Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

United States, and to their posterity in all coming time. It is your business to rise up and preserve the Union and liberty for yourselves, and not for me.

I desire they should be constitutionally performed. I, as already intimated, am but an accidental instrument, temporary, and to serve but for a limited time; and I appeal to you again to constantly bear in mind that with you, and not with politicians, not with Presidents, not with officeseekers, but with you is the question, Shall the Union and shall the liberties of this country be preserved to the latest generations ? [Cheers.]

In the evening the members of the legislature waited upon him in a body at his hotel, where one of their number, on behalf of the whole, and in presence of a very large assemblage of the citizens of the place, made a brief address of welcome and congratulation, which Mr. Lincoln acknowledged in the following terms :

FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF INDIANA:-I am here to thank you much for this magnificent welcome, and still more for the 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 word, 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 as get exact definitions of these words, not from dictionaries, but from the men themselves, who certainly depreciate the things they would represent by the use of 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 towards 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 these things be "invasion” or “coercion ?” Do our professed lovers of the Union, but 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 affection would seem exceedingly thin and airy. If sick, the little pills of the homeopathists would be much too large for it to swallow. In their view, the Union, as a family relation, would seem to be no regular marriage, but a sort of “free-love" arrangement, to be maintained only on "passional attraction."

By-the-way, in what consists the special sacredness of a State ? I speak not of the position assigned to a State in the Union, by the Constitution; for that, by the bond, we all recognize. That position, however, a State cannot carry out of the Union with it. I speak of that assumed primary right of a State to rule all which is less than itself, and ruin all which is larger than itself. If a State and a county, in a given case, should be equal in extent of territory, and equal in number of inhabitants, in what, as a matter of principle, is the State better than the county? Would an exchange of names be an exchange of rights upon principle? On what rightful principle may a State, being not more than one-fiftieth part of the nation, in soil and population, break up the nation and then coerco a proportionally larger subdivision of itself, in the most arbitrary way? What mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country, with its people, by merely calling it a State?

Fellow-citizens, I am not asserting any thing ; I am merely asking questions for you to consider. And now allow me to bid you farewell.

[ocr errors]

On the morning of the 12th, Mr. Lincoln took his departure and arrived at Cincinnati at about noon, having been greeted along the route by the hearty applause of the thousands assembled at the successive stations. His reception at Cincinnati was overwhelming. The streets were so densely crowded that it was with the utmost difficulty the procession could secure a passage. Mr. Lincoln was escorted to the Burnett House, which had been handsomely decorated in honor of his visit. He was welcomed by the Mayor of the city in a few remarks, in response to which he said :

MR. MAYOR AND FELLOW-CITIZENS :-I have spoken but once before this in Cincinnati. That was a year previous to the late Presidential election. On that occasion, in a playful manner, but with sincere words, I addressed much of what I said to the Kentuckians. I gave my opinion that we, as Republicans, would ultimately beat them, as Democrats, but that they could postpone that result longer by nominating Senator Douglas for the Presidency than they could in any other way. They did not, in sense of the word, nominate Mr. Douglas, and the result has come certainly as soon as ever I expected. I also told them how I expected they would be treated after they should bave been beaten; and I now wish to call their attention to what I then said upon that subject. I then said, “When we do as we say, beat you, you perhaps want to know what we will do with you. I will tell you, as far as I am authorized to speak for the oppo

ary truo

sition, what we mean to do with you. We mean to treat you, as near as we possibly can, as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison treated you. We mean to leave you alone, and in no way to interfere with your institutions; to abide by all and every compromise of the Constitution; and, in a word, coming back to the original proposition, to treat you so far as degenerate men, if we have degenerated, may, according to the example of those noble fathers, WASHINGTON, JEFFERSON, and Madison. We mean to remember that you are as good as we; that there is no difference between us, other than the difference of circumstances. We mean to recognize and bear in mind always that you have as good hearts in your bosoms as other people, or as we claim to have, and treat you accordingly.

Fellow-citizens of Kentucky! friends! brethren, may I call you in my new position ? I see no occasion, and feel no inclination to retract a word of this. If it shall not be made good, be assured the fault shall not be mine.

In the evening the German Republican associations called upon Mr. Lincoln and presented him an address of congratulation, to which he responded, warmly indorsing the wisdom of the Homestead bill, and speaking of the advantages offered by the soil and institutions of the United States to foreigners who might wish to make it their home. He left Cincinnati on the morning of the 13th, accompanied by a committee of the Ohio Legislature, which had come from the capital to meet him. The party reached Columbus at two o'clock, and the President was escorted to the hall of the Assembly, where he was formally welcomed by Lieutenant-Governor Kirk on behalf of the legislature, which had assembled in joint session, to which he made the following reply :

MR. PRESIDENT AND MR. SPEAKER, AND GENTLEMEN OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY:—It is true, as has been said by the President of the Senate, that very great responsibility rests upon me in the position to which the votes of the American people have called me. I am deeply sensible of that weighty responsibility. I cannot but know what you all know, that without a name, perhaps without a reason why I should have a name, there has fallen upon me a task such as did not rest even upon the Father of his Country; and so feeling, i cannot but turn and look for the support without which it will be impossible for me to perform that great task. I turn, then, and look to the great American people, and to that God who has never forsaken them.

