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denied, because they seemed naturally improbable, or inconsistent with his "philosophy so called;" but his perverted credulity terrified him when he saw two images of himself in a mirror.
It is very probable that much of Mr. Lincoln's unhappiness, the melancholy that "dripped from him as he walked," was due to his want of religious faith. When the black fit was on him, he suffered as much mental misery as Bunyan or Cowper in the deepest anguish of their conflicts with the evil one. But the unfortunate conviction fastened upon him by his early associations, that there was no truth in the Bible, made all consolation impossible, and penitence useless. To a man of his temperament, predisposed as it was to depression of spirits, there could be no chance of happiness, if doomed to live without hope and without God in the world. He might force himself to be merry with his chosen comrades; he might "banish sadness" in mirthful conversation, or find relief in a jest; gratified ambition might elevate his feelings, and give him ease for a time: but solid comfort and permanent peace could come to him only through "a correspondence fixed with heaven." The fatal misfortune of his life, looking at it only as it affected him in this world, was the influence at New Salem and Springfield which enlisted him on the side of unbelief. He paid the bitter penalty in a life of misery.
"It was a grievous sin in Cæsar ;
And grievously hath Cæsar answered it."
N the 11th of February, 1861, the arrangements for Mr. Lincoln's departure from Springfield were completed. It was intended to occupy the time remaining between that date and the 4th of March with a grand tour from State to State and city to city. One Mr. Wood, "recommended by Senator Seward," was the chief manager. He provided special trains to be preceded by pilot engines all the way through. It was a gloomy day: heavy clouds floated overhead, and a cold rain was falling. Long before eight o'clock, a great mass of people had collected at the station of the Great Western Railway to witness the event of the day. At precisely five minutes before eight, Mr. Lincoln, preceded by Mr. Wood, emerged from a private room in the dépôt building, and passed slowly to the car, the people falling back respectfully on either side, and as many as possible shaking his hands. Having finally reached the train, he ascended the rear platform, and, facing about to the throng which had closed around him, drew himself up to his full height, removed his hat, and stood for several seconds in profound silence. His eye roved sadly over that sea of upturned faces; and he thought he read in them again the sympathy and friendship which he had often tried, and which he never needed more than he did then. There was an unusual quiver in his lip, and a still more unusual tear on his shrivelled cheek. His solemn manner, his long silence, were as full of melancholy eloquence as any words he could have uttered. What did he think of? Of the mighty changes which had
lifted him from the lowest to the highest estate on earth? Of the weary road which had brought him to this lofty summit? Of his poor mother lying beneath the tangled underbrush in a distant forest? Of that other grave in the quiet Concord cemetery? Whatever the particular character of his thoughts, it is evident that they were retrospective and painful. To those who were anxiously waiting to catch words upon which the fate of the nation might hang, it seemed long until he had mastered his feelings sufficiently to speak. At length he began in a husky tone of voice, and slowly and impressively delivered his farewell to his neighbors. Imitating his example, every man in the crowd stood with his head uncovered in the fast-falling rain.
“FRIENDS, — No one who has never been placed in a like position can understand my feelings at this hour, nor the oppressive sadness I feel at this parting. For more than a quarter of a century I have lived among you, and during all that time I have received nothing but kindness at your hands. Here I have lived from my youth, until now I am an old man. Here the most sacred ties of earth were assumed. Here all my children were born; and here one of them lies buried. To you, dear friends, I owe all that I have, all that I am. All the strange, checkered past seems to crowd now upon my mind. To-day I leave you. I go to assume a task more difficult than that which devolved upon Washington. Unless the great God, who assisted him, shall be with and aid me, I must fail; but if the same omniscient mind and almighty arm that directed and protected him shall guide and support me, I shall not fail, — I shall succeed. Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake us now. To him I commend you all. Permit me to ask, that, with equal security and faith, you will invoke his wisdom and guidance for me. With these few words I must leave you: for how long I know not. Friends, one and all, I must now bid you an affectionate farewell."
