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Title: Abraham Lincoln
Author: Putnam, George Haven, 1844-1930
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Abraham Lincoln" ***


The People's Leader in the Struggle for National Existence



Author of
"Books and Their Makers in the Middle Ages,"
"The Censorship of the Church," etc.

With the above is included the speech delivered by Lincoln in New York,
February 27, 1860; with an introduction by Charles C. Nott, late Chief
Justice of the Court of Claims, and annotations by Judge Nott and by
Cephas Brainerd of New York Bar.



The twelfth of February, 1909, was the hundredth anniversary of the
birth of Abraham Lincoln. In New York, as in other cities and towns
throughout the Union, the day was devoted to commemoration exercises,
and even in the South, in centres like Atlanta (the capture of which in
1864 had indicated the collapse of the cause of the Confederacy),
representative Southerners gave their testimony to the life and
character of the great American.

The Committee in charge of the commemoration in New York arranged for a
series of addresses to be given to the people of the city and it was my
privilege to be selected as one of the speakers. It was an indication of
the rapid passing away of the generation which had had to do with the
events of the War, that the list of orators, forty-six in all, included
only four men who had ever seen the hero whose life and character they
were describing.

In writing out later, primarily for the information of children and
grandchildren, my own address (which had been delivered without notes),
I found myself so far absorbed in the interest of the subject and in the
recollections of the War period, that I was impelled to expand the paper
so that it should present a more comprehensive study of the career and
character of Lincoln than it had been possible to attempt within the
compass of an hour's talk, and should include also references, in
outline, to the constitutional struggle that had preceded the contest
and to the chief events of the War itself with which the great War
President had been most directly concerned. The monograph, therefore,
while in the form of an essay or historical sketch, retains in certain
portions the character of the spoken address with which it originated.

It is now brought into print in the hope that it may be found of
interest for certain readers of the younger generation and may serve as
an incentive to the reading of the fuller histories of the War period,
and particularly of the best of the biographies of the great American
whom we honour as the People's leader.

I have been fortunate enough to secure (only, however, after this
monograph had been put into type) a copy of the pamphlet printed in
September, 1860, by the Young Men's Republican Union of New York, in
which is presented the text, as revised by the speaker, of the address
given by Lincoln at the Cooper Institute in February,--the address which
made him President.

This edition of the speech, prepared for use in the Presidential
campaign, contains a series of historical annotations by Cephas Brainerd
of the New York Bar and Charles C. Nott, who later rendered further
distinguished service to his country as Colonel of the 176th Regiment,
N.Y.S. Volunteers, and (after the close of the War) as chief justice of
the Court of Claims.

These young lawyers (not yet leaders of the Bar) appear to have realised
at once that the speech was to constitute the platform upon which the
issues of the Presidential election were to be contested. Not being
prophets, they were, of course, not in a position to know that the same
statements were to represent the contentions of the North upon which the
Civil War was fought out.

I am able to include, with the scholarly notes of the two lawyers, a
valuable introduction to the speech, written (as late as February, 1908)
by Judge Nott; together with certain letters which in February, 1860,
passed between him (as the representative of the Committee) and Mr.

The introduction and the letters have never before been published, and
(as is the case also with the material of the notes) are now in print
only in the present volume.

I judge, therefore, that I may be doing a service to the survivors of
the generation of 1860 and also to the generations that have grown up
since the War, by utilising the occasion of the publication of my own
little monograph for the reprinting of these notes in a form for
permanent preservation and for reference on the part of students of the
history of the Republic.


NEW YORK, April 2, 1909.
























On the twelfth of February, 1909, the hundredth anniversary of the birth
of Abraham Lincoln, Americans gathered together, throughout the entire
country, to honour the memory of a great American, one who may come to
be accepted as the greatest of Americans. It was in every way fitting
that this honour should be rendered to Abraham Lincoln and that, on such
commemoration day, his fellow-citizens should not fail to bear also in
honoured memory the thousands of other good Americans who like Lincoln
gave their lives for their country and without whose loyal devotion
Lincoln's leadership would have been in vain.

The chief purpose, however, as I understand, of a memorial service is
not so much to glorify the dead as to enlighten and inspire the living.
We borrow the thought of his own Gettysburg address (so eloquent in its
exquisite simplicity) when we say that no words of ours can add any
glory to the name of Abraham Lincoln. His work is accomplished. His fame
is secure. It is for us, his fellow-citizens, for the older men who had
personal touch with the great struggle in which Lincoln was the nation's
leader, for the younger men who have grown up in the generation since
the War, and for the children by whom are to be handed down through the
new century the great traditions of the Republic, to secure from the
life and character of our great leader incentive, illumination, and
inspiration to good citizenship, in order that Lincoln and his
fellow-martyrs shall not have died in vain.

It is possible within the limits of this paper simply to touch upon the
chief events and experiences in Lincoln's life. It has been my endeavour
to select those that were the most important in the forming or in the
expression of his character. The term "forming" is, however, not
adequate to indicate the development of a personality like Lincoln's. We
rather think of his sturdy character as having been _forged_ into its
final form through the fiery furnace of fierce struggle, as hammered
out under the blows of difficulties and disasters, and as pressed
beneath the weight of the nation's burdens, until was at last produced
the finely tempered nature of the man we know, the Lincoln of history,
that exquisite combination of sweetness of nature and strength of
character. The type is described in Schiller's Song of the Founding of
the Bell:

    Denn, wo das strenge mit dem zarten,
    Wo mildes sich und starkes paarten,
    Da giebt es einen guten Klang.

There is a tendency to apply the term "miraculous" to the career of
every hero, and in a sense such description is, of course, true. The
life of every man, however restricted its range, is something of a
miracle; but the course of a single life, like that of humanity, is
assuredly based on a development that proceeds from a series of
causations. Holmes says that the education of a man begins two centuries
before his birth. We may recall in this connection that Lincoln came of
good stock. It is true that his parents belonged to the class of poor
whites; but the Lincoln family can be traced from an eastern county of
England (we might hope for the purpose of genealogical harmony that the
county was Lincolnshire) to Hingham in Massachusetts, and by way of
Pennsylvania and Virginia to Kentucky. The grandfather of our Abraham
was killed, while working in his field on the Kentucky farm, by
predatory Indians shooting from the cover of the dense forest. Abraham's
father, Thomas, at that time a boy, was working in the field where his
father was murdered. Such an incident in Kentucky simply repeated what
had been going on just a century before in Massachusetts, at Deerfield
and at dozens of other settlements on the edge of the great forest which
was the home of the Indians. During the hundred years, the frontier of
the white man's domain had been moved a thousand miles to the south-west
and, as ever, there was still friction at the point of contact.

The record of the boyhood of our Lincoln has been told in dozens of
forms and in hundreds of monographs. We know of the simplicity, of the
penury, of the family life in the little one-roomed log hut that formed
the home for the first ten years of Abraham's life. We know of his
little group of books collected with toil and self-sacrifice. The
series, after some years of strenuous labour, comprised the Bible,
_Aesop's Fables_, a tattered copy of Euclid's _Geometry_, and Weems's
_Life of Washington_. The _Euclid_ he had secured as a great prize from
the son of a neighbouring farmer. Abraham had asked the boy the meaning
of the word "demonstrate." His friend said that he did not himself know,
but that he knew the word was in a book which he had at school, and he
hunted up the _Euclid_. After some bargaining, the _Euclid_ came into
Abraham's possession. In accordance with his practice, the whole
contents were learned by heart. Abraham's later opponents at the Bar or
in political discussion came to realise that he understood the meaning
of the word "demonstrate." In fact, references to specific problems of
Euclid occurred in some of his earlier speeches at the Bar.

A year or more later, when the Lincoln family had crossed the river to
Indiana, there was added to the "library" a copy of the revised Statutes
of the State. The Weems's _Washington_ had been borrowed by Lincoln from
a neighbouring farmer. The boy kept it at night under his pillow, and on
the occasion of a storm, the water blew in through the chinks of the
logs that formed the wall of the cabin, drenching the pillow and the
head of the boy (a small matter in itself) and wetting and almost
spoiling the book. This was a grave misfortune. Lincoln took his
damaged volume to the owner and asked how he could make payment for the
loss. It was arranged that the boy should put in three days' work
shucking corn on the farm. "Will that work pay for the book or only for
the damage?" asked the boy. It was agreed that the labour of three days
should be considered sufficient for the purchase of the book.

The text of this biography and the words of each valued volume in the
little "library" were absorbed into the memory of the reader. It was his
practice when going into the field for work, to take with him
written-out paragraphs from the book that he had at the moment in mind
and to repeat these paragraphs between the various chores or between the
wood-chopping until every page was committed by heart. Paper was scarce
and dear and for the boy unattainable. He used for his copying bits of
board shaved smooth with his jack-knife. This material had the advantage
that when the task of one day had been mastered, a little labour with
the jack-knife prepared the surface of the board for the work of the
next day. As I read this incident in Lincoln's boyhood, I was reminded
of an experience of my own in Louisiana. It happened frequently during
the campaign of 1863 that our supplies were cut off through the capture
of our waggon trains by that active Confederate commander, General
Taylor. More than once, we were short of provisions, and, in one
instance, a supply of stationery for which the adjutants of the brigade
had been waiting, was carried off to serve the needs of our opponents.
We tore down a convenient and unnecessary shed and utilised from the
roof the shingles, the clean portions of which made an admirable
substitute for paper. For some days, the morning reports of the brigade
were filed on shingles.

Lincoln's work as a farm-hand was varied by two trips down the river to
New Orleans. The opportunity had been offered to the young man by the
neighbouring store-keeper, Gentry, to take part in the trip of a
flat-boat which carried the produce of the county to New Orleans, to be
there sold in exchange for sugar or rum. Lincoln was, at the time of
these trips, already familiar with certain of the aspects and conditions
of slavery, but the inspection of the slave-market in New Orleans
stamped upon his sensitive imagination a fresh and more sombre picture,
and made a lasting impression of the iniquity and horror of the
institution. From the time of his early manhood, Lincoln hated slavery.
What was exceptional, however, in his state of mind was that, while
abominating the institution, he was able to give a sympathetic
understanding to the opinions and to the prejudices of the slave-owners.
In all his long fight against slavery as the curse both of the white and
of the black, and as the great obstacle to the natural and wholesome
development of the nation, we do not at any time find a trace of
bitterness against the men of the South who were endeavouring to
maintain and to extend the system.

It was of essential importance for the development of Lincoln as a
political leader, first for his State, and later in the contest that
became national, that he should have possessed an understanding, which
was denied to many of the anti-slavery leaders, of the actual nature,
character, and purpose of the men against whom he was contending. It
became of larger importance when Lincoln was directing from Washington
the policy of the national administration that he should have a
sympathetic knowledge of the problems of the men of the Border States
who with the outbreak of the War had been placed in a position of
exceptional difficulty, and that he should have secured and retained the
confidence of these men. It seems probable that if the War President
had been a man of Northern birth and Northern prejudices, if he had been
one to whom the wider, the more patient and sympathetic view of these
problems had been impossible or difficult, the Border States could not
have been saved to the Union. It is probable that the support given to
the cause of the North by the sixty thousand or seventy thousand loyal
recruits from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, and Virginia, may
even have proved the deciding factor in turning the tide of events. The
nation's leader for the struggle seems to have been secured through a
process of natural selection as had been the case a century earlier with
Washington. We may recall that Washington died but ten years before
Lincoln was born; and from the fact that each leader was at hand when
the demand came for his service, and when without such service the
nation might have been pressed to destruction, we may grasp the hope
that in time of need the nation will always be provided with the leader
who can meet the requirement.

After Lincoln returned from New Orleans, he secured employment for a
time in the grocery or general store of Gentry, and when he was
twenty-two years of age, he went into business with a partner, some
twenty years older than himself, in carrying on such a store. He had so
impressed himself upon the confidence of his neighbours that, while he
was absolutely without resources, there was no difficulty in his
borrowing the money required for his share of the capital. The
undertaking did not prove a success. Lincoln had no business experience
and no particular business capacity, while his partner proved to be
untrustworthy. The partner decamped, leaving Lincoln to close up the
business and to take the responsibility for the joint indebtedness. It
was seventeen years before Lincoln was able, from his modest earnings as
a lawyer, to clear off this indebtedness. The debt became outlawed in
six years' time but this could not affect Lincoln's sense of the
obligation. After the failure of the business, Lincoln secured work as
county surveyor. In this, he was following the example of his
predecessor Washington, with whose career as a surveyor the youngster
who knew Weems's biography by heart, was of course familiar. His new
occupation took him through the county and brought him into personal
relations with a much wider circle than he had known in the village of
New Salem, and in his case, the personal relation counted for much; the
history shows that no one who knew Lincoln failed to be attracted by
him or to be impressed with the fullest confidence in the man's
integrity of purpose and of action.



In 1834, when he was twenty-five years old, Lincoln made his first
entrance into politics, presenting himself as candidate for the
Assembly. His defeat was not without compensations; he secured in his
own village or township, New Salem, no less than 208 out of the 211
votes cast. This prophet had honour with those who knew him. Two years
later, he tried again and this time with success. His journeys as a
surveyor had brought him into touch with, and into the confidence of,
enough voters throughout the county to secure the needed majority.

Lincoln's active work as a lawyer lasted from 1834 to 1860, or for about
twenty-six years. He secured in the cases undertaken by him a very large
proportion of successful decisions. Such a result is not entirely to be
credited to his effectiveness as an advocate. The first reason was that
in his individual work, that is to say, in the matters that were taken
up by himself rather than by his partner, he accepted no case in the
justice of which he did not himself have full confidence. As his fame as
an advocate increased, he was approached by an increasing number of
clients who wanted the advantage of the effective service of the young
lawyer and also of his assured reputation for honesty of statement and
of management. Unless, however, he believed in the case, he put such
suggestions to one side even at the time when the income was meagre and
when every dollar was of importance.

Lincoln's record at the Bar has been somewhat obscured by the value of
his public service, but as it comes to be studied, it is shown to have
been both distinctive and important. His law-books were, like those of
his original library, few, but whatever volumes he had of his own and
whatever he was able to place his hands upon from the shelves of his
friends, he mastered thoroughly. His work at the Bar gave evidence of
his exceptional powers of reasoning while it was itself also a large
influence in the development of such powers. The counsel who practised
with and against him, the judges before whom his arguments were
presented, and the members of the juries, the hard-headed working
citizens of the State, seem to have all been equally impressed with the
exceptional fairness with which the young lawyer presented not only his
own case but that of his opponent. He had great tact in holding his
friends, in convincing those who did not agree with him, and in winning
over opponents; but he gave no futile effort to tasks which his judgment
convinced him would prove impossible. He never, says Horace Porter,
citing Lincoln's words, "wasted any time in trying to massage the back
of a political porcupine." "A man might as well," says Lincoln,
"undertake to throw fleas across the barnyard with a shovel."

He had as a youngster won repute as a teller of dramatic stories, and
those who listened to his arguments in court were expecting to have his
words to the jury brightened and rendered for the moment more effective
by such stories. The hearers were often disappointed in such
expectation. Neither at the Bar, nor, it may be said here, in his later
work as a political leader, did Lincoln indulge himself in the telling a
story for the sake of the story, nor for the sake of the laugh to be
raised by the story, nor for the momentary pleasure or possible
temporary advantage of the discomfiture of the opponent. The story was
used, whether in law or in politics, only when it happened to be the
shortest and most effective method of making clear an issue or of
illustrating a statement. In later years, when he had upon him the
terrible burdens of the great struggle, Lincoln used stories from time
to time as a vent to his feelings. The impression given was that by an
effort of will and in order to keep his mind from dwelling too
continuously upon the tremendous problems upon which he was engaged, he
would, by the use of some humorous reminiscence, set his thoughts in a
direction as different as possible from that of his cares. A third and
very valuable use of the story which grew up in his Washington days was
to turn aside some persistent but impossible application; and to give to
the applicant, with the least risk of unnecessary annoyance to his
feelings, the "no" that was necessary. It is doubtless also the case
that, as has happened to other men gifted with humour, Lincoln's
reputation as a story-teller caused to be ascribed to him a great series
of anecdotes and incidents of one kind or another, some of which would
have been entirely outside of, and inconsistent with, his own standard
and his own method. There is the further and final word to be said about
Lincoln's stories, that they were entitled to the geometrical
commendation of "being neither too long nor too broad."

In 1846, Lincoln was elected to Congress as a Whig. The circle of
acquaintances whom he had made in the county as surveyor had widened out
with his work as a lawyer; he secured a unanimous nomination and was
elected without difficulty in a constituency comprising six counties. I
find in the record of the campaign the detail that Lincoln returned to
certain of his friends who had undertaken to find the funds for election
expenses, $199.90 out of the $200 subscribed.

In 1847, Lincoln was one of the group of Whigs in Congress who opposed
the Mexican War. These men took the ground that the war was one of
aggression and spoliation. Their views, which were quite prevalent
throughout New England, are effectively presented in Lowell's _Biglow
Papers._ When the army was once in the field, Lincoln was, however,
ready to give his Congressional vote for the fullest and most energetic
support. A year or more later, he worked actively for the election of
General Taylor. He took the ground that the responsibility for the war
rested not with the soldiers who had fought it to a successful
conclusion, but with the politicians who had devised the original
land-grabbing scheme.

In 1849, we find Lincoln's name connected with an invention for lifting
vessels over shoals. His sojourn on the Sangamon River and his memory of
the attempt, successful for the moment but ending in failure, to make
the river available for steamboats, had attracted his attention to the
problem of steering river vessels over shoals.

In 1864, when I was campaigning on the Red River in Louisiana, I noticed
with interest a device that had been put into shape for the purpose of
lifting river steamers over shoals. This device took the form of stilts
which for the smaller vessels (and only the smaller steamers could as a
rule be managed in this way) were fastened on pivots from the upper deck
on the outside of the hull and were worked from the deck with a force of
two or three men at each stilt. The difficulty on the Red River was that
the Rebel sharp-shooters from the banks made the management of the
stilts irregular.

In 1854, Douglas carried through Congress the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. This
bill repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and cancelled also the
provisions of the series of compromises of 1850. Its purpose was to
throw open for settlement and for later organisation as Slave States the
whole territory of the North-west from which, under the Missouri
Compromise, slavery had been excluded. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill not only
threw open a great territory to slavery but re-opened the whole slavery
discussion. The issues that were brought to the front in the discussions
about this bill, and in the still more bitter contests after the passage
of the bill in regard to the admission of Kansas as a Slave State, were
the immediate precursors of the Civil War. The larger causes lay further
back, but the War would have been postponed for an indefinite period if
it had not been for the pressing on the part of the South for the right
to make Slave States throughout the entire territory of the country, and
for the readiness on the part of certain Democratic leaders of the
North, of whom Douglas was the chief, to accept this contention, and
through such expedients to gain, or to retain, political control for the
Democratic party.

In one of the long series of debates in Congress on the question of the
right to take slaves into free territory, a planter from South Carolina
drew an affecting picture of his relations with his old coloured
foster-mother, the "mammy" of the plantation. "Do you tell me," he said,
addressing himself to a Free-soil opponent, "that I, a free American
citizen, am not to be permitted, if I want to go across the Missouri
River, to take with me my whole home circle? Do you say that I must
leave my old 'Mammy' behind in South Carolina?" "Oh!" replied the
Westerner, "the trouble with you is not that you cannot take your
'Mammy' into this free territory, but that you are not to be at liberty
to sell her when you get her there."

Lincoln threw himself with full earnestness of conviction and ardour
into the fight to preserve for freedom the territory belonging to the
nation. In common with the majority of the Whig party, he held the
opinion that if slavery could be restricted to the States in which it
was already in existence, if no further States should be admitted into
the Union with the burden of slavery, the institution must, in the
course of a generation or two, die out. He was clear in his mind that
slavery was an enormous evil for the whites as well as for the blacks,
for the individual as for the nation. He had himself, as a young man,
been brought up to do toilsome manual labour. He would not admit that
there was anything in manual labour that ought to impair the respect of
the community for the labourer or the worker's respect for himself. Not
the least of the evils of slavery was, in his judgment, its inevitable
influence in bringing degradation upon labour and the labourer.

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act made clear to the North that the
South would accept no limitations for slavery. The position of the
Southern leaders, in which they had the substantial backing of their
constituents, was that slaves were property and that the Constitution,
having guaranteed the protection of property to all the citizens of the
commonwealth, a slaveholder was deprived of his constitutional rights as
a citizen if his control of this portion of his property was in any way
interfered with or restricted. The argument in behalf of this extreme
Southern claim had been shaped most eloquently and most forcibly by John
C. Calhoun during the years between 1830 and 1850. The Calhoun opinion
was represented a few years later in the Presidential candidacy of John
C. Breckinridge. The contention of the more extreme of the Northern
opponents of slavery voters, whose spokesmen were William Lloyd
Garrison, Wendell Phillips, James G. Birney, Owen Lovejoy, and others,
was that the Constitution in so far as it recognised slavery (which it
did only by implication) was a compact with evil. They held that the
Fathers had been led into this compact unwittingly and without full
realisation of the responsibilities that they were assuming for the
perpetuation of a great wrong. They refused to accept the view that
later generations of American citizens were to be bound for an
indefinite period by this error of judgment on the part of the Fathers.
They proposed to get rid of slavery, as an institution incompatible with
the principles on which the Republic was founded. They pointed out that
under the Declaration of Independence all men had an equal right to
"life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and that there was no
limitation of this claim to men of white race. If it was not going to be
possible to argue slavery out of existence, these men preferred to have
the Union dissolved rather than to bring upon States like Massachusetts
a share of the responsibility for the wrong done to mankind and to
justice under the laws of South Carolina.

The Whig party, whose great leader, Henry Clay, had closed his life in
1852, just at the time when Lincoln was becoming prominent in politics,
held that all citizens were bound by the compact entered into by their
ancestors, first under the Articles of Confederation of 1783, and later
under the Constitution of 1789. Our ancestors had, for the purpose of
bringing about the organisation of the Union, agreed to respect the
institution of slavery in the States in which it existed. The Whigs of
1850, held, therefore, that in such of the Slave States as had been part
of the original thirteen, slavery was an institution to be recognised
and protected under the law of the land. They admitted, further, that
what their grandfathers had done in 1789, had been in a measure
confirmed by the action of their fathers in 1820. The Missouri
Compromise of 1820, in making clear that all States thereafter organised
north of the line thirty-six thirty were to be Free States, made clear
also that States south of that line had the privilege of coming into the
Union with the institution of slavery and that the citizens in these
newer Slave States should be assured of the same recognition and rights
as had been accorded to those of the original thirteen.

The Missouri Compromise permitted also the introduction of Missouri
itself into the Union as a Slave State (as a counterpoise to the State
of Maine admitted the same year), although almost the entire territory
of the State of Missouri was north of the latitude 36° 30'.

We may recall that, under the Constitution, the States of the South,
while denying the suffrage to the negro, had secured the right to
include the negro population as a basis for their representation in the
lower House. In apportioning the representatives to the population, five
negroes were to be counted as the equivalent of three white men. The
passage, in 1854, of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the purpose of which was
to confirm the existence of slavery and to extend the institution
throughout the country, was carried in the House by thirteen votes. The
House contained at that time no less than twenty members representing
the negro population. The negroes were, therefore, in this instance
involuntarily made the instruments for strengthening the chains of their
own serfdom.

It was in 1854 that Lincoln first propounded the famous question, "Can
the nation endure half slave and half free?" This question, slightly
modified, became the keynote four years later of Lincoln's contention
against the Douglas theory of "squatter sovereignty." The organisation
of the Republican party dates from 1856. Various claims have been made
concerning the precise date and place at which were first presented the
statement of principles that constituted the final platform of the
party, and in regard to the men who were responsible for such statement.
At a meeting held as far back as July, 1854, at Jackson, Michigan, a
platform was adopted by a convention which had been brought together to
formulate opposition to any extension of slavery, and this Jackson
platform did contain the substance of the conclusions and certain of the
phrases which later were included in the Republican platform. In
January, 1856, Parke Godwin published in _Putnam's Monthly_, of which he
was political editor, an article outlining the necessary constitution of
the new party. This article gave a fuller expression than had thus far
been made of the views of the men who were later accepted as the leaders
of the Republican party. In May, 1856, Lincoln made a speech at
Bloomington, Illinois, setting forth the principles for the anti-slavery
campaign as they were understood by his group of Whigs. In this speech,
Lincoln speaks of "that perfect liberty for which our Southern
fellow-citizens are sighing, the liberty of making slaves of other
people"; and again, "It is the contention of Mr. Douglas, in his claim
for the rights of American citizens, that if _A_ sees fit to enslave
_B_, no other man shall have the right to object." Of this Bloomington
speech, Herndon says: "It was logic; it was pathos; it was enthusiasm;
it was justice, integrity, truth, and right. The words seemed to be set
ablaze by the divine fires of a soul maddened by a great wrong. The
utterance was hard, knotty, gnarly, backed with wrath."

From this time on, Lincoln was becoming known throughout the country as
one of the leaders in the new issues, able and ready to give time and
service to the anti-slavery fight and to the campaign work of the
Republican organisation. This political service interfered to some
extent with his work at the Bar, but he did not permit political
interests to stand in the way of any obligations that had been assumed
to his clients. He simply accepted fewer cases, and to this extent
reduced his very moderate earnings. In his work as a lawyer, he never
showed any particular capacity for increasing income or for looking
after his own business interests. It was his principle and his practice
to discourage litigation. He appears, during the twenty-five years in
which he was in active practice, to have made absolutely no enemies
among his professional opponents. He enjoyed an exceptional reputation
for the frankness with which he would accept the legitimate contentions
of his opponents or would even himself state their case. Judge David
Davis, before whom Lincoln had occasion during these years to practise,
says that the Court was always prepared to accept as absolutely fair and
substantially complete Lincoln's statement of the matters at issue.
Davis says it occasionally happened that Lincoln would supply some
consideration of importance on his opponent's side of the case that the
other counsel had overlooked. It was Lincoln's principle to impress upon
himself at the outset the full strength of the other man's position. It
was also his principle to accept no case in the justice of which he had
not been able himself to believe. He possessed also by nature an
exceptional capacity for the detection of faulty reasoning; and his
exercise of the power of analysis in his work at the Bar proved of great
service later in widening his influence as a political leader. The power
that he possessed, when he was assured of the justice of his cause, of
convincing court and jury became the power of impressing his convictions
upon great bodies of voters. Later, when he had upon his shoulders the
leadership of the nation, he took the people into his confidence; he
reasoned with them as if they were sitting as a great jury for the
determination of the national policy, and he was able to impress upon
them his perfect integrity of purpose and the soundness of his
conclusions,--conclusions which thus became the policy of the nation.

He calls himself a "mast-fed lawyer" and it is true that his
opportunities for reading continued to be most restricted. Davis said in
regard to Lincoln's work as a lawyer: "He had a magnificent equipoise of
head, conscience, and heart. In non-essentials he was pliable; but on
the underlying principles of truth and justice, his will was as firm as
steel." We find from the record of Lincoln's work in the Assembly and
later in Congress that he would never do as a Representative what he was
unwilling to do as an individual. His capacity for seeing the humorous
side of things was of course but a phase of a general clearness of
perception. The man who sees things clearly, who is able to recognise
both sides of a matter, the man who can see all round a position, the
opposite of the man in blinders, that man necessarily has a sense of
humour. He is able, if occasion presents, to laugh at himself. Lincoln's
capacity for absorbing and for retaining information and for having this
in readiness for use at the proper time was, as we have seen, something
that went back to his boyhood. He says of himself: "My mind is something
like a piece of steel; it is very hard to scratch anything on it and
almost impossible after you have got it there to rub it out."

Lincoln's correspondence has been preserved with what is probably
substantial completeness. The letters written by him to friends,
acquaintances, political correspondents, individual men of one kind or
another, have been gathered together and have been brought into print
not, as is most frequently the case, under the discretion or judgment of
a friendly biographer, but by a great variety of more or less
sympathetic people. It would seem as if but very few of Lincoln's
letters could have been mislaid or destroyed. One can but be impressed,
in reading these letters, with the absolute honesty of purpose and of
statement that characterises them. There are very few men, particularly
those whose active lives have been passed in a period of political
struggle and civil war, whose correspondence could stand such a test.
There never came to Lincoln requirement to say to his correspondent,
"Burn this letter."



In 1856, the Supreme Court, under the headship of Judge Taney, gave out
the decision of the Dred Scott case. The purport of this decision was
that a negro was not to be considered as a person but as a chattel; and
that the taking of such negro chattel into free territory did not cancel
or impair the property rights of the master. It appeared to the men of
the North as if under this decision the entire country, including in
addition to the national territories the independent States which had
excluded slavery, was to be thrown open to the invasion of the
institution. The Dred Scott decision, taken in connection with the
repeal of the Missouri Compromise (and the two acts were doubtless a
part of one thoroughly considered policy), foreshadowed as their logical
and almost inevitable consequence the bringing of the entire nation
under the control of slavery. The men of the future State of Kansas made
during 1856-57 a plucky fight to keep slavery out of their borders. The
so-called Lecompton Constitution undertook to force slavery upon Kansas.
This constitution was declared by the administration (that of President
Buchanan) to have been adopted, but the fraudulent character of the
voting was so evident that Walker, the Democratic Governor, although a
sympathiser with slavery, felt compelled to repudiate it. This
constitution was repudiated also by Douglas, although Douglas had
declared that the State ought to be thrown open to slavery. Jefferson
Davis, at that time Secretary of War, declared that "Kansas was in a
state of rebellion and that the rebellion must be crushed." Armed bands
from Missouri crossed the river to Kansas for the purpose of casting
fraudulent votes and for the further purpose of keeping the Free-soil
settlers away from the polls.

This fight for freedom in Kansas gave a further basis for Lincoln's
statement "that a house divided against itself cannot stand; this
government cannot endure half slave and half free." It was with this
statement as his starting-point that Lincoln entered into his famous
Senatorial campaign with Douglas. Douglas had already represented
Illinois in the Senate for two terms and had, therefore, the advantage
of possession and of a substantial control of the machinery of the
State. He had the repute at the time of being the leading political
debater in the country. He was shrewd, forcible, courageous, and, in the
matter of convictions, unprincipled. He knew admirably how to cater to
the prejudices of the masses. His career thus far had been one of
unbroken success. His Senatorial fight was, in his hope and expectation,
to be but a step towards the Presidency. The Democratic party, with an
absolute control south of Mason and Dixon's Line and with a very
substantial support in the Northern States, was in a position, if
unbroken, to control with practical certainty the Presidential election
of 1860. Douglas seemed to be the natural leader of the party. It was
necessary for him, however, while retaining the support of the Democrats
of the North, to make clear to those of the South that his influence
would work for the maintenance and for the extension of slavery.

The South was well pleased with the purpose and with the result of the
Dred Scott decision and with the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. It
is probable, however, that if the Dred Scott decision had not given to
the South so full a measure of satisfaction, the South would have been
more ready to accept the leadership of a Northern Democrat like Douglas.
Up to a certain point in the conflict, they had felt the need of Douglas
and had realised the importance of the support that he was in a position
to bring from the North. When, however, the Missouri Compromise had been
repealed and the Supreme Court had declared that slaves must be
recognised as property throughout the entire country, the Southern
claims were increased to a point to which certain of the followers of
Douglas were not willing to go. It was a large compliment to the young
lawyer of Illinois to have placed upon him the responsibility of
leading, against such a competitor as Douglas, the contest of the Whigs,
and of the Free-soilers back of the Whigs, against any further extension
of slavery, a contest which was really a fight for the continued
existence of the nation.

Lincoln seems to have gone into the fight with full courage, the courage
of his convictions. He felt that Douglas was a trimmer, and he believed
that the issue had now been brought to a point at which the trimmer
could not hold support on both sides of Mason and Dixon's Line. He
formulated at the outset of the debate a question which was pressed
persistently upon Douglas during the succeeding three weeks. This
question was worded as follows: "Can the people of a United States
territory, prior to the formation of a State constitution or against the
protest of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery?" Lincoln's
campaign advisers were of opinion that this question was inadvisable.
They took the ground that Douglas would answer the question in such way
as to secure the approval of the voters of Illinois and that in so doing
he would win the Senatorship. Lincoln's response was in substance: "That
may be. I hold, however, that if Douglas answers this question in a way
to satisfy the Democrats of the North, he will inevitably lose the
support of the more extreme, at least, of the Democrats of the South. We
may lose the Senatorship as far as my personal candidacy is concerned.
If, however, Douglas fails to retain the support of the South, he cannot
become President in 1860. The line will be drawn directly between those
who are willing to accept the extreme claims of the South and those who
resist these claims. A right decision is the essential thing for the
safety of the nation." The question gave no little perplexity to
Douglas. He finally, however, replied that in his judgment the people of
a United States territory had the right to exclude slavery. When asked
again by Lincoln how he brought this decision into accord with the Dred
Scott decision, he replied in substance: "Well, they have not the right
to take constitutional measures to exclude slavery but they can by local
legislation render slavery practically impossible." The Dred Scott
decision had in fact itself overturned the Douglas theory of popular
sovereignty or "squatter sovereignty." Douglas was only able to say that
his sovereignty contention made provision for such control of domestic
or local regulations as would make slavery impossible.

The South, rendered autocratic by the authority of the Supreme Court,
was not willing to accept the possibility of slavery being thus
restricted out of existence in any part of the country. The Southerners
repudiated Douglas as Lincoln had prophesied they would do. Douglas had
been trying the impossible task of carrying water on both shoulders. He
gained the Senatorship by a narrow margin; he secured in the vote in the
Legislature a majority of eight, but Lincoln had even in this fight won
the support of the people. His majority on the popular vote was four

The series of debates between these two leaders came to be of national
importance. It was not merely a question of the representation in the
Senate from the State of Illinois, but of the presentation of arguments,
not only to the voters of Illinois but to citizens throughout the entire
country, in behalf of the restriction of slavery on the one hand or of
its indefinite expansion and protection on the other. The debate was
educational not merely for the voters who listened, but for the
thousands of other voters who read the reports. It would be an enormous
advantage for the political education of candidates and for the
education of voters if such debates could become the routine in
Congressional and Presidential campaigns. Under the present routine, we
have, in place of an assembly of voters representing the conflicting
views of the two parties or of the several political groups, a
homogeneous audience of one way of thinking, and speakers who have no
opponent present to check the temptation to launch forth into wild
statements, personal abuse, and irresponsible conclusions. An
interruption of the speaker is considered to be a disturbance of order,
and the man who is not fully in sympathy with the views of the audience
is likely to be put out as an interloper. With a system of joint
debates, the speakers would be under an educational repression. False
or exaggerated statements would not be made, or would not be made
consciously, because they would be promptly corrected by the other
fellow. There would of necessity come to be a better understanding and a
larger respect for the positions of the opponent. The men who would be
selected as leaders or speakers to enforce the contentions of the party,
would have to possess some reasoning faculty as well as oratorical
fluency. The voters, instead of being shut in with one group of
arguments more or less reasonable, would be brought into touch with the
arguments of other groups of citizens. I can conceive of no better
method for bringing representative government on to a higher plane and
for making an election what it ought to be, a reasonable decision by
reasoning voters, than the institution of joint debates.