Allusion has been made to the interest felt in relation to the policy of the new Administration. In this I have received from some a degree of credit for having kept silence, and from others some depreciation. I still think that I was right. In the varying and repeatedly shifting scenes of the present, and without a precedent which could enable me to judge by the past, it has seemed fitting that before speaking upon the difficulties of the country, I should have gained a view of the whole field so as to be sure after all--at liberty to modify and change the course of policy as future events may make a change necessary. I have not maintained silence from any want of real anxiety. It is a good thing that there is no more than anxiety, for there is nothing going wrong. It is a consoling circumstance that when we look out, there is nothing that really hurts anybody. We entertain different views upon political questions, but nobody is suffering any thing. This is a most consoling circumstance, and from it we may conclude that all we want is time, patience, and a reliance on that God who has never forsaken this people. Fellow-citizens, what I have said I have said altogether extemporaneously, and will now coine to & close.

Both houses then adjourned. In the evening Mr. Lincoln held a levée, which was very largely attended. On the morning of the 14th, Mr. Lincoln left Columbus. At Steubenville he had a formal though brief reception, being addressed by Judge Floyd, to whose remarks he made the following reply :

I fear that the great confidence placed in my ability is unfounded. Indeed, I am sure it is. Encompassed by vast difficulties as I am, nothing shall be wanting on my part, if sustained by the American people and God. I believe the devotion to the Constitution is equally great on both sides of the river. It is only the different understanding of that instrųment that causes difficulty. The only dispute on both sides is, “What are their rights ?" If the majority should not rule, who should be the judge ? Where is such a judge to be found ? We should all be bound by the majority of the American people—if not, then the minority must control. Would that be right? Would it be just or generous? Assuredly not. I reiterate, that the majority should rule. If I adopt a wrong policy, the opportunity for condemnation will occur in four years' time. Then I can be turned out, and a better man with better views put in my place.

The train reached Pittsburg in the evening, and Mr. Lincoln was received with the utmost enthusiasm at the Monongahela House by a large crowd which had assembled to greet him. He acknowledged their reception briefly :

He said he would not give them a speech, as he thought it more rare, if not more wise, for a public man to abstain from much speaking. Ho expressed his gratitude and surprise at seeing so great a crowd and such boundless enthusiasm manifested in the night-time, and under such untoward circumstances, to greet so unworthy an individual as himself. This was undoubtedly attributable to the position which more by accident than by worth he had attained. He remarked further, that if all those whole-souled people whom he saw this evening before him, were for the preservation of the Union, he did not see how it could be in much danger. He had intended to say a few words to the people of Pittsburgthe greatest manufacturing city of the United States—upon such matters as they were interested in; but as he had adopted the plan of holding hiş tongue for the most part during the last canvass, and since his election, he thought he had perhaps better now still continue to hold his tongue, [Cries of “Go on," " go on."] Well, I am reminded that there is an Alleghany City as well as an Alleghany County, the former the banner town, and the latter the banner county, perhaps, of the world. I am glad to see both of them, and the good people of both. That I may not disappoint these, I will say a few words to you to-morrow as to the peculiar interests of Alleghany County,

On the morning of the 15th, the Mayor and Common Council of the City of Pittsburg waited in a body upon the President-elect. The Mayor made him an address of formal welcome in presence of a very large number of citizens who had assembled to witness the ceremony. After the applause which greeted his appearance had subsided, Mr. Lincoln made the following remarks :

I most cordially thank His Honor Mayor Wilson, and the citizens of Pittsburg generally, for their flattering reception. I am the more grateful because I know that it is not given to me alone, but to the cause I represent, which clearly proves to me their good-will, and that sincero feeling is at the bottom of it. And here I may remark, that in every short address I have made to the people, in every crowd through which I have passed of late, some allusion has been made to the present distracted condition of the country. It is natural to expect that I should say something on this subject; but to touch upon it at all would involve an elaborate discussion of a great many questions and circumstances, requiring more time than I can at present command, and wouli, perhaps, unnecessarily commit me upon matters which have not yet fully devel. oped themselves. The condition of the country is an extraordinary one, and fills the mind of every patriot with anxiety. It is my intention to give this subject all the consideration I possibly can before specially deciding in regard to it, so that when I do speak it may be as nearly right as possible. When I do speak, I hope I may say nothing in opposition to the spirit of the Constitution, contrary to the integrity of the

« AnteriorContinuar »