網頁圖片
PDF

HISTORY

OF TUB

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

CHAPTER I.
1861.

THE NEW ADMINISTRATION; ITS DETERMINATION.

President Lincoln—Journey towards the capital—Rumors of danger to the president—Passes through Bn timore by night — Inauguration — Inaugural Address — The cabinet — Sad and cheerless prospect before the new president —Abraham Lincoln as yet comparatively unknown — His policy and views — Fernando Wood and New York as a free city — Seeming hesitation on the part of the government — Confederate commissioners in Washington — Result — Delegates from peace convention in Virginia to the president — Fort Sumter ordered to be reinforced — Beauregard bombards it — Fort Sumter surrendered — Major Anderson's note to the war department — Rebel boasting — Feeling at the North— President's proclamation for 75,000 troops — Answers of governors to the call — Davis's proclamation inviting privateeremen— President orders blockade of ports in seceded states— Privateers to be treated as pirates — Address of Davis to Confederate Congress — Asks " to be let alone" —Position of affairs at this date.

Abraham Lincoln, the newly elected president of the United States, was . called to his work at an eventful period of our history. The condition of public affairs, since his election, was such as to cause perplexity and apprehension in the bosom of every lover of his country; and we know that Mr. Lincoln had his full share of anxiety and doubt as tu the impending dangers in his path. Early in February, accompanied by his wife and son, he left his home in Springfield, Illinois, purposing to proceed slowly, and to

arrive in Washington in due season for his inauguration. Up to this time he had maintained a quiet reserve with respect to his views or plans as to the momentous crisis in national affairs; but now, as he went on his way toward the capital of the Republic, he not only found it impossible to keep silence, but he yielded to the frequent calls of the people and public bodies, and made a number of addresses, all more or less bearing on public matters, and all marked by mingled simplicity and shrewdness. He passed through In

dianapolis. Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburg, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Albany, and reached New York on the 19th of February. His reception on the route was cordial and gratifying, and he showed himself ever willing to speak to the hundreds and thousands gathered together. On the 22d, Washington's birthday, he was in Philadelphia, and by request raised the national flag on Independence Hall. Here, too, he addressed the people; but, as elsewhere, he did not attempt to set forth any definite line of policy, further than that he meant to strive for peace and harmony to the extent of his power.

Thu&far, the journey of the presidentelect had been free from unpleasantness or apprehensions of danger; but in Philadelphia he received information that it would be unsafe, even to the risk of his life, if he attempted to pass through Baltimore in the day time, or made any stay in that city. He determined, therefore, to follow the advice of General Scott and others; and so, after visiting the legislature of Pennsylvania, at Harrisburg, on the afternoon of the 2 2d he took a special train for Philadelphia, and travelling thence all night he passed through Baltimore, and reached Washington early on Saturday morning, the 23d of February. This sudden change of purpose excited surprise among the people generally, and, as it was an easy thing to do, many of those inimical to Mr. Lincoln indulged themselves in illnatured remarks and sneering comments on the event.* It was affirmed that he

* "The prudence of this step has since been abundantly demonstrated; but it wounded, at the time, the

ought to have braved every danger, and treated with contempt the threatenings and plots against his safety and his life. But, it is to be remembered, that in this he acted upon the advice of those who knew and felt the vast importance of his reaching the capital in safety, and entering upon the weighty duties of his high office.

On the 4th of March, Abraham Lincoln went through the usual ceremonies of inauguration, and delivered his inaugural address in the presence of a crowd of deeply interested listeners.* The address was a carefully prepared paper, evidently the result of Mr. Lincoln's own study and reflection, and characterized by a tone of firmness and decision, as well as by an anxious desire to avoid the dire calamities into which secessionists were hurrying the country. It is too long to be given in full here; a few passages will serve to evince, in part at least, its spirit and purpose.

"I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations, and with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules, and while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will

sensibilities of many friends, who would have much preferred to form an escort of 100,000 armed men to see him safely through Baltimore, than" to have him pass through it clandestinely and like a hunted fugitive."—Greeley's " American Conflict," vol. i., p. 421.

* It was thought possible that some disturbance might be attempted on this occasion ; but, if any were contemplated, it was put a stop to by the course pursued by General Scott; who had, by considerable exertion, got together about six hundred national troops> and was prepared to maintain order, even at the point of the bayonet.

[graphic]
[graphic][ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »