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Abraham Lincoln by George Haven Putnam

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was reared among these rude energetic folk, had lived all those
sorts of lives. He was no "sport"; his career is a triumphant
refutation of the traditional views of genius. He had no special
gift or quality to distinguish him; he was simply the best type of
American at a historic juncture when the national safety wanted such
a man. The confidence which all Americans express that their country
will be equal to any emergency which may threaten it, is not so
entirely superstitious as it seems at first sight. For the career of
Lincoln shows how it has been done in a country where the "necessary
man" can be drawn not from a few leading families, or an educated
class, but from the millions.

Rabbi Schechter, in an eloquent address delivered at the Centennial
celebration, speaks of Lincoln's personality as follows:

The half century that has elapsed since Lincoln's death has
dispelled the mists that encompassed him on earth. Men now not only
recognise the right which he championed, but behold in him the
standard of righteousness, of liberty, of conciliation, and truth.
In him, as it were personified, stands the Union, all that is best
and noblest and enduring in its principles in which he devoutly
believed and served mightily to save. When to-day, the world
celebrates the century of his existence, he has become the ideal of
both North and South, of a common country, composed not only of the
factions that once confronted each other in war's dreadful array,
but of the myriad thousands that have since found in the American
nation the hope of the future and the refuge from age-entrenched
wrong and absolutism. To them, Lincoln, his life, his history, his
character, his entire personality, with all its wondrous charm and
grace, its sobriety, patience, self-abnegation, and sweetness, has
come to be the very prototype of a rising humanity.

Carl Schurz, himself a man of large nature and wide and sympathetic
comprehension, says of Lincoln:

In the most conspicuous position of the period, Lincoln drew upon
himself the scoffs of polite society; but even then he filled the
souls of mankind with utterances of wonderful beauty and grandeur.
It was distinctly the weird mixture in him of qualities and forces,
of the lofty with the common, the ideal with the uncouth, of that
which he had become with that which he had not ceased to be, that
made him so fascinating a character among his fellow-men, that gave
him his singular power over minds and hearts, that fitted him to be
the greatest leader in the greatest crisis of our national life.

He possessed the courage to stand alone--that courage which is the
first requisite of leadership in a great cause. The charm of
Lincoln's oratory flooded all the rare depth and genuineness of his
convictions and his sympathetic feelings were the strongest element
in his nature. He was one of the greatest Americans and the best of
men.

The poet Whittier writes:

The weary form that rested not
Save in a martyr's grave;
The care-worn face that none forgot,
Turned to the kneeling slave.

We rest in peace where his sad eyes
Saw peril, strife, and pain;
His was the awful sacrifice,
And ours the priceless gain.

Says Bryant:

That task is done, the bound are free,
We bear thee to an honoured grave,
Whose noblest monument shall be
The broken fetters of the slave.

Pure was thy life; its bloody close
Hath blessed thee with the sons of light,
Among the noble host of those
Who perished in the cause of right.

Says Lowell:

Our children shall behold his fame,
The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man,
Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame;
New birth of our new soil, the first American.

Ordinary men die when their physical life is brought to a close, if
perhaps not at once, yet in a brief space, with the passing of the
little circle of those to whom they were dear.

The man of distinction lives for a time after death. His achievements
and his character are held in appreciative remembrance by the community
and the generation he has served. The waves of his influence ripple out
in a somewhat wider circle before being lost in the ocean of time. We
call that man great to whom it is given so to impress himself upon his
fellow-men by deed, by creation, by service to the community, by
character, by the inspiration from on high that has been breathed
through his soul, that he is not permitted to die. Such a man secures
immortality in this world. The knowledge and the influence of his life
are extended throughout mankind and his memory gathers increasing fame
from generation to generation.

It is thus that men are to-day honouring the memory of Abraham Lincoln.
To-day, one hundred years after his birth, and nearly half a century
since the dramatic close of his life's work, Lincoln stands enshrined in
the thought and in the hearts of his countrymen. He is our "Father
Abraham," belonging to us, his fellow-citizens, for ideals, for
inspiration, and for affectionate regard; but he belongs now also to all
mankind, for he has been canonised among the noblest of the world's
heroes.

APPENDIX

THE ADDRESS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Delivered at Cooper Institute, New York,

February 27, 1860.

With Introduction by Charles C. Nott; Historical and Analytical Notes by
Charles C. Nott and Cephas Brainerd, and with the Correspondence between
Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Nott as Representative of the Committee of the Young
Men's Republican Union.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

The address delivered by Lincoln at the Cooper Institute in February,
1860 in response to the invitation of certain representative New
Yorkers, was, as well in its character as in its results, the most
important of all of his utterances.

The conscientious study of the historical and constitutional record, and
the arguments and conclusions based upon the analysis of this record,
were accepted by the Republican leaders as constituting the principles
and the policy to be maintained during the Presidential campaign of
1860, a campaign in which was involved not merely the election of a
President, but the continued existence of the republic.

Under the wise counsels represented by the words of Lincoln, the
election was fought out substantially on two contentions:

First, that the compact entered into by the Fathers and by their
immediate successors should be loyally carried out, and that slavery
should not be interfered with in the original slave States, or in the
additional territory that had been conceded to it under the Missouri
Compromise; and, secondly, that not a single further square mile of
soil, that was still free, should be left available, or should be made
available, for the incursion of slavery.

It was the conviction of Lincoln and of his associates, as it had been
the conviction of the Fathers, that under such a restriction slavery
must certainly in the near future come to an end. It was because these
convictions, both in the debates with Douglas and in the Cooper
Institute speech, were presented by Lincoln more forcibly and more
conclusively than had been done by any other political leader, that
Lincoln secured the nomination and the presidency. The February address
was assuredly a deciding factor in the great issue of the time, and it
certainly belongs, therefore, with the historic documents of the
republic.

G.H.P.

NEW YORK, September 1, 1909.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH LINCOLN, NOTT, AND BRAINERD

(_From Robert Lincoln_)

MANCHESTER, VERMONT,

July 27, 1909.

DEAR MAJOR PUTNAM:

Your letter of July 23rd reaches me here, and I beg to express my
thanks for your kind remembrances of me in London.... I am much
interested in learning that you were present at the time my father
made his speech at Cooper Institute. I, of course, remember the
occasion very well, although I was not present. I was at that time
in the middle of my year at Phillips Exeter Academy, preparing for
the Harvard entrance examination of the summer of 1860.... After the
Cooper Institute address, my father came to Exeter to see how I was
getting along, and this visit resulted in his making a number of
speeches in New England on his way and on his return, and at Exeter
he wrote to my mother a letter which was mainly concerned with me,
but which did make reference to these speeches.... He said that he
had had some embarrassment with these New England speeches, because
in coming East he had anticipated making no speech excepting the
one at the Cooper Institute, and he had not prepared himself for
anything else.... In the later speeches, he was addressing reading
audiences who had, as he thought probable, seen the report of his
Cooper Institute speech, and he was obliged, therefore, from day to
day (he made about a dozen speeches in New England in all) to bear
that fact in mind.

Sincerely yours,

ROBERT LINCOLN.

(_From Judge Nott_)

WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS.,

July 26, 1909.

DEAR PUTNAM:

I consider it very desirable that the report of Mr. Lincoln's
speech, embodying the final revision, should be preserved in book
form.... The text in the pamphlet now in your hands is authentic and
conclusive. Mr. Lincoln read the proof both of the address and of
the notes. I am glad that you are to include in your reprint the
letters from Mr. Lincoln, as these letters authenticate this copy of
the address as the copy which was corrected by him with his own
hand....

The preface to the address, written in September, 1860, has interest
because it shows what we thought of the address at that time....
Your worthy father was, if I remember rightly, one of the
vice-presidents of the meeting....

Yours faithfully,

CHARLES C. NOTT.

_(From Cephas Brainerd)_

NEW YORK, August 18, 1909.

DEAR MAJOR PUTNAM:

I am very glad to learn that there is good prospect that the real
Lincoln Cooper Institute address, with the evidence in regard to it,
will now be available for the public.... I am glad also that with
the address you are proposing to print the letters received by Judge
Nott from Mr. Lincoln. One or two of these have, unfortunately, not
been preserved. I recall in one an observation made by Lincoln to
the effect that he "was not much of a literary man."

I did not see much of Mr. Lincoln when he was in New York, as my
most active responsibility in regard to the meeting was in getting
up an audience.... I remember in handing some weeks earlier to John
Sherman, who, like Lincoln, had never before spoken in New York,
five ten-dollar gold pieces, that he said he "had not expected his
expenses to be paid." At a lunch that was given to Sherman a long
time afterward, I referred to that meeting. Sherman cocked his eye
at me and said: "Yes, I remember it very well; I never was so scar't
in all my life." ...

The observations of Judge Nott in regard to the meeting are about
as just as anything that has ever been put into print, and as I
concur fully in the accuracy of these recollections, I do not
undertake to give my own impressions at any length. I was expecting
to hear some specimen of Western stump-speaking as it was then
understood. You will, of course, observe that the speech contains
nothing of the kind. I do remember, however, that Lincoln spoke of
the condition of feeling between the North and the South.... He
refers to the treatment which Northern men received in the South,
and he remarked, parenthetically, that he had never known of a man
who had been able "to whip his wife into loving him," an observation
that produced laughter.

