to preserve the object of their great affection would seem to be exceedingly thin and airy. If sick, the little pills of the homæopathist would be much too large for it to swallow. In their view, the Union, as a family relation, would seem to be no regular marriage, but rather a sort of “free-love' arrangement, to be maintained on passional attraction. By the way, in what consists the special sacredness of a State? I speak not of the position assigned to a State in the Union by the Constitution, for that is the bond we all recognize. That position, however, a State cannot carry out of the Union with it. I speak of that assumed primary right of a State to rule all which is less than itself, and to ruin all which is larger than itself. If a State and a County, in a given case, should be equal in extent of territory and equal in number of inhabitants, in what, as a matter of principle, is the State better than the County? Would an exchange of name be an exchange of rights? Upon what principle, upon what rightful principle, may a State, being no more than one-fiftieth part of the nation in soil and population, break up the nation, and then coerce a proportionably larger subdivision of itself in the most arbitrary way? What mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country with its people, by merely calling it a State ? Fellow-citizens, I am not asserting any thing. I am merely asking questions for you to consider. And now allow me to bid you farewell."
Proceeding to Cincinnati, he received a most enthusi. astic welcome. Having been addressed by the mayor of the city, and escorted by a civic and military procession to the Burnet House, he addressed the assemblage in these words :
“ Fellow-citizens : I have spoken but once before this in Cin cinnati. That was a year previous to the late Presidential election. On that occasion, in a playful manner, but with sincere words, I addressed much of what I said to the Kentuckians. 1 gave my opinion that we, as Republicans, would ultimately beat them as Democrats, but that they could postpone the result longer by nominating Senator Douglas for the Presidency than they could in any other way. They did not, in any true sense of the word, nominate Mr. Douglas, and the result has come certainly as soon as ever I expected.
“I also told them how I expected they would be treated after they should have been beaten, and now wish to call their attention to what I then said:
*** When we do, as we say we will, beat you, you perhaps want to know what we will do with you. I will tell you-—as far os 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. Wą niean to leave you alone, and in no way to interfere with your institutions; to abide by all and every compromise of the Constitution. In a word, coming back to the original proposition, to treat you, as far as degenerate men-if we liave degenerated may, according to the example 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 othur than the difference of circumstances. We mean to recognize and bear in mind always that you have as good hearts in your bosons as other people, or as we claim to have, and to treat you accordiugly.'
Fellow-citizens of Kentucky, friends, brethren : May I call you such? In my new position I see no occasion and feel no inclination to retract a word of this. If it shall not be made good be assured that the fault shall not be mine.'
In the evening he had a reception, when large crowds called upon him.
On the next morning he left Cincinnati, and arrived at Columbus, where he was received with every demonstration of enthusiasm. He visited the Governor in the Executive Chamber, and was subsequently introduced to the members of the Legislature in joint session, when he was formally welcomed by the Lieutenant-Governor, to whom Mr. Lincoln responded in these words:
“It is true, as has been said by the President of the Senate, that very great responsibility rests upon me in the position to which the votes of the American people have called me. deeply sensible of that weighty responsibility. I cannot but know, what you all know, that without a name-perhaps without a reason why I should have a name-there has fallen upon me a task such as did not rest upon the Father of his Country. And so feeling, I cannot but turn and look for the support without which it will be impossible for me to perform that great task I turn, then, and look to the American people, and to that God who has never forsaken them.
“Allusion has been made to the interest felt in relation to the policy of the new Administration. In this, I have received
from some a degree of credit for having kept silence, from others some depreciation. I still think I was right. In the varying and repeatedly shifting scenes of the present, without a precedent which could enable me to judge for the past, it has seemed fitting, that before speaking upon the dilficulties of the country I should have gained a view of the whole field. To be sure, after all, I would be at liberty to modify and change the course of policy as future events might make a change necessary.
“ I have not maintained silence from any want of real anxiety. It is a good thing that there is no more than anxiety, for there is nothing going wrong. It is a consoling circumstance that when we look out there is nothing that really hurts anybody. We entertain different views upon political questions, but nobody is suffering any thing. This is a most consoling circumstance, and from it I judge that all we want is time and patience, and a reliance on that God who has never forsaken this people.”
On the 14th of February, Mr. Lincoln proceeded to Pittsburgh. At Steubenville, on the route, in reply to an address, he said :
“ I fear the great confidence placed in my ability is unfounded. Indeed, I am sure it is. Encompassed by vast difficulties, as I am, nothing shall be wanted on my part, if sustained by the American people and God. I believe the devotion to the Constitution is equally great on both sides of the river. It is only the different understanding of that instrument that causes difficulties. The only dispute is. What are their rights ?' If the majority should not rule who should be the judge? Where is such a judge to be found ? We should all be bound by the majority of the American people--if not, then the minority must control. Would that be right? Would it be just or generous ? Assuredly not.” He reiterated, the majority should rule. If he adopted a wrong policy, then the opportunity to condemn him would occur in four years' time. " Then I can be turned out and a better man with better views put in my place.”
The next morning he left for Cleveland, but before his departure he made an address to the people of Pittsburgh, in which he said:
'In every short address I have made to the people, and in every crowd through which I have passed of late, some allusion has been made to the present distracted condition of the country. It is naturally expected that I should say something upon this subject, but to touch upon it at all would involve an elaborate discussion of a great many questions and circuin. stances, would require more time than I can at present command, and would perhaps unnecessarily commit me upon matters which have not yet fully developed themselves. “ The condition of the country, fellow-citizens, is an extra
. ordinary one, and fills the mind of every patriot with anxiety and solicitude. My intention is to give this subject all the consideration which I possibly can before I speak fully and definitely in regard to it, so that, when I do speak, Í
may be as nearly right as possible. And when I do speak, fellowcitizens, I hope to say nothing in opposition to the spirit of the Constitution, contrary to the integrity of the Union, or which will in any way prove inimical to the liberties of the people or to the peace of the whole country. And, furthermore, when the time arrives for me to speak on this great subject, I hope to say nothing which will disappoint the reasonable expectations of any man, or disappoint the people generally throughout the country, especially if their expectations have been based upon any thing which I may have heretofore said.
“ Notwithstanding the troubles across the river, (the speaker, smiling, pointed southwardly to the Monongahela River,] there is really do crisis springing from any thing in the Government itself. In plain words, there is really no crisis except an artificial one.
What is there now to warrant the condition of affairs presented by our friends 'over the river'? Take even their own view of the questions involved, and there is nothing to justify the course which they are pursuing. I repeat it, then, there is no crisis, except such a one as may be gotten up at any time by turbulent men, aided by designing politicians. My advice, then, under such circumstances, is to keep cool. If the great American people will only keep their temper on both sides of the line, the trouble will come to an end, and the question which now distracts the country will be settled just as surely as all other difficulties of like character which have originated in this Government have been adjusted. Let the people on both sides keep their self-possession, and just as other clouds have cleared away in due time, so will this, and this great nation shall continue to prosper as heretofore.” He then referred to the subject of the tariff, and said:
According to my political education, I am inclined to believe that the people in the various portions of the country should have their own views carried out through their representatives in Congress. That consideration of the Tariff bill should not be postponed until the next sessiou of the National Legislature. No subject should engage your representatives more closely than that of the tariff. If I have any recommendation to make, it will be that every man who is called upon to serve the people, in a representative capacity, should study the whole