I cite certain of the incisive statements that came into Lincoln's seven
debates. "A slave, says Judge Douglas (on the authority of Judge Taney),
is a human being who is legally not a person but a thing." "I contend
[says Lincoln] that slavery is founded on the selfishness of man's
nature. Slavery is a violation of the eternal right, and as long as God
reigns and as school-children read, that black evil can never be
consecrated into God's truth." "A man does not lose his right to a piece
of property which has been stolen. Can a man lose a right to himself if
he himself has been stolen?" The following words present a summary of
Lincoln's statements:

Judge Douglas contends that if any one man chooses to enslave another,
no third man has a right to object. Our Fathers, in accepting slavery
under the Constitution as a legal institution, were of opinion, as is
clearly indicated by the recorded utterances, that slavery would in the
course of a few years die out. They were quite clear in their minds that
the slave-trade must be abolished and for ever forbidden and this
decision was arrived at under the leadership of men like Jefferson and
without a protest from the South. Jefferson was himself the author of
the Ordinance of 1787, which in prohibiting the introduction of slavery,
consecrated to freedom the great territory of the North-west, and this
measure was fully approved by Washington and by the other great leaders
from the South. Where slavery exists, full liberty refuses to enter. It
was only through this wise action of the Fathers that it was possible to
bring into existence, through colonisation, the great territories and
great States of the North-west. It is this settlement, and the later
adjustment of 1820, that Douglas and his friends in the South are
undertaking to overthrow. Slavery is not, as Judge Douglas contends, a
local issue; it is a national responsibility. The repeal of the Missouri
Compromise throws open not only a great new territory to the curse of
slavery; it throws open the whole slavery question for the embroiling of
the present generation of Americans. Taking slaves into free territory
is the same thing as reviving the slave-trade. It perpetuates and
develops interstate slave-trade. Government derives its just powers from
the consent of the governed. The Fathers did not claim that "the right
of the people to govern negroes was the right of the people to govern

The policy of Judge Douglas was based on the theory that the people did
not care, but the people did care, as was evinced two years later by the
popular vote for President throughout the North. One of those who heard
these debates says: "Lincoln loved truth for its own sake. He had a
deep, true, living conscience; honesty was his polar star. He never
acted for stage effect. He was cool, spirited, reflective,
self-possessed, and self-reliant. His style was clear, terse, compact
... He became tremendous in the directness of his utterance when, as his
soul was inspired with the thought of human right and Divine justice,
he rose to impassioned eloquence, and at such times he was, in my
judgment, unsurpassed by Clay or by Mirabeau."

As the debates progressed, it was increasingly evident that Douglas
found himself hard pushed. Lincoln would not allow himself to be swerved
from the main issue by any tergiversation or personal attacks. He
insisted from day to day in bringing Douglas back to this issue: "What
do you, Douglas, propose to do about slavery in the territories? Is it
your final judgment that there is to be no further reservation of free
territory in this country? Do you believe that it is for the advantage
of this country to put no restriction to the extension of slavery?"
Douglas wriggled and squirmed under this direct questioning and his
final replies gave satisfaction neither to the Northern Democrats nor to
those of the South. The issue upon which the Presidential contest of
1860 was to be fought out had been fairly stated. It was the same issue
under which, in 1861, the fighting took the form of civil war. It was
the issue that took four years to fight out and that was finally decided
in favour of the continued existence of the nation as a free state. In
this fight, Lincoln was not only, as the contest was finally shaped, the
original leader; he was the final leader; and at the time of his death
the great question had been decided for ever.

Horace White, in summing up the issues that were fought out in debate
between Lincoln and Douglas, says:

"Forty-four years have passed away since the Civil War came to an end
and we are now able to take a dispassionate view of the question in
dispute. The people of the South are now generally agreed that the
institution of slavery was a direful curse to both races. We of the
North must confess that there was considerable foundation for the
asserted right of States to secede. Although the Constitution did in
distinct terms make the Federal Government supreme, it was not so
understood at first by the people either North or South. Particularism
prevailed everywhere at the beginning. Nationalism was an aftergrowth
and a slow growth proceeding mainly from the habit into which people
fell of finding their common centre of gravity at Washington City and of
viewing it as the place whence the American name and fame were blazoned
to the world. During the first half century of the Republic, the North
and South were changing coats from time to time, on the subject of State
Rights and the right to secede, but meanwhile the Constitution itself
was working silently in the North to undermine the particularism of
Jefferson and to strengthen the nationalism of Hamilton. It had
accomplished its work in the early thirties, when it found its perfect
expression in Webster's reply to Hayne. But the Southern people were
just as firmly convinced that Hayne was the victor in that contest as
the Northern people were that Webster was. The vast material interests
bottomed on slavery offset and neutralised the unifying process in the
South, while it continued its wholesome work in the North, and thus the
clashing of ideas paved the way for the clash of arms. That the
behaviour of the slaveholders resulted from the circumstances in which
they were placed and not from any innate deviltry is a fact now conceded
by all impartial men. It was conceded by Lincoln both before the War and
during the War, and this fact accounts for the affection bestowed upon
him by Southern hearts to-day."

Lincoln carried into politics the same standard of consistency of action
that had characterised his work at the Bar. He writes, in 1859, to a
correspondent whom he was directing to further the organisation of the
new party: "Do not, in order to secure recruits, lower the standard of
the Republican party. The true problem for 1860, is to fight to prevent
slavery from becoming national. We must, however, recognise its
constitutional right to exist in the States in which its existence was
recognised under the original Constitution." This position was
unsatisfactory to the Whigs of the Border States who favoured a
continuing division between Slave States and Free States of the
territory yet to be organised into States. It was also unsatisfactory to
the extreme anti-slavery Whigs of the new organisation who insisted upon
throttling slavery where-ever it existed. It is probable that the raid
made by John Brown, in 1859, into Virginia for the purpose of rousing
the slaves to fight for their own liberty, had some immediate influence
in checking the activity of the more extreme anti-slavery group and in
strengthening the conservative side of the new organisation. Lincoln
disapproved entirely of the purpose of Brown and his associates, while
ready to give due respect to the idealistic courage of the man.

In February, 1860, Lincoln was invited by certain of the Republican
leaders in New York to deliver one of a series of addresses which had
been planned to make clear to the voters the purposes and the
foundations of the new party. His name had become known to the
Republicans of the East through the debates with Douglas. It was
recognised that Lincoln had taken the highest ground in regard to the
principles of the new party, and that his counsels should prove of
practical service in the shaping of the policy of the Presidential
campaign. It was believed also that his influence would be of value in
securing voters in the Middle West. The Committee of Invitation
included, in addition to a group of the old Whigs (of whom my father was
one), representative Free-soil Democrats like William C. Bryant and John
King. Lincoln's methods as a political leader and orator were known to
one or two men on the committee, but his name was still unfamiliar to an
Eastern audience. It was understood that the new leader from the West
was going to talk to New York about the fight against slavery. It is
probable that at least the larger part of the audience expected
something "wild and woolly." The West at that time seemed very far off
from New York and was still but little understood by the Eastern
communities. New Yorkers found it difficult to believe that a man who
could influence Western audiences could have anything to say that would
count with the cultivated citizens of the East. The more optimistic of
the hearers were hoping, however, that perhaps a new Henry Clay had
arisen and were looking for utterances of the ornate and grandiloquent
kind such as they had heard frequently from Clay and from other
statesmen of the South.

The first impression of the man from the West did nothing to contradict
the expectation of something weird, rough, and uncultivated. The long,
ungainly figure upon which hung clothes that, while new for this trip,
were evidently the work of an unskilful tailor; the large feet, the
clumsy hands of which, at the outset, at least, the orator seemed to be
unduly conscious; the long, gaunt head capped by a shock of hair that
seemed not to have been thoroughly brushed out, made a picture which did
not fit in with New York's conception of a finished statesman. The first
utterance of the voice was not pleasant to the ear, the tone being harsh
and the key too high. As the speech progressed, however, the speaker
seemed to get into control of himself; the voice gained a natural and
impressive modulation, the gestures were dignified and appropriate, and
the hearers came under the influence of the earnest look from the
deeply-set eyes and of the absolute integrity of purpose and of devotion
to principle which were behind the thought and the words of the speaker.
In place of a "wild and woolly" talk, illumined by more or less
incongruous anecdotes; in place of a high-strung exhortation of general
principles or of a fierce protest against Southern arrogance, the New
Yorkers had presented to them a calm but forcible series of
well-reasoned considerations upon which their action as citizens was to
be based. It was evident that the man from the West understood
thoroughly the constitutional history of the country; he had mastered
the issues that had grown up about the slavery question; he knew
thoroughly, and was prepared to respect, the rights of his political
opponents; he knew with equal thoroughness the rights of the men whose
views he was helping to shape and he insisted that there should be no
wavering or weakening in regard to the enforcement of those rights; he
made it clear that the continued existence of the nation depended upon
having these issues equitably adjusted and he held that the equitable
adjustment meant the restriction of slavery within its present
boundaries. He maintained that such restrictions were just and necessary
as well for the sake of fairness to the blacks as for the final welfare
of the whites. He insisted that the voters in the present States in the
Union had upon them the largest possible measure of responsibility in so
controlling the great domain of the Republic that the States of the
future, the States in which their children and their grandchildren were
to grow up as citizens, must be preserved in full liberty, must be
protected against any invasion of an institution which represented
barbarity. He maintained that such a contention could interfere in no
way with the due recognition of the legitimate property rights of the
present owners of slaves. He pointed out to the New Englander of the
anti-slavery group that the restriction of slavery meant its early
extermination. He insisted that war for the purpose of exterminating
slavery from existing slave territory could not be justified. He was
prepared, for the purpose of defending against slavery the national
territory that was still free, to take the risk of the war which the
South threatened because he believed that only through such defence
could the existence of the nation be maintained; and he believed,
further, that the maintenance of the great Republic was essential, not
only for the interests of its own citizens, but for the interests of
free government throughout the world. He spoke with full sympathy of the
difficulties and problems resting upon the South, and he insisted that
the matters at issue could be adjusted only with a fair recognition of
these difficulties. Aggression from either side of Mason and Dixon's
Line must be withstood.

I was but a boy when I first looked upon the gaunt figure of the man who
was to become the people's leader, and listened to his calm but forcible
arguments in behalf of the principles of the Republican party. It is not
likely that at the time I took in, with any adequate appreciation, the
weight of the speaker's reasoning. I have read the address more than
once since and it is, of course, impossible to separate my first
impressions from my later direct knowledge. I do remember that I was at
once impressed with the feeling that here was a political leader whose
methods differed from those of any politician to whom I had listened.
His contentions were based not upon invective or abuse of "the other
fellow," but purely on considerations of justice, on that everlasting
principle that what is just, and only what is just, represents the
largest and highest interests of the nation as a whole. I doubt whether
there occurred in the whole speech a single example of the stories which
had been associated with Lincoln's name. The speaker was evidently
himself impressed with the greatness of the opportunity and with the
dignity and importance of his responsibility. The speech in fact gave
the keynote to the coming campaign.

It is hardly necessary to add that it also decided the selection of the
national leader not only for the political campaign, but through the
coming struggle. If it had not been for the impression made upon New
York and the East generally by Lincoln's speech and by the man himself,
the vote of New York could not have been secured in the May convention
for the nomination of the man from Illinois.

Robert Lincoln (writing to me in July, 1908) says:

    "After my father's address in New York in February, 1860, he made a
    trip to New England in order to visit me at Exeter, N.H., where I
    was then a student in the Phillips Academy. It had not been his plan
    to do any speaking in New England, but, as a result of the address
    in New York, he received several requests from New England friends
    for speeches, and I find that before returning to the West, he spoke
    at the following places: Providence, R.I., Manchester, N.H., Exeter,
    N.H., Dover, N.H., Concord, N.H., Hartford, Conn., Meriden, Conn.,
    New Haven, Conn., Woonsocket, R.I., Norwalk, Conn., and Bridgeport,
    Conn. I am quite sure that coming and going he passed through
    Boston merely as an unknown traveller."

Mr. Lincoln writes to his wife from Exeter, N.H., March 4, 1860, as

    "I have been unable to escape this toil. If I had foreseen it, I
    think I would not have come East at all. The speech at New York,
    being within my calculation before I started, went off passably well
    and gave me no trouble whatever. The difficulty was to make nine
    others, before reading audiences who had already seen all my ideas
    in print."[1]

An edition of Mr. Lincoln's address was brought into print in September,
1860, by the Young Men's Republican Union of New York, with notes by
Charles C. Nott (later Colonel, and after the war Judge of the Court of
Claims in Washington) and Cephas Brainerd. The publication of this
pamphlet shows that as early as September, 1860, the historic importance
and permanent value of this speech were fairly realised by the national
leaders of the day. In the preface to the reprint, the editors say:

    "The address is characterised by wisdom, truthfulness and learning
    ...From the first line to the last--from his premises to his
    conclusion, the speaker travels with a swift, unerring directness
    that no logician has ever excelled. His argument is complete and is
    presented without the affectation of learning, and without the
    stiffness which usually accompanies dates and details ...A single
    simple sentence contains a chapter of history that has taken days of
    labour to verify, and that must have cost the author months of
    investigation to acquire. The reader may take up this address as a
    political pamphlet, but he will leave it as an historical
    treatise--brief, complete, perfect, sound, impartial truth--which
    will serve the time and the occasion that called it forth, and which
    will be esteemed hereafter no less for its unpretending modesty than
    for its intrinsic worth."[2]

Horace White, who was himself present at the Chicago Convention, writes
(in 1909) as follows:

    "To anybody looking back at the Republican National Convention of
    1860, it must be plain that there were only two men who had any
    chance of being nominated for President.

    "These were Lincoln and Seward. I was present at the Convention as a
    spectator and I knew this fact at the time, but it seemed to me at
    the beginning that Seward's chances were the better. One third of
    the delegates of Illinois preferred Seward and expected to vote for
    him after a few complimentary ballots for Lincoln. If there had been
    no Lincoln in the field, Seward would certainly have been nominated
    and then the course of history would have been very different from
    what it was, for if Seward had been nominated and elected there
    would have been no forcible opposition to the withdrawal of such
    States as then desired to secede. And as a consequence the
    Republican party would have been rent in twain and disabled from
    making effectual resistance to other demands of the South.

    "It was Seward's conviction that the policy of non-coercion would
    have quieted the secession movement in the Border States and that
    the Gulf States would, after a while, have returned to the Union
    like repentant prodigal sons. His proposal to Lincoln to seek a
    quarrel with four European nations, who had done us no harm, in
    order to arouse a feeling of Americanism in the Confederate States,
    was an outgrowth of this conviction. It was an indefensible
    proposition, akin to that which prompted Bismarck to make use of
    France as an anvil on which to hammer and weld Germany together, but
    it was not an unpatriotic one, since it was bottomed on a desire to
    preserve the Union without civil war."

Never was a political leadership more fairly, more nobly, and more
reasonably won. When the ballot boxes were opened on the first Tuesday
in November, Lincoln was found to have secured the electoral vote of
every Northern State except New Jersey, and in New Jersey four electors
out of seven. Breckinridge, the leader of the extreme Southern
Democrats, had back of him only the votes of the Southern States outside
of the Border States, these latter being divided between Bell and
Douglas. Douglas and his shallow theories of "squatter sovereignty" had
been buried beneath the good sense of the voters of the North.



After the election of November, 1860, events moved swiftly. On the 20th
of December, comes the first act of the Civil War, the secession of
South Carolina. The secession of Georgia had for a time been delayed by
the influence of Alexander H. Stephens who, on the 14th of November, had
made a great argument for the maintenance of the Union. His chief local
opponent at the time was Robert Toombs, the Southern leader who proposed
in the near future to "call the roll-call of his slaves on Bunker Hill."
Lincoln was still hopeful of saving to the cause of the Union the Border
States and the more conservative divisions of States, like North
Carolina, which had supported the Whig party.

In December, we find correspondence between Lincoln and Gilmer of North
Carolina, whom he had known in Washington. "The essential difference,"
says Lincoln, "between your group and mine is that you hold slavery to
be in itself desirable and as something to be extended. I hold it to be
an essential evil which, with due regard to existing rights, must be
restricted and in the near future exterminated."

On the 23d of February, 1861, Lincoln reaches Washington where he is to
spend a weary and anxious two weeks of waiting for the burden of his new
responsibilities. He is at this time fifty-two years of age. In one of
his brief addresses on the way to Washington he says:

    "It is but little to a man of my age, but a great deal to thirty
    millions of the citizens of the United States, and to posterity in
    all coming time, if the Union of the States and the liberties of the
    people are to be lost. If the majority is not to rule, who would be
    the judge of the issue or where is such judge to be found?"

It is difficult to imagine a more exasperating condition of affairs than
obtained in Washington while Lincoln was awaiting the day of
inauguration. The government appeared to be crumbling away under the
nerveless direction, or lack of direction, of President Buchanan and his
associates. In his last message to Congress, Buchanan had taken the
ground that the Constitution made no provision for the secession of
States or for the breaking up of the Union; but that it also failed to
contain any provision for measures that could prevent such secession and
the consequent destruction of the nation. The old gentleman appeared to
be entirely unnerved by the pressure of events. He could not see any
duty before him. He certainly failed to realise that the more immediate
cause of the storm was the breaking down, through the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise, of the barriers that had in 1820, and in 1850, been
placed against the extension of slavery. He evidently failed to
understand that it was his own action in backing up the infamous
Lecompton Constitution, and the invasion of Kansas by the slave-owners,
which had finally aroused the spirit of the North, and further that it
was the influence of his administration which had given to the South the
belief that it was now in a position to control for slavery the whole
territory of the Republic.

It has before now been pointed out that, under certain contingencies,
the long interval between the national election and the inaugural of the
new President from the first Tuesday in November until the fourth day of
March must, in not a few instances, bring inconvenience, disadvantage,
and difficulty not only to the new administration but to the nation.
These months in which the members of an administration which had
practically committed itself to the cause of disintegration, were left
in charge of the resources of the nation gave a most serious example and
evidence of such disadvantage. This historic instance ought to have been
utilised immediately after the War as an influence for bringing about a
change in the date for bringing into power the administration that has
been chosen in November.

By the time when Lincoln and the members of his Cabinet had placed in
their hands the responsibilities of administration, the resources at the
disposal of the government had, as far as practicable, been scattered or
rendered unavailable. The Secretary of the Navy, a Southerner, had taken
pains to send to the farthest waters of the Pacific as many as possible
of the vessels of the American fleet; the Secretary of War, also a
Southerner, had for months been busy in transferring to the arsenals of
the South the guns and ammunition that had been stored in the Federal
arsenals of the North; the Secretary of the Treasury had had no
difficulty in disposing of government funds in one direction or another
so that there was practically no balance to hand over to his successor
available for the most immediate necessities of the new administration.

One of the sayings quoted from Washington during these weeks was the
answer given by Count Gurowski to the inquiry, "Is there anything in
addition this morning?" "No," said Gurowski, "it is all in subtraction."

By the day of the inaugural, the secession of seven States was an
accomplished fact and the government of the Confederacy had already been
organised in Montgomery. Alexander H. Stephens had so far modified his
original position that he had accepted the post of Vice-President and in
his own inaugural address had used the phrase, "Slavery is the
corner-stone of our new nation," a phrase that was to make much mischief
in Europe for the hopes of the new Confederacy.

In the first inaugural, one of the great addresses in a noteworthy
series, Lincoln presented to the attention of the leaders of the South
certain very trenchant arguments against the wisdom of their course. He
says of secession for the purpose of preserving the institution of

    "You complain that under the government of the United States your
    slaves have from time to time escaped across your borders and have
    not been returned to you. Their value as property has been lessened
    by the fact that adjoining your Slave States were certain States
    inhabited by people who did not believe in your institution. How is
    this condition going to be changed by war even under the assumption
    that the war may be successful in securing your independence? Your
    slave territory will still adjoin territory inhabited by free men
    who are inimical to your institution; but these men will no longer
    be bound by any of the restrictions which have obtained under the
    Constitution. They will not have to give consideration to the rights
    of slave-owners who are fellow-citizens. Your slaves will escape as
    before and you will have no measure of redress. Your indignation may
    produce further wars, but the wars can but have the same result
    until finally, after indefinite loss of life and of resources, the
    institution will have been hammered out of existence by the
    inevitable conditions of existing civilisation."

Lincoln points out further in this same address the difference between
his responsibilities and those of the Southern leaders who are
organising for war. "You," he says, "have no oath registered in Heaven
to destroy this government, while I have the most solemn oath to
preserve, direct, and defend it."

    "It was not necessary," says Lincoln, "for the Constitution to
    contain any provision expressly forbidding the disintegration of the
    state; perpetuity and the right to maintain self-existence will be
    considered as a fundamental law of all national government. If the
    theory be accepted that the United States was an association or
    federation of communities, the creation or continued existence of
    such federation must rest upon contract; and before such contract
    can be rescinded, the consent is required of both or of all of the
    parties assenting to it."

He closes with the famous invocation to the fellow Americans of the
South against whom throughout the whole message there had not been one
word of bitterness or rancour: "We are not enemies but friends. We must
not be enemies. Though passion may have strained our relations, it must
not break our bonds of affection."

It was, however, too late for argument, and too late for invocations of
friendship. The issue had been forced by the South and the war for which
the leaders of the South had for months, if not for years, been making
preparation was now to be begun by Southern action. It remained to make
clear to the North, where the people up to the last moment had been
unwilling to believe in the possibility of civil war, that the nation
could be preserved only by fighting for its existence. It remained to
organise the men of the North into armies which should be competent to
carry out this tremendous task of maintaining the nation's existence.

It was just after the great inaugural and when his head must have been
full of cares and his hands of work, that Lincoln took time to write a
touching little note that I find in his correspondence. It was addressed
to a boy who had evidently spoken with natural pride of having met the
President and whose word had been questioned:

    "The White House, March 18, 1861.

    "I did see and talk in May last at Springfield, Illinois, with
    Master George Edward Patten."

With the beginning of the work of the administration, came trouble with
the members of the Cabinet. The several secretaries were, in form at
least, the choice of the President, but as must always be the case in
the shaping of a Cabinet, and as was particularly necessary at a time
when it was of first importance to bring into harmonious relations all
of the political groups of the North which were prepared to be loyal to
the government, the men who took office in the first Cabinet of Lincoln
represented not any personal preference of the President, but political
or national requirements. The Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, had, as we
know, been Lincoln's leading opponent for the Presidential nomination
and had expressed with some freedom of criticism his disappointment that
he, the natural leader of the party, should be put to one side for an
uncultivated, inexperienced Westerner. Mr. Seward possessed both
experience and culture; more than this, he was a scholar, and came of a
long line of gentlefolk. He had public spirit, courage, legitimate
political ambition, and some of the qualities of leadership. His nature
was, however, not quite large enough to stand the pressure of political
disappointment nor quite elastic enough to develop rapidly under the
tremendous urgency of absolutely new requirements. It is in evidence
that more than once in the management of the complex and serious
difficulties of the State Department during the years of war, Seward
lost his head. It is also on record that the wise-minded and fair-minded
President was able to supply certain serious gaps and deficiencies in
the direction of the work of the Department, and further that his
service was so rendered as to save the dignity and the repute of the
Secretary. Seward's subjectivity, not to say vanity, was great, and it
took some little time before he was able to realise that his was not the
first mind or the strongest will-power in the new administration. On the
first of April, 1861, less than thirty days after the organisation of
the Cabinet, Seward writes to Lincoln complaining that the "government
had as yet no policy; that its action seemed to be simply drifting";
that there was a lack of any clear-minded control in the direction of
affairs within the Cabinet, in the presentation to the people of the
purposes of the government, and in the shaping of the all-important
relations with foreign states. "Who," said Seward, "is to control the
national policy?" The letter goes on to suggest that Mr. Seward is
willing to take the responsibility, leaving, if needs be, the credit to
the nominal chief. The letter was a curious example of the weakness and
of the bumptiousness of the man, while it gave evidence also, it is fair
to say, of a real public-spirited desire that things should go right and
that the nation should be saved. It was evident that he had as yet no
adequate faith in the capacity of the President.

Lincoln's answer was characteristic of the man. There was no irritation
with the bumptiousness, no annoyance at the lack of confidence on the
part of his associate. He states simply: "There must, of course, be
control and the responsibility for this control must rest with me." He
points out further that the general policy of the administration had
been outlined in the inaugural, that no action since taken had been
inconsistent with this. The necessary preparations for the defence of
the government were in train and, as the President trusted, were being
energetically pushed forward by the several department heads. "I have a
right," said Lincoln, "to expect loyal co-operation from my associates
in the Cabinet. I need their counsel and the nation needs the best
service that can be secured from our united wisdom." The letter of
Seward was put away and appears never to have been referred to between
the two men. It saw the light only after the President's death. If he
had lived it might possibly have been suppressed altogether. A month
later, Seward said to a friend, "There is in the Cabinet but one vote
and that is cast by the President."

The post next in importance under the existing war conditions was that
of Secretary of War. The first man to hold this post was Simon Cameron
of Pennsylvania. Cameron was very far from being a friend of Lincoln's.
The two men had had no personal relations and what Lincoln knew of him
he liked not at all. The appointment had been made under the pressure of
the Republicans of Pennsylvania, a State whose support was, of course,
all important for the administration. It was not the first nor the last
time that the Republicans of this great State, whose Republicanism seems
to be much safer than its judgment, have committed themselves to
unworthy and undesirable representatives, men who were not fitted to
stand for Pennsylvania and who were neither willing nor able to be of
any service to the country. The appointment of Cameron had, as appears
from the later history, been promised to Pennsylvania by Judge Davis in
return for the support of the Pennsylvania delegation for the nomination
of Lincoln. Lincoln knew nothing of the promise and was able to say with
truth, and to prove, that he had authorised no promises and no
engagements whatsoever. He had, in fact, absolutely prohibited Davis and
the one or two other men who were supposed to have some right to speak
for him in the convention, from the acceptance of any engagements or
obligations whatsoever. Davis made the promise to Pennsylvania on his
own responsibility and at his own risk; Lincoln felt under too much
obligation to Davis for personal service and for friendly loyalty to be
willing, when the claim was finally pressed, to put it to one side as
unwarranted. The appointment of Cameron was made and proved to be
expensive for the efficiency of the War Department and for the repute of
the administration. It became necessary within a comparatively short
period to secure his resignation. It was in evidence that he was
trafficking in appointments and in contracts. He was replaced by Edwin
M. Stanton, who was known later as "the Carnot of the War." Stanton's
career as a lawyer had given him no direct experience of army affairs.
He showed, however, exceptional ability, great will power, and an
enormous capacity for work. He was ambitious, self-willed, and most
arbitrary in deed and in speech. The difficulty with Stanton was that he
was as likely to insult and to browbeat some loyal supporter of the
government as to bring to book, and, when necessary, to crush, greedy
speculators and disloyal tricksters. His judgment in regard to men was
in fact very often at fault. He came into early and unnecessary conflict
with his chief and he found there a will stronger than his own. The
respect of the two men for each other grew into a cordial regard. Each
recognised the loyalty of purpose and the patriotism by which the
actions of both were influenced. Lincoln was able to some extent to
soften and to modify the needless truculency of the great War Secretary,
and notwithstanding a good deal of troublesome friction, armies were
organised and the troops were sent to the front.

The management of the Treasury, a responsibility hardly less in
importance under the war conditions than that of the organisation of the
armies, was placed in the hands of Senator Chase. He received from his
precursor an empty treasury while from the administration came demands
for immediate and rapidly increasing weekly supplies of funds. The task
came upon him first of establishing a national credit and secondly of
utilising this credit for loans such as the civilised world had not
before known. The expenditures extended by leaps and bounds until by the
middle of 1864 they had reached the sum of $2,000,000 a day. Blunders
were made in large matters and in small, but, under the circumstances,
blunders were not to be avoided and the chief purpose was carried out. A
sufficient credit was established, first with the citizens at home and
later with investors abroad, to make a market for the millions of bonds
in the two great issues, the so-called seven-thirties and
five-twenties. The sales of these bonds, together with a wide-reaching
and, in fact, unduly complex system of taxation, secured the funds
necessary for the support of the army and the navy. At the close of the
War, the government, after meeting this expenditure, had a national war
debt of something over four thousand millions of dollars. The gross
indebtedness resulting from the War was of course, however, much larger
because each State had incurred war expenditures and counties as well as
States had issued bonds for the payment of bounties, etc. The criticism
was made at the time by the opponents of the financial system which was
shaped by the Committee of Ways and Means in co-operation with the
Secretary, a criticism that has often been repeated since, that the War
expenditure would have been much less if the amounts needed beyond what
could be secured by present taxation had been supplied entirely by the
proceeds of bonds. In addition, however, to the issues of bonds, the
government issued currency to a large amount, which was made legal
tender and which on the face of it was not made subject to redemption.

In addition to the bills ranging in denomination from one dollar to one
thousand, the government brought into distribution what was called
"postal currency." I landed in New York in August, 1862, having returned
from a University in Germany for the purpose of enlisting in the army. I
was amused to see my father make payment in the restaurant for my first
lunch in postage stamps. He picked the requisite number, or the number
that he believed would be requisite, from a ball of stamps which had,
under the influence of the summer heat, stuck together so closely as to
be very difficult to handle. Many of the stamps were in fact practically
destroyed and were unavailable. Some question arose between the
restaurant keeper and my father as to the availability of one or two of
the stamps that had been handed over. My father explained to me that
immediately after the outbreak of the War, specie, including even the
nickels and copper pennies, had disappeared from circulation, and the
people had been utilising for the small change necessary for current
operations the postage stamps, a use which, in connection with the large
percentage of destruction, was profitable to the government, but
extravagant for the community. A little later, the postal department was
considerate enough to bring into print a series of postage stamps
without any gum on the back. These could, of course, be handled more
easily, but were still seriously perishable. Towards the close of the
year, the Treasury department printed from artistically engraved plates
a baby currency in notes of about two and a half inches long by one and
a half inches wide. The denominations comprised ten cents, fifteen
cents, twenty-five cents, fifty cents, and seventy-five cents. The
fifteen cents and the seventy-five cents were not much called for, and
were probably not printed more than once. They would now be scarce as
curiosities. The postal currency was well printed on substantial paper,
but in connection with the large requirement for handling that is always
placed upon small currency, these little paper notes became very dirty
and were easily used up. The government must have made a large profit
from the percentage that was destroyed. The necessary effect of this
distribution of government "I.O.U.'s," based not upon any redemption
fund of gold but merely upon the general credit of the government, was
to appreciate the value of gold. In June, 1863, just before the battle
of Gettysburg, the depreciation of this paper currency, which
represented of course the appreciation of gold, was in the ratio of 100
to 290. It happened that the number 290, which marked the highest price
reached by gold during the War, was the number that had been given in
Laird's ship-yard (on the Mersey) to the Confederate cruiser _Alabama_.

Chase was not only a hard-working Secretary of the Treasury but an
ambitious, active-minded, and intriguing politician. He represented in
the administration the more extreme anti-slavery group. He was one of
those who favoured from the beginning immediate action on the part of
the government in regard to the slaves in the territory that was still
controlled by the government. It is doubtless the case that he held
these anti-slavery views as a matter of honest conviction. It is in
evidence also from his correspondence that he connected with these views
the hope and the expectation of becoming President. His scheming for the
nomination for 1864 was carried on with the machinery that he had at his
disposal as Secretary of the Treasury. The issues between Chase and
Seward and between Chase and Stanton were many and bitter. The pressure
on the part of the conservative Republicans to get Chase out of the
Cabinet was considerable. Lincoln, believing that his service was
valuable, refused to be influenced by any feeling of personal antagonism
or personal rivalry. He held on to the Secretary until the last year of
the War, when deciding that the Cabinet could then work more smoothly
without him, he accepted his resignation. Even then, however, although
he had had placed in his hands a note indicating a measure of what might
be called personal disloyalty on the part of Chase, Lincoln was
unwilling to lose his service for the country and appointed him as Chief

Montgomery Blair was put into the Cabinet as Postmaster-General more
particularly as the representative of the loyalists of the Border
States. His father was a leader in politics in Missouri, in which the
family had long been of importance. His brother, Frank P. Blair, served
with credit in the army, reaching the rank of Major-General. The Blair
family was quite ready to fight for the Union, but was very unwilling to
do any fighting for the black man. They wanted the Union restored as it
had been, Missouri Compromise and all. It was Blair who had occasion
from time to time to point out, and with perfect truth, that if, through
the influence of Chase and of the men back of Chase in Massachusetts and
northern Ohio, immediate action should be taken to abolish slavery in
the Border States, fifty thousand men who had marched out of those
States to the support of the Union might be and probably would be
recalled. "By a stroke of the pen," said Blair, "Missouri, eastern
Tennessee, western Maryland, loyal Kentucky, now loyally supporting the
cause of the nation, will be thrown into the arms of the Confederacy."
During the first two years of the War, and in fact up to September,
1863, the views of Blair and his associates prevailed, and with the
fuller history before us, we may conclude that it was best that they
should have prevailed. This was, at least, the conclusion of Lincoln,
the one man who knew no sectional prejudices, who had before him all the
information and all the arguments, and who had upon him the pressure
from all quarters. It was not easy under the circumstances to keep peace
between Blair and Chase. Probably no man but Lincoln could have met the

The Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, of Connecticut, while not a
man of brilliancy or of great initiative, appears to have done his part
quietly and effectively in the great work of the building and organising
of a new fleet. He contributed nothing to the friction of the Cabinet
and he was from the beginning a loyal supporter of the President. What
we know now about the issues that arose between the different members
of the Cabinet family comes to us chiefly through the Diary of Welles,
who has described with apparent impartiality the idiosyncrasies of each
of the secretaries and whose references to the tact, patience, and
gracefully exercised will-power of the President are fully in line with
the best estimates of Lincoln's character.

One of the first and most difficult tasks confronting the President and
his secretaries in the organisation of the army and of the navy was in
the matter of the higher appointments. The army had always been a
favourite provision for the men from the South. The representatives of
Southern families were, as a rule, averse to trade and there were, in
fact, under the more restricted conditions of business in the Southern
States, comparatively few openings for trading on the larger or
mercantile scale. As a result of this preference, the cadetships in West
Point and the commissions in the army had been held in much larger
proportion (according to the population) by men of Southern birth. This
was less the case in the navy because the marine interests of New
England and of the Middle States had educated a larger number of
Northern men for naval interests. When the war began, a very
considerable number of the best trained and most valuable officers in
the army resigned to take part with their States. The army lost the
service of men like Lee, Johnston, Beauregard, and many others. A few
good Southerners, such as Thomas of Virginia and Anderson of Kentucky,
took the ground that their duty to the Union and to the flag was greater
than their obligation to their State. In the navy, Maury, Semmes,
Buchanan, and other men of ability resigned their commissions and
devoted themselves to the (by no means easy) task of building up a navy
for the South; but Farragut of Tennessee remained with the navy to carry
the flag of his country to New Orleans and to Mobile.

It was easy and natural during the heat of 1861 to characterise as
traitors the men who went with their States to fight against the flag of
their country. Looking at the matter now, forty-seven years later, we
are better able to estimate the character and the integrity of the
motives by which they were actuated. We do not need to-day to use the
term traitors for men like Lee and Johnston. It was not at all unnatural
that with their understanding of the government of the States in which
they had been born, and with their belief that these States had a right
to take action for themselves, they should have decided that their
obligation lay to the State rather than to what they had persisted in
thinking of not as a nation but as a mere confederation. We may rather
believe that Lee was as honest in his way as Thomas and Farragut in
theirs, but the view that the United States is a nation has been
maintained through the loyal services of the men who held with Thomas
and with Farragut.



On April 12, 1861, came with the bombardment of Fort Sumter the actual
beginning of the War. The foreseeing shrewdness of Lincoln had resisted
all suggestions for any such immediate action on the part of the
government as would place upon the North the responsibility for the
opening of hostilities. Shortly after the fall of Sumter, a despatch was
drafted by Seward for the guidance of American ministers abroad. The
first reports in regard to the probable action of European governments
gave the impression that the sympathy of these governments was largely
with the South. In France and England, expressions had been used by
leading officials which appeared to foreshadow an early recognition of
the Confederacy. Seward's despatch as first drafted was unwisely angry
and truculent in tone. If brought into publication, it would probably
have increased the antagonism of the men who were ruling England. It
appeared in fact to foreshadow war with England. Seward had assumed that
England was going to take active part with the South and was at once
throwing down the gauntlet of defiance. It was Lincoln who insisted that
this was no time, whatever might be the provocation, for the United
States to be shaking its fist at Europe. The despatch was reworded and
the harsh and angry expressions were eliminated. The right claimed by
the United States, in common with all nations, to maintain its own
existence was set forth with full force, while it was also made clear
that the nation was strong enough to maintain its rights against all
foes whether within or without its boundaries. It is rather strange to
recall that throughout the relations of the two men, it was the trained
and scholarly statesman of the East who had to be repressed for unwise
truculency and that the repression was done under the direction of the
comparatively inexperienced representative of the West, the man who had
been dreaded by the conservative Republicans of New York as likely to
introduce into the national policy "wild and woolly" notions.