"It was a most impressive scene," said the editor of "The Journal." “We have known Mr. Lincoln for many years; we have heard him speak upon a hundred different occasions; but we never saw him so profoundly affected, nor did he ever utter an address which seemed to us so full of simple and touching eloquence, so exactly adapted to the occasion, so worthy of the man and the hour."
At eight o'clock the train rolled out of Springfield amid the cheers of the populace. Four years later a funeral train, covered with the emblems of splendid mourning, rolled into the same city, bearing a discolored corpse, whose obsequies were being celebrated in every part of the civilized world.
Along with Mr. Lincoln's family in the special car were Gov. Yates, Ex-Gov. Moore, Dr. Wallace (Mr. Lincoln's brother-in-law), Mr. Judd, Mr. Browning, Judge Davis, Col. Ellsworth, Col. Lamon, and private secretaries Nicolay and Hay.
It has been asserted that an attempt was made to throw the train off the track between Springfield and Indianapolis, and also that a hand-grenade was found on board at Cincinnati, but no evidence of the fact is given in either case, and none of the Presidential party ever heard of these murderous doings until they read of them in some of the more imaginative reports of their trip.
Full accounts of this journey were spread broadcast over the country at the time, and have been collected and printed in various books. But, except for the speeches of the President elect, those accounts possess no particular interest at this day; and of the speeches we shall present here only such extracts as express his thoughts and feelings about the impending civil war.
In the heat of the late canvass, he had written the following private letter: —
JOHN B. FRY, Esq.
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Aug. 15, 1860.
My dear Sir, — Yours of the 9th, enclosing the letter of Hon. John M. Botts, was duly received. The latter is herewith returned, according to your request. It contains one of the many assurances I receive from the South, that in no probable event will there be any very formidable effort to break up the Union. The people of the South have too much of good sense and good temper to attempt the ruin of the government, rather than see it administered as it was administered by the men who made it. At least, so I hope and believe.
I thank you both for your own letter and a sight of that of Mr. Botts.
The opinion expressed in the letter as to the probability of war does not appear to have undergone any material change or modification during the eventful months which had intervened; for he expressed it in much stronger terms at almost every stage of his progress to Washington.
At Toledo he said,
"I am leaving you on an errand of national importance, attended, as you are aware, with considerable difficulties. Let us believe, as some poet has expressed it, 'Behind the cloud the sun is shining still.'”
"I am here to thank you for this magnificent welcome, and still more for the very generous support given by your State to that political cause, which, I think, is the true and just cause of the whole country, and the whole world. Solomon says, 'There is a time to keep silence;' and when men wrangle by the mouth, with no certainty that they mean the same thing while using the same words, it perhaps were as well if they would keep silence.
"The words 'coercion' and 'invasion' are much used in these days, and often with some temper and hot blood. Let us make sure, if we can, that we do not misunderstand the meaning of those who use them. Let us get the exact definitions of these words, not from dictionaries, but from the men themselves, who certainly deprecate the things they would represent by the use of the words.
“What, then, is coercion? What is invasion? Would the marching of an army into South Carolina, without the consent of her people, and with hostile intent toward them, be invasion? I certainly think it would; and it would be coercion also, if the South Carolinians were forced to submit. But if the United States should merely hold and retake its own forts and other property, and collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the mails from places where they were' habitually violated, would any or all of these things be invasion or coercion? Do our professed lovers of the Union, who spitefully resolve that they will resist coercion and invasion, understand that such things as these, on the part of the United States, would be coercion or invasion of a State? If so, their idea of means to preserve the object of their great affection would seem to be exceedingly thin and airy. If sick, the little pills of the homeopathist would be much too large for them to swallow. In their view, the Union, as a family relation, would seem to be no regular marriage, but rather a sort of 'free-love' arrangement, to be maintained on passional attraction."