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February 18, 1861.- ADDRESS TO THE LEGISLATURE OF NEW YORK, AT ALBANY.
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the General Assembly of the State of New York: It is with feelings of great diffidence, and, I may say, with feelings of awe, perhaps greater than I have recently experienced, that I meet you here in this place. The history of this great State, the renown of those great men who have stood here, and have spoken here, and been heard here, all crowd around my fancy, and incline me to shrink from any attempt to address you. Yet I have some confidence given me by the generous manner in which you have invited me, and by the still more generous manner in which you have received me, to speak further. You have invited and received me without distinction of party. I cannot for a moment suppose that this has been done in any considerable degree with reference to my personal services, but that it is done, in so far as I am regarded, at this time, as the representative of the majesty of this great nation. I doubt not this is the truth, and the whole truth, of the case, and this is as it should be. It is much more gratifying to me that this reception has been given to me as the elected representative of a free people, than it could possibly be if tendered merely as an evidence of devotion to me, or to any one man personally.
And now I think it were more fitting that I should close these hasty remarks. It is true that, while I hold myself, without mock modesty, the humblest of all individuals that have ever been elevated to the presidency, I have a more difficult task to perform than any one of them.
You have generously tendered me the support the united support of the great Empire State. For this, in behalf of the nation -in behalf of the present and future of the nation - in behalf of civil and religious liberty for all time to come, most gratefully do I thank you. I do not propose to enter into an explanation of any particular line of policy, as to our present difficulties, to be adopted by the incoming administration. I deem it just to you, to myself, to all, that I should see everything, that I should hear everything, that I should have every light that can be brought within my reach, in order that, when I do so speak, I shall have enjoyed every opportunity to take correct and true ground; and for this reason I do not propose to speak at this time of the policy of the government. But when the time comes, I shall speak, as well as I am able, for the good of the present and future of this country for the good both of the North and of the South-for the good of the one and the other, and of all sections of the country. In the mean time, if we have patience, if we restrain ourselves, if we allow ourselves not to run off in a passion, I still have confidence that the Almighty, the Maker of the universe, will, through the instrumentality of this great and intelligent people, bring us through this as he has through all the other difficulties of our country. Relying on this, I again thank you for this generous reception.
February 19, 1861.-ADDRESS AT TROY, NEW YORK. Mr. Mayor and Citizens of Troy: I thank you very kindly for this great reception. Since I left my home it has not been my fortune to meet an assemblage more numerous and more orderly than this. I am the more gratified at this mark of your regard, since you assure me it is tendered, not to the individual, but to the high office you have called me to fill. I have neither strength nor time to make any extended remarks on this occasion, and I can only repeat to you my sincere thanks for the kind reception you have thought proper to extend to me.
February 19, 1861.-ADDRESS AT POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK.
Fellow-citizens: It is altogether impossible I should make myself heard by any considerable portion of this vast assemblage; but, although I appear before you mainly for the purpose of seeing you, and to let you see rather than hear me, I cannot refrain from saying that I am highly gratified-as much here, indeed, under the circumstances, as I have been anywhere on my route-to witness this noble demonstration-made, not in honor of an individual, but of the man who at this time humbly, but earnestly, represents the majesty of the
This reception, like all the others that have been tendered to me, doubtless emanates from all the political parties, and not from one alone. As such I accept it the more gratefully, since it indicates an earnest desire on the part of the whole people, without regard to political differences, to save-not the country, because the country will save itself-but to save the institutions of the country-those institutions under which, in the last three quarters of a century, we have grown to a great, an intelligent, and a happy people-the greatest, the most intelligent, and the happiest people in the world. These noble manifestations indicate, with unerring certainty, that the whole people are willing to make common cause for this object; that if, as it ever must be, some have been successful in the recent election, and some have been beaten- -if some are satisfied, and some are dissatisfied, the defeated party are not in favor of sinking the ship, but are desirous of running it through the tempest in safety, and willing, if they think the people have committed an error in their verdict now, to wait in the hope of reversing it, and setting it right next time. I do not say that in the recent election the people did the wisest thing that could have been done; indeed, I do not think they did; but I do say that in accepting the great trust committed to me, which I do with a determination to endeavor to prove worthy of it, I must rely upon you, upon the people of the whole country, for support; and with their sustaining aid, even I, humble as I am, cannot fail to carry the ship of state safely through the storm.
I have now only to thank you warmly for your kind attendance, and bid you all an affectionate farewell.
February 19, 1861.-ADDRESS AT HUDSON, NEW YORK. Fellow-citizens: I see that you have provided a platform, but I shall have to decline standing on it. The superintendent tells me I have not time during our brief stay to leave the train. I had to decline standing on some very handsome platforms prepared for me yesterday. But I say to you, as I said to them, you must not on this account draw the inference that I have any intention to desert any platform I have a legitimate right to stand on. I do not appear before you for the purpose of making a speech. I come only to see you, and to give you the opportunity to see me; and I say to you, as I have before said to crowds where there were so many handsome ladies as there are here, I think I have decidedly the best of the bargain. I have only, therefore, to thank you most cordially for this kind reception, and bid you all farewell.
February 19, 1861.-ADDRESS AT PEEKSKILL, NEW YORK.
Ladies and Gentlemen: I have but a moment to stand before you to listen to and return your kind greeting. I thank you for this reception, and for the pleasant manner in which it is tendered to me by our mutual friends. I will say in a single sentence, in regard to the difficulties that lie before me and our beloved country, that if I can only be as generously and unanimously sustained as the demonstrations I have witnessed indicate I shall be, I shall not fail; but without your sustaining hands I am sure that neither I nor any other man can hope to surmount these difficulties. I trust that in the course I shall pursue I shall be sustained not only by the party that elected me, but by the patriotic people of the whole country.