In Lincoln's first message to Congress, he asks the following question:
"Must a government be of necessity too strong for the liberties of its
own people or too weak to maintain its own existence? Is there in all
republics this inherent weakness?" The people of the United States were
able under the wise leadership of Lincoln to answer this question "no."
Lincoln begins at once with the public utterances of the first year of
the War to take the people of the United States into his confidence. He
is their representative, their servant. He reasons out before the
people, as if it constituted a great jury, the analysis of their
position, of their responsibilities, and the grounds on which as their
representative this or that decision is arrived at. Says Schurz:
"Lincoln wielded the powers of government when stern resolution and
relentless force were the order of the day, and, won and ruled the
popular mind and heart by the tender sympathies of his nature."

The attack on Sumter placed upon the administration the duty of
organising at once for the contest now inevitable the forces of the
country. This work of organisation came at best but late because those
who were fighting to break up the nation had their preparations well
advanced. The first call for troops directed the governors of the loyal
States to supply seventy-five thousand men for the restoration of the
authority of the government. Massachusetts was the first State to
respond by despatching to the front, within twenty-four hours of the
publication of the call, its Sixth Regiment of Militia; the Seventh of
New York started twenty-four hours later. The history of the passage of
the Sixth through Baltimore, of the attack upon the columns, and of the
deaths, in the resulting affray, of soldiers and of citizens has often
been told. When word came to Washington that Baltimore was obstructing
the passage of troops bound southward, troops called for the defence of
the capital, the isolation of the government became sadly apparent. For
a weary and anxious ten days, Lincoln and his associates were dreading
from morning to morning the approach over the long bridge of the troops
from Virginia whose camp-fires could be seen from the southern windows
of the White House, and were looking anxiously northward for the arrival
of the men on whose prompt service the safety of the capital was to
depend. I have myself stood in Lincoln's old study, the windows of which
overlook the Potomac, and have recalled to mind the fearful pressure of
anxiety that must have weighed upon the President during those long
days; as looking across the river, he could trace by the smoke the
picket lines of the Virginia troops. He must have thought of the
possibility that he was to be the last President of the United States,
that the torch handed over to him by the faltering hands of his
predecessor was to expire while he was responsible for the flame. The
immediate tension was finally broken by the appearance of the weary and
battered companies of the Massachusetts troops and the arrival two days
later, by the way of Annapolis, of the New York Seventh with an
additional battalion from Boston.

It was, however, not only in April, 1861, that the capital was in peril.
The anxiety of the President (never for himself but only for his
responsibilities) was to be repeated in July, 1863, when Lee was in
Maryland, and in July, 1864, at the time of Early's raid.

We may remember the peculiar burdens that come upon the
commander-in-chief through his position at the rear of the armies he is
directing. The rear of a battle is, even in the time of victory, a place
of demoralising influence. It takes a man of strong nerve not to lose
heart when the only people with whom he is in immediate contact are
those who through disability or discouragement are making their way to
the rear. The sutlers, the teamsters, the wounded men, the panic-struck
(and with the best of soldiers certain groups do lose heart from time to
time, men who in another action when started right are ready to take
their full share of the fighting)--these are the groups that in any
action are streaming to the rear. It is impossible not to be affected by
the undermining of their spirits and of their hopefulness. If the battle
is going wrongly, if in addition to those who are properly making their
way to the rear, there come also bodies of troops pushed out of their
position who have lost heart and who have lost faith in their
commanders, the pressure towards demoralisation is almost irresistible.

We may recall that during the entire four years of War, Lincoln, the
commander-in-chief, was always in the rear. Difficult as was the task of
the men who led columns into action, of the generals in the field who
had the immediate responsibility for the direction of those columns and
of the fighting line, it was in no way to be compared with the pressure
and sadness of the burden of the man who stood back of all the lines,
and to whom came all the discouragements, the complaints, the growls,
the criticisms, the requisitions or demands for resources that were not
available, the reports of disasters, sometimes exaggerated and
sometimes unduly smoothed over, the futile suggestions, the conflicting
counsels, the indignant protests, the absurd schemes, the self-seeking
applications, that poured into the White House from all points of the
field of action and from all parts of the Border States and of the
North. The man who during four years could stand that kind of battering
and pressure and who, instead of having his hopefulness crushed out of
him, instead of losing heart or power of direction or the full control
of his responsibilities, steadily developed in patience, in strength, in
width of nature, and in the wisdom of experience, so that he was able
not only to keep heart firm and mind clear but to give to the soldiers
in the front and to the nation behind the soldiers the influence of his
great heart and clear mind and of his firm purpose, that man had within
him the nature of the hero. Selected in time of need to bear the burdens
of the nation, he was able so to fulfil his responsibilities that he
takes place in the world's history as a leader of men.

In July, 1861, one of the special problems to be adjusted was the
attitude of the Border States. Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West
Virginia had not been willing at the outset to cast in their lot with
the South, but they were not prepared to give any assured or active
support to the authority of the national government. The Governor and
the Legislature of Kentucky issued a proclamation of neutrality; they
demanded that the soil of the State should be respected and that it
should not be traversed by armed forces from either side. The Governor
of Missouri, while not able to commit the State to secession, did have
behind him what was possibly a majority of the citizens in the policy of
attempting to prevent the Federal troops from entering the State.
Maryland, or at least eastern Maryland, was sullen and antagonistic.
Thousands of the Marylanders had in fact already made their way into
Virginia for service with the Confederacy. On the other hand, there were
also thousands of loyal citizens in these States who were prepared,
under proper guidance and conservative management, to give their own
direct aid to the cause of nationality. In the course of the succeeding
two years, the Border States sent into the field in the Union ranks some
fifty thousand men. At certain points of the conflict, the presence of
these Union men of Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, and Missouri was the
deciding factor. While these men were willing to fight for the Union,
they were strongly opposed to being used for the destruction of slavery
and for the freeing of the blacks. The acceptance, therefore, of the
policy that was pressed by the extreme anti-slavery group, for immediate
action in regard to the freeing of the slaves, would have meant at once
the dissatisfaction of this great body of loyalists important in number
and particularly important on account of their geographical position.
Lincoln was able, although with no little difficulty, to hold back the
pressure of Northern sentiment in regard to anti-slavery action until
the course of the War had finally committed the loyalists of the Border
States to the support of the Union. For the support of this policy, it
became necessary to restrain certain of the leaders in the field who
were mixing up civil and constitutional matters with their military
responsibilities. Proclamations issued by Fremont in Missouri and later
by Hunter in South Carolina, giving freedom to the slaves within the
territory of their departments, were promptly and properly disavowed.
Said Lincoln: "A general cannot be permitted to make laws for the
district in which he happens to have an army."

The difficulties in regard to the matter of slavery during the war
brought Lincoln into active correspondence with men like Beecher and
Greeley, anti-slavery leaders who enjoyed a large share of popular
confidence and support. In November, 1861, Lincoln says of Greeley: "His
backing is as good as that of an army of one hundred thousand men."
There could be no question of the earnest loyalty of Horace Greeley.
Under his management, the New York _Tribune_ had become a great force in
the community. The paper represented perhaps more nearly than any paper
in the country the purpose and the policy of the new Republican party.
Unfortunately, Mr. Greeley's judgment and width of view did not develop
with his years and with the increasing influence of his journal. He
became unduly self-sufficient; he undertook not only to lay down a
policy for the guidance of the constitutional responsibilities of the
government, but to dictate methods for the campaigns. The _Tribune_
articles headed "On to Richmond!" while causing irritation to commanders
in the field and confusion in the minds of quiet citizens at home, were
finally classed with the things to be laughed at. In the later years of
the War, the influence of the _Tribune_ declined very considerably.
Henry J. Raymond with his newly founded _Times_ succeeded to some of the
power as a journalist that had been wielded by Greeley.

In November, 1861, occurred an incident which for a time threatened a
very grave international complication, a complication that would, if
unwisely handled, have determined the fate of the Republic. Early in the
year, the Confederate government had sent certain representatives across
the Atlantic to do what might be practicable to enlist the sympathies of
European governments, or of individuals in these governments, to make a
market for the Confederate cotton bonds, to arrange for the purchase of
supplies for the army and navy, and to secure the circulation of
documents presenting the case of the South. Mr. Yancey of Mississippi
was the best-known of this first group of emissaries. With him was
associated Judge Mann of Virginia and it was Mann who in November, 1861,
was in charge of the London office of the Confederacy. In this month,
Mr. Davis appointed as successor to Mann, Mr. Mason of Virginia, to whom
was given a more formal authorisation of action. At the same time, Judge
Slidell of Louisiana was appointed as the representative to France.
Mason and Slidell made their way to Jamaica and sailed from Jamaica to
Liverpool in the British mail steamer _Trent_. Captain Charles Wilkes,
in the United States frigate _San Jacinto_, had been watching the West
Indies waters with reference to blockade runners and to Wilkes came
knowledge of the voyage of the two emissaries. Wilkes took the
responsibility of stopping the _Trent_ when she was a hundred miles or
more out of Kingston and of taking from her as prisoners the two
commissioners. The commissioners were brought to Boston and were there
kept under arrest awaiting the decision from Washington as to their
status. This stopping on the high seas of a British steamer brought out
a great flood of indignation in Great Britain. It gave to Palmerston and
Russell, who were at that time in charge of the government, the
opportunity for which they had been looking to place on the side of the
Confederacy the weight of the influence of Great Britain. It
strengthened the hopes of Louis Napoleon for carrying out, in
conjunction with Great Britain, a scheme that he had formulated under
which France was to secure a western empire in Mexico, leaving England
to do what she might find convenient in the adjustment of the affairs of
the so-called United States.

The first report secured from the law officers of the Crown took the
ground that the capture was legal under international law and under the
practice of Great Britain itself. This report was, however, pushed to
one side, and Palmerston drafted a demand for the immediate surrender of
the commissioners. This demand was so worded that a self-respecting
government would have had great difficulty in assenting to it without
risk of forfeiting support with its own citizens. It was in fact
intended to bring about a state of war. Under the wise influence of
Prince Albert, Queen Victoria refused to give her approval to the
document. It was reworded by Albert in such fashion as to give to the
government of the United States an opportunity for adjustment without
loss of dignity. Albert was clear in his mind that Great Britain ought
not to be committed to war for the destruction of the great Republic of
the West and for the establishment of a state of which the corner-stone
was slavery. Fortunately, Victoria was quite prepared to accept in this
matter Albert's judgment. Palmerston protested and threatened
resignation, but finally submitted.

When the news of the capture of the commissioners came to Washington,
Seward for once was in favour of a conservative rather than a truculent
course of action. He advised that the commissioners should be
surrendered at once rather than to leave to Great Britain the
opportunity for making a dictatorial demand. Lincoln admitted the risk
of such demand and the disadvantage of making the surrender under
pressure, but he took the ground that if the United States waited for
the British contention, a certain diplomatic advantage could be gained.
When the demand came, Lincoln was able, with a rewording (not for the
first time) of Seward's despatch, to take the ground that the government
of the United States was "well pleased that Her Majesty's government
should have finally accepted the old-time American contention that
vessels of peace should not be searched on the high seas by vessels of
war." It may be recalled that the exercise of the right of search had
been one of the most important of the grievances which had brought about
the War of 1812-1814. In the discussion of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814,
the English and American commissioners, while agreeing that this right
of search must be given up, had not been able to arrive at a form of
words, satisfactory to both parties, for its revocation. Both sets of
commissioners were very eager to bring their proceedings to a close. The
Americans could of course not realise that if they had waited a few
weeks the news of the battle of New Orleans, fought in January, 1815,
would have greatly strengthened their position. It was finally agreed
"as between gentlemen" that the right of search should be no longer
exercised by Great Britain. This right was, however, not formally
abrogated until December, 1861, nearly half a century later. This little
diplomatic triumph smoothed over for the public of the North the
annoyance of having to accept the British demand. It helped to
strengthen the administration, which in this first year of the War was
by no means sure of its foundations. It strengthened also the opinion of
citizens generally in their estimate of the wise management and
tactfulness of the President.

Some of the most serious of the perplexities that came upon Lincoln
during the first two years of the War were the result of the peculiar
combination of abilities and disabilities that characterised General
McClellan. McClellan's work prior to the War had been that of an
engineer. He had taken high rank at West Point and later, resigning from
the army, had rendered distinguished service in civil engineering. At
the time of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, McClellan was president of the
Illinois Central Railroad. He was a close friend and backer of Douglas
and he had done what was practicable with the all-important machinery
of the railroad company to render comfortable the travelling of his
candidate and to insure his success. Returning to the army with the
opening of the War, he had won success in a brief campaign in Virginia
in which he was opposed by a comparatively inexperienced officer and by
a smaller force than his own. Placed in command of the army of the
Potomac shortly after the Bull Run campaign, he had shown exceptional
ability in bringing the troops into a state of organisation. He was
probably the best man in the United States to fit an army for action.
There were few engineer officers in the army who could have rendered
better service in the shaping of fortifications or in the construction
of an entrenched position. He showed later that he was not a bad leader
for a defeated army in the supervision of the retreat. He had, however,
no real capacity for leadership in an aggressive campaign. His
disposition led him to be full of apprehension of what the other fellow
was doing. He suffered literally from nightmares in which he exaggerated
enormously the perils in his paths, making obstacles where none existed,
multiplying by two or by three the troops against him, insisting upon
the necessity of providing not only for probable contingencies but for
very impossible contingencies. He was never ready for an advance and he
always felt proudly triumphant, after having come into touch with the
enemy, that he had accomplished the task of saving his army.

The only thing about which he was neither apprehensive nor doubtful was
his ability as a leader, whether military or political. While he found
it difficult to impress his will upon an opponent in the field,
he was very sturdy with his pen in laying down the law to the
Commander-in-chief (the President) and in emphasising the importance of
his own views not only in things military but in regard to the whole
policy of the government. The peculiarity about the nightmares and
miscalculations of McClellan was that they persisted long after the data
for their correction were available. In a book brought into print years
after the War, when the Confederate rosters were easily accessible in
Washington, McClellan did not hesitate to make the same statements in
regard to the numbers of the Confederate forces opposed to him that he
had brought into the long series of complaining letters to Lincoln in
which he demanded reinforcements that did not exist.

The records now show that at the time of the slow advance of
McClellan's army by the Williamsburg Peninsula, General Magruder had
been able, with a few thousand men and with dummy guns made of logs, to
give the impression that a substantial army was blocking the way to
Richmond. McClellan's advance was, therefore, made with the utmost
"conservatism," enabling General Johnston to collect back of Magruder
the army that was finally to drive McClellan back to his base. It is
further in evidence from the later records that when some weeks later
General Johnston concentrated his army at Gaines's Mill upon Porter, who
was separated from McClellan by the Chickahominy, there was but an
inconsiderable force between McClellan and Richmond.

At the close of the seven days' retreat, McClellan, who had with a
magnificent army thrown away a series of positions, writes to Lincoln
that he (Lincoln) "had sacrificed the army." In another letter,
McClellan lays down the laws of a national policy with a completeness
and a dictatorial utterance such as would hardly have been justified if
he had succeeded through his own military genius in bringing the War to
a close, but which, coming from a defeated general, was ridiculous
enough. Lincoln's correspondence with McClellan brings out the infinite
patience of the President, and his desire to make sure that before
putting the General to one side as a vainglorious incompetent, he had
been allowed the fullest possible test. Lincoln passes over without
reference and apparently without thought the long series of impertinent
impersonalities of McClellan. In this correspondence, as in all his
correspondence, the great captain showed himself absolutely devoted to
the cause he had in mind. Early in the year, months before the
Peninsular campaign, when McClellan had had the army in camp for a
series of months without expressing the least intention of action,
Lincoln had in talking with the Secretary of War used the expression:
"If General McClellan does not want to use the army just now, I
would like to borrow it for a while." That was as far as the
Commander-in-chief ever went in criticism of the General in the field.
While operations in Virginia, conducted by a vacillating and
vainglorious engineer officer, gave little encouragement, something was
being done to advance the cause of the Union in the West. In 1862, a
young man named Grant, who had returned to the army and who had been
trusted with the command of a few brigades, captured Fort Donelson and
thus opened the Tennessee River to the advance of the army southward.
The capture of Fort Donelson was rendered possible by the use of mortars
and was the first occasion in the war in which mortars had been brought
to bear. I chanced to come into touch with the record of the preparation
of the mortars that were supplied to Grant's army at Cairo. Sometime in
the nineties I was sojourning with the late Abram S. Hewitt at his home
in Ringwood, New Jersey. I noticed, in looking out from the piazza, a
mortar, properly mounted on a mortar-bed and encompassed by some yards
of a great chain, placed on the slope overlooking the little valley
below, as if to protect the house. I asked my host what was the history
of this piece of ordnance. "Well," he said, "the chain you might have
some personal interest in. It is a part of the chain your great-uncle
Israel placed across the river at West Point for the purpose of blocking
or at least of checking the passage of the British vessels. The chain
was forged here in the Ringwood foundry and I have secured a part of it
as a memento. The mortar was given to me by President Lincoln, as also
was the mortar-bed." This report naturally brought out the further
question as to the grounds for the gift. "I made this mortar-bed," said
Hewitt, "together with some others, and Lincoln was good enough to say
that I had in this work rendered a service to the State. It was in
December, 1861, when the expedition against Fort Donelson and Fort Henry
was being organised at Fort Cairo under the leadership of General Grant.
Grant reported that the field-pieces at his command would not be
effective against the earthworks that were to be shelled and made
requisition for mortars." The mortar I may explain to my unmilitary
readers is a short carronade of large bore and with a comparatively
short range. The mortar with a heavy charge throws its missile at a
sharp angle upwards, so that, instead of attempting to go through an
earthwork, it is thrown into the enclosure. The recoil from a mortar is
very heavy, necessitating the construction of a foundation called a
mortar-bed which is not only solid but which possesses a certain amount
of elasticity through which the shock of the recoil is absorbed. It is
only through the use of such a bed that a mortar can be fired from the
deck of a vessel. Without such, protection, the shock would smash
through the deck and might send the craft to the bottom.

The Ordnance Department reported to the Secretary of War and the
Secretary to Lincoln that mortars were on hand but that no mortar-beds
were available. It was one of the many cases in which the unpreparedness
of the government had left a serious gap in the equipment. The further
report was given to Lincoln that two or three months' time would be
required to manufacture the thirty mortar-beds that were needed. A delay
of any such period would have blocked the entire purpose of Grant's
expedition. In his perplexity, Lincoln remembered that in his famous
visit to New York two years before, he had been introduced to Mr.
Hewitt, "a well-known iron merchant," as "a man who does things."
Lincoln telegraphed to Hewitt asking if Hewitt could make thirty
mortar-beds and how long it would take. Hewitt told me that the message
reached him on a Saturday evening at the house of a friend. He wired an
acknowledgment with the word that he would send a report on the
following day. Sunday morning he looked up the ordnance officer of New
York for the purpose of ascertaining where the pattern mortar-bed was
kept. "It was rather important, Major," said Hewitt to me, "that I
should have an opportunity of examining this pattern for I had never
seen a mortar-bed in my life, but this of course I did not admit to the
ordnance officer." The pattern required was, it seemed, in the armory
at Springfield. Hewitt wired to Lincoln asking that the bed should be
forwarded by the night boat to him in New York. Hewitt and his men met
the boat, secured the pattern bed, and gave some hours to puzzling over
the construction. At noon on Monday, Hewitt wired to Lincoln that he
could make thirty mortar-beds in thirty days. In another hour he
received by wire instructions from Lincoln to go ahead. In twenty-eight
days he had the thirty mortar-beds in readiness; and Tom Scott, who had
at the time, very fortunately for the country, taken charge of the
military transportation, had provided thirty flat-cars for the transit
of the mortar-beds to Cairo. The train was addressed to "U.S. Grant,
Cairo," and each car contained a notification, painted in white on a
black ground, "not to be switched on the penalty of death." That train
got through and as other portions of the equipment had also been
delayed, the mortars were not so very late. Six schooners, each equipped
with a mortar, were hurried up the river to support the attack of the
army on Fort Donelson. A first assault had been made and had failed. The
field artillery was, as Grant had anticipated, ineffective against the
earthworks, while the fire of the Confederate infantry, protected by
their works, had proved most severe. The instant, however, that from
behind a point on the river below the fort shells were thrown from the
schooners into the inner circle of the fortifications, the Confederate
commander, Floyd, recognised that the fort was untenable. He slipped
away that night leaving his junior, General Buckner, to make terms with
Grant, and those terms were "unconditional surrender," which were later
so frequently connected with the initials of U.S.G.

Buckner's name comes again into history in a pleasant fashion. Years
after the War, when General Grant had, through the rascality of a Wall
Street "pirate," lost his entire savings, Buckner, himself a poor man,
wrote begging Grant to accept as a loan, "to be repaid at his
convenience," a check enclosed for one thousand dollars. Other friends
came to the rescue of Grant, and through the earnings of his own pen, he
was before his death able to make good all indebtedness and to leave a
competency to his widow. The check sent by Buckner was not used, but the
prompt friendliness was something not to be forgotten.

Hewitt's mortar-beds were used again a few weeks later for the capture
of Island Number Ten and they also proved serviceable, used in the same
fashion from the decks of schooners, in the capture of Forts Jackson and
St. Philip which blocked the river below New Orleans. It was only
through the fire from these schooners, which were moored behind a point
on the river below the forts, that it was possible to reach the inner
circle of the works.

I asked Hewitt whether he had seen Lincoln after this matter of the
mortar-beds. "Yes," said Hewitt, "I saw him a year later and Lincoln's
action was characteristic. I was in Washington and thought it was proper
to call and pay my respects. I was told on reaching the White House that
it was late in the day and that the waiting-room was very full and that
I probably should not be reached. 'Well,' I said, 'in that case, I will
simply ask you to take in my card.' No sooner had the card been
delivered than the door of the study opened and Lincoln appeared
reaching out both hands. 'Where is Mr. Hewitt?' he said; 'I want to see,
I want to thank, the man who does things.' I sat with him for a time, a
little nervous in connection with the number of people who were waiting
outside, but Lincoln would not let me go. Finally he asked, 'What are
you in Washington for?' 'Well, Mr. Lincoln,' said I, 'I have some
business here. I want to get paid for those mortar-beds.' 'What?' said
Lincoln, 'you have not yet got what the nation owes you? That is
disgraceful.' He rang the bell violently and sent an aid for Secretary
Stanton and when the Secretary appeared, he was questioned rather
sharply. 'How about Mr. Hewitt's bill against the War Department? Why
does he have to wait for his money?' 'Well, Mr. Lincoln,' said Stanton,
'the order for those mortar-beds was given rather irregularly. It never
passed through the War Department and consequently the account when
rendered could not receive the approval of any ordnance officer, and
until so approved could not be paid by the Treasury.' 'If,' said
Lincoln, 'I should write on that account an order to have it paid, do
you suppose the Secretary of the Treasury would pay it?' 'I suppose that
he would,' said Stanton. The account was sent for and Lincoln wrote at
the bottom: 'Pay this bill now. A. Lincoln.' 'Now, Mr. Stanton,' said
Lincoln, 'Mr. Hewitt has been very badly treated in this matter and I
want you to take a little pains to see that he gets his money. I am
going to ask you to go over to the Treasury with Mr. Hewitt and to get
the proper signatures on this account so that Mr. Hewitt can carry a
draft with him back to New York.' Stanton, rather reluctantly, accepted
the instruction and," said Hewitt, "he walked with me through the
various departments of the Treasury until the final signature had been
placed on the bill and I was able to exchange this for a Treasury
warrant. I should," said Hewitt, "have been much pleased to retain the
bill with that signature of Lincoln beneath the words, 'Pay this now.'

"Towards the end of the War," he continued, "when there was no further
requirement for mortars, I wrote to Mr. Lincoln and asked whether I
might buy a mortar with its bed. Lincoln replied promptly that he had
directed the Ordnance Department to send me mortar and bed with 'the
compliments of the administration.' I am puzzled to think," said Hewitt,
"how that particular item in the accounts of the Ordnance Department was
ever adjusted, but I am very glad to have this reminiscence of the War
and of the President."

Lincoln's relations with McClellan have already been touched upon. There
would not be space in this paper to refer in detail to the action taken
by Lincoln with other army commanders East and West. The problem that
confronted the Commander-in-chief of selecting the right leaders for
this or that undertaking, and of promoting the men who gave evidence of
the greater capacity that was required for the larger armies that were
being placed in the field, was one of no little difficulty. The reader
of history, looking back to-day, with the advantage of the full record
of the careers of the various generals, is tempted to indulge in easy
criticism of the blunders made by the President. Why did the President
put up so long with the vaingloriousness and ineffectiveness of
McClellan? Why should he have accepted even for one brief and
unfortunate campaign the service of an incompetent like Pope? Why was a
slow-minded closet-student like Halleck permitted to fritter away in the
long-drawn-out operations against Corinth the advantage of position and
of force that had been secured by the army of the West? Why was a
political trickster like Butler, with no army experience, or a
well-meaning politician like Banks with still less capacity for the
management of troops, permitted to retain responsibilities in the field,
making blunders that involved waste of life and of resources and the
loss of campaigns? Why were not the real men like Sherman, Grant,
Thomas, McPherson, Sheridan, and others brought more promptly into the
important positions? Why was the army of the South permitted during the
first two years of the War to have so large an advantage in skilled and
enterprising leadership? A little reflection will show how unjust is the
criticism implied through such questions. We know of the incapacity of
the generals who failed and of the effectiveness of those who succeeded,
only through the results of the campaigns themselves. Lincoln could only
study the men as he came to know about them and he experimented first
with one and then with another, doing what seemed to be practicable to
secure a natural selection and the survival of the fittest. Such
watchful supervision and painstaking experimenting was carried out with
infinite patience and with an increasing knowledge both of the
requirements and of the men fitted to fill the requirements.

We must also recall that, Commander-in-chief as he was, Lincoln was not
free to exercise without restriction his own increasingly valuable
judgment in the appointment of the generals. It was necessary to give
consideration to the opinion of the country, that is to say, to the
individual judgments of the citizens whose loyal co-operation was
absolutely essential for the support of the nation's cause. These
opinions of the citizens were expressed sometimes through the appeals of
earnestly loyal governors like Andrew of Massachusetts, or Curtin of
Pennsylvania, and sometimes through the articles of a strenuous editor
like Greeley, whose influence and support it was, of course, all
important to retain. Greeley's absolute ignorance of military conditions
did not prevent him from emphasising with the President and the public
his very decided conclusions in regard to the selection of men and the
conduct of campaigns. In this all-perplexing problem of the shaping of
campaigns, Lincoln had to consider the responsibilities of
representative government. The task would, of course, have been much
easier if he had had power as an autocrat to act on his own decisions
simply. The appointment of Butler and Banks was thought to be necessary
for the purpose of meeting the views of the loyal citizens of so
important a State as Massachusetts, and other appointments, the results
of which were more or less unfortunate, may in like manner be traced to
causes or influences outside of a military or army policy.

General Frank V. Greene, in a paper on Lincoln as Commander-in-chief,
writes in regard to his capacity as a leader as follows:

"As time goes on, Lincoln's fame looms ever larger and larger. Great
statesman, astute politician, clear thinker, classic writer, master of
men, kindly, lovable man,--these are his titles. To these must be
added--military leader. Had he failed in that quality, the others would
have been forgotten. Had peace been made on any terms but those of the
surrender of the insurgent forces and the restoration of the Union,
Lincoln's career would have been a colossal failure and the Emancipation
Proclamation a subject of ridicule. The prime essential was military
success. Lincoln gained it. Judged in the retrospect of nearly half a
century, with his every written word now in print and with all the facts
of the period brought out and placed in proper perspective by the
endless studies, discussions, and arguments of the intervening years, it
becomes clear that, first and last and at all times during his
Presidency, in military affairs his was not only the guiding but the
controlling hand."

It is interesting, as the War progressed, to trace the development of
Lincoln's own military judgment. He was always modest in regard to
matters in which his experience was limited, and during the first twelve
months in Washington, he had comparatively little to say in regard to
the planning or even the supervision of campaigns. His letters, however,
to McClellan and his later correspondence with Burnside, with Hooker,
and with other commanders give evidence of a steadily developing
intelligence in regard to larger military movements. History has shown
that Lincoln's judgment in regard to the essential purpose of a
campaign, and the best methods for carrying out such purpose, was in a
large number of cases decidedly sounder than that of the general in the
field. When he emphasised with McClellan that the true objective was the
Confederate army in the field and not the city of Richmond, he laid down
a principle which seems to us elementary but to which McClellan had been
persistently blinded. Lincoln writes to Hooker: "We have word that the
head of Lee's army is near Martinsburg in the Shenandoah Valley while
you report that you have a substantial force still opposed to you on the
Rappahannock. It appears, therefore that the line must be forty miles
long. The animal is evidently very slim somewhere and it ought to be
possible for you to cut it at some point." Hooker had the same
information but did not draw the same inference.

Apart from Lincoln's work in selecting, and in large measure in
directing, the generals, he had a further important relation with the
army as a whole. We are familiar with the term "the man behind the
gun." It is a truism to say that the gun has little value whether for
offence or for defence unless the man behind it possesses the right kind
of spirit which will infuse and guide his purpose and his action with
the gun. For the long years of the War, the Commander-in-chief was the
man behind all the guns in the field. The men in the front came to have
a realising sense of the infinite patience, the persistent hopefulness,
the steadiness of spirit, the devoted watchfulness of the great captain
in Washington. It was through the spirit of Lincoln that the spirit in
the ranks was preserved during the long months of discouragement and the
many defeats and retreats. The final advance of Grant which ended at
Appomattox, and the triumphant march of Sherman which culminated in the
surrender at Goldsborough of the last of the armies of the Confederacy,
were the results of the inspiration, given alike to soldier and to
general, from the patient and devoted soul of the nation's leader.

In March, 1862, Lincoln received the news of the victory won at Pea
Ridge, in Arkansas, by Curtis and Sigel, a battle which had lasted three
days. The first day was a defeat and our troops were forced back; the
fighting of the second resulted in what might be called a drawn battle;
but on the third, our army broke its way through the enclosing lines,
bringing the heavier loss to the Confederates, and regained its base.
This battle was in a sense typical of much of the fighting of the War.
It was one of a long series of fights which continued for more than one
day. The history of the War presents many instances of battles that
lasted two days, three days, four days, and in one case seven days. It
was difficult to convince the American soldier, on either side of the
line, that he was beaten. The general might lose his head, but the
soldiers, in the larger number of cases, went on fighting until, with a
new leader or with more intelligent dispositions on the part of the
original leader, a first disaster had been repaired. There is no example
in modern history of fighting of such stubborn character, or it is
fairer to say, there was no example until the Russo-Japanese War in
Manchuria. The record shows that European armies, when outgeneralled or
outmanoeuvred, had the habit of retiring from the field, sometimes in
good order, more frequently in a state of demoralisation. The American
soldier fought the thing out because he thought the thing out. The
patience and persistence of the soldier in the field was characteristic
of, and, it may fairly be claimed, was in part due to, the patience and
persistence of the great leader in Washington.



The dark days of 1862 were in April brightened by the all-important news
that Admiral Farragut had succeeded in bringing the Federal fleet, or at
least the leading vessels in this fleet, past the batteries of Forts St.
Philip and Jackson on the Mississippi, and had compelled the surrender
of New Orleans. The opening of the Mississippi River had naturally been
included among the most essential things to be accomplished in the
campaign for the restoration of the national authority. It was of first
importance that the States of the North-west and the enormous contiguous
territory which depended upon the Mississippi for its water connection
with the outer world should not be cut off from the Gulf. The prophecy
was in fact made more than once that in case the States of the South had
succeeded in establishing their independence, there would have come into
existence on the continent not two confederacies, but probably four. The
communities on the Pacific Coast would naturally have been tempted to
set up for themselves, and a similar course might also naturally have
been followed by the great States of the North-west whose interests were
so closely bound up with the waterways running southward. It was
essential that no effort should be spared to bring the loyal States of
the West into control of the line of the Mississippi. More than twelve
months was still required after the capture of New Orleans on the first
of May, 1862, before the surrender of Vicksburg to Grant and of Port
Hudson to Banks removed the final barriers to the Federal control of the
great river. The occupation of the river by the Federals was of
importance in more ways than one. The States to the west of the
river--Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas--were for the first two years of
the War important sources of supplies for the food of the Confederate
army. Corn on the cob or in bags was brought across the river by boats,
while the herds of live cattle were made to swim the stream, and were
then most frequently marched across country to the commissary depots of
the several armies. After the fall of Port Hudson, the connection for
such supplies was practically stopped; although I may recall that even
as late as 1864, the command to which I was attached had the
opportunity of stopping the swimming across the Mississippi of a herd of
cattle that was in transit for the army of General Joe Johnston.

In April, 1862, just after the receipt by Lincoln of the disappointing
news of the first repulse at Vicksburg, he finds time to write a little
autograph note to a boy, "Master Crocker," with thanks for a present of
a white rabbit that the youngster had sent to the President with the
suggestion that perhaps the President had a boy who would be pleased
with it.

During the early part of 1862, Lincoln is giving renewed thought to the
great problem of emancipation. He becomes more and more convinced that
the success of the War calls for definite action on the part of the
administration in the matter of slavery. He was, as before pointed out,
anxious, not only as a matter of justice to loyal citizens, but on the
ground of the importance of retaining for the national cause the support
of the Border States, to act in such manner that the loyal citizens of
these States should be exposed to a minimum loss and to the smallest
possible risk of disaffection. In July, 1862, Lincoln formulated a
proposition for compensated emancipation. It was his idea that the
nation should make payment of an appraised value in freeing the slaves
that were in the ownership of citizens who had remained loyal to the
government. It was his belief that the funds required would be more than
offset by the result in furthering the progress of the War. The daily
expenditure of the government was at the time averaging about a million
and a half dollars a day, and in 1864 it reached two million dollars a
day. If the War could be shortened a few months, a sufficient amount of
money would be saved to offset a very substantial payment to loyal
citizens for the property rights in their slaves.

The men of the Border States were, however, still too bound to the
institution of slavery to be prepared to give their assent to any such
plan. Congress was, naturally, not ready to give support to such a
policy unless it could be made clear that it was satisfactory to the
people most concerned. The result of the unwise stubbornness in this
matter of the loyal citizens of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Maryland was that they were finally obliged to surrender without
compensation the property control in their slaves. When the plan for
compensated emancipation had failed, Lincoln decided that the time had
come for unconditional emancipation. In July, 1862, he prepares the
first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was his judgment, which
was shared by the majority of his Cabinet, that the issue of the
proclamation should, however, be deferred until after some substantial
victory by the armies of the North. It was undesirable to give to such a
step the character of an utterance of despair or even of discouragement.
It seemed evident, however, that the War had brought the country to the
point at which slavery, the essential cause of the cleavage between the
States, must be removed. The bringing to an end of the national
responsibility for slavery would consolidate national opinion throughout
the States of the North and would also strengthen the hands of the
friends of the Union in England where the charge had repeatedly been
made that the North was fighting, not against slavery or for freedom of
any kind, but for domination. The proclamation was held until after the
battle of Antietam in September, 1862, and was then issued to take
effect on the first of January, 1863. It did produce the hoped-for
results. The cause of the North was now placed on a consistent
foundation. It was made clear that when the fight for nationality had
reached a successful termination, there was to be no further national
responsibility for the great crime against civilisation. The management
of the contrabands, who were from week to week making their way into the
lines of the Northern armies, was simplified. There was no further
question of holding coloured men subject to the possible claim of a
possibly loyal master. The work of organising coloured troops, which had
begun in Massachusetts some months earlier in the year, was now pressed
forward with some measure of efficiency. Boston sent to the front the
54th and 55th Massachusetts regiments composed of coloured troops and
led by such men as Shaw and Hallowell. The first South Carolina coloured
regiment was raised and placed under the command of Colonel Higginson.

