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personal or even partisan triumph, he made the following memorable speech:
FRIENDS AND FELLOW CITIZENS: It has long been a grave question whether any government not too strong for the liberties of its people can be strong enough to maintain its own existence in great emergencies. On this point the present Rebellion brought our Republic to a severe test; and a Presidential election, occurring in regular course during the Rebellion, added not a little to the strain.
If the loyal people united were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fall when divided and partially paralyzed by a political war among themselves?
But the election was a necessity. We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in similar cases. Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good.
Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.
But the election, along with its incidental and undesirable strife, has done good too. It has demonstrated that a people's government can sustain a national election in the midst of a great civil war. [Enthusiastic cheers.] Until now, it has not been known to the world that this was a possibility. It shows, also, how sound and how strong we still are. It shows that, even among candidates of the same party, he who is most devoted to the Union, and most opposed to treason, can receive most of the people's votes. [Long-continued applause.] It shows, also, to the extent yet known, that we have more men now than we had when the war began. Gold is good in its place, but living, brave, patriotic men, are better than gold. [Applause.]
But the rebellion continues; and now that the election is over, may not all, having a common interest, re-unite in a common effort to save our common country? [Cries of "Yes," "Good."] For my own part, I have striven, and will strive, to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here, I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man's bosom.
While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a reëlection, and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God, for naving directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result. [Applause.]
May I ask those who have not differed with me to join with me in the same spirit toward those who have?
And now, let me close by asking three hearty cheers for our brave soldiers and seamen, and their gallant and skillful commanders.
The cheers were given with hearty good-will in response to the President's call. A venerable Democrat in the crowd remarked, with feeling: "God is good to us. He has again given us as a ruler, that sublime specimen of His noblest work, an honest man."
The result of the clection becoming known to the army, Lieut.-Gen. Grant sent the following congratulatory dispatch to the Secretary of War:
CITY POINT, Nov. 10, 1864-10.30 P. M. Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
Enough now seems to be known to say who is to hold the reins of Government for the next four years.
Congratulate the President for me for this double victory. The election having passed off quietly, no bloodshed or riot throughout the land, is a victory worth more to the country than a battle won.
Rebeldom and Europe will construe it so.
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant General.
The election had, in fact, demonstrated to the Rebels, and to the world, that the people were determined to sustain our armies, and to keep their ranks filled with new levies, so long as needed, until the last vestige of armed opposition to the Government should disappear. To the soldier, and to the citizen ready to become a soldier-should he be wanted-the result was alike gratifying. The assertion of the Chicago platform, that the war was a failure, was branded as false. The impudent demand for a cessation of hostilities, in the midst of the full tide of success, was emphatically rebuked
The recreant intrigues with a cabal of traitors in Canada, were condemned to the infamy they deserved. The malignant calumnies against the noblest and truest of rulers were summarily repudiated. Every man who had any thing at stake, of whatever party, breathed freer for the demonstrated stability of our Government. Better days already dawned on the Republic.
Second Session of the Thirty-Eighth Congress.-President Lincoln's last Annual Message.--Cabinet Changes.-Mr. Blair withdraws, and Gov. Dennison becomes Postmaster-General.--Mr. Speed Succeeds Judge Bates, as Attorney-General.-Death of Chief Justice Taney. Mr. Chase his Successor.-Our Relations with Canada.The Reciprocity Treaty to Terminate.-Call for 300,000 more Soldiers. Amendment of the Constitution, Prohibiting Slavery, Concurred in by the House.-Popular Rejoicing.-The Rebel Treatment of Union Prisoners.— Retaliation Discussed in the Senate, but Repugnant to Public Sentiment.—The Wharncliffe Correspondence.Testimony of Goldwin Smith.-Peace Memorial from Great Britain. Correspondence Thereon.-Congratulatory Address of the Workingmen of Great Britain.-Speech of Mr. Lincoln in Reply to the Swedish Minister.-Speech of Mr. Lincoln on the Death of Edward Everett.-Political affairs in Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas.-Abortive Peace Negotiations.-Full Details of the Hampton Roads Conference.-Rebel Accounts of the Same.-Affairs in Richmond. Close of the Thirty-Eighth Congress.-Creation of the Bureau of Freedmen, and other Legislation.
The second session of the Thirty-eighth Congress commenced on the 5th of December, 1864. On the next day, President Lincoln transmitted to the two houses his annual message-exhibiting with brevity and force the general progress of events, and the present condition of national affairs-as follows:
FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:-Again the blessings of health and abundant harvests claim our profoundest gratitude to Almighty God. The condition of our foreign affairs is reasonably satisfactory.
Mexico continues to be a theater of civil war. While our political relations with that country have undergone no change, we have, at the same time, strictly maintained neutrality between the belligerents.
At the request of the States of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, a competent engineer has been authorized to make a survey of the river San Juan and the port of San Juan. It is a source of much satisfaction that the difficulties which for a moment excited some political apprehensions, and caused a closing of the inter-oceanic transit route, have been amicably adjusted, and that there is a good prospect that the route will soon be re-opened with an increase of capacity and adaptation. We could not exaggerate either the commercial or the political importance of that great improvement.
It would be doing injustice to an important South American State not to acknowledge the directness, frankness, and cordiality with which the United States of Colombia have entered into intimate relations with this Government. A claims convention has been constituted to complete the unfinished work of the one which closed its session in 1861.
The new liberal constitution of Venezuela having gone into effect with the universal acquiescence of the people, the Government under it has been recognized, and diplomatic intercourse with it has opened in a cordial and friendly spirit. The long-deferred Aves Island claim has been satisfactorily paid and discharged.
Mutual payments have been made of the claims awarded by the late joint commission for the settlement of claims between the United States and Peru: An earnest and cordial friendship continues to exist between the two countries, and such efforts as were in my power have been used to remove misunderstanding and avert a threatened war between Peru and Spain.
Our relations are of the most friendly nature with Chili, the Argentine Republic, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, San Salvador, and Hayti.
During the past year no differences of any kind have arisen with any of those republics, and, on the other hand, their sympathies with the United States are constantly expressed with cordiality and earnestness.
The claim arising from the seizure of the cargo of the brig Macedonian in 1821 has been paid in full by the Government of Chili.
Civil war continues in the Spanish part of San Domingo, apparently without prospect of an early close.
Official correspondence has been freely opened with Liberia, and it gives us a pleasing view of social and political progress in that republic. It may be expected to derive new vigor from American influence, improved by the rapid disappearance of slavery in the United States.