« PreviousContinue »
and glorious future; and when this generation has passed away, tens of thousands will inhabit this country where only thousands inhabit it now. I do not propose to address you at length; I have no voice for it. Allow me again to thank you for this magnificent reception, and bid you farewell.
Mr. LINCOLN remained at Buffalo over Sunday, the 17th, and on the morning of the 18th left for Albany. On reaching Rochester he was introduced by the Mayor to a crowd of several thousands, to whom he said:
I confess myself, after having seen many large audiences since leaving home, overwhelmed with this vast number of faces at this hour of the morning. I am not vain enough to believe that you are here from any wish to see me as an individual, but because I am for the time being the representative of the American people. I could not, if I would, address you at any length. I have not the strength, even if I had the time, for a speech at each of these many interviews that are afforded me on my way to Washington. I appear merely to see you, and to let you see me, and to bid you farewell. I hope it will be understood that it is from no disinclination to oblige anybody that I do not address you at greater length.”
At Syracuse, where preparations had been made to give him a formal reception, he made the following remarks in # reply to an address of welcome from the Mayor:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I see you have erected a very fine and handsome platform here for me, and I presume you expected me to speak from it. If I should go upon it, you would imagine that I was about to deliver you a much longer speech than I am. I wish you to understand that I mean no discourtesy to you by thus declining. I intend discourtesy to no one. But I wish you to understand that, though I am unwilling to go upon this platform, you are not at liberty to draw any inferences concerning any other platform with which' my name has been or is connected. [Laughter and applause.] I wish you long life and prosperity individually, and pray that with the perpetuity of those institutions under which we have all so long lived and prospered, our happiness may be secured, our future made brilliant, and the glorious destiny of our country established forever. I bid you a kind farewell.
At Utica, where an immense and most enthusiastic assemblage of people from the surrounding country had gathered to see him, Mr. LINCOLN contented himself by saying:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I have no speech to make to you, and no time to speak in. I appear before you that I may see you, and that you may see me; and I am willing to admit, that so far as the ladies are concerned, I have the best of the bargain, though I wish it to be understood that I do not make the same acknowledgment concerning the men. [Laughter and applause.]
The train reached Albany at half.past two in the afternoon, where Mr. LINCOLN was formally received by the Mayor in a complimentary address, to which he thus replied:
MR. MAYOR: I can hardly appropriate to myself the flattering terms in which you communicate the tender of this reception, as personal to myself. I most gratefully accept the hospitalities tendered to me, and will not detain you or the audience with any extended remarks at this time. I presume that in the two or three courses through which I shall have to go, I shall have to repeat somewhat, and I will therefore only repeat to you my thanks for this kind reception.
A procession was then formed, which escorted Mr. LINCOLN to the steps of the Capitol, where he was welcomed by the Governor, in presence of an immense mass of the people, whom he addressed as follows:
MR. GOVERNOR: I was pleased to receive an invitation to visit the capital of the great Empire State of the nation, on my way to the Federal Capital, and I now thank you, Mr. Governor, and the people of this capital, and the people of the State of New York, for this most hearty and magnificent welcome. If I am not at fault, the great Empire State at this time contains a greater population than did the United States of America at the time she achieved her national independence. I am proud to be invited to pass through your capital and meet them, as I now have the honor to do.
I am notified by your Governor that this reception is given without distinction of party. I accept it the more gladly because it is so. Almost all men in this country, and in any country where freedom of thought is tolerated, attach themselves to political parties. It is but ordinary charity to attribute this to the fact that in so attaching himself to the party which his judgment prefers, the citizen believes he thereby promotes the best interests of the whole country; and when an election is passed, it is altogether befitting a free people that, until the next election, they should be as one people. The reception you have extended to me to-day is not given to me personally. It should not be so, but as the representative for the time being of the majority of the nation. If the election had resulted in the selection of either of the other candidates, the same cordiality should have been extended to him as is extended to me this day, in testimony of the devotion of the whole people to the Constitution and the whole Union, and of their desire to perpetuate our institutions, and to hand them down in their perfection to succeeding generations.
I have neither the voice nor the strength to address you at any greater length. I beg you will accept my most grateful thanks for this devotion—not to me, but to this great and glorious free country.
Mr. Lincoln was then escoited to the Hall of Assembly, and was formally received on behalf of the members of the Legislature, to whom he made the following address :
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE LEGISLATURE 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 spoke 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 representative of a free people, than it could possibly be if tendered 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 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, and to all, that I should see every thing, that I should hear every thing, 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 grounds; and for this reason I don't 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 the South of this country--for the good of the one and the other, and of all sections of the country. [Rounds of applause.] 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.” [Applause and cheers.]
On the morning of the 19th Mr. LINCOLN went to Troy, and, in reply to the welcome of the Mayor, said:
“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, and I can only repeat to you my sincere thanks for the kind reception you have thought proper to extend to me."
On the route to New York, by the Hudson River Railroad, very large crowds of people had assembled at the various stations, to welcome him. At Hudson he spoke as follows:
FELLOW-CITIZENS: I see that you have provided a platform, but I shall have to decline standing on it. (Laughter and applause.) 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. Bu 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 are 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.
At Poughkeepsie, where great preparations had been made for his reception, he responded thus to an address from the Mayor:
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 man who at this time humbly, but earnestly, represents the majesty of the nation. This reception, like all 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 be 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 tem