Abraham Lincoln, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume I.

Thus by the close of May, 1861, President Lincoln looked forth upon a spectacle tolerably definite at last, and certainly as depressing as ever met the eyes of a great ruler.  Eleven States, with area, population, and resources abundant for constituting a powerful nation and sustaining an awful war, were organized in rebellion; their people were welded into entire unity of feeling, were enthusiastically resolute, and were believed to be exceptionally good fighters.  The population of three Border States was divided between loyalty and disloyalty.  The Northern States, teeming with men and money, had absolutely no experience whatsoever to enable them to utilize their vast resources with the promptitude needful in the instant emergency.  There was a notion, prevalent even among themselves, that they were by temperament not very well fitted for war; but this fancy Mr. Lincoln quietly set aside, knowing better.  He also had confidence in the efficiency of Northern men in practical affairs of any kind whatsoever, and he had not to tax his patience to see this confidence vindicated.  His appeal for military support seemed the marvelous word of a magician, and wrought instant transformation throughout the vast loyal territory.  One half of the male population began to practice the manual, to drill, and to study the text-books of military science; the remainder put at least equal energy into the preparations for equipment; every manufacturer in the land set the proverbial Yankee enterprise and ingenuity at work in the adaptation of his machinery to the production of munitions of war and all the various outfit for troops.  Every foundry, every mill, and every shipyard was at once diverted from its accustomed industries in order to supply military demands; patriotism and profit combined to stimulate sleepless toil and invention.  In a hard-working community no one had ever before worked nearly so hard as now.  The whole North was in a ferment, and every human being strained his abilities of mind and of body to the utmost in one serviceable direction or another; the wise and the foolish, the men of words and the men of deeds, the projectors of valuable schemes and the venders of ridiculous inventions, the applicants for military commissions and the seekers after the government’s contracts, all hustled and crowded each other in feverish eagerness to get at work in the new condition of things.  It was going to take time for all this energy to produce results,—­yet not a very long time; the President had more patience than would be needed, and the spirit of his people reassured him.  If the lukewarm, compromising temper of the past winter had caused him to feel any lurking anxious doubts as to how the crisis would be met, such illusive mists were now cleared away in a moment before the sweeping gale of patriotism.

FOOTNOTES: 

[132] At New Bedford, in a lecture “which was interrupted by frequent hisses.”  Schouler, Hist. of Mass. in the Civil War, i. 44-47.

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