In making up the notes, we ransacked, as you may be sure, all the
material available in the libraries in New York, and I also had
interviews as to one special point with Mr. Bancroft, with Mr.
Hildreth, and with Dr. William Goodell, who was in those times a
famous anti-slavery man.

Your father[3] and William Curtis Noyes were possibly more
completely in sympathy than any other two men in New York, with the
efforts of these younger men; they impressed me as standing in that
respect on the same plane. The next man to them was Charles Wyllis
Elliott, the author of a _History of New England_. We never went to
your father for advice or assistance when he failed to help us, and
he was always so kindly and gentle in what he did and said that
every one of us youngsters acquired for him a very great affection.
He always had time to see us and was always on hand when he was
wanted, and if we desired to have anything, we got it if he had it.
Neither your father, nor Mr. Noyes, nor for that matter Mr. Elliott,
ever suggested that we were "young" or "fresh" or anything of that
sort. The enthusiasm which young fellows have was always recognised
by these men as an exceedingly valuable asset in the cause....
Pardon all this from a "veteran," and believe me,

Sincerely yours,

CEPHAS BRAINERD.

INTRODUCTION

BY CHARLES C. NOTT

The Cooper Institute address is one of the most important addresses ever
delivered in the life of this nation, for at an eventful time it changed
the course of history. When Mr. Lincoln rose to speak on the evening of
February 27, 1860, he had held no administrative office; he had
endeavoured to be appointed Commissioner of Patents, and had failed; he
had sought to be elected United States Senator, and had been defeated;
he had been a member of Congress, yet it was not even remembered; he was
a lawyer in humble circumstances, persuasive of juries, but had not
reached the front rank of the Illinois Bar. The record which Mr. Lincoln
himself placed in the Congressional Directory in 1847 might still be
taken as the record of his public and official life: "Born February
12th, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. Education defective. Profession
a lawyer. Have been a captain of volunteers in the Black Hawk War.
Postmaster in a very small office. Four times a member of the Illinois
Legislature and a member of the lower house of Congress." Was this the
record of a man who should be made the head of a nation in troubled
times? In the estimation of thoughtful Americans east of the Alleghanies
all that they knew of Mr. Lincoln justified them in regarding him as
only "a Western stump orator"--successful, distinguished, but nothing
higher than that--a Western stump orator, who had dared to brave one of
the strongest men in the Western States, and who had done so with
wonderful ability and moral success. When Mr. Lincoln closed his address
he had risen to the rank of statesman, and had stamped himself a
statesman peculiarly fitted for the exigency of the hour.

Mr. William Cullen Bryant presided at the meeting; and a number of the
first and ablest citizens of New York were present, among them Horace
Greeley. Mr. Greeley was pronounced in his appreciation of the address;
it was the ablest, the greatest, the wisest speech that had yet been
made; it would reassure the conservative Northerner; it was just what
was wanted to conciliate the excited Southerner; it was conclusive in
its argument, and would assure the overthrow of Douglas. Mr. Horace
White has recently written: "I chanced to open the other day his Cooper
Institute speech. This is one of the few printed speeches that I did not
hear him deliver in person. As I read the concluding pages of that
speech, the conflict of opinion that preceded the conflict of arms then
sweeping upon the country like an approaching solar eclipse seemed
prefigured like a chapter of the Book of Fate. Here again he was the
Old Testament prophet, before whom Horace Greeley bowed his head, saying
that he had never listened to a greater speech, although he had heard
several of Webster's best." Later, Mr. Greeley became the leader of the
Republican forces opposed to the nomination of Mr. Seward and was
instrumental in concentrating those forces upon Mr. Lincoln.
Furthermore, the great New York press on the following morning carried
the address to the country, and before Mr. Lincoln left New York he was
telegraphed from Connecticut to come and aid in the campaign of the
approaching spring election. He went, and when the fateful moment came
in the Convention, Connecticut was one of the Eastern States which first
broke away from the Seward column and went over to Mr. Lincoln. When
Connecticut did this, the die was cast.

It is difficult for younger generations of Americans to believe that
three months before Mr. Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency he was
neither appreciated nor known in New York. That fact can be better
established by a single incident than by the opinions and assurances of
a dozen men.

After the address had been delivered, Mr. Lincoln was taken by two
members of the Young Men's Central Republican Union--Mr. Hiram Barney,
afterward Collector of the Port of New York, and Mr. Nott, one of the
subsequent editors of the address--to their club, The Athenaeum, where
a very simple supper was ordered, and five or six Republican members of
the club who chanced to be in the building were invited in. The supper
was informal--as informal as anything could be; the conversation was
easy and familiar; the prospects of the Republican party in the coming
struggle were talked over, and so little was it supposed by the
gentlemen who had not heard the address that Mr. Lincoln could possibly
be the candidate that one of them, Mr. Charles W. Elliott, asked,
artlessly: "Mr. Lincoln, what candidate do you really think would be
most likely to carry Illinois?" Mr. Lincoln answered by illustration:
"Illinois is a peculiar State, in three parts. In northern Illinois, Mr.
Seward would have a larger majority than I could get. In middle
Illinois, I think I could call out a larger vote than Mr. Seward. In
southern Illinois, it would make no difference who was the candidate."
This answer was taken to be merely illustrative by everybody except,
perhaps, Mr. Barney and Mr. Nott, each of whom, it subsequently
appeared, had particularly noted Mr. Lincoln's reply.

The little party broke up. Mr. Lincoln had been cordially received, but
certainly had not been flattered. The others shook him by the hand and,
as they put on their overcoats, said: "Mr. Nott is going down town and
he will show you the way to the Astor House." Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Nott
started on foot, but the latter observing that Mr. Lincoln was
apparently Walking with some difficulty said, "Are you lame, Mr.
Lincoln?" He replied that he had on new boots and they hurt him. The two
gentlemen then boarded a street car. When they reached the place where
Mr. Nott would leave the car on his way home, he shook Mr. Lincoln by
the hand and, bidding him good-bye, told him that this car would carry
him to the side door of the Astor House. Mr. Lincoln went on alone, the
only occupant of the car. The next time he came to New York, he rode
down Broadway to the Astor House standing erect in an open barouche
drawn by four white horses. He bowed to the patriotic thousands in the
street, on the sidewalks, in the windows, on the house-tops, and they
cheered him as the lawfully elected President of the United States and
bade him go on and, with God's help, save the Union.

His companion in the street car has often wondered since then what Mr.
Lincoln thought about during the remainder of his ride that night to the
Astor House. The Cooper Institute had, owing to a snowstorm, not been
full, and its intelligent, respectable, non-partisan audience had not
rung out enthusiastic applause like a concourse of Western auditors
magnetised by their own enthusiasm. Had the address--the most carefully
prepared, the most elaborately investigated and demonstrated and
verified of all the work of his life--been a failure? But in the matter
of quality and ability, if not of quantity and enthusiasm, he had never
addressed such an audience; and some of the ablest men in the Northern
States had expressed their opinion of the address in terms which left no
doubt of the highest appreciation. Did Mr. Lincoln regard the address
which he had just delivered to a small and critical audience as a
success? Did he have the faintest glimmer of the brilliant effect which
was to follow? Did he feel the loneliness of the situation--the want of
his loyal Illinois adherents? Did his sinking heart infer that he was
but a speck of humanity to which the great city would never again give a
thought? He was a plain man, an ungainly man; unadorned, apparently
uncultivated, showing the awkwardness of self-conscious rusticity. His
dress that night before a New York audience was the most unbecoming that
a fiend's ingenuity could have devised for a tall, gaunt man--a black
frock coat, ill-setting and too short for him in the body, skirt, and
arms--a rolling collar, low-down, disclosing his long thin, shrivelled
throat uncovered and exposed. No man in all New York appeared that night
more simple, more unassuming, more modest, more unpretentious, more
conscious of his own defects than Abraham Lincoln; and yet we now know
that within his soul there burned the fires of an unbounded ambition,
sustained by a self-reliance and self-esteem that bade him fix his gaze
upon the very pinnacle of American fame and aspire to it in a time so
troubled that its dangers appalled the soul of every American. What were
this man's thoughts when he was left alone? Did a faint shadow of the
future rest upon his soul? Did he feel in some mysterious way that on
that night he had crossed the Rubicon of his life-march--that care and
trouble and political discord, and slander and misrepresentation and
ridicule and public responsibilities, such as hardly ever before
burdened a conscientious soul, coupled with war and defeat and disaster,
were to be thenceforth his portion nearly to his life's end, and that
his end was to be a bloody act which would appall the world and send a
thrill of horror through the hearts of friends and enemies alike, so
that when the woeful tidings came the bravest of the Southern brave
should burst into tears and cry aloud, "Oh! the unhappy South, the
unhappy South!"

The impression left on his companion's mind as he gave a last glance at
him in the street car was that he seemed sad and lonely; and when it was
too late, when the car was beyond call, he blamed himself for not
accompanying Mr. Lincoln to the Astor House--not because he was a
distinguished stranger, but because he seemed a sad and lonely man.

