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closing the fact that a small gang of assassins, under the leadership of an Italian who assumed the name of Orsini, had arranged to take his life during his passage through Baltimore. Gen. Scott and Mr. Seward had both been apprised of the same fact through another source, and they had sent Mr. F. W. Seward as a special messenger to Philadelphia, to meet the President-elect there, previous to his departure for Harrisburg, and give him notice of these circumstances. Mr. LINcoLN did not deviate from the programme he had marked out for himself, in consequence of these communications; except that, under the advice of friends, he deemed it prudent to anticipate by one train the time he was expected to arrive in Washington. He reached there on the morning of Saturday, the 23d. On Wednesday, the 27th, the Mayor and Common Council of the city waited upon Mr. LIN colN, and tendered him a welcome. He replied to them as follows:
MR. MAYOR: I thank you, and through you the municipal authorities of this city who accompany you, for this welcome. And as it is the first time in my life since the present phase of politics has presented itself in this country, that I have said anything publicly within a region of country where the institution of slavery exists, I will take this occasion to say, that I think very much of the ill-feeling that has existed and still exists between the people in the sections from which I came and the people here, is dependent upon a misunderstanding of one another. I therefore avail myself of this opportunity to assure you, Mr. Mayor, and all the gentlemen present, that I have not now, and never have had, any other than as kindly feelings towards you as the people of my own section. I have not now, and never have had, any disposition to treat you in any respect otherwise than as my own neighbors. I have not now any purpose to withhold from you any of the benefits of the Constitution, under any circumstances, that I would not feel myself constrained to withhold from my own neighbors; and I hope, in a word, that when we shall become better acquainted, and I say it with great confidence, we shall like each other the more. I thank you for the kindness of this reception.
On the next evening a serenade was given to Mr. LINCOLN by the members of the Republican Association, and he then addressed the crowd which the occasion had brought together, as follows:
My FRIENDs: I suppose that I may take this as a compliment paid to me, and as such please accept my thanks for it. I have reached this city of Washington under circumstances considerably differing from those under which any other man has ever reached it. I am here for the purpose of taking an official position amongst the people, almost all of whom were politically opposed to me, and are yet opposed to me, as I suppose. I propose no lengthy address to you. I only propose to say, as I did on yesterday, when your worthy Mayor and Board of Aldermen called upon me, that I thought much of the ill feeling that has existed between you and the people of your surroundings and that people from among whom I came, has depended, and now depends, upon a misunderstanding. I hope that, if things shall go along as prosperously as I believe we all desire they may, I may have it in my power to remove something of this misunderstanding; that I may be enabled to convince you, and the people of your section of the country, that we regard you as in all things our equals, and in all things entitled to the same respect and the same treatment that we claim for ourselves; that we are in nowise disposed, if it were in our power, to oppress you, to deprive you of any of your rights under the Constitution of the United States, or even narrowly to split hairs with you in regard to these rights, but are determined to give you, as far as lies in our hands, all your rights under the Constitution—not grudgingly, but fully and fairly. [Applause..] I hope that, by thus dealing with you, we will become better acquainted, and be better friends. And now, my friends, with these few remarks, and again returning my thanks for this compliment, and expressing my desire to hear a little more of your good music, I bid you good night.
This closed Mr. Lincoln's public speeches down to the date of his inauguration.
FROM THE INAUGURATION To THE MEETING of congress, JULY 4, 1861.
On the 4th of March, 1861, Mr. LIN colN took the oath and assumed the duties of the Presidential office. He was quite right in saying, on the eve of his departure from his home in Springfield, that those duties were greater than had devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington. A conspiracy which had been on foot for thirty years had reached its crisis. Yet in spite of all that had been done by the leading spirits in this movement, the people of the slaveholding States were by no means a unit in its support. Seven of those States, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana, had passed secession ordinances and united in the establishment of a hostile Confederacy; but in nearly all of them a considerable portion of the people were opposed to the movement, while in all the remaining slaveholding States a very active canvass was carried on between the friends and the opponents of secession. In Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee especially, the Government of the United States was vindicated and its authority sustained by men of pre-eminent ability and of commanding reputation, and there seemed abundant reason for hoping that, by the adoption of prudent measures, the slaveholding section might be divided and the Border Slave States retained in the Union. The authorities of the rebel Confederacy saw the importance of pushing the issue to an instant decision. Under their directions nearly all the forts, arsenals, dock-yards, custom-houses, etc., belonging to the United States, within the limits of the seceded States, had been seized and were held by representatives of the rebel government. The only forts in the South which remained in possession of the Union, were Forts Pickens, Taylor, and Jefferson on the Florida coast, and Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, and preparations were far advanced for the reduction and capture of these. Officers of the army and navy from the South had resigned their commissions and entered the rebel service. Civil officers representing the United States within the limits of the Southern States could no longer discharge their functions, and all the powers of that Government were practically paralyzed. It was under these circumstances that Mr. LINCoLN entered upon the duties of his office, and addressed himself to the task, first, of withholding the Border States from joining the Confederacy, as an indispensable preliminary to the great work of quelling the rebellion and restoring the authority of the Constitution. The ceremony of inauguration took place as usual in front of the Capitol and in presence of an immense multitude of spectators. A large military force was in attendance under the immediate command of General Scott, but nothing occurred to interrupt the harmony of the occasion. Before taking the oath of office Mr. LINcolN delivered the following
Fellow-Citizens of the United States: In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President “before he enters on the execution of his office.” I do not consider it liecessary at present for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement. Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:
Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, snd especially the right of each State, to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to the balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend, and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.
I now reiterate these sentiments; and, in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in anywise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States, when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause—as cheerfully to One section as to another.
There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:
No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.
It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution—to this provision as much as any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves, whose cases