I had myself some experience in Louisiana with the work of moulding
plantation hands into disciplined soldiers and I was surprised at the
promptness of the transformation. A contraband who made his way into the
camp from the old plantation with the vague idea that he was going to
secure freedom was often in appearance but an unpromising specimen out
of which to make a soldier. He did not know how to hold himself upright
or to look the other man in the face. His gait was shambly, his
perceptions dull. It was difficult for him either to hear clearly, or to
understand when heard, the word of instruction or command. When,
however, the plantation rags had been disposed of and (possibly after a
souse in the Mississippi) the contraband had been put into the blue
uniform and had had the gun placed on his shoulder, he developed at once
from a "chattel" to a man. He was still, for a time at least, clumsy and
shambly. The understanding of the word of command did not come at once
and his individual action, if by any chance he should be left to act
alone, was, as a rule, less intelligent, less to be depended upon, than
that of the white man. But he stood up straight in the garb of manhood,
looked you fairly in the face, showed by his expression that he was
anxious for the privilege of fighting for freedom and for citizenship,
and in Louisiana, and throughout the whole territory of the War, every
black regiment that came into engagement showed that it could be
depended upon. Before the War was closed, some two hundred thousand
negroes had been brought into the ranks of the Federal army and their
service constituted a very valuable factor in the final outcome of the
campaigns. A battle like that at Milliken's Bend, Mississippi,
inconsiderable in regard to the numbers engaged, was of distinctive
importance in showing what the black man was able and willing to do when
brought under fire for the first time. A coloured regiment made up of
men who only a few weeks before had been plantation hands, had been left
on a point of the river to be picked up by an expected transport. The
regiment was attacked by a Confederate force of double or treble the
number, the Southerners believing that there would be no difficulty in
driving into the river this group of recent slaves. On the first volley,
practically all of the officers (who were white) were struck down and
the loss with the troops was also very heavy. The negroes, who had but
made a beginning with their education as soldiers, appeared, however,
not to have learned anything about the conditions for surrender and they
simply fought on until no one was left standing. The percentage of loss
to the numbers engaged was the heaviest of any action in the War. The
Southerners, in their contempt for the possibility of negroes doing any
real fighting, had in their rushing attack exposed themselves much and
had themselves suffered seriously. When, in April, 1865, after the
forcing back of Lee's lines, the hour came, so long waited for and so
fiercely fought for, to take possession of Richmond, there was a certain
poetic justice in allowing the negro division, commanded by General
Weitzel, to head the column of advance.

Through 1862, and later, we find much correspondence from Lincoln in
regard to the punishment of deserters. The army penalty for desertion
when the lines were in front of the enemy, was death. Lincoln found it
very difficult, however, to approve of a sentence of death for any
soldier. Again and again he writes, instructing the general in the field
to withhold the execution until he, Lincoln, had had an opportunity of
passing upon the case. There is a long series of instances in which,
sometimes upon application from the mother, but more frequently through
the personal impression gained by himself of the character of the
delinquent, Lincoln decided to pardon youngsters who had, in his
judgment, simply failed to realise their full responsibility as
soldiers. Not a few of these men, permitted to resume their arms, gained
distinction later for loyal service.

In December, 1862, Jefferson Davis issued an order which naturally
attracted some attention, directing that General Benjamin F. Butler,
when captured, should be "reserved for execution." Butler never fell
into the hands of the Confederates and it is probable that if he had
been taken prisoner, the order would have remained an empty threat. From
Lincoln came the necessary rejoinder that a Confederate officer of equal
rank would be held as hostage for the safety of any Northern general
who, as prisoner, might not be protected under the rules of war.

Lincoln's correspondence during 1862, a year which was in many ways the
most discouraging of the sad years of the war, shows how much he had to
endure in the matter of pressure of unrequested advice and of undesired
counsel from all kinds of voluntary advisers and active-minded citizens,
all of whom believed that their views were important, if not essential,
for the salvation of the state. In September, 1862, Lincoln writes to a

"I am approached with the most opposite opinions expressed on the part
of religious men, each of whom is equally certain that he represents the
divine will."

To one of these delegations of ministers, Lincoln gave a response which
while homely in its language must have presented to his callers a vivid
picture of the burdens that were being carried by the leader of the

    "Gentlemen," he said, "suppose all the property you possess were in
    gold, and you had placed it in the hands of Blondin to carry across
    the Niagara River on a rope. With slow, cautious, steady steps he
    walks the rope, bearing your all. Would you shake the cable and keep
    shouting to him, 'Blondin, stand up a little straighter! Blondin,
    stoop a little more; go a little faster; lean more to the south! Now
    lean a little more to north! Would that be your behaviour in such an
    emergency? No, you would hold your breath, every one of you, as well
    as your tongues. You would keep your hands off until he was safe on
    the other side."

Another delegation, which had been urging some months in advance of what
Lincoln believed to be the fitting time for the issuing of the
Proclamation of Emancipation, called asking that there should be no
further delay in the action. One of the ministers, as he was retiring,
turned and said to Lincoln: "What you have said to us, Mr. President,
compels me to say to you in reply that it is a message to you from our
Divine Master, through me, commanding you, sir, to open the doors of
bondage, that the slave may go free!" Lincoln replied: "That may be,
sir, for I have studied this question by night and by day, for weeks
and for months, but if it is, as you say, a message from your Divine
Master, is it not odd that the only channel He could send it by was that
roundabout route through the wicked city of Chicago?"

Another version of the story omits the reference to Chicago, and makes
Lincoln's words:

"I hope it will not be irreverent for me to say that if it is probable
that God would reveal His will to others on a point so connected with my
duty, it might be supposed He would reveal it directly to me....
Whatever shall appear to be God's will, I will do."

In September, 1862, General Lee carried his army into Maryland,
threatening Baltimore and Washington. It is probable that the purpose of
this invasion was more political than military. The Confederate
correspondence shows that Davis was at the time hopeful of securing the
intervention of Great Britain and France, and it was natural to assume
that the prospects of such intervention would be furthered if it could
be shown that the Southern army, instead of being engaged in the defence
of its own capital, was actually threatening Washington and was possibly
strong enough to advance farther north.

General Pope had, as a result of his defeat at the second Bull Run, in
July, 1862, lost the confidence of the President and of the country. The
defeat alone would not necessarily have undermined his reputation, which
had been that of an effective soldier. He had, however, the fatal
quality, too common with active Americans, of talking too much, whether
in speech or in the written word, of promising things that did not come
off, and of emphasising his high opinion of his own capacity. Under the
pressure of the new peril indicated by the presence of Lee's troops
within a few miles of the capital, Lincoln put to one side his own grave
doubts in regard to the effectiveness and trustworthiness of McClellan
and gave McClellan one further opportunity to prove his ability as a
soldier. The personal reflections and aspersions against his
Commander-in-chief of which McClellan had been guilty, weighed with
Lincoln not at all; the President's sole thought was at this time, as
always, how with the material available could the country best be

McClellan had his chance (and to few men is it given to have more than
one great opportunity) and again he threw it away. His army was stronger
than that of Lee and he had the advantage of position and (for the
first time against this particular antagonist) of nearness to his base
of supplies. Lee had been compelled to divide his army in order to get
it promptly into position on the north side of the Potomac. McClellan's
tardiness sacrificed Harper's Ferry (which, on September 15th, was
actually surrounded by Lee's advance) with the loss of twelve thousand
prisoners. Through an exceptional piece of good fortune, there came into
McClellan's hands a despatch showing the actual position of the
different divisions of Lee's army and giving evidence that the two wings
were so far separated that they could not be brought together within
twenty-four hours. The history now makes clear that for twenty-four
hours McClellan had the safety of Lee's army in his hands, but those
precious hours were spent by McClellan in "getting ready," that is to
say, in vacillating.

Finally, there came the trifling success at South Mountain and the drawn
battle of Antietam. Lee's army was permitted to recross the Potomac with
all its trains and even with the captured prisoners, and McClellan lay
waiting through the weeks for something to turn up.

A letter written by Lincoln on the 13th of October shows a wonderfully
accurate understanding of military conditions, and throws light also
upon the character and the methods of thought of the two men:

    "Are you not overcautious when you assume that you cannot do what
    the enemy is constantly doing? Should you not claim to be at least
    his equal in prowess, and act upon the claim? As I understand, you
    telegraphed General Halleck that you cannot subsist your army at
    Winchester unless the railroad from Harper's Ferry to that point be
    put in working order. But the enemy does now subsist his army at
    Winchester, at a distance nearly twice as great as you would have to
    do, without the railroad last named. He now waggons from Culpeper
    Court House, which is just about twice as far as you would have to
    do from Harper's Ferry. He is certainly not more than half as well
    provided with waggons as you are.... Again, one of the standard
    maxims of war, as you know, is to 'operate upon the enemy's
    communications without exposing your own.' You seem to act as if
    this applies against you, but cannot apply it in your favour. Change
    positions with the enemy, and think you not he would break your
    communication with Richmond in twenty-four hours?... You are now
    nearer Richmond than the enemy is by the route you can and he must
    take. Why can you not reach there before him, unless you admit that
    he is more than your equal on a march? His route is the arc of a
    circle, while yours is the chord. The roads are as good on your side
    as on his ... If he should move northward, I would follow him
    closely, holding his communications. If he should prevent our
    seizing his communications and move towards Richmond, I would press
    closely to him, fight him, if a favourable opportunity should
    present, and at least try to beat him to Richmond on the inside
    track. I say 'Try'; if we never try, we shall never succeed.... If
    we cannot beat him when he bears the wastage of coming to us, we
    never can when we bear the wastage of going to him.... As we must
    beat him somewhere or fail finally, we can do it, if at all, easier
    near to us than far away.... It is all easy if our troops march as
    well as the enemy, and it is unmanly to say that they cannot do it."

The patience of Lincoln and that of the country behind Lincoln were at
last exhausted. McClellan was ordered to report to his home in New
Jersey and the General who had come to the front with such flourish of
trumpets and had undertaken to dictate a national policy at a time when
he was not able to keep his own army in position, retires from the
history of the War.

The responsibility again comes to the weary Commander-in-chief of
finding a leader who could lead, in whom the troops and the country
would have confidence, and who could be trusted to do his simple duty as
a general in the field without confusing his military responsibilities
with political scheming. The choice first fell upon Burnside. Burnside
was neither ambitious nor self-confident. He was a good division
general, but he doubted his ability for the general command. Burnside
loyally accepts the task, does the best that was within his power and,
pitted against a commander who was very much his superior in general
capacity as well as in military skill, he fails. Once more has the
President on his hands the serious problem of finding the right man.
This time the commission was given to General Joseph Hooker. With the
later records before us, it is easy to point out that this selection
also was a blunder. There were better men in the group of
major-generals. Reynolds, Meade, or Hancock would doubtless have made
more effective use of the power of the army of the Potomac, but in
January, 1863, the relative characters and abilities of these generals
were not so easily to be determined. Lincoln's letter to Hooker was
noteworthy, not only in the indication that it gives of Hooker's
character but as an example of the President's width of view and of his
method of coming into the right relation with men. He writes:

    "You have confidence in yourself, which is a valuable if not an
    indispensable quality.... I think, however, that during General
    Burnside's command of the army, you have taken counsel of your
    ambition and have thwarted him as much as you could, in which you
    did a great wrong to the country and to a most meritorious and
    honourable brother officer. I have heard of your recently saying
    that both the army and the government needed a dictator. Of course
    it was not for this but in spite of it that I have given you the
    command. Only those generals who gain success can set up as
    dictators. What I now ask of you is military success and I will risk
    the dictatorship. The government will support you to the best of its
    ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will do
    for all its commanders.... Beware of rashness, but with energy and
    sleepless vigilance go forward and give us victories."

Hooker, like Burnside, undoubtedly did the best that he could. He was a
loyal patriot and had shown himself a good division commander. It is
probable, however, that the limit of his ability as a general in the
field was the management of an army corps; he seems to have been
confused in the attempt to direct the movements of the larger body. At
Chancellorsville, he was clearly outwitted by his opponents, Lee and
Jackson. The men of the army of the Potomac fought steadily as always
but with the discouraging feeling that the soldiers on the other side of
the line had the advantage of better brain power behind them. It is
humiliating to read in the life of Jackson the reply given by him to Lee
when Lee questioned the safety of the famous march planned by Jackson
across the front of the Federal line. Said Lee: "There are several
points along the line of your proposed march at which your column could
be taken in flank with disastrous results." "But, General Lee," replies
Jackson, "we must surely in planning any military movements take into
account the personality of the leaders to whom we are opposed."



Chancellorsville was fought and lost, and again, under political
pressure from Richmond rather than with any hope of advantage on simple
military lines, Lee leads his army to an invasion of the North. For this
there were at the time several apparent advantages; the army of the
Potomac had been twice beaten and, while by no means demoralised, was
discouraged and no longer had faith in its commander. There was much
inevitable disappointment throughout the North that, so far from making
progress in the attempt to restore the authority of the government, the
national troops were on the defensive but a few miles from the national
capital. The Confederate correspondence from London and from Paris gave
fresh hopes for the long expected intervention.

Lee's army was cleverly withdrawn from Hooker's front and was carried
through western Maryland into Pennsylvania by the old line of the
Shenandoah Valley and across the Potomac at Falling Waters. Hooker
reports to Lincoln under date of June 4th that the army or an army is
still in his front on the line of the Rappahannock, Lincoln writes to
Hooker under date of June 5th, "We have report that Lee's army is moving
westward and that a large portion of it is already to the west of the
Blue Ridge. The 'bull' [Lee's army] is across the fence and it surely
ought to be possible to worry him." On June 14th, Lincoln writes again,
reporting to Hooker that Lee with the body of his troops is approaching
the Potomac at a point forty miles away from the line of the
entrenchments on the Rappahannock. "The animal [Lee's army] is extended
over a line of forty miles. It must be very slim somewhere. Can you not
cut it?" The phrases are not in military form but they give evidence of
sound military judgment. Hooker was unable to grasp the opportunity, and
realising this himself, he asked to be relieved. The troublesome and
anxious honour of the command of the army now falls upon General Meade.
He takes over the responsibility at a time when Lee's army is already
safely across the Potomac and advancing northward, apparently towards
Philadelphia. His troops are more or less scattered and no definite
plan of campaign appears to have been formulated. The events of the next
three weeks constitute possibly the best known portion of the War. Meade
shows good energy in breaking up his encampment along the Rappahannock
and getting his column on to the road northward. Fortunately, the army
of the Potomac for once has the advantage of the interior line so that
Meade is able to place his army in a position that protects at once
Washington on the south-west, Baltimore on the east, and Philadelphia on
the north-east. We can, however, picture to ourselves the anxiety that
must have rested upon the Commander-in-chief in Washington during the
weeks of the campaign and during the three days of the great battle
which was fought on Northern soil and miles to the north of the Northern
capital. If, on that critical third day of July, the Federal lines had
been broken and the army disorganised, there was nothing that could
prevent the national capital from coming into the control of Lee's army.
The surrender of Washington meant the intervention of France and
England, meant the failure of the attempt to preserve the nation's
existence, meant that Abraham Lincoln would go down to history as the
last President of the United States, the President under whose
leadership the national history had come to a close. But the Federal
lines were not broken. The third day of Gettysburg made clear that with
equality of position and with substantial equality in numbers there was
no better fighting material in the army of the grey than in the army of
the blue. The advance of Pickett's division to the crest of Cemetery
Ridge marked the high tide of the Confederate cause. Longstreet's men
were not able to prevail against the sturdy defence of Hancock's second
corps and when, on the Fourth of July, Lee's army took up its line of
retreat to the Potomac, leaving behind it thousands of dead and wounded,
the calm judgment of Lee and his associates must have made clear to them
that the cause of the Confederacy was lost. The army of Northern
Virginia had shattered itself against the defences of the North, and
there was for Lee no reserve line. For a long series of months to come,
Lee, magnificent engineer officer that he was, and with a sturdy
persistency which withstood all disaster, was able to maintain defensive
lines in the Wilderness, at Cold Harbor, and in front of Petersburg, but
as his brigades crumbled away under the persistent and unceasing attacks
of the army of the Potomac, he must have realised long before the day
of Appomattox that his task was impossible. What Gettysburg decided in
the East was confirmed with equal emphasis by the fall of Vicksburg in
the West. On the Fourth of July, 1863, the day on which Lee, defeated
and discouraged, was taking his shattered army out of Pennsylvania,
General Grant was placing the Stars and Stripes over the earthworks of
Vicksburg. The Mississippi was now under the control of the Federalists
from its source to the mouth, and that portion of the Confederacy lying
to the west of the river was cut off so that from this territory no
further co-operation of importance could be rendered to the armies
either of Johnston or of Lee.

Lincoln writes to Grant after the fall of Vicksburg giving, with his
word of congratulation, the admission that he (Lincoln) had doubted the
wisdom or the practicability of Grant's movement to the south of
Vicksburg and inland to Jackson. "You were right," said Lincoln, "and I
was wrong."

On the 19th of November, 1863, comes the Gettysburg address, so eloquent
in its simplicity. It is probable that no speaker in recorded history
ever succeeded in putting into so few words so much feeling, such
suggestive thought, and such high idealism. The speech is one that
children can understand and that the greatest minds must admire.



    Address delivered at the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg.

    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
    continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the
    proposition that all men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that
    nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long
    endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come
    to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for
    those who here gave their lives that their nation might live. It is
    altogether fitting and proper that we should this.

    But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we
    cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who
    struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add
    or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say
    here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the
    living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they
    who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us
    to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that
    from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for
    which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here
    highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that
    this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that
    government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not
    perish from the earth.

    Abraham Lincoln

    November 19, 1863]

There was disappointment that Meade had not shown more energy after
Gettysburg in the pursuit of Lee's army and that some attempt, at least,
had not been made to interfere with the retreat across the Potomac.
Military critics have in fact pointed out that Meade had laid himself
open to criticism in the management of the battle itself. At the time of
the repulse of Pickett's charge, Meade had available at the left and in
rear of his centre the sixth corps which had hardly been engaged on the
previous two days, and which included some of the best fighting material
in the army. It has been pointed out more than once that if that corps
had been thrown in at once with a countercharge upon the heels of the
retreating divisions of Longstreet, Lee's right must have been curled up
and overwhelmed. If this had happened, Lee's army would have been so
seriously shattered that its power for future service would have been
inconsiderable. Meade was accepted as a good working general but the
occasion demanded something more forcible in the way of leadership and,
early in 1864, Lincoln sends for the man who by his success in the West
had won the hopeful confidence of the President and the people.

Before this appointment of General-in-chief was given to General Grant,
and he came to the East to take charge of the armies in Virginia, he had
brought to a successful conclusion a dramatic campaign, of which
Chattanooga was the centre. In September, 1863, General Rosecrans, who
had occupied Chattanooga, was defeated some twenty miles to the south on
the field of Chickamauga, a defeat which was the result of too much
confidence on the part of the Federal commander, who in pressing his
advance had unwisely separated the great divisions of his army, and of
excellent skill and enterprise on the part of the Confederate commander,
General Bragg. If the troops of Rosecrans had not been veterans, and if
the right wing had not been under the immediate command of so sturdy and
unconquered a veteran as General Thomas, the defeat might have become a
rout. As it was, the army retreated with some discouragement but in good
fighting force, to the lines of Chattanooga. By skilful disposition of
his forces across the lines of connection between Chattanooga and the
base of supplies, General Bragg brought the Federals almost to the point
of starvation, and there was grave risk that through the necessary
falling back of the army to secure supplies, the whole advantage of the
previous year's campaign might be lost. Grant was placed in charge of
the forces in Chattanooga, and by a good management of the resources
available, he succeeded in reopening the river and what became known as
"the cracker line," and in November, 1863, in the dramatic battles of
Lookout Mountain, fought more immediately by General Hooker, and of
Missionary Ridge, the troops of which were under the direct command of
General Sherman, overwhelmed the lines of Bragg, and pressed his forces
back into a more or less disorderly retreat. An important factor in the
defeat of Bragg was the detaching from his army of the corps under
Longstreet which had been sent to Knoxville in a futile attempt to crush
Burnside and to reconquer East Tennessee for the Confederacy. This plan,
chiefly political in purpose, was said to have originated with President
Davis. The armies of the West were now placed under the command of
General Sherman, and early in 1864, Grant was brought to Virginia to
take up the perplexing problem of overcoming the sturdy veterans of
General Lee.

The first action of Grant as commander of all the armies in the field
was to concentrate all the available forces against the two chief armies
of the Confederacy. The old policy of occupying outlying territory for
the sake of making a show of political authority was given up. If
Johnston in the West and Lee in the East could be crushed, the national
authority would be restored in due season, and that was the only way in
which it could be restored. Troops were gathered in from Missouri and
Arkansas and Louisiana and were placed under the command of Sherman for
use in the final effort of breaking through the centre of the
Confederacy, while in the East nothing was neglected on the part of the
new administration to secure for the direction of the new commander all
resources available of men and of supplies.

Grant now finds himself pitted against the first soldier of the
continent, the leader who is to go down to history as probably the
greatest soldier that America has ever produced. Lee's military career
is a wonderful example of a combination of brilliancy, daring ingenuity
of plan, promptness of action, and patient persistence under all kinds
of discouragement, but it was not only through these qualities that it
was possible for him to retain control, through three years of heavy
fighting, of the territory of Virginia, which came to be the chief
bulwark of the Confederacy. Lee's high character, sweetness of nature,
and unselfish integrity of purpose had impressed themselves not only
upon the Confederate administration which had given him the command but
upon every soldier in that command. For the army of Northern Virginia
Lee was the man behind the guns just as Lincoln came to be for all the
men in blue. There never was a more devoted army and there probably
never was a better handled army than that with which Lee defended for
three years the lines across Northern Virginia and the remnants of which
were finally surrendered at Appomattox.

Grant might well have felt concerned with such an opponent in front of
him. He had on his hands (as had been the almost uniform condition for
the army of the Potomac) the disadvantage of position. His advance must
be made from exterior lines and nearly every attack was to be against
well entrenched positions that had been first selected years back and
had been strengthened from season to season. On the other hand, Grant
was able to depend upon the loyal support of the administration through
which came to his army the full advantage of the great resources of the
North. His ranks as depleted were filled up, his commissary trains need
never be long unsupplied, his ammunition waggons were always equipped.
For Lee, during the years following the Gettysburg battle, the problem
was unending and increasing: How should the troops be fed and whence
should they secure the fresh supplies of ammunition?

Between Grant and Lincoln there came to be perfect sympathy of thought
and action. The men had in their nature (though not in their mental
equipment) much in common. Grant carries his army through the spring of
1864, across the much fought over territory, marching and fighting from
day to day towards the south-west. The effort is always to outflank
Lee's right, getting in between him and his base at Richmond, but after
each fight, Lee's army always bars the way. Marching out of the
Wilderness after seven days' fierce struggle, Grant still finds the line
of grey blocking his path to Richmond. The army of the Potomac had been
marching and fighting without break for weeks. There had been but little
sleep, and the food in the trains was often far out of the reach of the
men in the fighting line. Men and officers were alike exhausted. While
advantages had been gained at one point or another along the line, and
while it was certain that the opposing army had also suffered severely,
there had been no conclusive successes to inspirit the troops with the
feeling that they were to seize victory out of the campaign.

In emerging from the Wilderness, the head of the column reached the
cross-roads the left fork of which led back to the Potomac and the right
fork to Richmond or to Petersburg. In the previous campaigns, the army
of the Potomac, after doing its share of plucky fighting and taking more
than its share of discouragement, had at such a point been withdrawn for
rest and recuperation. It was not an unnatural expectation that this
course would be taken in the present campaign. The road to the right
meant further fatigue and further continuous fighting for men who were
already exhausted. In the leading brigade it was only the brigade
commander and the adjutant who had knowledge of the instructions for the
line of march. When, with a wave of the hand of the adjutant, the guidon
flag of the brigade was carried to the right and the head of the column
was set towards Richmond, a shout went up from the men marching behind
the guidon. It was an utterance not of discouragement but of
enthusiasm. Exhausting as the campaign had been, the men in the ranks
preferred to fight it out then and to get through with it. Old soldiers
as they were, they were able to understand the actual issue of the
contest. Their plucky opponents were as exhausted as themselves and
possibly even more exhausted. It was only through the hammering of Lee's
diminishing army out of existence that the War could be brought to a
close. The enthusiastic shout of satisfaction rolled through the long
column reaching twenty miles back, as the news passed from brigade to
brigade that the army was not to be withdrawn but was, as Grant's report
to Lincoln was worded, "to fight it out on this line if it took all
summer." When this report reached Lincoln, he felt that the selection of
Grant as Lieutenant-General had been justified. He said: "We need this
man. He fights."

In July, 1864, Washington is once more within reach if not of the
invader at least of the raider. The Federal forces had been concentrated
in Grant's lines along the James, and General Jubal Early, one of the
most energetic fighters of the Southern army, tempted by the apparently
unprotected condition of the capital, dashed across the Potomac on a
raid that became famous. It is probable that in this undertaking, as in
some of the other movements that have been referred to on the part of
the Southern leaders, the purpose was as much political as military.
Early's force of from fifteen to sixteen thousand men was, of course, in
no way strong enough to be an army of invasion. The best success for
which he could hope would be, in breaking through the defences of
Washington, to hold the capital for a day or even a few hours. The
capture of Washington in 1864, as in 1863 or in 1862, would in all
probability have brought about the long-hoped-for intervention of France
and England. General Lew Wallace, whose name became known in the years
after the War through some noteworthy romances, _Ben Hur_ and _The Fair
God_, and who was in command of a division of troops stationed west of
Washington, and composed in part of loyal Marylanders and in part of
convalescents who were about to be returned to the front, fell back
before Early's advance to Monocacy Creek. He disposed his thin line
cleverly in the thickets on the east side of the creek in such fashion
as to give the impression of a force of some size with an advance line
of skirmishers. Early's advance was checked for some hours before he
realised that there was nothing of importance in front of him; when
Wallace's division was promptly overwhelmed and scattered. The few hours
that had thus been saved were, however, of first importance for the
safety of Washington. Early reached the outer lines of the
fortifications of the capital some time after sunset. His immediate
problem was to discover whether the troops which were, as he knew, being
hurried up from the army of the James, had reached Washington or whether
the capital was still under the protection only of its so-called
home-guard of veteran reserves. These reserves were made up of men more
or less crippled and unfit for work in the field but who were still able
to do service on fortifications. They comprised in all about six
thousand men and were under the command of Colonel Wisewell. The force
was strengthened somewhat that night by the addition of all of the male
nurses from the hospitals (themselves convalescents) who were able to
bear arms. That night the women nurses, who had already been in
attendance during the hours of the day, had to render double service.
Lincoln had himself in the afternoon stood on the works watching the
dust of the Confederate advance. Once more there came to the President
who had in his hands the responsibility for the direction of the War
the bitterness of the feeling, if not of possible failure, at least of
immediate mortification. He knew that within twenty-four or thirty-six
hours Washington could depend upon receiving the troops that were being
hurried up from Grant's army, but he also realised what enormous
mischief might be brought about by even a momentary occupation of the
national capital by Confederate troops. I had some personal interest in
this side campaign. The 19th army corps, to which my own regiment
belonged, had been brought from Louisiana to Virginia and had been
landed on the James River to strengthen the ranks of General Butler.
There had not been time to assign to us posts in the trenches and we
had, in fact, not even been placed in position. We were more nearly in
marching order than any other troops available and it was therefore the
divisions of the 19th army corps that were selected to be hurried up to
Washington. To these were added two divisions of the 6th corps.

Colonel Wisewell, commanding the defences of the city, realised the
nature of his problem. He had got to hold the lines of Washington, cost
what it might, until the arrival of the troops from Grant. He took the
bold step of placing on the picket line that night every man within
reach, or at least every loyal man within reach (for plenty of the men
in Washington were looking and hoping for the success of the South). The
instructions usually given to pickets were in this instance reversed.
The men were ordered, in place of keeping their positions hidden and of
maintaining absolute quiet, to move from post to post along the whole
line, and they were also ordered, without any reference to the saving of
ammunition, to shoot off their carbines on the least possible pretext
and without pretext. The armories were then beginning to send to the
front Sharp's repeating carbines. The invention of breech-loading rifles
came too late to be of service to the infantry on either side, but
during the last year of the War, certain brigades of cavalry were armed
with Sharp's breech-loaders. The infantry weapon used through the War by
the armies of the North as by those of the South was the muzzle-loading
rifle which bore the name on our side of the Springfield and on the
Confederate side of the Enfield. The larger portion of the Northern
rifles were manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts, while the
Southern rifles, in great part imported from England, took their name
from the English factory. It was of convenience for both sides that the
two rifles were practically identical so that captured pieces and
captured ammunition could be interchanged without difficulty.

Early's skirmish line was instructed early in the night to "feel" the
Federal pickets, an instruction which resulted in a perfect blaze of
carbine fire from Wisewell's men. The report that went to Early was that
the picket line must be about six thousand strong. The conclusion on the
part of the old Confederate commander was that the troops from the army
of the Potomac must have reached the city. If that were true, there was,
of course, no chance that on the following day he could break through
the entrenchments, while there was considerable risk that his retreat to
the Shenandoah might be cut off. Early the next morning, therefore, the
disappointed Early led his men back to Falling Waters.

I happened during the following winter, when in prison in Danville, to
meet a Confederate lieutenant who had been on Early's staff and who had
lost an arm in this little campaign. He reported that when Early, on
recrossing the Potomac, learned that he had had Washington in his grasp
and that the divisions marching to its relief did not arrive and could
not have arrived for another twenty-four hours, he was about the
maddest Early that the lieutenant had ever seen. "And," added the
lieutenant, "when Early was angry, the atmosphere became blue."



After this close escape, it was clear to Grant as it had been clear to
Lincoln that whatever forces were concentrated before Petersburg, the
line of advance for Confederate invaders through the Shenandoah must be
blocked. General Sheridan was placed in charge of the army of the
Shenandoah and the 19th corps, instead of returning to the trenches of
the James, marched on from Washington to Martinsburg and Winchester.

In September, the commander in Washington had the satisfaction of
hearing that his old assailant Early had been sent "whirling through
Winchester" by the fierce advance of Sheridan. Lincoln recognised the
possibility that Early might refuse to stay defeated and might make use,
as had so often before been done by Confederate commanders in the
Valley, of the short interior line to secure reinforcements from
Richmond and to make a fresh attack. On the 29th of September, twenty
days before this attack came off, Lincoln writes to Grant: "Lee may be
planning to reinforce Early. Care should be taken to trace any movement
of troops westward." On the 19th of October, the persistent old fighter
Early, not willing to acknowledge himself beaten and understanding that
he had to do with an army that for the moment did not have the advantage
of Sheridan's leadership, made his plucky, and for the time successful,
fight at Cedar Creek. The arrival of Sheridan at the critical hour in
the afternoon of the 19th of October did not, as has sometimes been
stated, check the retreat of a demoralised army. Sheridan found his army
driven back, to be sure, from its first position, but in occupation of a
well supported line across the pike from which had just been thrown back
the last attack made by Early's advance. It was Sheridan however who
decided not only that the battle which had been lost could be regained,
but that the work could be done to best advantage right away on that
day, and it was Sheridan who led his troops through the too short hours
of the October afternoon back to their original position from which
before dark they were able to push Early's fatigued fighters across
Cedar Creek southward. Lincoln had found another man who could fight. He
was beginning to be able to put trust in leaders who, instead of having
to be replaced, were with each campaign gathering fresh experience and
more effective capacity.

From the West also came reports, in this autumn of 1864, from a fighting
general. Sherman had carried the army, after its success at Chattanooga,
through the long line of advance to Atlanta, by outflanking movements
against Joe Johnston, the Fabius of the Confederacy, and when Johnston
had been replaced by the headstrong Hood, had promptly taken advantage
of Hood's rashness to shatter the organisation of the army of Georgia.
The capture of Atlanta in September, 1864, brought to Lincoln in
Washington and to the North the feeling of certainty that the days of
the Confederacy were numbered.

The second invasion of Tennessee by the army of Hood, rendered possible
by the march of Sherman to the sea, appeared for the moment to threaten
the control that had been secured of the all-important region of which
Nashville was the centre, but Hood's march could only be described as
daring but futile. He had no base and no supplies. His advance did some
desperate fighting at the battle of Franklin and succeeded in driving
back the rear-guard of Thomas's army, ably commanded by General
Schofield, but the Confederate ranks were so seriously shattered that
when they took position in front of Nashville they no longer had
adequate strength to make the siege of the city serious even as a
threat. Thomas had only to wait until his own preparations were
completed and then, on the same day in December on which Sherman was
entering Savannah, Thomas, so to speak, "took possession" of Hood's
army. After the fight at Nashville, there were left of the Confederate
invaders only a few scattered divisions.

It was just before the news of the victory at Nashville that Lincoln
made time to write the letter to Mrs. Bixby whose name comes into
history as an illustration of the thoughtful sympathy of the great

    "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 died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how
    weak and fruitless must be any words 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
    pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the
    altar of freedom."

In March, 1864, Lincoln writes to Grant: "New York votes to give votes
to the soldiers. Tell the soldiers." The decision of New York in regard
to the collection from the soldiers in each field of the votes for the
coming Presidential election was in line with that arrived at by all of
the States. The plan presented difficulties and, in connection with the
work of special commissioners, it involved also expense. It was,
however, on every ground desirable that the men who were risking their
lives in defence of the nation should be given the opportunity of taking
part in the selection of the nation's leader, who was also under the
Constitution the commander-in-chief of the armies in the field. The
votes of some four hundred thousand men constituted also an important
factor in the election itself. I am not sure that the attempt was ever
made to separate and classify the soldiers' vote but it is probable that
although the Democratic candidate was McClellan, a soldier who had won
the affection of the men serving under him, and the opposing candidate
was a civilian, a substantial majority of the vote of the soldiers was
given to Lincoln.

Secretary Chase had fallen into the habit of emphasising what he
believed to be his indispensability in the Cabinet by threatening to
resign, or even by submitting a resignation, whenever his suggestions or
conclusions met with opposition. These threats had been received with
patience up to the point when patience seemed to be no longer a virtue;
but finally, when (in May, 1864) such a resignation was tendered under
some aggravation of opposition or of criticism, very much to Chase's
surprise the resignation was accepted.

The Secretary had had in train for some months active plans for becoming
the Republican candidate for the Presidential campaign of 1864. Evidence
had from time to time during the preceding year been brought to Lincoln
of Chase's antagonism and of his hopes of securing the leadership of the
party. Chase's opposition to certain of Lincoln's policies was doubtless
honest enough. He had brought himself to believe that Lincoln did not
possess the force and the qualities required to bring the War to a
close. He had also convinced himself that he, Chase, was the man, and
possibly was the only man, who was fitted to meet the special
requirements of the task. Mr. Chase did possess the confidence of the
more extreme of the anti-slavery groups throughout the country. His
administration of the Treasury had been able and valuable, but the
increasing difficulty that had been found in keeping the Secretary of
the Treasury in harmonious relations with the other members of the
administration caused his retirement to be on the whole a relief.
Lincoln came to the conclusion that more effective service could be
secured from some other man, even if possessing less ability, whose
temperament made it possible for him to work in co-operation. The
unexpected acceptance of the resignation caused to Chase and to Chase's
friends no little bitterness, which found vent in sharp criticisms of
the President. Neither bitterness nor criticisms could, however, prevent
Lincoln from retaining a cordial appreciation for the abilities and the
patriotism of the man, and, later in the year, Lincoln sent in his
nomination as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Chase himself, in his
lack of capacity to appreciate the self-forgetfulness of Lincoln's
nature, was probably more surprised by his nomination as Chief Justice
than he had been by the acceptance of his resignation as Secretary of
the Treasury.

In July, 1864, comes a fresh risk of international complications
through the invasion of Mexico by a French army commanded by Bazaine,
seven years later to be known as the (more or less) hero of Metz. Lotus
Napoleon had been unwilling to give up his dream of a French empire, or
of an empire instituted under French influence, in the Western
Hemisphere. He was still hopeful, if not confident, that the United
States would not be able to maintain its existence; and he felt assured
that if the Southern Confederacy should finally be established with the
friendly co-operation of France, he would be left unmolested to carry
out his own schemes in Mexico. He had induced an honest-minded but not
very clearheaded Prince, Maximilian, the brother of the Emperor of
Austria, to accept a throne in Mexico to be established by French
bayonets, and which, as the result showed, could sustain itself only
while those bayonets were available. The presence of French troops on
American soil brought fresh anxieties to the administration; but it was
recognised that nothing could be done for the moment, and Lincoln and
his advisers were hopeful that the Mexicans, before their capital had
been taken possession of by the invader, would be able to maintain some
national government until, with the successful close of its own War,
the United States could come to the defence of the sister republic.

