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with whom he came in contact, and framing in his mind the pleading, expostulating, and generous inaugural address that he subsequently delivered. Jefferson Davis, on the other hand, gave voice to the hatred and vindictiveness of the slavery leaders, when, on his way from his home to be inaugurated in Montgomery, he said: “We will carry the war where it is easy to advance, where food for the sword and the torch awaits our armies in the densely populated cities.” On the one side were forbearance, magnanimity, and Christian patience. On the other side were hatred, vaporing, and threats of violence.
But it should not be hastily assumed that all the Southern men of prominence were in this frame of mind. There were among them not a few who regarded these delirious performances with inexpressible sadness, and who looked on the acts of secession as supreme folly. Thus Alexander H. Stephens, one of the ablest of the Southern leaders, endeavored to dissuade the convention of his State from passing the ordinance of secession. He knew Lincoln well; and he knew his generosity, his justness, and his ardent patriotism. Speaking to the convention, Stephens said: "Pause, I entreat you, and consider for a moment what reasons you can give that will even satisfy you in your calmer moments—what reasons you can give to your fellow-sufferers in the calamity that it will bring upon us. What reasons can you give to the nations of the earth to justify it?” And, speaking of the slave property, to preserve which the South proposed to invite war, he
said that they might lose all, and have their last slave wrenched from them by stern military rule, "or by the vindictive decree of a universal emancipation, which may reasonably be expected to follow.”
Lincoln had, from the first, believed that the Government could not exist half slave and half free. By the act of rebellion against the Union, the Southern States were inviting war; and war, as their future Vice-President now told them, might reasonably be expected to bring universal emancipation of the slaves. Stephens put into the form of words what Lincoln had seen from afar was possible. Lincoln knew that in the shock of war slavery must go down; but he resolutely set his face against doing anything that should hasten the day of emancipation except by such means as he believed to be constitutional and lawful. He determined to preserve, if possible, the Union. Slavery must take care of itself; he would not touch it. The South rushed upon its doom.
Meanwhile, sundry well-intentioned men were doing what they thought best to counteract the wave of hostility that had begun to rise in the North. A steamer chartered by the government to take provisions to the United States troops shut up in Charleston Harbor had been fired on from the Rebel works on the shore, and the attitude of the South was gradually growing more and more warlike. This kindled indignation and bitterness in the Northern States. A peace congress assembled in Washington to concert measures for the averting of war. Union meetings were held in New York and other large
cities in the free States, everybody being desirous, apparently, of doing whatever could reasonably be done to pacify the South, angry at the election of a “sectional candidate.” The Southerners forgot that they had made freedom sectional.
It should be said, also, that in communities where the trade and commerce of the Southern people had been large, there was something like a panic at the near prospect of a war with the slave States. Cotton, that great staple of the Gulf States, was one of the great needs of the manufacturing States of the North. The Southern States did not manufacture many goods, and their dependence on the North was also one reason why these latter should not go to war. They would lose their profitable customers. Thus the desire in the North for peace was natural and strong.
FROM SPRINGFIELD TO WASHINGTON.
Lincoln's Farewell to His Fellow-Townsmen-Prayers for the Presi
dent-Elect-Rush of the People to See Him A Series of Remarkable Speeches—Why the President Would Wear a Beard Rumors of Assassination — The Night Journey from Harrisburg to the Capital
N the 11th of February, 1861, Lincoln, accom
panied by his family and a few personal friends, left his modest and happy home in Springfield for the national capital. No man can know what sad forebodings, what thoughts of possible disaster to him, to his country, and to his beloved family may have oppressed his mind, as he looked for the last time on the familiar scenes of his Illinois home. Already threats of assassination had been whispered abroad, and it had been boasted by the enemies of the Union that Lincoln would never reach Washington alive. And, in any case, the certain approach of war was now a matter weighing on every heart, and the man who was to conduct the affairs of the nation, under God, was bowed down with this great anxiety as he bade farewell to his fellowtownsmen. As if conscious that this was indeed a last parting, his voice trembled and his eyes were suffused with moisture as he spoke from the platform
of the railway train these beautiful words, breathing a spirit of Christian trust and manly affection for his friends and neighbors:
"My friends, no one not in my situation can appreciate my feelings of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything.
Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. Trusting in Him, who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell."
It is good to remember that this last request of Lincoln of his neighbors and townsmen was heeded. From that day to the dark hour when his earthly remains were brought back to be laid in the earth, from innumerable homes went up the daily prayer for the President of the United States in his sore need. And not only from the people of Illinois, who loved this man so well, but from every nook and corner of the land of liberty and freedom, were the petitions of faithful Christian men and women offered continually for him, for his counsellors, and all others in authority.
Passing from Illinois, on his way to the national