Page images



ance he yielded his feeble will, which ward the resolution to the various they seemed to lead unresistingly to Southern States. To this succeeded their own purposes.

The treasury, the other action toward the same object. army, the navy, and the state, either In the following January, Mr.

1860. under the control of Southern conspira- Memminger, a prominent polititors directly, or indirectly through the cian of the State, presented himself at perhaps unconscious connivance of Richmond, as the commissioner of South Northern political allies, were adminis- Carolina to Virginia, and delivered a tered to the advantage of a rebellion long speech, in the course of which he which had been long contemplated. argued that the guarantees of the ConThe public moneys were illegally appro- stitution of the United States were priated for Southern purposes, the naval powerless to protect the South, and that ships were dispatched to remote parts of it must demand new guarantees if the the world, munitions of war were pro- Union was to be preserved. fusely distributed among the States of Some of the more impatient of the the South, and the offices of the Gov- politicians of South Carolina had anticiernment both at home and abroad were pated by many years in their rhetorical filled by confederates of the conspirators effusions, this grave action of their of the slave States.

State. In 1856, Preston Brooks, a memIn the mean time, the Republican ber of the United States Congress from party, with increased strength, was pre- South Carolina, whose emphasis of action paring to join in the struggle for polit- was made manifest by his murderous ical ascendency with renewed hope. attack upon Senator Sumner, of MassaIts undoubted power became so mani-chusetts, delivered these characteristic fest, that the more impatient of the words to some of his fellow-citizens who Southern leaders lost all hope of suc- were honoring him with a public bancessful opposition within the Union, and quet: began to prepare for open resistance. “I tell you, fellow-citizens, from the

South Carolina, with her loyalty to bottom of my heart, that the only the Union long since weakened by false mode which I think for meeting the theories and seditious practices, was the issue is just to tear the Constitution of first to move toward secession. On the the United States, trample it under

30th of November a resolution foot, and form a Southern confederacy, 1859.

was offered in the House of Rep- every State of which shall be a slaveresentatives of South Carolina, that holding State. I believe it as I stand "South Carolina is ready to enter, in the face of my Maker-I believe it together with other slaveholding States, on my responsibility to you, as your or such as desire prompt action, into the honored representative, that the only formation of a Southern confederacy;" hope of the South is in the South, and and the governor was requested to for- that the only available means of making that hope effective is to cut asunder the tional Union,” met at Baltimore on the bonds that tie us together, and take our | 9th of May, and nominated John Bell, separate position in the family of na- of Tennessee, for President, and Edward tions." These sentiments found a ready Everett, of Massachusetts, for Viceecho among the seditiously disposed President. people of South Carolina.

Again, at Chicago, on the 16th of May, The period for the electoral struggle the convention of that now imposing for the Presidency was approaching. party, the National Republican, met in The conventions for the nomination of convention and nominated Abraham candidates had met. The Democratic Lincoln, of Illinois, for President, and National Convention assembled on the Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, for Vice

25th of April, at Charleston, in President. 1860.

South Carolina. Caleb Cushing, The leaders of the South had eviof Massachusetts, was elected president, dently determined to forego the advanand a platform was adopted. This, tage of their usual political combinahowever, did not concede to the South tions with their fellow-partisans of the all it claimed as “necessary guarantees North, by whose aid they could alone for the preservation of the Union," and hope to secure their prescriptive importhe Southern delegates withdrawing, tance in the Union. They were willing organized a Southern convention. This thus to weaken by division those who met on the 3d of May, but after many were still inclined to succor them in an ineffectual attempts, failing to agree unavoidable struggle with a party whose upon a candidate for the Presidency, power if established they professed to adjourned to meet at Richmond. The consider fatal to their rights. It would Democratic National Convention had seem that disunion with them was a also adjourned to meet at Baltimore, on predetermined act, and that they wished the 13th of June. On reassembling, a the success of the National Republicans, large number of delegates again with whom they persisted in denouncing as drew. Those remaining nominated Ste- abolitionists, to justify their contemplated phen A. Douglas, of Illinois, for Presi- Southern rebellion to the people of the dent, and Benjamin Fitzpatrick, of Ala- South, whose sensitive anxieties for the bama, for Vice-President. The seceders security of their slave interests might met and nominated John C. Breckin- be readily excited to an angry resistance ridge, of Kentucky, then Vice-President to the constitutional authorities of the of the United States, for President, and United States. The division of the for Vice-President, Joseph Lane, of Ore- Democratic party, from which certainly gon. These nominations were after the Southern leaders could have no ward confirmed by the convention at fears of an invasion of their constituRichmond. In the mean time a con- tional rights, threw the election into vention, styling itself the “Constitu- the power of the Republicans, wliom