The extreme anti-slavery group of the Republican party had, as
indicated, never been fully satisfied with the thoroughness of the
anti-slavery policy of the administration and Mr. Chase retained until
the action of the convention in June the hope that he might through the
influence of this group secure the Presidency. Lincoln remarks in
connection with this candidacy: "If Chase becomes President, all right.
I hope we may never have a worse man." From the more conservative wing
of the Republican party came suggestions as to the nomination of Grant
and this plan brought from Lincoln the remark: "If Grant takes Richmond,
by all means let him have the nomination." When the delegates came
together, however, in Baltimore, it was evident that, representing as
they did the sober and well-thought-out convictions of the people, no
candidacy but that of Lincoln could secure consideration and his
nomination was practically unanimous.

The election in November gave evidence that, even in the midst of civil
war, a people's government can sustain the responsibility of a national
election. The large popular majorities in nearly all of the voting
States constituted not only a cordial recognition of the service that
was being rendered by Lincoln and by Lincoln's administration, but a
substantial assurance that the cause of nationality was to be sustained
with all the resources of the nation. The Presidential election of this
year gave the final blow to the hopes of the Confederacy.

I had myself a part in a very small division of this election, a
division which could have no effect in the final gathering of the votes,
but which was in a way typical of the spirit of the army. On the 6th of
November, 1864, I was in Libby Prison, having been captured at the
battle of Cedar Creek in October. It was decided to hold a Presidential
election in the prison, although some of us were rather doubtful as to
the policy and anxious in regard to the result. The exchange of
prisoners had been blocked for nearly a year on the ground of the
refusal on the part of the South to exchange the coloured troops or
white officers who held commissions in coloured regiments. Lincoln took
the ground, very properly, that all of the nation's soldiers must be
treated alike and must be protected by a uniform policy. Until the
coloured troops should be included in the exchange, "there can," said
Lincoln, "be no exchanging of prisoners." This decision, while sound,
just, and necessary, brought, naturally, a good deal of dissatisfaction
to the men in prison and to their friends at home. When I reached Libby
in October, I found there men who had been prisoners for six or seven
months and who (as far as they lived to get out) were to be prisoners
for five months more. Through the winter of 1864-65, the illness and
mortality in the Virginia prisons of Libby and Danville were very
severe. It was in fact a stupid barbarity on the part of the Confederate
authorities to keep any prisoners in Richmond during that last winter of
the War. It was not easy to secure by the two lines of road (one of
which was continually being cut by our troops) sufficient supplies for
Lee's army. It was difficult to bring from the granaries farther south,
in addition to the supplies required for the army, food for the
inhabitants of the town. It was inevitable under the circumstances that
the prisoners should be neglected and that in addition to the deaths
from cold (the blankets, the overcoats, and the shoes had been taken
from the prisoners because they were needed by the rebel troops) there
should be further deaths from starvation.

It was not unnatural that under such conditions the prisoners should
have ground not only for bitter indignation with the prison authorities,
but for discontent with their own administration. One may in fact be
surprised that starving and dying men should have retained any assured
spirit of loyalty. When the vote for President came to be counted, we
found that we had elected Lincoln by more than three to one. The
soldiers felt that Lincoln was the man behind the guns. The prison
votes, naturally enough, reached no ballot boxes and my individual
ballot in any case would not have been legal as I was at the time but
twenty years of age. I can but feel, however, that this vote of the
prisoners was typical and important, and I have no doubt it was so
recognised when later the report of the voting reached Washington.

In December, 1864, occurred one of the too-frequent cabals on the part
of certain members of the Cabinet. Pressure was brought to bear upon
Lincoln to get rid of Seward. Lincoln's reply made clear that he
proposed to remain President. He says to the member reporting for
himself and his associates the protest against Seward: "I propose to be
the sole judge as to the dismissal or appointment of the members of my
Cabinet." Lincoln could more than once have secured peace within the
Cabinet and a smoother working of the administrative machinery if he had
been willing to replace the typical and idiosyncratic men whom he had
associated with himself in the government by more commonplace citizens,
who would have been competent to carry on the routine responsibilities
of their posts. The difficulty of securing any consensus of opinion or
any working action between men differing from each other as widely as
did Chase, Stanton, Blair, and Seward, in temperament, in judgment, and
in honest convictions as to the proper policy for the nation, was an
attempt that brought upon the chief daily burdens and many keen
anxieties. Lincoln insisted, however, that it was all-important for the
proper carrying on of the contest that the Cabinet should contain
representatives of the several loyal sections of the country and of the
various phases of opinion. The extreme anti-slavery men were entitled to
be heard even though their spokesman Chase was often intemperate,
ill-judged, bitter, and unfair. The Border States men had a right to be
represented and it was all-essential that they should feel that they had
a part in the War government even though their spokesman Blair might
show himself, as he often did show himself, quite incapable of
understanding, much less of sympathising with, the real spirit of the
North. Stanton might be truculent and even brutal, but he was willing to
work, he knew how to organise, he was devotedly loyal. Seward, scholar
and statesman as he was, had been ready to give needless provocation to
Europe and was often equally ill-judged in his treatment of the
conservative Border States on the one hand and of the New England
abolitionists on the other, but Seward was a patriot as well as a
scholar and was a representative not only of New York but of the best of
the Whig Republican sentiment of the entire North, and Seward could not
be spared. It is difficult to recall in history a government made up of
such discordant elements which through the patience, tact, and genius of
one man was made to do effective work.

In February, 1865, in response to suggestions from the South which
indicated the possibility of peace, Lincoln accepted a meeting with
Alexander H. Stephens and two other commissioners to talk over measures
for bringing the War to a close. The meeting was held on a gun-boat on
the James River. It seems probable from the later history that Stephens
had convinced himself that the Confederacy could not conquer its
independence and that it only remained to secure the best terms
possible for a surrender. On the other hand, Jefferson Davis was not yet
prepared to consider any terms short of a recognition of the
independence of the Confederacy, and Stephens could act only under the
instructions received from Richmond. It was Lincoln's contention that
the government of the United States could not treat with rebels (or,
dropping the word "rebels," with its own citizens) in arms. "The first
step in negotiations, must," said Lincoln, "be the laying down of arms.
There is no precedent in history for a government entering into
negotiations with its own armed citizens."

"But there is a precedent, Mr. Lincoln," said Stephens, "King Charles of
England treated with the Cromwellians."

"Yes," said Lincoln, "I believe that is so. I usually leave historical
details to Mr. Seward, who is a student. It is, however, my memory that
King Charles lost his head."

It soon became evident that there was no real basis for negotiations,
and Stephens and his associates had to return to Richmond disappointed.
In the same month, was adopted by both Houses of Congress the Thirteenth
Amendment, which prohibited slavery throughout the whole dominion of the
United States. By the close of 1865, this amendment had been confirmed
by thirty-three States. It is probable that among these thirty-three
there were several States the names of which were hardly familiar to
some of the older citizens of the South, the men who had accepted the
responsibility for the rebellion. The state of mind of these older
Southerners in regard more particularly to the resources of the
North-west was recalled to me years after the War by an incident related
by General Sherman at a dinner of the New England Society. Sherman said
that during the march through Georgia he had found himself one day at
noon, when near the head of his column, passing below the piazza of a
comfortable-looking old plantation house. He stopped to rest on the
piazza with one or two of his staff and was received by the old planter
with all the courtliness that a Southern gentleman could show, even to
an invader, when doing the honours of his own house. The General and the
planter sat on the piazza, looking at the troops below and discussing,
as it was inevitable under the circumstances that they must discuss, the
causes of the War.

"General," said the planter, "what troops are those passing below?" The
General leans over the piazza, and calls to the standard bearers,
"Throw out your flag, boys," and as the flag was thrown out, he reports
to his host, "The 30th Wisconsin."

"Wisconsin?" said the planter, "Wisconsin? Where is Wisconsin?"

"It is one of the States of the North-west," said Sherman.

"When I was studying geography," said the planter, "I knew of Wisconsin
simply as the name of a tribe of Indians. How many men are there in a

"Well, there were a thousand when they started," said Sherman.

"Do you mean to say," said the planter, "that there is a State called
Wisconsin that has sent thirty thousand men into your armies?"

"Oh, probably forty thousand," answered Sherman.

With the next battalion the questions and the answers are repeated. The
flag was that of a Minnesota regiment, say the 32d. The old planter had
never heard that there was such a State.

"My God!" he said when he had figured out the thousands of men who had
come to the front, from these so-called Indian territories, to maintain
the existence of the nation, "If we in the South had known that you had
turned those Indian territories into great States, we never should have
gone into this war." The incident throws a light upon the state of mind
of men in the South, even of well educated men in the South, at the
outbreak of the War. They might, of course, have known by statistics
that great States had grown up in the North-west, representing a
population of millions and able themselves to put into the field armies
to be counted by the thousand. They might have realised that these great
States of the North-west were vitally concerned with the necessity of
keeping the Mississippi open for their trade from its source to the Gulf
of Mexico. They might have known that those States, largely settled from
New England, were absolutely opposed to slavery. This knowledge was
within their reach but they had not realised the facts of the case. It
was their feeling that in the coming contest they would have to do only
with New England and the Middle States and they felt that they were
strong enough to hold their own against this group of opponents. That
feeling would have been justified. The South could never have been
overcome and the existence of the nation could never have been
maintained if it had not been for the loyal co-operation and the
magnificent resources of men and of national wealth that were
contributed to the cause by the States of the North-west. In 1880, I had
occasion, in talking to the two thousand students of the University of
Minnesota, to recall the utterance of the old planter. The students of
that magnificent University, placed in a beautiful city of two hundred
and fifty thousand inhabitants, found it difficult on their part to
realise, amidst their laughter at the ignorance of the old planter, just
what the relations of the South had been before the War to the new free
communities of the North-west.

In February, 1865, with the fall of Fort Fisher and the capture of
Wilmington, the control of the coast of the Confederacy became complete.
The Southerners and their friends in Great Britain and the Bahamas (a
group of friends whose sympathies for the cause were very much enhanced
by the opportunity of making large profits out of their friendly
relations) had shown during the years of the War exceptional ingenuity,
daring, and persistence in carrying on the blockade-running. The ports
of the British West Indies were very handy, and, particularly during the
stormy months of the winter, it was hardly practicable to maintain an
absolutely assured barrier of blockades along a line of coast
aggregating about two thousand miles. The profits on a single voyage on
the cotton taken out and on the stores brought back were sufficient to
make good the loss of both vessel and cargo in three disastrous trips.
The blockade-runners, Southerners and Englishmen, took their lives in
their hands and they fairly earned all the returns that came to them. I
happened to have early experience of the result of the fall of Fort
Fisher and of the final closing of the last inlet for British goods. I
was at the time in prison in Danville, Virginia. I was one of the few
men in the prison (the group comprised about a dozen) who had been
fortunate enough to retain a tooth-brush. We wore our tooth-brushes
fastened into the front button-holes of our blouses, partly possibly
from ostentation, but chiefly for the purpose of keeping them from being
stolen. I was struck by receiving an offer one morning from the
lieutenant of the prison guard of $300 for my tooth-brush. The "dollars"
meant of course Confederate dollars and I doubtless hardly realised from
the scanty information that leaked into the prison how low down in
February, 1865, Confederate currency had depreciated. But still it was a
large sum and the tooth-brush had been in use for a number of months.
It then leaked out from a word dropped by the lieutenant that no more
English tooth-brushes could get into the Confederacy and those of us who
had been studying possibilities on the coast realised that Fort Fisher
must have fallen.

In this same month of February, into which were crowded some of the most
noteworthy of the closing events of the War, Charleston was evacuated as
Sherman's army on its sweep northward passed back of the city. I am not
sure whether the fiercer of the old Charlestonians were not more annoyed
at the lack of attention paid by Sherman to the fire-eating little city
in which four years back had been fired the gun that opened the War,
than they would have been by an immediate and strenuous occupation.
Sherman had more important matters on hand than the business of looking
after the original fire-eaters. He was hurrying northward, close on the
heels of Johnston, to prevent if possible the combination of Johnston's
troops with Lee's army which was supposed to be retreating from

On the 4th of March comes the second inaugural, in which Lincoln speaks
almost in the language of a Hebrew prophet. The feeling is strong upon
him that the clouds of war are about to roll away but he cannot free
himself from the oppression that the burdens of the War have produced.
The emphasis is placed on the all-important task of bringing the
enmities to a close with the end of the actual fighting. He points out
that responsibilities rest upon the North as well as upon the South and
he invokes from those who under his leadership are bringing the contest
to a triumphant close, their sympathy and their help for their
fellow-men who have been overcome. The address is possibly the most
impressive utterance ever made by a national leader and it is most
characteristic of the fineness and largeness of nature of the man. I
cite the closing paragraph:

    "If we shall suppose that slavery is one of those offences which in
    the providence of God needs must come, and which having continued
    through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He
    gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe to those
    by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure
    from those Divine attributes, which the believers in the Living God
    always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that
    this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills
    that it should continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsmen
    in two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and
    until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid for by
    another drop of blood drawn by the War, as was said two thousand
    years ago so still it must be said, that the judgments of the Lord
    are true, and righteous altogether.... With malice towards none,
    with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to
    see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind
    up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the
    battle and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may
    achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and
    with all nations."

After the election of 1864, Lincoln's word had been "a common cause, a
common interest, and a common country." The invocation in this last
inaugural is based upon the understanding that there is again a common
country and that in caring for those who have been in the battle and in
the binding up of the wounds, there is to be no distinction between the
men of the grey and those of the blue.

At the close of February, Lee, who realises that his weakened lines
cannot much longer be maintained, proposes to Grant terms of adjustment.
Grant replies that his duties are purely military and that he has no
authority to discuss any political relations. On the first of April, the
right wing of Lee's army is overwhelmed and driven back by Sheridan at
Five Forks, and on the day following Richmond is evacuated by the
rear-guard of Lee's army. The defence of Richmond during the long years
of the War (a defence which was carried on chiefly from the
entrenchments of Petersburg), by the skill of the engineers and by the
patient courage of the troops, had been magnificent. It must always take
a high rank in the history of war operations. The skilful use made of
positions of natural strength, the high skill shown in the construction
of works to meet first one emergency and then another, the economic
distribution of constantly diminishing resources, the clever disposition
of forces, (which during the last year were being steadily reduced from
month to month), in such fashion that at the point of probable contact
there seemed to be always men enough to make good the defence, these
things were evidence of the military skill, the ingenuity, the
resourcefulness, and the enduring courage of the leaders. The skill and
character of Lee and his associates would however of course have been in
vain and the lines would have been broken not in 1865, but in 1863 or in
1862, if it had not been for the magnificent patience and heroism of the
rank and file that fought in the grey uniform under the Stars and Bars
and whose fighting during the last of those months was done in tattered
uniforms and with a ration less by from one quarter to one half than
that which had been accepted as normal.

On the second of April, the Stars and Stripes are borne into Richmond by
the advance brigade of the right wing of Grant's army under the command
of General Weitzel. There was a certain poetic justice in the decision
that the responsibility for making first occupation of the city should
be entrusted to the coloured troops. The city had been left by the
rear-guard of the Confederate army in a state of serious confusion. The
Confederate general in charge (Lee had gone out in the advance hoping to
be able to break his way through to North Carolina) had felt justified,
for the purpose of destroying such army stores (chiefly ammunition) as
remained, in setting fire to the storehouses, and in so doing he had
left whole quarters of the city exposed to flame. White stragglers and
negroes who had been slaves had, as would always be the case where all
authority is removed, yielded to the temptation to plunder, and the city
was full of drunken and irresponsible men. The coloured troops restored
order and appear to have behaved with perfect discipline and
consideration. The marauders were arrested, imprisoned, and, when
necessary, shot. The fires were put out as promptly as practicable, but
not until a large amount of very unnecessary damage and loss had been
brought upon the stricken city. The women who had locked themselves into
their houses, more in dread of the Yankee invader than of their own
street marauders, were agreeably surprised to find that their immediate
safety and the peace of the town depended upon the invaders and that the
first battalions of these were the despised and much hated blacks.

Upon the 4th of April, against the counsel and in spite of the
apprehensions of nearly all his advisers, Lincoln insisted upon coming
down the river from Washington and making his way into the Rebel
capital. There was no thought of vaingloriousness or of posing as the
victor. He came under the impression that some civil authorities would
probably have remained in Richmond with whom immediate measures might be
taken to stop unnecessary fighting and to secure for the city and for
the State a return of peaceful government. Thomas Nast, who while not a
great artist was inspired to produce during the War some of the most
graphic and storytelling records in the shape of pictures of events,
made a drawing which was purchased later by the New York Union League
Club, showing Lincoln on his way through Main Street, with the coloured
folks of the town and of the surrounding country crowding about the man
whom they hailed as their deliverer, and in their enthusiastic adoration
trying to touch so much as the hem of his garment. The picture is
history in showing what actually happened and it is pathetic history in
recalling how great were the hopes that came to the coloured people from
the success of the North and from the certainty of the end of slavery.
It is sad to recall the many disappointments that during the forty years
since the occupation of Richmond have hampered the uplifting of the
race. Lincoln's hope that some representative of the Confederacy might
have remained in Richmond, if only for the purpose of helping to bring
to a close as rapidly as possible the waste and burdens of continued
war, was not realised. The members of the Confederate government seem to
have been interested only in getting away from Richmond and to have
given no thought to the duty they owed to their own people to cooperate
with the victors in securing a prompt return of law and order.

On the 9th of April, came the surrender of Lee at Appomattox, four
years, less three days, from the date of the firing of the first gun of
the War at Charleston. The muskets turned in by the ragged and starving
files of the remnants of Lee's army represented only a small portion of
those which a few days earlier had been holding the entrenchments at
Petersburg. As soon as it became evident that the army was not going to
be able to break through the Federal lines and begin a fresh campaign in
North Carolina, the men scattered from the retreating columns right and
left, in many cases carrying their muskets to their own homes as a
memorial fairly earned by plucky and persistent service. There never was
an army that did better fighting or that was better deserving of the
recognition, not only of the States in behalf of whose so-called
"independence" the War had been waged, but on the part of opponents who
were able to realise the character and the effectiveness of the

The scene in the little farm-house where the two commanders met to
arrange the terms of surrender was dramatic in more ways than one.
General Lee had promptly given up his own baggage waggon for use in
carrying food for the advance brigade and as he could save but one suit
of clothes, he had naturally taken his best. He was, therefore,
notwithstanding the fatigues and the privations of the past week, in
full dress uniform. He was one of the handsomest men of his generation,
and his beauty was not only of feature but of expression of character.
Grant, who never gave much thought to his personal appearance, had for
days been away from his baggage train, and under the urgency of keeping
as near as possible to the front line with reference to the probability
of being called to arrange terms for surrender, he had not found the
opportunity of securing a proper coat in place of his fatigue blouse. I
believe that even his sword had been mislaid, but he was able to borrow
one for the occasion from a staff officer. When the main details of the
surrender had been talked over, Grant looked about the group in the
room, which included, in addition to two staff officers who had come
with Lee, a group of five or six of his own assistants, who had managed
to keep up with the advance, to select the aid who should write out the
paper. His eye fell upon Colonel Ely Parker, a brigade commander who had
during the past few months served on Grant's staff. "Colonel Parker, I
will ask you," said Grant, "as the only real American in the room, to
draft this paper." Parker was a full-blooded Indian, belonging to one of
the Iroquois tribes of New York.

Grant's suggestion that the United States had no requirement for the
horses of Lee's army and that the men might find these convenient for
"spring ploughing" was received by Lee with full appreciation. The first
matter in order after the completion of the surrender was the issue of
rations to the starving Southern troops. "General Grant," said Lee, "a
train was ordered by way of Danville to bring rations to meet my army
and it ought to be now at such a point," naming a village eight or nine
miles to the south-west. General Sheridan, with a twinkle in his eye,
now put in a word: "The train from the south is there, General Lee, or
at least it was there yesterday. My men captured it and the rations will
be available." General Lee turns, mounts his old horse Traveller, a
valued comrade, and rides slowly through the ranks first of the blue and
then of the grey. Every hat came off from the men in blue as an
expression of respect to a great soldier and a true gentleman, while
from the ranks in grey there was one great sob of passionate grief and
finally, almost for the first time in Lee's army, a breaking of
discipline as the men crowded forward to get a closer look at, or
possibly a grasp of the hand of, the great leader who had fought and
failed but whose fighting and whose failure had been so magnificent.



On the 11th of April, Lincoln makes his last public utterance. In a
brief address to some gathering in Washington, he says, "There will
shortly be announcement of a new policy." It is hardly to be doubted
that the announcement which he had in mind was to be concerned with the
problem of reconstruction. He had already outlined in his mind the
essential principles on which the readjustment must be made. In this
same address, he points out that "whether or not the seceded States be
out of the Union, they are out of their proper relations to the Union."
We may feel sure that he would not have permitted the essential matters
of readjustment to be delayed while political lawyers were arguing over
the constitutional issue. On one side was the group which maintained
that in instituting the Rebellion and in doing what was in their power
to destroy the national existence, the people of the seceding States had
forfeited all claims to the political liberty of their communities.
According to this contention, the Slave States were to be treated as
conquered territory, and it simply remained for the government of the
United States to reshape this territory as might be found convenient or
expedient. According to the other view, as secession was itself
something which was not to be admitted, being, from the constitutional
point of view, impossible, there never had in the legal sense of the
term been any secession. The instant the armed rebellion had been
brought to an end, the rebelling States were to be considered as having
resumed their old-time relations with the States of the North and with
the central government. They were under the same obligations as before
for taxation, for subordination in foreign relations, and for the
acceptance of the control of the Federal government on all matters
classed as Federal. On the other hand, they were entitled to the
privileges that had from the beginning been exercised by independent
States: namely, the control of their local affairs on matters not
classed as Federal, and they had a right to their proportionate
representation in Congress and to their proportion of the electoral vote
for President. It has been very generally recognised in the South as in
the North that if Lincoln could have lived, some of the most serious of
the difficulties that arose during the reconstruction period through the
friction between these conflicting theories would have been avoided. The
Southerners would have realised that the head of the government had a
cordial and sympathetic interest in doing what might be practicable not
only to re-establish their relations as citizens of the United States,
but to further in every way the return of their communities to
prosperity, a prosperity which, after the loss of the property in their
slaves and the enormous destruction of their general resources, seemed
to be sadly distant.

On the 14th of April, comes the dramatic tragedy ending on the day
following in the death of Lincoln. The word dramatic applies in this
instance with peculiar fitness. While the nation mourned for the loss of
its leader, while the soldiers were stricken with grief that their great
captain should have been struck down, while the South might well be
troubled that the control and adjustment of the great interstate
perplexities was not to be in the hands of the wise, sympathetic, and
patient ruler, for the worker himself the rest after the four years of
continuous toil and fearful burdens and anxieties might well have been
grateful. The great task had been accomplished and the responsibilities
accepted in the first inaugural had been fulfilled.

In March, 1861, Lincoln had accepted the task of steering the nation
through the storm of rebellion, the divided opinions and counsels of
friends, and the fierce onslaught of foes at home and abroad. In April,
1865, the national existence was assured, the nation's credit was
established, the troops were prepared to return to their homes and
resume their work as citizens. At no time in history had any people been
able against such apparently overwhelming perils and difficulties to
maintain a national existence. There was, therefore, notwithstanding the
great misfortune, for the people South and North, in the loss of the
wise ruler at a time when so many difficulties remained to be adjusted,
a dramatic fitness in having the life of the leader close just as the
last army of antagonists was laying down its arms. The first problem of
the War that came to the administration of 1861 was that of restoring
the flag over Fort Sumter. On the 14th of April, the day when Booth's
pistol was laying low the President, General Anderson, who four years
earlier had so sturdily defended Sumter, was fulfilling the duty of
restoring the Stars and Stripes.

The news of the death of Lincoln came to the army of Sherman, with
which my own regiment happened at the time to be associated, on the 17th
of April. On leaving Savannah, Sherman had sent word to the north to
have all the troops who were holding posts along the coasts of North
Carolina concentrated on a line north of Goldsborough. It was his dread
that General Johnston might be able to effect a junction with the
retreating forces of Lee and it was important to do whatever was
practicable, either with forces or with a show of forces, to delay
Johnston and to make such combination impossible. A thin line of Federal
troops was brought into position to the north of Johnston's advance, but
Sherman himself kept so closely on the heels of his plucky and
persistent antagonist that, irrespective of any opposing line to the
north, Johnston would have found it impossible to continue his progress
towards Virginia. He was checked at Goldsborough after the battle of
Bentonville and it was at Goldsborough that the last important force of
the Confederacy was surrendered.

We soldiers learned only later some of the complications that preceded
that surrender. President Davis and his associates in the Confederate
government had, with one exception, made their way south, passing to
the west of Sherman's advance. The exception was Post-master-General
Reagan, who had decided to remain with General Johnston. He appears to
have made good with Johnston the claim that he, Reagan, represented all
that was left of the Confederate government. He persuaded Johnston to
permit him to undertake the negotiations with Sherman, and he had, it
seems, the ambition of completing with his own authority the
arrangements that were to terminate the War. Sherman, simple-hearted man
that he was, permitted himself, for the time, to be confused by Reagan's
semblance of authority. He executed with Reagan a convention which
covered not merely the surrender of Johnston's army but the
preliminaries of a final peace. This convention was of course made
subject to the approval of the authorities in Washington. When it came
into the hands of President Johnson, it was, under the counsel of Seward
and Stanton, promptly disavowed. Johnson instructed Grant, who had
reported to Washington from Appomattox, to make his way at once to
Goldsborough and, relieving Sherman, to arrange for the surrender of
Johnston's army on the terms of Appomattox. Grant's response was
characteristic. He said in substance: "I am here, Mr. President, to
obey orders and under the decision of the Commander-in-chief I will go
to Goldsborough and will carry out your instructions. I prefer, however,
to act as a messenger simply. I am entirely unwilling to take out of
General Sherman's hands the command of the army that is so properly
Sherman's army and that he has led with such distinctive success.
General Sherman has rendered too great a service to the country to make
it proper to have him now humiliated on the ground of a political
blunder, and I at least am unwilling to be in any way a party to his

Stanton was disposed to approve of Johnson's first instruction and to
have Sherman at once relieved, but the man who had just come from
Appomattox was too strong with the people to make it easy to disregard
his judgment on a matter which was in part at least military. The
President was still new to his office and he was still prepared to
accept counsel. The matter was, therefore, arranged as Grant desired.
Grant took the instructions and had his personal word with Sherman, but
this word was so quietly given that none of the men in Sherman's army,
possibly no one but Sherman himself, knew of Grant's visit. Grant took
pains so to arrange the last stage of his journey that he came into the
camp at Goldsborough well after dark, and, after an hour's interview
with Sherman, he made his way at once northward outside of our lines and
of our knowledge.

On Grant's arrival, Sherman at once assumed that he was to be
superseded. "No, no," said Grant; "do you not see that I have come
without even a sword? There is here no question of superseding the
commander of this army, but simply of correcting an error and of putting
things as they were. This convention must be cancelled. You will have no
further negotiation with Mr. Reagan or with any civilian claiming to
represent the Confederacy. Your transactions will be made with the
commander of the Confederate army, and you will accept the surrender of
that army on the terms that were formulated at Appomattox." Sherman was
keen enough to understand what must have passed in Washington, and was
able to appreciate the loyal consideration shown by General Grant in the
successful effort to protect the honour and the prestige of his old
comrade. The surrender was carried out on the 26th of April, eleven days
after the death of Lincoln. Johnston's troops, like those of Lee, were
distributed to their homes. The officers retained their side-arms, and
the men, leaving their rifles, took with them not only such horses and
mules as they still had with them connected with the cavalry or
artillery, but also a number of horses and mules which had been captured
by Sherman's army and which had not yet been placed on the United States
army roster. Sherman understood, as did Grant, the importance of giving
to these poor farmers whatever facilities might be available to enable
them again to begin their home work. Word was at once sent to General
Johnston after Grant's departure that the, only terms that could be
considered was a surrender of the army, and that the details of such
surrender Sherman would himself arrange with Johnston. Reagan slipped
away southward and is not further heard of in history.

The record of Lincoln's relations to the events of the War would not be
complete without a reference to the capture of Jefferson Davis. On
returning to Washington after his visit to Richmond, Lincoln had been
asked what should be done with Davis when he was captured. The answer
was characteristic: "I do not see," said Lincoln, "that we have any use
for a white elephant." Lincoln's clear judgment had at once recognised
the difficulties that would arise in case Davis should become a
prisoner. The question as to the treatment of the ruler of the late
Confederacy was very different from, and much more complicated than, the
fixing of terms of surrender for the Confederate armies. If Davis had
succeeded in getting out of the country, it is probable that the South,
or at least a large portion of the South, would have used him as a kind
of a scapegoat. Many of the Confederate soldiers were indignant with
Davis for his bitter animosities to some of their best leaders. Davis
was a capable man and had in him the elements of statesmanship. He was,
however, vain and, like some other vain men, placed the most importance
upon the capacities in which he was the least effective. He had had a
brief and creditable military experience, serving as a lieutenant with
Scott's army in Mexico, and he had impressed himself with the belief
that he was a great commander. Partly on this ground, and partly
apparently as a result of general "incompatibility of temper," Davis
managed to quarrel at different times during the War with some of the
generals who had shown themselves the most capable and the most
serviceable. He would probably have quarrelled with Lee, if it had been
possible for any one to make quarrel relations with that fine-natured
gentleman, and if Lee had not been too strongly entrenched in the hearts
of his countrymen to make any interference with him unwise, even for the
President. Davis had, however, managed to interfere very seriously with
the operations of men like Beauregard, Sidney Johnson, Joseph Johnston,
and other commanders whose continued leadership was most important for
the Confederacy. It was the obstinacy of Davis that had protracted the
War through the winter and spring of 1865, long after it was evident
from the reports of Lee and of the other commanders that the resources
of the Confederacy were exhausted and that any further struggle simply
meant an inexcusable loss of life on both sides. As a Northern soldier
who has had experience in Southern prisons, I may be excused also from
bearing in mind the fearful responsibility that rests upon Davis for the
mismanagement of those prisons, a mismanagement which caused the death
of thousands of brave men on the frozen slopes of Belle Isle, on the
foul floors of Libby and Danville, and on the rotten ground used for
three years as a living place and as a dying place within the stockade
at Andersonville. Davis received from month to month the reports of the
conditions in these and in the other prisons of the Confederacy. Davis
could not have been unaware of the stupidity and the brutality of
keeping prisoners in Richmond during the last winter of the War when the
lines of road still open were absolutely inadequate to supply the troops
in the trenches or the people of the town. Reports were brought to Davis
more than once from Andersonville showing that a large portion of the
deaths that were there occurring were due to the vile and rotten
condition of the hollow in which for years prisoners had been huddled
together; but the appeal made to Richmond for permission to move the
stockade to a clean and dry slope was put to one side as a matter of no
importance. The entire authority in the matter was in the hands of Davis
and a word from him would have remedied some of the worst conditions. He
must share with General Winder, the immediate superintendent of the
prisons, the responsibility for the heedless and brutal
mismanagement,--a mismanagement which brought death to thousands and
which left thousands of others cripples for life.

As a result of the informal word given by Lincoln, it was generally
understood, by all the officers, at least, in charge of posts and picket
lines along the eastern slope, that Davis was not to be captured.
Unfortunately it had not proved possible to get this informal
expression of a very important piece of policy conveyed throughout the
lines farther west. An enterprising and over-zealous captain of cavalry,
riding across from the Mississippi to the coast, heard of Davis's party
in Florida and, "butting in," captured, on May 10th, "the white

The last commands of the Confederate army were surrendered with General
Taylor in Louisiana on the 4th of May and with Kirby Smith in Texas on
the 26th of May. As Lincoln had foreshadowed, not a few complications
resulted from this unfortunate capture of Davis, complications that were
needlessly added to by the lack of clear-headedness or of definite
policy on the part of a confused and vacillating President. During the
months in which Davis was a prisoner at Fortress Monroe, and while the
question of his trial for treason was being fiercely debated in
Washington, the sentiment of the Confederacy naturally concentrated upon
its late President. He was, as the single prisoner, the surviving emblem
of the contest. His vanities, irritability, and blunders were forgotten.
It was natural that, under the circumstances, his people, the people of
the South, should hold in memory only the fact that he had been their
leader and that he had through four strenuous years borne the burdens
of leadership with unflagging zeal, with persistent courage, and with an
almost foolhardy hopefulness. He had given to the Confederacy the best
of his life, and he was entitled to the adoration that the survivors of
the Confederacy gave to him as representing the ideal of the lost cause.

The feeling with which Lincoln was regarded by the men in the front, for
whom through the early years of their campaigning he had been not only
the leader but the inspiration, was indicated by the manner in which the
news of his death was received. I happened myself on the day of those
sad tidings to be with my division in a little village just outside of
Goldsborough, North Carolina. We had no telegraphic communication with
the North, but were accustomed to receive despatches about noon each
day, carried across the swamps from a station through which connection
was made with Wilmington and the North. In the course of the morning, I
had gone to the shanty of an old darky whom I had come to know during
the days of our sojourn, for the purpose of getting a shave. The old
fellow took up his razor, put it down again and then again lifted it up,
but his arm was shaking and I saw that he was so agitated that he was
not fitted for the task. "Massa," he said, "I can't shave yer this
mornin'." "What is the matter?" I inquired. "Well," he replied,
"somethin's happened to Massa Linkum." "Why!" said I, "nothing has
happened to Lincoln. I know what there is to be known. What are you
talking about?" "Well!" the old man replied with a half sob, "we
coloured folks--we get news or we get half news sooner than you-uns. I
dun know jes' what it is, but somethin' has gone wrong with Massa
Linkum." I could get nothing more out of the old man, but I was
sufficiently anxious to make my way to Division headquarters to see if
there was any news in advance of the arrival of the regular courier. The
coloured folks were standing in little groups along the village street,
murmuring to each other or waiting with anxious faces for the bad news
that they were sure was coming. I found the brigade adjutant and those
with him were puzzled like myself at the troubled minds of the darkies,
but still sceptical as to the possibility of any information having
reached them which was not known through the regular channels.

At noon, the courier made his appearance riding by the wood lane across
the fields; and the instant he was seen we all realised that there was
bad news. The man was hurrying his pony and yet seemed to be very
unwilling to reach the lines where his report must be made. In this
instance (as was, of course, not usually the case) the courier knew what
was in his despatches. The Division Adjutant stepped out on the porch of
the headquarters with the paper in his hand, but he broke down before he
could begin to read. The Division Commander took the word and was able
simply to announce: "Lincoln is dead." The word "President" was not
necessary and he sought in fact for the shortest word. I never before
had found myself in a mass of men overcome by emotion. Ten thousand
soldiers were sobbing together. No survivor of the group can recall the
sadness of that morning without again being touched by the wave of
emotion which broke down the reserve and control of these war-worn
veterans on learning that their great captain was dead.

