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P. Chase, and signed the bill, saying as he did so: “I would rather lose my right hand than to sign a document that will tend to perpetuate the liquor traffic, and as soon as the exigencies pass away I will turn my whole attention to the repeal of that document.”

I was active in public life when that internal revenue measure was under consideration and when it became a law, and was connected with the government at Washington during the years that followed and I knew at the time, as did all my official and political associates, that for the reasons here stated Mr. Lincoln objected to the liquor tax provisions of that measure and signed the bill upon the promise that at the close of the war the law should be repealed. His attitude in this matter was a subject of common conversation at the time, and Major Merwin, who in such matters was more closely associated with President Lincoln than was any other man during all the years of the war, stated at a great convention held in Columbus, Ohio, November 10-13, 1913, that he had many conversations with the President relative to this matter and that Mr. Lincoln always spoke to him of the liquor tax as a bond to fasten the liquor traffic upon the nation, and avowed his purpose to secure the early repeal of that feature of the revenue law.

LINCOLN'S LAST UTTERANCES on the liquor question came leaping from his glad heart on the day of his assassination, and were expressive of exalted purposes and confident expectations. On the afternoon of that day Major Merwin was a dinner guest at the White House. He came by invitation of the President to receive from him instructions respecting a very important mission upon which he was that night to proceed to New York City. After he had received his orders, and as he was about to depart, he was addressed by President Lincoln, who with exuberance of spirits said: “Merwin, we have cleaned up with the help of the people a colossal job. Slavery is abolished. After reconstruction the next great question will be the overthrow and the abolition of the liquor traffic and you know, Merwin, that my head and heart and hand and purse will go into that work. In 1842—less than a quarter of a century ago—I predicted, under the influences of God's Spirit, that the time would come when there would be neither a slave nor a drunkard in the land. Thank God, I have lived to see one of those prophecies fulfilled. I hope to see the other realized.”

Major Merwin was so impressed by this remarkable statement that he said: “Mr. Lincoln, shall I publish this from you?” “Yes,” was his prompt and emphatic reply, "publish it as wide as the daylight shines.” With those words ringing in his ears and echoing through all his being, “like the music of the spheres,” Major Merwin started on his important mission for the President, and the next morning, upon his arrival at New York City, learned that the voice which uttered those words was forever hushed in death.

"Lincolnize America" was the inspiring motto of a great celebration of the rooth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. In the direction of that high level the nation is constantly advancing, and its exalted summit will be reached when the people have come to understand and realize, as Lincoln did, the sacred functions of civil government and have driven from beneath the protection of law the destructive liquor traffic and all other recognized and admitted evils as it was Lincoln's declared purpose to do.

All who truly revere the name of Abraham Lincoln will aid that forward movement of the nation. All who hinder or oppose it will by so doing be disloyal to his memory and to the high ideals for which he lived and died.

V

LINCOLN AND SLAVERY-OPPOSED TO

SLAVERY

W

HEN the story of our great antislavery conflict

shall have been written, it will make one of the

most ideal chapters in our matchless history."Hon. James M. Ashley.

No work of fiction excels in thrilling interest the history of Abraham Lincoln's relation to slavery. In it are found such contradictions blending into perfect harmony; such advance achieved by stubborn resistance of progressive influences; such painful reluctance in pursuing the pathway leading up to highest service with honor and renown, and such hairbreadth avoidance of disastrous blunders, as equal in interest the most fascinating dreams of the imagination. And no portion of history is more charming or more instructive than that which tells of the events in which Lincoln was the chief and unwilling actor in accomplishing the salvation of his country and in becoming the world's most distinguished and beloved champion of human freedom.

Seen from the viewpoint of the present time, those events are hard to understand. Slavery is gone and cannot now be seen as it appeared at that time. Conditions in all that region where slavery formerly existed have become so changed that it is impossible, by a retrospective view, to appreciate the violence of the struggle by which it was destroyed. All this, however, is better understood and realized by those who were active participants in the events of those memorable years, and others who were not may perhaps be able to imagination to stand in the midst of the earlier scenes of that period, and thereby be able to discern something of the significance of the events connected with Lincoln's relation to slavery as they then appeared.

THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTER OF SLAVERY

which must be considered if one would have a correct understanding of Lincoln's relation to that institution is nowhere depicted with more impressive force than in the official correspondence between the United States and Mexico in the negotiations for the transfer to the United States by Mexico of Texas and other Mexican territory. At that time, as at present, Mexico was regarded as far beneath the United States in point of civilization, enlightenment and moral standing. And yet, when at the close of the war with Mexico, that nation was forced to surrender to the United States a large portion of her territory, the Mexican commissioner requested that in the treaty of cession there be a section providing that slavery should never be permitted in any portion of that territory. In making this request the commissioner of that semi-civilized nation said: "If it were proposed to the people of the United States to part with a portion of their territory in order that the Inquisition should be established there, it would excite no stronger feelings of abhorrence than those awakened in Mexico by the prospect of the introduction of human slavery in any territory parted with

by her.”1

By no great statesman or orator, or by any brilliant writer of history or fiction, has the heinous character of slavery been more faithfully portrayed than in this request and protest from Mexico. And the brand of barbarism thus stamped upon slavery was in accord with the mature judgment of all enlightened people who had no financial or other interest in that institution. Even the decision of the Supreme Court of Great Britain in the Somerset case in declaring that slavery was

1 Letter of Sept. 4th, 1847, to James Buchanan, Secretary of State, from Mr. Trist, U. S. Minister to Mexico.

so inherently evil that it could not rightfully receive the protection of civil government, coming as it did from a highly civilized nation, was not as severe a characterization of slavery as was that piteous plea of semi-barbarous Mexico that the territory ceded by her to the United States should be forever safeguarded against that institution.

But at the time this plea was made slavery, although thus branded as barbarous, was in such complete control of the United States, and ruled with such rigor, that in giving to Secretary Buchanan the foregoing information, U. S. Minister Trist said he answered the Mexican commissioner as follows: "The bare mention of such a treaty is impossible. No American President would dare present such a treaty to the Senate. I assured him that if it were in their power to offer me the whole territory described in our project, increased tenfold in value, and in addition covered a foot thick with pure gold, on the single condition that slavery should be excluded therefrom, I could not entertain the offer for a moment, nor even think of communicating it to Washington.”

To the present generation this reads like extravagant fiction. It is difficult to realize that there ever was a time when the United States clung with such tenacity as is shown by this correspondence to an institution so objectionable upon humanitarian grounds to a people like the Mexicans of that period. But the foregoing quotations from official records made little impression upon the public mind, and were soon forgotten. This humiliating record, however, must be charged to the degrading influence of slavery and not to any natural depravity of the people who were identified with that institution. No higher qualities of mind and heart were ever possessed by any people than those which by an honorable ancestry were transmitted to the inhabitants of the slaveholding portions of the United States. The crossing of ancestral lines, the merging of distinctive and divergent characteristics, the mingling of the blood of patrician and puritan, the cultivation of the spirit of chivalry and the development

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