_February 12, 1908_.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. LINCOLN

69 Wall St., New York,

February 9, 1860.

_Dear Sir_:

The "Young Men's Central Republican Union" of this city very
cordially desire that you should deliver during the ensuing
month--what I may term--_a political lecture_. The peculiarities of
the case are these--A series of lectures has been determined
upon--The first was delivered by Mr. Blair of St. Louis a short time
ago--the second will be in a few days by Mr. C.M. Clay, and the
third we would prefer to have from you, rather than from any other
person. Of the audience I should add that it is not that of an
ordinary political meeting. These lectures have been _contrived_ to
call out our better, but busier citizens, who never attend political
meetings. A large part of the audience would also consist of ladies.
The time we should prefer, would be about the middle of March, but
if any earlier or later day will be more convenient for you we would
alter our arrangements.

Allow me to hope that we shall have the pleasure of welcoming you to
New York. You are, I believe, an entire stranger to your Republican
brethren here; but they have, for you, the highest esteem, and your
celebrated contest with Judge Douglas awoke their warmest sympathy
and admiration. Those of us who are "in the ranks" would regard your
presence as very material aid, and as an honor and pleasure which I
cannot sufficiently express.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Nott.

To Hon. Abram Lincoln.

69 Wall St., New York,

May 23, 1860.

_Dear Sir_:

I enclose a copy of your address in New York.

We (the Young Men's Rep. Union) design to publish a new edition in
larger type and better form, with such notes and references as will
best attract readers seeking information. Have you any memoranda of
your investigations which you would approve of inserting?

You and your Western friends, I think, underrate this speech. It has
produced a greater effect here than any other single speech. It is
the real platform in the Eastern States, and must carry the
conservative element in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Therefore I desire that it should be as nearly perfect as may be.
Most of the emendations are trivial and do not affect the
substance--all are merely suggested for your judgment.

I cannot help adding that this speech is an extraordinary example
of condensed English. After some experience in criticising for
Reviews, I find hardly anything to touch and nothing to omit. It is
the only one I know of which I cannot _shorten_, and--like a good
arch--moving one word tumbles a whole sentence down.

Finally--it being a bad and foolish thing for a candidate to write
letters, and you having doubtless more to do of that than is
pleasant or profitable, we will not add to your burden in that
regard, but if you will let any friend who has nothing to do, advise
us as to your wishes, in this or any other matter, we will try to
carry them out.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Nott.

To Hon. Abraham Lincoln.

Springfield, Ills., May 31, 1860.

Charles C. Nott, Esq.

_My Dear Sir_:

Yours of the 23rd, accompanied by a copy of the speech delivered by
me at the Cooper Institute, and upon which you have made some notes
for emendations, was received some days ago--Of course I would not
object to, but would be pleased rather, with a more perfect edition
of that speech.

I did not preserve memoranda of my investigations; and I could not
now re-examine, and make notes, without an expenditure of time
which I can not bestow upon it--Some of your notes I do not
understand.

So far as it is intended merely to improve in grammar, and elegance
of composition, I am quite agreed; but I do not wish the sense
changed, or modified, to a hair's breadth--And you, not having
studied the particular points so closely as I have, can not be quite
sure that you do not change the sense when you do not intend it--For
instance, in a note at bottom of first page, you propose to
substitute "Democrats" for "Douglas"--But what I am saying there is
_true_ of Douglas, and is not true of "Democrats" generally; so that
the proposed substitution would be a very considerable blunder--Your
proposed insertion of "residences" though it would do little or no
harm, is not at all necessary to the sense I was trying to
convey--On page 5 your proposed grammatical change would certainly
do no harm--The "_impudently absurd"_ I stick to--The striking out
"_he"_ and inserting "_we"_ turns the sense exactly wrong--The
striking out "_upon it_" leaves the sense too general and
incomplete--The sense is "act as they acted _upon that question_
"--not as they acted generally.

After considering your proposed changes on page 7, I do not think
them material, but I am willing to defer to you in relation to them.

On page 9, striking out "_to us_" is probably right--The word
"_lawyer's"_ I wish retained. The word "_Courts"_ struck out twice,
I wish reduced to "Court" and retained--"Court" as a collection more
properly governs the plural "have" as I understand--"The" preceding
"Court," in the latter case, must also be retained--The words
"quite," "as," and "or" on the same page, I wish retained. The
italicising, and quotation marking, I have no objection to.

As to the note at bottom, I do not think any too much is
admitted--What you propose on page 11 is right--I return your copy
of the speech, together with one printed here, under my own hasty
supervising. That at New York was printed without any supervision by
me--If you conclude to publish a new edition, allow me to see the
proof-sheets.

And now thanking you for your very complimentary letter, and your
interest for me generally, I subscribe myself.

Your friend and servant,

A. Lincoln.

69 Wall Street, New York.

August 28, 1860.

_Dear Sir_:

Mr. Judd insists on our printing the revised edition of your Cooper
Ins. speech _without waiting to send you the_ proofs.

If this is so determined, I wish you to know, that I have made no
alterations other than those you sanctioned, except--

1. I do not find that Abraham Baldwin voted on the Ordinance of '87.
On the contrary he appears _not_ to have acted with Congress during
the sitting of the Convention. Wm. Pierce seems to have taken his
place then; and his name is recorded as voting for the Ordinance.
This makes no difference in the result, but I presume you will not
wish the historical inaccuracy (if it is such) to stand. I will
therefore (unless you write to the contrary) strike out his name in
that place and reduce the number from "four" to "three" where you
sum up the number of times he voted.

2. In the quotations from the Constitution I have given its exact
language; as "delegated" instead of "granted," etc. As it is given
in _quo_. marks, I presume the exact letter of the text should be
followed.

_If these are not correct please write immediately_.

_Our_ apology for the delay is that we have been weighed down by
other matters; _mine_ that I have but to-day returned to town.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Nott.

To Hon. Abraham Lincoln.

69 WALL STREET, N.Y.

Sept. 17, 1860.

_Dear Sir_:

We forward you by this day's express 250 copies, with the last
corrections. I delayed sending, thinking that you would prefer these
to those first printed.

The "Abraham Baldwin letter" referred to in your last I regret to
say has _not_ arrived. From your not touching the proofs in that
regard, I inferred (and hope) that the correction was not itself an
error.

Should you wish a larger number of copies do not hesitate to let us
know; it will afford us much pleasure to furnish them and no
inconvenience whatever.

Respectfully, etc.,

CHARLES C. NOTT.

Hon. A. Lincoln.

SPRINGFIELD, ILLS., Sept. 22, 1860.

CHARLES C. NOTT, Esq.,

_My Dear Sir_:

Yours of the 17th was duly received--The 250 copies have not yet
arrived--I am greatly obliged to you for what you have done, and
what you propose to do.

The "Abraham Baldwin letter" in substance was that I could not find
the Journal of the Confederation Congress for the session at which
was passed the Ordinance of 1787--and that in stating Mr. Baldwin
had voted for its passage, I had relied on a communication of Mr.
Greeley, over his own signature, published in the New York _Weekly
Tribune_ of October 15, 1859. If you will turn to that paper, you
will there see that Mr. Greeley apparently copies from the Journal,
and places the name of Mr. Baldwin among those of the men who voted
for the measure.

Still; if the Journal itself shows differently, of course it is
right.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

The Address of

THE HON. ABRAHAM LINCOLN,

In Vindication of the Policy of the Framers of the

Constitution and the Principles of the

Republican Party.

Delivered at Cooper Institute, February 27th, 1860.

Issued by the Young Men's Republican Union.

With Notes by

CHARLES C. NOTT and CEPHAS BRAINERD,

Members of the Board of Control.

OFFICERS OF THE UNION

CHARLES T. RODGERS, President.
DEXTER A. HAWKINS, Vice-President.
ERASMUS STERLING, Secretary.
WILLIAM M. FRANKLIN, Treasurer.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

CEPHAS BRAINERD, Chairman.
BENJAMIN P. MANIERRE,
RICHARD C. McCORMICK,
CHARLES C. NOTT,
CHARLES H. COOPER,
P.G. DEGRAW,
JAMES H. WELSH,
E.C. JOHNSON,
LEWIS M. PECK.

ADVISORY BOARD

WM. CULLEN BRYANT,
DANIEL DREW,
HIRAM BARNEY,
WILLIAM V. BRADY,
JOHN JAY,
GEORGE W. BLUNT,
HENRY A. HURLBUT,
ABIJAH MANN, JR.,
HAMILTON FISH,
FRANCIS HALL,
HORACE GREELEY,
CHARLES A. PEABODY,
EDGAR KETCHUM,
JAMES KELLY,
GEORGE FOLSOM,
WILLIAM CURTIS NOYES,
BENJAMIN F. MANIERRE.

PREFACE

This edition of Mr. Lincoln's address has been prepared and published by
the Young Men's Republican Union of New York, to exemplify its wisdom,
truthfulness, and learning. No one who has not actually attempted to
verify its details can understand the patient research and historical
labor which it embodies. The history of our earlier politics is
scattered through numerous journals, statutes, pamphlets, and letters;
and these are defective in completeness and accuracy of statement, and
in indices and tables of contents. Neither can any one who has not
travelled over this precise ground appreciate the accuracy of every
trivial detail, or the self-denying impartiality with which Mr. Lincoln
has turned from the testimony of "the Fathers," on the general question
of slavery, to present the single question which he discusses. From the
first line to the last--from his premises to his conclusion, he travels
with swift, unerring directness which no logician ever excelled--an
argument complete and full, without the affectation of learning, and
without the stiffness which usually accompanies dates and details. A
single, easy, simple sentence of plain Anglo-Saxon words contains a
chapter of history that, in some instances, has taken days of labor to
verify and which must have cost the author months of investigation to
acquire. And, though the public should justly estimate the labor
bestowed on the facts which are stated, they cannot estimate the greater
labor involved on those which are omitted--how many pages have been
read--how many works examined--what numerous statutes, resolutions,
speeches, letters, and biographies have been looked through. Commencing
with this address as a political pamphlet, the reader will leave it as
an historical work--brief, complete, profound, impartial,
truthful--which will survive the time and the occasion that called it
forth, and be esteemed hereafter, no less for its intrinsic worth than
its unpretending modesty.

NEW YORK, September, 1860.

ADDRESS

MR. PRESIDENT AND FELLOW-CITIZENS OF NEW YORK:--The facts with which
I shall deal this evening are mainly old and familiar; nor is there
anything new in the general use I shall make of them. If there shall
be any novelty, it will be in the mode of presenting the facts, and
the inferences and observations following that presentation.

In his speech last autumn, at Columbus, Ohio, as reported in the New
York _Times_, Senator Douglas said:

"_Our fathers, when they framed the Government under which we live,
understood this question just as well, and even better than we do
now_."

I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this discourse. I
so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and an agreed
starting-point for a discussion between Republicans and that wing of
the Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It simply leaves the
inquiry: "_What was the understanding those fathers had of the
question mentioned_?"

What is the frame of Government under which we live?

The answer must be: "The Constitution of the United States." That
Constitution consists of the original, framed in 1787, (and under
which the present Government first went into operation,) and twelve
subsequently framed amendments, the first ten of which were framed
in 1789.[4]

Who were our fathers that framed the Constitution? I suppose the
"thirty-nine" who signed the original instrument may be fairly
called our fathers who framed that part of the present Government.
It is almost exactly true to say they framed it, and it is
altogether true to say they fairly represented the opinion and
sentiment of the whole nation at that time. Their names, being
familiar to nearly all, and accessible to quite all, need not now be
repeated.[5]

I take these "thirty-nine" for the present, as being "our fathers
who framed the Government under which we live."

What is the question which, according to the text, those fathers
understood "just as well, and even better than we do now"?

It is this: Does the proper division of local from federal
authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbid _our Federal
Government_ to control as to slavery in _our Federal Territories_?

Upon this, Senator Douglas holds the affirmative, and Republicans
the negative. This affirmation and denial form an issue; and this
issue--this question--is precisely what the text declares our
fathers understood "better than we."

Let us now inquire whether the "thirty-nine," or any of them, ever
acted upon this question; and if they did, how they acted upon
it--how they expressed that better understanding.

In 1784, three years before the Constitution--the United States then
owning the Northwestern Territory, and no other,[6] the Congress of
the Confederation had before them the question of prohibiting
slavery in that Territory; and four of the "thirty-nine" who
afterward framed the Constitution, were in that Congress, and voted
on that question. Of these, Roger Sherman, Thomas Mifflin, and Hugh
Williamson voted for the prohibition,[7] thus showing that, in their
understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor
anything else, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as
to slavery in federal territory. The other of the four--James
M'Henry--voted against the prohibition, showing that, for some
cause, he thought it improper to vote for it.[8]

In 1787, still before the Constitution, but while the Convention was
in session framing it, and while the Northwestern Territory still
was the only territory owned by the United States, the same question
of prohibiting Slavery in the Territories again came before the
Congress of the Confederation; and two more of the "thirty-nine" who
afterward signed the Constitution, were in that Congress, and voted
on the question. They were William Blount and William Few[9]; and
they both voted for the prohibition--thus showing that, in their
understanding, no line dividing local from federal authority, nor
anything else, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as
to slavery in federal territory. This time, the prohibition became a
law, being part of what is now well known as the Ordinance of
'87.[10]

The question of federal control of slavery in the territories, seems
not to have been directly before the Convention which framed the
original Constitution; and hence it is not recorded that the
"thirty-nine," or any of them, while engaged on that instrument,
expressed any opinion on that precise question.[11]

In 1789, by the first Congress which sat under the Constitution, an
act was passed to enforce the Ordinance of '87, including the
prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern Territory. The bill for
this act was reported by one of the "thirty-nine," Thomas
Fitzsimmons, then a member of the House of Representatives from
Pennsylvania. It went through all its stages without a word of
opposition, and finally passed both branches without yeas and nays,
which is equivalent to an unanimous passage.[12] In this Congress,
there were sixteen of the thirty-nine fathers who framed the
original Constitution. They were John Langdon, Nicholas Oilman, Wm.
S. Johnson, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, Thos. Fitzsimmons, William
Few, Abraham Baldwin, Rufus King, William Paterson, George Clymer,
Richard Bassett, George Read, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carroll, James
Madison.[13]

This shows that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from
federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, properly
forbade Congress to prohibit slavery in the federal territory; else
both their fidelity to correct principle, and their oath to support
the Constitution, would have constrained them to oppose the
prohibition.

Again, George Washington, another of the "thirty-nine," was then
President of the United States, and, as such, approved and signed
the bill; thus completing its validity as a law, and thus showing
that, in his understanding, no line dividing local from federal
authority, nor anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal
Government to control as to slavery in federal territory.

No great while after the adoption of the original Constitution,
North Carolina ceded to the Federal Government the country now
constituting the State of Tennessee; and a few years later Georgia
ceded that which now constitutes the States of Mississippi and
Alabama. In both deeds of cession it was made a condition by the
ceding States that the Federal Government should not prohibit
slavery in the ceded country.[14] Besides this, slavery was then
actually in the ceded country. Under these circumstances, Congress,
on taking charge of these countries, did not absolutely prohibit
slavery within them. But they did interfere with it--take control of
it--even there to a certain extent. In 1798, Congress organized the
Territory of Mississippi. In the act of organization, they
prohibited the bringing of slaves into the Territory, from any place
without the United States, by fine, and giving freedom to slaves so
brought.[15] This act passed both branches of Congress without yeas
and nays. In that Congress were three of the "thirty-nine" who
framed the original Constitution. They were John Langdon, George
Read and Abraham Baldwin.[16] They all, probably, voted for it.
Certainly they would have placed their opposition to it upon record,
if, in their understanding, any line dividing local from federal
authority, or anything in the Constitution, properly forbade the
Federal Government to control as to slavery in federal territory.

In 1803, the Federal Government purchased the Louisiana country. Our
former territorial acquisitions came from certain of our own States;
but this Louisiana country was acquired from a foreign nation. In
1804, Congress gave a territorial organization to that part of it
which now constitutes the State of Louisiana. New Orleans, lying
within that part, was an old and comparatively large city. There
were other considerable towns and settlements, and slavery was
extensively and thoroughly intermingled with the people. Congress
did not, in the Territorial Act, prohibit slavery; but they did
interfere with it--take control of it--in a more marked and
extensive way than they did in the case of Mississippi. The
substance of the provision therein made, in relation to slaves, was:

_First_. That no slave should be imported into the territory from
foreign parts.

_Second_. That no slave should be carried into it who had been
imported into the United States since the first day of May, 1798.

_Third_. That no slave should be carried into it, except by the
owner, and for his own use as a settler; the penalty in all the
cases being a fine upon the violator of the law, and freedom to the
slave.[17]

This act also was passed without yeas and nays. In the Congress
which passed it, there were two of the "thirty-nine." They were
Abraham Baldwin and Jonathan Dayton.[18] As stated in the case of
Mississippi, it is probable they both voted for it. They would not
have allowed it to pass without recording their opposition to it,
if, in their understanding, it violated either the line properly
dividing local from federal authority, or any provision of the
Constitution.

In 1819-20, came and passed the Missouri question. Many votes were
taken, by yeas and nays, in both branches of Congress, upon the
various phases of the general question. Two of the
"thirty-nine"--Rufus King and Charles Pinckney--were members of
that Congress.[19] Mr. King steadily voted for slavery prohibition
and against all compromises, while Mr. Pinckney as steadily voted
against slavery prohibition and against all compromises. By this,
Mr. King showed that, in his understanding, no line dividing local
from federal authority, nor anything in the Constitution, was
violated by Congress prohibiting slavery in federal territory; while
Mr. Pinckney, by his votes, showed that, in his understanding, there
was some sufficient reason for opposing such prohibition in that
case.[20]

The cases I have mentioned are the only acts of the "thirty-nine,"
or of any of them, upon the direct issue, which I have been able to
discover.