The whole people had come to have with the President a relation similar
to that which had grown up between the soldiers and their
Commander-in-chief. With the sympathy and love of the people to sustain
him, Lincoln had over them an almost unlimited influence. His capacity
for toil, his sublime patience, his wonderful endurance, his great mind
and heart, his out-reaching sympathies, his thoughtfulness for the needs
and requirements of all, had bound him to his fellow-citizens by an
attachment of genuine sentiment. His appellation throughout the country
had during the last year of the war become "Father Abraham." We may
recall in the thought of this relation to the people the record of
Washington. The first President has come into history as the "Father of
his Country," but for Washington this rôle of father is something of
historic development. During Washington's lifetime, or certainly at
least during the years of his responsibilities as General and as
President, there was no such general recognition of the leader and ruler
as the father of his country. He was dear to a small circle of
intimates; he was held in respectful regard by a larger number of those
with whom were carried on his responsibilities in the army, and later in
the nation's government. To many good Americans, however, Washington
represented for years an antagonistic principle of government. He was
regarded as an aristocrat and there were not a few political leaders,
with groups of voters behind them, who dreaded, and doubtless honestly
dreaded, that the influence of Washington might be utilised to build up
in this country some fresh form of the monarchy that had been
overthrown. The years of the Presidency had to be completed and the
bitter antagonisms of the seven years' fighting and of the issues of the
Constitution-building had to be outgrown, before the people were able to
recognise as a whole the perfect integrity of purpose and consistency of
action of their great leader, the first President. Even then when the
animosities and suspicions had died away, while the people were ready to
honour the high character and the accomplishments of Washington, the
feeling was one of reverence rather than of affection. This sentiment
gave rise later to the title of the "Father of his Country"; but there
was no such personal feeling towards Washington as warranted, at least
during his life, the term father of the people. Thirty years later, the
ruler of the nation is Andrew Jackson, a man who was, like Lincoln,
eminently a representative of the common people. His fellow-citizens
knew that Jackson understood their feelings and their methods and were
ready to have full confidence in Jackson's patriotism and honesty of
purpose. His nature lacked, however, the sweet sympathetic qualities
that characterised Lincoln; and while to a large body of his
fellow-citizens he commended himself for sturdiness, courage, and
devotion to the interests of the state, he was never able for himself to
overcome the feeling that a man who failed to agree with a Jackson
policy must be either a knave or a fool. He could not place himself in
the position from which the other fellow was thinking or acting. He
believed that it was his duty to maintain what he held to be the popular
cause against the "schemes of the aristocrats," the bugbear of that day.
He was a fighter from his youth up and his theory of government was that
of enforcing the control of the side for which he was the partisan. Such
a man could never be accepted as the father of the people.

Lincoln, coming from those whom he called the common people, feeling
with their feelings, sympathetic with their needs and ideals, was able
in the development of his powers to be accepted as the peer of the
largest intellects in the land. While knowing what was needed by the
poor whites of Kentucky, he could understand also the point of view of
Boston, New York, or Philadelphia. In place of emphasising antagonisms,
he held consistently that the highest interest of one section of the
country must be the real interest of the whole people, and that the
ruler of the nation had upon him the responsibility of so shaping the
national policy that all the people should recognise the government as
their government. It was this large understanding and width of sympathy
that made Lincoln in a sense which could be applied to no other ruler of
this country, the people's President, and no other ruler in the world
has ever been so sympathetically, so effectively in touch with all of
the fellow-citizens for whose welfare he made himself responsible. The
Latin writer, Aulus Gellius, uses for one of his heroes the term "a
classic character." These words seem to me fairly to apply to Abraham

An appreciative Englishman, writing in the London _Nation_ at the time
of the Centennial commemoration, says of Lincoln:

    The greatness of Lincoln was that of a common man raised to a high
    dimension. The possibility, still more the existence, of such a man
    is itself a justification of democracy. We do not say that so
    independent, so natural, so complete a man cannot in older societies
    come to wield so large a power over the affairs and the minds of
    men; we can only say that amid all the stirring movements of the
    nineteenth century he has not so done. The existence of what may be
    called a widespread commonalty explains the rarity of personal
    eminence in America. There has been and still remains a higher
    general level of personality than in any European country, and the
    degree of eminence is correspondingly reduced. It is just because
    America has stood for opportunity that conspicuous individuals have
    been comparatively rare. Strong personality, however, has not been
    rare; it is the abundance of such personality that has built up
    silently into the rising fabric of the American Commonwealth,
    pioneers, roadmakers, traders, lawyers, soldiers, teachers, toiling
    terribly over the material and moral foundation of the country, few
    of whose names have emerged or survived. Lincoln was of this stock,
    was reared among these rude energetic folk, had lived all those
    sorts of lives. He was no "sport"; his career is a triumphant
    refutation of the traditional views of genius. He had no special
    gift or quality to distinguish him; he was simply the best type of
    American at a historic juncture when the national safety wanted such
    a man. The confidence which all Americans express that their country
    will be equal to any emergency which may threaten it, is not so
    entirely superstitious as it seems at first sight. For the career of
    Lincoln shows how it has been done in a country where the "necessary
    man" can be drawn not from a few leading families, or an educated
    class, but from the millions.

Rabbi Schechter, in an eloquent address delivered at the Centennial
celebration, speaks of Lincoln's personality as follows:

    The half century that has elapsed since Lincoln's death has
    dispelled the mists that encompassed him on earth. Men now not only
    recognise the right which he championed, but behold in him the
    standard of righteousness, of liberty, of conciliation, and truth.
    In him, as it were personified, stands the Union, all that is best
    and noblest and enduring in its principles in which he devoutly
    believed and served mightily to save. When to-day, the world
    celebrates the century of his existence, he has become the ideal of
    both North and South, of a common country, composed not only of the
    factions that once confronted each other in war's dreadful array,
    but of the myriad thousands that have since found in the American
    nation the hope of the future and the refuge from age-entrenched
    wrong and absolutism. To them, Lincoln, his life, his history, his
    character, his entire personality, with all its wondrous charm and
    grace, its sobriety, patience, self-abnegation, and sweetness, has
    come to be the very prototype of a rising humanity.

Carl Schurz, himself a man of large nature and wide and sympathetic
comprehension, says of Lincoln:

    In the most conspicuous position of the period, Lincoln drew upon
    himself the scoffs of polite society; but even then he filled the
    souls of mankind with utterances of wonderful beauty and grandeur.
    It was distinctly the weird mixture in him of qualities and forces,
    of the lofty with the common, the ideal with the uncouth, of that
    which he had become with that which he had not ceased to be, that
    made him so fascinating a character among his fellow-men, that gave
    him his singular power over minds and hearts, that fitted him to be
    the greatest leader in the greatest crisis of our national life.

    He possessed the courage to stand alone--that courage which is the
    first requisite of leadership in a great cause. The charm of
    Lincoln's oratory flooded all the rare depth and genuineness of his
    convictions and his sympathetic feelings were the strongest element
    in his nature. He was one of the greatest Americans and the best of

The poet Whittier writes:

    The weary form that rested not
    Save in a martyr's grave;
    The care-worn face that none forgot,
    Turned to the kneeling slave.

    We rest in peace where his sad eyes
    Saw peril, strife, and pain;
    His was the awful sacrifice,
    And ours the priceless gain.

Says Bryant:

    That task is done, the bound are free,
    We bear thee to an honoured grave,
    Whose noblest monument shall be
    The broken fetters of the slave.

    Pure was thy life; its bloody close
    Hath blessed thee with the sons of light,
    Among the noble host of those
    Who perished in the cause of right.

Says Lowell:

    Our children shall behold his fame,
    The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man,
    Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame;
    New birth of our new soil, the first American.

Ordinary men die when their physical life is brought to a close, if
perhaps not at once, yet in a brief space, with the passing of the
little circle of those to whom they were dear.

The man of distinction lives for a time after death. His achievements
and his character are held in appreciative remembrance by the community
and the generation he has served. The waves of his influence ripple out
in a somewhat wider circle before being lost in the ocean of time. We
call that man great to whom it is given so to impress himself upon his
fellow-men by deed, by creation, by service to the community, by
character, by the inspiration from on high that has been breathed
through his soul, that he is not permitted to die. Such a man secures
immortality in this world. The knowledge and the influence of his life
are extended throughout mankind and his memory gathers increasing fame
from generation to generation.

It is thus that men are to-day honouring the memory of Abraham Lincoln.
To-day, one hundred years after his birth, and nearly half a century
since the dramatic close of his life's work, Lincoln stands enshrined in
the thought and in the hearts of his countrymen. He is our "Father
Abraham," belonging to us, his fellow-citizens, for ideals, for
inspiration, and for affectionate regard; but he belongs now also to all
mankind, for he has been canonised among the noblest of the world's



Delivered at Cooper Institute, New York,

February 27, 1860.

With Introduction by Charles C. Nott; Historical and Analytical Notes by
Charles C. Nott and Cephas Brainerd, and with the Correspondence between
Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Nott as Representative of the Committee of the Young
Men's Republican Union.


The address delivered by Lincoln at the Cooper Institute in February,
1860 in response to the invitation of certain representative New
Yorkers, was, as well in its character as in its results, the most
important of all of his utterances.

The conscientious study of the historical and constitutional record, and
the arguments and conclusions based upon the analysis of this record,
were accepted by the Republican leaders as constituting the principles
and the policy to be maintained during the Presidential campaign of
1860, a campaign in which was involved not merely the election of a
President, but the continued existence of the republic.

Under the wise counsels represented by the words of Lincoln, the
election was fought out substantially on two contentions:

First, that the compact entered into by the Fathers and by their
immediate successors should be loyally carried out, and that slavery
should not be interfered with in the original slave States, or in the
additional territory that had been conceded to it under the Missouri
Compromise; and, secondly, that not a single further square mile of
soil, that was still free, should be left available, or should be made
available, for the incursion of slavery.

It was the conviction of Lincoln and of his associates, as it had been
the conviction of the Fathers, that under such a restriction slavery
must certainly in the near future come to an end. It was because these
convictions, both in the debates with Douglas and in the Cooper
Institute speech, were presented by Lincoln more forcibly and more
conclusively than had been done by any other political leader, that
Lincoln secured the nomination and the presidency. The February address
was assuredly a deciding factor in the great issue of the time, and it
certainly belongs, therefore, with the historic documents of the


NEW YORK, September 1, 1909.


(_From Robert Lincoln_)


    July 27, 1909.


    Your letter of July 23rd reaches me here, and I beg to express my
    thanks for your kind remembrances of me in London.... I am much
    interested in learning that you were present at the time my father
    made his speech at Cooper Institute. I, of course, remember the
    occasion very well, although I was not present. I was at that time
    in the middle of my year at Phillips Exeter Academy, preparing for
    the Harvard entrance examination of the summer of 1860.... After the
    Cooper Institute address, my father came to Exeter to see how I was
    getting along, and this visit resulted in his making a number of
    speeches in New England on his way and on his return, and at Exeter
    he wrote to my mother a letter which was mainly concerned with me,
    but which did make reference to these speeches.... He said that he
    had had some embarrassment with these New England speeches, because
    in coming East he had anticipated making no speech excepting the
    one at the Cooper Institute, and he had not prepared himself for
    anything else.... In the later speeches, he was addressing reading
    audiences who had, as he thought probable, seen the report of his
    Cooper Institute speech, and he was obliged, therefore, from day to
    day (he made about a dozen speeches in New England in all) to bear
    that fact in mind.

    Sincerely yours,


(_From Judge Nott_)


    July 26, 1909.


    I consider it very desirable that the report of Mr. Lincoln's
    speech, embodying the final revision, should be preserved in book
    form.... The text in the pamphlet now in your hands is authentic and
    conclusive. Mr. Lincoln read the proof both of the address and of
    the notes. I am glad that you are to include in your reprint the
    letters from Mr. Lincoln, as these letters authenticate this copy of
    the address as the copy which was corrected by him with his own

    The preface to the address, written in September, 1860, has interest
    because it shows what we thought of the address at that time....
    Your worthy father was, if I remember rightly, one of the
    vice-presidents of the meeting....

    Yours faithfully,


_(From Cephas Brainerd)_

    NEW YORK, August 18, 1909.


    I am very glad to learn that there is good prospect that the real
    Lincoln Cooper Institute address, with the evidence in regard to it,
    will now be available for the public.... I am glad also that with
    the address you are proposing to print the letters received by Judge
    Nott from Mr. Lincoln. One or two of these have, unfortunately, not
    been preserved. I recall in one an observation made by Lincoln to
    the effect that he "was not much of a literary man."

    I did not see much of Mr. Lincoln when he was in New York, as my
    most active responsibility in regard to the meeting was in getting
    up an audience.... I remember in handing some weeks earlier to John
    Sherman, who, like Lincoln, had never before spoken in New York,
    five ten-dollar gold pieces, that he said he "had not expected his
    expenses to be paid." At a lunch that was given to Sherman a long
    time afterward, I referred to that meeting. Sherman cocked his eye
    at me and said: "Yes, I remember it very well; I never was so scar't
    in all my life." ...

    The observations of Judge Nott in regard to the meeting are about
    as just as anything that has ever been put into print, and as I
    concur fully in the accuracy of these recollections, I do not
    undertake to give my own impressions at any length. I was expecting
    to hear some specimen of Western stump-speaking as it was then
    understood. You will, of course, observe that the speech contains
    nothing of the kind. I do remember, however, that Lincoln spoke of
    the condition of feeling between the North and the South.... He
    refers to the treatment which Northern men received in the South,
    and he remarked, parenthetically, that he had never known of a man
    who had been able "to whip his wife into loving him," an observation
    that produced laughter.

    In making up the notes, we ransacked, as you may be sure, all the
    material available in the libraries in New York, and I also had
    interviews as to one special point with Mr. Bancroft, with Mr.
    Hildreth, and with Dr. William Goodell, who was in those times a
    famous anti-slavery man.

    Your father[3] and William Curtis Noyes were possibly more
    completely in sympathy than any other two men in New York, with the
    efforts of these younger men; they impressed me as standing in that
    respect on the same plane. The next man to them was Charles Wyllis
    Elliott, the author of a _History of New England_. We never went to
    your father for advice or assistance when he failed to help us, and
    he was always so kindly and gentle in what he did and said that
    every one of us youngsters acquired for him a very great affection.
    He always had time to see us and was always on hand when he was
    wanted, and if we desired to have anything, we got it if he had it.
    Neither your father, nor Mr. Noyes, nor for that matter Mr. Elliott,
    ever suggested that we were "young" or "fresh" or anything of that
    sort. The enthusiasm which young fellows have was always recognised
    by these men as an exceedingly valuable asset in the cause....
    Pardon all this from a "veteran," and believe me,

    Sincerely yours,




The Cooper Institute address is one of the most important addresses ever
delivered in the life of this nation, for at an eventful time it changed
the course of history. When Mr. Lincoln rose to speak on the evening of
February 27, 1860, he had held no administrative office; he had
endeavoured to be appointed Commissioner of Patents, and had failed; he
had sought to be elected United States Senator, and had been defeated;
he had been a member of Congress, yet it was not even remembered; he was
a lawyer in humble circumstances, persuasive of juries, but had not
reached the front rank of the Illinois Bar. The record which Mr. Lincoln
himself placed in the Congressional Directory in 1847 might still be
taken as the record of his public and official life: "Born February
12th, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. Education defective. Profession
a lawyer. Have been a captain of volunteers in the Black Hawk War.
Postmaster in a very small office. Four times a member of the Illinois
Legislature and a member of the lower house of Congress." Was this the
record of a man who should be made the head of a nation in troubled
times? In the estimation of thoughtful Americans east of the Alleghanies
all that they knew of Mr. Lincoln justified them in regarding him as
only "a Western stump orator"--successful, distinguished, but nothing
higher than that--a Western stump orator, who had dared to brave one of
the strongest men in the Western States, and who had done so with
wonderful ability and moral success. When Mr. Lincoln closed his address
he had risen to the rank of statesman, and had stamped himself a
statesman peculiarly fitted for the exigency of the hour.

Mr. William Cullen Bryant presided at the meeting; and a number of the
first and ablest citizens of New York were present, among them Horace
Greeley. Mr. Greeley was pronounced in his appreciation of the address;
it was the ablest, the greatest, the wisest speech that had yet been
made; it would reassure the conservative Northerner; it was just what
was wanted to conciliate the excited Southerner; it was conclusive in
its argument, and would assure the overthrow of Douglas. Mr. Horace
White has recently written: "I chanced to open the other day his Cooper
Institute speech. This is one of the few printed speeches that I did not
hear him deliver in person. As I read the concluding pages of that
speech, the conflict of opinion that preceded the conflict of arms then
sweeping upon the country like an approaching solar eclipse seemed
prefigured like a chapter of the Book of Fate. Here again he was the
Old Testament prophet, before whom Horace Greeley bowed his head, saying
that he had never listened to a greater speech, although he had heard
several of Webster's best." Later, Mr. Greeley became the leader of the
Republican forces opposed to the nomination of Mr. Seward and was
instrumental in concentrating those forces upon Mr. Lincoln.
Furthermore, the great New York press on the following morning carried
the address to the country, and before Mr. Lincoln left New York he was
telegraphed from Connecticut to come and aid in the campaign of the
approaching spring election. He went, and when the fateful moment came
in the Convention, Connecticut was one of the Eastern States which first
broke away from the Seward column and went over to Mr. Lincoln. When
Connecticut did this, the die was cast.

It is difficult for younger generations of Americans to believe that
three months before Mr. Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency he was
neither appreciated nor known in New York. That fact can be better
established by a single incident than by the opinions and assurances of
a dozen men.

After the address had been delivered, Mr. Lincoln was taken by two
members of the Young Men's Central Republican Union--Mr. Hiram Barney,
afterward Collector of the Port of New York, and Mr. Nott, one of the
subsequent editors of the address--to their club, The Athenæum, where
a very simple supper was ordered, and five or six Republican members of
the club who chanced to be in the building were invited in. The supper
was informal--as informal as anything could be; the conversation was
easy and familiar; the prospects of the Republican party in the coming
struggle were talked over, and so little was it supposed by the
gentlemen who had not heard the address that Mr. Lincoln could possibly
be the candidate that one of them, Mr. Charles W. Elliott, asked,
artlessly: "Mr. Lincoln, what candidate do you really think would be
most likely to carry Illinois?" Mr. Lincoln answered by illustration:
"Illinois is a peculiar State, in three parts. In northern Illinois, Mr.
Seward would have a larger majority than I could get. In middle
Illinois, I think I could call out a larger vote than Mr. Seward. In
southern Illinois, it would make no difference who was the candidate."
This answer was taken to be merely illustrative by everybody except,
perhaps, Mr. Barney and Mr. Nott, each of whom, it subsequently
appeared, had particularly noted Mr. Lincoln's reply.

The little party broke up. Mr. Lincoln had been cordially received, but
certainly had not been flattered. The others shook him by the hand and,
as they put on their overcoats, said: "Mr. Nott is going down town and
he will show you the way to the Astor House." Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Nott
started on foot, but the latter observing that Mr. Lincoln was
apparently Walking with some difficulty said, "Are you lame, Mr.
Lincoln?" He replied that he had on new boots and they hurt him. The two
gentlemen then boarded a street car. When they reached the place where
Mr. Nott would leave the car on his way home, he shook Mr. Lincoln by
the hand and, bidding him good-bye, told him that this car would carry
him to the side door of the Astor House. Mr. Lincoln went on alone, the
only occupant of the car. The next time he came to New York, he rode
down Broadway to the Astor House standing erect in an open barouche
drawn by four white horses. He bowed to the patriotic thousands in the
street, on the sidewalks, in the windows, on the house-tops, and they
cheered him as the lawfully elected President of the United States and
bade him go on and, with God's help, save the Union.

His companion in the street car has often wondered since then what Mr.
Lincoln thought about during the remainder of his ride that night to the
Astor House. The Cooper Institute had, owing to a snowstorm, not been
full, and its intelligent, respectable, non-partisan audience had not
rung out enthusiastic applause like a concourse of Western auditors
magnetised by their own enthusiasm. Had the address--the most carefully
prepared, the most elaborately investigated and demonstrated and
verified of all the work of his life--been a failure? But in the matter
of quality and ability, if not of quantity and enthusiasm, he had never
addressed such an audience; and some of the ablest men in the Northern
States had expressed their opinion of the address in terms which left no
doubt of the highest appreciation. Did Mr. Lincoln regard the address
which he had just delivered to a small and critical audience as a
success? Did he have the faintest glimmer of the brilliant effect which
was to follow? Did he feel the loneliness of the situation--the want of
his loyal Illinois adherents? Did his sinking heart infer that he was
but a speck of humanity to which the great city would never again give a
thought? He was a plain man, an ungainly man; unadorned, apparently
uncultivated, showing the awkwardness of self-conscious rusticity. His
dress that night before a New York audience was the most unbecoming that
a fiend's ingenuity could have devised for a tall, gaunt man--a black
frock coat, ill-setting and too short for him in the body, skirt, and
arms--a rolling collar, low-down, disclosing his long thin, shrivelled
throat uncovered and exposed. No man in all New York appeared that night
more simple, more unassuming, more modest, more unpretentious, more
conscious of his own defects than Abraham Lincoln; and yet we now know
that within his soul there burned the fires of an unbounded ambition,
sustained by a self-reliance and self-esteem that bade him fix his gaze
upon the very pinnacle of American fame and aspire to it in a time so
troubled that its dangers appalled the soul of every American. What were
this man's thoughts when he was left alone? Did a faint shadow of the
future rest upon his soul? Did he feel in some mysterious way that on
that night he had crossed the Rubicon of his life-march--that care and
trouble and political discord, and slander and misrepresentation and
ridicule and public responsibilities, such as hardly ever before
burdened a conscientious soul, coupled with war and defeat and disaster,
were to be thenceforth his portion nearly to his life's end, and that
his end was to be a bloody act which would appall the world and send a
thrill of horror through the hearts of friends and enemies alike, so
that when the woeful tidings came the bravest of the Southern brave
should burst into tears and cry aloud, "Oh! the unhappy South, the
unhappy South!"

The impression left on his companion's mind as he gave a last glance at
him in the street car was that he seemed sad and lonely; and when it was
too late, when the car was beyond call, he blamed himself for not
accompanying Mr. Lincoln to the Astor House--not because he was a
distinguished stranger, but because he seemed a sad and lonely man.

_February 12, 1908_.


    69 Wall St., New York,

    February 9, 1860.

    _Dear Sir_:

    The "Young Men's Central Republican Union" of this city very
    cordially desire that you should deliver during the ensuing
    month--what I may term--_a political lecture_. The peculiarities of
    the case are these--A series of lectures has been determined
    upon--The first was delivered by Mr. Blair of St. Louis a short time
    ago--the second will be in a few days by Mr. C.M. Clay, and the
    third we would prefer to have from you, rather than from any other
    person. Of the audience I should add that it is not that of an
    ordinary political meeting. These lectures have been _contrived_ to
    call out our better, but busier citizens, who never attend political
    meetings. A large part of the audience would also consist of ladies.
    The time we should prefer, would be about the middle of March, but
    if any earlier or later day will be more convenient for you we would
    alter our arrangements.

    Allow me to hope that we shall have the pleasure of welcoming you to
    New York. You are, I believe, an entire stranger to your Republican
    brethren here; but they have, for you, the highest esteem, and your
    celebrated contest with Judge Douglas awoke their warmest sympathy
    and admiration. Those of us who are "in the ranks" would regard your
    presence as very material aid, and as an honor and pleasure which I
    cannot sufficiently express.


    Charles C. Nott.

    To Hon. Abram Lincoln.

    69 Wall St., New York,

    May 23, 1860.

    _Dear Sir_:

    I enclose a copy of your address in New York.

    We (the Young Men's Rep. Union) design to publish a new edition in
    larger type and better form, with such notes and references as will
    best attract readers seeking information. Have you any memoranda of
    your investigations which you would approve of inserting?

    You and your Western friends, I think, underrate this speech. It has
    produced a greater effect here than any other single speech. It is
    the real platform in the Eastern States, and must carry the
    conservative element in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

    Therefore I desire that it should be as nearly perfect as may be.
    Most of the emendations are trivial and do not affect the
    substance--all are merely suggested for your judgment.

    I cannot help adding that this speech is an extraordinary example
    of condensed English. After some experience in criticising for
    Reviews, I find hardly anything to touch and nothing to omit. It is
    the only one I know of which I cannot _shorten_, and--like a good
    arch--moving one word tumbles a whole sentence down.

    Finally--it being a bad and foolish thing for a candidate to write
    letters, and you having doubtless more to do of that than is
    pleasant or profitable, we will not add to your burden in that
    regard, but if you will let any friend who has nothing to do, advise
    us as to your wishes, in this or any other matter, we will try to
    carry them out.


    Charles C. Nott.

    To Hon. Abraham Lincoln.

    Springfield, Ills., May 31, 1860.

    Charles C. Nott, Esq.

    _My Dear Sir_:

    Yours of the 23rd, accompanied by a copy of the speech delivered by
    me at the Cooper Institute, and upon which you have made some notes
    for emendations, was received some days ago--Of course I would not
    object to, but would be pleased rather, with a more perfect edition
    of that speech.

    I did not preserve memoranda of my investigations; and I could not
    now re-examine, and make notes, without an expenditure of time
    which I can not bestow upon it--Some of your notes I do not

    So far as it is intended merely to improve in grammar, and elegance
    of composition, I am quite agreed; but I do not wish the sense
    changed, or modified, to a hair's breadth--And you, not having
    studied the particular points so closely as I have, can not be quite
    sure that you do not change the sense when you do not intend it--For
    instance, in a note at bottom of first page, you propose to
    substitute "Democrats" for "Douglas"--But what I am saying there is
    _true_ of Douglas, and is not true of "Democrats" generally; so that
    the proposed substitution would be a very considerable blunder--Your
    proposed insertion of "residences" though it would do little or no
    harm, is not at all necessary to the sense I was trying to
    convey--On page 5 your proposed grammatical change would certainly
    do no harm--The "_impudently absurd"_ I stick to--The striking out
    "_he"_ and inserting "_we"_ turns the sense exactly wrong--The
    striking out "_upon it_" leaves the sense too general and
    incomplete--The sense is "act as they acted _upon that question_
    "--not as they acted generally.

    After considering your proposed changes on page 7, I do not think
    them material, but I am willing to defer to you in relation to them.

    On page 9, striking out "_to us_" is probably right--The word
    "_lawyer's"_ I wish retained. The word "_Courts"_ struck out twice,
    I wish reduced to "Court" and retained--"Court" as a collection more
    properly governs the plural "have" as I understand--"The" preceding
    "Court," in the latter case, must also be retained--The words
    "quite," "as," and "or" on the same page, I wish retained. The
    italicising, and quotation marking, I have no objection to.

    As to the note at bottom, I do not think any too much is
    admitted--What you propose on page 11 is right--I return your copy
    of the speech, together with one printed here, under my own hasty
    supervising. That at New York was printed without any supervision by
    me--If you conclude to publish a new edition, allow me to see the

    And now thanking you for your very complimentary letter, and your
    interest for me generally, I subscribe myself.

    Your friend and servant,

    A. Lincoln.

    69 Wall Street, New York.

    August 28, 1860.

    _Dear Sir_:

    Mr. Judd insists on our printing the revised edition of your Cooper
    Ins. speech _without waiting to send you the_ proofs.

    If this is so determined, I wish you to know, that I have made no
    alterations other than those you sanctioned, except--

    1. I do not find that Abraham Baldwin voted on the Ordinance of '87.
    On the contrary he appears _not_ to have acted with Congress during
    the sitting of the Convention. Wm. Pierce seems to have taken his
    place then; and his name is recorded as voting for the Ordinance.
    This makes no difference in the result, but I presume you will not
    wish the historical inaccuracy (if it is such) to stand. I will
    therefore (unless you write to the contrary) strike out his name in
    that place and reduce the number from "four" to "three" where you
    sum up the number of times he voted.

    2. In the quotations from the Constitution I have given its exact
    language; as "delegated" instead of "granted," etc. As it is given
    in _quo_. marks, I presume the exact letter of the text should be

    _If these are not correct please write immediately_.

    _Our_ apology for the delay is that we have been weighed down by
    other matters; _mine_ that I have but to-day returned to town.


    Charles C. Nott.

    To Hon. Abraham Lincoln.

    69 WALL STREET, N.Y.

    Sept. 17, 1860.

    _Dear Sir_:

    We forward you by this day's express 250 copies, with the last
    corrections. I delayed sending, thinking that you would prefer these
    to those first printed.

    The "Abraham Baldwin letter" referred to in your last I regret to
    say has _not_ arrived. From your not touching the proofs in that
    regard, I inferred (and hope) that the correction was not itself an

    Should you wish a larger number of copies do not hesitate to let us
    know; it will afford us much pleasure to furnish them and no
    inconvenience whatever.

    Respectfully, etc.,


    Hon. A. Lincoln.

    SPRINGFIELD, ILLS., Sept. 22, 1860.

    CHARLES C. NOTT, Esq.,

    _My Dear Sir_:

    Yours of the 17th was duly received--The 250 copies have not yet
    arrived--I am greatly obliged to you for what you have done, and
    what you propose to do.

    The "Abraham Baldwin letter" in substance was that I could not find
    the Journal of the Confederation Congress for the session at which
    was passed the Ordinance of 1787--and that in stating Mr. Baldwin
    had voted for its passage, I had relied on a communication of Mr.
    Greeley, over his own signature, published in the New York _Weekly
    Tribune_ of October 15, 1859. If you will turn to that paper, you
    will there see that Mr. Greeley apparently copies from the Journal,
    and places the name of Mr. Baldwin among those of the men who voted
    for the measure.

    Still; if the Journal itself shows differently, of course it is

    Yours very truly,


The Address of


In Vindication of the Policy of the Framers of the

Constitution and the Principles of the

Republican Party.

Delivered at Cooper Institute, February 27th, 1860.

Issued by the Young Men's Republican Union.

With Notes by


Members of the Board of Control.


DEXTER A. HAWKINS, Vice-President.






This edition of Mr. Lincoln's address has been prepared and published by
the Young Men's Republican Union of New York, to exemplify its wisdom,
truthfulness, and learning. No one who has not actually attempted to
verify its details can understand the patient research and historical
labor which it embodies. The history of our earlier politics is
scattered through numerous journals, statutes, pamphlets, and letters;
and these are defective in completeness and accuracy of statement, and
in indices and tables of contents. Neither can any one who has not
travelled over this precise ground appreciate the accuracy of every
trivial detail, or the self-denying impartiality with which Mr. Lincoln
has turned from the testimony of "the Fathers," on the general question
of slavery, to present the single question which he discusses. From the
first line to the last--from his premises to his conclusion, he travels
with swift, unerring directness which no logician ever excelled--an
argument complete and full, without the affectation of learning, and
without the stiffness which usually accompanies dates and details. A
single, easy, simple sentence of plain Anglo-Saxon words contains a
chapter of history that, in some instances, has taken days of labor to
verify and which must have cost the author months of investigation to
acquire. And, though the public should justly estimate the labor
bestowed on the facts which are stated, they cannot estimate the greater
labor involved on those which are omitted--how many pages have been
read--how many works examined--what numerous statutes, resolutions,
speeches, letters, and biographies have been looked through. Commencing
with this address as a political pamphlet, the reader will leave it as
an historical work--brief, complete, profound, impartial,
truthful--which will survive the time and the occasion that called it
forth, and be esteemed hereafter, no less for its intrinsic worth than
its unpretending modesty.

NEW YORK, September, 1860.


    I shall deal this evening are mainly old and familiar; nor is there
    anything new in the general use I shall make of them. If there shall
    be any novelty, it will be in the mode of presenting the facts, and
    the inferences and observations following that presentation.

    In his speech last autumn, at Columbus, Ohio, as reported in the New
    York _Times_, Senator Douglas said:

    "_Our fathers, when they framed the Government under which we live,
    understood this question just as well, and even better than we do

    I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this discourse. I
    so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and an agreed
    starting-point for a discussion between Republicans and that wing of
    the Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It simply leaves the
    inquiry: "_What was the understanding those fathers had of the
    question mentioned_?"

    What is the frame of Government under which we live?

    The answer must be: "The Constitution of the United States." That
    Constitution consists of the original, framed in 1787, (and under
    which the present Government first went into operation,) and twelve
    subsequently framed amendments, the first ten of which were framed
    in 1789.[4]

    Who were our fathers that framed the Constitution? I suppose the
    "thirty-nine" who signed the original instrument may be fairly
    called our fathers who framed that part of the present Government.
    It is almost exactly true to say they framed it, and it is
    altogether true to say they fairly represented the opinion and
    sentiment of the whole nation at that time. Their names, being
    familiar to nearly all, and accessible to quite all, need not now be

    I take these "thirty-nine" for the present, as being "our fathers
    who framed the Government under which we live."

    What is the question which, according to the text, those fathers
    understood "just as well, and even better than we do now"?

    It is this: Does the proper division of local from federal
    authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbid _our Federal
    Government_ to control as to slavery in _our Federal Territories_?

    Upon this, Senator Douglas holds the affirmative, and Republicans
    the negative. This affirmation and denial form an issue; and this
    issue--this question--is precisely what the text declares our
    fathers understood "better than we."

    Let us now inquire whether the "thirty-nine," or any of them, ever
    acted upon this question; and if they did, how they acted upon
    it--how they expressed that better understanding.

    In 1784, three years before the Constitution--the United States then
    owning the Northwestern Territory, and no other,[6] the Congress of
    the Confederation had before them the question of prohibiting
    slavery in that Territory; and four of the "thirty-nine" who
    afterward framed the Constitution, were in that Congress, and voted
    on that question. Of these, Roger Sherman, Thomas Mifflin, and Hugh
    Williamson voted for the prohibition,[7] thus showing that, in their
    understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor
    anything else, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as
    to slavery in federal territory. The other of the four--James
    M'Henry--voted against the prohibition, showing that, for some
    cause, he thought it improper to vote for it.[8]

    In 1787, still before the Constitution, but while the Convention was
    in session framing it, and while the Northwestern Territory still
    was the only territory owned by the United States, the same question
    of prohibiting Slavery in the Territories again came before the
    Congress of the Confederation; and two more of the "thirty-nine" who
    afterward signed the Constitution, were in that Congress, and voted
    on the question. They were William Blount and William Few[9]; and
    they both voted for the prohibition--thus showing that, in their
    understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor
    anything else, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as
    to slavery in federal territory. This time, the prohibition became a
    law, being part of what is now well known as the Ordinance of

    The question of federal control of slavery in the territories, seems
    not to have been directly before the Convention which framed the
    original Constitution; and hence it is not recorded that the
    "thirty-nine," or any of them, while engaged on that instrument,
    expressed any opinion on that precise question.[11]

    In 1789, by the first Congress which sat under the Constitution, an
    act was passed to enforce the Ordinance of '87, including the
    prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory. The bill for
    this act was reported by one of the "thirty-nine," Thomas
    Fitzsimmons, then a member of the House of Representatives from
    Pennsylvania. It went through all its stages without a word of
    opposition, and finally passed both branches without yeas and nays,
    which is equivalent to an unanimous passage.[12] In this Congress,
    there were sixteen of the thirty-nine fathers who framed the
    original Constitution. They were John Langdon, Nicholas Oilman, Wm.
    S. Johnson, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, Thos. Fitzsimmons, William
    Few, Abraham Baldwin, Rufus King, William Paterson, George Clymer,
    Richard Bassett, George Read, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carroll, James

    This shows that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from
    federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, properly
    forbade Congress to prohibit slavery in the federal territory; else
    both their fidelity to correct principle, and their oath to support
    the Constitution, would have constrained them to oppose the

    Again, George Washington, another of the "thirty-nine," was then
    President of the United States, and, as such, approved and signed
    the bill; thus completing its validity as a law, and thus showing
    that, in his understanding, no line dividing local from federal
    authority, nor anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal
    Government to control as to slavery in federal territory.

    No great while after the adoption of the original Constitution,
    North Carolina ceded to the Federal Government the country now
    constituting the State of Tennessee; and a few years later Georgia
    ceded that which now constitutes the States of Mississippi and
    Alabama. In both deeds of cession it was made a condition by the
    ceding States that the Federal Government should not prohibit
    slavery in the ceded country.[14] Besides this, slavery was then
    actually in the ceded country. Under these circumstances, Congress,
    on taking charge of these countries, did not absolutely prohibit
    slavery within them. But they did interfere with it--take control of
    it--even there to a certain extent. In 1798, Congress organized the
    Territory of Mississippi. In the act of organization, they
    prohibited the bringing of slaves into the Territory, from any place
    without the United States, by fine, and giving freedom to slaves so
    brought.[15] This act passed both branches of Congress without yeas
    and nays. In that Congress were three of the "thirty-nine" who
    framed the original Constitution. They were John Langdon, George
    Read and Abraham Baldwin.[16] They all, probably, voted for it.
    Certainly they would have placed their opposition to it upon record,
    if, in their understanding, any line dividing local from federal
    authority, or anything in the Constitution, properly forbade the
    Federal Government to control as to slavery in federal territory.

