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Speech of Mr. Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson-whom an opposition journal, with rarest refinement and graceful courtesy, concentrating all its malignity into the intensest sentence possible, had characterized as “a rail-splitting buffoon and a boorish tailor, both from the backwoods, both growing up in uncouth ignorance"-these men of the people carried every loyal State, except Kentucky, New Jersey, and Delaware, the vote of soldiers in service having been almost universally given to them.
Of the four million, thirty-four thousand, seven hundred and eighty-nine votes cast, Mr. Lincoln received, according to official returns, two million, two hundred and twentythree thousand, and thirty-five; a majority on the aggregate popular vote, of four hundred and eleven thousand, two hundred and eighty-one.
The President elect by a plurality in 1860, he was reělected in 1864 by a majority decisive and unmistakable.
Having been serenaded early in the morning following his reëlection, by Pennsylvanians then in Washington, he thus gave utterance to his feelings :
I do not pre
“FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS :--Even before I had been informed by you that this compliment was paid me by loyal citizens of Pennsylvania friendly to me, I had inferred that you were of that portion of my countrymen who think that the best interests of the nation are to be subserved by the support of the present administration. tend to say that you, who think so, embrace all the patriotism and loyalty of the country; but I do believe, and I trust without personal interest, that the welfare of the country does require that such support and indorsement be given. I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day's work, if it be as you assume, and as now seems probable, will be to the lasting advantage if not to the very salvation of the country. I cannot, at this hour, say what has been the
Speech to Pennsylvanians.
Speech at a Serenade.
result of the election, but whatever it may be, I have no desire to modify this opinion : that all who have labored today in behalf of the Union organization, have wrought for the best interest of their country and the world, not only for the present, but for all future ages. I am thankful to God for this approval of the people; but while deeply grateful for this mark of their confidence in me, if I know my heart, my gratitude is free from any taint of personal triumph. I do not impugn the motives of any one opposed to me. It is no pleasure to me to triumph over any one, but I give thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the people's resolution to stand by free government and the rights of humanity.”
When the result was definitely known, at a serenade given in his honor on the night of November 10th, by the various Lincoln and Johnson Clubs of the District, he said :
“It has long been a grave question whether any Government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its existence in great emergencies. On this point the present rebellion brought our Government to a severe test, and a Presidential election occurring in a regular course during the rebellion, added not a little to the strain.
“If the loyal people united were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fail when divided and partially paralyzed by a political war among themselves ? But the election was a necessity-we can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it must fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human nature practically applied to the l'acts of the case.
What has occurred in this case must ever recur in similar cases. Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and
Speech at a Serenade.
Gold good, but Men better.
His Faith in the Country.
as wise, as bad and as good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.
“But the election, along with its incidental and undesirable strife, has done good too. It has demonstrated that a people's government can sustain a national election in the midst of a great civil war. Until now it has not been known to the world that this was a possibility. It shows also how sound and how strong we still are.
It shows that, even among the candidates of the same party, he who is most devoted to the Union, and most opposed to treason, can receive most of the people's votes. It shows also, to the extent yet known, that we have more men now than we had when the war began. Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, and patriotic men are better than gold.
But the rebellion continues; and now that the election is over, may not all having a common interest reunite in a common effort to save our common country ? For my own part, I have striven and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man's bosom. While I am duly sensible to the high compliment of a reëlection, and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed by the result.
“May I ask those who have not differed with me to join with me in this same spirit toward those who have ? And now let me close by asking three hearty cheers for our brave soldiers and seamen and their gallant and skilful commanders."
As indicative of Mr. Lincoln's warmth and tenderness of heart the following letter will be read with interest. It was addressed to a poor widow, in Boston, whose sixth son, then
Letter to a Widow.
Five Sons for her Country.
Last Annual Message.
recently wounded, was lying in a hospital, and bears date November 21st, 1864.
“ DEAR MADAM:--I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine, which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming; but I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. "Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
“A BRAHAM LINCOLN."
The Thirty-eighth Congress commenced its second session on the 5th of December, 1864. On the following day Mr. Lincoln transmitted what was to be his last annual message:
'FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES :- Again the blessings of health and abundant barvests claim our profoundest gratitude to Almighty God.
"The condition of our foreign affairs is reasonably satisfactory. Mexico continues to be a theatre of civil war.
While our political relations with that country have undergone no change, we have at the same time strictly maintained neutrality between the belligerents.
"At the request of the States of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, a competent engineer has been authorized to make a survey of the river San Juan and the port of San Juan.
It is a source of much satisfaction that the difficulties, which for a
Last Annual Message.
moment excited some political apprehension, and caused a closing of the inter-oceanic transit route, have been amicably adjusted, and that there is a good prospect that the route will soon be re-opened with an increase of capacity and adaptation.
“ We could not exaggerate either the commercial or the political importance of that great improvement. It would be doing injustice to an important South American State not to acknowledge the directness, frankness, and cordiality with which the United States of Columbia has entered into intimate relation with this Government. A Claim Convention has been constituted to complete the unfinished work of the one which closed its session in 1861.
“ The new liberal Constitution of Venezuela having gone into effect with the universal acquiescence of the people, the Government under it has been recognized, and diplomatic intercourse with it has been opened in a cordial and friendly spirit.
“The long-deferred Avis Island claim has been satisfactorily paid and discharged. Mutual payments have been made of the claims awarded by the late Joint Commission for the settlement of claims between the United States and Peru. An earnest and candid friendship continues to exist between the two countries; and such efforts as were in my power have been used to prevent misunderstanding, and avert a threatened war between Peru and Spain.
“Our relations are of the most friendly nature with Chili, the Argentine Republic, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, San Salvador, and Hayti. During the past year, no differences of any kind have arisen with any of these Republics. And, on the other hand, their sympathies with the United States are constantly expressed with cordiality and earnestness.
“ The claims arising from the seizure of the cargo of the brig Macedonian, in 1821, have been paid in full by the Government of Chili.