To enumerate the persons who thus acted, as being four in 1784, two
in 1787, seventeen in 1789, three in 1798, two in 1804, and two in
1819-20--there would be thirty of them. But this would be counting
John Langdon, Roger Sherman, William Few, Rufus King, and George
Read each twice, and Abraham Baldwin three times. The true number of
those of the "thirty-nine" whom I have shown to have acted upon the
question, which, by the text, they understood better than we, is
twenty-three, leaving sixteen not shown to have acted upon it in
anyway.[21]

Here, then, we have twenty-three out of our thirty-nine fathers "who
framed the Government under which we live," who have, upon their
official responsibility and their corporal oaths, acted upon the
very question which the text affirms they "understood just as well,
and even better than we do now"; and twenty-one of them--a clear
majority of the whole "thirty-nine"--so acting upon it as to make
them guilty of gross political impropriety and wilful perjury, if,
in their understanding, any proper division between local and
federal authority, or anything in the Constitution they had made
themselves, and sworn to support, forbade the Federal Government to
control as to slavery in the federal territories. Thus the
twenty-one acted; and, as actions speak louder than words, so
actions under such responsibility speak still louder.

Two of the twenty-three voted against Congressional prohibition of
slavery in the federal territories, in the instances in which they
acted upon the question. But for what reasons they so voted is not
known. They may have done so because they thought a proper division
of local from federal authority, or some provision or principle of
the Constitution, stood in the way; or they may, without any such
question, have voted against the prohibition on what appeared to
them to be sufficient grounds of expediency. No one who has sworn to
support the Constitution can conscientiously vote for what he
understands to be an unconstitutional measure, however expedient he
may think it; but one may and ought to vote against a measure which
he deems constitutional, if, at the same time, he deems it
inexpedient. It, therefore, would be unsafe to set down even the two
who voted against the prohibition, as having done so because, in
their understanding, any proper division of local from federal
authority, or anything in the Constitution, forbade the Federal
Government to control as to slavery in federal territory.[22]

The remaining sixteen of the "thirty-nine," so far as I have
discovered, have left no record of their understanding upon the
direct question of federal control of slavery in the federal
territories. But there is much reason to believe that their
understanding upon that question would not have appeared different
from that of their twenty-three compeers, had it been manifested at
all.[23]

For the purpose of adhering rigidly to the text, I have purposely
omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by any
person, however distinguished, other than the thirty-nine fathers
who framed the original Constitution; and, for the same reason, I
have also omitted whatever understanding may have been manifested by
any of the "thirty-nine" even, on any other phase of the general
question of slavery. If we should look into their acts and
declarations on those other phases, as the foreign slave trade, and
the morality and policy of slavery generally, it would appear to us
that on the direct question of federal control of slavery in federal
territories, the sixteen, if they had acted at all, would probably
have acted just as the twenty-three did. Among that sixteen were
several of the most noted anti-slavery men of those times--as Dr.
Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Gouverneur Morris--while there was
not one now known to have been otherwise, unless it may be John
Rutledge, of South Carolina.[24]

The sum of the whole is, that of our thirty-nine fathers who framed
the original Constitution, twenty-one--a clear majority of the
whole--certainly understood that no proper division of local from
federal authority, nor any part of the Constitution, forbade the
Federal Government to control slavery in the federal territories;
while all the rest probably had the same understanding. Such,
unquestionably, was the understanding of our fathers who framed the
original Constitution; and the text affirms that they understood the
question "better than we."

But, so far, I have been considering the understanding of the
question manifested by the framers of the original Constitution. In
and by the original instrument, a mode was provided for amending it;
and, as I have already stated, the present frame of "the Government
under which we live" consists of that original, and twelve
amendatory articles framed and adopted since. Those who now insist
that federal control of slavery in federal territories violates the
Constitution, point us to the provisions which they suppose it thus
violates; and, as I understand, they all fix upon provisions in
these amendatory articles and not in the original instrument. The
Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott case, plant themselves upon the
fifth amendment, which provides that no person shall be deprived of
"life, liberty or property without due process of law"; while
Senator Douglas and his peculiar adherents plant themselves upon the
tenth amendment, providing that "the powers not delegated to the
United States by the Constitution" "are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people."[25]

Now, it so happens that these amendments were framed by the first
Congress which sat under the Constitution--the identical Congress
which passed the act already mentioned, enforcing the prohibition of
slavery in the Northwestern Territory. Not only was it the same
Congress, but they were the identical same individual men who, at
the same session, and at the same time within the session had under
consideration, and in progress toward maturity, these Constitutional
amendments, and this act prohibiting slavery in all the territory
the nation then owned. The Constitutional amendments were introduced
before, and passed after, the act enforcing the Ordinance of '87; so
that, during the whole pendency of the act to enforce the Ordinance,
the Constitutional amendments were also pending.[26]

The seventy-six members of that Congress, including sixteen of the
framers of the original Constitution, as before stated, were
pre-eminently our fathers who framed that part of "the Government
under which we live," which is now claimed as forbidding the Federal
Government to control slavery in the federal territories.

Is it not a little presumptuous in any one at this day to affirm
that the two things which that Congress deliberately framed, and
carried to maturity at the same time, are absolutely inconsistent
with each other? And does not such affirmation become impudently
absurd when coupled with the other affirmation from the same mouth,
that those who did the two things, alleged to be inconsistent,
understood whether they really were inconsistent better than
we--better than he who affirms that they are inconsistent?

It is surely safe to assume that the thirty-nine framers of the
original Constitution, and the seventy-six members of the Congress
which framed the amendments thereto, taken together, do certainly
include those who may be fairly called "our fathers who framed the
Government under which we live."[27] And so assuming, I defy any man
to show that any one of them ever, in his whole life, declared that,
in his understanding, any proper division of local from federal
authority, or any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal
Government to control as to slavery in the federal territories. I go
a step further. I defy any one to show that any living man in the
whole world ever did, prior to the beginning of the present
century, (and I might almost say prior to the beginning of the last
half of the present century,) declare that, in his understanding,
any proper division of local from federal authority, or any part of
the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control as to
slavery in the federal territories. To those who now so declare, I
give, not only "our fathers who framed the Government under which we
live," but with them all other living men within the century in
which it was framed, among whom to search, and they shall not be
able to find the evidence of a single man agreeing with them.

Now, and here, let me guard a little against being misunderstood. I
do not mean to say we are bound to follow implicitly in whatever our
fathers did. To do so, would be to discard all the lights of current
experience--to reject all progress--all improvement. What I do say
is, that if we would supplant the opinions and policy of our fathers
in any case, we should do so upon evidence so conclusive, and
argument so clear, that even their great authority, fairly
considered and weighed, cannot stand; and most surely not in a case
whereof we ourselves declare they understood the question better
than we.

If any man at this day sincerely believes that a proper division of
local from federal authority, or any part of the Constitution,
forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in the
federal territories, he is right to say so, and to enforce his
position by all truthful evidence and fair argument which he can.
But he has no right to mislead others, who have less access to
history, and less leisure to study it, into the false belief that
"our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live," were
of the same opinion--thus substituting falsehood and deception for
truthful evidence and fair argument. If any man at this day
sincerely believes "our fathers who framed the Government under
which we live," used and applied principles, in other cases, which
ought to have led them to understand that a proper division of local
from federal authority or some part of the Constitution, forbids the
Federal Government to control as to slavery in the federal
territories, he is right to say so. But he should, at the same time,
brave the responsibility of declaring that, in his opinion, he
understands their principles better than they did themselves; and
especially should he not shirk that responsibility by asserting that
they "understood the question just as well, and even better, than we
do now."

But enough! _Let all who believe that "our fathers, who framed the
Government under which we live, understood this question just as
well, and even better, than we do now," speak as they spoke, and act
as they acted upon it. This is all Republicans ask--all Republicans
desire--in relation to slavery. As those fathers marked it, so let
it be again marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to be
tolerated and protected only because of and so far as its actual
presence among us makes that toleration and protection a necessity.
Let all the guaranties those fathers gave it, be, not grudgingly,
but fully and fairly maintained_. For this Republicans contend, and
with this, so far as I know or believe, they will be content.

And now, if they would listen--as I suppose they will not--I would
address a few words to the Southern people.

I would say to them: You consider yourselves a reasonable and a just
people; and I consider that in the general qualities of reason and
justice you are not inferior to any other people. Still, when you
speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles,
or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing
to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to "Black Republicans."
In all your contentions with one another each of you deems an
unconditional condemnation of "Black Republicanism" as the first
thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be
an indispensable prerequisite--licence, so to speak--among you to be
admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be
prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just
to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and
specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or
justify.

