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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 anything 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
I bid you farewell."
Mr. Lincoln was met at Albany by a delegation of the city government of New York, and started on the nineteenth for the great metropolis. He was not permitted to pass by Poughkeepsie without a formal welcome from the mayor of that city, to which he made a formal response. In this little speech there is a manifest improvement upon the earlier efforts of the route. Mr. Lincoln had found that there were things to talk about besides policy, and that it was betier to yield himself up to the impulse of the moment than to be under the constant fear of saying some imprudent thing, concerning the character of the crisis and the policy of the incoming administration.
The reception at the city of New York was such as only New York can give. Places of business were generally closed, and the streets presented such crowds as only a city numbering a million of people can produce. Here he was formally received by Fernando Wood, then mayor of the city, to whose welcome he made the following response :
“Mr. Mayor:- It is with feelings of deep gratitude that I make iny acknowledgments for the reception given me in the great commercial city of New York. I cannot but remember 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 that 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 there appears no possibility of its preservation, and it must 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.”
On the twentieth, Mr. Lincoln left New York for Philadelphia, visiting on the way both Houses of the New Jersey Legislature at Trenton. From the speech made before the Senate on this occasion, a quotation has been made in this volume, and the entire passage is worthy of record:
“I cannot but remember the place that New Jersey holds in our early history. 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 tlian 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 inust have been something more than common that those men struggled for. I am exceedingly anxious that that thing which they struggled for-that *For all the particulars of this attempt upon Mr. Lincoln's life the author is indebted to an article in the Albany Evening Journal.
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 original 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.”
At Philadelphia Mr. Lincoln was received with great enthusiasm, and many demonstrations of popular regard. His formal welcome was given by the mayor of the city, but there was nothing in his response that calls for reproduction, except a single passage in which he hints at the possibility that he may never be permitted to take the presidential chair. Alluding to the popular desire to learn something definite concerning his policy, he said, “It were useless for me to speak of details of plans now; I shall speak officially next Monday week, if ever. If I should not speak then, it were useless for me to do so now."
He had been aware, ever since he left Springfield, that men were seeking for his life. An attempt was made to throw the train off the track that bore him out of Springfield; and at Cincinnati a hand grenade was found concealed upon the train. The fear excited by these hostile demonstrations was an indefinite one, but on his arrival at Philadelphia the plot was all unfolded to him.
Before Mr. Lincoln left home it was whispered about that he would never be permitted to pass through Baltimore alive; and a detective of great experience and skill was put to the task of ferreting out the conspiracy. He employed both men and women to assist him, and found that a conspiracy was indeed in existence, with an Italian refugee, a barber, at the head of it, who, assuming the name of “Orsini,” indicated the part he expected to play in the plot.*
It was arranged, in case Mr. Lincoln should reach Baltimore safely, that, on a given signal, he should be shot by those who should gather in the guise of friends around his carriage, and that hand grenades should complete the work of destruction which the pistol had commenced. In the confusion thus produced, the guilty parties proposed to escape to a vessel in waiting, which would convey them to Mobile.
The detective and Mr. Lincoln reached Philadelphia nearly at the same time, and there the former submitted to a few of the President's friends the information he had secured. An interview between Mr. Lincoln and the detective was immediately arranged, which took place in the apartments of the former at the Continental Hotel. Mr. Lincoln having heard the officer's statement in detail, then informed him that he had promised to raise the American flag on Independence Hall the following morning the morning of the anniversary of Washington's birthday—and that he had accepted an invitation to a reception by the Pennsylvania legislature in the afternoon of the same day. “Both of these engagements I will keep," said Mr. Lincoln, “if it costs me my life.” For the rest, he authorized the detective to make such arrangements as he thought proper for his safe conduct to Washington.
In the meantime, General Scott and Senator Seward, both of whom were in Washington, learned from independent sources that Mr. Lincoln's life was in danger, and concurred in sending Mr. Frederick W. Seward to Philadelphia, to urge upon him the necessity of proceeding immediately to Washington in a quiet way. The messenger arrived late on Thursday night, after Mr. Lincoln had retired, and requested an audience. Mr. Lincoln's fears had already been aroused, and he was cautious, of course, in the matter of receiving a stranger. But satisfied that the messenger was indeed the son of Mr. Seward, he gave him audience. Nothing needed to be done, but to inform him of the plan entered into with the detective by which the President was to arrive in Washington early on Saturday morning, in advance of his family and party. This information was conveyed to Mr. Washburne of Illinois, among others, on Mr. Seward's return to Washington; and he was deputed to receive Mr. Lincoln at the depot on his arrival. Such were the exciting events and disclosures of the day and night preceding Mr. Lincoln's appearance at Independence Hall, where he was formally received, and where he made the following address, one passage of which bears the burden of his apprehension:
“I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing here, in this place, where were collected the wisdom, the patriotism, the devotion to principle, from which sprang the institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested to me that in my hands is the task of restoring peace to the present distracted condition of the country. I can say in return, sir, that all the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn, so far as I have been able to draw them, from the sentiments which originated and were given to the world from this hall. I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here, and framed and adopted that Declaration of Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that independence. I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the mother-land, but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon this basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs, there need be no bloodshed or war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course; and I may say, in advance, that there will be no bloodshed unless it be forced upon the Government, and then it will be compelled to act in self-defense."
At the conclusion of this speech, Mr. Lincoln was conducted to a platform outside, where he was publicly invited to raise the new flag. In responding to this invitation, he addressed a few words to the people, and then ran the flag up to the top