February 19, 1861.-ADDRESS AT NEW YORK CITY.
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: I am rather an old man to avail myself of such an excuse as I am now about to do. Yet the truth is so distinct, and presses itself so distinctly upon me, that I cannot well avoid it-and that is, that I did not understand when I was brought into this room that I was to be brought here to make a speech. It was not intimated to me that I was brought into the room where Daniel Webster and Henry Clay had made speeches, and where one in my position might be expected to do something like those men or say something worthy of myself or my audience. I therefore beg you to make allowance for the circumstances in which I have been by surprise brought before you. Now I have been in the habit of thinking and sometimes speaking upon political questions that have for some years past agitated the country; and, if I were disposed to do so, and we could take up some one of the issues, as the lawyers call them, and I were called upon to make an argument about it to the best of my ability, I could do so without much preparation. But that is not what you desire to have done here to-night.
I have been occupying a position, since the presidential election, of silence of avoiding public speaking, of avoiding public writing. I have been doing so because I thought, upon full consideration, that was the proper course for me to take. I am brought before you now, and required to make a speech, when you all approve more than anything else of the fact that I have been keeping silence. And now it seems to me that the response you give to that remark ought to justify me in closing just here. I have not kept silence since the presidential election from any party wantonness, or from any indifference to the anxiety that pervades the minds of men about the aspect of the political affairs of this country. I have kept silence for the reason that I supposed it was peculiarly proper that I should do so until the time came when, according to the custom of the country, I could speak officially.
I still suppose that, while the political drama being enacted in this country, at this time, is rapidly shifting its scenes-forbidding an anticipation with any degree of certainty, to-day, of what we shall see to-morrow-it is peculiarly fitting that I should see it all, up to the last minute, before I should take ground that I might be disposed (by the shifting of the scenes afterward) also to shift. I have said several times upon this journey, and I now repeat it to you, that when the time does come, I shall then take the ground that I think is right-right for the North, for the South, for the East, for the West, for the whole country. And in doing so, I hope to feel no necessity pressing upon me to say anything in conflict with the Constitution; in conflict with the continued union of these States, in conflict with the perpetuation of the liberties of this people, or anything in conflict with anything whatever that I have ever given you reason to expect from me. And now, my friends, have I said enough? [Loud cries of "No, no!" and "Three cheers for Lincoln!"] Now, my friends, there appears to be a difference of opinion between you and me, and I really feel called upon to decide the question myself.
February 20, 1861.- REPLY TO THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY.
Mr. Mayor: It is with feelings of deep gratitude that I make my acknowledgments for the reception that has been given me in the great commercial city of New York. I cannot but remember that it is done by the people who do not, by a large majority, agree with me in political sentiment. It is the more grateful to me because in this I see that for the great principles of our government the people are pretty nearly or quite unanimous. In regard to the difficulties that confront us at this time, and of which you have seen fit to speak so becomingly and so justly, I can only say I agree with the sentiments expressed. In my devotion to the Union I hope I am behind no man in the nation. As to my wisdom in conducting affairs so as to tend to the preservation of the Union, I fear too great confidence may have been placed in me. I am sure I bring a heart devoted to the work. There is nothing that could ever bring me to consent-willingly to consent-to the destruction of this Union (in which not
only the great city of New York, but the whole country, has acquired its greatness), unless it would be that thing for which the Union itself was made. I understand that the ship is made for the carrying and preservation of the cargo; and so long as the ship is safe with the cargo, it shall not be abandoned. This Union shall never be abandoned, unless the possibility of its existence shall cease to exist without the necessity of throwing passengers and cargo overboard. So long, then, as it is possible that the prosperity and liberties of this people can be preserved within this Union, it shall be my purpose at all times to preserve it. And now, Mr. Mayor, renewing my thanks for this cordial reception, allow me to come to a close.
February 21, 1861.- ADDRESS TO THE SENATE OF NEW JERSEY.
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Senate of the State of New Jersey: I am very grateful to you for the honorable reception of which I have been the object. I cannot but remember the place that New Jersey holds in our early history. In the Revolutionary struggle few of the States among the Old Thirteen had more of the battlefields of the country within their limits than New Jersey. May I be pardoned if, upon this occasion, I mention that away back in my childhood, the earliest days of my being able to read, I got hold of a small book, such a one as few of the younger members have ever seen-Weems' "Life of Washington." I remember all the accounts there given of the battle-fields and struggles for the liberties of the country, and none fixed themselves upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at Trenton, New Jersey. The crossing of the river, the contest with the Hessians, the great hardships endured at that time, all fixed themselves on my memory more than any single Revolutionary event; and you all know, for you have all been boys, how these early impressions last longer than any others. I recollect thinking then, boy even though I was, that there must have been something more than common that these men struggled for. I am exceedingly anxious that that thing that something even more than national independence; that something that held out a great promise to all the people of the world to all time to comeI am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be a humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle. You give me this reception, as I understand, without distinction of party. I learn that this body is composed of a majority of gentlemen who, in the exercise of their best judgment in the choice of a chief magistrate, did not think I was the man. I understand, nevertheless, that they come forward here to greet me as the constitutionally elected President of the United States-as citizens of the United States to meet the man who, for the time being, is the representative of the majesty of the nation-united by the single purpose to perpetuate the Constitution, the Union, and the liberties of the people. As such, I accept