Изображения страниц

a deep religious trust which was characteristic, on the platform of the rail-carriage, which was to bear him away to the capital, he paused and said, "No one can realize

Here I have lived more Here my children were

the sadness I feel at this parting. than a quarter of a century. born, and here one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. I go to assume a task more difficult than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded but for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which, at all times, he relied.



hope you, my dear friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance, without which I cannot succeed, but with which, success is certain."

And as he waved his hand in farewell to the old home, to which he was never to return, he heard the response from many old friends, "God bless and keep you." God protect you from all traitors." His neighbors "sorrowing most of all," for the fear "that they should see his face no more."

[ocr errors]


In his inaugural address, spoken in the open air, and from the eastern portico of the Capitol, and heard by thrice ten thousand people, on the very verge of civil war, he made a most earnest appeal for peace. He gave the most solemn assurance, that "the property, peace, and security of no portion of the republic should be endangered by his administration." But he declared, with firmness, that the union of the States must be "per

[graphic][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]



petual," and that he should "execute the laws faithfully in every State." "In doing this," said he, "there need be no bloodshed nor violence, nor shall there be, unless forced upon the national authority." In regard to the difficulties which thus divided the people, he appealed to all to abstain from precipitate action, assuring them that intelligence, patriotism, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken the republic, "were competent to adjust, in the best way, all existing troubles."


[ocr errors]

His closing appeal, against civil war, was most touching, "In your hands,” said he, and his voice for the first time faltered, "In your hands, and not in mine, are the momentous issues of civil war." "You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors." "I am," continued he, "loath to close; we are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may strain, it must not break, the bonds. of affection."


The answer to these appeals was the attack upon Fort Sumter, and immediately broke loose all the maddening passions which riot in blood and carnage and civil war.

I know not how I can better picture and illustrate the condition of affairs, and of public feeling, at that time, than by narrating two or three incidents.


In January, 1861, Senator Douglas, then lately a candidate for the presidency, with Mrs. Douglas, one of the beautiful and fascinating women in America, a relative

of Mrs. Madison, occupied, at Washington, one of the most magnificent blocks of dwellings, called the "Minnesota Block." On New Year's day, 1861, General Charles Stewart, of New York, from whose lips I write an account of the incident, says,

"I was making a New Year's call on Senator Doug las; after some conversation, I asked him,

"What will be the result, Senator, of the efforts of Jefferson Davis, and his associates, to divide the Union?' We were," said Stewart, "sitting on the sofa together, when I asked the question. Douglas rose, walked rapidly up and down the room for a moment, and then pausing, he exclaimed, with deep feeling and excitement: The Cotton States are making an effort to draw in the Border States, to their schemes of secession, and I am but too fearful they will succeed. If they do, there will be the most fearful civil war the world has ever seen, lasting for years.'

66 6


Pausing a moment, he looked like one inspired, while he proceeded: Virginia, over yonder, across the Potomac,' pointing toward Arlington, 'will become a charnel-house-but in the end the Union will triumph. will try,' he continued, 'to get possession of this capital, to give them prestige abroad, but in that effort they will never succeed; the North will rise en masse to defend it. But Washington will become a city of hospitals, the churches will be used for the sick and wounded. This house,' he continued, the Minnesota Block, will be devoted to that purpose before the end of the war.'

"Every word he said was literally fulfilled-all the churches nearly were used for the wounded, and the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »