Abraham Lincoln, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume I.
Adams, minister to England:  “Only an imperial and despotic government could subjugate thoroughly disaffected and insurrectionary members of the state.  This federal, republican country of ours is, of all forms of government, the very one which is the most unfitted for such a labor.”  He had been and still was favoring delay and conciliation, in the visionary hope that the seceders would follow the scriptural precedent of the prodigal son.  On April 9 the rumor of a fight at Sumter being spread abroad, Mr. Phillips said:[132] “Here are a series of States, girding the Gulf, who think that their peculiar institutions require that they should have a separate government.  They have a right to decide that question without appealing to you or me....  Standing with the principles of ’76 behind us, who can deny them the right?...  Abraham Lincoln has no right to a soldier in Fort Sumter....  There is no longer a Union....  Mr. Jefferson Davis is angry, and Mr. Abraham Lincoln is mad, and they agree to fight....  You cannot go through Massachusetts and recruit men to bombard Charleston or New Orleans....  We are in no condition to fight....  Nothing but madness can provoke war with the Gulf States;”—­with much more to the same effect.

If the veterans of the old anti-slavery contest were in this frame of mind in April, Lincoln could hardly place much dependence upon the people at large in March.  If he could not “recruit men” in Massachusetts, in what State could he reasonably expect to do so?  Against such discouragement it can only be said that he had a singular instinct for the underlying popular feeling, that he could scent it in the distance and in hiding; moreover, that he was always willing to run the chance of any consequences which might follow the performance of a clear duty.  Still, as he looked over the dreary Northern field in those chill days of early March, he must have had a marvelous sensitiveness in order to perceive the generative heat and force in the depths beneath the cheerless surface and awaiting only the fullness of the near spring season to burst forth in sudden universal vigor.  Yet such was his knowledge and such his faith concerning the people that we may fancy, if we will, that he foresaw the great transformation.  But there were still other matters which disturbed him.  Before his inauguration, he had heard much of his coming official isolation.  One of the arguments reiterated alike by Southern Unionists and by Northerners had been that the Republican President would be powerless, because the Senate, the House, and the Supreme Court were all opposed to him.  But the supposed lack of political sympathy on the part of these bodies, however it might beget anxiety for the future, was for the present of much less moment than another fact, viz., that none of the distinguished men, leaders in his own party, whom Lincoln found about him at Washington, were in a frame of mind to assist him efficiently.  If all did not actually distrust

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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