    In 1803, the Federal Government purchased the Louisiana country. Our
    former territorial acquisitions came from certain of our own States;
    but this Louisiana country was acquired from a foreign nation. In
    1804, Congress gave a territorial organization to that part of it
    which now constitutes the State of Louisiana. New Orleans, lying
    within that part, was an old and comparatively large city. There
    were other considerable towns and settlements, and slavery was
    extensively and thoroughly intermingled with the people. Congress
    did not, in the Territorial Act, prohibit slavery; but they did
    interfere with it--take control of it--in a more marked and
    extensive way than they did in the case of Mississippi. The
    substance of the provision therein made, in relation to slaves, was:

    _First_. That no slave should be imported into the territory from
    foreign parts.

    _Second_. That no slave should be carried into it who had been
    imported into the United States since the first day of May, 1798.

    _Third_. That no slave should be carried into it, except by the
    owner, and for his own use as a settler; the penalty in all the
    cases being a fine upon the violator of the law, and freedom to the

    This act also was passed without yeas and nays. In the Congress
    which passed it, there were two of the "thirty-nine." They were
    Abraham Baldwin and Jonathan Dayton.[18] As stated in the case of
    Mississippi, it is probable they both voted for it. They would not
    have allowed it to pass without recording their opposition to it,
    if, in their understanding, it violated either the line properly
    dividing local from federal authority, or any provision of the

    In 1819-20, came and passed the Missouri question. Many votes were
    taken, by yeas and nays, in both branches of Congress, upon the
    various phases of the general question. Two of the
    "thirty-nine"--Rufus King and Charles Pinckney--were members of
    that Congress.[19] Mr. King steadily voted for slavery prohibition
    and against all compromises, while Mr. Pinckney as steadily voted
    against slavery prohibition and against all compromises. By this,
    Mr. King showed that, in his understanding, no line dividing local
    from federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, was
    violated by Congress prohibiting slavery in federal territory; while
    Mr. Pinckney, by his votes, showed that, in his understanding, there
    was some sufficient reason for opposing such prohibition in that

    The cases I have mentioned are the only acts of the "thirty-nine,"
    or of any of them, upon the direct issue, which I have been able to

    To enumerate the persons who thus acted, as being four in 1784, two
    in 1787, seventeen in 1789, three in 1798, two in 1804, and two in
    1819-20--there would be thirty of them. But this would be counting
    John Langdon, Roger Sherman, William Few, Rufus King, and George
    Read each twice, and Abraham Baldwin three times. The true number of
    those of the "thirty-nine" whom I have shown to have acted upon the
    question, which, by the text, they understood better than we, is
    twenty-three, leaving sixteen not shown to have acted upon it in

    Here, then, we have twenty-three out of our thirty-nine fathers "who
    framed the Government under which we live," who have, upon their
    official responsibility and their corporal oaths, acted upon the
    very question which the text affirms they "understood just as well,
    and even better than we do now"; and twenty-one of them--a clear
    majority of the whole "thirty-nine"--so acting upon it as to make
    them guilty of gross political impropriety and wilful perjury, if,
    in their understanding, any proper division between local and
    federal authority, or anything in the Constitution they had made
    themselves, and sworn to support, forbade the Federal Government to
    control as to slavery in the federal territories. Thus the
    twenty-one acted; and, as actions speak louder than words, so
    actions under such responsibility speak still louder.

    Two of the twenty-three voted against Congressional prohibition of
    slavery in the federal territories, in the instances in which they
    acted upon the question. But for what reasons they so voted is not
    known. They may have done so because they thought a proper division
    of local from federal authority, or some provision or principle of
    the Constitution, stood in the way; or they may, without any such
    question, have voted against the prohibition on what appeared to
    them to be sufficient grounds of expediency. No one who has sworn to
    support the Constitution can conscientiously vote for what he
    understands to be an unconstitutional measure, however expedient he
    may think it; but one may and ought to vote against a measure which
    he deems constitutional, if, at the same time, he deems it
    inexpedient. It, therefore, would be unsafe to set down even the two
    who voted against the prohibition, as having done so because, in
    their understanding, any proper division of local from federal
    authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal
    Government to control as to slavery in federal territory.[22]

    The remaining sixteen of the "thirty-nine," so far as I have
    discovered, have left no record of their understanding upon the
    direct question of federal control of slavery in the federal
    territories. But there is much reason to believe that their
    understanding upon that question would not have appeared different
    from that of their twenty-three compeers, had it been manifested at

    For the purpose of adhering rigidly to the text, I have purposely
    omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by any
    person, however distinguished, other than the thirty-nine fathers
    who framed the original Constitution; and, for the same reason, I
    have also omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by
    any of the "thirty-nine" even, on any other phase of the general
    question of slavery. If we should look into their acts and
    declarations on those other phases, as the foreign slave trade, and
    the morality and policy of slavery generally, it would appear to us
    that on the direct question of federal control of slavery in federal
    territories, the sixteen, if they had acted at all, would probably
    have acted just as the twenty-three did. Among that sixteen were
    several of the most noted anti-slavery men of those times--as Dr.
    Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Gouverneur Morris--while there was
    not one now known to have been otherwise, unless it may be John
    Rutledge, of South Carolina.[24]

    The sum of the whole is, that of our thirty-nine fathers who framed
    the original Constitution, twenty-one--a clear majority of the
    whole--certainly understood that no proper division of local from
    federal authority, nor any part of the Constitution, forbade the
    Federal Government to control slavery in the federal territories;
    while all the rest probably had the same understanding. Such,
    unquestionably, was the understanding of our fathers who framed the
    original Constitution; and the text affirms that they understood the
    question "better than we."

    But, so far, I have been considering the understanding of the
    question manifested by the framers of the original Constitution. In
    and by the original instrument, a mode was provided for amending it;
    and, as I have already stated, the present frame of "the Government
    under which we live" consists of that original, and twelve
    amendatory articles framed and adopted since. Those who now insist
    that federal control of slavery in federal territories violates the
    Constitution, point us to the provisions which they suppose it thus
    violates; and, as I understand, they all fix upon provisions in
    these amendatory articles and not in the original instrument. The
    Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott case, plant themselves upon the
    fifth amendment, which provides that no person shall be deprived of
    "life, liberty or property without due process of law"; while
    Senator Douglas and his peculiar adherents plant themselves upon the
    tenth amendment, providing that "the powers not delegated to the
    United States by the Constitution" "are reserved to the States
    respectively, or to the people."[25]

    Now, it so happens that these amendments were framed by the first
    Congress which sat under the Constitution--the identical Congress
    which passed the act already mentioned, enforcing the prohibition of
    slavery in the Northwestern Territory. Not only was it the same
    Congress, but they were the identical same individual men who, at
    the same session, and at the same time within the session had under
    consideration, and in progress toward maturity, these Constitutional
    amendments, and this act prohibiting slavery in all the territory
    the nation then owned. The Constitutional amendments were introduced
    before, and passed after, the act enforcing the Ordinance of '87; so
    that, during the whole pendency of the act to enforce the Ordinance,
    the Constitutional amendments were also pending.[26]

    The seventy-six members of that Congress, including sixteen of the
    framers of the original Constitution, as before stated, were
    pre-eminently our fathers who framed that part of "the Government
    under which we live," which is now claimed as forbidding the Federal
    Government to control slavery in the federal territories.

    Is it not a little presumptuous in any one at this day to affirm
    that the two things which that Congress deliberately framed, and
    carried to maturity at the same time, are absolutely inconsistent
    with each other? And does not such affirmation become impudently
    absurd when coupled with the other affirmation from the same mouth,
    that those who did the two things, alleged to be inconsistent,
    understood whether they really were inconsistent better than
    we--better than he who affirms that they are inconsistent?

    It is surely safe to assume that the thirty-nine framers of the
    original Constitution, and the seventy-six members of the Congress
    which framed the amendments thereto, taken together, do certainly
    include those who may be fairly called "our fathers who framed the
    Government under which we live."[27] And so assuming, I defy any man
    to show that any one of them ever, in his whole life, declared that,
    in his understanding, any proper division of local from federal
    authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal
    Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. I go
    a step further. I defy any one to show that any living man in the
    whole world ever did, prior to the beginning of the present
    century, (and I might almost say prior to the beginning of the last
    half of the present century,) declare that, in his understanding,
    any proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of
    the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to
    slavery in the federal territories. To those who now so declare, I
    give, not only "our fathers who framed the Government under which we
    live," but with them all other living men within the century in
    which it was framed, among whom to search, and they shall not be
    able to find the evidence of a single man agreeing with them.

    Now, and here, let me guard a little against being misunderstood. I
    do not mean to say we are bound to follow implicitly in whatever our
    fathers did. To do so, would be to discard all the lights of current
    experience--to reject all progress--all improvement. What I do say
    is, that if we would supplant the opinions and policy of our fathers
    in any case, we should do so upon evidence so conclusive, and
    argument so clear, that even their great authority, fairly
    considered and weighed, cannot stand; and most surely not in a case
    whereof we ourselves declare they understood the question better
    than we.

    If any man at this day sincerely believes that a proper division of
    local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution,
    forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the
    federal territories, he is right to say so, and to enforce his
    position by all truthful evidence and fair argument which he can.
    But he has no right to mislead others, who have less access to
    history, and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that
    "our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live," were
    of the same opinion--thus substituting falsehood and deception for
    truthful evidence and fair argument. If any man at this day
    sincerely believes "our fathers who framed the Government under
    which we live," used and applied principles, in other cases, which
    ought to have led them to understand that a proper division of local
    from federal authority or some part of the Constitution, forbids the
    Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal
    territories, he is right to say so. But he should, at the same time,
    brave the responsibility of declaring that, in his opinion, he
    understands their principles better than they did themselves; and
    especially should he not shirk that responsibility by asserting that
    they "understood the question just as well, and even better, than we
    do now."

    But enough! _Let all who believe that "our fathers, who framed the
    Government under which we live, understood this question just as
    well, and even better, than we do now," speak as they spoke, and act
    as they acted upon it. This is all Republicans ask--all Republicans
    desire--in relation to slavery. As those fathers marked it, so let
    it be again marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to be
    tolerated and protected only because of and so far as its actual
    presence among us makes that toleration and protection a necessity.
    Let all the guaranties those fathers gave it, be, not grudgingly,
    but fully and fairly maintained_. For this Republicans contend, and
    with this, so far as I know or believe, they will be content.

    And now, if they would listen--as I suppose they will not--I would
    address a few words to the Southern people.

    I would say to them: You consider yourselves a reasonable and a just
    people; and I consider that in the general qualities of reason and
    justice you are not inferior to any other people. Still, when you
    speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles,
    or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing
    to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to "Black Republicans."
    In all your contentions with one another each of you deems an
    unconditional condemnation of "Black Republicanism" as the first
    thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be
    an indispensable prerequisite--licence, so to speak--among you to be
    admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be
    prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just
    to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and
    specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or

    You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes an issue; and the
    burden of proof is upon you. You produce your proof; and what is
    it? Why, that our party has no existence in your section--gets no
    votes in your section. The fact is substantially true; but does it
    prove the issue? If it does, then in case we should, without change
    of principle, begin to get votes in your section, we should thereby
    cease to be sectional. You cannot escape this conclusion; and yet,
    are you willing to abide by it? If you are, you will probably soon
    find that we have ceased to be sectional, for we shall get votes in
    your section this very year. You will then begin to discover, as the
    truth plainly is, that your proof does not touch the issue. The fact
    that we get no votes in your section, is a fact of your making, and
    not of ours. And if there be fault in that fact, that fault is
    primarily yours, and remains so until you show that we repel you by
    some wrong principle or practice. If we do repel you by any wrong
    principle or practice, the fault is ours; but this brings you to
    where you ought to have started--to a discussion of the right or
    wrong of our principle. If our principle, put in practice, would
    wrong your section for the benefit of ours, or for any other object,
    then our principle, and we with it, are sectional, and are justly
    opposed and denounced as such. Meet us, then, on the question of
    whether our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section;
    and so meet us as if it were possible that something may be said on
    our side. Do you accept the challenge? No! Then you really believe
    that the principle which "our fathers who framed the Government
    under which we live" thought so clearly right as to adopt it, and
    indorse it again and again, upon their official oaths, is in fact so
    clearly wrong as to demand your condemnation without a moment's

    Some of you delight to flaunt in our faces the warning against
    sectional parties given by Washington in his Farewell Address. Less
    than eight years before Washington gave that warning, he had, as
    President of the United States, approved and signed an act of
    Congress, enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern
    Territory, which act embodied the policy of the Government upon that
    subject up to and at the very moment he penned that warning; and
    about one year after he penned it, he wrote Lafayette that he
    considered that prohibition a wise measure, expressing in the same
    connection his hope that we should at some time have a confederacy
    of free States.[28]

    Bearing this in mind, and seeing that sectionalism has since arisen
    upon this same subject, is that warning a weapon in your hands
    against us, or in our hands against you? Could Washington himself
    speak, would he cast the blame of that sectionalism upon us, who
    sustain his policy, or upon you who repudiate it? We respect that
    warning of Washington, and we commend it to you, together with his
    example pointing to the right application of it.

    But you say you are conservative--eminently conservative--while we
    are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is
    conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the
    new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy
    on the point in controversy which was adopted by "our fathers who
    framed the Government under which we live"; while you with one
    accord reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and insist
    upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves
    as to what that substitute shall be. You are divided on new
    propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and
    denouncing the old policy of the fathers. Some of you are for
    reviving the foreign slave trade; some for a Congressional
    Slave-Code for the Territories; some for Congress forbidding the
    Territories to prohibit Slavery within their limits; some for
    maintaining Slavery in the Territories through the judiciary; some
    for the "gur-reat pur-rinciple" that "if one man would enslave
    another, no third man should object," fantastically called "Popular
    Sovereignty"; but never a man among you in favor of federal
    prohibition of slavery in federal territories, according to the
    practice of "our fathers who framed the Government under which we
    live." Not one of all your various plans can show a precedent or an
    advocate in the century within which our Government originated.
    Consider, then, whether your claim of conservatism for yourselves,
    and your charge of destructiveness against us, are based on the most
    clear and stable foundations.

    Again, you say we have made the slavery question more prominent than
    it formerly was. We deny it. We admit that it is more prominent, but
    we deny that we made it so. It was not we, but you, who discarded
    the old policy of the fathers. We resisted, and still resist, your
    innovation; and thence comes the greater prominence of the question.
    Would you have that question reduced to its former proportions? Go
    back to that old policy. What has been will be again, under the same
    conditions. If you would have the peace of the old times, readopt
    the precepts and policy of the old times.

    You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny
    it; and what is your proof? Harper's Ferry! John Brown!! John Brown
    was no Republican; and you have failed to implicate a single
    Republican in his Harper's Ferry enterprise. If any member of our
    party is guilty in that matter, you know it or you do not know it.
    If you do know it, you are inexcusable for not designating the man
    and proving the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable for
    asserting it, and especially for persisting in the assertion after
    you have tried and failed to make the proof. You need not be told
    that persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true, is
    simply malicious slander.[29]

    Some of you admit that no Republican designedly aided or encouraged
    the Harper's Ferry affair; but still insist that our doctrines and
    declarations necessarily lead to such results. We do not believe it.
    We know we hold to no doctrine, and make no declaration, which was
    not held to and made by "our fathers who framed the Government under
    which we live." You never dealt fairly by us in relation to this
    affair. When it occurred, some important State elections were near
    at hand, and you were in evident glee with the belief that, by
    charging the blame upon us, you could get an advantage of us in
    those elections. The elections came, and your expectations were not
    quite fulfilled. Every Republican man knew that, as to himself at
    least, your charge was a slander, and he was not much inclined by it
    to cast his vote in your favor. Republican doctrines and
    declarations are accompanied with a continual protest against any
    interference whatever with your slaves, or with you about your
    slaves. Surely, this does not encourage them to revolt. True, we do,
    in common with "our fathers, who framed the Government under which
    we live," declare our belief that slavery is wrong; but the slaves
    do not hear us declare even this. For anything we say or do, the
    slaves would scarcely know there is a Republican party. I believe
    they would not, in fact, generally know it but for your
    misrepresentations of us, in their hearing. In your political
    contests among yourselves, each faction charges the other with
    sympathy with Black Republicanism; and then, to give point to the
    charge, defines Black Republicanism to simply be insurrection, blood
    and thunder among the slaves.

    Slave insurrections are no more common now than they were before the
    Republican party was organized. What induced the Southampton
    insurrection, twenty-eight years ago, in which, at least, three
    times as many lives were lost as at Harper's Ferry?[30] You can
    scarcely stretch your very elastic fancy to the conclusion that
    Southampton was "got up by Black Republicanism." In the present
    state of things in the United States, I do not think a general, or
    even a very extensive slave insurrection, is possible. The
    indispensable concert of action cannot be attained. The slaves have
    no means of rapid communication; nor can incendiary freemen, black
    or white, supply it. The explosive materials are everywhere in
    parcels; but there neither are, nor can be supplied, the
    indispensable connecting trains.

    Much is said by Southern people about the affection of slaves for
    their masters and mistresses; and a part of it, at least, is true. A
    plot for an uprising could scarcely be devised and communicated to
    twenty individuals before some one of them, to save the life of a
    favorite master or mistress, would divulge it. This is the rule; and
    the slave revolution in Hayti was not an exception to it, but a case
    occurring under peculiar circumstances,[31] The gunpowder plot of
    British history, though not connected with slaves, was more in
    point. In that case, only about twenty were admitted to the secret;
    and yet one of them, in his anxiety to save a friend, betrayed the
    plot to that friend, and, by consequence, averted the calamity.
    Occasional poisonings from the kitchen, and open or stealthy
    assassinations in the field, and local revolts extending to a score
    or so, will continue to occur as the natural results of slavery; but
    no general insurrection of slaves, as I think, can happen in this
    country for a long time. Whoever much fears, or much hopes for such
    an event, will be alike disappointed.

    In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, "It is
    still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and
    deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil
    will wear off insensibly; and their places be, _pari passu_, filled
    up by free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force
    itself on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held up."[32]

    Mr. Jefferson did not mean to say, nor do I, that the power of
    emancipation is in the Federal Government. He spoke of Virginia;
    and, as to the power of emancipation, I speak of the slaveholding
    States only. The Federal Government, however, as we insist, has the
    power of restraining the extension of the institution--the power to
    insure that a slave insurrection shall never occur on any American
    soil which is now free from slavery.

    John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection.
    It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in
    which the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd
    that the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it
    could not succeed. That affair, in its philosophy, corresponds with
    the many attempts, related in history, at the assassination of kings
    and emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people
    till he fancies himself commissioned by Heaven to liberate them. He
    ventures the attempt, which ends in little else than his own
    execution. Orsini's attempt on Louis Napoleon, and John Brown's
    attempt at Harper's Ferry were, in their philosophy, precisely the
    same. The eagerness to cast blame on old England in the one case,
    and on New England in the other, does not disprove the sameness of
    the two things.

    And how much would it avail you, if you could, by the use of John
    Brown, Helper's Book, and the like, break up the Republican
    organization? Human action can be modified to some extent, but human
    nature cannot be changed. There is a judgment and a feeling against
    slavery in this nation, which cast at least a million and a half of
    votes. You cannot destroy that judgment and feeling--that
    sentiment--by breaking up the political organization which rallies
    around it. You can scarcely scatter and disperse an army which has
    been formed into order in the face of your heaviest fire; but if
    you could, how much would you gain by forcing the sentiment which
    created it out of the peaceful channel of the ballot-box, into some
    other channel? What would that other channel probably be? Would the
    number of John Browns be lessened or enlarged by the operation?

    But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of
    your Constitutional rights.[33]

    That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if
    not fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of
    numbers, to deprive you of some right, plainly written down in the
    Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing.

    When you make these declarations, you have a specific and
    well-understood allusion to an assumed Constitutional right of
    yours, to take slaves into the federal territories, and to hold them
    there as property. But no such right is specifically written in the
    Constitution. That instrument is literally silent about any such
    right. We, on the contrary, deny that such a right has any existence
    in the Constitution, even by implication.

    Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is, that you will destroy the
    Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the
    Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and
    us. You will rule or ruin in all events.

    This, plainly stated, is your language. Perhaps you will say the
    Supreme Court has decided the disputed Constitutional question in
    your favor. Not quite so. But waiving the lawyer's distinction
    between dictum and decision, the Court have decided the question for
    you in a sort of way. The Court have substantially said, it is your
    Constitutional right to take slaves into the federal territories,
    and to hold them there as property. When I say the decision was made
    in a sort of way, I mean it was made in a divided Court, by a bare
    majority of the Judges, and they not quite agreeing with one another
    in the reasons for making it;[34] that it is so made as that its
    avowed supporters disagree with one another about its meaning, and
    that it was mainly based upon a mistaken statement of fact--the
    statement in the opinion that "the right of property in a slave is
    distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution."[35]

    An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of
    property in a slave is not "_distinctly_ and _expressly_ affirmed"
    in it. Bear in mind, the Judges do not pledge their judicial opinion
    that such right is _impliedly_ affirmed in the Constitution; but
    they pledge their veracity that it is "_distinctly_ and _expressly_"
    affirmed there--"distinctly," that is, not mingled with anything
    else--"expressly," that is, in words meaning just that, without the
    aid of any inference, and susceptible of no other meaning.

    If they had only pledged their judicial opinion that such right is
    affirmed in the instrument by implication, it would be open to
    others to show that neither the word "slave" nor "slavery" is to be
    found in the Constitution, nor the word "property" even, in any
    connection with language alluding to the things slave, or slavery,
    and that wherever in that instrument the slave is alluded to, he is
    called a "person";--and wherever his master's legal right in
    relation to him is alluded to, it is spoken of as "service or labor
    which may be due,"--as a debt payable in service or labor.[36] Also,
    it would be open to show, by contemporaneous history, that this mode
    of alluding to slaves and slavery, instead of speaking of them, was
    employed on purpose to exclude from the Constitution the idea that
    there could be property in man.

    To show all this, is easy and certain.[37]

    When this obvious mistake of the Judges shall be brought to their
    notice, is it not reasonable to expect that they will withdraw the
    mistaken statement, and reconsider the conclusion based upon it?

    And then it is to be remembered that "our fathers, who framed the
    Government under which we live"--the men who made the
    Constitution--decided this same Constitutional question in our
    favor, long ago--decided it without division among themselves, when
    making the decision; without division among themselves about the
    meaning of it after it was made, and, so far as any evidence is
    left, without basing it upon any mistaken statement of facts.

    Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves
    justified to break up this Government, unless such a court decision
    as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final
    rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a
    Republican President! In that supposed event, you say, you will
    destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having
    destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a
    pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver
    or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"

    To be sure, what the robber demanded of me--my money--was my own;
    and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than
    my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my
    money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my
    vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.

    A few words now to Republicans. _It is exceedingly desirable that
    all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace and in
    harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it
    so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and
    ill temper. Even though the Southern people will not so much as
    listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to
    them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can_.[38]
    Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and nature of
    their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will
    satisfy them.

    Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally
    surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present
    complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned.
    Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them,
    if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and
    insurrections? We know it will not. We so know, because we know we
    never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet
    this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the

    The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must
    not only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we
    do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We
    have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our
    organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches
    we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this
    has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince
    them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any
    attempt to disturb them.

    These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will
    convince them? This, and this only; cease to call slavery _wrong_,
    and join them in calling it _right_. And this must be done
    thoroughly--done in _acts_ as well as in _words_. Silence will not
    be tolerated--we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator
    Douglas's new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing
    all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics,
    in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return
    their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our
    Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected
    from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to
    believe that all their troubles proceed from us.

    I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way.
    Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, _do_ nothing
    to us, and _say_ what you please about slavery." But we do let them
    alone--have never disturbed them--so that, after all, it is what we
    say, which dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of
    doing, until we cease saying.

    I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, demanded the
    overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions.[39] Yet those
    Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, with more solemn
    emphasis, than do all other sayings against it; and when all these
    other sayings shall have been silenced, the overthrow of these
    Constitutions will be demanded, and nothing be left to resist the
    demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the
    whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason
    they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this
    consummation. Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right,
    and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national
    recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.[40]

    Nor can we justifiably withhold this on any ground save our
    conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words,
    acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and
    should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly
    object to its nationality--its universality; if it is wrong, they
    cannot justly insist upon its extension--its enlargement. All they
    ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we
    ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong.[41]
    Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise
    fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as
    they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as
    being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them?
    Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view
    of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do

    Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone
    where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from
    its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will
    prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to
    overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids
    this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let
    us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith
    we are so industriously plied and belabored--contrivances such as
    groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong,
    vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor
    a dead man--such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about
    which all true men do care--such as Union appeals beseeching true
    Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and
    calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance--such as
    invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington
    said, and undo what Washington did.

    Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations
    against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the
    Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT



Andersonville, responsibility for, 190
Andrew, John. A., 105
Antietam, battle of, 115
Appomattox, the surrender at, 177 ff.
Atlanta, capture of, 151


Bahamas, trade of the, with the Confederacy, 167 ff.
Banks, General N.P., 103
Bazaine, General, in command of French army in Mexico, 156
Belle Isle, the prison of, 189
Bentonville, battle of, 183
Bixby, Mrs., letter to, from Lincoln, 152
"Black Republicans," the, 250
Blair, Prank P., difficulties with, 161
Blount, William, 237
Border States, the, and emancipation, 114 ff.
Bragg, Gen. Braxton, 136 ff.
Brainerd, Cephas, on the Cooper Union address, 211
Brown, John, raid of, 254
Bryant on Lincoln, 202
Buckner, Gen. S.B., 99
Bull Run, second battle of, 122
Burnside, Gen. Ambrose F.,
  and the Army of the Potomac, 127;
  and the defence of Knoxville, 137
Butler, Benjamin F., 103, 120


Cabinet, cabals in the, 160
Cedar Creek, the battle of, 150 ff.
Chancellorsville, battle of, 129
Charleston, evacuation of, 169
Chase, Salmon P.,
  and the Presidential election of 1864, 154;
  resignation of, 154;
  appointed chief justice, 155;
  efforts of, for the Presidency, 157;
  difficulties with, in the Cabinet, 161
Chickamauga, battle of, 136
Clay, Cassius M., 223
Congress and slavery in the Territories, 246 ff.
  the 13th amendment to, 163 ff.;
  defined by Lincoln, 236 ff.;
  and property in slaves, 260 ff.
"Crocker, Master", 113
Curtin, Gov. A.G., 105
Curtis, Gen. S.R., 108


Danville, the prison of, 147, 189 ff.;
  mortality in, 159
Davis, Jefferson, and Benj. F. Butler, 120;
  and the Peace Conference of Feb., 1865, 163;
  capture of, 187;
  and the other leaders of the South, 189;
  and the management of the Southern
prisons, 190 ff;
  as a prisoner and martyr, 191
Douglas, Stephen A., and the debate with Lincoln, cited, 235;
  and the sedition act, 263;
  and the Dred Scott decision, 246
Dred Scott case, the, 246


Early, Jubal A., raid of on Washington, 142 ff.;
  and the battle of Winchester, 149;
  and the battle of Cedar Creek, 150
Elliott, Charles W., 213
Emancipation Proclamation, the, 115 ff.
Enfield rifles, use of, by Confederates, 146


Farragut, Admiral D.G., 111
Few, William, 237
Fisher, Fort, capture of, 167
Fitzsimmons, Thomas, 238
Floyd, General John B., 99
Franklin, battle of, 151 ff.
Franklin, Benjamin, 245


Georgia, cession of territory by, 239
Gettysburg, campaign of, 132 ff.
Goldsborough, surrender of Johnston's army at, 183
Goodell, Dr. Wm., 212
Grant, Gen. U.S., captures Fort Donelson, 99;
  and the Vicksburg campaign, 134;
  and the Chattanooga campaign, 136;
  commander of the armies, 137 ff.;
  suggested for the Presidency, 157;
  declines to consider terms of peace, 171;
  at Appomattox, 177 ff.;
  at Goldsborough, 184 ff.
Greeley, Horace, 105
Greene, Frank V., on Lincoln, 106


Halleck, Gen. H.W., 103
Hallowell, Col. Norwood, 116
Hamilton, Alexander, 245
Hancock, Gen. W.S., 127
Harper's Ferry, 124;
  John Brown's raid at, 254
Helper, H.R., the "Impending Crisis" of, 258
Hewitt, Abram S., 99 ff.
Higginson, Col. T.W., 116
Hood, Gen. John B., 151 ff.
Hooker, Gen. Joseph, 107, 127, 130 ff., 137


Intervention of France and England threatened, 122


Jefferson, Thomas, on emancipation, 257
Johnston, Gen. Joseph E., 138, 151, 169, 183 ft.


King, Rufus, 241
Knoxville, siege of, 137


Lee, Gen. Robert E. and the Antietam campaign, 122;
  and the campaign of Gettysburg, 130 ff.;
  and the defence of Virginia, 137 ff.;
  proposes treaty of peace, 171;
  defeated at Five Forks, 171;
  at Appomattox, 171
Libby prison, Presidential election in, 158;
  mortality in, 159;
  record of, 189 ff.
Lincoln, Abraham, and Hewitt, A.S., 100 ff.;
  writes to "Master Crocker", 113;
  as commander-in-chief, 103 ff.;
  and the death penalty for soldiers, 119;
  campaign methods of McClellan, 125 ff.;
  letter of, appointing Hooker, 128;
  to Grant on the fall of Vicksburg, 134;
  address of, at Gettysburg, 134;
  letter of, to Mrs. Bixby, 152;
  re-election of, as President, 157;
  and the exchange of prisoners, 158 ff.;
  and the control of the administration, 160;
  and the Peace Conference of Feb., 1865, 162 ff.;
  second inaugural of, 169 ff.;
  last public address of, 178;
  death of, 181;
  and the proposed capture of Jefferson Davis, 188;
  death of, reported to the army at Goldsborough, 190;
  comparison of, with Washington and Jackson, 195 ff.;
  Cooper Union address of, 205 ff.;
  writes to Nott, 225 ff.
Lincoln, Robert, on the Cooper Union address, 209
Longstreet, Gen. James, 133, 137
Lookout Mountain, battle of, 137
Louisiana, purchase of, 240
Lowell on Lincoln, 202


Maximilian, Prince, and the invasion of Mexico, 156
McClellan, Gen. George B. 102 ff.;
  and the Antietam campaign, 122 ff.;
  ordered to report to New Jersey, 126
Meade, Gen. Geo. G., 127, 131
Mifflin, Thomas, 237
Milliken's Bend, battle of, 118
Minnesota, troops from, 165;
  university of, 167
Missionary Ridge, battle of, 137
Mississippi, organisation of the Territory of, 240
Missouri, admission of, 241
Missouri Compromise, the, 31, 38
Monocacy Creek, battle of, 143
Morgan, Gen. John, 177
Morris, Gouverneur, 245


Napoleon, Louis, and the invasion of Mexico, 156
Nashville, battle of, 151 ff.
_Nation_, the London, on the character of Lincoln, 198 ff.
New Orleans, capture of, 111 ff.
Nineteenth Army Corps and Early's raid, 145
North Carolina, cession of territory by, 239
Northwestern Territory, the, of the U.S., 237
Nott, Chas. C.,
  introduction to the Cooper Union address, 215 ff.;
  letter of, to Lincoln, 224 ff.
Noyes, Wm. Curtis, 212


Ordinance of 1787, 238 ff.


Pea Ridge, battle of, 108
Peace Conference of Feb., 1865, 162
Pickett, Gen. G.E., 133
Pinckney, Charles, 241 ff.
Pope, Gen. John, 103, 122
Port Hudson, surrender of, 112
Presidential election in Libby prison, 158
Prisoners, the exchange of, 158
Putnam, George Palmer, and the Cooper Union address, 212


Reagan, Postmaster-general, at Goldsborough, 184
Reconstruction, Lincoln's views on, 180 ff.
Republican party, the, and slavery in the Territories, 249 ff.
Republican Union, the Young Men's, 223, 232
Reynolds, Gen. J.T., 127
Rosecrans, Gen. Wm. S., and the Chattanooga campaign, 136
Rutledge, John, 245


Schechter, Rabbi, on the character of Lincoln, 200
Schofield, Gen. Geo. W., 152
Schurz, Carl, on the character of Lincoln, 201
Seward, W.H., 64, 160
Sharp's breech-loaders introduced in 1864, 146
Shaw, Col. R.G., 116
Shenandoah, campaign in the valley of the, 149
Sheridan, Gen. Philip,
  in the Shenandoah, 149 ff.;
  wins battle of Five Forks, 171
Sherman, Roger, 237
Sherman, Gen. Wm. T.,
  at Missionary Ridge, 137;
  captures Atlanta, 151;
  and the Georgia planter, 164;
  passes by Charleston, 169;
  at Goldsborough, 183 ff.
Sigel, Gen. Franz, 108
Smith, Gen. Kirby, surrender of, 191
Soldiers authorised to vote in presidential election, 152
Southampton, insurrection at, 256
South Mountain, battle of the, 124
Stanton, Edwin, M., 65, 101 ff., 185
Stephens, Alexander H., and the Peace Conference of Feb., 1865, 162 ff.
Sumter, Fort, restoration of the flag on, 182


Taylor, Gen. Richard, surrender of, 191
Thomas. Gen. Geo. H., 136


Vicksburg, surrender of, 112, 134


Wallace, Gen. Lew, 143
Washington assailed by Early, 142 ff.
Washington, George, and the
  Ordinance of 1787, 239;
  Farewell Address of, 252;
  the example of, 266
Weitzel, Gen. Godfrey, 119
Whittier on Lincoln, 201
Wilderness, battle of the, 140 ff.
Williamson, Hugh, 237
Wilmington, capture of, 167
Winchester, third battle of, 149
Winder, Gen., and the management of the Southern prisons, 190
Wisconsin, troops from, 165
Wisewell, Col. F.H., 144 ff.


[Footnote 1: This letter has not been published. It is cited here
through the courtesy of Mr. Robert Lincoln and Mr. R.W. Gilder.]

[Footnote 2: The text of the speech, as revised by Lincoln and with the
introduction and notes by Nott and Brainerd, is given as an appendix to
this volume.]

[Footnote 3: The late George Palmer Putnam.]

[Footnote 4:--The Constitution is attested September 17, 1787. It was
ratified by all of the States, excepting North Carolina and Rhode
Island, in 1788, and went into operation on the first Wednesday in
January, 1789. The first Congress proposed, in 1789, ten articles of
amendments, all of which were ratified. Article XI. of the amendments
was prepared by the Third Congress, in 1794, and Article XII. by the
Eighth Congress, in 1803. Another Article was proposed by the Eleventh
Congress, prohibiting _citizens_ from receiving titles of nobility,
presents or offices, from foreign nations. Although this has been
printed as one of the amendments, it was in fact never ratified, being
approved by but twelve States. _Vide_ Message of President Monroe, Feb.
4, 1818.]

[Footnote 5:--The Convention consisted of _sixty-five_ members. Of
these, _ten_ did not attend the Convention, and _sixteen_ did not sign
the Constitution. Of these sixteen, six refused to sign, and published
their reasons for so refusing, _viz._: Robert Yates and John Lansing, of
New-York; Edmund Randolph and George Mason, of Virginia; Luther Martin,
of Maryland, and Elbridge Gerry, of Mass. Alexander Hamilton alone
subscribed for New-York, and Rhode Island was not represented in the
Convention. The names of the "thirty-nine," and the States which they
represented are subsequently given.]

[Footnote 6:--The cession of Territory was authorized by New-York, Feb.
19, 1780; by Virginia, January 2, 1781, and again, (without certain
conditions at first imposed,) "at their sessions, begun on the 20th day
of October, 1783;" by Mass., Nov. 13, 1784; by Conn., May----, 1786; by
S. Carolina, March 8, 1787; by N. Carolina, Dec.----, 1789; and by
Georgia at some time prior to April, 1802.

