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Notified by the Committee. President's Reply. Amendment to the Constitution.
unanimously nominating you for re-election, but gave utterance to the almost universal voice of the loyal people of the country. To doubt of your triumphant election would be little short of abandoning the hope of a final suppression of the rebellion and the restoration of the Government over the insurgent States. Neither the Convention nor those represented by that body entertained any doubt as to the final result, under your administration, sustained by the loyal people, and by our noble army and gallant navy. Neither did the Convention, nor do this Committee doubt the speedy suppression of this most wicked and unprovoked rebellion.”
In reply the President said:
“MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE –I will neither conceal my gratification nor restrain the expression of my gratitude that the Union people, through their Convention, in the continued effort to save and advance the nation, have deemed me not unworthy to remain in my present position. I know no reason to doubt that I shall accept the nomination tendered ; and yet, perhaps, I should not declare definitely before reading and considering what is called the platform.
“I will say now, however, that I approve the declaration in favor of so amending the Constitution as to prohibit slavery throughout the nation. When the people in revolt, with the hundred days explicit notice that they could within those days resume their allegiance without the overthrow of their institutions, and that they could not resume it afterward, elected to stand out, such an amendment of the Constitution as is now proposed became a fitting and necessary conclusion to the final success of the Union cause.
“Such alone can meet and cover all cavils. I now perceive its importance, and embrace it. In the joint name of Liberty and Union let us labor to give it legal form and prac tical effect.”
National Union League. President's Reply. Delegation from Ohio.
On the following day, in reply to a congratulatory address from a deputation of the National Union League, the President said :
“GENTLEMEN:—I can only say in response to the remarks of your Chairman, I suppose, that I am very grateful for the renewed confidence which has been accorded to me, both by the Convention and by the National League. I am not insensible at all to the personal compliment there is in this; yet I do not allow myself to believe that any but a small portion of it is to be appropriated as a personal compliment to me.
“The Convention and the Nation, I am assured, are alike animated by a higher view of the interests of the country for the present and the great future, and that part I am entitled to appropriate as a compliment is only that which I may lay hold of, as being the opinion of the Convention and the League, that I am not entirely unworthy to be entrusted with the place I have occupied for the last three years.
“I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded in this connection, of the story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once, that ‘it was not best to swop horses when crossing streams.’”
Prolonged and tumultuous laughter followed this last characteristic remark, given with that telling force which only those who had the privilege of meeting Mr. Lincoln in his moments of relaxation and semi-abandon can appreciate.
Having been serenaded, on the 9th, by the delegation from Ohio, he addressed the assemblage as follows:
“GENTLEMEN:—I am very much obliged to you for this compliment. I have just been saying, and will repeat it, that the hardest of all speeches I have to answer is a serenade. I never knew what to say on such occasions.
Delegation from Ohio. President's Reply. Reply to Ohio Troops.
“I suppose you have done me this kindness in connection with the action of the Baltimore Convention, which has recently taken place, and with which, of course, I am very well satisfied What we want still more than Baltimore Conventions or Presidential elections, is success under General
port you owe to the brave officers and soldiers in the field is of the very first importance, and we should therefore lend all our energies to that point.
“Now, without detaining you any longer, I propose that you help me to close up what I am now saying with three rousing cheers for General Grant and the officers and soldiers under his command.”
And the cheers were given with a will, the President leading off and waving his hat with as much earnestness as the most enthusiastic individual present.
To a regiment of Ohio troops, one hundred days men, volunteers for the emergency then upon the country, who called, on the 11th, upon Mr. Lincoln, he spoke as follows:
“Soldiers:—I understand you have just come from Ohio —come to help us in this the nation's day of trial, and also of its hopes. I thank you for your promptness in responding to the call for troops. Your services were never needed more than now. I know not where you are going. You may stay here and take the places of those who will be sent to the front; or you may go there yourselves. Wherever you go, I know you will do your best. Again I thank you Good-bye.
President's Speech at Philadelphia–Philadelphia Fair—Correspondence with Committee of National Convention—Proclamation of Martial Law in Kentucky—Question of Reconstruction—President’s Proclamation on the subject—Congressional Plan.
ON the 16th of June, the President was present at a Fair held in Philadelphia in aid of that noble organization, the United States Sanitary Commission, which was productive of so much good during the war, placing as it did, the arrangements for the care and comfort of our brave boys on a basis which no nation—not France, not England, though experienced in war, and generally of admirable promptitude in availing themselves of all facilities to its successful prosecution—had ever before been able to secure.
On the occasion of this visit, Philadelphia witnessed one of her largest crowds. Not less than fifteen thousand people were straining to get a glimpse of their beloved President at one and the same moment.
After the customary hand-shaking, borne by the victim with contagious good humor, a collation was served, at the close of which, in acknowledgment of a toast to his health, drank with the heartiest sincerity by all present, the President said :
“I suppose that this toast is intended to open the way for me to say something. War at the best is terrible; and this of ours in its magnitude and duration is one of the most terrible the world has ever known. It has deranged business totally in many places, and perhaps in all.
“It has destroyed property, destroyed life, and ruined homes. It has produced a national debt and a degree of
Sanitary and Christian Commissions. President's Prediction.
taxation unprecedented in the history of this country. It has caused mourning among us until the heavens may almost be said to be hung in black. And yet it continues. It has had accompaniments not before known in the history of the world. “I mean the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, with their labors for the relief of the soldiers, and the Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, understood better by those who hear me than by myself. These Fairs, too, first began at Chicago, then held in Boston, Cincinnati, and other cities. “The motive and object which lies at the bottom of them is worthy of the most that we can do for the soldier who goes to fight the battles of his country. By the fair and tender hand of woman is much, very much, done for the soldier, continually reminding him of the care and thought of him at home. The knowledge that he is not forgotten is grateful to his heart. “And the view of these institutions is worthy of thought. They are voluntary contributions, giving proof that the national resources are not at all exhausted, and that the national patriotism will sustain us through all. It is a pertinent question—when is this war to end ? “I do not wish to name a day when it will end, lest the end should not come at the given time. We accepted this war, and did not begin it. We accepted it for an object, and when that object is accomplished, the war will end; and I hope to God it will never end until that object is accomplished. “We are going through with our task, so far as I am concerned, if it takes us three years longer. I have not been in the habit of making predictions, but I am almost tempted now to hazard one. I will. It is that Grant is this evening in a position, with Meade and Hancock of Pennsylvania, where he can never be dislodged by the enemy until Richmond is taken.