You say we are sectional. We deny it. That makes an issue; and the
burden of proof is upon you. You produce your proof; and what is
it? Why, that our party has no existence in your section--gets no
votes in your section. The fact is substantially true; but does it
prove the issue? If it does, then in case we should, without change
of principle, begin to get votes in your section, we should thereby
cease to be sectional. You cannot escape this conclusion; and yet,
are you willing to abide by it? If you are, you will probably soon
find that we have ceased to be sectional, for we shall get votes in
your section this very year. You will then begin to discover, as the
truth plainly is, that your proof does not touch the issue. The fact
that we get no votes in your section, is a fact of your making, and
not of ours. And if there be fault in that fact, that fault is
primarily yours, and remains so until you show that we repel you by
some wrong principle or practice. If we do repel you by any wrong
principle or practice, the fault is ours; but this brings you to
where you ought to have started--to a discussion of the right or
wrong of our principle. If our principle, put in practice, would
wrong your section for the benefit of ours, or for any other object,
then our principle, and we with it, are sectional, and are justly
opposed and denounced as such. Meet us, then, on the question of
whether our principle, put in practice, would wrong your section;
and so meet us as if it were possible that something may be said on
our side. Do you accept the challenge? No! Then you really believe
that the principle which "our fathers who framed the Government
under which we live" thought so clearly right as to adopt it, and
indorse it again and again, upon their official oaths, is in fact so
clearly wrong as to demand your condemnation without a moment's
consideration.

Some of you delight to flaunt in our faces the warning against
sectional parties given by Washington in his Farewell Address. Less
than eight years before Washington gave that warning, he had, as
President of the United States, approved and signed an act of
Congress, enforcing the prohibition of slavery in the Northwestern
Territory, which act embodied the policy of the Government upon that
subject up to and at the very moment he penned that warning; and
about one year after he penned it, he wrote Lafayette that he
considered that prohibition a wise measure, expressing in the same
connection his hope that we should at some time have a confederacy
of free States.[28]

Bearing this in mind, and seeing that sectionalism has since arisen
upon this same subject, is that warning a weapon in your hands
against us, or in our hands against you? Could Washington himself
speak, would he cast the blame of that sectionalism upon us, who
sustain his policy, or upon you who repudiate it? We respect that
warning of Washington, and we commend it to you, together with his
example pointing to the right application of it.

But you say you are conservative--eminently conservative--while we
are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is
conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the
new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy
on the point in controversy which was adopted by "our fathers who
framed the Government under which we live"; while you with one
accord reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and insist
upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves
as to what that substitute shall be. You are divided on new
propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and
denouncing the old policy of the fathers. Some of you are for
reviving the foreign slave trade; some for a Congressional
Slave-Code for the Territories; some for Congress forbidding the
Territories to prohibit Slavery within their limits; some for
maintaining Slavery in the Territories through the judiciary; some
for the "gur-reat pur-rinciple" that "if one man would enslave
another, no third man should object," fantastically called "Popular
Sovereignty"; but never a man among you in favor of federal
prohibition of slavery in federal territories, according to the
practice of "our fathers who framed the Government under which we
live." Not one of all your various plans can show a precedent or an
advocate in the century within which our Government originated.
Consider, then, whether your claim of conservatism for yourselves,
and your charge of destructiveness against us, are based on the most
clear and stable foundations.

Again, you say we have made the slavery question more prominent than
it formerly was. We deny it. We admit that it is more prominent, but
we deny that we made it so. It was not we, but you, who discarded
the old policy of the fathers. We resisted, and still resist, your
innovation; and thence comes the greater prominence of the question.
Would you have that question reduced to its former proportions? Go
back to that old policy. What has been will be again, under the same
conditions. If you would have the peace of the old times, readopt
the precepts and policy of the old times.

You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny
it; and what is your proof? Harper's Ferry! John Brown!! John Brown
was no Republican; and you have failed to implicate a single
Republican in his Harper's Ferry enterprise. If any member of our
party is guilty in that matter, you know it or you do not know it.
If you do know it, you are inexcusable for not designating the man
and proving the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable for
asserting it, and especially for persisting in the assertion after
you have tried and failed to make the proof. You need not be told
that persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true, is
simply malicious slander.[29]

Some of you admit that no Republican designedly aided or encouraged
the Harper's Ferry affair; but still insist that our doctrines and
declarations necessarily lead to such results. We do not believe it.
We know we hold to no doctrine, and make no declaration, which was
not held to and made by "our fathers who framed the Government under
which we live." You never dealt fairly by us in relation to this
affair. When it occurred, some important State elections were near
at hand, and you were in evident glee with the belief that, by
charging the blame upon us, you could get an advantage of us in
those elections. The elections came, and your expectations were not
quite fulfilled. Every Republican man knew that, as to himself at
least, your charge was a slander, and he was not much inclined by it
to cast his vote in your favor. Republican doctrines and
declarations are accompanied with a continual protest against any
interference whatever with your slaves, or with you about your
slaves. Surely, this does not encourage them to revolt. True, we do,
in common with "our fathers, who framed the Government under which
we live," declare our belief that slavery is wrong; but the slaves
do not hear us declare even this. For anything we say or do, the
slaves would scarcely know there is a Republican party. I believe
they would not, in fact, generally know it but for your
misrepresentations of us, in their hearing. In your political
contests among yourselves, each faction charges the other with
sympathy with Black Republicanism; and then, to give point to the
charge, defines Black Republicanism to simply be insurrection, blood
and thunder among the slaves.

Slave insurrections are no more common now than they were before the
Republican party was organized. What induced the Southampton
insurrection, twenty-eight years ago, in which, at least, three
times as many lives were lost as at Harper's Ferry?[30] You can
scarcely stretch your very elastic fancy to the conclusion that
Southampton was "got up by Black Republicanism." In the present
state of things in the United States, I do not think a general, or
even a very extensive slave insurrection, is possible. The
indispensable concert of action cannot be attained. The slaves have
no means of rapid communication; nor can incendiary freemen, black
or white, supply it. The explosive materials are everywhere in
parcels; but there neither are, nor can be supplied, the
indispensable connecting trains.

Much is said by Southern people about the affection of slaves for
their masters and mistresses; and a part of it, at least, is true. A
plot for an uprising could scarcely be devised and communicated to
twenty individuals before some one of them, to save the life of a
favorite master or mistress, would divulge it. This is the rule; and
the slave revolution in Hayti was not an exception to it, but a case
occurring under peculiar circumstances,[31] The gunpowder plot of
British history, though not connected with slaves, was more in
point. In that case, only about twenty were admitted to the secret;
and yet one of them, in his anxiety to save a friend, betrayed the
plot to that friend, and, by consequence, averted the calamity.
Occasional poisonings from the kitchen, and open or stealthy
assassinations in the field, and local revolts extending to a score
or so, will continue to occur as the natural results of slavery; but
no general insurrection of slaves, as I think, can happen in this
country for a long time. Whoever much fears, or much hopes for such
an event, will be alike disappointed.

In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, "It is
still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and
deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil
will wear off insensibly; and their places be, _pari passu_, filled
up by free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force
itself on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held up."[32]

Mr. Jefferson did not mean to say, nor do I, that the power of
emancipation is in the Federal Government. He spoke of Virginia;
and, as to the power of emancipation, I speak of the slaveholding
States only. The Federal Government, however, as we insist, has the
power of restraining the extension of the institution--the power to
insure that a slave insurrection shall never occur on any American
soil which is now free from slavery.

John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection.
It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in
which the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd
that the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it
could not succeed. That affair, in its philosophy, corresponds with
the many attempts, related in history, at the assassination of kings
and emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people
till he fancies himself commissioned by Heaven to liberate them. He
ventures the attempt, which ends in little else than his own
execution. Orsini's attempt on Louis Napoleon, and John Brown's
attempt at Harper's Ferry were, in their philosophy, precisely the
same. The eagerness to cast blame on old England in the one case,
and on New England in the other, does not disprove the sameness of
the two things.

And how much would it avail you, if you could, by the use of John
Brown, Helper's Book, and the like, break up the Republican
organization? Human action can be modified to some extent, but human
nature cannot be changed. There is a judgment and a feeling against
slavery in this nation, which cast at least a million and a half of
votes. You cannot destroy that judgment and feeling--that
sentiment--by breaking up the political organization which rallies
around it. You can scarcely scatter and disperse an army which has
been formed into order in the face of your heaviest fire; but if
you could, how much would you gain by forcing the sentiment which
created it out of the peaceful channel of the ballot-box, into some
other channel? What would that other channel probably be? Would the
number of John Browns be lessened or enlarged by the operation?

But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of
your Constitutional rights.[33]

That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if
not fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of
numbers, to deprive you of some right, plainly written down in the
Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing.

When you make these declarations, you have a specific and
well-understood allusion to an assumed Constitutional right of
yours, to take slaves into the federal territories, and to hold them
there as property. But no such right is specifically written in the
Constitution. That instrument is literally silent about any such
right. We, on the contrary, deny that such a right has any existence
in the Constitution, even by implication.

Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is, that you will destroy the
Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the
Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and
us. You will rule or ruin in all events.

This, plainly stated, is your language. Perhaps you will say the
Supreme Court has decided the disputed Constitutional question in
your favor. Not quite so. But waiving the lawyer's distinction
between dictum and decision, the Court have decided the question for
you in a sort of way. The Court have substantially said, it is your
Constitutional right to take slaves into the federal territories,
and to hold them there as property. When I say the decision was made
in a sort of way, I mean it was made in a divided Court, by a bare
majority of the Judges, and they not quite agreeing with one another
in the reasons for making it;[34] that it is so made as that its
avowed supporters disagree with one another about its meaning, and
that it was mainly based upon a mistaken statement of fact--the
statement in the opinion that "the right of property in a slave is
distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution."[35]

An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of
property in a slave is not "_distinctly_ and _expressly_ affirmed"
in it. Bear in mind, the Judges do not pledge their judicial opinion
that such right is _impliedly_ affirmed in the Constitution; but
they pledge their veracity that it is "_distinctly_ and _expressly_"
affirmed there--"distinctly," that is, not mingled with anything
else--"expressly," that is, in words meaning just that, without the
aid of any inference, and susceptible of no other meaning.

If they had only pledged their judicial opinion that such right is
affirmed in the instrument by implication, it would be open to
others to show that neither the word "slave" nor "slavery" is to be
found in the Constitution, nor the word "property" even, in any
connection with language alluding to the things slave, or slavery,
and that wherever in that instrument the slave is alluded to, he is
called a "person";--and wherever his master's legal right in
relation to him is alluded to, it is spoken of as "service or labor
which may be due,"--as a debt payable in service or labor.[36] Also,
it would be open to show, by contemporaneous history, that this mode
of alluding to slaves and slavery, instead of speaking of them, was
employed on purpose to exclude from the Constitution the idea that
there could be property in man.

To show all this, is easy and certain.[37]

When this obvious mistake of the Judges shall be brought to their
notice, is it not reasonable to expect that they will withdraw the
mistaken statement, and reconsider the conclusion based upon it?

And then it is to be remembered that "our fathers, who framed the
Government under which we live"--the men who made the
Constitution--decided this same Constitutional question in our
favor, long ago--decided it without division among themselves, when
making the decision; without division among themselves about the
meaning of it after it was made, and, so far as any evidence is
left, without basing it upon any mistaken statement of facts.

Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves
justified to break up this Government, unless such a court decision
as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final
rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a
Republican President! In that supposed event, you say, you will
destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having
destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a
pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver
or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"

To be sure, what the robber demanded of me--my money--was my own;
and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than
my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my
money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my
vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.

A few words now to Republicans. _It is exceedingly desirable that
all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace and in
harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it
so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and
ill temper. Even though the Southern people will not so much as
listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to
them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can_.[38]
Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and nature of
their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will
satisfy them.

Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally
surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present
complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned.
Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them,
if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and
insurrections? We know it will not. We so know, because we know we
never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet
this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the
denunciation.

The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must
not only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we
do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We
have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our
organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches
we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this
has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince
them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any
attempt to disturb them.

These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will
convince them? This, and this only; cease to call slavery _wrong_,
and join them in calling it _right_. And this must be done
thoroughly--done in _acts_ as well as in _words_. Silence will not
be tolerated--we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator
Douglas's new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing
all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics,
in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return
their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our
Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected
from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to
believe that all their troubles proceed from us.

I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way.
Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, _do_ nothing
to us, and _say_ what you please about slavery." But we do let them
alone--have never disturbed them--so that, after all, it is what we
say, which dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of
doing, until we cease saying.

I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, demanded the
overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions.[39] Yet those
Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, with more solemn
emphasis, than do all other sayings against it; and when all these
other sayings shall have been silenced, the overthrow of these
Constitutions will be demanded, and nothing be left to resist the
demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the
whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason
they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this
consummation. Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right,
and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national
recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.[40]

Nor can we justifiably withhold this on any ground save our
conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words,
acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and
should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly
object to its nationality--its universality; if it is wrong, they
cannot justly insist upon its extension--its enlargement. All they
ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we
ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong.[41]
Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise
fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as
they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as
being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them?
Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view
of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do
this?

Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone
where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from
its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will
prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to
overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids
this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let
us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith
we are so industriously plied and belabored--contrivances such as
groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong,
vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor
a dead man--such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about
which all true men do care--such as Union appeals beseeching true
Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and
calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance--such as
invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington
said, and undo what Washington did.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations
against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the
Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT
RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO
OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.

INDEX

A

Andersonville, responsibility for, 190
Andrew, John. A., 105
Antietam, battle of, 115
Appomattox, the surrender at, 177 ff.
Atlanta, capture of, 151

B

Bahamas, trade of the, with the Confederacy, 167 ff.
Banks, General N.P., 103
Bazaine, General, in command of French army in Mexico, 156
Belle Isle, the prison of, 189
Bentonville, battle of, 183
Bixby, Mrs., letter to, from Lincoln, 152
"Black Republicans," the, 250
Blair, Prank P., difficulties with, 161
Blount, William, 237
Border States, the, and emancipation, 114 ff.
Bragg, Gen. Braxton, 136 ff.
Brainerd, Cephas, on the Cooper Union address, 211
Brown, John, raid of, 254
Bryant on Lincoln, 202
Buckner, Gen. S.B., 99
Bull Run, second battle of, 122
Burnside, Gen. Ambrose F.,
and the Army of the Potomac, 127;
and the defence of Knoxville, 137
Butler, Benjamin F., 103, 120

C

Cabinet, cabals in the, 160
Cedar Creek, the battle of, 150 ff.
Chancellorsville, battle of, 129
Charleston, evacuation of, 169
Chase, Salmon P.,
and the Presidential election of 1864, 154;
resignation of, 154;
appointed chief justice, 155;
efforts of, for the Presidency, 157;
difficulties with, in the Cabinet, 161
Chickamauga, battle of, 136
Clay, Cassius M., 223
Congress and slavery in the Territories, 246 ff.
Constitution,
the 13th amendment to, 163 ff.;
defined by Lincoln, 236 ff.;
and property in slaves, 260 ff.
"Crocker, Master", 113
Curtin, Gov. A.G., 105
Curtis, Gen. S.R., 108

D

Danville, the prison of, 147, 189 ff.;
mortality in, 159
Davis, Jefferson, and Benj. F. Butler, 120;
and the Peace Conference of Feb., 1865, 163;
capture of, 187;
and the other leaders of the South, 189;
and the management of the Southern
prisons, 190 ff;
as a prisoner and martyr, 191
Douglas, Stephen A., and the debate with Lincoln, cited, 235;
and the sedition act, 263;
and the Dred Scott decision, 246
Dred Scott case, the, 246

E

Early, Jubal A., raid of on Washington, 142 ff.;
and the battle of Winchester, 149;
and the battle of Cedar Creek, 150
Elliott, Charles W., 213
Emancipation Proclamation, the, 115 ff.
Enfield rifles, use of, by Confederates, 146

F

Farragut, Admiral D.G., 111
Few, William, 237
Fisher, Fort, capture of, 167
Fitzsimmons, Thomas, 238
Floyd, General John B., 99
Franklin, battle of, 151 ff.
Franklin, Benjamin, 245

G

Georgia, cession of territory by, 239
Gettysburg, campaign of, 132 ff.
Goldsborough, surrender of Johnston's army at, 183
Goodell, Dr. Wm., 212
Grant, Gen. U.S., captures Fort Donelson, 99;
and the Vicksburg campaign, 134;
and the Chattanooga campaign, 136;
commander of the armies, 137 ff.;
suggested for the Presidency, 157;
declines to consider terms of peace, 171;
at Appomattox, 177 ff.;
at Goldsborough, 184 ff.
Greeley, Horace, 105
Greene, Frank V., on Lincoln, 106

H

Halleck, Gen. H.W., 103
Hallowell, Col. Norwood, 116
Hamilton, Alexander, 245
Hancock, Gen. W.S., 127
Harper's Ferry, 124;
John Brown's raid at, 254
Helper, H.R., the "Impending Crisis" of, 258
Hewitt, Abram S., 99 ff.
Higginson, Col. T.W., 116
Hood, Gen. John B., 151 ff.
Hooker, Gen. Joseph, 107, 127, 130 ff., 137

I

Intervention of France and England threatened, 122

J

Jefferson, Thomas, on emancipation, 257
Johnston, Gen. Joseph E., 138, 151, 169, 183 ft.

K

King, Rufus, 241
Knoxville, siege of, 137

L

Lee, Gen. Robert E. and the Antietam campaign, 122;
and the campaign of Gettysburg, 130 ff.;
and the defence of Virginia, 137 ff.;
proposes treaty of peace, 171;
defeated at Five Forks, 171;
at Appomattox, 171
Libby prison, Presidential election in, 158;
mortality in, 159;
record of, 189 ff.
Lincoln, Abraham, and Hewitt, A.S., 100 ff.;
writes to "Master Crocker", 113;
as commander-in-chief, 103 ff.;
and the death penalty for soldiers, 119;
campaign methods of McClellan, 125 ff.;
letter of, appointing Hooker, 128;
to Grant on the fall of Vicksburg, 134;
address of, at Gettysburg, 134;
letter of, to Mrs. Bixby, 152;
re-election of, as President, 157;
and the exchange of prisoners, 158 ff.;
and the control of the administration, 160;
and the Peace Conference of Feb., 1865, 162 ff.;
second inaugural of, 169 ff.;
last public address of, 178;
death of, 181;
and the proposed capture of Jefferson Davis, 188;
death of, reported to the army at Goldsborough, 190;
comparison of, with Washington and Jackson, 195 ff.;
Cooper Union address of, 205 ff.;
writes to Nott, 225 ff.
Lincoln, Robert, on the Cooper Union address, 209
Longstreet, Gen. James, 133, 137
Lookout Mountain, battle of, 137
Louisiana, purchase of, 240
Lowell on Lincoln, 202

M

Maximilian, Prince, and the invasion of Mexico, 156
McClellan, Gen. George B. 102 ff.;
and the Antietam campaign, 122 ff.;
ordered to report to New Jersey, 126
Meade, Gen. Geo. G., 127, 131
Mifflin, Thomas, 237
Milliken's Bend, battle of, 118
Minnesota, troops from, 165;
university of, 167
Missionary Ridge, battle of, 137
Mississippi, organisation of the Territory of, 240
Missouri, admission of, 241
Missouri Compromise, the, 31, 38
Monocacy Creek, battle of, 143
Morgan, Gen. John, 177
Morris, Gouverneur, 245

N

Napoleon, Louis, and the invasion of Mexico, 156
Nashville, battle of, 151 ff.
_Nation_, the London, on the character of Lincoln, 198 ff.
New Orleans, capture of, 111 ff.
Nineteenth Army Corps and Early's raid, 145
North Carolina, cession of territory by, 239
Northwestern Territory, the, of the U.S., 237
Nott, Chas. C.,
introduction to the Cooper Union address, 215 ff.;
letter of, to Lincoln, 224 ff.
Noyes, Wm. Curtis, 212

O

Ordinance of 1787, 238 ff.

P

Pea Ridge, battle of, 108
Peace Conference of Feb., 1865, 162
Pickett, Gen. G.E., 133
Pinckney, Charles, 241 ff.
Pope, Gen. John, 103, 122
Port Hudson, surrender of, 112
Presidential election in Libby prison, 158
Prisoners, the exchange of, 158
Putnam, George Palmer, and the Cooper Union address, 212

R

Reagan, Postmaster-general, at Goldsborough, 184
Reconstruction, Lincoln's views on, 180 ff.
Republican party, the, and slavery in the Territories, 249 ff.
Republican Union, the Young Men's, 223, 232
Reynolds, Gen. J.T., 127
Rosecrans, Gen. Wm. S., and the Chattanooga campaign, 136
Rutledge, John, 245

S

Schechter, Rabbi, on the character of Lincoln, 200
Schofield, Gen. Geo. W., 152
Schurz, Carl, on the character of Lincoln, 201
Seward, W.H., 64, 160
Sharp's breech-loaders introduced in 1864, 146
Shaw, Col. R.G., 116
Shenandoah, campaign in the valley of the, 149
Sheridan, Gen. Philip,
in the Shenandoah, 149 ff.;
wins battle of Five Forks, 171
Sherman, Roger, 237
Sherman, Gen. Wm. T.,
at Missionary Ridge, 137;
captures Atlanta, 151;
and the Georgia planter, 164;
passes by Charleston, 169;
at Goldsborough, 183 ff.
Sigel, Gen. Franz, 108
Smith, Gen. Kirby, surrender of, 191
Soldiers authorised to vote in presidential election, 152
Southampton, insurrection at, 256
South Mountain, battle of the, 124
Stanton, Edwin, M., 65, 101 ff., 185
Stephens, Alexander H., and the Peace Conference of Feb., 1865, 162 ff.
Sumter, Fort, restoration of the flag on, 182

T

Taylor, Gen. Richard, surrender of, 191
Thomas. Gen. Geo. H., 136

V

Vicksburg, surrender of, 112, 134

W

Wallace, Gen. Lew, 143
Washington assailed by Early, 142 ff.
Washington, George, and the
Ordinance of 1787, 239;
Farewell Address of, 252;
the example of, 266
Weitzel, Gen. Godfrey, 119
Whittier on Lincoln, 201
Wilderness, battle of the, 140 ff.
Williamson, Hugh, 237
Wilmington, capture of, 167
Winchester, third battle of, 149
Winder, Gen., and the management of the Southern prisons, 190
Wisconsin, troops from, 165
Wisewell, Col. F.H., 144 ff.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: This letter has not been published. It is cited here
through the courtesy of Mr. Robert Lincoln and Mr. R.W. Gilder.]

[Footnote 2: The text of the speech, as revised by Lincoln and with the
introduction and notes by Nott and Brainerd, is given as an appendix to
this volume.]

[Footnote 3: The late George Palmer Putnam.]

[Footnote 4:--The Constitution is attested September 17, 1787. It was
ratified by all of the States, excepting North Carolina and Rhode
Island, in 1788, and went into operation on the first Wednesday in
January, 1789. The first Congress proposed, in 1789, ten articles of
amendments, all of which were ratified. Article XI. of the amendments
was prepared by the Third Congress, in 1794, and Article XII. by the
Eighth Congress, in 1803. Another Article was proposed by the Eleventh
Congress, prohibiting _citizens_ from receiving titles of nobility,
presents or offices, from foreign nations. Although this has been
printed as one of the amendments, it was in fact never ratified, being
approved by but twelve States. _Vide_ Message of President Monroe, Feb.
4, 1818.]

[Footnote 5:--The Convention consisted of _sixty-five_ members. Of
these, _ten_ did not attend the Convention, and _sixteen_ did not sign
the Constitution. Of these sixteen, six refused to sign, and published
their reasons for so refusing, _viz._: Robert Yates and John Lansing, of
New-York; Edmund Randolph and George Mason, of Virginia; Luther Martin,
of Maryland, and Elbridge Gerry, of Mass. Alexander Hamilton alone
subscribed for New-York, and Rhode Island was not represented in the
Convention. The names of the "thirty-nine," and the States which they
represented are subsequently given.]

[Footnote 6:--The cession of Territory was authorized by New-York, Feb.
19, 1780; by Virginia, January 2, 1781, and again, (without certain
conditions at first imposed,) "at their sessions, begun on the 20th day
of October, 1783;" by Mass., Nov. 13, 1784; by Conn., May----, 1786; by
S. Carolina, March 8, 1787; by N. Carolina, Dec.----, 1789; and by
Georgia at some time prior to April, 1802.

The deeds of cession were executed by New-York, March 1, 1781; by
Virginia, March 1, 1784; by Mass., April 19, 1785; by Conn., Sept. 13,
1786; by S. Carolina, August 9, 1787; by N. Carolina, Feb. 25, 1790; and
by Georgia, April 24, 1802. Five of these grants were therefore made
before the adoption of the Constitution, and one afterward; while the
sixth (North Carolina) was authorized before, and consummated afterward.
The cession of this State contains the express proviso "that no
regulations made, or to be made by Congress, shall tend to emancipate
slaves." The cession of Georgia conveys the Territory subject to the
Ordinance of '87, except the provision prohibiting slavery.

These dates are also interesting in connection with the extraordinary
assertions of Chief Justice Taney, (19 How., page 434,) that "the
example of Virginia was soon afterwards followed by other States," and
that (p. 436) the power in the Constitution "to dispose of and make all
needful rules and regulations respecting the Territory or other property
belonging to the United States," was intended only "to transfer to the
new Government the property then held in common," "and has no reference
whatever to any Territory or other property which the new sovereignty
might afterwards itself acquire." On this subject, _vide Federalist_,
No. 43, sub. 4 and 5.]

[Footnote 7:--Sherman was from Connecticut; Mifflin from Penn.;
Williamson from North Carolina, and M'Henry from Maryland.]

[Footnote 8:--What Mr. M'Henry's views were, it seems impossible to
ascertain. When the Ordinance of '87 was passed he was sitting in the
Convention. He was afterwards appointed Secretary of War; yet no record
has thus far been discovered of his opinion. Mr. M'Henry also wrote a
biography of La Fayette, which, however, cannot be found in any of the
public libraries, among which may be mentioned the State Library at
Albany, and the Astor, Society, and Historical Society Libraries, at New
York.

Hamilton says of him, in a letter to Washington _(Works_, vol. vi., p.
65): "M'Henry you know. He would give no strength to the Administration,
but he would not disgrace the office; his views are good."]

[Footnote 9:--William Blount was from North Carolina, and William Few
from Georgia--the two States which afterward ceded their Territory to
the United States. In addition to these facts the following extract from
the speech of Rufus King in the Senate, on the Missouri Bill, shows the
entire unanimity with which the Southern States approved the
prohibition:

"The State of Virginia, which ceded to the United States her claims to
this Territory, consented, by her delegates in the Old Congress, to this
Ordinance. Not only Virginia, but North Carolina, South Carolina, and
Georgia, by the unanimous votes of their delegates in the Old Congress,
approved of the Ordinance of 1787, by which Slavery is forever abolished
in the Territory northwest of the river Ohio. Without the votes of these
States, the Ordinance could not have been passed; and there is no
recollection of an opposition from any of these States to the act of
confirmation passed under the actual Constitution."]

[Footnote 10:--"The famous Ordinance of Congress of the 13th July, 1787,
which has ever since constituted, in most respects, the model of all our
territorial governments, and is equally remarkable for the brevity and

Book of the day: