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George Haven Putnam
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln:  It remains a question of sending provisions.  I charge you, all of you, to weigh this thing with all your understanding.  To temporise now, cannot, in my opinion, avert war.  To speak plainly to the world in standing by our resolution to hold Fort Sumter with all our means, and in a plain declaration that the Union must be preserved, will leave us with a clean cause, simply and loyally supported.  I tremble at the thought of war.  But we have in our hands a sacred trust.  It is threatened.  We have had no thought of aggression.  We have been the aggressed.  Persuasion has failed, and I conceive it to be our duty to resist.  To withhold supplies from Anderson would be to deny that duty.  Gentlemen, the matter is before you.

A pause.

For provisioning the fort?

LINCOLN, CHASE, and BLAIR hold up their hands.

For immediate withdrawal?

SEWARD, CAMERON, SMITH, HOOK, and WELLES hold up their hands.  There is a pause of some moments.

Gentlemen, I may have to take upon myself the responsibility of over-riding your vote.  It will be for me to satisfy Congress and public opinion.  Should I receive any resignations?

There is silence.

I thank you for your consideration, gentlemen.  That is all.

They rise, and the Ministers, with the exception of SEWARD, go out, talking as they pass beyond the door.

You are wrong, Seward, wrong.

Seward:  I believe you.  I respect your judgment even as far as that.  But I must speak as I feel.

Lincoln:  May I speak to this man alone?

Seward:  Certainly. He goes out.  LINCOLN stands motionless for a moment.  Then he moves to a map of the United States, much larger than the one in his Illinois home, and looks at it as he did there.  He goes to the far door and opens it.

Lincoln: Will you come in?

The MESSENGER comes.

Can you ride back to Major Anderson at once?

The Messenger:  Yes, sir.

Lincoln:  Tell him that we cannot reinforce him immediately.  We haven’t the men.

The Messenger:  Yes, sir.

Lincoln:  And say that the first convoy of supplies will leave Washington this evening.

The Messenger:  Yes, sir.

Lincoln:  Thank you.

The MESSENGER goes.  LINCOLN stands at the table for a moment; he rings the bell.  HAWKINS comes in.

Mr. Hay, please.

Hawkins:  Yes, sir.

He goes, and a moment later HAY comes in.

Lincoln:_ Go to General Scott.  Ask him to come to me at once.

Hay:  Yes, sir.

He goes.

THE CURTAIN FALLS.

The two Chroniclers:  You who have gone gathering
  Cornflowers and meadowsweet,
Heard the hazels glancing down
  On September eves,
Seen the homeward rooks on wing
  Over fields of golden wheat,
And the silver cups that crown
  Water-lily leaves;

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