Infomotions, Inc.Abraham Lincoln / Charnwood, Godfrey Rathbone Benson, Baron, 1864-1945



Author: Charnwood, Godfrey Rathbone Benson, Baron, 1864-1945
Title: Abraham Lincoln
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Title: Abraham Lincoln

Author: Lord Charnwood

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*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ABRAHAM LINCOLN ***




Produced by Al Haines










ABRAHAM LINCOLN


BY LORD CHARNWOOD





GARDEN CITY, NEW YORK

GARDEN CITY PUBLISHING CO., INC.




COPYRIGHT, 1917

BY

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY




GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE

Statesmen--even the greatest--have rarely won the same unquestioning
recognition that falls to the great warriors or those supreme in
science, art or literature.  Not in their own lifetime and hardly to
this day have the claims to supremacy of our own Oliver Cromwell,
William III. and Lord Chatham rested on so sure a foundation as those
of a Marlborough or a Nelson, a Newton, a Milton or a Hogarth.  This is
only natural.  A warrior, a man of science, an artist or a poet are
judged in the main by definite achievements, by the victories they have
won over foreign enemies or over ignorance and prejudice, by the joy
and enlightenment they have brought to the consciousness of their own
and succeeding generations.  For the statesman there is no such exact
measure of greatness.  The greater he is, the less likely is his work
to be marked by decisive achievement which can be recalled by
anniversaries or signalised by some outstanding event: the chief work
of a great statesman rests in a gradual change of direction given to
the policy of his people, still more in a change of the spirit within
them.  Again, the statesman must work with a rough and ready
instrument.  The soldier finds or makes his army ready to yield
unhesitating obedience to his commands, the sailor animates his fleet
with his own personal touch, and the great man in art, literature or
science is master of his material, if he can master himself.  The
statesman cannot mould a heterogeneous people, as the men of a
well-disciplined army or navy can be moulded, to respond to his call
and his alone.  He has to do all his work in a society of which a large
part cannot see his object and another large part, as far as they do
see it, oppose it.  Hence his work at the best is often incomplete and
he has to be satisfied with a rough average rather than with his ideal.

Lincoln, one of the few supreme statesmen of the last three centuries,
was no exception to this rule.  He was misunderstood and underrated in
his lifetime, and even yet has hardly come to his own.  For his place
is among the great men of the earth.  To them he belongs by right of
his immense power of hard work, his unfaltering pursuit of what seemed
to him right, and above all by that childlike directness and simplicity
of vision which none but the greatest carry beyond their earliest
years.  It is fit that the first considered attempt by an Englishman to
give a picture of Lincoln, the great hero of America's struggle for the
noblest cause, should come at a time when we in England are passing
through as fiery a trial for a cause we feel to be as noble.  It is a
time when we may learn much from Lincoln's failures and success, from
his patience, his modesty, his serene optimism and his eloquence, so
simple and so magnificent.

BASIL WILLIAMS.

BISCOT CAMP,

LUTON,

March, 1916.




  CONTENTS

  GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE


  CHAP.

  I. BOYHOOD OF LINCOLN

  II. THE GROWTH OF THE AMERICAN NATION
      1. The Formation of a National Government
      2. Territorial Expansion
      3. The Growth of the Practice and Traditions of the Union Government
      4. The Missouri Compromise
      5. Leaders, Parties, and Tendencies in Lincoln's Youth
      6. Slavery and Southern Society
      7. Intellectual Development

  III. LINCOLN'S EARLY CAREER
      1. Life at New Salem
      2. In the Illinois Legislature
      3. Marriage

  IV. LINCOLN IN CONGRESS AND IN RETIREMENT
      1. The Mexican War and Lincoln's Work in Congress
      2. California and the Compromise of 1850
      3. Lincoln in Retirement
      4. The Repeal of the Missouri Compromise

  V. THE RISE OF LINCOLN
      1. Lincoln's Return to Public Life
      2. The Principles and the Oratory of Lincoln
      3. Lincoln against Douglas
      4. John Brown
      5. The Election of Lincoln as President


  VI. SECESSION
      1. The Case of the South against the Union
      2. The Progress of Secession
      3. The Inauguration of Lincoln
      4. The Outbreak of War

  VII. THE CONDITIONS OF THE WAR

  VIII. THE OPENING OF THE WAR AND LINCOLN'S ADMINISTRATION
      1. Preliminary Stages of the War
      2. Bull Run
      3. Lincoln's Administration Generally
      4. Foreign Policy and England
      5. The Great Questions of Domestic Policy

  IX. THE DISASTERS OF THE NORTH
      1. Military Policy of the North
      2. The War in the West up to May, 1862
      3. The War in the East up to May, 1863

  X. EMANCIPATION

  XI. THE APPROACH OF VICTORY
      1. The War to the End of 1863
      2. Conscription and the Politics of 1863
      3. The War in 1864
      4. The Second Election of Lincoln: 1864

  XII. THE END

  BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

  CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

  INDEX




ABRAHAM LINCOLN


CHAPTER I

BOYHOOD OF LINCOLN

The subject of this memoir is revered by multitudes of his countrymen
as the preserver of their commonwealth.  This reverence has grown with
the lapse of time and the accumulation of evidence.  It is blended with
a peculiar affection, seldom bestowed upon the memory of statesmen.  It
is shared to-day by many who remember with no less affection how their
own fathers fought against him.  He died with every circumstance of
tragedy, yet it is not the accident of his death but the purpose of his
life that is remembered.

Readers of history in another country cannot doubt that the praise so
given is rightly given; yet any bare record of the American Civil War
may leave them wondering why it has been so unquestioningly accorded.
The position and task of the American President in that crisis cannot
be understood from those of other historic rulers or historic leaders
of a people; and it may seem as if, after that tremendous conflict in
which there was no lack of heroes, some perverse whim had made men
single out for glory the puzzled civil magistrate who sat by.  Thus
when an English writer tells again this tale, which has been well told
already and in which there can remain no important new facts to
disclose, he must endeavour to make clear to Englishmen circumstances
and conditions which are familiar to Americans.  He will incur the
certainty that here and there his own perspective of American affairs
and persons will be false, or his own touch unsympathetic.  He had
better do this than chronicle sayings and doings which to him and to
those for whom he writes have no significance.  Nor should the writer
shrink too timidly from the display of a partisanship which, on one
side or the other, it would be insensate not to feel.  The true
obligation of impartiality is that he should conceal no fact which, in
his own mind, tells against his views.

Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States of America,
was born on February 12, 1809, in a log cabin on a barren farm in the
backwoods of Kentucky, about three miles west of a place called
Hodgensville in what is now La Rue County.

Fifty years later when he had been nominated for the Presidency he was
asked for material for an account of his early life.  "Why," he said,
"it is a great folly to attempt to make anything out of me or my early
life.  It can all be condensed into a single sentence; and that
sentence you will find in Gray's 'Elegy':--

  "'The short and simple annals of the poor.'

That's my life, and that's all you or anyone else can make out of it."
His other references to early days were rare.  He would repeat queer
reminiscences of the backwoods to illustrate questions of state; but of
his own part in that old life he spoke reluctantly and sadly.
Nevertheless there was once extracted from him an awkward
autobiographical fragment, and his friends have collected and recorded
concerning his earlier years quite as much as is common in great men's
biographies or can as a rule be reproduced with its true associations.
Thus there are tales enough of the untaught student's perseverance, and
of the boy giant's gentleness and prowess; tales, too, more than enough
in proportion, of the fun which varied but did not pervade his
existence, and of the young rustic's occasional and somewhat oafish
pranks.  But, in any conception we may form as to the growth of his
mind and character, this fact must have its place, that to the man
himself the thought of his early life was unattractive, void of
self-content over the difficulties which he had conquered, and void of
romantic fondness for vanished joys of youth.

Much the same may be said of his ancestry and family connections.
Contempt for lowly beginnings, abhorrent as it is to any honest mind,
would to Lincoln's mind have probably been inconceivable, but he lacked
that interest in ancestry which is generally marked in his countrymen,
and from talk of his nearer progenitors he seems to have shrunk with a
positive sadness of which some causes will soon be apparent.  Since his
death it has been ascertained that in 1638 one Samuel Lincoln of
Norwich emigrated to Massachusetts.  Descent from him could be claimed
by a prosperous family in Virginia, several of whom fought on the
Southern side in the Civil War.  One Abraham Lincoln, grandfather of
the President and apparently a grandson of Samuel, crossed the
mountains from Virginia in 1780 and settled his family in Kentucky, of
which the nearer portions had recently been explored.  One morning four
years later he was at work near his cabin with Mordecai, Josiah, and
Thomas, his sons, when a shot from the bushes near by brought him down.
Mordecai ran to the house, Josiah to a fort, which was close to them.
Thomas, aged six, stayed by his father's body.  Mordecai seized a gun
and, looking through the window, saw an Indian in war paint stooping to
pick up Thomas.  He fired and killed the savage, and, when Thomas had
run into the cabin, continued firing at others who appeared among the
bushes.  Shortly Josiah returned with soldiers from the fort, and the
Indians ran off, leaving Abraham the elder dead.  Mordecai, his
heir-at-law, prospered.  We hear of him long after as an old man of
substance and repute in Western Illinois.  He had decided views about
Indians.  The sight of a redskin would move him to strange excitement;
he would disappear into the bushes with his gun, and his conscience as
a son and a sportsman would not be satisfied till he had stalked and
shot him.  We are further informed that he was a "good old man."
Josiah also moved to Illinois, and it is pleasant to learn that he also
was a good old man, and, as became a good old man, prospered pretty
well.  But President Lincoln and his sister knew neither these
excellent elders nor any other of their father's kin.

And those with whom the story of his own first twenty-one years is
bound up invite almost as summary treatment.  Thomas Lincoln never
prospered like Mordecai and Josiah, and never seems to have left the
impress of his goodness or of anything else on any man.  But, while
learning to carpenter under one Joseph Hanks, he married his employer's
niece Nancy, and by her became the father first of a daughter Sarah,
and four years later, at the farm near Hodgensville aforesaid, of
Abraham, the future President.  In 1816, after several migrations, he
transported his household down the Ohio to a spot on the Indiana shore,
near which the village of Gentryville soon sprang up.  There he abode
till Abraham was nearly twenty-one.  When the boy was eight his mother
died, leaving him in his sister's care; but after a year or so Thomas
went back alone to Kentucky and, after brief wooing, brought back a
wife, Sarah, the widow of one Mr. Johnston, whom he had courted vainly
before her first marriage.  He brought with her some useful additions
to his household gear, and her rather useless son John Johnston.
Relatives of Abraham's mother and other old neighbours--in particular
John and Dennis Hanks--accompanied all the family's migrations.
Ultimately, in 1830, they all moved further west into Illinois.
Meanwhile Abraham from an early age did such various tasks for his
father or for neighbouring farmers as from time to time suited the
father.  When an older lad he was put for a while in charge of a ferry
boat, and this led to the two great adventures of his early days,
voyages with a cargo boat; and two mates down by river to New Orleans.
The second and more memorable of these voyages was just after the
migration to Illinois.  He returned from it to a place called New
Salem, in Illinois, some distance from his father's new farm, in
expectation of work in a store which was about to be opened.  Abraham,
by this time, was of age, and in accordance with custom had been set
free to shift for himself.

Each of these migrations was effected with great labour in
transportation of baggage (sometimes in home-made boats), clearing of
timber, and building; and Thomas Lincoln cannot have been wanting in
the capacity for great exertions.  But historians have been inclined to
be hard on him.  He seems to have been without sustained industry; in
any case he had not much money sense and could not turn his industry to
much account.  Some hint that he drank, but it is admitted that most
Kentucky men drank more.  There are indications that he was a dutiful
but ineffective father, chastising not too often or too much, but
generally on the wrong occasion.  He was no scholar and did not
encourage his son that way; but he had a great liking for stories.  He
was of a peaceable and inoffensive temper, but on great provocation
would turn on a bully with surprising and dire consequences.  Old
Thomas, after Abraham was turned loose, continued a migrant, always
towards a supposed better farm further west, always with a mortgage on
him.  Abraham, when he was a struggling professional man, helped him
with money as well as he could.  We have his letter to the old man on
his death-bed, a letter of genuine but mild affection with due words of
piety.  He explains that illness in his own household makes it
impossible for him to pay a last visit to his father, and then, with
that curious directness which is common in the families of the poor and
has as a rule no sting, he remarks that an interview, if it had been
possible, might have given more pain than pleasure to both.  Everybody
has insisted from the first how little Abraham took after his father,
but more than one of the traits attributed to Thomas will certainly
reappear.

Abraham, as a man, when for once he spoke of his mother, whom he very
seldom mentioned, spoke with intense feeling for her motherly care.  "I
owe," he said, "everything that I am to her."  It pleased him in this
talk to explain by inheritance from her the mental qualities which
distinguished him from the house of Lincoln, and from others of the
house of Hanks.  She was, he said, the illegitimate daughter of a
Virginian gentleman, whose name he did not know, but from whom as he
guessed the peculiar gifts, of which he could not fail to be conscious,
were derived.

Sarah his sister was married at Gentryville to one Mr. Grigsby.  The
Grigsbys were rather great people, as people went in Gentryville.  It
is said to have become fixed in the boy's mind that the Grigsbys had
not treated Sarah well; and this was the beginning of certain woes.

Sarah Bush Lincoln, his stepmother, was good to him and he to her.
Above all she encouraged him in his early studies, to which a fretful
housewife could have opposed such terrible obstacles.  She lived to
hope that he might not be elected President for fear that enemies
should kill him, and she lived to have her fear fulfilled.  His
affectionate care over her continued to the end.  She lived latterly
with her son John Johnston.  Abraham's later letters to this companion
of his youth deserve to be looked up in the eight large volumes called
his Works, for it is hard to see how a man could speak or act better to
an impecunious friend who would not face his own troubles squarely.  It
is sad that the "ever your affectionate brother" of the earlier letters
declines to "yours sincerely" in the last; but it is an honest decline
of affection, for the man had proved to be cheating his mother, and
Abraham had had to stop it.

Two of the cousinhood, Dennis Hanks, a character of comedy, and John
Hanks, the serious and steady character of the connection, deserve
mention.  They and John Johnston make momentary reappearances again.
Otherwise the whole of Abraham Lincoln's kindred are now out of the
story.  They have been disposed of thus hastily at the outset, not
because they were discreditable or slight people, but because Lincoln
himself when he began to find his footing in the world seems to have
felt sadly that his family was just so much to him and no more.  The
dearest of his recollections attached to premature death; the next to
chronic failure.  Rightly or wrongly (and we know enough about heredity
now to expect any guess as to its working in a particular case to be
wrong) he attributed the best that he had inherited to a licentious
connection and a nameless progenitor.  Quite early he must have been
intensely ambitious, and discovered in himself intellectual power; but
from his twelfth year to his twenty-first there was hardly a soul to
comprehend that side of him.  This chill upon his memory unmistakably
influenced the particular complexion of his melancholy.  Unmistakably
too he early learnt to think that he was odd, that his oddity was
connected with his strength, that he might be destined to stand alone
and capable of so standing.

The life of the farming pioneer in what was then the Far West afforded
a fair prospect of laborious independence.  But at least till Lincoln
was grown up, when a time of rapid growth and change set in, it offered
no hope of quickly gotten wealth, and it imposed severe hardship on
all.  The country was thickly wooded; the settler had before him at the
outset heavy toil in clearing the ground and in building some rude
shelter,--a house or just a "half-faced camp," that is, a shed with one
side open to the weather such as that in which the Lincoln family
passed their first winter near Gentryville.  The site once chosen and
the clearing once made, there was no such ease of cultivation or such
certain fertility as later settlers found yet further west when the
development of railways, of agricultural machinery, and of Eastern or
European markets had opened out to cultivation the enormous stretches
of level grass plain beyond the Mississippi.

Till population had grown a good deal, pioneer families were largely
occupied in producing for themselves with their own hands what, in
their hardy if not always frugal view, were the necessities and
comforts of life.  They had no Eastern market for their produce, for
railways did not begin to be made till 1840, and it was many years
before they crossed the Eastern mountains.  An occasional cargo was
taken on a flat-bottomed boat down the nearest creek, as a stream is
called in America, into the Ohio and so by the innumerable windings of
the Mississippi to New Orleans; but no return cargo could be brought up
stream.  Knives and axes were the most precious objects to be gained by
trade; woollen fabrics were rare in the West, when Lincoln was born,
and the white man and woman, like the red whom they had displaced, were
chiefly dressed in deer skins.  The woods abounded in game, and in the
early stages of the development of the West a man could largely support
himself by his gun.  The cold of every winter is there great, and an
occasional winter made itself long remembered, like the "winter of the
deep snow" in Illinois, by the havoc of its sudden onset and the
suffering of its long duration.  The settling of a forest country was
accompanied here as elsewhere by the occasional ravages of strange and
destructive pestilences and the constant presence of malaria.
Population was soon thick enough for occasional gatherings, convivial
or religious, and in either case apt to be wild, but for long it was
not thick enough for the life of most settlers to be other than lonely
as well as hard.

Abraham Lincoln in his teens grew very fast, and by nineteen he was
nearly six foot four.  His weight was never quite proportionate to
this.  His ungainly figure, with long arms and large hands and
relatively small development of chest, and the strange deep-cut
lineaments of his face were perhaps the evidence of unfit (sometimes
insufficient) food in these years of growth.  But his muscular strength
was great, and startling statistical tales are told of the weight he
could lift and the force of his blows with a mallet or an axe.  To a
gentle and thoughtful boy with secret ambition in him such strength is
a great gift, and in such surroundings most obviously so.  Lincoln as a
lad was a valuable workman at the varied tasks that came his way,
without needing that intense application to manual pursuits which the
bent of his mind made irksome to him.  And he was a person of high
consideration among the lads of his age and company.  The manners of
the people then settling in Indiana and Illinois had not the extreme
ferocity for which Kentucky had earlier been famous, and which crops up
here and there in frontier life elsewhere.  All the same, as might
naturally be supposed, they shared Plato's opinion that youths and men
in the prime of life should settle their differences with their fists.
Young Lincoln's few serious combats were satisfactorily decisive, and
neither they nor his friendly wrestling bouts ended in the quarrels
which were too common among his neighbours.  Thus, for all his
originality and oddity, he early grew accustomed to mix in the sort of
company he was likely to meet, without either inward shrinking or the
need of conscious self-assertion.

In one thing he stood aloof from the sports of his fellows.  Most
backwoodsmen were bred to the gun; he has told us that he shot a turkey
when he was eight and never afterwards shot at all.  There is an early
tale of his protests against an aimless slaughter of mud turtles; and
it may be guessed that the dislike of all killing, which gave him sore
trouble later, began when he was young.  Tales survive of his kindness
to helpless men and animals.  It marks the real hardness of his
surroundings, and their hardening effect on many, that his exertions in
saving a drunken man from death in the snow are related with apparent
surprise.  Some tales of his helping a pig stuck in a bog or a dog on
an ice floe and the like seem to indicate a curious and lasting trait.
These things seem not to have been done spontaneously, but on mature
reflection after he had passed unheeding by.  He grew to be a man of
prompt action in circumstances of certain kinds; but generally his
impulse was slow and not very sure.  Taste and the minor sensibilities
were a little deficient in him.  As a lady once candidly explained to
him, he was not ready with little gracious acts.  But rare occasions,
such as can arouse a passionate sense of justice, would kindle his
slow, kind nature with a sudden fire.

The total amount of his schooling, at the several brief periods for
which there happened to have been a school accessible and facility to
get to it, was afterwards computed by himself at something under twelve
months.  With this slight help distributed over the years from his
eighth to his fifteenth birthday he taught himself to read, write, and
do sums.  The stories of the effort and painful shifts, by which great
men accomplish this initial labour almost unhelped, have in all cases
the same pathos, and have a certain sameness in detail.  Having learnt
to read he had the following books within his reach: the Bible,
"Aesop's Fables," "Robinson Crusoe," the "Pilgrim's Progress," a
"History of the United States," and Weems' "Life of Washington."  Later
on the fancy took him to learn the laws of his State, and he obtained
the "Laws of Indiana."  These books he did read, and read again, and
pondered, not with any dreamy or purely intellectual interest, but like
one who desires the weapon of learning for practical ends, and desires
also to have patterns of what life should be.  As already said, his
service as a labourer could be considerable, and when something stirred
his ambition to do a task quickly his energy could be prodigious.  But
"bone idle is what I called him," was the verdict long after of one,
perhaps too critical, employer.  "I found him," he said, "cocked up on
a haystack with a book.  'What are you reading?' I said.  'I'm not
reading, I'm studying,' says he.  'What are you studying?' says I.
'Law,' says he, as proud as Cicero.  'Great God Almighty!' said I."
The boy's correction, "studying" for "reading," was impertinent, but
probably sound.  To be equally sound, we must reckon among his
educational facilities the abundant stories which came his way in a
community which, however unlettered, was certainly not dull-spirited;
the occasional newspaper; the rare lectures or political meetings; the
much more frequent religious meetings, with preachers who taught a grim
doctrine, but who preached with vigour and sometimes with the deepest
sincerity; the hymns often of great emotional power over a simple
congregation--Cowper's "There is a fountain filled with blood," is one
recorded favourite among them; the songs, far other than hymns, which
Dennis Hanks and his other mates would pick up or compose; and the
practice in rhetoric and the art of exposition, which he unblushingly
afforded himself before audiences of fellow labourers who welcomed the
jest and the excuse for stopping work.  The achievement of the
self-taught man remains wonderful, but, if he surmounts his
difficulties at all, some of his limitations may turn to sheer
advantage.  There is some advantage merely in being driven to make the
most of few books; great advantage in having one's choice restricted by
circumstances to good books; great advantage too in the consciousness
of untrained faculty which leaves a man capable in mature life of
deliberately undertaking mental discipline.

Along with the legends and authentic records of his self-training,
signs of an ambition which showed itself early and which was from the
first a clean and a high ambition, there are also other legends showing
Lincoln as a naughty boy among naughty boys.  The selection here made
from these lacks refinement, and the reader must note that this was
literally a big, naughty boy, not a man who had grown stiff in
coarseness and ill-nature.  First it must be recalled that Abraham bore
a grudge against the Grigsbys, an honourable grudge in its origin and
perhaps the only grudge he ever bore.  There had arisen from this a
combat, of which the details might displease the fastidious, but which
was noble in so far that Abraham rescued a weaker combatant who was
over-matched.  But there ensued something more displeasing, a series of
lampoons by Abraham, in prose and a kind of verse.  These were gross
and silly enough, though probably to the taste of the public which he
then addressed, but it is the sequel that matters.  In a work called
"The First Chronicles of Reuben," it is related how Reuben and Josiah,
the sons of Reuben Grigsby the elder, took to themselves wives on the
same day.  By local custom the bridal feast took place and the two
young couples began their married careers under the roof of the
bridegrooms' father.  Moreover, it was the custom that, at a certain
stage in the celebrations, the brides should be escorted to their
chambers by hired attendants who shortly after conducted the
bridegrooms thither.  On this occasion some sense of mischief afoot
disturbed the heart of Mrs. Reuben Grigsby the elder, and, hastening
upstairs, just after the attendants had returned, she cried out in a
loud voice and to the great consternation of all concerned, "Why,
Reuben, you're in bed with the wrong wife!"  The historian who, to the
manifest annoyance of Lincoln's other biographers, has preserved this
and much other priceless information, infers that Abraham, who was not
invited to the feast, had plotted this domestic catastrophe and won
over the attendants to his evil purpose.  This is not a certain
inference, nor is it absolutely beyond doubt that the event recorded in
"The First Chronicles of Reuben" ever happened at all.  What is certain
is that these Chronicles themselves, composed in what purports to be
the style of Scripture, were circulated for the joint edification of
the proud race of Grigsby and of their envious neighbours in the
handwriting of Abraham Lincoln, then between seventeen and eighteen.
Not without reason does an earlier manuscript of the same author
conclude, after several correct exercises in compound subtraction, with
the distich:--

  "Abraham Lincoln, his hand and pen,
  He will be good, but God knows when."


Not to be too solemn about a tale which has here been told for the
whimsical fancy of its unseemliness and because it is probably the
worst that there is to tell, we may here look forward and face the
well-known fact that the unseemliness in talk of rough, rustic boys
flavoured the great President's conversation through life.  It is well
to be plain about this.  Lincoln was quite without any elegant and
sentimental dissoluteness, such as can be attractively portrayed.  His
life was austere and seems to have been so from the start.  He had that
shy reverence for womanhood which is sometimes acquired as easily in
rough as in polished surroundings and often quite as steadily
maintained.  The testimony of his early companions, along with some
fragments of the boy's feeble but sincere attempts at verse, shows that
he acquired it young.  But a large part of the stories and pithy
sayings for which he was famous wherever he went, but of which when
their setting is lost it is impossible to recover the enjoyment, were
undeniably coarse, and naturally enough this fact was jarring to some
of those in America who most revered him.  It should not really be
hard, in any comprehensive view of his character and the circumstances
in which it unfolded itself, to trace in this bent of his humour
something not discordant with the widening sympathy and deepening
tenderness of his nature.  The words of his political associate in
Illinois, Mr. Leonard Swett, afterwards Attorney-General of the United
States, may suffice.  He writes: "Almost any man, who will tell a very
vulgar story, has, in a degree, a vulgar mind.  But it was not so with
him; with all his purity of character and exalted morality and
sensibility, which no man can doubt, when hunting for wit he had no
ability to discriminate between the vulgar and refined substances from
which he extracted it.  It was the wit he was after, the pure jewel,
and he would pick it up out of the mud or dirt just as readily as from
a parlour table."  In any case his best remembered utterances of this
order, when least fit for print, were both wise and incomparably witty,
and in any case they did not prevent grave gentlemen, who marvelled at
them rather uncomfortably, from receiving the deep impression of what
they called his pure-mindedness.

One last recollection of Lincoln's boyhood has appealed, beyond any
other, to some of his friends as prophetic of things to come.  Mention
has already been made of his two long trips down the Mississippi.  With
the novel responsibilities which they threw on him, and the novel
sights and company which he met all the way to the strange, distant
city of New Orleans, they must have been great experiences.  Only two
incidents of them are recorded.  In the first voyage he and his mates
had been disturbed at night by a band of negro marauders and had had a
sharp fight in repelling them, but in the second voyage he met with the
negro in a way that to him was more memorable.  He and the young
fellows with him saw, among the sights of New Orleans, negroes chained,
maltreated, whipped and scourged; they came in their rambles upon a
slave auction where a fine mulatto girl was being pinched and prodded
and trotted up and down the room like a horse to show how she moved,
that "bidders might satisfy themselves," as the auctioneer said, of the
soundness of the article to be sold.  John Johnston and John Hanks and
Abraham Lincoln saw these sights with the unsophisticated eyes of
honest country lads from a free State.  In their home circle it seems
that slavery was always spoken of with horror.  One of them had a
tenacious memory and a tenacious will.  "Lincoln saw it," John Hanks
said long after, and other men's recollections of Lincoln's talk
confirmed him--"Lincoln saw it; his heart bled; said nothing much, was
silent.  I can say, knowing it, that it was on this trip that he formed
his opinion of slavery.  It ran its iron into him then and there, May,
1831.  I have heard him say so often."  Perhaps in other talks old John
Hanks dramatised his early remembrances a little; he related how at the
slave auction Lincoln said, "By God, boys, let's get away from this.
If ever I get a chance to hit that thing, I'll hit it hard."

The youth, who probably did not express his indignation in these
prophetic words, was in fact chosen to deal "that thing" a blow from
which it seems unlikely to recover as a permitted institution among
civilised men, and it is certain that from this early time the thought
of slavery never ceased to be hateful to him.  Yet it is not in the
light of a crusader against this special evil that we are to regard
him.  When he came back from this voyage to his new home in Illinois he
was simply a youth ambitious of an honourable part in the life of the
young country of which he was proud.  We may regard, and he himself
regarded, the liberation of the slaves, which will always be associated
with his name, as a part of a larger work, the restoration of his
country to its earliest and noblest tradition, which alone gave
permanence or worth to its existence as a nation.




CHAPTER II

THE GROWTH OF THE AMERICAN NATION

1. _The Formation of a National Government_.

It is of course impossible to understand the life of a politician in
another country without study of its conditions and its past.  In the
case of America this study is especially necessary, not only because the
many points of comparison between that country and our own are apt to
conceal profound differences of customs and institutions, but because the
broader difference between a new country and an old is in many respects
more important than we conceive.  But in the case of Lincoln there is
peculiar reason for carrying such a study far back.  He himself appealed
unceasingly to a tradition of the past.  In tracing the causes which up
to his time had tended to conjoin the United States more closely and the
cause which more recently had begun to threaten them with disruption, we
shall be examining the elements of the problem with which it was his work
in life to deal.

The "Thirteen United States of America" which in 1776 declared their
independence of Great Britain were so many distinct Colonies distributed
unevenly along 1,300 miles of the Atlantic coast.  These thirteen
Colonies can easily be identified on the map when it is explained that
Maine in the extreme north was then an unsettled forest tract claimed by
the Colony of Massachusetts, that Florida in the extreme south belonged
to Spain, and that Vermont, which soon after asserted its separate
existence, was a part of the State of New York.  Almost every one of
these Colonies had its marked peculiarities and its points of antagonism
as against its nearest neighbours; but they fell into three groups.  We
may broadly contrast the five southernmost, which included those which
were the richest and of which in many ways the leading State was
Virginia, with the four (or later six) northernmost States known
collectively as New England.  Both groups had at first been colonised by
the same class, the smaller landed gentry of England with a sprinkling of
well-to-do traders, though the South received later a larger number of
poor and shiftless immigrants than the North, and the North attracted a
larger number of artisans.  The physical conditions of the South led to
the growth of large farms, or "plantations" as they were called, and of a
class of large proprietors; negro slaves thrived there and were useful in
the cultivation of tobacco, indigo, rice, and later of cotton.  The North
continued to be a country of small farms, but its people turned also to
fishery and to commerce, and the sea carrying trade became early its
predominant interest, yielding place later on to manufacturing
industries.  The South was attached in the main, though by no means
altogether, to the Church of England; New England owed its origin to
successive immigrations of Puritans often belonging to the Congregational
or Independent body; with the honourable exception of Rhode Island these
communities showed none of the liberal and tolerant Spirit which the
Independents of the old country often developed; they manifested,
however, the frequent virtues as well as the occasional defects of the
Puritan character.  The middle group of Colonies were of more mixed
origin; New York and New Jersey had been Dutch possessions, Delaware was
partly Swedish, Pennsylvania had begun as a Quaker settlement but
included many different elements; in physical and economic conditions
they resembled on the whole New England, but they lacked, some of them
conspicuously, the Puritan discipline, and had a certain cosmopolitan
character.  Though there were sharp antagonisms among the northern
settlements, and the southern settlements were kept distinct by the great
distances between them, the tendency of events was to soften these minor
differences.  But it greatly intensified one broad distinction which
marked off the southern group from the middle and the northern groups
equally.

Nevertheless, before independence was thought of there were common
characteristics distinguishing Americans from English people.  They are
the better worth an attempt to note them because, as a historian of
America wrote some years ago, "the typical American of 1900 is on the
whole more like his ancestor of 1775 than is the typical Englishman."  In
all the Colonies alike the conditions of life encouraged personal
independence.  In all alike they also encouraged a special kind of
ability which may be called practical rather than thorough--that of a
workman who must be competent at many tasks and has neither opportunity
nor inducement to become perfect at one; that of the scientific man
irresistibly drawn to inventions which shall make life less hard; that of
the scholar or philosopher who must supply the new community's need of
lawyers and politicians.

On the other hand, many of the colonists' forefathers had come to their
new home with distinct aspirations for a better ordering of human life
than the old world allowed, and it has frequently been noticed that
Americans from the first have been more prone than their kinsmen in
England to pay homage to large ideal conceptions.  This is a disposition
not entirely favourable to painstaking and sure-footed reform.  The
idealist American is perhaps too ready to pay himself with fine words,
which the subtler and shyer Englishman avoids and rather too readily sets
down as insincere in others.  Moreover, this tendency is quite consistent
with the peculiar conservatism characteristic of America.  New conditions
in which tradition gave no guidance called forth great inventive powers
and bred a certain pride in novelty.  An American economist has written
in a sanguine humour, "The process of transplanting removes many of the
shackles of custom and tradition which retard the progress of older
countries.  In a new country things cannot be done in the old way, and
therefore they are probably done in the best way."  But a new country is
always apt to cling with tenacity to those old things for which it still
has use; and a remote and undeveloped country does not fully share the
continual commerce in ideas which brings about change (and, in the main,
advance) in the old world.  The conservatism which these causes tend to
produce has in any case been marked in America.  Thus, as readers of
Lowell are aware, in spite of the ceaseless efflorescence of the modern
slang of America, the language of America is in many respects that of an
older England than ours, and the like has all along been true of
important literature, and still more of oratory, in America.  Moreover,
as the sentences which have just been quoted may suggest, the maxim that
has once hit the occasion, or the new practice or expedient once
necessitated by the conditions of the moment, has been readily hallowed
as expressing the wisdom of the ages.  An Englishman will quote Burke as
he would quote Demosthenes or Plato, but Americans have been apt to quote
their elder statesmen as they would quote the Bible.  In like manner
political practices of accidental origin--for instance, that a
representative should be an inhabitant of the place he
represents--acquire in America something like the force of constitutional
law.

In this connection we must recall the period at which the earliest
settlers came from England, and the political heritage  which they
consequently brought with them.  This heritage included a certain
aptitude for local government, which was fostered in the south by the
rise of a class of large landowners and in the north by the
Congregational Church system.  It included also a great tenacity of the
subject's rights as against the State--the spirit of Hampden refusing
payment of ship-money--and a disposition to look on the law and the
Courts as the bulwarks of such rights against Government.  But it did not
include--and this explains the real meaning of the War of
Independence--any sort of feeling of allegiance to a Parliament which
represented Great Britain only, and which had gained its position even in
Great Britain since the fathers of Virginia and Massachusetts left home.
Nor did it include--and this was of great importance in its influence on
the form of the Constitution--any real understanding of or any aptitude
for the English Parliamentary Government, under which the leaders of the
legislative body and the advisers of the Crown in its executive functions
are the same men, and under which the elected persons, presumed for the
moment to represent the people, are allowed for that moment an almost
unfettered supremacy.

Thus there was much that made it easy for the Colonies to combine in the
single act of repudiating British sovereignty, yet the characteristics
which may be ascribed to them in common were not such as inclined them or
fitted them to build up a great new unity.

The Colonies, however, backed up by the British Government with the
vigour which Chatham imparted to it, had acted together against a common
danger from the French.  When the States, as we must now call them, acted
together against the British Government they did so in name as "United
States," and they shortly proceeded to draw up "Articles of Confederation
and Perpetual Union."  But it was union of a feeble kind.  The separate
government of each State, in its internal affairs, was easy to provide
for; representative institutions always existed, and no more change was
needed than to substitute elected officers for the Governors and
Councillors formerly appointed by the Crown.  For the Union a Congress
was provided which was to represent all the States in dealings with the
outside world, but it was a Government with no effective powers except
such as each separate State might independently choose to lend it.  It
might wage war with England, but it could not effectually control or
regularly pay the military service of its own citizens; it might make a
treaty of peace with England, but it could not enforce on its citizens
distasteful obligations of that treaty.  Such an ill-devised machine
would have worked well enough for a time, if the Union Government could
have attached to itself popular sentiments of honour and loyalty.  But
the sentiments were not there; and it worked badly.

When once we were reconciled to a defeat which proved good for us, it
became a tradition among English writers to venerate the American
Revolution.  Later English historians have revolted from this
indiscriminate veneration.  They insist on another side of the facts: on
the hopelessness of the American cause but for the commanding genius of
Washington and his moral authority, and for the command which France and
Spain obtained of the seas; on the petty quarrelsomeness with which the
rights of the Colonists were urged, and the meanly skilful agitation
which forced on the final rupture; on the lack of sustained patriotic
effort during the war; on the base cruelty and dishonesty with which the
loyal minority were persecuted and the private rights guaranteed by the
peace ignored.  It does not concern us to ascertain the precise justice
in this displeasing picture; no man now regrets the main result of the
Revolution, and we know that a new country is a new country, and that
there was much in the circumstances of the war to encourage indiscipline
and ferocity.  But the fact that there is cause for such an indictment
bears in two ways upon our present subject.

In the first place, there has been a tendency both in England and in
America to look at this history upside down.  The epoch of the Revolution
and the Constitution has been regarded as a heroic age--wherein lived the
elder Brutus, Mucius Scaevola, Claelia and the rest--to be followed by
almost continuous disappointment, disillusionment and decline.  A more
pleasing and more bracing view is nearer to the historic truth.  The
faults of a later time were largely survivals, and the later history is
largely that of growth though in the face of terrific obstacles and many
influences that favoured decay.  The nobility of the Revolution in the
eighteenth century may be rated higher or lower, but in the Civil War, in
which the elder brothers of so many men now living bore their part, the
people of the North and of the South alike displayed far more heroic
qualities.

In the second place, the War of Independence and of the Revolution lacked
some of the characteristics of other national uprisings.  It was not a
revolt against grievous oppression or against a wholly foreign
domination, but against a political system which the people mildly
resented and which only statesmen felt to be pernicious and found to be
past cure.  The cause appealed to far-seeing political aspiration and
appealed also to turbulent and ambitious spirits and to whatever was
present of a merely revolutionary temper, but the ordinary law-abiding
man who minded his own business was not greatly moved one way or the
other in his heart.

The subsequent movement which, in a few years after independence was
secured, gave the United States a national and a working Constitution was
altogether the work of a few, to which popular movement contributed
nothing.  Of popular aspiration for unity there was none.  Statesmen knew
that the new nation or group of nations lay helpless between pressing
dangers from abroad and its own financial difficulties.  They saw clearly
that they must create a Government of the Union which could exercise
directly upon the individual American citizen an authority like that of
the Government of his own State.  They did this, but with a reluctant and
half-convinced public opinion behind them.

The makers of the Constitution earned in a manner the full praise that
has ever since been bestowed on them.  But they did not, as it has often
been suggested they did, create a sort of archetype and pattern for all
Governments that may hereafter partake of a federal character.  Nor has
the curious machine which they devised--with its balanced opposition
between two legislative chambers, between the whole Legislature and the
independent executive power of the President, between the governing power
of the moment and the permanent expression of the people's will embodied
in certain almost unalterable laws--worked conspicuously better than
other political constitutions.  The American Constitution owes its
peculiarities partly to the form which the State Governments had
naturally taken, and partly to sheer misunderstanding of the British
Constitution, but much more to the want at the time of any strong sense
of national unity and to the existence of a good deal of dislike to all
government whatsoever.  The sufficient merit of its founders was that of
patient and skilful diplomatists, who, undeterred by difficulties, found
out the most satisfactory settlement that had a chance of being accepted
by the States.

So the Colonies, which in 1776 had declared their independence of Great
Britain under the name of the United States of America, entered in 1789
into the possession of machinery of government under which their unity
and independence could be maintained.

It will be well at once to describe those features of the Constitution
which it will be necessary for us later to bear in mind.  It is generally
known that the President of the United States is an elected
officer--elected by what operates, though intended to act otherwise, as a
popular vote.  During the four years of his office he might roughly be
said to combine the functions of the King in this country and those of a
Prime Minister whose cabinet is in due subjection to him.  But that
description needs one very important qualification.  He wields, with
certain slight restrictions, the whole executive power of government, but
neither he nor any of his ministers can, like the ministers of our King,
sit or speak in the Legislature, nor can he, like our King, dissolve that
Legislature.  He has indeed a veto on Acts of Congress, which can only be
overridden by a large majority in both Houses.  But the executive and the
legislative powers in America were purposely so constituted as to be
independent of each other to a degree which is unknown in this country.

It is perhaps not very commonly understood that President and Congress
alike are as strictly fettered in their action by the Constitution as a
limited liability company is by its Memorandum of Association.  This
Constitution, which defines both the form of government and certain
liberties of the subject, is not unalterable, but it can be altered only
by a process which requires both the consent of a great majority in
Congress or alternatively of a great majority of the legislatures of the
distinct States composing the Union, and also ratification of amendments
by three-fourths of the several States.  Thus we shall have to notice
later that a "Constitutional Amendment" abolishing slavery became a
terror of the future to many people in the slave States, but remained all
the time an impossibility in the view of most people in the free States.

We have, above all things, to dismiss from our minds any idea that the
Legislature of a State is subordinate to the Congress of the United
States, or that a State Governor is an officer under the President.  The
Constitution of the Union was the product of a half-developed sense of
nationality.  Under it the State authority (in the American sense of
"State") and the Union or Federal authority go on side by side working in
separate spheres, each subject to Constitutional restrictions, but each
in its own sphere supreme.  Thus the State authority is powerless to make
peace or war or to impose customs duties, for those are Federal matters.
But the Union authority is equally powerless, wherever a State authority
has been constituted, to punish ordinary crime, to promote education, or
to regulate factories.  In particular, by the Constitution as it stood
till after the Civil War, the Union authority was able to prohibit the
importation of slaves from abroad after the end of 1807, but had no power
to abolish slavery itself in any of the States.

Further, Congress had to be constituted in such a manner as to be
agreeable to the smaller States which did not wish to enter into a Union
in which their influence would be swamped by their more populous
neighbours.  Their interest was secured by providing that in the Senate
each State should have two members and no more, while in the House of
Representatives the people of the whole Union are represented according
to population.  Thus legislation through Congress requires the
concurrence of two forces which may easily be opposed, that of the
majority of American citizens and that of the majority of the several
States.  Of the two chambers, the Senate, whose members are elected for
six years, and to secure continuity do not all retire at the same time,
became as time went on, though not at first, attractive to statesmen of
position, and acquired therefore additional influence.

Lastly, the Union was and is still the possessor of Territories not
included in any State, and in the Territories, whatever subordinate
self-government they might be allowed, the Federal authority has always
been supreme and uncontrolled in all matters.  But as these Territories
have become more settled and more populated, portions of them have
steadily from the first been organised as States and admitted to the
Union.  It is for Congress to settle the time of their admission and to
make any conditions in regard to their Constitutions as States.  But when
once admitted as States they have thenceforward the full rights of the
original States.  Within all the Territories, while they remained under
its jurisdiction it lay with Congress to determine whether slavery should
be lawful or not, and, when any portion of them was ripe for admission to
the Union as a State, Congress could insist that the new State's
Constitution should or should not prohibit slavery.  When the
Constitution of the Union was being settled, slavery was the subject of
most careful compromise; but in any union formed between slave States and
free, a bitter root of controversy must have remained, and the opening
through which controversy actually returned was provided by the
Territories.

On all other matters the makers of the Constitution had in the highest
temper of statesmanship found a way round seemingly insuperable
difficulties.   The whole attitude of "the fathers" towards slavery is a
question of some consequence to a biographer of Lincoln, and we shall
return to it in a little while.


2. _Territorial Expansion_.

A machine of government had been created, and we are shortly to consider
how it was got to work.  But the large dominion to be governed had to be
settled, and its area was about to undergo an enormous expansion.  It
will be convenient at this point to mark the stages of this development.

The thirteen Colonies had, when they first revolted, definite western
boundaries, the westernmost of them reaching back from the sea-board to a
frontier in the Alleghany Mountains.  But at the close of the war Great
Britain ceded to the United States the whole of the inland country up to
the Mississippi River.  Virginia had in the meantime effectively
colonised Kentucky to the west of her, and for a time this was treated as
within her borders.  In a similar way Tennessee had been settled from
North and South Carolina and was treated as part of the former.  Virginia
had also established claims by conquest north of the Ohio River in what
was called the North-West Territory, but these claims and all similar
claims of particular States in unsettled or half-settled territory were
shortly before or shortly after the adoption of the Constitution ceded to
the Union Government.  But the dominions of that Government soon received
a vast accession.  In 1803, by a brave exercise of the Constitutional
powers which he was otherwise disposed to restrict jealously, President
Jefferson bought from Napoleon I. the great expanse of country west of
the Mississippi called Louisiana.  This region in the extreme south was
no wider than the present State of Louisiana, but further north it
widened out so as to take in the whole watershed of the Missouri and its
tributaries, including in the extreme north nearly all the present State
of Montana.  In 1819 Florida was purchased from Spain, and that country
at the same time abandoned its claims to a strip of coastland which now
forms the sea-board of Alabama and Mississippi.

Such was the extent of the United States when Lincoln began his political
life.  In the movement of population by which this domain was being
settled up, different streams may be roughly distinguished.  First, there
was from 1780 onwards a constant movement of the poorer class and of
younger sons of rich men from the great State of Virginia and to some
extent from the Carolinas into Kentucky and Tennessee, whence they often
shifted further north into Indiana and Illinois, or sometimes further
west into Missouri.  It was mainly a movement of single families or
groups of families of adventurous pioneers, very sturdy, and very
turbulent.  Then there came the expansion of the great plantation
interest in the further South, carrying with it as it spread, not
occasional slaves as in Kentucky and Tennessee, but the whole plantation
system.  This movement went not only directly westward, but still more by
the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi, into the State of Louisiana,
where a considerable French population had settled, the State of
Mississippi, and later into Missouri.  Later still came the westward
movement from the Northern States.  The energies of the people in these
States had at first been to great extent absorbed by sea-going pursuits
and the subjugation of their own rugged soil, so that they reached
western regions like Illinois rather later than did the settlers from
States further south.  Ultimately, as their manufactures grew,
immigration from Europe began its steady flow to these States, and the
great westward stream, which continuing in our days has filled up the
rich lands of the far North-West, grew in volume.  But want of natural
timber and other causes hindered the development of the fertile prairie
soil in the regions beyond the upper Mississippi, till the period of
railway development, which began about 1840, was far advanced.  Illinois
was Far West in 1830, Iowa and Minnesota continued to be so in 1860.  The
Northerners, when they began to move westward, came in comparatively
large numbers, bringing comparatively ordered habits and the full
machinery of outward civilisation with them.  Thus a great social change
followed upon their arrival in the regions to which only scattered
pioneers such as the Lincolns had previously penetrated.  In Illinois,
with which so much of our story is bound up, the rapidity of that change
may be estimated from the fact that the population of that State
multiplied sevenfold between the time when Lincoln settled there and the
day when he left it as President.

The concluding stages by which the dominions of the United States came to
be as we know them were: the annexation by agreement in 1846 of the
Republic of Texas, which had separated itself from Mexico and which
claimed besides the great State of Texas a considerable territory
reaching north-west to the upper portions of the Arkansas River; the
apportionment to the Union by a delimitation treaty with Great Britain in
1846 of the Oregon Territory, including roughly the State of that name
and the rest of the basin of the Columbia River up to the present
frontier--British Columbia being at the same time apportioned to Great
Britain; the conquest from Mexico in 1848 of California and a vast
mountainous tract at the back of it; the purchase from Mexico of a small
frontier strip in 1853; and the acquisition at several later times of
various outlying dependencies which will in no way concern us.


3. _The Growth of the Practice and Traditions of the Union Government_.

We must turn back to the internal growth of the new united nation.  When
the Constitution had been formed and the question of its acceptance by
the States had been at last settled, and when Washington had been
inaugurated as the first President under it, a wholly new conflict arose
between two parties, led by two Ministers in the President's Cabinet,
Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.  Both were potent and remarkable
men, Hamilton in all senses a great man.  These two men, for all their
antagonism, did services to their country, without which the vigorous
growth of the new nation would not have been possible.

The figure of Alexander Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury (ranked
by Talleyrand with Fox and Napoleon as one of the three great men he had
known), must fascinate any English student of the period.  If his name is
not celebrated in the same way in the country which he so eminently
served, it is perhaps because in his ideas, as in his origin, he was not
strictly American.  As a boy, half Scotch, half French Huguenot, from the
English West Indian island of Nevis, he had been at school in New York
when his speeches had some real effect in attaching that city to the
cause of Independence.  He had served brilliantly in the war, on
Washington's staff and with his regiment.  He had chivalrously defended,
as an advocate and in other ways, the Englishmen and loyalists against
whose cause he fought.  He had induced the great central State of New
York to accept the Constitution, when the strongest local party would
have rejected it and made the Union impossible.  As Washington's
Secretary of the Treasury he organised the machinery of government,
helped his chief to preserve a strong, upright and cautious foreign
policy at the critical point of the young Republic's infancy, and
performed perhaps the greatest and most difficult service of all in
setting the disordered finances of the country upon a sound footing.  In
early middle age he ended a life, not flawless but admirable and lovable,
in a duel, murderously forced upon him by one Aaron Burr.  This man, who
was an elegant profligate, with many graces but no public principle, was
a claimant to the Presidency in opposition to Hamilton's greatest
opponent, Jefferson; Hamilton knowingly incurred a feud which must at the
best have been dangerous to him, by unhesitatingly throwing his weight
upon the side of Jefferson, his own ungenerous rival.  The details of his
policy do not concern us, but the United States could hardly have endured
for many years without the passionate sense of the need of government and
the genius for actual administration with which Hamilton set the new
nation on its way.  Nevertheless--so do gifts differ--the general spirit
which has on the whole informed the American nation and held it together
was neither respected nor understood by him.  His party, called the
Federalists, because they claimed to stand for a strong and an efficient
Federal Government, did not survive him long.  It is of interest to us
here only because, with its early disappearance, there ceased for ever to
be in America any party whatsoever which in any sense represented
aristocratic principles or leanings.

The fate of Jefferson's party (at first called Republican but by no means
to be confused with the Republican party which will concern us later) was
far different, for the Democratic party, represented by the President of
the United States at this moment, claims to descend from it in unbroken
apostolic succession.  But we need not pause to trace the connecting
thread between them, real as it is, for parties are not to be regarded as
individuals.  Indeed the personality of Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of
State in Washington's Cabinet, impressed itself, during his life and long
after, upon all America more than that of any other man.  Democrats
to-day have described Lincoln, who by no means belonged to their party,
as Jefferson's spiritual heir; and Lincoln would have welcomed the
description.

No biographer has achieved an understanding presentment of Jefferson's
curious character, which as presented by unfriendly critics is an
unpleasing combination of contrasting elements.  A tall and active
fellow, a good horseman and a good shot, living through seven years of
civil war, which he had himself heralded in, without the inclination to
strike a blow; a scholar, musician, and mathematician, without delicacy,
elevation, or precision of thought or language; a man of intense
ambition, without either administrative capacity or the courage to assert
himself in counsel or in debate; a dealer in philanthropic sentiment,
privately malignant and vindictive.  This is not as a whole a credible
portrait; it cannot stand for the man as his friends knew him; but there
is evidence for each feature of it, and it remains impossible for a
foreigner to think of Jefferson and not compare him to his disadvantage
with the antagonist whom he eclipsed.  By pertinacious industry, however,
working chiefly through private correspondence, he constructed a great
party, dominated a nation, and dominated it mainly for good.  For the
rapid and complete triumph of Jefferson's party over its opponents
signifies a very definite and lasting conversion of the main stream of
American public opinion to what may be called the sane element in the
principles of the French Revolution.  At the time when he set himself to
counterwork Hamilton, American statesmanship was likely to be directed
only to making Government strong and to ensuring the stability of the
business world; for reaction against the bloody absurdities that had
happened in France was strong in America, and in English thought, which
still had influence in America, it was all-powerful.  Against this he
asserted an intense belief in the value of freedom, in the equal claim of
men of all conditions to the consideration of government, and in the
supreme importance to government of the consenting mind of the governed.
And he made this sense so definitely a part of the national stock of
ideas that, while the older-established principles of strong and sound
government were not lost to sight, they were consciously rated as
subordinate to the principles of liberty.

It must not be supposed that the ascendency thus early acquired by what
may be called liberal opinions in America was a matter merely of setting
some fine phrases in circulation, or of adopting, as was early done in
most States, a wide franchise and other external marks of democracy.  We
may dwell a little longer on the unusual but curiously popular figure of
Jefferson, for it illustrates the spirit with which the commonwealth
became imbued under his leadership.  He has sometimes been presented as a
man of flabby character whose historical part was that of intermediary
between impracticable French "philosophes" and the ruffians and swindlers
that Martin Chuzzlewit encountered, who were all "children of liberty,"
and whose "boastful answer to the Despot and the Tyrant was that their
bright home was in the Settin' Sun."  He was nothing of the kind.  His
judgment was probably unsound on the questions of foreign policy on which
as Secretary of State he differed from Washington, and he leaned, no
doubt, to a jealous and too narrow insistence upon the limits set by the
Constitution to the Government's power.  But he and his party were
emphatically right in the resistance which they offered to certain
needless measures of coercion.  As President, though he was not a great
President, he suffered the sensible course of administration originated
by his opponent to continue undisturbed, and America owed to one bold and
far-seeing act of his the greatest of the steps by which her territory
was enlarged.  It is, however, in the field of domestic policy, which
rested with the States and with which a President has often little to do,
that the results of his principles must be sought.  Jefferson was a man
who had worked unwearyingly in Virginia at sound, and what we should now
call conservative, reforms, establishing religious toleration, reforming
a preposterous land law, seeking to provide education for the poor,
striving unsuccessfully for a sensible scheme of gradual emancipation of
the slaves.  In like manner his disciples after him, in their several
States, devoted themselves to the kind of work in removing manifest
abuses and providing for manifest new social needs in which English
reformers like Romilly and Bentham, and the leaders of the first reformed
Parliament, were to be successful somewhat later.  The Americans who so
exasperated Dickens vainly supposed themselves to be far ahead of England
in much that we now consider essential to a well-ordered nation.  But
there could have been no answer to Americans of Jefferson's generation if
they had made the same claim.

It is with this fact in mind that we should approach the famous words of
Jefferson which echoed so long with triumphant or reproachful sound in
the ears of Americans and to which long after Lincoln was to make a
memorable appeal.  The propaganda which he carried on when the
Constitution had been adopted was on behalf of a principle which he had
enunciated as a younger man when he drafted the Declaration of
Independence.  That document is mainly a rehearsal of the colonists'
grievances, and is as strictly lawyerlike and about as fair or unfair as
the arguments of a Parliamentarian under Charles I.  But the
argumentation is prefaced with these sounding words: "We hold these
truths to be self-evident:--that all men are created equal; that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among
these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That to secure
these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed."  Few propositions outside the
Bible have offered so easy a mark to the shafts of unintelligently clever
criticism.

Jefferson, when he said that "all men are created equal," and the Tory
Dr. Johnson, when he spoke of "the natural equality of man," used a
curious eighteenth century phrase, of which a Greek scholar can see the
origin; but it did not mean anything absurd, nor, on the other hand, did
it convey a mere platitude.  It should not be necessary to explain, as
Lincoln did long after, that Jefferson did not suppose all men to be of
equal height or weight or equally wise or equally good.  He did, however,
contend for a principle of which one elementary application is the law
which makes murder the same crime whatever be the relative positions of
the murderer and the murdered man.  Such a law was indeed firmly rooted
in England before Jefferson talked of equality, but it amazed the rest of
Europe when the House of Lords hanged a peer for the murder of his
servant.  There are indefinitely many further ways in which men who are
utterly unequal had best be treated as creatures equally entitled to the
consideration of government and of their neighbours.  It is safer to
carry this principle too far than not to carry it far enough.  If
Jefferson had expressed this and his cognate principle of liberty with
scientific precision, or with the full personal sincerity with which a
greater man like Lincoln expressed it, he would have said little from
which any Englishman to-day would dissent.  None the less he would have
enunciated a doctrine which most Governments then existing set at naught
or proscribed, and for which Hamilton and the prosperous champions of
independence who supported him had no use.

The Declaration of Independence was not a very candid State paper, and
the popularity Jefferson afterwards created for its sentiments was not
wholly free from humbug.  Many men were more ready to think themselves
the equals of Washington or Hamilton in the respects in which they were
not so, than to think a negro their own equal in the respects in which he
was.  The boundless space and untrammelled conditions of the new world
made liberty and equality in some directions highly attainable ideals, so
much so that they seemed to demand little effort or discipline.  The
patriotic orators under whom Lincoln sat in his youth would ascribe to
the political wisdom of their great democracy what was really the result
of geography.  They would regard the extent of forest and prairie as
creditable to themselves, just as some few Englishmen have regarded our
location upon an island.

This does not, however, do away with the value of that tradition of the
new world which in its purest and sincerest form became part and parcel
of Lincoln's mind.  Jefferson was a great American patriot.  In his case
insistence on the rights of the several States sprang from no
half-hearted desire for a great American nation; he regarded these
provincial organisations as machinery by which government and the people
could be brought nearer together; and he contributed that which was most
needed for the evolution of a vigorous national life.  He imparted to the
very recent historical origin of his country, and his followers imparted
to its material conditions, a certain element of poetry and the felt
presence of a wholesome national ideal.  The patriotism of an older
country derives its glory and its pride from influences deep rooted in
the past, creating a tradition of public and private action which needs
no definite formula.  The man who did more than any other to supply this
lack in a new country, by imbuing its national consciousness--even its
national cant--with high aspiration, did--it may well be--more than any
strong administrator or constructive statesman to create a Union which
should thereafter seem worth preserving.


4. _The Missouri Compromise_.

No sober critic, applying to the American statesmen of the first
generation the standards which he would apply to their English
contemporaries, can blame them in the least because they framed their
Constitution as best they could and were not deterred by the scruples
which they felt about slavery from effecting a Union between States
which, on all other grounds except their latent difference upon slavery,
seemed meant to be one.  But many of these men had set their hands in the
Declaration of Independence to the most unqualified claim of liberty and
equality for all men and proceeded, in the Constitution, to give nineteen
years' grace to "that most detestable sum of all villainies," as Wesley
called it, the African slave trade, and to impose on the States which
thought slavery wrong the dirty work of restoring escaped slaves to
captivity.  "Why," Dr. Johnson had asked, "do the loudest yelps for
liberty come from the drivers of slaves?"  We are forced to recognise,
upon any study of the facts, that they could not really have made the
Union otherwise than as they did; yet a doubt presents itself as to the
general soundness and sincerity of their boasted notions of liberty.
Now, later on we shall have to understand the policy as to slavery on
behalf of which Lincoln stepped forward as a leader.  In his own
constantly reiterated words it was a return to the position of "the
fathers," and, though he was not a professional historian, it concerns us
to know that there was sincerity at least in his intensely historical
view of politics.  We have, then, to see first how "the fathers"--that
is, the most considerable men among those who won Independence and made
the Constitution--set out with a very honest view on the subject of
slavery, but with a too comfortable hope of its approaching end, which
one or two lived to see frustrated; secondly, how the men who succeeded
them were led to abandon such hopes and content themselves with a
compromise as to slavery which they trusted would at least keep the
American nation in being.

Among those who signed the Declaration of Independence there were
presumably some of Dr. Johnson's "yelpers."  It mattered more that there
were sturdy people who had no idea of giving up slavery and probably did
not relish having to join in protestations about equality.  Men like
Jefferson ought to have known well that their associates in South
Carolina and Georgia in particular did not share their aspirations--the
people of Georgia indeed were recent and ardent converts to the slave
system.  But these sincere and insincere believers in slavery were the
exceptions; their views did not then seem to prevail even in the greatest
of the slave States, Virginia.  Broadly speaking, the American opinion on
this matter in 1775 or in 1789 had gone as far ahead of English opinion,
as English opinion had in turn gone ahead of American, when, in 1833, the
year after the first Reform Bill, the English people put its hand into
its pocket and bought out its own slave owners in the West Indies.  The
British Government had forced several of the American Colonies to permit
slavery against their will, and only in 1769 it had vetoed, in the
interest of British trade, a Colonial enactment for suppressing the slave
trade.  This was sincerely felt as a part, though a minor part, of the
grievance against the mother country.  So far did such views prevail on
the surface that a Convention of all the Colonies in 1774 unanimously
voted that "the abolition of domestic slavery is the greatest object of
desire in those Colonies where it was unhappily introduced in their
infant state.  But previous to the enfranchisement of the slaves in law,
it is necessary to exclude all further importation from Africa."  It was
therefore very commonly assumed when, after an interval of war which
suspended such reforms, Independence was achieved, that slavery was a
doomed institution.

Those among the "fathers" whose names are best known in England,
Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Hamilton, were
all opponents of slavery.  These include the first four Presidents, and
the leaders of very different schools of thought.  Some of them,
Washington and Jefferson at least, had a few slaves of their own.
Washington's attitude to his slaves is illustrated by a letter which he
wrote to secure the return of a black attendant of Mrs. Washington's who
had run away (a thing which he had boasted could never occur in his
household); the runaway was to be brought back if she could be persuaded
to return; her master's legal power to compel her was not to be used.
She was in fact free, but had foolishly left a good place; and there is
no reason to suppose that it was otherwise with Jefferson's slaves.
Jefferson's theory was vehemently against slavery.  In old age he gave up
hope in the matter and was more solicitous for union than for liberty,
but this was after the disappointment of many efforts.  In these efforts
he had no illusory notion of equality; he wrote in 1791, when he had been
defeated in the attempt to carry a measure of gradual emancipation in
Virginia: "Nobody wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you
exhibit, that Nature has given to our black brothers talents equal to
those of the other colours of men, and that the appearance of a want of
them is owing mainly to the degraded condition of their existence, both
in Africa and America.  I can add with truth, that nobody wishes more
ardently to see a good system commenced for raising the condition both of
their body and mind to what it ought to be, as fast as the imbecility of
their present existence and other circumstances, which cannot be
neglected, will permit."

When he felt at last that freedom was not making way, his letters, by
which his influence was chiefly exercised, abounded in passionate
regrets.  "I tremble for my country," he wrote, "when I think of the
negro and remember that God is just."  But if he is judged not by his
sentiments, or even by his efforts, but by what he accomplished, this
rhetorical champion of freedom did accomplish one great act, the first
link as it proved in the chain of events by which slavery was ultimately
abolished.  In 1784 the North-West Territory, as it was called, was ceded
by Virginia to the old Congress of the days before the Union.  Jefferson
then endeavoured to pass an Ordinance by which slavery should be excluded
from all territory that might ever belong to Congress.  In this indeed he
failed, for in part of the territory likely to be acquired slavery was
already established, but the result was a famous Ordinance of 1787, by
which slavery was for ever excluded from the soil of the North-West
Territory itself, and thus, when they came into being, the States of
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin found themselves
congenitally incapable of becoming slave States.

The further achievements of that generation in this matter were
considerable.  It must of course be understood that the holding of slaves
and the slave trade from Africa were regarded as two distinct questions.
The new Congress abolished the slave trade on the first day on which the
Constitution allowed it to do so, that is, on January 1, 1808.  The
mother country abolished it just about the same time.  But already all
but three of the States had for themselves abolished the slave trade in
their own borders.  As to slavery itself, seven of the original thirteen
States and Vermont, the first of the added States, had abolished that
before 1805.  These indeed were Northern States, where slavery was not of
importance, but in Virginia there was, or had been till lately, a growing
opinion that slavery was not economical, and, with the ignorance common
in one part of a country of the true conditions in another part, it was
natural to look upon emancipation as a policy which would spread of
itself.  At any rate it is certain fact that the chief among the men who
had made the Constitution had at that time so regarded it, and continued
to do so.  Under this belief and in the presence of many pressing
subjects of interest the early movement for emancipation in America died
down with its work half finished.

But before this happy belief expired an economic event had happened which
riveted slavery upon the South.  In 1793 Eli Whitney, a Yale student upon
a holiday in the South, invented the first machine for cleaning cotton of
its seeds.  The export of cotton jumped from 192,000 lbs. in 1791 to
6,000,000 lbs. in 1795.  Slave labour had been found, or was believed, to
be especially economical in cotton growing.  Slavery therefore rapidly
became the mainstay of wealth and of the social system in South Carolina
and throughout the far South; and in a little while the baser sort of
planters in Virginia discovered that breeding slaves to sell down South
was a very profitable form of stock-raising.

We may pass to the year 1820, when an enactment was passed by Congress
which for thirty-four years thereafter might be regarded as hardly less
fundamental than the Constitution itself.  Up till then nine new States
had been added to the original thirteen.  It was repugnant to principles
still strong in the North that these States should be admitted to the
Union with State Constitutions which permitted slavery.  On the other
hand, it was for two reasons important to the chief slave States, that
they should be.  They would otherwise be closed to Southern planters who
wished to migrate to unexhausted soil carrying with them the methods of
industry and the ways of life which they understood.  Furthermore, the
North was bound to have before long a great preponderance of population,
and if this were not neutralised by keeping the number of States on one
side and the other equal there would be a future political danger to
slavery.  Up to a certain point the North could with good conscience
yield to the South in this matter, for the soil of four of the new slave
States had been ceded to the Union by old slave States and slave-holders
had settled freely upon it; and in a fifth, Louisiana, slavery had been
safeguarded by the express stipulations of the treaty with France, which
applied to that portion, though no other, of the territory then ceded.
Naturally, then, it had happened, though without any definite agreement,
that for years past slave States and free States had been admitted to the
Union in pairs.  Now arose the question of a further portion of the old
French territory, the present State of Missouri.  A few slave-holders
with their slaves had in fact settled there, but no distinct claims on
behalf of slavery could be alleged.  The Northern Senators and members of
Congress demanded therefore that the Constitution of Missouri should
provide for the gradual extinction of slavery there.  Naturally there
arose a controversy which sounded to the aged Jefferson like "a fire-bell
in the night" and revealed for the first time to all America a deep rift
in the Union.  The Representatives of the South eventually carried their
main point with the votes of several Northern men, known to history as
the "Dough-faces," who all lost their seats at the next election.
Missouri was admitted as a slave State, Maine about the same time as a
free State; and it was enacted that thereafter in the remainder of the
territory that had been bought from France slavery should be unlawful
north of latitude 36 degrees 30 minutes, while by tacit agreement
permitted south of it.

This was the Missouri Compromise.  The North regarded it at first as a
humiliation, but learnt to point to it later as a sort of Magna Carta for
the Northern territories.  The adoption of it marks a point from which it
became for thirty-four years the express ambition of the principal
American statesmen and the tacit object, of every party manager to keep
the slavery question from ever becoming again a burning issue in
politics.  The collapse of it in 1854 was to prove the decisive event in
the career of Abraham Lincoln, aged 11 when it was passed.


5. _Leaders, Parties, and Tendencies in Lincoln's Youth_.

Just about the year 1830, when Lincoln started life in Illinois, several
distinct movements in national life began or culminated.  They link
themselves with several famous names.

The two leaders to whom, as a young politician, Lincoln owed some sort of
allegiance were Webster and Clay, and they continued throughout his long
political apprenticeship to be recognised in most of America as the great
men of their time.  Daniel Webster must have been nearly a great man.  He
was always passed over for the Presidency.  That was not so much because
of the private failings which marked his robust and generous character,
as because in days of artificial party issues, when vital questions are
dealt with by mere compromise, high office seems to belong of right to
men of less originality.  If he was never quite so great as all America
took him to be, it was not for want of brains or of honesty, but because
his consuming passion for the Union at all costs led him into the path of
least apparent risk to it.  Twice as Secretary of State (that is,
chiefly, Foreign Minister) he showed himself a statesman, but above all
he was an orator and one of those rare orators who accomplish a definite
task by their oratory.  In his style he carried on the tradition of
English Parliamentary speaking, and developed its vices yet further; but
the massive force of argument behind gave him his real power.  That power
he devoted to the education of the people in a feeling for the nation and
for its greatness.  As an advocate he had appeared in great cases in the
Supreme Court.  John Marshall, the Chief Justice from 1801 to 1835,
brought a great legal mind of the higher type to the settlement of
doubtful points in the Constitution, and his statesmanlike judgments did
much both to strengthen the United States Government and to gain public
confidence for it.  It was a memorable work, for the power of the Union
Government, under its new Constitution, lay in the grip of the Courts.
The pleading of the young Webster contributed much to this.  Later on
Webster, and a school of followers, of whom perhaps we may take "our
Elijah Pogram" to have been one, used ceremonial occasions, on which
Englishmen only suffer the speakers, for the purpose of inculcating their
patriotic doctrine, and Webster at least was doing good.  His greatest
speech, upon an occasion to which we shall shortly come, was itself an
event.  Lincoln found in it as inspiring a political treatise as many
Englishmen have discovered in the speeches and writings of Burke.

Henry Clay was a slighter but more attractive person.  He was apparently
the first American public man whom his countrymen styled "magnetic," but
a sort of scheming instability caused him after one or two trials to be
set down as an "impossible" candidate for the Presidency.  As a dashing
young man from the West he had the chief hand in forcing on the second
war with Great Britain, from 1812 to 1814, which arose out of perhaps
insufficient causes and ended in no clear result, but which, it is
probable, marked a stage in the growth of loyalty to America.  As an
older man he was famed as an "architect of compromises," for though he
strove for emancipation in his own State, Kentucky, and dreamed of a
great scheme for colonising the slaves in Africa, he was supremely
anxious to avert collision between North and South, and in this respect
was typical of his generation.  But about 1830 he was chiefly known as
the apostle of what was called the "American policy."  This was a policy
which aimed at using the powers of the national Government for the
development of the boundless resources of the country.  Its methods
comprised a national banking system, the use of the money of the Union on
great public works, and a protective tariff, which it was hoped might
chiefly operate to encourage promising but "infant" industries and to tax
the luxuries of the rich.  Whatever may have been the merits of this
policy, which made some commotion for a few years, we can easily
understand that it appealed to the imagination of young Lincoln at a time
of keen political energy on his part of which we have but meagre details.

A third celebrity of this period, in his own locality a still more
powerful man, was John Caldwell Calhoun, of South Carolina.  He enjoyed
beyond all his contemporaries the fame of an intellectual person.
Lincoln conceded high admiration to his concise and penetrating phrases.
An Englishwoman, Harriet Martineau, who knew him, has described him as
"embodied intellect."  He had undoubtedly in full measure those negative
tides to respect which have gone far in America to ensure praise from the
public and the historians; for he was correct and austere, and, which is
more, kindly among his family and his slaves.  He is credited, too, with
an observance of high principle in public life, which it might be
difficult to illustrate from his recorded actions.  But the
warmer-blooded Andrew Jackson set him down as "heartless, selfish, and a
physical coward," and Jackson could speak generously of an opponent whom
he really knew.  His intellect must have been powerful enough, but it was
that of a man who delights in arguing, and delights in elaborate
deductions from principles which he is too proud to revise; a man, too,
who is fearless in accepting conclusions which startle or repel the
vulgar mind; who is undisturbed in his logical processes by good sense,
healthy sentiment, or any vigorous appetite for truth.  Such men have
disciples who reap the disgrace which their masters are apt somehow to
avoid; they give the prestige of wisdom and high thought to causes which
could not otherwise earn them.  A Northern soldier came back wounded in
1865 and described to the next soldier in the hospital Calhoun's monument
at Charleston.  The other said: "What you saw is not the real monument,
but I have seen it.  It is the desolated, ruined South. . . .  That is
Calhoun's real monument."

This man was a Radical, and known as the successor of Jefferson, but his
Radicalism showed itself in drawing inspiration solely from the popular
catchwords of his own locality.  He adored the Union, but it was to be a
Union directed by distinguished politicians from the South in a sectional
Southern interest.  He did not originate, but he secured the strength of
orthodoxy and fashion to a tone of sentiment and opinion which for a
generation held undisputed supremacy in the heart of the South.
Americans might have seemed at this time to be united in a curiously
exultant national self-consciousness, but though there was no sharp
division of sections, the boasted glory of the one America meant to many
planters in the South the glory of their own settled and free life with
their dignified equals round them and their often contented dependents
under them.  Plain men among them doubtless took things as they were,
and, without any particular wish to change them, did not pretend they
were perfect.  But it is evident that in a widening circle of clever
young men in the South the claim of some peculiar virtue for Southern
institutions became habitual in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Their way of life was beautiful in their eyes.  It rested upon slavery.
Therefore slavery was a good thing.  It was wicked even to criticise it,
and it was weak to apologise for it or to pretend that it needed
reformation.  It was easy and it became apparently universal for the
different Churches of the South to prostitute the Word of God in this
cause.  Later on crude notions of evolution began to get about in a few
circles of advanced thought, and these lent themselves as easily to the
same purpose.  Loose, floating thoughts of this kind might have mattered
little.  Calhoun, as the recognised wise man of the old South,
concentrated them and fastened them upon its people as a creed.
Glorification of "our institution at the South" became the main principle
of Southern politicians, and any conception that there may ever have been
of a task for constructive statesmanship, in solving the negro problem,
passed into oblivion under the influence of his revered reasoning faculty.

But, of his dark and dangerous sort, Calhoun was an able man.  He foresaw
early that the best weapon of the common interest of the slave States lay
in the rights which might be claimed for each individual State against
the Union.  The idea that a discontented State might secede from the
Union was not novel--it had been mooted in New England, during the last
war against Great Britain, and, curiously enough, among the rump of the
old Federalist party, but it was generally discounted.  Calhoun first
brought it into prominence, veiled in an elaborate form which some
previous South Carolinian had devised.  The occasion had nothing to do
with slavery.  It concerned Free Trade, a very respectable issue, but so
clearly a minor issue that to break up a great country upon it would have
gone beyond the limit of solemn frivolity, and Calhoun must be taken to
have been forging an implement with which his own section of the States
could claim and extort concessions from the Union.  A protective tariff
had been passed in 1828.  The Southern States, which would have to pay
the protective duties but did not profit by them, disliked it.  Calhoun
and others took the intelligible but too refined point, that the powers
of Congress under the Constitution authorised a tariff for revenue but
not a tariff for a protective purpose.  Every State, Calhoun declared,
must have the Constitutional right to protect itself against an Act of
Congress which it deemed unconstitutional.  Let such a State, in special
Convention, "nullify" the Act of Congress.  Let Congress then, unless it
compromised the matter, submit its Act to the people in the form of an
Amendment to the Constitution.  It would then require a three-fourths
majority of all the States to pass the obnoxious Act.  Last but not
least, if the Act was passed, the protesting State had, Calhoun claimed,
the right to secede from the Union.

Controversy over this tariff raged for fully four years, and had a
memorable issue.  In the course of 1830 the doctrine of "nullification"
and "secession" was discussed in the Senate, and the view of Calhoun was
expounded by one Senator Hayne.  Webster answered him in a speech which
he meant should become a popular classic, and which did become so.  He
set forth his own doctrine of the Union and appealed to national against
State loyalty in the most influential oration that was perhaps ever made.
"His utterance," writes President Wilson, "sent a thrill through all the
East and North which was unmistakably a thrill of triumph.  Men were glad
because of what he had said.   He had touched the national
self-consciousness, awakened it, and pleased it with a morning vision of
its great tasks and certain destiny."  Later there came in the President,
the redoubtable Andrew Jackson, the most memorable President between
Jefferson and Lincoln.  He said very little--only, on Jefferson's
birthday he gave the toast, "Our Federal Union; it must be preserved."
But when in 1832, in spite of concessions by Congress, a Convention was
summoned in South Carolina to "nullify" the tariff, he issued the
appropriate orders to the United States Army, in case such action was
carried out, and it is understood that he sent Calhoun private word that
he would be the first man to be hanged for treason.  Nullification
quietly collapsed.  The North was thrilled still more than by Webster's
oratory, and as not a single other State showed signs of backing South
Carolina, it became thenceforth the fixed belief of the North that the
Union was recognised as in law indissoluble, as Webster contended it was.
None the less the idea of secession had been planted, and planted in a
fertile soil.

General Andrew Jackson, whose other great achievements must now be told,
was not an intellectual person, but his ferocious and, in the literal
sense, shocking character is refreshing to the student of this period.
He had been in his day the typical product of the West--a far wilder West
than that from which Lincoln later came.  Originally a lawyer, he had won
martial fame in fights with Indians and in the celebrated victory over
the British forces at New Orleans.  He was a sincere Puritan; and he had
a courtly dignity of manner; but he was of arbitrary and passionate
temper, and he was a sanguinary duellist.  His most savage duels, it
should be added, concerned the honour of a lady whom he married
chivalrously, and loved devotedly to the end.  The case that can be made
for his many arbitrary acts shows them in some instances to have been
justifiable, and shows him in general to have been honest.

When in 1824 Jackson had expected to become President, and, owing to
proceedings which do not now matter, John Quincy Adams, son of a former
President, and himself a remarkable man, was made President instead of
him, Jackson resolved to overthrow the ruling class of Virginian country
gentlemen and Boston city magnates which seemed to him to control
Government, and to call into life a real democracy.  To this end he
created a new party, against which of course an opposition party arose.

Neither of the new parties was in any sense either aristocratic or
democratic.  "The Democracy," or Democratic party, has continued in
existence ever since, and through most of Lincoln's life ruled America.
In trying to fix the character of a party in a foreign country we cannot
hope to be exact in our portraiture.  At the first start, however, this
party was engaged in combating certain tendencies to Government
interference in business.  It was more especially hostile to a National
Bank, which Jackson himself regarded as a most dangerous form of alliance
between the administration and the richest class.  Of the growth of what
may be called the money power in American politics he had an intense,
indeed prophetic, dread.  Martin Van Buren, his friend and successor,
whatever else he may have been, was a sound economist of what is now
called the old school, and on a financial issue he did what few men in
his office have done, he deliberately sacrificed his popularity to his
principles.  Beyond this the party was and has continued prone, in a
manner which we had better not too clearly define, to insist upon the
restrictions of the Constitution, whether in the interest of individual
liberty or of State rights.  This tendency was disguised at the first by
the arbitrary action of Jackson's own proceedings, for Jackson alone
among Presidents displayed the sentiments of what may be called a popular
despot.  Its insistence upon State rights, aided perhaps by its dislike
of Protection, attracted to it the leading politicians of the South, who
in the main dominated its counsels, though later on they liked to do it
through Northern instruments.  But it must not in the least be imagined
that either party was Northern or Southern; for there were many Whigs in
the South, and very many Democrats in the North.  Moreover, it should be
clearly grasped, though it is hard, that among Northern Democrats
insistence on State rights did not involve the faintest leaning towards
the doctrine of secession; on the contrary a typical Democrat would
believe that these limitations to the power of the Union were the very
things that gave it endurance and strength.  Slavery, moreover, had
friends and foes in both parties.  If we boldly attempted to define the
prevailing tone of the Democrats we might say that, while they and their
opponents expressed loyalty to the Union and the Constitution, the
Democrats would be prone to lay the emphasis upon the Constitution.
Whatever might be the case with an average Whig, a man like Lincoln would
be stirred in his heart by the general spirit of the country's
institutions, while the typical Democrat of that time would dwell
affectionately on the legal instruments and formal maxims in which that
spirit was embodied.

Of the Whigs it is a little harder to speak definitely, nor is it very
necessary, for in two only out of seven Presidential elections did they
elect their candidate, and in each case that candidate then died, and in
1854 they perished as a party utterly and for ever.  Just for a time they
were identified with the "American policy" of Clay.  When that passed out
of favour they never really attempted to formulate any platform, or to
take permanently any very definite stand.  They nevertheless had the
adherence of the ablest men of the country, and, as an opposition party
to a party in power which furnished much ground for criticism, they
possessed an attraction for generous youth.

The Democrats at once, and the Whigs not long after them, created
elaborate party machines, on the need of which Jackson insisted as the
only means of really giving influence to the common people.  The
prevailing system and habit of local self-government made such
organisation easy.  Men of one party in a township or in a county
assembled, formulated their opinions, and sent delegates with
instructions, more or less precise, to party conventions for larger
areas, these would send delegates to the State Convention and these in
turn to the National Convention of the Party.  The party candidates for
the Presidency, as well as for all other elective positions, were and are
thus chosen, and the party "platform" or declaration of policy was and is
thus formulated.  Such machinery, which in England is likely always to
play a less important part, has acquired an evil name.  At the best there
has always been a risk that a "platform" designed to detach voters from
the opposite party will be an insincere and eviscerated document, by
which active public opinion is rather muzzled than expressed.  There has
been a risk too that the "available" candidate should be some blameless
nonentity, to whom no one objects, and whom therefore no one really
wants.  But it must be observed that the rapidity with which such
organisation was taken up betokened the prevalence of a widespread and
keen interest in political affairs.

The days of really great moneyed interests and of corruption of the
gravest sort were as yet far distant, but one demoralising influence was
imposed upon the new party system by its author at its birth.  Jackson,
in his perpetual fury, believed that office holders under the more or
less imaginary ruling clique that had held sway were a corrupt gang, and
he began to turn them out.  He was encouraged to extend to the whole
country a system which had prevailed in New York and with which Van Buren
was too familiar.  "To the victors belong the spoils," exclaimed a
certain respectable Mr. Marcy.  A wholesale dismissal of office holders
large and small, and replacement of them by sound Democrats, soon took
place.  Once started, the "spoils system" could hardly be stopped.
Thenceforward there was a standing danger that the party machine would be
in the hands of a crew of jobbers and dingy hunters after petty offices.
England, of course, has had and now has practices theoretically as
indefensible, but none possessing any such sinister importance.  It is
hard, therefore, for us to conceive how little of really vicious intent
was necessary to set this disastrous influence going.  There was no
trained Civil Service with its unpartisan traditions.  In the case of
offices corresponding to those of our permanent heads of departments it
seemed reasonable that the official should, like his chief the Minister
concerned, be a person in harmony with the President.  As to the smaller
offices--the thousands of village postmasterships and so forth--one man
was likely to do the work as well as another; the dispossessed official
could, in the then condition of the country, easily find another equally
lucrative employment; "turn and turn about" seemed to be the rule of fair
play.

There were now few genuine issues in politics.  Compromise on vital
questions was understood to be the highest statesmanship.  The
Constitution itself, with its curious system of checks and balances,
rendered it difficult to bring anything to pass.  Added to this was a
party system with obvious natural weaknesses, infected from the first
with a dangerous malady.  The political life, which lay on the surface of
the national life of America, thus began to assume an air of futility,
and, it must be added, of squalor.  Only, Englishmen, recollecting the
feebleness and corruption which marked their aristocratic government
through a great part of the eighteenth century, must not enlarge their
phylacteries at the expense of American democracy.  And it is yet more
important to remember that the fittest machinery for popular government,
the machinery through which the real judgment of the people will prevail,
can only by degrees and after many failures be devised.  Popular
government was then young, and it is young still.

So much for the great world of politics in those days.  But in or about
1830 a Quaker named Lundy had, as Quakers used to say, "a concern" to
walk 125 miles through the snow of a New England winter and speak his
mind to William Lloyd Garrison.  Garrison was a poor man who, like
Franklin, had raised himself as a working printer, and was now occupied
in philanthropy.  Stirred up by Lundy, he succeeded after many painful
experiences, in gaol and among mobs, in publishing in Boston on January
1, 1831, the first number of the Liberator.  In it he said: "I shall
strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave
population.  I will be as hard as truth and as uncompromising as justice.
I will not equivocate; I will not excuse; I will not retreat a single
inch; and I will be heard."  This was the beginning of the new
Abolitionist movement.  The Abolitionists, in the main, were
impracticable people; Garrison in the end proved otherwise.  Under the
existing Constitution, they had nothing to propose but that the free
States should withdraw from "their covenant with death and agreement with
hell"--in other words, from the Union,--whereby they would not have
liberated one slave.  They included possibly too many of that sort who
would seek salvation by repenting of other men's sins.  But even these
did not indulge this propensity at their ease, for by this time the
politicians, the polite world, the mass of the people, the churches (even
in Boston), not merely avoided the dangerous topic; they angrily
proscribed it.  The Abolitionists took their lives in their hands, and
sometimes lost them.  Only two men of standing helped them: Channing, the
great preacher, who sacrificed thereby a fashionable congregation; and
Adams, the sour, upright, able ex-President, the only ex-President who
ever made for himself an after-career in Congress.  In 1852 a still more
potent ally came to their help, a poor lady, Mrs. Beecher Stowe, who in
that year published "Uncle Tom's Cabin," often said to have influenced
opinion more than any other book of modern times.  Broadly speaking, they
accomplished two things.  If they did not gain love in quarters where
they might have looked for it, they gained the very valuable hatred of
their enemies; for they goaded Southern politicians to fury and madness,
of which the first symptom was their effort to suppress Abolitionist
petitions to Congress.  But above all they educated in their labour of
thirty years a school of opinion, not entirely in agreement with them but
ready one day to revolt with decision from continued complicity in wrong.


6. _Slavery and Southern Society_.

In the midst of this growing America, a portion, by no means sharply
marked off, and accustomed to the end to think itself intensely American,
was distinguished by a peculiar institution.  What was the character of
that institution as it presented itself in 1830 and onwards?

Granting, as many slave holders did, though their leaders always denied
it, that slavery originated in foul wrongs and rested legally upon a vile
principle, what did it look like in its practical working?  Most of us
have received from two different sources two broad but vivid general
impressions on this subject, which seem hard to reconcile but which are
both in the main true.  On the one hand, a visitor from England or the
North, coming on a visit to the South, or in earlier days to the British
West Indies, expecting perhaps to see all the horror of slavery at a
glance, would be, as a young British officer once wrote home, "most
agreeably undeceived as to the situation of these poor people."  He would
discern at once that a Southern gentleman had no more notion of using his
legal privilege to be cruel to his slave than he himself had of
overdriving his old horse.  He might easily on the contrary find quite
ordinary slave owners who had a very decided sense of responsibility in
regard to their human chattels.  Around his host's house, where the
owner's children, petted by a black nurse, played with the little black
children or with some beloved old negro, he might see that pretty aspect
of "our institution at the South," which undoubtedly created in many
young Southerners as they grew up a certain amount of genuine sentiment
in favour of slavery.  Riding wider afield he might be struck, as General
Sherman was, with the contentment of the negroes whom he met on the
plantations.  On enquiry he would learn that the slave in old age was
sure of food and shelter and free from work, and that as he approached
old age his task was systematically diminished.  As to excessive toil at
any time of life, he would perhaps conclude that it was no easy thing to
drive a gang of Africans really hard.  He would be assured, quite
incorrectly, that the slave's food and comfort generally were greater
than those of factory workers in the North, and, perhaps only too truly,
that his privations were less than those of the English agricultural
labourer at that time.  A wide and careful survey of the subject was made
by Frederick Law Olmsted, a New York farmer, who wrote what but for their
gloomy subject would be among the best books of travel.  He presents to
us the picture of a prevailingly sullen, sapless, brutish life, but
certainly not of acute misery or habitual oppression.  A Southerner old
enough to remember slavery would probably not question the accuracy of
his details, but would insist, very likely with truth, that there was
more human happiness there than an investigator on such a quest would
readily discover.  Even on large plantations in the extreme South, where
the owner only lived part of the year, and most things had to be left to
an almost always unsatisfactory overseer, the verdict of the observer was
apt to be "not so bad as I expected."

On the other hand, many of us know Longfellow's grim poem of the Hunted
Negro.  It is a true picture of the life led in the Dismal Swamps of
Virginia by numbers of skulking fugitives, till the industry of
negro-hunting, conducted with hounds of considerable value, ultimately
made their lairs untenable.  The scenes in the auction room where,
perhaps on the death or failure of their owner, husbands and wives,
parents and children, were constantly being severed, and negresses were
habitually puffed as brood mares; the gentleman who had lately sold his
half-brother, to be sent far south, because he was impudent; the devilish
cruelty with which almost the only recorded slave insurrection was
stamped out; the chase and capture and return in fetters of slaves who
had escaped north, or, it might be, of free negroes in their place; the
advertisements for such runaways, which Dickens collected, and which
described each by his scars or mutilations; the systematic slave
breeding, for the supply of the cotton States, which had become a staple
industry of the once glorious Virginia; the demand arising for the
restoration of the African slave trade--all these were realities.  The
Southern people, in the phrase of President Wilson, "knew that their
lives were honourable, their relations with their slaves humane, their
responsibility for the existence of slavery amongst them remote"; they
burned with indignation when the whole South was held responsible for the
occasional abuses of slavery.  But the harsh philanthropist, who
denounced them indiscriminately, merely dwelt on those aspects of slavery
which came to his knowledge or which he actually saw on the border line.
And the occasional abuses, however occasional, were made by the
deliberate choice of Southern statesmanship an essential part of the
institution.  Honourable and humane men in the South scorned exceedingly
the slave hunter and the slave dealer.  A candid slave owner, discussing
"Uncle Tom's Cabin," found one detail flagrantly unfair; the ruined
master would have had to sell his slaves to the brute, Legree, but for
the world he would not have shaken hands with him.  "Your children,"
exclaimed Lincoln, "may play with the little black children, but they
must not play with his"--the slave dealer's, or the slave driver's, or
the slave hunter's.  By that fact alone, as he bitingly but unanswerably
insisted, the whole decent society of the South condemned the foundation
on which it rested.

It is needless to discuss just how dark or how fair American slavery in
its working should be painted.  The moderate conclusions which are quite
sufficient for our purpose are uncontested.  First, this much must
certainly be conceded to those who would defend the slave system, that in
the case of the average slave it was very doubtful whether his happiness
(apart from that of future generations) could be increased by suddenly
turning him into a free man working for a wage; justice would certainly
have demanded that the change should be accompanied by other provisions
for his benefit.  But, secondly, on the refractory negro, more vicious,
or sometimes, one may suspect, more manly than his fellows, the system
was likely to act barbarously.  Thirdly, every slave family was exposed
to the risk, on such occasions as the death or great impoverishment of
its owner, of being ruthlessly torn asunder, and the fact that negroes
often rebounded or seemed to rebound from sorrows of this sort with
surprising levity does not much lessen the horror of it.  Fourthly, it is
inherent in slavery that its burden should be most felt precisely by the
best minds and strongest characters among the slaves.  And, though the
capacity of the negroes for advancement could not then and cannot yet be
truly measured, yet it existed, and the policy of the South shut the door
upon it.  Lastly, the system abounded in brutalising influences upon a
large number of white people who were accessory to it, and notoriously it
degraded the poor or "mean whites," for whom it left no industrial
opening, and among whom it caused work to be despised.

There is thus no escape from Lincoln's judgment: "If slavery is not
wrong, nothing is wrong."  It does not follow that the way to right the
wrong was simple, or that instant and unmitigated emancipation was the
best way.  But it does follow that, failing this, it was for the
statesmen of the South to devise a policy by which the most flagrant
evils should be stopped, and, however cautiously and experimentally, the
raising of the status of the slave should be proceeded with.  It does not
follow that the people who, on one pretext or another, shut their eyes to
the evil of the system, while they tried to keep their personal dealing
humane, can be sweepingly condemned by any man.  But it does follow that
a deliberate and sustained policy which, neglecting all reform, strove at
all costs to perpetuate the system and extend it to wider regions, was as
criminal a policy as ever lay at the door of any statesmen.  And this, in
fact, became the policy of the South.

"The South" meant, for political purposes, the owners of land and slaves
in the greater part of the States in which slavery was lawful.  The poor
whites never acquired the political importance of the working classes in
the North, and count for little in the story.  Some of the more northerly
slave States partook in a greater degree of the conditions and ideas of
the North and were doubtfully to be reckoned with the South.  Moreover,
there is a tract of mountainous country, lying between the Atlantic
sea-board and the basin of the Mississippi and extending southwards to
the borders of Georgia and Alabama, of which the very vigorous and
independent inhabitants were and are in many ways a people apart, often
cherishing to this day family feuds which are prosecuted in the true
spirit of the Icelandic Sagas.

The South, excluding these districts, was predominantly Democratic in
politics, and its leaders owed some allegiance to the tradition of
Radicals like Jefferson.  But it was none the less proud of its
aristocracy and of the permeating influence of aristocratic manners and
traditions.  A very large number of Southerners felt themselves to be
ladies and gentlemen, and felt further that there were few or none like
them among the "Yankee" traders of the North.  A claim of that sort is
likely to be aggressively made by those who have least title to make it,
and, as strife between North and South grew hotter, the gentility of the
latter infected with additional vulgarity the political controversy of
private life and even of Congress.  But, as observant Northerners were
quite aware, these pretensions had a foundation of fact.  An Englishman,
then or now, in chance meetings with Americans of either section, would
at once be aware of something indefinable in their bearing to which he
was a stranger; but in the case of the Southerner the strangeness would
often have a positive charm, such as may be found also among people of
the Old World under southern latitudes and relatively primitive
conditions.  Newly-gotten and ill-carried wealth was in those days (Mr.
Olmsted, of New York State, assures us) as offensive in the more recently
developed and more prosperous parts of the South as in New York City
itself; and throughout the South sound instruction and intellectual
activity were markedly lacking--indeed, there is no serious Southern
literature by which we can check these impressions of his.  Comparing the
masses of moderately well-to-do and educated people with whom he
associated in the North and in the South, he finds them both free from
the peculiar vulgarity which, we may be pained to know, he had discovered
among us in England; he finds honesty and dishonesty in serious matters
of conduct as prevalent in one section as in the other; he finds the
Northerner better taught and more alert in mind; but he ascribes to him
an objectionable quality of "smartness," a determination to show you that
he is a stirring and pushing fellow, from which the Southerner is wholly
free; and he finds that the Southerner has derived from home influences
and from boarding schools in which the influence of many similar homes is
concentrated, not indeed any great refinement, but a manner which is
"more true, more quiet, more modestly self-assured, more dignified." This
advantage, we are to understand, is diffused over a comparatively larger
class than in England.  Beyond this he discerns in a few parts of the
South and notably in South Carolina a somewhat inaccessible, select
society, of which the nucleus is formed by a few (incredibly few) old
Colonial families which have not gone under, and which altogether is so
small that some old gentlewomen can enumerate all the members of it.  Few
as they are, these form "unquestionably a wealthy and remarkably
generous, refined, and accomplished first class, clinging with some
pertinacity, although with too evident an effort, to the traditional
manners and customs of an established gentry."

No doubt the sense of high breeding, which was common in the South, went
beyond mere manners; it played its part in making the struggle of the
Southern population, including the "mean whites," in the Civil War one of
the most heroic, if one of the most mistaken, in which a whole population
has ever been engaged; it went along with integrity and a high average of
governing capacity among public men; and it fitted the gentry of the
South to contribute, when they should choose, an element of great value
to the common life of America.  As it was, the South suffered to the full
the political degeneration which threatens every powerful class which,
with a distinct class interest of its own, is secluded from real contact
with competing classes with other interests and other ideas.  It is not
to be assumed that all individual Southerners liked the policy which they
learnt to support in docile masses.  But their very qualities of loyalty
made them the more ready, under accepted and respected leaders, to adopt
political aims and methods which no man now recalls without regret.

The connection between slavery and politics was this; as population
slowly grew in the South, and as the land in the older States became to
some extent exhausted, the desire for fresh territory in which
cultivation by slaves could flourish became stronger and stronger.  This
was the reason for which the South became increasingly aware of a
sectional interest in politics.  In all other respects the community of
public interests, of business dealings, and of general intercourse was as
great between North and South as between East and West.  It is certain
that throughout the South, with the doubtful exception of South Carolina,
political instinct and patriotic pride would have made the idea of
separation intolerable upon any ground except that of slavery.  In regard
to this matter of dispute a peculiar phenomenon is to be observed.  The
quarrel grew not out of any steady opposition between North and South,
but out of the habitual domination of the country by the South and the
long-continued submission of the North to that domination.

For the North had its full share of blame for the long course of
proceedings which prepared the coming tragedy, and the most impassioned
writers on the side of the Union during the Civil War have put that blame
highest.  The South became arrogant and wrong-headed, and no defence is
possible for the chief acts of Southern policy which will be recorded
later; but the North was abject.  To its own best sons it seemed to have
lost both its conscience and its manhood, and to be stifled in the coils
of its own miserable political apparatus.  Certainly the prevailing
attitude of the Northern to the Southern politicians was that of
truckling.  And Southerners who went to Washington had a further reason
for acquiring a fatal sense of superiority to the North.  The tradition
of popular government which maintained itself in the South caused men who
were respected, in private life, and were up to a point capable leaders,
who were, in short, representative, to be sent to Congress and to be kept
there.  The childish perversion of popular government which took hold of
the newer and more unsettled population in the North led them to send to
Congress an ever-changing succession of unmeritable and sometimes shady
people.  The eventual stirring of the mind of the North which so closely
concerns this biography was a thing hard to bring about, and to the South
it brought a great shock of surprise.


7. _Intellectual Development_.

No survey of the political movements of this period should conclude
without directing attention to something more important, which cannot be
examined here.  In the years from 1830 till some time after the death of
Lincoln, America made those contributions to the literature of our common
language which, though neither her first nor her last, seemed likely to
be most permanently valued.  The learning and literature of America at
that time centred round Boston and Harvard University in the adjacent
city of Cambridge, and no invidious comparison is intended or will be
felt if they, with their poets and historians and men of letters at that
time, with their peculiar atmosphere, instinct then and now with a life
athletic, learned, business-like and religious, are taken to show the
dawning capacities of the new nation.  No places in the United States
exhibit more visibly the kinship of America with England, yet in none
certainly can a stranger see more readily that America is independent of
the Old World in something more than politics.  Many of their streets and
buildings would in England seem redolent of the past, yet no cities of
the Eastern States played so large a part in the development, material
and mental, of the raw and vigorous West.  The limitations of their
greatest writers are in a manner the sign of their achievement.  It would
have been contrary to all human analogy if a country, in such an early
stage of creation out of such a chaos, had put forth books marked
strongly as its own and yet as the products of a mature national mind.
It would also have been surprising if since the Civil War the rush of
still more appalling and more complex practical problems had not
obstructed for a while the flow of imaginative or scientific production.
But the growth of those relatively early years was great.  Boston had
been the home of a loveless Christianity; its insurrection in the War of
Independence had been soiled by shifty dealing and mere acidity; but
Boston from the days of Emerson to those of Phillips Brooks radiated a
temper and a mental force that was manly, tender, and clean.  The man
among these writers about whose exact rank, neither low nor very high
among poets, there can be least dispute was Longfellow.  He might seem
from his favourite subjects to be hardly American; it was his
deliberately chosen task to bring to the new country some savour of
things gentle and mellow caught from the literature of Europe.  But, in
the first place, no writer could in the detail of his work have been more
racy of that New England countryside which lay round his home; and, in
the second place, no writer could have spoken more unerringly to the ear
of the whole wide America of which his home was a little part.  It seems
strange to couple the name of this mild and scholarly man with the
thought of that crude Western world to which we must in a moment pass.
But the connection is real and vital.  It is well shown in the
appreciation written of him and his fellows by the American writer who
most violently contrasts with him, Walt Whitman.

A student of American history may feel something like the experience
which is common among travellers in America.  When they come home they
cannot tell their friends what really interested them.  Ugly things and
very dull things are prominent in their story, as in the tales of
American humorists.  The general impression they convey is of something
tiresomely extensive, distractingly miscellaneous, and yet insufferably
monotonous.  But that is not what they mean.  They had better not seek to
express themselves by too definite instances.  They will be understood
and believed when they say that to them America, with its vast spaces
from ocean to ocean, does present itself as one country, not less worthy
than any other of the love which it has actually inspired; a country
which is the home of distinctive types of manhood and womanhood, bringing
their own addition to the varying forms in which kindness and courage and
truth make themselves admirable to mankind.  The soul of a single people
seems to be somewhere present in that great mass, no less than in some
tiny city State of antiquity.  Only it has to struggle, submerged
evermore by a flood of newcomers, and defeated evermore by difficulties
quite unlike those of other lands; and it struggles seemingly with
undaunted and with rational hope.

Americans are fond of discussing Americanism.  Very often they select as
a pattern of it Abraham Lincoln, the man who kept the North together but
has been pronounced to have been a Southerner in his inherited character.
Whether he was so typical or not, it is the central fact of this
biography that no man ever pondered more deeply in his own way, or
answered more firmly the question whether there was indeed an American
nationality worth preserving.




CHAPTER III

LINCOLN'S EARLY CAREER

1. _Life at New Salem_.

From this talk of large political movements we have to recall ourselves
to a young labouring man with hardly any schooling, naturally and
incurably uncouth, but with a curious, quite modest, impulse to assert
a kindly ascendency over the companions whom chance threw in his way,
and with something of the gift, which odd, shy people often possess,
for using their very oddity as a weapon in their struggles.  In the
conditions of real equality which still prevailed in a newly settled
country it is not wonderful that he made his way into political life
when he was twenty-five, but it was not till twenty years later that he
played an important part in events of enduring significance.

Thus the many years of public activity with which we are concerned in
this and the following chapter belong rather to his apprenticeship than
to his life's work; and this apprenticeship at first sight contrasts
more strongly with his fame afterwards than does his boyhood of poverty
and comparatively romantic hardship.  For many poor boys have lived to
make a great mark on history, but as a rule they have entered early on
a life either of learning or of adventure or of large business.  But
the affairs in which Lincoln early became immersed have an air of
pettiness, and from the point of view of most educated men and women in
the Eastern States or in Europe, many of the associates and competitors
of his early manhood, to whom he had to look up as his superiors in
knowledge, would certainly have seemed crude people with a narrow
horizon.  Indeed, till he was called upon to take supreme control of
very great matters, Lincoln must have had singularly little intercourse
either with men versed in great affairs or with men of approved
intellectual distinction.  But a mind too original to be subdued to its
surroundings found much that was stimulating in this time when Illinois
was beginning rapidly to fill up.  There were plenty of men with shrewd
wits and robust character to be met with, and the mental atmosphere
which surrounded him was one of keen interest in life.  Lincoln
eventually stands out as a surprising figure from among the other
lawyers and little politicians of Illinois, as any great man does from
any crowd, but some tribute is due to the undistinguished and
historically uninteresting men whose generous appreciation gave rapid
way to the poor, queer youth, and ultimately pushed him into a greater
arena as their selected champion.

In 1831, at the age of twenty-two, Lincoln, returning from his New
Orleans voyage, settled in New Salem to await the arrival of his
patron, Denton Offutt, with the goods for a new store in which Lincoln
was to be his assistant.  The village itself was three years old.  It
never got much beyond a population of one hundred, and like many
similar little towns of the West it has long since perished off the
earth.  But it was a busy place for a while, and, contrary to what its
name might suggest, it aspired to be rather fast.  It was a
cock-fighting and whisky-drinking society into which Lincoln was
launched.  He managed to combine strict abstinence from liquor with
keen participation in all its other diversions.  One departure from
total abstinence stands alleged among the feats of strength for which
he became noted.  He hoisted a whisky barrel, of unspecified but
evidently considerable content, on to his knees in a squatting posture
and drank from the bunghole.  But this very arduous potation stood
alone.  Offutt was some time before he arrived with his goods, and
Lincoln lived by odd jobs.  At the very beginning one Mentor Graham, a
schoolmaster officiating in some election, employed him as a clerk, and
the clerk seized the occasion to make himself well known to New Salem
as a story-teller.  Then there was a heavy job at rail-splitting, and
another job in navigating the Sangamon River.  Offutt's store was at
last set up, and for about a year the assistant in this important
establishment had valuable opportunities of conversation with all New
Salem.  He had also leisure for study.  He had mentioned to the
aforesaid Mentor Graham his "notion to study English grammar," and had
been introduced to a work called "Kirkham's Grammar," which by a walk
of some miles he could borrow from a neighbour.  This he would read,
lying full length on the counter with his head on a parcel of calico.
At other odd times he would work away at arithmetic.  Offutt's kindly
interest procured him distinction in another field.  At Clary's Grove,
near New Salem, lived a formidable set of young ruffians, over whose
somewhat disguised chivalry of temper the staid historian of Lincoln's
youth becomes rapturous.  They were given to wrecking the store of any
New Salem tradesman who offended them; so it shows some spirit in Mr.
Denton Offutt that he backed his Abraham Lincoln to beat their Jack
Armstrong in a wrestling match.  He did beat him; moreover, some charm
in the way he bore himself made him thenceforth not hated but beloved
of Clary's Grove in general, and the Armstrongs in particular.  Hannah
Armstrong, Jack's wife, thereafter mended and patched his clothes for
him, and, years later, he had the satisfaction, as their unfeed
advocate, of securing the acquittal of their son from a charge of
murder, of which there is some reason to hope he may not have been
guilty.  It is, by the way, a relief to tell that there once was a
noted wrestling match in which Lincoln was beaten; it is characteristic
of the country that his friends were sure there was foul play, and
characteristic of him that he indignantly denied it.

Within a year Offutt's store, in the phrase of the time, "petered out,"
leaving Lincoln shiftless.  But the victor of Clary's Grove, with his
added mastery of "Kirkham's Grammar," was now ripe for public life.
Moreover, his experience as a waterman gave him ideas on the question,
which then agitated his neighbours, whether the Sangamon River could be
made navigable.  He had a scheme of his own for doing this; and in the
spring of 1832 he wrote to the local paper a boyish but modest and
sensible statement of his views and ambitions, announcing that he would
be a candidate in the autumn elections for the State Legislature.

Meanwhile he had his one experience of soldiering.  The Indian chief,
Black Hawk, who had agreed to abide west of the Mississippi, broke the
treaty and led his warriors back into their former haunts in Northern
Illinois.  The Governor of the State called for volunteers, and Lincoln
became one.  He obtained the elective rank of captain of his company,
and contrived to maintain some sort of order in that, doubtless brave,
but undisciplined body.  He saw no fighting, but he could earn his
living for some months, and stored up material for effective chaff in
Congress long afterwards about the military glory which General Cass's
supporters for the Presidency wished to attach to their candidate.  His
most glorious exploit consisted in saving from his own men a poor old
friendly Indian who had fallen among them.  A letter of credentials,
which the helpless creature produced, was pronounced a forgery and he
was about to be hanged as a spy, when Lincoln appeared on the scene,
"swarthy with resolution and rage," and somehow terrified his
disorderly company into dropping their prey.

The war ended in time for a brief candidature, and a supporter of his
at the time preserved a record of one of his speeches.  His last
important speech will hereafter be given in full for other reasons;
this may be so given too, for it is not a hundred words long: "Fellow
Citizens, I presume you all know who I am.  I am humble Abraham
Lincoln.  I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate
for the Legislature.  My politics are short and sweet like the old
woman's dance.  I am in favour of a national bank.  I am in favour of
the internal improvement system and a high protective tariff.  These
are my sentiments and political principles.  If elected, I shall be
thankful; if not, it will be all the same."

To this succinct declaration of policy may be added from his earlier
letter that he advocated a law against usury, and laws for the
improvement of education.  The principles of the speech are those which
the new Whig party was upholding against the Democrats under Jackson
(the President) and Van Buren.  Lincoln's neighbours, like the people
of Illinois generally, were almost entirely on the side of the
Democrats.  It is interesting that however he came by his views, they
were early and permanently fixed on the side then unpopular in
Illinois; and it is interesting that though, naturally, not elected, he
secured very nearly the whole of the votes of his immediate
neighbourhood.

The penniless Lincoln was now hankering to become a lawyer, though with
some thoughts of the more practicable career of a blacksmith.
Unexpectedly, however, he was tempted into his one venture, singularly
unsuccessful, in business.  Two gentlemen named Herndon, cousins of a
biographer of Lincoln's, started a store in New Salem and got tired of
it.  One sold his share to a Mr. Berry, the other sold his to Lincoln.
The latter sale was entirely on credit--no money passed at the time,
because there was no money.  The vendor explained afterwards that he
relied solely on Lincoln's honesty.  He had to wait a long while for
full payment, but what is known of storekeeping in New Salem shows that
he did very well for himself in getting out of his venture as he did.
Messrs. Berry and Lincoln next acquired, likewise for credit, the stock
and goodwill of two other storekeepers, one of them the victim of a
raid from Clary's Grove.  The senior partner then applied himself
diligently to personal consumption of the firm's liquid goods; the
junior member of the firm was devoted in part to intellectual and
humorous converse with the male customers, but a fatal shyness
prevented him from talking to the ladles.  For the rest, he walked long
distances to borrow books, got through Gibbon and through Rollin's
"History of the World," began his study of Blackstone, and acquired a
settled habit of reading novels.  So business languished.  Early in
1833 Berry and Lincoln sold out to another adventurer.  This also was a
credit transaction.  The purchaser without avoidable delay failed and
disappeared.  Berry then died of drink, leaving to Lincoln the sole
responsibility for the debts of the partnership.  Lincoln could with no
difficulty and not much reproach have freed himself by bankruptcy.  As
a matter of fact, he ultimately paid everything, but it took him about
fifteen years of striving and pinching himself.

Lincoln is one of the many public characters to whom the standing
epithet "honest" became attached; in his case the claim to this rested
originally on the only conclusive authority, that of his creditors.
But there is equally good authority, that of his biographer, William
Herndon, for many years his partner as a lawyer, that "he had no money
sense."  This must be understood with the large qualification that he
meant to pay his way and, unlike the great statesmen of the eighteenth
century in England, did pay it.  But, though with much experience of
poverty in his early career, he never developed even a reasonable
desire to be rich.  Wealth remained in his view "a superfluity of the
things one does not want."  He was always interested in mathematics,
but mainly as a discipline in thinking, and partly, perhaps, in
association with mechanical problems of which he was fond enough to
have once in his life patented an invention.  The interest never led
him to take to accounts or to long-sighted financial provisions.  In
later days, when he received a payment for his fees, his partner's
share would be paid then and there; and perhaps the rent would be paid,
and the balance would be spent at once in groceries and other goods
likely to be soon wanted, including at long intervals, when the need
was very urgent, a new hat.

These are amiable personal traits, but they mark the limitations of his
capacity as a statesman.  The chief questions which agitated the
Illinois Legislature were economic, and so at first were the issues
between Whigs and Democrats in Federal policy.  Lincoln, though he
threw himself into these affairs with youthful fervour, would appear
never to have had much grasp of such matters.  "In this respect alone,"
writes an admirer, "I have always considered Mr. Lincoln a weak man."
It is only when (rarely, at first) constitutional or moral issues
emerge that his politics become interesting.  We can guess the causes
which attached him to the Whigs.  As the party out of power, and in
Illinois quite out of favour, they had doubtless some advantage in
character.  As we have seen, the greatest minds among American
statesmen of that day, Webster and Clay, were Whigs.  Lincoln's simple
and quite reasonable, if inconclusive, argument for Protection, can be
found among his speeches of some years later.  And schemes of internal
development certainly fired his imagination.

After his failure in business Lincoln subsisted for a while on odd jobs
for farmers, but was soon employed as assistant surveyor by John
Calhoun, then surveyor of the county.  This gentleman, who had been
educated as a lawyer but "taught school in preference," was a keen
Democrat, and had to assure Lincoln that office as his assistant would
not necessitate his desertion of his principles.  He was a clever man,
and Lincoln remembered him long after as the most formidable antagonist
he ever met in debate.  With the help, again, of Mentor Graham, Lincoln
soon learned the surveyor's business.  He continued at this work till
he was able to start as a lawyer, and there is evidence that his
surveys of property were done with extreme accuracy.  Soon he further
obtained the local Postmastership.  This, the only position except the
Presidency itself which he ever held in the Federal Government, was not
onerous, for the mails were infrequent; he "carried the office around
in his hat"; we are glad to be told that "his administration gave
satisfaction."  Once calamity threatened him; a creditor distrained on
the horse and the instruments necessary to his surveyorship; but
Lincoln was reputed to be a helpful fellow, and friends were ready to
help him; they bought the horse and instruments back for him.  To this
time belongs his first acquaintance with some writers of unsettling
tendency, Tom Paine, Voltaire, and Volney, who was then recognised as
one of the dangerous authors.  Cock-fights, strange feats of strength,
or of usefulness with axe or hammer or scythe, and a passion for
mimicry continue.  In 1834 he became a candidate again.  "Can't the
party raise any better material than that?" asked a bystander before a
speech of his; after it, he exclaimed that the speaker knew more than
all the other candidates put together.  This time he was elected, being
then twenty-five, and thereafter he was returned for three further
terms of two years.  Shortly before his second election in 1836 the
State capital was removed to Springfield, in his own county.  There in
1837 Lincoln fixed his home.  He had long been reading law in his
curious, spasmodically concentrated way, and he had practised a little
as a "pettifogger," that is, an unlicensed practitioner in the inferior
courts.  He had now obtained his license and was very shortly taken
into partnership by an old friend in Springfield.


2. _In the Illinois Legislature_.

Here his youth may be said to end.  Springfield was a different place
from New Salem.  There were carriages in it, and ladles who studied
poetry and the fashions.  There were families from Virginia and
Kentucky who were conscious of ancestry, while graver, possibly more
pushing, people from the North-eastern States, soon to outnumber them,
were a little inclined to ridicule what they called their "illusory
ascendency."  There was a brisk competition of churches, and mutual
improvement societies such as the "Young Men's Lyceum" had a rival
claim to attention with races and cock-fights.

And it was an altered Abraham Lincoln that came to inhabit Springfield.
Arriving a day or two before his first law partnership was settled he
came into the shop of a thriving young tradesman, Mr. Joshua Speed, to
ask about the price of the cheapest bedding and other necessary
articles.  The sum for which Lincoln, who had not one cent, would have
had to ask, and would have been readily allowed, credit, was only
seventeen dollars.  But this huge prospect of debt so visibly depressed
him that Speed instantly proposed an arrangement which involved no
money debt.  He took him upstairs and installed him--Western domestic
arrangements were and are still simple--as the joint occupant of his
own large bed.  "Well, Speed, I'm moved," was the terse acknowledgment.
Speed was to move him later by more precious charity.  We are concerned
for the moment with what moved Speed.  "I looked up at him," said he,
long after, "and I thought then, as I think now, that I never saw so
gloomy and melancholy a face in my life."  The struggle of ambition and
poverty may well have been telling on Lincoln; but besides that a
tragical love story (shortly to be told) had left a deep and permanent
mark; but these influences worked, we may suppose, upon a disposition
quite as prone to sadness as to mirth.  His exceedingly gregarious
habit, drawing him to almost any assembly of his own sex, continued all
his life; but it alternated from the first with a habit of solitude or
abstraction, the abstraction of a man who, when he does wish to read,
will read intently in the midst of crowd or noise, or walking along the
street.  He was what might unkindly be called almost a professional
humorist, the master of a thousand startling stories, delightful to the
hearer, but possibly tiresome in written reminiscences, but we know too
well that gifts of this kind are as compatible with sadness as they
certainly are with deadly seriousness.

The Legislature of Illinois in the eight years from 1834 to 1842, in
which Lincoln belonged to it, was, though not a wise, a vigorous body.
In the conditions which then existed it was not likely to have been
captured as the Legislatures of wilder and more thinly-peopled States
have sometimes been by a disreputable element in the community, nor to
have subsided into the hands of the dull mechanical class of
professional politicians with which, rightly or wrongly, we have now
been led to associate American State Government.  The fact of Lincoln's
own election suggests that dishonest adventurers might easily have got
there, but equally suggests that a very different type of men
prevailed.  "The Legislature," we are told, "contained the youth and
blood and fire of the frontier."  Among the Democrats in the
Legislature was Stephen Douglas, who was to become one of the most
powerful men in the United States while Lincoln was still unknown; and
several of Lincoln's Whig colleagues were afterwards to play
distinguished or honourable parts in politics or war.  We need not
linger over them, but what we know of those with whom he had any
special intimacy makes it entirely pleasant to associate him with them.
After a short time in which, like any sensible young member of an
assembly, he watched and hardly ever spoke, Lincoln soon made his way
among these men, and in 1838 and 1840 the Whig members--though, being
in a minority, they could not elect him--gave him their unanimous votes
for the Speakership of the Assembly.  The business which engrossed the
Legislature, at least up to 1838, was the development of the natural
resources of the State.  These were great.  It was natural that
railways, canals and other public works to develop them should be
pushed forward at the public cost.  Other new countries since, with
less excuse because with greater warning from experience, have plunged
in this matter, and, though the Governor protested, the Illinois
Legislature, Whigs and Democrats, Lincoln and every one else, plunged
gaily, so that, during the collapse which followed, Illinois, though,
like Lincoln himself, it paid its debts in the end, was driven in 1840
to suspend interest payments for several years.

Very little is recorded of Lincoln's legislative doings.  What is
related chiefly exhibits his delight in the game of negotiation and
combination by which he and the other members for his county, together
known as "the Long Nine," advanced the particular projects which
pleased their constituents or struck their own fancy.  Thus he early
had a hand in the removal of the capital from Vandalia to Springfield
in his own county.  The map of Illinois suggests that Springfield was a
better site for the purpose than Vandalia and at least as good as
Jacksonville or Peoria or any of its other competitors.  Of his few
recorded speeches one concerns a proposed inquiry into some alleged
impropriety in the allotment of shares in the State Bank.  It is
certainly the speech of a bold man; it argues with remarkable
directness that whereas a committee of prominent citizens which had
already inquired into this matter consisted of men of known honesty,
the proposed committee of the Legislators, whom he was addressing,
would consist of men who, for all he knew, might be honest, and, for
all he knew, might not.

The Federal politics of this time, though Lincoln played an active
local part in the campaigns of the Whig party, concern us little.  The
Whigs, to whom he did subordinate service, were, as has been said, an
unlucky party.  In 1840, in the reaction which extreme commercial
depression created against the previously omnipotent Democrats, the
Whig candidate for the Presidency was successful.  This was General
Harrison, a respected soldier of the last war, who was glorified as a
sort of Cincinnatus and elected after an outburst of enthusiastic
tomfoolery such as never before or since rejoiced the American people.
But President Harrison had hardly been in office a month when he died.
Some say he was worried to death by office seekers, but a more prosaic
cause, pneumonia, can also be alleged.  It is satisfactory that this
good man's grandson worthily filled his office forty-eight years after,
but his immediate successor was of course the Vice-President, Tyler,
chosen as an influential opponent of the last Democrat Presidents, but
not because he agreed with the Whigs.  Cultivated but narrow-minded,
highly independent and wholly perverse, he satisfied no aspiration of
the Whigs and paved the way effectually for the Democrat who succeeded
him.

Throughout these years Lincoln was of course working at law, which
became, with the development of the country, a more arduous and a more
learned profession.  Sessions of the Legislature did not last long, and
political canvasses were only occasional.  If Lincoln was active in
these matters he was in many other directions, too, a keen participator
in the keen life of the society round him.  Nevertheless politics as
such, and apart from any large purpose to be achieved through them, had
for many years a special fascination for him.  For one thing he was
argumentative in the best sense, with a passion for what the Greeks
sometimes called "dialectic"; his rare capacity for solitary thought,
the most marked and the greatest of his powers, went absolutely hand in
hand with the desire to reduce his thoughts to a form which would carry
logical conviction to others.  Further, there can be no doubt--and such
a combination of tastes, though it seems to be uncommon, is quite
intelligible--that the somewhat unholy business of party management was
at first attractive to him.  To the end he showed no intuitive
comprehension of individual men.  His sincere friendly intention, the
unanswerable force of an argument, the convincing analogy veiled in an
unseemly story, must take their chance of suiting the particular taste
of Senator Sherman or General McClellan; but any question of managing
men in the mass--will a given candidate's influence with this section
of people count for more than his unpopularity with that section?  and
so on--involved an element of subtle and long-sighted calculation which
was vastly congenial to him.  We are to see him hereafter applying this
sort of science on a grand scale and for a great end.  His early
discipline in it is a dull subject, interesting only where it displays,
as it sometimes does, the perfect fairness with which this ambitious
man could treat his own claims as against those of a colleague and
competitor.

In forming any judgment of Lincoln's career it must, further, be
realised that, while he was growing up as a statesman, the prevailing
conception of popular government was all the time becoming more
unfavourable to leadership and to robust individuality.  The new party
machinery adopted by the Democrats under Jackson, as the proper mode of
securing government by the people, induced a deadly uniformity of
utterance; breach of that uniformity was not only rash, but improper.
Once in early days it was demanded in a newspaper that "all candidates
should show their hands."  "Agreed," writes Lincoln, "here's mine"; and
then follows a young man's avowal of advanced opinions; he would give
the suffrage to "all whites who pay taxes or bear arms, by no means
excluding females."  Disraeli, who was Lincoln's contemporary, throve
by exuberances quite as startling as this, nor has any English
politician found it damaging to be bold.  On this occasion indeed (in
1836) Lincoln was far from damaging himself; the Whigs had not till a
few years later been induced, for self-preservation, to copy the
Democratic machine.  But it is striking that the admiring friend who
reports this declaration, "too audacious and emphatic for the statesmen
of a later day," must carefully explain how it could possibly suit the
temper of a time which in a few years passed away.  Very soon the
question whether a proposal or even a sentiment was timely or premature
came to bulk too large in the deliberations of Lincoln's friends.  The
reader will perhaps wonder later whether such considerations did not
bulk too largely in Lincoln's own mind.  Was there in his
statesmanship, even in later days when he had great work to do, an
element of that opportunism which, if not actually base, is at least
cheap?  Or did he come as near as a man with many human weaknesses
could come to the wise and nobly calculated opportunism which is not
merely the most beneficent statesmanship, but demands a heroic
self-mastery?

The main interest of his doings in Illinois politics and in Congress is
the help they may give in penetrating his later mind.  On the one hand,
it is certain that Lincoln trained himself to be a great student of the
fitting opportunity.  He evidently paid very serious attention to the
counsels of friends who would check his rasher impulses.  One of his
closest associates insists that his impulsive judgment was bad, and he
probably thought so himself.  It will be seen later that the most
momentous utterance he ever made was kept back through the whole space
of two years of crisis at the instance of timid friends.  It required
not less courage and was certainly more effective when at last it did
come out.  The same great capacity for waiting marks any steps that he
took for his own advancement.  Indeed it was a happy thing for him and
for his country that his character and the whole cast of his ideas and
sympathies were of a kind to which the restraint imposed on an American
politician was most congenial and to which therefore it could do least
harm.  He was to prove himself a patient man in other ways as well as
this.  On many things, perhaps on most, the thoughts he worked out in
his own mind diverged very widely from those of his neighbours, but he
was not in the least anxious either to conceal or to obtrude them.  His
social philosophy as he expressed it to his friends in these days was
one which contemplated great future reforms--abolition of slavery and a
strict temperance policy were among them.  But he looked for them with
a sort of fatalistic confidence in the ultimate victory of reason, and
saw no use and a good deal of harm in premature political agitation for
them.  "All such questions," he is reported to have said, "must find
lodgment with the most enlightened souls who stamp them with their
approval.  In God's own time they will be organised into law and thus
woven into the fabric of our institutions."  This seems a little
cold-blooded, but perhaps we can already begin to recognise the man
who, when the time had fully come, would be on the right side, and in
whom the evil which he had deeply but restrainedly hated would find an
appallingly wary foe.

But there were crucial instances which test sufficiently whether this
wary politician was a true man or not.  The soil of Illinois was free
soil by the Ordinance of 1787, and Congress would only admit it to the
Union as a free State.  But it had been largely peopled from the South.
There had been much agitation against this restriction; prevailing
sentiment to a late date strongly approved of slavery; it was at Alton
in Illinois that, in 1836, Elijah Lovejoy, an Abolitionist publisher,
had been martyred by the mob which had failed to intimidate him.  In
1837, when the bold agitation of the Abolitionists was exciting much
disapproval, the Illinois Legislature passed resolutions condemning
that agitation and declaring in soothing tones the constitutional
powerlessness of Congress to interfere with slavery in the Southern
States.  Now Lincoln himself--whether for good reasons or bad must be
considered later--thoroughly disapproved of the actual agitation of the
Abolitionists; and the resolutions in question, but for one merely
theoretical point of law and for an unctuous misuse of the adjective
"sacred," contained nothing which he could not literally have accepted.
The objection to them lay in the motive which made it worth while to
pass them.  Lincoln drew up and placed on the records of the House a
protest against these resolutions.  He defines in it his own quite
conservative opinions; he deprecates the promulgation of Abolition
doctrines; but he does so because it "tends rather to increase than
abate the evils" of slavery; and he lays down "that the institution of
slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy."  One man alone
could he induce to sign this protest with him, and that man was not
seeking re-election.

By 1842 Lincoln had grown sensibly older, and a little less ready, we
may take it, to provoke unnecessary antagonism.  Probably very old
members of Free Churches are the people best able to appreciate the
daring of the following utterance.  Speaking on Washington's birthday
in a Presbyterian church to a temperance society formed among the
rougher people of the town and including former drunkards who desired
to reform themselves, he broke out in protest against the doctrine that
respectable persons should shun the company of people tempted to
intemperance.  "If," he said, "they believe as they profess that
Omnipotence condescended to take upon Himself the form of sinful man,
and as such die an ignominious death, surely they will not refuse
submission to the infinitely lesser condescension, for the temporal and
perhaps eternal salvation of a large, erring, and unfortunate class of
their fellow creatures!  Nor is the condescension very great.  In my
judgment such of us as have never fallen victims have been spared more
from the absence of appetite than from any mental or moral superiority
over those who have.  Indeed, I believe, if we take habitual drunkards
as a class, that their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous
comparison with those of any other class."  It proved, at a later day,
very lucky for America that the virtuous Lincoln, who did not drink
strong drink--nor, it is sad to say, smoke, nor, which is all to the
good, chew--did feel like that about drunkenness; But there was great
and loud wrath.  "It's a shame," said one, "that he should be permitted
to abuse us so in the house of the Lord."  It is certain that in this
sort of way he did himself a good deal of injury as an aspiring
politician.  It is also the fact that he continued none the less
persistently in a missionary work conceived in a spirit none the less
Christian because it shocked many pious people.


3. _Marriage_.

The private life of Lincoln continued, and for many years increasingly,
to be equally marked by indiscriminate sociability and brooding
loneliness.  Comfort and the various influences which may be associated
with the old-fashioned American word "elegance" seem never to enter
into it.  What is more, little can be discerned of positive happiness
in the background of his life, as the freakish elasticity of his youth
disappeared and, after a certain measure of marked success, the further
objects of his ambition though not dropped became unlikely of
attainment and seemed, we may guess, of doubtful value.  All along he
was being moulded for endurance rather than for enjoyment.

Nor, though his children evidently brought him happiness, does what we
know of his domesticities and dearest affections weaken this general
impression.  When he married he had gone through a saddening
experience.  He started on manhood with a sound and chivalrous outlook
on women in general, and a nervous terror of actual women when he met
them.  In New Salem days he absented himself from meals for the whole
time that some ladies were staying at his boarding house.  His clothes
and his lack of upbringing must have weighed with him, besides his
natural disposition.  None the less, of course he fell in love.  Miss
Ann Rutledge, the daughter of a store and tavern keeper from Kentucky
with whom Lincoln was boarding in 1833, has been described as of
exquisite beauty; some say this is over-stated, but speak strongly of
her grace and charm.  A lady who knew her gives these curiously
collocated particulars: "Miss Rutledge had auburn hair, blue eyes, fair
complexion.  She was pretty, slightly slender, but in everything a
good-hearted young woman.  She was about five feet two inches high, and
weighed in the neighbourhood of a hundred and twenty pounds.  She was
beloved by all who knew her.  She died as it were of grief.  In
speaking of her death and her grave Lincoln once said to me, 'My heart
lies buried there.'"  The poor girl, when Lincoln first came courting
to her, had passed through a grievous agitation.  She had been engaged
to a young man, who suddenly returned to his home in the Eastern
States, after revealing to her, with some explanation which was more
convincing to her than to her friends, that he had been passing under
an assumed name.  It seems that his absence was strangely prolonged,
that for a long time she did not hear from him, that his letters when
they did come puzzled her, that she clung to him long, but yielded at
last to her friends, who urged their very natural suspicions upon her.
It is further suggested that there was some good explanation of his
conduct all the while, and that she learnt this too late when actually
engaged to Lincoln.  However that may be, shortly after her engagement
to Lincoln she fell seriously ill, insisted, as she lay ill, on a long
interview with Lincoln alone, and a day or two later died.  This was in
1835, when he was twenty-six.  It is perhaps right to say that one
biographer throws doubt on the significance of this story in Lincoln's
life.  The details as to Ann Rutledge's earlier lover are vague and
uncertain.  The main facts of Lincoln's first engagement and almost
immediate loss of his betrothed are quite certain; the blow would have
been staggering enough to any ordinary young lover and we know nothing
of Lincoln which would discredit Mr. Herndon's judgment that its effect
on him was both acute and permanent.  There can be no real doubt that
his spells of melancholy were ever afterwards more intense, and politer
biographers should not have suppressed the testimony that for a time
that melancholy seemed to his friends to verge upon insanity.  He
always found good friends, and, as was to happen again later, one of
them, Mr. Bowline Greene, carried him off to his own secluded home and
watched him carefully.  He said "the thought that the snows and rains
fell upon her grave filled him with indescribable grief."  Two years
later he told a fellow-legislator that "although he seemed to others to
enjoy life rapturously, yet when alone he was so overcome by mental
depression, he never dared to carry a pocket-knife."  Later still
Greene, who had helped him, died, and Lincoln was to speak over his
grave.  For once in his life he broke down entirely; "the tears ran
down his yellow and shrivelled cheeks. . . .  After repeated efforts he
found it impossible to speak and strode away sobbing."

The man whom a grief of this kind has affected not only intensely, but
morbidly, is almost sure, before its influence has faded, to make love
again, and is very likely to do so foolishly.  Miss Mary Owens was
slightly older than Lincoln.  She was a handsome woman; commanding, but
comfortable.  In the tales of Lincoln's love stories, much else is
doubtfully related, but the lady's weight is in each case stated with
assurance, and when she visited her sister in New Salem in 1836 Mary
Owens weighed one hundred and fifty pounds.  There is nothing sad in
her story; she was before long happily married--not to Lincoln--and she
long outlived him.  But Lincoln, who had seen her on a previous visit
and partly remembered her, had been asked, perhaps in jest, by her
sister to marry her if she returned, and had rashly announced half in
jest that he would.  Her sister promptly fetched her, and he lingered
for some time in a half-engaged condition, writing her reasonable,
conscientious, feeble letters, in which he put before her
dispassionately the question whether she could patiently bear "to see
without sharing . . . a lot of flourishing about in carriages, . . . to
be poor without the means of hiding your poverty," and assuring her
that "I should be much happier with you than the way I am, provided I
saw no signs of discontent in you."  Whether he rather wished to marry
her but felt bound to hold her free, or distinctly wished not to marry
her but felt bound not to hold himself free, he probably was never
sure.  The lady very wisely decided that he could not make her happy,
and returned to Kentucky.  She said he was deficient in the little
courteous attentions which a woman's happiness requires of her husband.
She gave instances long after to prove her point; but she always spoke
of him with friendship and respect as "a man with a heart full of human
kindness and a head full of common sense."

Rather unluckily, Lincoln, upon his rejection or release, relieved his
feelings in a letter about Miss Owens to one of the somewhat older
married ladies who were kind to him, the wife of one of his colleagues.
She ought to have burnt his letter, but she preserved it to kindle mild
gossip after his death.  It is a burlesque account of his whole
adventure, describing, with touches of very bad taste, his
disillusionment with the now maturer charms of Miss Owens when her
sister brought her back to New Salem, and making comedy of his own
honest bewilderment and his mingled relief and mortification when she
at last refused him.  We may take it as evidence of the natural want of
perception and right instinctive judgment in minor matters which some
who knew and loved him attribute to him.  But, besides that, the man
who found relief in this ill-conceived exercise of humour was one in
whom the prospect of marriage caused some strange and pitiful
perturbation of mind.

This was in 1838, and a year later Mary Todd came from Kentucky to stay
at Springfield with her brother-in-law Ninian Edwards, a legislator of
Illinois and a close ally of Lincoln's.  She was aged twenty-one, and
her weight was one hundred and thirty pounds.  She was well educated,
and had family connections which were highly esteemed.  She was
pleasant in company, but somewhat imperious, and she was a vivacious
talker.  When among the young men who now became attentive in calling
on the Edwards's Lincoln came and sat awkwardly gazing on Miss Todd,
Mrs. Edwards appears to have remarked that the two were not suited to
each other.  But an engagement took place all the same.  As to the
details of what followed, whether he or she was the first to have
doubts, and whether, as some say, the great Stephen Douglas appeared on
the scene as a rival and withdrew rather generously but too late, is
uncertain.  But Lincoln composed a letter to break off his engagement.
He showed it to Joshua Speed, who told him that if he had the courage
of a man he would not write to her, but see her and speak.  He did so.
She cried.  He kissed and tried to comfort her.  After this Speed had
to point out to him that he had really renewed his engagement.  Again
there may be some uncertainty whether on January 1, 1841, the bridal
party had actually assembled and the bridegroom after long search was
found by his friends wandering about in a state which made them watch
day and night and keep knives from him.  But it is quite certain from
his letters that in some such way on "the fatal 1st of January, 1841,"
he broke down terribly.  Some weeks later he wrote to his partner:
"Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell; I awfully forebode I
shall not.  To remain as I am is impossible.  I must die or be better,
as it appears to me."  After a while Speed was able to remove him to
his own parents' home in Kentucky, where he and his mother nursed him
back to mental life.

Then in the course of 1841 Speed himself began to contemplate marriage,
and Speed himself had painful searchings of heart, and Lincoln's turn
came to show a sureness of perception in his friend's case that he
wholly lacked in his own.  "I know," he writes, "what the painful point
with you is . . . it is an apprehension that you do not love her as you
should.  What nonsense!  How came you to court her?  But you say you
reasoned yourself into it.  What do you mean by that?  Was it not that
you found yourself unable to reason yourself out of it?  Did you not
think, and partly form the purpose, of courting her the first time you
ever saw or heard of her?  What had reason to do with it at that early
stage?"  A little later the lady of Speed's love falls ill.  Lincoln
writes: "I hope and believe that your present anxiety about her health
and her life must and will for ever banish those horrid doubts which I
know you sometimes felt as to the truth of your affection for
her. . . .  Perhaps this point is no longer a question with you, and my
pertinacious dwelling upon it is a rude intrusion upon your feelings.
If so, you must pardon me.  You know the hell I have suffered upon that
point, and how tender I am upon it."  When he writes thus it is no
surprise to hear from him that he has lost his hypochondria, but it may
be that the keen recollection of it gives him excessive anxieties for
Speed.  On the eve of the wedding he writes: "You will always hereafter
be on ground that I have never occupied, and consequently, if advice
were needed, I might advise wrong.  I do fondly hope, however, that you
will never need comfort from abroad.  I incline to think it probable
that your nerves will occasionally fail you for a while; but once you
get them firmly graded now, that trouble is over for ever.  If you went
through the ceremony calmly or even with sufficient composure not to
excite alarm in any present, you are safe beyond question, and in two
or three months, to say the most, will be the happiest of men."  Soon
he is reassured and can "feel somewhat jealous of both of you now.  You
will be so exclusively concerned with one another that I shall be
forgotten entirely.  I shall feel very lonesome without you."  And a
little later: "It cannot be told how it thrills me with joy to hear you
say you are far happier than you ever expected to be.  I know you too
well to suppose your expectations were not at least sometimes
extravagant, and if the reality exceeds them all, I say, 'Enough, dear
Lord.'"  And here follows what might perhaps have been foreseen: "Your
last letter gave me more pleasure than the total sum of all that I have
received since the fatal 1st of January, 1841.  Since then it seems to
me I should have been entirely happy but for the never absent idea that
there is still one unhappy whom I have contributed to make so.  That
kills my soul.  I cannot but reproach myself for even wishing to be
happy while she is otherwise."  Very significantly he has inquired of
friends how that one enjoyed a trip on the new railway cars to
Jacksonville, and--not being like Falkland in "The Rivals"--praises God
that she has enjoyed it exceedingly.

This was in the spring of 1842.  Some three months later he writes
again to Speed: "I must gain confidence in my own ability to keep my
resolves when they are made.  In that ability I once prided myself as
the only chief gem of my character.  That gem I lost how and where you
know too well.  I have not regained it, and until I do I cannot trust
myself in any matter of much importance.  I believe now that, had you
understood my case at the time as well as I understood yours
afterwards, by the aid you would have given me I should have sailed
through clear. . . .  I always was superstitious.  I believe God made
me one of the instruments of bringing Fanny and you together, which
union I have no doubt He had fore-ordained.  Whatever He designs for me
He will do.  'Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,' is my
text just now.  If, as you say, you have told Fanny all, I should have
no objection to her seeing this letter.  I do not think I can come to
Kentucky this season.  I am so poor and make so little headway in the
world that I drop back in a month of idleness as much as I gain in a
year's sowing."  At last in the autumn of that year Lincoln addresses
to Speed a question at once so shrewd and so daringly intimate as
perhaps no other man ever asked of his friend.  "The immense sufferings
you endured from the first days of September till the middle of
February" (the date of Speed's wedding) "you never tried to conceal
from me, and I well understood.  You have now been the husband of a
lovely woman nearly eight months.  That you are happier now than the
day you married her I well know. . . .  But I want to ask a close
question!  'Are you in _feeling_ as well as in _judgment_ glad you are
married as you are?'  From anybody but me this would be an impudent
question, not to be tolerated, but I know you will pardon it in me.
Please answer it quickly, as I am impatient to know."

Speed remained in Kentucky; Lincoln was too poor for visits of
pleasure; and Speed was not a man who cared for political life; but the
memorials, from which the above quotations have been taken, of
Lincoln's lasting friendship with Speed and his kind mother, who gave
Lincoln a treasured Bible, and his kind young wife, who made her
husband's friend her own, and whose violet, dropped into her husband's
letter to him just as he was sealing it, was among the few flowers that
Lincoln ever appreciated, throw the clearest light that we can anywhere
obtain on the inner mind of Lincoln.

As may have been foreseen, Mary Todd and he had met again on a friendly
footing.  A managing lady is credited with having brought about a
meeting between them, but evidently she did not do it till Lincoln was
at least getting desirous to be managed.  He was much absorbed at this
time in law business, to which since his breakdown he had applied
himself more seriously.  It was at this period too that his notable
address on temperance was given.  Soon after his meetings with Miss
Todd began again he involved himself in a complication of a different
kind.  He had written, partly, it seems, for the young lady's
amusement, some innocent if uninteresting political skits relating to
some question about taxes.  This brought on him an unexpected challenge
from a fiery but diminutive revenue official, one Colonel Shields, a
prominent Democratic politician.  Lincoln availed himself of the right
of the challenged to impose ridiculous conditions of combat, partly no
doubt in fun, but with the sensible object also of making sure that he
could disarm his antagonist with no risk of harm to the little man.
The tangled controversy which ensued as to how and by whose fault the
duel eventually fell through has nothing in it now, but the whole
undignified business seems to have given Lincoln lasting chagrin, and
worried him greatly at a time when it would have been well that he
should be cheerful.  At last on November 4, 1842, when Lincoln was
nearly thirty-three, he was safely married.  The wedding, held,
according to the prevailing custom, in a private house, was an
important function, for it was the first Episcopalian wedding that good
society in Springfield had witnessed.  Malicious fortune brought in a
ludicrous incident at the last moment, for when in the lawyerlike
verbiage of the then American Prayer-Book the bridegroom said, "With
this ring I thee endow with all my goods, chattels, lands and
tenements," old Judge Brown of the Illinois Supreme Court, who had
never heard the like, impatiently broke in, "God Almighty, Lincoln!
The statute fixes all that."

There is more than the conventional reason for apology for pressing the
subject a little further.  Nothing very illuminating can be said as to
the course of Lincoln's married life, but much has already been made
public about it which, though it cannot be taken as reaching to the
heart of the matter, is not properly to be dismissed as mere gossip.
Mrs. Lincoln, it is clear, had a high temper--the fact that, poor
woman! after her husband had been murdered by her side, she developed
clear symptoms of insanity, may or may not, for all we are entitled to
know, be relevant in this regard.  She was much younger than her
husband, and had gone through a cruel experience for him.  Moreover,
she had proper ambitions and was accustomed to proper conventional
refinements; so her husband's exterior roughness tried her sorely, not
the less we may be sure because of her real pride in him.  Wife and
tailor combined could not, with any amount of money, have dressed him
well.  Once, though they kept a servant then, Lincoln thought it
friendly to open the door himself in his shirt sleeves when two most
elegant ladies came to call.  On such occasions, and doubtless on other
occasions of less provocation, Mrs. Lincoln's high temper was let
loose.  It seems pretty certain, too, that he met her with mere
forbearance, sad patience, and avoidance of conflict.  His fellow
lawyers came to notice that he stayed away from home on circuit when
all the rest of them could go home for a day or two.  Fifteen years
after his wedding he himself confessed to his trouble, not disloyally,
but in a rather moving remonstrance with some one who had felt
intolerably provoked by Mrs. Lincoln.  There are slight indications
that occasions of difficulty and pain to Lincoln happened up to the end
of his life.  On the other hand, there are slight indications that
common love for their children helped to make the two happier, and
there are no indications at all of any approach to a serious quarrel.
All that is told us may be perfectly true and not by any means have
justified the pity that some of Lincoln's friends were ready to feel
for him.  It is difficult to avoid suspecting that Lincoln's wife did
not duly like his partner and biographer, Mr. Herndon, who felt it his
duty to record so many painful facts and his own possibly too painful
impression from them.  On the other side, Mr. Herndon makes it clear
that in some respects Mrs. Lincoln was an admirable wife for her
husband.  She faced the difficulties of their poverty with spirit and
resolution.  Testimony from other sources to her graceful hospitality
abounds.  More than this, from the very first she believed in his
powers.  It seems she had the discernment to know, when few others can
have done so, how far greater he was than his rival Douglas.  It was
Herndon's belief, in days when he and Mrs. Lincoln were the two persons
who saw most of him, that she sustained his just ambition, and that at
the most critical moment of his personal career she had the courage to
make him refuse an attractive appointment which must have ruined it.
The worst that we are told with any certainty amounts to this, that
like the very happily married writer of "Virginibus Puerisque," Lincoln
discovered that marriage is "a field of battle and not a bed of
roses"--a battle in which we are forced to suspect that he did not play
his full part.

We should perhaps be right in associating his curious record, of right
and high regard for women and inefficiency where a particular woman's
happiness depended on him, with the belief in Woman Suffrage, which he
early adopted and probably retained.  Be that as it may, this part of
his story points to something which runs through his whole character,
something which perhaps may be expressed by saying that the natural
bias of his qualities was towards the negative side.  We hear, no
doubt, of occasions when his vigour was instant and terrible--like that
of Hamlet on the ship for England; but these were occasions when the
right or the necessity of the case was obvious.  We have seen him also
firm and absolutely independent where his conviction had already been
thought out.  Where there was room for further reflection, for
patiently waiting on events, or for taking counsel of wise friends,
manly decision had not come easily to him.  He had let a third person
almost engage him to Miss Owens.  Once in this relation to her, he had
let it be the woman's part and not the man's to have decision enough
for the two.  Speed had to tell him that he must face Miss Todd and
speak to her, and Speed again had to make clear to him what the effect
of his speaking had been.  In time he decided what he thought his own
feelings were, but it was by inference from the feelings of Speed.
Lastly, it seems, the troubles of his married life were met by mere
patience and avoidance.  All this, of course, concerned a side of
life's affairs in regard to which his mind had suffered painful shocks;
but it shows the direction of his possible weakness and his possible
strength in other things.  It falls in with a trait which he himself
noted in one of the letters to Speed: "I have no doubt," he writes, "it
is the peculiar misfortune of both you and me to dream dreams of
Elysium far exceeding all that anything earthly can realise."  All such
men have to go through deep waters; but they do not necessarily miss
either success or happiness in the end.  Lincoln's life may be said to
have tested him by the test which Mr. Kipling states in his lines about
Washington:--

  "If you can dream--and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim."

He was to prove that he could do this; it is for the following pages to
show in how high a degree.  Meanwhile one thing should already be clear
about him.  No shrewd judge of men could read his letters to Speed with
care and not feel that, whatever mistakes this man might commit,
fundamentally he was worthy of entire trust.  That, as a matter of
fact, is what, to the end of his life, Speed and all the men who knew
him and an ever widening circle of men who had to judge by more casual
impressions did feel about Lincoln.  Whatever was questionable in his
private or public acts, his own explanation, if he happened to give
one, would be taken by them as the full and naked truth, and, if there
was no known explanation, it remained to them an irrebuttable
presumption that his main intention was right.




CHAPTER IV

LINCOLN IN CONGRESS AND IN RETIREMENT

1. _The Mexican War and Lincoln's Work in Congress_.

Lincoln had ceased before his marriage to sit in the Illinois
Legislature.  He had won sufficient standing for his ambition to aim
higher; a former law partner of his was now in Congress, and he wished
to follow.  But he had to submit to a few years' delay of which the
story is curious and honourable.  His rivals for the representation of
his own constituency were two fellow Whigs, Baker and Hardin, both of
whom afterwards bore distinguished parts in the Mexican war and with
both of whom he was friendly.  Somewhat to his disgust at a party
gathering in his own county in 1843, Baker was preferred to him.  A
letter of his gives a shrewd account of the manoeuvres among members of
various Churches which brought this about; it is curiously careful not
to overstate the effect of these influences and characteristically
denies that Baker had part in them.  To make the thing harder, he was
sent from this meeting to a convention, for the whole constituency,
with which the nomination lay, and his duty, of course, was to work for
Baker.  Here it became obvious that Hardin would be chosen; nothing
could be done for Baker at that time, but Lincoln, being against his
will there in Baker's interests, took an opportunity in the bargaining
that took place to advance Baker's claim, to the detriment of his own,
to be Hardin's successor two years later.

By some perverse accident notes about details of party management fill
a disproportionate space among those letters of Lincoln's which have
been preserved, but these reveal that, with all his business-like
attention to the affairs of his very proper ambition, he was able
throughout to illuminate dull matters of this order with action of
singular disinterestedness.  After being a second time postponed, no
doubt to the advantage of his law business, he took his seat in the
House of Representatives at Washington for two years in the spring of
1847.  Two short sessions can hardly suffice for mastering the very
complicated business of that body.  He made hardly any mark.  He
probably learned much and was able to study at leisure the characters
of his brother politicians.  He earned the valuable esteem of some, and
seems to have passed as a very pleasant, honest, plain specimen of the
rough West.  Like others of the younger Congressmen, he had the
privilege of breakfasting with Webster.  His brief career in the House
seems to have disappointed him, and it certainly dissatisfied his
constituents.  The part that he played may impress us more favourably
than it did them, but, slight as it was, it requires a historical
explanation.

Mexico had detached itself from Spain in 1826, and in 1833 the province
of Texas detached itself from Mexico.  Texas was largely peopled by
immigrants from the States, and these had grievances.  One of them was
that Mexico abolished slavery, but there was real misgovernment as
well, and, among other cruel incidents of the rebellion which followed,
the massacre of rebels at the Alamo stamped itself on American memory.
The Republic of Texas began to seek annexation to the United States in
1839, but there was opposition in the States and there were
difficulties with Mexico and other Governments.  At last in 1845, at
the very close of his term of office, President Tyler got the
annexation pushed through in defiance of the Whigs who made him
President.  Mexico broke off diplomatic relations, but peace could no
doubt have been preserved if peace had been any object with the new
President Polk or with the Southern leaders whose views he represented.
They had set their eyes upon a further acquisition, larger even than
Texas--California, and the whole of the territories, still belonging to
Mexico, to the east of it.  It is not contested, and would not have
been contested then, that the motive of their policy was the Southern
desire to win further soil for cultivation by slaves.  But there was no
great difficulty in gaining some popularity for their designs in the
North.  Talk about "our manifest destiny" to reach the Pacific may have
been justly described by Parson Wilbur as "half on it ign'ance and
t'other half rum," but it is easy to see how readily it might be taken
up, and indeed many Northerners at that moment had a fancy of their own
for expansion in the North-West and were not over-well pleased with
Polk when, in 1846, he set the final seal upon the settlement with
Great Britain of the Oregon frontier.

When he did this Polk had already brought about his own war.  The
judgment on that war expressed at the time in the first "Biglow Papers"
has seldom been questioned since, and there seldom can have been a war
so sternly condemned by soldiers--Grant amongst others--who fought in
it gallantly.  The facts seem to have been just as Lincoln afterwards
recited them in Congress.  The Rio Grande, which looks a reasonable
frontier on a map, was claimed by the United States as the frontier of
Texas.  The territory occupied by the American settlers of Texas
reached admittedly up to and beyond the River Nueces, east of the Rio
Grande.  But in a sparsely settled country, where water is not
abundant, the actual border line, if there be any clear line, between
settlement from one side and settlement from the other will not for the
convenience of treaty-makers run along a river, but rather for the
convenience of the settlers along the water-parting between two rivers.
So Mexico claimed both banks of the Rio Grande and Spanish settlers
inhabited both sides.  Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor, who was
allowed no discretion in the matter, to march troops right up to the
Rio Grande and occupy a position commanding the encampment of the
Mexican soldiers there.  The Mexican commander, thus threatened,
attacked.  The Mexicans had thus begun the war.  Polk could thus allege
his duty to prosecute it.  When the whole transaction was afterwards
assailed his critics might be tempted to go, or represented as going,
upon the false ground that only Congress can constitutionally declare
war--that is, of course, sanction purely offensive operations.  Long,
however, before the dispute could come to a head, the brilliant
successes of General Taylor and still more of General Scott, with a few
trained troops against large undisciplined numbers, put all criticism
at a disadvantage.  The City of Mexico was occupied by Scott in
September, 1847, and peace, with the cession of the vast domain that
had been coveted, was concluded in May, 1848.

War having begun, the line of the Whig opposition was to vote supplies
and protest as best they might against the language endorsing Polk's
policy which, in the pettiest spirit of political manoeuvre, was
sometimes incorporated in the votes.  In this Lincoln steadily
supported them.  One of his only two speeches of any length in Congress
was made on the occasion of a vote of this kind in 1848.  The subject
was by that time so stale that his speech could hardly make much
impression, but it appears to-day an extraordinarily clear, strong,
upright presentment of the complex and unpopular case against the war.
His other long speech is elevated above buffoonery by a brief, cogent,
and earnest passage on the same theme, but it was a frank piece of
clowning on a licensed occasion.  It was the fashion for the House when
its own dissolution and a Presidential election were both imminent to
have a sort of rhetorical scrimmage in which members on both sides
spoke for the edification of their own constituencies and that of
Buncombe.  The Whigs were now happy in having "diverted the war-thunder
against the Democrats" by running for the Presidency General Taylor, a
good soldier who did not know whether he was a Whig or a Democrat, but
who, besides being a hero of the war, was inoffensive to the South, for
he lived in Louisiana and had slaves of his own.  It is characteristic
of the time that the Democrats, in whose counsels the Southern men
prevailed, now began a practice of choosing Northern candidates, and
nominated General Cass of Michigan, whose distinction had not been won
in war.  The Democratic Congressmen in this debate made game of the
Whigs, with their war-hero, and seem to have carried a crude manner of
pleasantry pretty far when Lincoln determined to show them that they
could be beaten at that game.  He seems to have succeeded admirably,
with a burlesque comparison, too long to quote, of General Cass's
martial exploits with his own, and other such-like matter enhanced by
the most extravagant Western manner and delivery.

Anyone who reads much of the always grave and sometimes most moving
orations of Lincoln's later years may do well to turn back to this
agreeable piece of debating-society horse-play.  But he should then
turn a few pages further back to Lincoln's little Bill for the gradual
and compensated extinction of slavery in the District of Columbia,
where Washington stands.  He introduced this of his own motion, without
encouragement from Abolitionist or Non-Abolitionist, accompanying it
with a brief statement that he had carefully ascertained that the
representative people of the district privately approved of it, but had
no right to commit them to public support of it.  It perished, of
course.  With the views which he had long formed and continued to hold
about slavery, very few opportunities could in these years come to him
of proper and useful action against it.  He seized upon these
opportunities not less because in doing so he had to stand alone.

His career as a Congressman was soon over.  There was no movement to
re-elect him, and the Whigs now lost his constituency.  His speeches
and his votes against the Mexican war offended his friends.  Even his
partner, the Abolitionist, Mr. Herndon, whose further acquaintance we
have to make, was too much infected with the popularity of a successful
war to understand Lincoln's plain position or to approve of his giving
votes which might seem unpatriotic.  Lincoln wrote back to him firmly
but sadly.  Persuaded as he was that political action in advance of
public sentiment was idle, resigned and hardened as we might easily
think him to many of the necessities of party discipline, it evidently
caused him naive surprise that, when he was called upon for a definite
opinion, anybody should expect him, as he candidly puts it, to "tell a
lie."

As a retiring Congressman he was invited to speak in several places in
the East on behalf of Taylor's candidature; and after Taylor's election
claimed his right as the proper person to be consulted, with certain
others, about Government appointments in Illinois.  Taylor carried out
the "spoils system" with conscientious thoroughness; as he touchingly
said, he had thought over the question from a soldier's point of view,
and could not bear the thought that, while he as their chief enjoyed
the Presidency, the private soldiers in the Whig ranks should not get
whatever was going.  Lincoln's attitude in the matter may be of
interest.  To take an example, he writes to the President, about the
postmastership in some place, that he does not know whether the
President desires to change the tenure of such offices on party
grounds, and offers no advice; that A is a Whig whose appointment is
much desired by the local Whigs, and a most respectable man; that B,
also a Whig, would in Lincoln's judgment be a somewhat better but not
so popular subject for appointment; that C, the present postmaster, is
a Democrat, but is on every ground, save his political party, a proper
person for the office.  There was an office which he himself desired,
it was that of "Commissioner of the General Land Office," a new office
in Washington dealing with settlement on Government lands in the West.
He was probably well suited to it; but his application was delayed by
the fact that friends in Illinois wanted the post too; a certain Mr.
Butterfield (a lawyer renowned for his jokes, which showed, it is said,
"at least a well-marked humorous intention") got it; and then it fell
to the lot of the disappointed Lincoln to have to defend Butterfield
against some unfair attack.  But a tempting offer was made him, that of
the Governorship of Oregon Territory, and he wavered before refusing to
take work which would, as it happened, have kept him far away when the
opportunity of his life came.  It was Mrs. Lincoln who would not let
him cut himself off so completely from politics.  As for himself, it is
hard to resist the impression that he was at this time a tired man,
disappointed as to the progress of his career and probably also
disappointed and somewhat despondent about politics and the
possibilities of good service that lay open to politicians.  It may be
that this was partly the reason why he was not at all aroused by the
crisis in American politics which must now be related.


2. _California and the Compromise of 1850_.

It has been said that the motive for the conquests from Mexico was the
desire for slave territory.  The attractive part of the new dominion
was of course California.  Arizona and New Mexico are arid regions, and
the mineral wealth of Nevada was unknown.  The peacefully acquired
region of Oregon, far north, need not concern us, but Oregon became a
free State in 1859.  Early in the war a struggle began between
Northerners and Southerners (to a large extent independent of party) in
the Senate and the House as to whether slavery should be allowed in the
conquered land or not.  David Wilmot, a Northern Democratic
Congressman, proposed a proviso to the very first money grant connected
with the war, that slavery should be forbidden in any territory to be
annexed.  The "Wilmot Proviso" was proposed again on every possible
occasion; Lincoln, by the way, sturdily supported it while in Congress;
it was always voted down.  Cass proposed as a solution of all
difficulties that the question of slavery should be left to the people
of the new Territories or States themselves.  The American public, apt
as condensing an argument into a phrase, dismissed Cass's principle for
the time being with the epithet "squatter sovereignty."  Calhoun and
his friends said it was contrary to the Constitution that an American
citizen should not be free to move with his property, including his
slaves, into territory won by the Union.  The annexation was carried
out, and the question of slavery was unsettled.  Then events took a
surprising turn.

In the winter of 1848 gold was discovered in California.  Throughout
1849 gold-seekers came pouring in from every part of the world.  This
miscellaneous new people, whose rough ways have been more celebrated in
literature than those of any similar crowd, lived at first in
considerable anarchy, but they determined without delay to set up some
regular system of government.  In the course of 1849 they elected a
Convention to draw up a State Constitution, and to the astonishment of
all the States the Convention unanimously made the prohibition of
slavery part of that Constitution.  There was no likelihood that, with
a further influx of settlers of the same sort, this decision of
California would alter.  Was California to be admitted as a State with
this Constitution of its own choice, which the bulk of the people of
America approved?

To politicians of the school now fully developed in the South there
seemed nothing outrageous in saying that it should be refused
admission.  To them Calhoun's argument, which regarded a citizen's
slave as his chattel in the same sense as his hat or walking-stick,
seemed the ripe fruit of logic.  It did not shock them in the least
that they were forcing the slave system on an unwilling community, for
were not the Northerners prepared to force the free system?  A
prominent Southern Senator, talking with a Northern colleague a little
later, said triumphantly: "I see how it is.  You may force freedom as
much as you like, but we are to beware how we force slavery," and was
surprised that the Northerner cheerfully accepted this position.  It is
necessary to remember throughout the following years that, whatever
ordinary Southerners thought in private, their whole political action
was now based on the assumption that slavery, as it was, was an
institution which no reasonable man could think wrong.

Zachary Taylor, unlike Harrison, the previous hero of the Whigs,
survived his inauguration by sixteen months.  He was no politician at
all, but placed in the position of President, for which fairness and
firmness were really the greatest qualifications, he was man enough to
rely on his own good sense.  He had come to Washington under the
impression that the disputes which raged there were due to the
aggressiveness of the North; a very little time there convinced him of
the contrary.  Slave-owner as he was, the claim of the South to force
slavery on California struck him as an arrogant pretension, and so far
as matters rested with him, he was simply not to be moved by it.  He
sent a message to Congress advising the admission of California with
the constitution of its own choice.  When, as we shall shortly see, the
great men of the Senate thought the case demanded conciliation and a
great scheme of compromise, he resolutely disagreed; he used the whole
of his influence against their compromise, and it is believed with good
reason that he would have put his veto as President on the chief
measure in which the compromise issued.  If he had lived to carry out
his policy, it seems possible that there would have been an attempt to
execute the threats of secession which were muttered--this time in
Virginia.  But it is almost certain that at that time, and with the
position which he occupied, he would have been able to quell the
movement at once.  There is nothing to suggest that Taylor was a man of
any unusual gifts of intellect, but he had what we may call character,
and it was the one thing wanting in political life at the time.  The
greatest minds in American politics, as we shall see, viewed the
occasion otherwise, but, in the light of what followed, it seems a
signal and irreparable error that, when the spirit of aggression rising
in the South had taken definite shape in a demand which was manifestly
wrongful, it was bought off and not met with a straightforward refusal.
Taylor died in the course of 1850 and Vice-President Millard Fillmore,
of New York, succeeded him.  Fillmore had an appearance of grave and
benign wisdom which led a Frenchman to describe him as the ideal ruler
of a Republic, but he was a pattern of that outwardly dignified, yet
nerveless and heartless respectability, which was more dangerous to
America at that period than political recklessness or want of scruple.

The actual issue of the crisis was that the admission of California was
bought from the South by large concessions in other directions.  This
was the proposal of Henry Clay, who was now an old man anxious for the
Union, but had been a lover of such compromises ever since he promoted
the Missouri Compromise thirty years ago; but, to the savage
indignation of some of his Boston admirers, Webster used the whole
force of his influence and debating power in support of Clay.  The
chief concessions made to the South were two.  In the first place
Territorial Governments were set up in New Mexico and Utah (since then
the home of the Mormons) without any restriction on slavery.  This
concession was defended in the North on the ground that it was a sham,
because the physical character of those regions made successful slave
plantations impossible there.  But it was, of course, a surrender of
the principle which had been struggled for in the Wilmot Proviso during
the last four years; and the Southern leaders showed the clearness of
their limited vision by valuing it just upon that ground.  There had
been reason for the territorial concessions to slavery in the past
generation because it was established in the territories concerned; but
there was no such reason now.  The second concession was that of a new
Federal law to ensure the return of fugitive slaves from the free
States.  The demand for this was partly factitious, for the States in
the far South, which were not exposed to loss of slaves, were the most
insistent on it, and it would appear that the Southern leaders felt it
politic to force the acceptance of the measure in a form which would
humiliate their opponents.  There is no escape from the contention,
which Lincoln especially admitted without reserve, that the enactment
of an effective Act of this sort was, if demanded, due under the
provisions of the Constitution; but the measure actually passed was
manifestly defiant of all principles of justice.  It was so framed as
almost to destroy the chance which a lawfully free negro might have of
proving his freedom, if arrested by the professional slave-hunters as a
runaway.  It was the sort of Act which a President should have vetoed
as a fraud upon the Constitution.  Thus over and above the objection,
now plain, to any compromise, the actual compromise proposed was marked
by flagrant wrong.  But it was put through by the weight of Webster and
Clay.

This event marks the close of a period.  It was the last achievement of
Webster and Clay, both of whom passed away in 1852 in the hope that
they had permanently pacified the Union.  Calhoun, their great
contemporary, had already died in 1850, gloomily presaging and
lamenting the coming danger to the Union which was so largely his own
creation.  For a while the cheerful view of Webster and Clay seemed
better justified.  There had been angry protest in the North against
the Fugitive Slave Law; there was some forcible resistance to arrests
of negroes; and some States passed Protection of Liberty Acts of their
own to impede the Federal law in its working.  But the excitement,
which had flared up suddenly, died down as suddenly.  In the
Presidential election of 1852 Northerners generally reflected that they
wanted quiet and had an instinct, curiously falsified, that the
Democratic party was the more likely to give it them.  The Whigs again
proposed a hero, General Scott, a greater soldier than Taylor, but a
vainer man, who mistakenly broke with all precedent and went upon the
stump for himself.  The President who was elected, Franklin Pierce of
New Hampshire, a friend of Hawthorne, might perhaps claim the palm
among the Presidents of those days, for sheer, deleterious
insignificance.  The favourite observation of his contemporaries upon
him was that he was a gentleman, but his convivial nature made the
social attractiveness of Southern circles in Washington overpowering to
any brain or character that he may have possessed.  A new generation of
political personages now came to the front.  Jefferson Davis of
Mississippi, a man of force and considerable dignity, began to take the
leading part in the powerful group of Southern Senators; Stephen
Douglas, of Illinois, rapidly became the foremost man of the Democratic
party generally; William Seward, late Governor of New York, and Salmon
Chase, a Democrat, late Governor of Ohio, had played a manful part in
the Senate in opposition to Webster and Clay and their compromise.
From this time on we must look on these two, joined a little later by
Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts, as the obvious leaders in the
struggle against slavery which was shortly to be renewed, and in which
Lincoln's part seemed likely to remain a humble one.


3. _Lincoln in Retirement_.

Whether Seward and Chase and the other opponents of the Compromise were
right, as it now seems they were, or not, Lincoln was not the man who
in the unlooked-for crisis of 1850 would have been likely to make an
insurrectionary stand against his old party-leader Clay, and the
revered constitutional authority of Webster.  He had indeed little
opportunity to do so in Illinois, but his one recorded speech of this
period, an oration to a meeting of both parties on the death of Clay in
1852, expresses approval of the Compromise.  This speech, which is
significant of the trend of his thoughts at this time, does not lend
itself to brief extracts because it is wanting in the frankness of his
speeches before and after.  A harsh reference to Abolitionists serves
to disguise the fact that the whole speech is animated by antagonism to
slavery.  The occasion and the subject are used with rather
disagreeable subtlety to insinuate opposition to slavery into the minds
of a cautious audience.  The speaker himself seems satisfied with the
mood of mere compromise which had governed Clay in this matter, or
rather perhaps he is twisting Clay's attitude into one of more
consistent opposition to slavery than he really showed.  In any case we
can be quite sure that the moderate and subtle but intensely firm
opinion with which a little later Lincoln returned to political strife
was the product of long and deep and anxious thought during the years
from 1849 to 1854.  On the surface it did not go far beyond the
condemnation of slavery and acceptance of the Constitution which had
guided him earlier, nor did it seem to differ from the wide-spread
public opinion which in 1854 created a new party; but there was this
difference that Lincoln had by then looked at the matter in all its
bearings, and prepared his mind for all eventualities.  We shall find,
and need not be surprised to find, that he who now hung back a little,
and who later moved when public opinion moved, later still continued to
move when public opinion had receded.

What we know of these years of private life is mainly due to Mr.
William Herndon, the young lawyer already quoted, whom he took into
partnership in 1845, and who kept on the business of the firm in
Springfield till Lincoln's death.  This gentleman was, like Boswell, of
opinion that a great man is not best portrayed as a figure in a
stained-glass window.  He had lived with Lincoln, groaned under his odd
ways, and loved them, for sixteen years before his Presidency, and
after his death he devoted much research, in his own memory and those
of many others, to the task of substituting for Lincoln's aureole the
battered tall hat, with valuable papers stuck in its lining, which he
had long contemplated with reverent irritation.  Mr. Herndon was not
endowed with Boswell's artistic gift for putting his materials
together, perhaps because he lacked that delicacy and sureness of moral
perception which more than redeemed Boswell's absurdities.  He
succeeded on the whole in his aim, for the figure that more or less
distinctly emerges from the litter of his workshop is lovable; but in
spite of all Lincoln's melancholy, the dreariness of his life, sitting
with his feet on the table in his unswept and untidy office at
Illinois, or riding on circuit or staying at ramshackle western inns
with the Illinois bar, cannot have been so unrelieved as it is in Mr.
Herndon's presentation.  And Herndon overdid his part.  He ferreted out
petty incidents which he thought might display the acute Lincoln as
slightly too acute, when for all that can be seen Lincoln acted just as
any sensible man would have acted.  But the result is that, in this
part of his life especially, Lincoln's way of living was subjected to
so close a scrutiny as few men have undergone.

Herndon's scrutiny does not reveal the current of his thoughts either
on life generally or on the political problem which hereafter was to
absorb him.  It shows on the contrary, and the recollections of his
Presidency confirm it, that his thought on any important topic though
it might flash out without disguise in rare moments of intimacy,
usually remained long unexpressed.  His great sociability had perhaps
even then a rather formidable side to it.  He was not merely amusing
himself and other people, when he chatted and exchanged anecdotes far
into the night; there was an element, not ungenial, of purposeful study
in it all.  He was building up his knowledge of ordinary human nature,
his insight into popular feeling, his rather slow but sure
comprehension of the individual men whom he did know.  It astonished
the self-improving young Herndon that the serious books he read were
few and that he seldom seemed to read the whole of them--though with
the Bible, Shakespeare, and to a less extent Burns, he saturated his
mind.  The few books and the great many men were part of one study.  In
so far as his thought and study turned upon politics it seems to have
led him soon to the conclusion that he had for the present no part to
play that was worth playing.  By 1854, as he said himself, "his
profession as a lawyer had almost superseded the thought of politics in
his mind."  But it does not seem that the melancholy sense of some
great purpose unachieved or some great destiny awaiting him ever quite
left him.  He must have felt that his chance of political fame was in
all appearance gone, and would have liked to win himself a considerable
position and a little (very little) money as a lawyer; but the study,
in the broadest sense, of which these years were full, evidently
contemplated a larger education of himself as a man than professional
keenness, or any such interest as he had in law, will explain.
Middle-aged and from his own point of view a failure, he was set upon
making himself a bigger man.

In some respects he let himself be.  His exterior oddities never seem
to have toned down much; he could not be taught to introduce tidiness
or method into his office; nor did he make himself an exact lawyer; a
rough and ready familiarity with practice and a firm grasp of larger
principles of law contented him without any great apparatus of
learning.  His method of study was as odd as anything else about him;
he could read hard and commit things to memory in the midst of bustle
and noise; on the other hand, since reading aloud was his chosen way of
impressing what he read on his own mind, he would do it at all sorts of
times to the sore distraction of his partner.  When his studies are
spoken of, observation and thought on some plan concealed in his own
mind must be taken to have formed the largest element in these studies.
There was, however, one methodic discipline, highly commended of old
but seldom perhaps seriously pursued with the like object by men of
forty, even self-taught men, which he did pursue.  Some time during
these years he mastered the first six Books of Euclid.  It would
probably be no mere fancy if we were to trace certain definite effects
of this discipline upon his mind and character.  The faculty which he
had before shown of reducing his thought on any subject to the simplest
and plainest terms possible, now grew so strong that few men can be
compared with him in this.  He was gaining, too, from some source, what
the ancient geometers would themselves have claimed as partly the
product of their study: the plain fact and its plain consequences were
not only clear in calm hours of thought, but remained present to him,
felt and instinctive, through seasons of confusion, passion, and
dismay.  His life in one sense was very full of companionship, but it
is probable that in his real intellectual interests he was lonely.  To
Herndon, intelligently interested in many things, his master's mind,
much as he held it in awe, seemed chillingly unpoetic--which is a
curious view of a mind steeped in Shakespeare and Burns.  The two
partners had been separately to Niagara.  Herndon was anxious to know
what had been Lincoln's chief impression, and was pained by the reply,
"I wondered where all that water came from," which he felt showed
materialism and insensibility.  Lincoln's thought had, very obviously,
a sort of poetry of its own, but of a vast and rather awful kind.  He
had occasionally written verses of his own a little before this time;
sad verses about a friend who had become a lunatic, wondering that he
should be allowed to outlive his mind while happy young lives passed
away, and sad verses about a visit to old familiar fields in Indiana,
where he wandered brooding, as he says,

  "Till every sound appears a knell,
  And every spot a grave."

They are not great poetry; but they show a correct ear for verse, and
they are not the verses of a man to whom any of the familiar forms of
poetic association were unusual.  They are those of a man in whom the
habitual undercurrent of thought was melancholy.

Apart from these signs and the deep, humorous delight which he
evidently took in his children, there may be something slightly
forbidding in this figure of a gaunt man, disappointed in ambition and
not even happy at home, rubbing along through a rather rough crowd,
with uniform rough geniality and perpetual jest; all the while in
secret forging his own mind into an instrument for some vaguely
foreshadowed end.  But there are two or three facts which stand out
certain and have to be taken account of in any image we may be tempted
to form of him.  In the first place, his was no forbidding figure at
the time to those who knew him; a queer and a comic figure evidently,
but liked, trusted, and by some loved; reputed for honest dealing and
for kindly and gentle dealing; remarked too by some at that time, as
before and ever after, for the melancholy of his face in repose; known
by us beyond doubt to have gone through great pain; known lastly among
his fellows in his profession for a fire of anger that flashed out only
in the presence of cruelty and wrong.

His law practice, which he pursued with energy, and on which he was
now, it seems, prepared to look as his sole business in life, fitted in
none the less well with his deliberately adopted schemes of
self-education.  A great American lawyer, Mr. Choate, assures us that
at the Illinois bar in those days Lincoln had to measure himself
against very considerable men in suits of a class that required some
intellect and training.  And in his own way he held his own among these
men.  A layman may humbly conjecture that the combination in one person
of the advocate and the solicitor must give opportunities of far truer
intellectual training than the mere advocate can easily enjoy.  The
Illinois advocate was not all the time pleading the cause which he was
employed to plead, and which if it was once offered to him it was his
duty to accept; he was the personal adviser of the client whose cause
he pleaded, and within certain limits he could determine whether the
cause was brought at all, and if so whether he should take it up
himself or leave it to another man.  The rule in such matters was
elastic and practice varied.  Lincoln's practice went to the very limit
of what is permissible in refusing legal aid to a cause he disapproved.
Coming into court he discovered suddenly some fact about his case which
was new to him but which would probably not have justified an English
barrister in throwing up his brief.  The case was called; he was
absent; the judge sent to his hotel and got back a message: "Tell the
judge I'm washing my hands."  One client received advice much to this
effect: "I can win your case; I can get you $600.  I can also make an
honest family miserable.  But I shall not take your case, and I shall
not take your fee.  One piece of advice I will give you gratis: Go home
and think seriously whether you cannot make $600 in some honest way."
And this habit of mind was beyond his control.  Colleagues whom he was
engaged to assist in cases agreed that if a case lost his sympathy he
became helpless and useless in it.  This, of course, was not the way to
make money; but he got along and won a considerable local position at
the bar, for his perfect honesty in argument and in statement of fact
was known to have won the confidence of the judges, and a difficult
case which he thought was right elicited the full and curious powers of
his mind.  His invective upon occasion was by all accounts terrific.
An advocate glanced at Lincoln's notes for his speech, when he was
appearing against a very heartless swindler and saw that they concluded
with the ominous words, "Skin Defendant."  The vitriolic outburst which
occurred at the point thus indicated seems to have been long remembered
by the Illinois bar.  To a young man who wished to be a lawyer yet
shrunk from the profession lest it should necessarily involve some
dishonesty Lincoln wrote earnestly and wisely, showing him how false
his impression of the law was, but concluding with earnest entreaty
that he would not enter the profession if he still had any fear of
being led by it to become a knave.

