« AnteriorContinuar »
These noble manifestations indicate, with unerring certainty, that the whole people are willing to make common cause for this object; that if, as it ever must be, some have been successful in the recent election, and some have been beaten—if some are satisfied, and some are dissatisfied, the defeated party are not in favor of sinking the ship, but are desirous of running it through the tempest in safety, and willing, if they think the people have committed an error in their verdict now, to wait in the hope of reversing it, and setting it right next time. I do not say that in the recent election the people did the wisest thing that could have been done; indeed, I do not think they did; but I do say, that in accepting the great trust committed to me, which I do with a determination to endeavor to prove worthy of it, I must rely upon you, upon the people of the whole country, for support; and with their sustaining aid, even I, humble as I am, cannot fail to carry the ship of State safely through the storm.
I have now only to thank you warmly for your kind attendance, and bid you all an affectionate farewell.
At Peekskill, in reply to a brief address from Judge Nelson, he said:—
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:—I have but a moment to stand before you, to listen to and return your kind greeting. I thank you for this reception, and for the pleasant manner in which it is tendered to me, by our mutual friend. I will say in a single sentence, in regard to the difficulties that lie before me and our beloved country, that if I can only be as generously and unanimously sustained as the demonstrations I have witnessed indicate I shall be, I shall not fail; but without your sustaining hands I am sure that neither I, nor any other man, can hope to surmount these difficulties. I trust that in the course I shall pursue I shall be sustained, not only by the party that elected me, but by the patriotic people of the whole Country.
The President-elect reached New York at three o'clock, and was received by an immense demonstration of popu lar enthusiasm. Places of business were generally closed, and the streets were filled with people, eager to catch a glimpse of his person. On reaching the Astor House, he was compelled by the importunity of the assembled crowd to appear on the balcony, from which he said:—
FELLow-Citizens:–I have stepped before you merely in compliance with what appears to be your wish, and not with the purpose of making A speech. I do not propose making a speech this afternoon. I could not be heard by any but a small fraction of you, at best; but, what is still worse than that, I have nothing just now to say that is worthy of your hearing. [Applause.] I beg you to believe that I do not now refuse to address you from any disposition to disoblige you, but to the contrary. But, at the same time, I beg of you to excuse me for the present.
In the evening, Mr. Lincoln received a large deputation from the various Republican associations which had taken an active part in the election canvass, and in reply to a brief welcome from Mr. E. D. Smith, on their behalf, he thus addressed them :—
MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN:—I am rather an old man to avail myself of such an excuse as I am now about to do. Yet the truth is so distinct, and presses itself so distinctly upon me, that I cannot well avoid it—and that is, that I did not understand when I was brought into this room that I was brought here to make a speech. It was not intimated to me that I was brought into the room where DANIEL WEBSTER and HENRY CLAY had made speeches, and where, in my position, I might be expected to do something like those men, or do something worthy of myself or my audience. I, therefore, will beg you to make very great allowance for the circumstances in which I have been by surprise brought before you. Now, I have been in the habit of thinking and speaking sometimes upon political questions that have for some years past agitated the country; and, if I were disposed to do so, and we could take up some one of the issues, as the lawyers call them, and I were called upon to make an argument about it to the best of my ability, I could do so without much preparation. But that is not what you desire to be done here to-night. I have been occupying a position since the Presidential election of silence, of avoiding public sneaking, of avoiding public writing. I have been doing so, because I thor:ght, upon full consideration, that was the proper course for me to take. [Great applause.] I am brought before you now, and required to make a speech, when you all approve more than any thing else of the fact that I have been keeping silence. [Great laughter, cries of “Good,” and applause..] And now it seems to me that the response you give to that remark ought to justify me in closing just here. [Great laughter.] I have not kept silence since the Presidential election -from any party wantonness, or from any indifference to the anxiety that pervades the minds of men about the aspect of the political affairs of this country. I have kept silence for the reason that I supposed it was pecuIlarly proper that I should do so until the time came when, according to the custom of the country, I could speak officially. A voice—The custom of the country? I heard some gentleman say, “According to the custom of the country.” I alluded to the custom of the President-elect, at the time of taking the oath of office. That is what I meant by “the custom of the country.” I do suppose that, while the political drama being enacted in this country, at this time, is rapidly shifting its scenes—forbidding an anticipation, with any degree of certainty, to-day, what we shall see to-morrow—it was peculiarly fitting that I should see it all, up to the last minute, before I should take ground that I might be disposed (by the shifting of the scenes afterwards) also to shift. [Applause..] I have said, several times, upon this journey, and I now repeat it to you, that when the time does come, I shall then take the ground that I think is right—[applause]—the ground that I think is right—[applause, and cries of “Good, good”—right for the North, for the South, for the East, for the West, for the whole country. [Cries of “Good,” “Hurrah for Lincoln,” and applause.] And in doing so, I hope to feel no necessity pressing upon me to say any thing in conflict with the Constitution; in conflict with the continued union of these States—[applause]—in conflict with the perpetuation of the liberties of this people—[applause]—or any thing in conflict with any thing whatever that I have ever given you reason to expect from me. [Applause.] And now, my friends, have I said enough f [Loud cries of “No, no,” and three cheers for Lincoln.] Now, my friends, there appears to be a difference of opinion between you and me, and I really feel called upon to decide the question myself. [Applause, during which Mr. Lincoln descended from the table.]
On the morning of the 20th Mr. Lincoln proceeded to the City Hall, where it had been arranged that he should have an official reception. He was there addressed by Mayor Wood in the following terms:–
MB. LINcoLN:—As Mayor of New York, it becomes my duty to extend to you an official welcome in behalf of the Corporation. In doing so, permit me to say, that this city has never offered hospitality to a man clothed with more exalted powers, or resting under graver responsibilities, than those which circumstances have devolved upon you. Coming into office with a dismembered Government to reconstruct, and a disconnected and hostile people to reconcile, it will require a high patriotism, and an eleva led comprehension of the whole country and its varied interests, opinions, and prejudices, to so conduct public affairs as to bring it back again to its former harmonious, consolidated, and prosperous condition. If I refer to this topic, sir, it is because New York is deeply interested. The present, Political divisions have sorely afflicted her people. All her material interests are paralyzed. Her commercial greatness is endangered. She is the child of the American Union. She has grown up under its maternal care, and been fostered by its paternal bounty, and we fear that if the Union dies, the present supremacy of New York may perish with it. To you, therefore, chosen under the forms of the Constitution as the head of the Confederacy, we look for a restoration of fraternal relations between the States-only to be accomplished by peaceful and conciliatory means, aided by the wisdom of Almighty God.
To this address Mr. Lincoln made the following reply:—
MR. MAYoR:—It is with feelings of deep gratitude that I make my acknowledgments for the reception that has been given me in the great commercial City of New York. I cannot but remember that it is done by the people, who do not, by a large majority, agree with me in political sentiment. It is the more grateful to me, because in this I see that for the great principles of our Government the people are pretty nearly or quite unanimous. In regard to the difficulties that confront us at this time, and of which you have seen fit to speak so becomingly and so justly, I can only say that I agree with the sentiments expressed. In my devotion to the Union I hope I am behind no man in the nation. As to my wisdom in conducting affairs so as to tend to the preservation of the Union, I fear too great confidence may have been placed in me. I am sure I bring a heart devoted to the work. There is nothing that could ever bring me to consent—willingly to consent—to the destruction of this Union (in which not only the great City of New York, but the whole country, has acquired its greatness), unless it would be that thing for which the Union itself was made. I understand that the ship is made for the carrying and preservation of the cargo; and so long as the ship is safe with the cargo, it shall not be abandoned. This Union shall never be abandoned, unless the possibility of its existence shall cease to exist, without the necessity of throwing passengers ard cargo overboard. So long, then, as it is possible that the prosperity and liberties of this people can be preserved within this Union, it shall be my purpose at all times to preserve it. And now, Mr. Mayor, renewing my thanks for this cordial reception, allow me to come to a close. [Applause.]
On the morning of Thursday, the 21st, Mr. Lincoln left New York for Philadelphia, and on reaching Jersey City was met and welcomed, on behalf of the State, by the Hon. W. L. Dayton, to whose remarks he made this reply:—
MR. DAYToN AND GENTLEMEN of the STATE of NEw JERSEY:—I shall only thank you briefly for this very kind reception given me, not person. ally, but as the temporary representative of the majesty of the nation. [Applause.] To the kindness of your hearts, and of the hearts of your brethren in your State, I should be very proud to respond, but I shall not have strength to address you or other assemblages at length, even if I had the time to do so. I appear before you, therefore, for little else than to greet you, and to briefly say farewell. You have done me the very high honor to present your reception courtesies to me through your great man —a man with whom it is an honor to be associated anywhere, and in owning whom no State can be poor. [Applause.] He has said enough, and by the saying of it suggested enough, to require a response of an hour well considered. [Applause..] I could not in an hour make a worthy response to it. I therefore, ladies and gentlemen of New Jersey, content myself with saying, most heartily do I indorse all the sentiments he has expressed. [Applause.] Allow me, most gratefully, to bid you farewell. [Applause.]
At Newark he was welcomed by the Mayor, to whom he said:—
Mr. MAYOR:—I thank you for this reception at the city of Newark. With regard to the great work of which you speak, I will say that I bring to it a heart filled with love for my country, and an honest desire to do what is right. I am sure, however, that I have not the ability to do any thing unaided of God, and that without his support, and that of this free, happy, prosperous, and intelligent people, no man can succeed in doing that the importance of which we all comprehend. Again thanking you for the reception you have given me, I will now bid you farewell, and proceed upon my journey.
At Trenton he was received by a committee of the legislature, and escorted to both branches, which were in Session. The President of the Senate welcomed him in a brief address, to which he made the following reply:—
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN of the SENATE of the STATE of New JERSEY:-I am very grateful to you for the honorable reception of which I have been the object. I cannot but remember the place that New Jersey holds in our early history. In the early Revolutionary struggle few of the States among the Old Thirteen had more of the battle-fields of the country within their limits than old New Jersey. May I be pardoned if upon this occasion, I mention that away back in my childhood, the earliest days of my being able to read, I got hold of a small book, such a one as few of the younger members have ever seen, “WEEM's Life of Washington.” I remember all the accounts there given of the battlefields and struggles for the liberties of the country, and none fixed themselves upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at Trenton, New Jersey. The crossing of the river; the contest with the Hessians; the great hardships endured at that time, all fixed themselves on my memory more than any single Revolutionary event; and you all know, for you have all been boys, how these early impressions last longer than any others. I recollect thinking then, boy even though I was, that thero must have been something more than common that these men struggled for. I am exceedingly anxious that that thing which they struggled for; that something even more than National Independence; that something that held out a great promise to all the people of the world to all time to