they professed to dread as the avowed to be assembled for the purpose of disenemies of the institutions of the South. solving all connection with the United The result, easily foreseen, soon occur- States. red. As it became evident that Lincoln Even in Virginia, Governor Letcher, would be elected, the conspirators of at that early date, did not fear to sugthe South, some of whom were in the gest treason, and declared in his message highest places of the States and of to the Legislature : "It is useless to atthe Union, began, through message, tempt to conceal the fact, that in the speech, and the press, to denounce present temper of the Southern people, the Republican candidate as an aboli- it [alluding to the probable election of tionist, whose purpose, at the head of a Lincoln) can not and will not be subpowerful party, was to interfere with mitted to. * * * The idea of permitSouthern slavery, and by incendiary ting such a man to have the control and appeals to excite the people to resist direction of the army and navy of the

In South Carolina, the conspira- United States, and the appointment of tors, confident of the sympathy of the high judicial and executive officers, postmisguided people, did not hesitate to masters included, can not be entertained declare their rebellious purposes. On by the South for a moment.” On Nothe day before the Presidential election, vember the 6th the election took place, the governor of South Carolina deliv- and Abraham Lincoln, as was foreseen, ered a message to the Legislature, in was elected President of the United which he boldly avowed the principles States. His principles and character of secession, and recommended the ap- will be best illustrated by a cursory pointment of delegates to a convention history of his life and political career.



Birth of Lincoln.- His Ancestry.--Humble Parentage.-- Early Education. --Small Accomplishments extensively Util-

ized. -Handling of the Axe.-Death of his mother. -Study of the Bible.—Second Marriage of his Father.—Young
Lincoln's earliest Literary Acquirements.-Later pursuits of Learning. -Bodily Development and Accomplish-
ments. - First Trip on a Flat Boat.-A Migration to Illinois.—A feat of “Splitting Rails.”-A Hand on a Flat
Boat. - Reward of Industry and Integrity.-General Manager of a Shop and Mill.--A Volunteer in the Black
Hawk War.--A sudden and unexpected Promotion.--Return to Civil Life.--A Candidate for the Legislature.—A
Partnership in a Shop. - Failure. -An extemporaneous Surveyor -Elected Member of the Legislature.—Good
opinion of his Constituents.—Reading Law.— Admission to the Bar.-— Professional Success. — Prominent among the
Politicians.--A Canvass of the State.--Elected Whig Member of Congress.-His Votes and Opinions on the Slave
Question.-Return to practice as a Lawyer.-Member of Whig National Convention.—A Champion of the Repub-
lican Party.-Nominated a United States Senator.-Canvass of the State.--Contest with Douglas. -A Victory and a
Defeat.-His candid Answers to Questions on Slavery.--Nominated for the Presidency.-Enthusiasm of his Party.-
An exciting Canvass.-Elected President.-Sudden Elevation.--"Honest Abe.”—Character and Manners.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN was born in Hardin out property and without education,
County, Kentucky, on the 12th of Feb- Thomas Lincoln found himself in the
ruary, 1809. From the dark and con- unenviable position of one of those
fused traditions of an humble ancestry, “poor whites” who in a society based
a mole-eyed investigator has traced on slavery are contemned alike by the
back the lineage of our President to negro and his master. He therefore de-
some forefathers who emigrated from termined to emigrate to a free State,
England to America, and settled in where personal labor was deemed no
Berks County, Pennsylvania, where they humiliation and honest poverty no dis-
were engaged in the tranquil pursuit of grace. He accordingly moved, in the
farming, and known as peaceful mem- autumn of 1816, to Spencer County,
bers of the “Society of Friends.” One Indiana, when his son Abraham had
of them, however, the great-grandfather reached the age of eight years. The
of Abraham Lincoln, removed to Vir- youth had already, while in Kentucky,
ginia, where his grandson, Thomas Lin- picked up some stray scraps of learning,
coln, the father of the President, was and could not only read and cipher, but
born. The family soon migrated to write. This rare accomplishment of the
Kentucky. Here Thomas, Abraham's juvenile scholar proved invaluable to
father, being left poor and uneducated, the Lincoln family and the illiterate
led the life of an itinerant laborer, ready neighbors of their forest home in Indi-
to put his shoulder to any work that ana. They had left relatives and friends
promised a fair day's wages. He, how- in Kentucky, and were naturally desir-
ever, on marrying Nancy Hanks, in ous of keeping up a correspondence
1806, became less movable, and fixed with them. Young Abraham's Lin-
himself a settler in Hardin County, coln's services were accordingly put into
where our President was born. With-requisition as the secretary, not only of

« PreviousContinue »