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in the slave states, he did not expect to inquire as to the politics of the appointee or whether he owned or did not own slaves. "I intend in that matter to accommodate the people in the several localities, if they themselves will allow me to accommodate them. In one word, I never have been, am not now, and probably never shall be in a mood of harassing the people either North or South. On the territorial question I am inflexible. . . . On that there is a difference between you and us; and it is the only substantial difference. You think slavery is right and ought to be extended; we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. For this neither has any just occasion to be angry with the other." He had never read one of the state laws regarding fugitive slaves, mentioned by Gilmer. "If," he says,
any of them are in conflict with the fugitive-slave clause, or any other part of the Constitution, I certainly shall be glad of their repeal; but I could hardly be justified, as a citizen of Illinois or as President of the United States, to recommend the repeal of a statute of Vermont or South Carolina.” 1
Early in December, Thurlow Weed, regarded as the most astute politician of the day, and Seward's most intimate friend, was invited by Lincoln to Springfield for consultation as to the to the coming cabinet. With him also came Judge David Davis and Leonard Swett (both of Illinois), and all stayed for two days. Lincoln had already decided to offer 1 Lincoln. Works (ed. of 1894), I., 659.
the position of secretary of state to Seward, which he did in a wise and kindly letter of December 8.1 Weed's account makes it clear, however, that Lincoln had also practically made up his mind as to most of the others: Chase, of Ohio, for the treasury; Cameron, of Pennsylvania, for the war department; Welles, of Connecticut, for the navy; Blair, of Maryland, for postmaster-general; Bates, of Missouri, for attorney-general; only one place, that of secretary of the interior, was, apparently, undetermined, and for this Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana, was mentioned. Lincoln, in thus recognizing the varied elements which had gone to make Republican success, had acted on the principle which he had mentioned in his letter to Seward just mentioned: "In regard to the patronage sought with so much eagerness and jealousy, I have prescribed for myself the maxim, 'Justice to all'; and I earnestly beseech your coöperation in keeping the maxim good."
Weed was eager for a representation in the cabinet of at least two from the slave states, and named Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland; Botts, of Virginia; Gilmer, of North Carolina; and Peyton, of Tennessee, as men for whose loyalty under the most trying circumstances he could vouch. Lincoln met half the demand in naming Bates, of Missouri, who was undeniably a fitting selection. He raised the objection of taking men from states which might secede, and made the pregnant remark that "he did 1 Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), I., 657.
not quite like to hear Southern journals and Southern speakers insisting that there must be no COercion'; that while he had no disposition to coerce anybody, yet after he had taken an oath to execute the laws, he should not care to see them violated." Yielding to the united suggestion of his three visitors, Weed was commissioned to carry an offer of a cabinet post to Gilmer, which the latter declined on account of the attitude of his native state.1 The vacant place went to Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana, who had from the first been in Lincoln's mind.
Lincoln left Springfield February 11, timed to reach Washington February 23. The journey “embraced two weeks of official reception by committees, mayors, governors, and legislatures; of crowded evening receptions and interminable handshakings; of impromptu or formal addresses at every ceremony; of cheers, and imposing processions and miles of spectators. It was an ovation which indicated that the tide of northern feeling was rapidly rising, and that there would be no want of support to the incoming president.
As he was leaving Springfield he made a short and touching address at the railway station, fine in thought, and in diction such as made Lincoln one of the great masters of our language. "I now leave," he said, "not knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that
1 Weed, Autobiography, chap. lxii.
Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 291.
which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell." 1
The next day, February 12, addressing the legislature at Indianapolis, he defined "coercion" and invasion," and gave a hint of the trend of his intention. "Would the marching of an army into South Carolina without the consent of her people, and with hostile intent toward them, be 'invasion'? I certainly think it would; and it would be 'coercion' also if the South Carolinians were forced to submit. But if the United States should merely hold and retake its own forts and other property, and collect the duties . . . or even withhold the mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any or all of these things be 'invasion' or 'coercion'?" 2
It is clear that in his view the federation of the United States had become a nation, and that it was for the preservation of nationality that he was about to struggle. In the same speech he asked: "On what rightful principle may a State, being not
more than one fiftieth part of the nation in soil and population, break up the nation and then coerce a proportionally larger subdivision of itself in the most arbitrary way? What mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country with its people, by merely calling it a State? Fellow-citizens, I am not asserting anything; I am merely asking questions for you to consider." 1 In Cincinnati, February 12, he repeated a phrase of his speech made in the same city September 17, 1859, addressed more particularly to Kentuckians, and now having a much weightier meaning: "We mean to treat you, as near as we possibly can, as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison treated you. We mean to leave you alone, and in no way to interfere with your institutions; to abide by all and every compromise of the Constitution."2 Between this date and his arrival in Washington he made twenty-four speeches, some of but a few words. His route included Columbus, Pittsburg, Cleveland, Buffalo, Albany, New York, Trenton, Philadelphia. and Harrisburg, and in each of the capitals of the states through which he passed he addressed the legislatures.
The last hours of Lincoln's journey were complicated by a sudden announcement of a plot to assassinate him as he passed through Baltimore in the night. Against his will, and conscious of the
' Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894), I., 674.