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Speech at Albany.
Addresses the Legislature.
If the election had fallen to any of the more distinguished citizens, who received the support of the people, this same honor should have greeted him that greets me this day, in testimony of the unanimous devotion of the whole people to the Constitution, the Union, and to the perpetual liberties of succeeding generations in this country. I have neither the voice nor the strength to address you at any greater length. I beg you will, therefore, accept my most grateful thanks for this manifest devotion--not to me but to the institutions of this great and glorious country.”
He was then conducted to the Legislative halls, where, in reply to an address of welcome, he again adverted to the troubles of the country in the following terms:
· MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK :- It is with feelings of great diffidence, and, I may say, feelings even 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 its great men, who have stood in this chamber, and have spoken their thoughts, all crowd around my fancy, and incline me to shrink from an attempt to address you. Yet I have some confidence given me by the generous manner in which you have invited me, and the still more generous manner in which you have received me. You have invited me and received me without distinction of party. I could not for a moment suppose that this has been done in any considerable degree with any reference to my personal self. It is very much more grateful to me that this reception and the invitation preceding it were given to me as the representative of a free people, than it could possibly have been were they but the evidence of devotion to me or to any one man. It is true that, while I hold myself, without mock-modesty, the humblest of all the individuals who have ever been elected President of the United States, I yet have a more difficult task to perform than any one of them has ever encountered. You have here generously tendered
New York Legislature.
Deputation from N. Y. City.
Speech at Poughkeepsie.
me the support, the united support, of the great Empire State. For this, in behalf of the nation-in behalf of the President and of the future of the nation in behalf of the cause of civil liberty in all time to come-I most gratefully thank you. I do not propose now to enter upon any expressions as to the particular line of policy to be adopted with reference to the difficulties that stand before us in the opening of the incoming administration. I deem that it is just to the country, to myself, to you, that I should see every thing, hear every thing, and have every light that can possibly be brought within my reach to aid me before I shall speak officially, in order that, when I do speak, I may have the best possible means of taking correct and true grounds. For this reason, I do not now announce any thing in the way of policy for the new Administration. When the time comes, according to the custom of the Government, I shall speak, and speak as well as I am able for the good of the present and of the future of this country--for the good of the North and of the South--for the good of one and of the other, and of all sections of it. In the meantime, if we have patience, if we maintain our equanimity, though some may allow themselves to run off in a burst of passion, I still have confidence that the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, through the instrumentality of this great and intelligent people, can and will bring us through this difficulty, as he has heretofore brought us through all preceding difficulties of the country. Relying upon this, and again thanking you, as I forever shall, in my heart, for this generous reception you have given me, I bid you farewell.”
At Albany, he was met by a delegation from the city authorities of New York, and on the 19th started for that city. At Poughkeepsie, he was welcomed by the Mayor of the city. Mr. Lincoln, in reply, said :
"I am grateful for this cordial welcome, and I am gratified that this immense multitude has come together, not to meet
Speech at Poughkeepsie.
Speech in New York.
the individual man, but the man who, for the time being, will humbly but earnestly represent the majesty of the nation. These receptions have been given me at other places, and, as here, by men of different parties, and not by one party alone. It shows an earnest effort on the part of all to save, not the country, for the country can save itself, but to save the institutions of the country-those institutious under which, for at least three-quarters of a century, we have become the greatest, the most intelligent, and the happiest people in the world. These manifestations show that we all make common cause for these objects; that if some of us are successful in an election, and others are beaten, those who are beaten are not in favor of sinking the ship in consequence of defeat, but are earnest in their purpose to sail it safely through the voyage in hand, and, in so far as they may think there has been any mistake in the election, satisfying themselves to take their chance of setting the matter right the next time. That course is entirely right. I am not sure I do not pretend to be sure that in the election of the individual who has been elected this term, the wisest choice has been made. I fear it has not. In the purposes and in the principles that have been sustained, I have been the instrument selected to carry forward the affairs of this Government. I can rely upon you, and upon the people of the country; and with their sustaining hand, I think that even I shall not fail in carrying the Ship of State through the storm."
The reception of President Lincoln in New York City was a most imposing demonstration. Places of business were generally closed, and hundreds of thousands were in the streets. On the next day, he was welcomed to the city by Mayor Wood, and replied as follows:
" MR. MAYOR : It is with feelings of deep gratitude that I make my acknowledgments for the reception given me in the great commercial city of New York. I cannot but remember
Speech in New York.
The Ship of State,
Speech at Trenton.
that this is done by a people who do not, by a majority, agree with me in political sentiment. It is the more grateful, because in this I see that, for the great principles of our Government, the people are almost unanimous. In regard to the difficulties that confront us at this time, and of which your Honor has thought fit to speak so becomingly and so justly, as I suppose, I can only say that I agree in the sentiments expressed. In my devotion to the Union, I hope I am behind no man in the nation. In the wisdom with which to conduct the affairs tending to the preservation of the Union, I fear that too great confidence may have been reposed in me; but I am sure I bring a heart devoted to the work. There is nothing that could ever bring me to willingly consent to the destruction of this Union, under which not only the great commercial city of New York, but the whole country, acquired its greatness, except it be the purpose for which the Union itself was formed. I understand the ship to be made for the carrying and the preservation of the cargo, and so long as the ship can be saved with the cargo, it should never be abandoned, unless it fails the possibility of its preservation, and shall cease to exist, except at the risk of throwing overboard both freight and passengers. So long, then, as it is possible that the prosperity and the liberties of the people be preserved in this Union, it shall be my purpose at all times to use all my powers to aid in its perpetuation. Again thanking you for the reception given me, allow me to come to a close.'
On the next day he left for Philadelphia. At Trenton he remained a few hours, and visited both Houses of the Legislature. On being received in the Senate, be thus addressed that body :
"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 his
Speech at Trenton.
The Revolutionary Struggle.
tory In the early Revolutionary struggle, few of the States among the old Thirteen had more of the battle-fields of the country within its limits than old 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 those men struggled for. I am exceedingly anxious that that thing which they struggled for 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 come-I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people, shall be perpetuated in accordance with the originał idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed, if I shall be an 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 came forward here to greet me as the Constitutional President of the United States—as citizens of the United States, to meet