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to assassinate him; and, in this affair, it seems that some of the most prominent citizens of that place were implicated. But Mr. Lincoln, by prompt, shrewd management, reached Washington uninjured, and, on the 4th of March, 1861, was duly inaugurated, and proceeded upon the duties of his office, notwithstanding the threats of Baltimoreans that he never should be installed. In his inaugural address, in view of the threatening attitude assumed by some of the Southern States, in consequence of the accession of a Republican administration, after declaring that there never had been any just cause for the apprehension that such an administration would encroach upon the constitutional rights of any State, he said that he had "no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it existed; that he, as well as every Member of Congress, was sworn to support the whole Constitution, one of the provisions of which is, that no person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another State, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due;' that he took his oath to support the Constitution, without any mental reservation; that while he did not then choose to specify partieular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, he did suggest that it would be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts which stand unrepealed than to violate any of them, trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional; that he held that, in the contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the union of the States is perpetual; that no State could, upon its own mere motion, get out of the Union; that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, and that he should, as the Constitution expressly enjoined upon him, take care that the laws of the Union should be executed in all the States; that while he should perform this duty perfectly, so far as practicable, unless restrained by his rightful masters, the
American people, he trusted the declaration so to do would not be regarded as a menace, but only as the express purpose of the Union to maintain itself."
The inaugural address, while considered as clear and explicit by many, was regarded as very obscure and unsatisfactory by others (the people of the South), and, on the 13th of April, 1861, Messrs. Preston, Stuart, and Randolph, appointed by the Virginia Convention, were formally received by the President, and presented resolutions requesting that, inasmuch as "great uncertainty prevailed in the public mind as to the policy" to be pursued by the Federal Executive, he should communicate to the Convention the course he intended to take in regard to the "Confederate States."
To this request the President replied that, while he was sorry that dangerous uncertainty should exist respecting his mode of procedure with the seceded States, he could give no clearer exposition of his policy than was given in his inaugural address, a careful consideration of which he recommended to the Virginia Convention.
Two days after this, Fort Sumter having been reduced by the Confederate Government, and other demonstrations of a revolutionary character having been made, the President issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers, for three months, to suppress the rebellion, and summoned Congress to assemble in extraordinary session. The call was heartily responded to, and, in a few days, a vastly greater number than had been requested offered themselves to their country. Meantime Washington was placed in a state of defense. Shortly after the commencement of hostilities, a blockade of all the Southern ports was declared. This was directly followed by a blockade of Virginia and North Carolina. On the 3d of May, 1861, the President issued a call for 42,034 additional volunteers for the term of three years. Congress having assembled, he addressed a message to that body, asking that at least 400,000 men and $400,000,000 be placed at his control, that the work of crushing the rebellion might be expedited. Congress readily complied, granting more men and money than had been askea.
On the 16th of August, 1861, the President issued a proclamation prohibiting all commercial intercourse between the loyal and seceded States. In the latter part of August, he modified a proclamation issued by General Fremont, which declared martial law in the State of Missouri, ordering the confiscation of the property of disloyal persons, and declaring their slaves free. The two latter of these measures Mr. Lincoln declared void. For this act he was blamed by many of his own party at the time.
Passing some other acts of less importance, we next notice the message addressed to Congress on the 6th of March, 1862, by the President, recommending that the Government cooperate with any State desiring a gradual emancipation of the slaves, by affording it such pecuniary aid as would enable it to "compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.' This message was hailed by the radical antislavery party of the country as the initiatory step toward a final and total abolition of slavery; by conservative Union men, with indifference; and by the secessionists as a hostile encroachment upon State rights.
On the 11th of March, 1862, Mr. Lincoln assumed command of the Army and Navy of the United States, ordering a general movement of both, and confining General McClellan to the command of the Department of the Po
April 16th, 1862, he approved and signed an act of Congress, abolishing the institution of slavery in the District of Columbia, which act "recognized and practically applied" the principles of compensation and colonization.
During the month of May, the President issued two proclamations, the one declaring the ports of Port Royal, Beaufort, and New Orleans open for trade, the other repudiating an order issued by General Hunter, emancipating all the slaves in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. This act also produced some dissatisfaction. During the years 1862-1863, Mr. Lincoln was actively employed in calling out and furnishing troops, and making important changes in the organization of the army. It was also during this period that he issued his general emancipation
proclamations-the first on the 22d day of September, 1862, declaring that all slaves held in any State, or part of a State found in actual rebellion against the authority of the United States on the 1st day of January, 1863, should then and forever thereafter be free; the second, on the 1st of January, 1863, declaring that, in accordance with the first proclamation, slavery is abolished in all the States and counties then in armed rebellion against the Government.
These measures, while they greatly unpopularized the President with certain parties in the Northern and Southern border States, were regarded as the exponents of the true policy by the radicals. His suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, in certain cases, September 15th, 1863, also produced considerable stir in political circles.
At the Republican Convention which met at Baltimore, in January, 1864, Mr. Lincoln was re-nominated for the Presidency of the United States-was elected November 8th, and duly inaugurated March 4th, 1865.
The following note of his inaugural address is from an English journal. It speaks for itself:
"On the 4th instant, the day of inaugurating his second term, President Lincoln read a short State paper, which for political weight, moral dignity, and unaffected solemnity has had no equal in our time. His presidency began, he says, with the efforts of both parties to avoid war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend the slave interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union by war, while the Government claimed the right to do no more than restrict the territorial enlargement of it.' Both parties 'read the same Bible and pray to the same God.' *
"The prayer of both can not be answered, that of neither has been answered fully, for the Almighty has his own purposes. Mr. Lincoln goes on to confess for the North its partnership in the original guilt of slavery: "Woe unto the world because of its offenses, for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe unto that man by whom the offenses cometh! If we shall suppose American slavery one of the offenses which in the providence of God must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time,
He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war, as was due to those by whom the offense came, we will not discern that there is any departure from those divine attributes which believers in the living God always ascribe to Him. Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if it be God's will that it continue till the wealth piled by bondsmen by two hundred and fifty years' unrequited toil shall be sunk, and till every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be repaid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the light, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for those who have borne the battle, and for their widows and orphans. And with all this let us strive after a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.' No statesman ever uttered words stamped at once with the seal of so deep a wisdom aud so true a simplicity. The 'village attorney,' of whom Sir G. C. Lewis and many other wise men wrote with so much scorn, in 1861, seems destined to be one of those 'foolish things of the world which are destined to confound the wise, one of those weak things which shall 'confound the things that are mighty.""
The rebel General Lee had surrendered. The war was apparently at an end. Abraham Lincoln, the honored and the great, looked forward to a speedy restoration, of the Union. But while the storm lulled, the assassin did his work. J. Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln on the night of the 13th, and he died April 14th, 1865, honored and lamented by every true American. The world never before beheld such universal sorrow. A nation not merely mourned but was clad in the deepest mourning.