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tion was greatly in Lincoln's favor. The publication of the speeches of the great contest of 1858 had shown the superior logic and ability of Lincoln, and if able to assert his superiority then, there could be little doubt of his ability to meet him on more than a favorable footing in the great contest about to If the hand of Providence is ever to be recognized in human affairs, it was in this debate and in this nomination.
HE final days of the session of Congress, ending June 25, 1860, showed the nebulous state of mind of the prominent men of the North, and how slight a grasp they had upon the realities of the situation. At the instance of Sherman, of Ohio, the estimate for repairs and equipment of the navy was cut down a million; his influence had caused even a greater reduction the preceding year. Senator Pugh, of the same state, could say, “I think we have spent enough money on the navy, certainly for the service it has rendered; and for one I shall vote against building a single ship under any pretense at all." The blatant Lovejoy, in the face of the rising storm, said, "I am tired of appropriating money for the army and navy when absolutely they are of no use whatever. . . . I want to strike a blow at this whole navy expenditure and let the navy go out of existence. . . . Let us blow the whole thing up! let these vessels rot; and when 1 Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., 3179.
we want vessels to fight, we can get mercantile vessels and arm them with our citizens.” 1
An absurd exhibition of want of naval power had just been made in a demonstration against Paraguay. The whole existing steam navy consisted of but twenty-three vessels which could be called efficient and thirteen which were worthless, and while there was a willingness and effort on the part of the northern senators and representatives to add to the force, it was put wholly upon the ground of the suppression of the slave-trade. Morse, of Maine, chairman of the naval committee in the House, urged that this increase should take the form of a purchase of small steamers of six to nine feet draught for African service. There appears no glimmering in the mind of any one of the speakers of the coming of a great war, then but nine months distant, and in which the North could not have been successful had it not been for the throttling by the blockade and the occupancy of the Mississippi.
The last month of the session gave time for a four hours' speech by Sumner on slavery," "harsh, vindictive,” 3 brutal, and unwise, and however true in its elaboration of statistics and statement of facts, wholly unnecessary in such a place and at such a time. It exhibited the full-fledged hatred which
1 Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 1 Sess., 2848, 2849.
2 Ibid., 2590-2603.
* Grimes, of Iowa, in a letter to his wife, June 4, 1860, Salter, Grimes, 127.
had been in incubation during the four years of Sumner's absence caused by the brutality of Brooks, and, however true, could not redound to the author's good sense or good taste, nor to the benefit of his party, already overwhelmed with the charge of sectionalism. It is an excellent repository of comparative statistics, and would better have appeared as an abolition pamphlet.
The strain of the political situation was somewhat offset by the arrival of the first Japanese embassy to a foreign power, which reached Washington the middle of May and left for home the last of June, in the frigate Niagara. The Prince of Wales, later visiting Canada, added, on the invitation of the president, a tour in the United States. His stay of three weeks, from the end of September to October 20, during which he was everywhere received with enthusiastic welcome, may have had some influence to fix the kindly spirit of the queen, of which, in the stormy years following, we were to have such weighty evidences.
The defeat of the Democrats in Pennsylvania and Indiana in October, 1860, made the election of Lincoln almost a certainty. The result in the former state, which had been suffering from the depression of the iron trade, the outcome of the panic of 1857, had been greatly aided by the Republican advocacy of protection. The danger of secession, which might follow, was naturally cried down by Republican speakers, for a real fear of such an event
would undoubtedly have lessened Republican energy and have reduced the vote. The North was in no humor to bring the question to such an issue, however strong the general anti-slavery sentiment. For this sentiment was not so determined against slavery itself as against its extension, and the North by this time was beginning to feel that it could control the territories in any case. Seward was but expressing the irrepressible American optimism which would not consider such threats as dangerous until the actuality was upon the country, when, November 2, he said at New York: "For tenaye, twenty years, these threats have been renewed in the same language and in the same form, about the first day of November every four years, when it happened to come before the day of the presidential election. I do not doubt but that these southern statesmen and politicians think they are going to dissolve the Union, but I think they are going to do no such thing.
Lowell spoke "of the hollowness of those fears for the Union in case of Mr. Lincoln's election," and called to mind that false alarms had been sounded before. "The old Mumbo Jumbo," he asserted, “is occasionally paraded at the North, but, however many old women may be frightened, the pulse of the stock market remains provokingly calm."" Douglas, who from association knew the southern
1 Seward, Works (ed. of 1884), IV., 420.
2 Lowell, Political Essays, 26, 41.