The deeds of cession were executed by New-York, March 1, 1781; by
Virginia, March 1, 1784; by Mass., April 19, 1785; by Conn., Sept. 13,
1786; by S. Carolina, August 9, 1787; by N. Carolina, Feb. 25, 1790; and
by Georgia, April 24, 1802. Five of these grants were therefore made
before the adoption of the Constitution, and one afterward; while the
sixth (North Carolina) was authorized before, and consummated afterward.
The cession of this State contains the express proviso "that no
regulations made, or to be made by Congress, shall tend to emancipate
slaves." The cession of Georgia conveys the Territory subject to the
Ordinance of '87, except the provision prohibiting slavery.

These dates are also interesting in connection with the extraordinary
assertions of Chief Justice Taney, (19 How., page 434,) that "the
example of Virginia was soon afterwards followed by other States," and
that (p. 436) the power in the Constitution "to dispose of and make all
needful rules and regulations respecting the Territory or other property
belonging to the United States," was intended only "to transfer to the
new Government the property then held in common," "and has no reference
whatever to any Territory or other property which the new sovereignty
might afterwards itself acquire." On this subject, _vide Federalist_,
No. 43, sub. 4 and 5.]

[Footnote 7:--Sherman was from Connecticut; Mifflin from Penn.;
Williamson from North Carolina, and M'Henry from Maryland.]

[Footnote 8:--What Mr. M'Henry's views were, it seems impossible to
ascertain. When the Ordinance of '87 was passed he was sitting in the
Convention. He was afterwards appointed Secretary of War; yet no record
has thus far been discovered of his opinion. Mr. M'Henry also wrote a
biography of La Fayette, which, however, cannot be found in any of the
public libraries, among which may be mentioned the State Library at
Albany, and the Astor, Society, and Historical Society Libraries, at New

Hamilton says of him, in a letter to Washington _(Works_, vol. vi., p.
65): "M'Henry you know. He would give no strength to the Administration,
but he would not disgrace the office; his views are good."]

[Footnote 9:--William Blount was from North Carolina, and William Few
from Georgia--the two States which afterward ceded their Territory to
the United States. In addition to these facts the following extract from
the speech of Rufus King in the Senate, on the Missouri Bill, shows the
entire unanimity with which the Southern States approved the

"The State of Virginia, which ceded to the United States her claims to
this Territory, consented, by her delegates in the Old Congress, to this
Ordinance. Not only Virginia, but North Carolina, South Carolina, and
Georgia, by the unanimous votes of their delegates in the Old Congress,
approved of the Ordinance of 1787, by which Slavery is forever abolished
in the Territory northwest of the river Ohio. Without the votes of these
States, the Ordinance could not have been passed; and there is no
recollection of an opposition from any of these States to the act of
confirmation passed under the actual Constitution."]

[Footnote 10:--"The famous Ordinance of Congress of the 13th July, 1787,
which has ever since constituted, in most respects, the model of all our
territorial governments, and is equally remarkable for the brevity and
exactness of its text, and for its masterly display of the fundamental
principles of civil and religious liberty."--_Justice Story, 1
Commentaries_: §1312.

"It is well known that the Ordinance of 1787 was drawn by the Hon.
Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts, and adopted with scarcely a verbal
alteration by Congress. It is a noble and imperishable monument to his
fame."--_Id._ note.

The ordinance was reported by a committee, of which Wm. S. Johnson and
Charles Pinckney were members. It recites that, "for extending the
fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the
basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions, are
erected; to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all laws,
constitutions, and governments which forever hereafter shall be formed
in the said Territory; to provide also for the establishment of States
and permanent government, and for their admission to a share in the
federal councils, on an equal footing with the original States, at as
early periods as may be consistent with the general interest--

"It is hereby ordained and declared, by the authority aforesaid, that
the following articles shall be considered as articles of compact
between the original States and the people and States in the said
Territory, and forever remain unalterable, unless by common consent, to

"_Art._ 6. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in
the said Territory otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof
the party shall have been duly convicted; provided always that any
person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully
claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully
reclaimed, and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or

On passing the ordinance, the ayes and nays were required by Judge
Yates, of New York, when it appeared _that his was the only vote in the

The ordinance of April 23, 1784, was a brief outline of that of '87. It
was reported by a Committee, of which Mr. Jefferson was chairman, and
the report contained a slavery prohibition intended to take effect in
1800. This was stricken out of the report, six States voting to retain
it--three voting to strike out--one being divided (N.C.), and the others
not being represented. (The assent of nine States was necessary to
retain any provision.) And this is the vote alluded to by Mr. Lincoln.
But subsequently, March 16, 1785, a motion was made by Rufus King to
commit a proposition "that there be neither slavery nor involuntary
servitude" in any of the Territories; which was carried by the vote of
eight States, including Maryland.--_Journal Am. Congress,_ vol. 4, pp.
373, 380, 481, 752.

When, therefore, the ordinance of '87 came before Congress, on its final
passage, the subject of slavery prohibition had been "_agitated_" for
nearly three years; and the deliberate and almost unanimous vote of that
body upon that question leaves no room to doubt what the fathers
believed, and how, in that belief, they acted.]

[Footnote 11:--It singularly and fortunately happens that one of the
"thirty-nine," "while engaged on that instrument," viz., while
advocating its ratification before the Pennsylvania Convention, did
express an opinion upon this "precise question," which opinion was
_never_ disputed or doubted, in that or any other Convention, and was
accepted by the opponents of the Constitution, as an indisputable fact.
This was the celebrated James Wilson, of Pennsylvania. The opinion is as

MONDAY, _Dec._ 3, 1787.

"With respect to the clause restricting Congress from prohibiting the
migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now
existing shall think proper to admit, prior to the year 1808: The Hon.
gentleman says that this clause is not only dark, but intended to grant
to Congress, for that time, the power to admit the importation of
slaves. No such thing was intended; but I will tell you what was done,
and it gives me high pleasure that so much was done. Under the present
Confederation, the States may admit the importation of slaves as long as
they please; but by this article, after the year 1808, the Congress will
have power to prohibit such importation, notwithstanding the disposition
of any State to the contrary. I consider this as laying the foundation
for banishing slavery out of this country; and though the period is more
distant than I could wish, yet it will produce the same kind, gradual
change which was pursued in Pennsylvania. It is with much satisfaction
that I view this power in the general government, whereby they may lay
an interdiction on this reproachful trade. But an immediate advantage is
also obtained; for a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not
exceeding $10 for each person; and this, sir, operates as a partial
prohibition; it was all that could be obtained. I am sorry it was no
more; but from this I think there is reason to hope that yet a few
years, and it will be prohibited altogether. _And in the meantime, the
new States which are to be formed will be under the control of Congress
in this particular, and slaves will never be introduced amongst
them_."--2 _Elliott's Debates_, 423.

It was argued by Patrick Henry in the Convention in Virginia, as

"May not Congress enact that every black man must fight? Did we not see
a little of this in the last war? We were not so hard pushed as to make
emancipation general. But acts of Assembly passed, that every slave who
would go to the army should be free. Another thing will contribute to
bring this event about. Slavery is detested. We feel its fatal effects.
We deplore it with all the pity of humanity. Let all these
considerations press with full force on the minds of Congress. Let that
urbanity which, I trust, will distinguish America, and the necessity of
national defence--let all these things operate on their minds, they will
search that paper, and see if they have power of manumission. And have
they not, sir? Have they not power to provide for the general defence
and welfare? May they not think that these call for the abolition of
slavery? May they not pronounce all slaves free, and will they not be
warranted by that power? There is no ambiguous implication, no logical
deduction. The paper speaks to the point; they have the power in clear,
unequivocal terms, and will clearly and certainly exercise it."--3
_Elliott's Debates_, 534.

Edmund Randolph, one of the framers of the Constitution, replied to Mr.
Henry, admitting the general force of the argument, but claiming that,
because of other provisions, it had no application to the _States_ where
slavery _then_ existed; thus conceding that power to exist in Congress
as to all territory belonging to the United States.

Dr. Ramsay, a member of the Convention of South Carolina, in his history
of the United States, vol. 3, pages 36, 37, says: "Under these liberal
principles, Congress, in organizing _colonies_, bound themselves to
impart to their inhabitants all the privileges of coequal States, as
soon as they were capable of enjoying them. In their infancy,
_government was administered for them_ without any expense. As soon as
they should have 60,000 inhabitants, they were authorized to call a
convention, and, by common consent, to form their own constitution. This
being done, they were entitled to representation in Congress, and every
right attached to the original States. These privileges are not confined
to any particular country or _complexion_. They are communicable to the
emancipated slave (for in the new State of Ohio, slavery is altogether
prohibited), to the copper-colored native, and all other human beings
who, after a competent residence and degree of civilization, are capable
of enjoying the blessings of regular government."]

[Footnote 12:--The Act of 1789, as reported by the Committee, was
received and read Thursday, July 16th. The second reading was on Friday,
the 17th, when it was committed to the Committee of the whole house, "on
Monday next." On Monday, July 20th, it was considered in Committee of
the whole, and ordered to a third reading on the following day; on the
21st, it passed the House, and was sent to the Senate. In the Senate it
had its first reading on the same day, and was ordered to a second
reading on the following day (July 22d), and on the 4th of August it
passed, and on the 7th was approved by the President.]

[Footnote 13:--The "sixteen" represented these States: Langdon and
Oilman, New Hampshire; Sherman and Johnson, Connecticut; Morris,
Fitzsimmons, and Clymer, Pennsylvania; King, Massachusetts; Paterson,
New Jersey; Few and Baldwin, Georgia; Bassett and Read, Delaware;
Butler, South Carolina; Carroll, Maryland; and Madison, Virginia]

[Footnote 14:--_Vide_ note 3, _ante_.]

[Footnote 15:--Chap. 28, § 7, U.S. Statutes, 5th Congress, 2d Session.]

[Footnote 16:--Langdon was from New Hampshire, Read from Delaware, and
Baldwin from Georgia.]

[Footnote 17:--Chap. 38, § 10, U.S. Statutes, 8th Congress, 1st

[Footnote 18:--Baldwin was from Georgia, and Dayton from New Jersey.]

[Footnote 19:--Rufus King, who sat in the old Congress, and also in the
Convention, as the representative of Massachusetts, removed to New York
and was sent by that State to the U.S. Senate of the first Congress.
Charles Pinckney was hi the House, as a representative of South

[Footnote 20:--Although Mr. Pinckney opposed "slavery prohibition" in
1820, yet his views, with regard to the _powers_ of the general
government, may be better judged by his actions in the Convention:

FRIDAY, _June 8th,_ 1787.--"Mr. Pinckney moved 'that the National
Legislature shall have the power of negativing all laws to be passed by
the State Legislatures, which they may judge improper,' in the room of
the clause as it stood reported.

"He grounds his motion on the necessity of one supreme controlling
power, and he considers this as the _corner-stone_ of the present
system; and hence the necessity of retrenching the State authorities, in
order to preserve the good government of the national council."--T. 400,
_Elliott's Debates_.

And again, THURSDAY, _August 23d,_ 1787, Mr. Pinckney renewed the motion
with some modifications.--T. 1409. _Madison Papers_.

And although Mr. Pinckney, as correctly stated by Mr. Lincoln, "steadily
voted against slavery prohibition, and against all compromises," he
still regarded the passage of the Missouri Compromise as a great triumph
of the South, which is apparent from the following letter:

CONGRESS HALL, _March 2d_, 1820, 3 _o'clock at night_.

DEAR SIR:---I hasten to inform you, that this moment we have carried
the question to admit Missouri, and all Louisiana to the southward of
36° 30', free from the restriction of slavery, and give the South, in a
short time, an addition of six, perhaps eight, members to the Senate of
the United States. It is considered here by the slaveholding States as a
great triumph.

The votes were close--ninety to eighty-six--produced by the seceding and
absence of a few moderate men from the North. To the north of 36° 30,'
there is to be, by the present law, restriction; which you will see by
the votes, I voted against. But it is at present of no moment; it is a
vast tract, uninhabited, only by savages and wild beasts, in which not a
foot of the Indian claims to soil is extinguished, and in which,
according to the ideas prevalent, no land office will be opened for a
great length of time.

With respect, your obedient servant,


But conclusive evidence of Mr. Pinckney's views is furnished in the fact
that _he was himself a member of the Committee which reported the
Ordinance of_ '87, and that _on every occasion, when it was under the
consideration of Congress, he voted against all amendments_.--_Jour. Am.
Congress_, Sept. 29th, 1786. Oct. 4th. When the ordinance came up for
its final passage, Mr. Pinckney was sitting in the Convention, and did
not take any part in the proceedings of Congress.]

[Footnote 21:--By reference to notes 4, 6, 10, 13, 15, and 16 it will be
seen that, of the twenty-three who acted upon the question of
prohibition, twelve were from the present slaveholding States.]

[Footnote 22:--_Vide_ notes 5 and 17, _ante_.]

[Footnote 23:--"The remaining sixteen" were Nathaniel Gorham,
Massachusetts; Alex. Hamilton, New York; William Livingston and David
Brearly, New Jersey; Benjamin Franklin, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson,
and Gouverneur Morris, Pennsylvania; Gunning Bedford, John Dickinson,
and Jacob Broom, Delaware; Daniel, of St. Thomas, Jenifer, Maryland;
John Blair, Virginia; Richard Dobbs Spaight, North Carolina; and John
Rutledge and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, South Carolina.]

[Footnote 24:--"The only distinction between freedom and slavery
consists in this: in the former state, a man is governed by the laws to
which he has given his consent, either in person or by his
representative; in the latter, he is governed by the will of another. In
the one case, his life and property are his own; in the other, they
depend upon the pleasure of a master. It is easy to discern which of the
two states is preferable. No man in his senses can hesitate in choosing
to be free rather than slave.... Were not the disadvantages of slavery
too obvious to stand in need of it, I might enumerate and describe the
tedious train of calamities inseparable from it. I might show that it is
fatal to religion and morality; that it tends to debase the mind, and
corrupt its noblest springs of action. I might show that it relaxes the
sinews of industry and clips the wings of commerce, and works misery and
indigence in every shape."--HAMILTON, _Works_, vol. 2, pp. 3, 9.

"That you will be pleased to countenance the restoration of _liberty_ to
those unhappy _men_, who, alone in this land of freedom, are degraded
into perpetual bondage, and who, amidst the general joy of surrounding
freemen, are groaning in servile subjection; that you will devise means
for removing this inconsistency from the character of the American
people; that you will promote mercy and _justice_ toward this distressed
race; and that you will step to the _very verge_ of the power vested in
you for discouraging every species of traffic in the persons of our
fellow-men."--Philadelphia, Feb. 3rd, 1790. _Franklin's Petition to
Congress for the Abolition of Slavery._

Mr. Gouverneur Morris said: "He never would concur in upholding domestic
slavery. It was a notorious institution. It was the curse of heaven on
the States where it prevailed.... The admission of slavery into the
representation, when fairly explained, comes to this--that the
inhabitant of South Carolina or Georgia, who goes to the coast of
Africa, and, in defiance of the most sacred laws of humanity, tears away
his fellow-creatures from their dearest connections, and damns them to
the most cruel bondage, shall have more votes, in a government
instituted for the protection of the rights of mankind, than the citizen
of Pennsylvania or New Jersey, who views with a laudable horror so
notorious a practice.... He would sooner submit himself to a tax for
paying for all the negroes in the United States than saddle posterity
with such a constitution."--_Debate on Slave Representation in the
Convention. Madison Papers_.]

[Footnote 25:--An eminent jurist (Chancellor Walworth) has said that
"The preamble which was prefixed to these amendments, as adopted by
Congress, is important to show in what light that body considered them."
(8 _Wend. R.,_ p. 100.) It declares that a number of the State
Conventions "having at the time of their adopting the Constitution
_expressed_ a _desire_, in order to prevent _misconstruction or abuse of
its powers_, that further _declaratory_ and restrictive clauses should
be added," resolved, etc.

This preamble is in substance the preamble affixed to the "Conciliatory
Resolutions" of Massachusetts, which were drawn by Chief Justice
Parsons, and offered in the Convention as a compromise by John Hancock.
(_Life Ch. J. Parsons,_ p. 67.) They were afterward copied and adopted
with some additions by New Hampshire.

The fifth amendment, on which the Supreme Court relies, is taken almost
literally from the declaration of rights put forth by the Convention of
New York, and the clause referred to forms the ninth paragraph of the
declaration. The tenth amendment, on which Senator Douglas relies, is
taken from the Conciliatory Resolutions, and is the first of those
resolutions somewhat modified. Thus, these two amendments, sought to be
used for slavery, originated in the two great anti-slavery States, New
York and Massachusetts.]

[Footnote 26:--The amendments were proposed by Mr. Madison in the House
of Representatives, June 8, 1789. They were adopted by the House, August
24, and some further amendments seem to have been transmitted by the
Senate, September 9. The printed journals of the Senate do not state the
time of the final passage, and the message transmitting them to the
State Legislatures speaks of them as adopted at the first session, begun
on the fourth day of March, 1789. The date of the introduction and
passage of the act enforcing the Ordinance of '87 will be found at note
9, _ante_.]

[Footnote 27:--It is singular that while two of the "thirty-nine" were
in that Congress of 1819, there was but one (besides Mr. King) of the
"seventy-six." The one was William Smith, of South Carolina. He was then
a Senator, and, like Mr. Pinckney, occupied extreme Southern ground.]

[Footnote 28:--The following is an extract from the letter referred to:

"I agree with you cordially in your views in regard to negro slavery. I
have long considered it a most serious evil, both socially and
politically, and I should rejoice in any feasible scheme to rid our
States of such a burden. The Congress of 1787 adopted an ordinance which
prohibits the existence of involuntary servitude in our Northwestern
Territory forever. I consider it a wise measure. It meets with the
approval and assent of nearly every member from the States more
immediately interested in slave labor. The prevailing opinion in
Virginia is against the spread of slavery in our new Territories, and I
trust we shall have a confederation of free States."

The following extract from a letter of Washington to Robert Morris,
April, 12th, 1786, shows how strong were his views, and how clearly he
deemed emancipation a subject for legislative enactment: "I can only say
that there is no man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a
plan adopted for the abolition of it; but there is but one proper and
effective mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is, BY
LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY, and that, as far as _my suffrage will go, shall
never be wanting_."]

[Footnote 29:--A Committee of five, consisting of Messrs. Mason, Davis,
and Fitch (Democrats), and Collamer and Doolittle (Republicans), was
appointed Dec. 14, 1859, by the U.S. Senate, to investigate the Harper's
Ferry affair. That Committee was directed, among other things, to
inquire: (1) "Whether such invasion and seizure was made under color of
any organization intended to subvert the government of any of the States
of the Union." (2) "What was the character and extent of such
organisation." (3) "And whether any citizens of the United States, not
present, were implicated therein, or accessory thereto, by contributions
of money, arms, munitions, or otherwise."

The majority of the Committee, Messrs. Mason, Davis, and Fitch, reply to
the inquiries as follows:

1. "There will be found in the Appendix a copy of the proceedings of a
Convention held at Chatham, Canada, of the Provisional Form of
Government there pretended to have been instituted, the object of which
clearly was to subvert the government of one or more States, and of
course, to that extent, the government of the United States." By
reference to the copy of Proceedings it appears that _nineteen_ persons
were present at that Convention, _eight_ of whom were either killed or
executed at Charlestown, and one examined before the Committee.

2. "The character of the military organization appears, by the
commissions issued to certain of the armed party as captains,
lieutenants, etc., a specimen of which will be found in the Appendix."

(These Commissions are signed by John Brown as Commander-in-Chief, under
the Provisional Government, and by J.H. Kagi as Secretary.)

"It clearly appeared that the scheme of Brown was to take with him
comparatively but few men; but those had been carefully trained by
military instruction previously, and were to act as officers. For his
military force he relied, very clearly, on inciting insurrection amongst
the Slaves."

3. "It does not appear that the contributions were made with actual
knowledge of the use for which they were designed by Brown, although it
does appear that money was freely contributed by those styling
themselves the friends of this man Brown, and friends alike of what they
styled the cause of freedom (of which they claimed him to be an especial
apostle), without inquiring as to the way in which the money would be
used by him to advance such pretended cause."

In concluding the report the majority of the Committee thus characterize
the "invasion": "It was simply the act of lawless ruffians, under the
sanction of no public or political authority--distinguishable only from
ordinary felonies by the ulterior ends in contemplation by them," etc.]

[Footnote 30:--The Southampton insurrection, August, 1831, was induced
by the remarkable ability of a slave calling himself General Nat Turner.
He led his fellow bondsmen to believe that he was acting under the order
of Heaven. In proof of this he alleged that the singular appearance of
the sun at that time was a divine signal for the commencement of the
struggle which would result in the recovery of their freedom. This
insurrection resulted in the death of sixty-four white persons, and more
than one hundred slaves. The Southampton was the eleventh large
insurrection in the Southern States, besides numerous attempts and

[Footnote 31:--In March, 1790, the General Assembly of France, on the
petition of the _free_ people of color in St. Domingo, many of whom were
intelligent and wealthy, passed a decree intended to be in their favor,
but so ambiguous as to be construed in favor of both the whites and the
blacks. The differences growing out of the decree created two
parties--the _whites_ and the people of color; and some blood was shed.
In 1791, the blacks again petitioned, and a decree was passed declaring
the colored people citizens, who were born of free parents on both
sides. This produced great excitement among the whites, and the two
parties armed against each other, and horrible massacres and
conflagrations followed. Then the Assembly rescinded this last decree,
and like results followed, the blacks being the exasperated parties and
the aggressors. Then the decree giving citizenship to the blacks was
restored, and commissioners were sent out to keep the peace. The
commissioners, unable to sustain themselves, between the two parties,
with the troops they had, issued a proclamation that all blacks who were
willing to range themselves under the banner of the Republic should be
free. As a result a very large proportion of the blacks became in fact
free. In 1794, the Conventional Assembly _abolished slavery_ throughout
the French Colonies. Some years afterward, the French Government sought,
with an army of 60,000 men, to reinstate slavery, but were unsuccessful,
and then the white planters were driven from the Island.]

[Footnote 32:--_Vide_ Jefferson's Autobiography, commenced January 6th,
1821. JEFFERSON'S _Works_, vol. 1, p. 49.]

[Footnote 33:--"I am not ashamed or afraid publicly to avow that the
election of William H. Seward or Salmon P. Chase, or any such
representative of the Republican party, upon a sectional platform, ought
to be resisted to the disruption of every tie that binds this
Confederacy together. (Applause on the Democratic side of the House.)"
_Mr. Curry, of Alabama, in the House of Representatives_.

"Just so sure as the Republican party succeed in electing a sectional
man, upon their sectional, anti-slavery platform, breathing destruction
and death to the rights of my people, just so sure, in my judgment, the
time will have come when the South must and will take an unmistakable
and decided action, and then he who dallies is a dastard, and he who
doubts is damned! I need not tell what I, a Southern man, will do. I
think I may safely speak for the masses of the people of Georgia--that
when that event happens, they, in my judgment, will consider it an overt
act, a declaration of war, and meet immediately in convention, to take
into consideration the mode and measure of redress. That is my position;
and if that be treason to the Government, make the most of it."--_Mr.
Gartell, of Georgia, in the House of Representatives_.

"I said to my constituents, and to the people of the capital of my
State, on my way here, if such an event did occur," [_i.e._, the
election of a Republican President, upon a Republican platform], "while
it would be their duty to determine the course which the State would
pursue, it would be my privilege to counsel with them as to what I
believed to be the proper course; and I said to them, what I say now,
and what I will always say in such an event, that my counsel would be to
take independence out of the Union in preference to the loss of
constitutional rights, and consequent degradation and dishonor, in it.
That is my position, and it is the position which I know the Democratic
party of the State of Mississippi will maintain."--_Gov. McRae, of

"It is useless to attempt to conceal the fact that, in the present
temper of the Southern people, it" [_i.e._, the election of a Republican
President] "cannot be, and will not be, submitted to. The 'irrepressible
conflict' doctrine, announced and advocated by the ablest and most
distinguished leader of the Republican party, is an open declaration of
war against the institution of slavery, wherever it exists; and I would
be disloyal to Virginia and the South, if I did not declare that the
election of such a man, entertaining such sentiment, and advocating such
doctrines, _ought to be resisted by the slaveholding States_. The idea
of permitting such a man to have the control and direction of the army
and navy of the United States, and the appointment of high judicial and
executive officers, POSTMASTERS INCLUDED, _cannot_ be entertained by the
South for a moment."--_Gov. Letcher, of Virginia_.

"Slavery _must_ be maintained--in the Union, if possible; out of it, if
necessary: peaceably if we may; forcibly if we must."--_Senator Iverson,
of Georgia_.

"Lincoln and Hamlin, the Black Republican nominees, will be elected in
November next, and the South will then decide the great question whether
they will submit to the domination of Black Republican rule--the
fundamental principle of their organization being an open, undisguised,
and declared war upon our social institutions. I believe that the honor
and safety of the South, in that contingency, will require the prompt
secession of the slaveholding States from the Union; and failing then to
obtain from the free States additional and higher guaranties for the
protection of our rights and property, that the seceding States should
proceed to establish a new government. But while I think such would be
the imperative duty of the South, I should emphatically reprobate and
repudiate any scheme having for its object the separate secession of
South Carolina. If Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi alone--giving us a
portion of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts--would unite with this State in
a common secession upon the election of a Black Republican, I would give
my consent to the policy."--_Letter of Hon. James L. Orr, of S.C., to
John Martin and others, July_ 23, 1860.]

[Footnote 34:--The Hon. John A. Andrew, of the Boston Bar, made the
following analysis of the Dred Scott case in the Massachusetts
Legislature. Hon. Caleb Cushing was then a member of that body, but did
not question its correctness.

"On the question of possibility of citizenship to one of the Dred Scott
color, extraction, and origin, three Justices, viz., Taney, Wayne, and
Daniels, held the negative. Nelson and Campbell passed over the plea by
which the question was raised. Grier agreed with Nelson. Catron said the
question was not open. McLean agreed with Catron, but thought the plea
bad. Curtis agreed that the question was open, but attacked the plea,
met its averments, and decided that a free-born colored person, native
to any State, is a citizen thereof by birth, and is therefore a citizen
of the Union, and entitled to sue in the Federal Courts.

"Had a majority of the court directly sustained the plea in abatement,
and denied the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court appealed from, then all
else they could have said and done would have been done and said in a
cause not theirs to try and not theirs to discuss. In the absence of
such a majority, one step more was to be taken. And the next step
reveals an agreement of six of the Justices, on a point decisive of the
cause, and putting an end to all the functions of the court.

"It is this. Scott was first carried to Rock Island, in the State of
Illinois, where he remained about two years, before going with his
master to Fort Snelling, in the Territory of Wisconsin. His claim to
freedom was rested on the alleged effect of his translation from a slave
State, and again into a free territory. If, by his removal to Illinois,
he became emancipated from his master, the subsequent continuance of his
pilgrimage into the Louisiana purchase could not add to his freedom, nor
alter the fact. If, by reason of any want or infirmity in the laws of
Illinois, or of conformity on his part to their behests, Dred Scott
remained a slave while he remained in that State, then--for the sake of
learning the effect on him of his territorial residence beyond the
Mississippi, and of his marriage and other proceedings there, and the
effect of the sojournment and marriage of Harriet, in the same
territory, upon herself and her children--it might become needful to
advance one other step into the investigation of the law; to inspect the
Missouri Compromise, banishing slavery to the south of the line of 36°
30' in the Louisiana purchase.

"But no exigency of the cause ever demanded or justified that advance;
for six of the Justices, including the Chief Justice himself, decided
that the _status_ of the plaintiff, as free or slave, was dependent, not
upon the laws of the State in which he had been, but of the State of
Missouri, in which he was at the commencement of the suit. The Chief
Justice asserted that 'it is now firmly settled by the decisions of the
highest court in the State, that Scott and his family, on their return
were not free, but were, by the laws of Missouri, the property of the
defendant.' This was the burden of the opinion of Nelson, who declares
'the question is one solely depending upon the law of Missouri, and that
the Federal Court, sitting in the State, and trying the case before us,
was bound to follow it.' It received the emphatic endorsement of Wayne,
whose general concurrence was with the Chief Justice. Grier concurred in
set terms with Nelson on all 'the questions discussed by him.' Campbell
says, 'The claim of the plaintiff to freedom depends upon the effect to
be given to his absence from Missouri, in company with his master in
Illinois and Minnesota, _and this effect is to be ascertained by
reference to the laws of Missouri_.' Five of the Justices, then (if no
more of them), regard the law of Missouri as decisive of the plaintiff's

[Footnote 35:--"Now, as we have already said in an earlier part of this
opinion upon a different point, the right of property in a slave is
distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution. The right to
traffic in it, _like an ordinary article of merchandise and property_,
was guaranteed to the citizens of the United States in every State that
might desire it, for twenty years."--_Ch. J. Taney_, 19 _How. U.S.R_.,
p. 451. _Vide_ language of Mr. Madison, note 34, as to "_merchandise_."]

[Footnote 36:--Not only was the right of property _not_ intended to be
"distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution"; but the
following extract from Mr. Madison demonstrates that the utmost care was
taken to avoid so doing:

"The clause as originally offered [respecting fugitive slaves] read, 'If
any person LEGALLY bound to service or labor in any of the United States
shall escape into another State," etc., etc. (Vol. 3, p. 1456.) In
regard to this, Mr. Madison says, "The term '_legally'_ was struck out,
and the words 'under the laws thereof,' inserted after the word State,
in compliance with the wish of some who thought the term 'legally'
equivocal and favoring the idea that slavery was legal in a moral point
of view."--_Ib_., p. 1589.]

[Footnote 37:--We subjoin a portion of the history alluded to by Mr.
Lincoln. The following extract relates to the provision of the
Constitution relative to the slave trade. (Article I, Sec. 9.)

_25th August_, 1787.--The report of the Committee of eleven being taken
up, Gen. [Charles Cotesworth] Pinckney moved to strike out the words
"the year 1800," and insert the words "the year 1808."

Mr. Gorham seconded the motion.

Mr. Madison--Twenty years will produce all the mischief that can be
apprehended from the liberty to import slaves. So long a term will be
more dishonorable to the American character than to say nothing about it
in the Constitution.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Gouverneur Morris was for making the clause read at once--

"The importation of slaves into North Carolina, South Carolina, and
Georgia, shall not be prohibited," etc. This, he said, would be most
fair, and would avoid _the _ ambiguity by which, under the power with
regard to naturalization, the liberty reserved to the States might be
defeated. He wished it to be known, also, that this part of the
Constitution was a compliance with those States. If the change of
language, however, should be objected to by the members from those
States, he should not urge it.

Col. Mason (of Virginia) was not against using the term "slaves," but
against naming North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, lest it
should give offence to the people of those States.

Mr. Sherman liked a description better than the terms proposed, which
had been declined by the old Congress and were not pleasing to some

Mr. Clymer concurred with Mr. Sherman.

Mr. Williamson, of North Carolina, said that _both in opinion and
practice he was against slavery; but thought it more in favor of
humanity, from a view of all circumstances, to let in South Carolina and
Georgia, on those terms, than to exclude them from the Union_.

Mr. Morris withdrew his motion.

Mr. Dickinson wished the clause to be confined to the States which had
not themselves prohibited the importation of slaves, and for that
purpose moved to amend the clause so as to read--

"The importation of slaves into such of the States as shall permit the
same, shall not be prohibited by the Legislature of the United States,
until the year 1808," which was disagreed to, _nem. con_.

The first part of the report was then agreed to as follows:

"The migration or importation of such persons as the several States now
existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the
Legislature prior to the year 1808."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Sherman was against the second part ["but a tax or duty may be
imposed on such migration or importation at a rate not exceeding _the
average of the duties laid on imports_"], as acknowledging men to be
property by taxing them as such under the _character_ of slaves.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Madison _thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the like idea
that there could be property in men_. The reason of duties did not hold,
as slaves _are not, like merchandise_, consumed.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was finally agreed, _nem. con_., to make the clause read--

"But a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding
_ten dollars_ for each PERSON."--_Madison Papers, Aug_. 25, 1787.]

[Footnote 38:--Compare this noble passage and that at page 18, with the
twaddle of Mr. Orr (note 30), and the slang of Mr. Douglas (note 37).]

[Footnote 39:--That demand has since been made. Says MR. O'CONOR,
counsel for the State of Virginia in the _Lemon Case_, page 44: "We
claim that under these various provisions of the Federal Constitution, a
citizen of Virginia has an immunity against the operation of any law
which the State of New York can enact, whilst he is a stranger and
wayfarer, or whilst passing through our territory; and that he has
absolute protection for all his domestic rights, and for all his rights
of property, which under the laws of the United States, and the laws of
his own State, he was entitled to, whilst in his own State. We claim
this, and neither more NOR LESS."

Throughout the whole of that case, in which the right to pass through
New York with slaves at the pleasure of the slave owners is maintained,
it is nowhere contended that the statute is contrary to the Constitution
of New York; but that the statute and the Constitution of the State are
both contrary to the Constitution of the United States.

The State of Virginia, not content with the decision of our own courts
upon the right claimed by them, is now engaged in carrying this, the
Lemon case, to the Supreme Court of the United States, hoping by a
decision there, in accordance with the intimations in the Dred Scott
case, to overthrow the Constitution of New York.

Senator Toombs, of Georgia, has claimed, in the Senate, that laws of
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode
Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin, for the exclusion of slavery, conceded
to be warranted by the State Constitutions, are contrary to the
Constitution of the United States, and has asked for the enactment of
laws by the General Government which shall override the laws of those
States and the Constitutions which authorize them.]

[Footnote 40:--"Policy, humanity, and Christianity, alike forbid the
extension of the evils of free society to new people and coming
generations."--_Richmond Enquirer, Jan_. 22, 1856.

"I am satisfied that the mind of the South has undergone a change to
this great extent, that it is now the _almost universal belief_ in the
South, not only that the condition of African slavery in their midst, is
the best condition to which the African race has ever been subjected,
but that _it has the effect of ennobling both races, the white and the
black_."--_Senator Mason, of Virginia_.

"I declare again, as I did in reply to the Senator from Wisconsin (Mr.
Doolittle), that, in my opinion, slavery is a great moral, social, and
political blessing--a blessing to the slave, and a blessing to the
master."--_Mr. Brown, in the Senate, March_ 6, 1860.

"I am a Southern States' Rights man; I am an African slave-trader. I am
one of those Southern men who believe that slavery is right--morally,
religiously, socially, and politically." (Applause.) ... "I represent
the African Slave-trade interests of that section. (Applause.) I am
proud of the position I occupy in that respect. I believe the African
Slave-trader is a true missionary and a true Christian."
(Applause.)--_Mr. Gaulden, a delegate from First Congressional District
of Georgia, in the Charleston Convention, now a supporter of Mr.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I would gladly speak again, but you see from the
tones of my voice that I am unable to. This has been a happy, a glorious
day. I shall never forget it. There is a charm about this beautiful day,
about this sea air, and especially about that peculiar institution of
yours--a clam bake. I think you have the advantage, in that respect, of
Southerners. For my own part, I have much more fondness for your clams
than I have for their niggers. But every man to his taste."--_Hon_
_Stephen A. Douglas's Address at Rocky Point, R.I., Aug._ 2, 1860.]

[Footnote 41:--It is interesting to observe how two profoundly logical
minds, though holding extreme, opposite views, have deduced this common
conclusion. Says Mr. O'Conor, the eminent leader of the New York Bar,
and the counsel for the State of Virginia in the Lemon case, in his
speech at Cooper Institute, December 19th, 1859:

"That is the point to which this great argument must come--Is negro
slavery unjust? If it is unjust, it violates that first rule of human
conduct--'Render to every man his due.' If it is unjust, it violates the
law of God which says, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself,' for that requires
that we should perpetrate no injustice. Gentlemen, if it could be
maintained that negro slavery was unjust, perhaps I might be
prepared--perhaps we all ought to be prepared--to go with that
distinguished man to whom allusion is frequently made, and say, 'There
is a higher law which compels us to trample beneath our feet the
Constitution established by our fathers, with all the blessings it
secures to their children.' But I insist--and that is the argument which
we must meet, and on which we must come to a conclusion that shall
govern our actions in the future selection of representatives in the
Congress of the United States--insist that negro slavery is not unjust."]

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