One of his cases is interesting for its own sake, not for his part in
it.  He defended without fee the son of his old foe and friend Jack
Armstrong, and of Hannah, who mended his breeches, on a charge of
murder.  Six witnesses swore that they had seen him do the deed about
11 P.M. on such and such a night.  Cross-examined: They saw it all
quite clearly; they saw it so clearly because of the moonlight.  The
only evidence for the defence was an almanac.  There had been no moon
that night.  Another case is interesting for his sake.  Two young men
set up in a farm together, bought a waggon and team from a poor old
farmer, Lincoln's client, did not pay him, and were sued.  They had
both been just under twenty-one when they contracted the debt, and they
were advised to plead infancy.  A stranger who was present in Court
described afterwards his own indignation as the rascally tale was
unfolded, and his greater indignation as he watched the locally famous
Mr. Lincoln, lying back in his seat, nodding complacently and saying,
"I reckon that's so," as each of the relevant facts was produced, and
the relevant Statute read and expounded.  At last, as the onlooker
proceeded to relate, the time came for Lincoln to address the jury,
with whom, by Illinois law, the issue still rested.  Slowly he
disengaged his long, lean form from his seat, and before he had got it
drawn out to its height he had fixed a gaze of extraordinary
benevolence on the two disgraceful young defendants and begun in this
strain: "Gentlemen of the Jury, are you prepared that these two young
men shall enter upon life and go through life with the stain of a
dishonourable transaction for ever affixed to them," and so forth at
just sufficient length and with just enough of Shakespearean padding
about honour.  The result with that emotional and probably irregular
Western court is obvious, and the story concludes with the quite
credible assertion that the defendants themselves were relieved.  Any
good jury would, of course, have been steeled against the appeal, which
might have been expected, to their compassion for a poor and honest old
man.  A kind of innocent and benign cunning has been the most engaging
quality in not a few great characters.  It is tempting, though at the
risk of undue solemnity, to look for the secret of Lincoln's cunning in
this instance.  We know from copybooks and other sources that these two
young men, starting on the down grade with the help of their
blackguardly legal adviser, were objects for pity, more so than the man
who was about to lose a certain number of dollars.  Lincoln, as few
other men would have done, felt a certain actual regret for them then
and there; he felt it so naturally that he knew the same sympathy could
be aroused, at least in twelve honest men who already wished they could
find for the plaintiff.  It has often been remarked that the cause of
his later power was a knowledge of the people's mind which was
curiously but vitally bound up with his own rectitude.

Any attempt that we may make to analyse a subtle character and in some
respects to trace its growth is certain to miss the exact mark.  But it
is in any case plain that Abraham Lincoln left political life in 1849,
a praiseworthy self-made man with good sound views but with nothing
much to distinguish him above many other such, and at a sudden call
returned to political life in 1854 with a touch of something quite
uncommon added to those good sound views.


4. _The Repeal of the Missouri Compromise_.

The South had become captive to politicians, personally reputable and
of some executive capacity, who had converted its natural prejudice
into a definite doctrine which was paradoxical and almost inconceivably
narrow, and who, as is common in such instances of perversion and
fanaticism, knew hardly any scruple in the practical enforcement of
their doctrine.  In the North, on the other hand, though there were
some few politicians who were clever and well-intentioned, public
opinion had no very definite character, and public men generally
speaking were flabby.  At such a time the sheer adventurer has an
excellent field before him and perhaps has his appointed use.

Stephen Douglas, who was four years younger than Lincoln, had come to
Illinois from the Eastern States just about the time when Lincoln
entered the Legislature.  He had neither money nor friends to start
with, but almost immediately secured, by his extraordinary address in
pushing himself, a clerkship in the Assembly.  He soon became, like
Lincoln, a lawyer and a legislator, but was on the Democratic side.  He
rapidly soared into regions beyond the reach of Lincoln, and in 1847
became a Senator for Illinois, where he later became Chairman of the
Committee on Territories, and as such had to consider the question of
providing for the government of the districts called Kansas and
Nebraska, which lay west and north-west of Missouri, and from which
slavery was excluded by the Missouri Compromise.  He was what in
England is called a "Jingo," and was at one time eager to fight this
country for the possession of what is now British Columbia.  His short
figure gave an impression of abounding strength and energy which
obtained him the nickname of "the little Giant."  With no assignable
higher quality, and with the blustering, declamatory, shamelessly
fallacious and evasive oratory of a common demagogue, he was
nevertheless an accomplished Parliamentarian, and imposed himself as
effectively upon the Senate as he did upon the people of Illinois and
the North generally.  He was, no doubt, a remarkable man, with the gift
of attracting many people.  A political opponent has described vividly
how at first sight he was instantly repelled by the sinister and
dangerous air of Douglas' scowl; a still stronger opponent, but a
woman, Mrs. Beecher Stowe, seems on the contrary to have found it
impossible to hate him.  What he now did displayed at any rate a
sporting quality.

In the course of 1854 Stephen Douglas while in charge of an inoffensive
Bill dealing with the government of Kansas and Nebraska converted it
into a form in which it empowered the people of Kansas at any time to
decide for themselves whether they would permit slavery or not, and in
express terms repealed the Missouri Compromise.  With the easy
connivance of President Pierce and the enthusiastic support of the
Southerners, and by some extraordinary exercise of his art as demagogue
and Parliamentarian, he triumphantly ran this measure through.

Just how it came about seems to be rather obscure, but it is easy to
conjecture his motives.  Trained in a school in which scruple or
principle were unknown and the man who arrives is the great man,
Douglas, like other such adventurers, was accessible to visions of a
sort.  He cared nothing whether negroes were slaves or not, and
doubtless despised Northern and Southern sentiment on that subject
equally; as he frankly said once, on any question between white men and
negroes he was on the side of the white men, and on any question
between negroes and crocodiles he would be on the side of the negroes.
But he did care for the development of the great national heritage in
the West, that subject of an easy but perfectly wholesome patriotic
pride with which we are familiar.  It must have been a satisfaction to
him to feel that North and South would now have an equal chance in that
heritage, and also that the white settlers in the West would be
relieved of any restriction on their freedom.  None the less his action
was to the last degree reckless.  The North had shown itself ready in
1850 to put up with a great deal of quiet invasion of its former
principle, but to lay hands upon the sacred letter of the Act in which
that principle was enshrined was to invite exciting consequences.

The immediate consequences were two-fold.  In the first place Southern
settlers came pouring into Kansas and Northern settlers in still larger
numbers (rendered larger still by the help of an emigration society
formed in the North-East for that purpose) came pouring in too.  It was
at first a race to win Kansas for slavery or for freedom.  When it
became apparent that freedom was winning easily, the race turned into a
civil war between these two classes of immigrants for the possession of
the Territorial government, and this kept on its scandalous and bloody
course for three or four years.

In the second place there was a revolution in the party system.  The
old Whig party, which, whatever its tendencies, had avoided having any
principle in regard to slavery, now abruptly and opportunely expired.
There had been an attempt once before, and that time mainly among the
Democrats, to create a new "Free-soil Party," but it had come to very
little.  This time a permanent fusion was accomplished between the
majority of the former Whigs in the North and a numerous secession from
among the Northern Democrats.  They created the great Republican party,
of which the name and organisation have continued to this day, but of
which the original principle was simply and solely that there should be
no further extension of slavery upon territory present or future of the
United States.  It naturally consisted of Northerners only.  This was
of course an ominous fact, and caused people, who were too timid either
to join the Republicans or turn Democrat, to take refuge in another
strange party, formed about this time, which had no views about
slavery.  This was the "American" party, commonly called the
"Know-Nothing" party from its ridiculous and objectionable secret
organisation.  Its principle was dislike of foreign immigrants,
especially such as were Roman Catholics.  To them ex-President
Fillmore, protesting against "the madness of the times" when men
ventured to say yes or no on a question relating to slavery, fled for
comfort, and became their candidate for the Presidency at the next
election.

It was in 1854 that Lincoln returned to political life as one of the
founders of the Republican party.  But it will be better at once to
deal with one or two later events with which he was not specially
concerned.  The Republicans chose as their Presidential candidate in
1856 an attractive figure, John Fremont, a Southerner of French origin,
who had conducted daring and successful explorations in Oregon, had
some hand (perhaps a very important hand) in conquering California from
Mexico, and played a prominent part in securing California for freedom.
The Southern Democrats again secured a Northern instrument in James
Buchanan of Pennsylvania, an elderly and very respectable man, who was
understood to be well versed in diplomatic and official life.  He was a
more memorable personage than Pierce.  A great chorus of friendly
witnesses to his character has united in ascribing all his actions to
weakness.

Buchanan was elected; but for a brand-new party the Republicans had put
up a very good fight, and they were in the highest of spirits when,
shortly after Buchanan's Inauguration in 1857, a staggering blow fell
upon them from an unexpected quarter.  This was nothing less than a
pronouncement by the Chief Justice and a majority of Justices in the
Supreme Court of the United States, that the exclusion of slavery from
any portion of the Territories, and therefore, of course, the whole aim
and object of the Republicans, was, as Calhoun had contended eight or
ten years before, unconstitutional.

Dred Scott was a Missouri slave whose misfortunes it is needless to
compassionate, since, after giving his name to one of the most famous
law cases in history, he was emancipated with his family by a new
master into whose hands he had passed.  Some time before the Missouri
Compromise was repealed he had been taken by his master into Minnesota,
as a result of which he claimed that he became, by virtue of the
Missouri Compromise, a free man.  His right to sue his master in a
Federal Court rested on the allegation that he was now a citizen of
Missouri, while his master was a citizen of another State.  There was
thus a preliminary question to be decided, Was he really a citizen,
before the question, Was he a freeman, could arise at all.  If the
Supreme Court followed its established practice, and if it decided
against his citizenship, it would not consider the question which
interested the public, that of his freedom.

Chief Justice Roger Taney may be seen from the refined features of his
portrait and the clear-cut literary style of his famous judgment to
have been a remarkable man.  He was now eighty-three, but in unimpaired
intellectual vigour.  In a judgment, with which five of his colleagues
entirely concurred and from which only two dissented, he decided that
Dred Scott was not a citizen, and went on, contrary to practice, to
pronounce, in what was probably to be considered as a mere _obiter
dictum_, that Dred Scott was not free, because the Missouri Compromise
had all along been unconstitutional and void.  Justices McLean and
Curtis, especially the latter, answered Taney's arguments in cogent
judgments, which it seems generally to be thought were right.  Many
lawyers thought so then, and so did the prudent Fillmore.  This is one
of the rare cases where a layman may have an opinion on a point of law,
for the argument of Taney was entirely historical and rested upon the
opinion as to negroes and slavery which he ascribed to the makers of
the Constitution and the authors of the Declaration of Independence.
On the question of Scott's citizenship he laid down that these men had
hardly counted Africans as human at all, and used words such as "men,"
"persons," "citizens" in a sense which necessarily excluded the negro.
We have seen already that he was wrong--the Southern politician who
called the words of the Declaration of Independence "a self-evident
lie" was a sounder historian than Taney; but an amazing fact is to be
added: the Constitution, whose authors, according to Taney, could not
conceive of a negro as a citizen, was actually the act of a number of
States in several of which negroes were exercising the full rights of
citizens at the time.  It would be easy to bring almost equally plain
considerations to bear against the more elaborate argument of Taney
that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional, but it is enough to
say this much: the first four Presidents--that is, all the Presidents
who were in public life when the Constitution was made--had all acted
unhesitatingly upon the belief that Congress had the power to allow or
forbid slavery in the Territories.  The fifth, John Quincy Adams, when
he set his hand to Acts involving this principle, had consulted before
doing so the whole of his Cabinet on this constitutional point and had
signed such legislation with the full concurrence of them all.  Even
Polk had acted later upon the same view.  The Dred Scott judgment would
thus appear to show the penetrating power at that time of an altogether
fantastic opinion.

The hope, which Taney is known to have entertained, that his judgment
would compose excited public opinion, was by no means fulfilled.  It
raised fierce excitement.  What practical effect would hereafter be
given to the opinion of six out of the nine judges in that Court might
depend on many things.  But to the Republicans, who appealed much to
antiquity, it was maddening to be thus assured that their whole
"platform" was unconstitutional.  In the long run, there seems to be no
doubt that Taney helped the cause of freedom.  He had tried to make
evident the personal sense of compassion for "these unfortunate people"
with which he contemplated the opinion that he ascribed to a past
generation; but he failed to do this, and instead he succeeded in
imparting to the supposed Constitutional view of the slave, as nothing
but a chattel, a horror which went home to many thousands of the
warm-hearted men and women of his country.

For the time, however, the Republicans were deeply depressed, and a
further perplexity shortly befell them.  An attempt, to which we must
shortly return, was made to impose the slave system on Kansas against
the now unmistakable will of the majority there.  Against this attempt
Douglas, in opposition to whom the Republican party had been formed,
revolted to his lasting honour, and he now stood out for the occasion
as the champion of freedom.  It was at this late period of bewilderment
and confusion that the life-story of Abraham Lincoln became one with
the life-story of the American people.




CHAPTER V

THE RISE OF LINCOLN

1. _Lincoln's Return to Public Life_.

We possess a single familiar letter in which Lincoln opened his heart
about politics.  It was written while old political ties were not yet
quite broken and new ties not quite knit, and it was written to an old
and a dear friend who was not his political associate.  We may
fittingly place it here, as a record of the strong and conflicting
feelings out of which his consistent purpose in this crisis was formed.


"_24 August, 1855_.

"To JOSHUA SPEED.

"You know what a poor correspondent I am.  Ever since I received your
very agreeable letter of the 22nd I have been intending to write you an
answer to it.  You suggest that in political action, now, you and I
would differ.  I suppose we would; not quite so much, however, as you
may think.  You know I dislike slavery, and you fully admit the
abstract wrong of it.  So far there is no cause of difference.  But you
say that sooner than yield your legal right to the slave, especially at
the bidding of those who are not themselves interested, you would see
the Union dissolved.  I am not aware that any one is bidding you yield
that right; very certainly I am not.  I leave that matter entirely to
yourself.  I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations under the
Constitution in regard to your slaves.  I confess I hate to see the
poor creatures hunted down and caught and carried back to their stripes
and unrequited toil; but I bite my lips and keep quiet.  In 1841 you
and I had together a tedious low-water trip on a steamboat from
Louisville to St. Louis.  You may remember, as I well do, that from
Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio there were on board ten or a dozen
slaves shackled together with irons.  That sight was a continual
torment to me, and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio
or any other slave border.  It is not fair for you to assume that I
have no interest in a thing which has, and continually exercises, the
power to make me miserable.  You ought rather to appreciate how much
the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings, in
order to maintain their loyalty to the Constitution and the Union.  I
do oppose the extension of slavery because my judgment and feelings so
prompt me, and I am under no obligations to the contrary.  If for this
you and I must differ, differ we must. . . .

"You say that if Kansas fairly votes herself a free State, as a
Christian you will rejoice at it.  All decent slave holders talk that
way and I do not doubt their candour.  But they never vote that way.
Although in a private letter or conversation you will express your
preference that Kansas shall be free, you will vote for no man for
Congress who would say the same thing publicly.  No such man could be
elected from any district in a slave State. . . .  The slave breeders
and slave traders are a small, odious and detested class among you; and
yet in politics they dictate the course of all of you, and are as
completely your masters as you are the masters of your own negroes.

"You inquire where I now stand.  That is a disputed point.  I think I
am a Whig; but others say there are no Whigs, and that I am an
Abolitionist.  When I was at Washington I voted for the Wilmot Proviso
as good as forty times; and I never heard of any one attempting to
un-Whig me for that.  I now do no more than oppose the extension of
slavery.  I am not a Know-Nothing, that is certain.  How could I be?
How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes be in favour of
degrading classes of white people?  Our progress in degeneracy appears
to me pretty rapid.  As a nation we began by declaring that 'all men
are created equal.'  We now practically read it, 'all men are created
equal, except negroes.'  When the Know-Nothings get control, it will
read, 'all men are created equal, except negroes and foreigners and
Catholics.'  When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some
country where they make no pretence of loving liberty--to Russia, for
instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy
of hypocrisy.

"Mary will probably pass a day or two in Louisville in October.  My
kindest regards to Mrs. Speed.  On the leading subject of this letter I
have more of her sympathy than I have of yours; and yet let me say I am

"Your friend forever,

"A. LINCOLN."


The shade of doubt which this letter suggests related really to the
composition of political parties and the grouping of political forces,
not in the least to the principles by which Lincoln's own actions would
be guided.  He has himself recorded that the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise meant for him the sudden revival in a far stronger form of
his interest in politics, and, we may add, of his political ambition.
The opinions which he cherished most deeply demanded no longer patience
but vehement action.  The faculties of political organisation and of
popular debate, of which he enjoyed the exercise, could now be used for
a purpose which satisfied his understanding and his heart.

From 1854 onwards we find Lincoln almost incessantly occupied, at
conventions, at public meetings, in correspondence, in secret
consultation with those who looked to him for counsel, for the one
object of strengthening the new Republican movement in his own State of
Illinois, and, so far as opportunity offered, in the neighbouring
States.  Some of the best of his reported and the most effective of his
unreported speeches were delivered between 1854 and 1858.  Yet as large
a part of his work in these years was done quietly in the background,
and it continued to be his fate to be called upon to efface himself.

It is unnecessary to follow in any detail the labours by which he
became a great leader in Illinois.  It may suffice to pick out two
instances that illustrate the ways of this astute, unselfish man.  The
first is very trifling and shows him merely astute.  A Springfield
newspaper called the _Conservative_ was acquiring too much influence as
the organ of moderate and decent opinion that acquiesced in the
extension of negro slavery.  The Abolitionist, Mr. Herndon, was a
friend of the editor.  One day he showed Lincoln an article in a
Southern paper which most boldly justified slavery whether the slaves
were black or white.  Lincoln observed what a good thing it would be if
the pro-slavery papers of Illinois could be led to go this length.
Herndon ingeniously used his acquaintance with the editor to procure
that he should reprint this article with approval.  Of course that
promising journalistic venture, the _Conservative_, was at once ruined
by so gross an indiscretion.  This was hard on its confiding editor,
and it is not to Lincoln's credit that he suggested or connived at this
trick.  But this trumpery tale happens to be a fair illustration of two
things.  In the first place a large part of Lincoln's activity went in
the industrious and watchful performance of services to his cause, very
seldom as questionable but constantly as minute as this, and in making
himself as in this case confidant and adviser to a number of less
notable workers.  In the second place a biographer must set forth if he
can the materials for the severest judgment on his subject, and in the
case of a man whose fame was built on his honesty, but who certainly
had an aptitude for ingenious tricks and took a humorous delight in
them, this duty might involve a tedious examination of many unimportant
incidents.  It may save such discussion hereafter to say, as can safely
be said upon a study of all the transactions in his life of which the
circumstances are known, that this trick on the editor of the
_Conservative_ marks the limit of Lincoln's deviation from the straight
path.  Most of us might be very glad if we had really never done
anything much more dishonest.

Our second tale of this period is much more memorable.  In 1856 the
term of office of one of the Senators for Illinois came to an end; and
there was a chance of electing an opponent of Douglas.  Those of the
Republicans of Illinois who were former Whigs desired the election of
Lincoln, but could only secure it by the adhesion of a sufficient
number of former Democrats and waverers.  United States Senators were
elected by the Legislatures of their own States through a procedure
similar to that of the Conclave of Cardinals which elects a Pope; if
there were several candidates and no one of them had an absolute
majority of the votes first cast, the candidate with most votes was not
elected; the voting was repeated, perhaps many times, till some one had
an absolute majority; the final result was brought about by a transfer
of votes from one candidate to another in which the prompt and cunning
wire-puller had sometimes a magnificent opportunity for his skill.  In
this particular contest there were many ballots, and Lincoln at first
led.  His supporters were full of eager hope.  Lincoln, looking on,
discerned before any of them the setting in of an under-current likely
to result in the election of a supporter of Douglas.  He discerned,
too, that the surest way to prevent this was for the whole of his
friends immediately to go over to the Democrat, Lyman Trumbull, who was
a sound opponent of slavery.  He sacrificed his own chance instantly by
persuading his supporters to do this.  They were very reluctant, but he
overbore them; one, a very old friend, records that he never saw him
more earnest and decided.  The same friend records, what is necessary
to the appreciation of Lincoln's conduct, that his personal
disappointment and mortification at his failure were great.  Lincoln,
it will be remembered, had acted just in this way when he sought
election to the House of Representatives; he was to repeat this line of
conduct in a manner at least as striking in the following year.  Minute
criticism of his action in many matters becomes pointless when we
observe that his managing shrewdness was never more signally displayed
than it was three times over in the sacrifice of his own personal
chances.

For four years, it is to be remembered, the activity and influence of
which we are speaking were of little importance beyond the boundaries
of Illinois.  It is true that at the Republican Convention in 1856
which chose Fremont as its candidate for the Presidency, Lincoln was
exposed for a moment to the risk (for so it was to be regarded) of
being nominated for the Vice-Presidency; but even his greatest speech
was not noticed outside Illinois, and in the greater part of the
Northern States his name was known to comparatively few and to them
only as a local notability of the West.  But in the course of 1858 he
challenged the attention of the whole country.  There was again a
vacancy for a Senator for Illinois.  Douglas was the sole and obvious
candidate of the Democrats.  Lincoln came forward as his opponent.  The
elections then pending of the State Legislature, which in its turn
would elect a Senator, became a contest between Lincoln and Douglas.
In the autumn of that year these rival champions held seven joint
debates before mass meetings in the open air at important towns of
Illinois, taking turns in the right of opening the debate and replying
at its close; in addition each was speaking at meetings of his own at
least once a day for three months.  At the end of it all Douglas had
won his seat in the Senate, and Lincoln had not yet gained recognition
among the Republican leaders as one of themselves.  Nevertheless the
contest between Lincoln and Douglas was one of the decisive events in
American history, partly from the mere fact that at that particular
moment any one opposed Douglas at all; partly from the manner in which,
in the hearing of all America, Lincoln formulated the issue between
them; partly from the singular stroke by which he deliberately ensured
his own defeat and certain further consequences.


2. _The Principles and the Oratory of Lincoln_.

We can best understand the causes which suddenly made him a man of
national consequence by a somewhat close examination of the principles
and the spirit which governed all his public activity from the moment
of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise.  The new Republican party
which then began to form itself stood for what might seem a simple
creed; slavery must be tolerated where it existed because the
Constitution and the maintenance of the Union required it, but it must
not be allowed to extend beyond its present limits because it was
fundamentally wrong.  This was what most Whigs and many Democrats in
the North had always held, but the formulation of it as the platform of
a party, and a party which must draw its members almost entirely from
the North, was bound to raise in an acute form questions on which very
few men had searched their hearts.  Men who hated slavery were likely
to falter and find excuses for yielding when confronted with the danger
to the Union which would arise.  Men who loved the Union might in the
last resort be ready to sacrifice it if they could thereby be rid of
complicity with slavery, or might be unwilling to maintain it at the
cost of fratricidal war.  The stress of conflicting emotions and the
complications of the political situation were certain to try to the
uttermost the faith of any Republican who was not very sure just how
much he cared for the Union and how much for freedom, and what loyalty
to either principle involved.  It was the distinction of Lincoln--a man
lacking in much of the knowledge which statesmen are supposed to
possess, and capable of blundering and hesitation about details--first,
that upon questions like these he was free from ambiguity of thought or
faltering of will, and further, that upon his difficult path, amid
bewildering and terrifying circumstances, he was able to take with him
the minds of very many very ordinary men.

In a slightly conventional memorial oration upon Clay, Lincoln had said
of him that "he loved his country, partly because it was his own
country, and mostly because it was a free country."  He might truly
have said the like of himself.  To him the national unity of America,
with the Constitution which symbolised it, was the subject of pride and
of devotion just in so far as it had embodied and could hereafter more
fully embody certain principles of permanent value to mankind.  On this
he fully knew his own inner mind.  For the preservation of an America
which he could value more, say, than men value the Argentine Republic,
he was to show himself better prepared than any other man to pay any
possible price.  But he definitely refused to preserve the Union by
what in his estimation would have been the real surrender of the
principles which had made Americans a distinct and self-respecting
nation.

Those principles he found in the Declaration of Independence.  Its
rhetorical inexactitude gave him no trouble, and must not, now that its
language is out of fashion, blind us to the fact that the founders of
the United States did deliberately aspire to found a commonwealth in
which common men and women should count for more than elsewhere, and in
which, as we might now phrase it, all authority must defer somewhat to
the interests and to the sentiments of the under dog.  "Public opinion
on any subject," he said, "always has a 'central idea' from which all
its minor thoughts radiate.  The 'central idea' in our public opinion
at the beginning was, and till recently has continued to be, 'the
equality of man'; and, although it has always submitted patiently to
whatever inequality seemed to be a matter of actual necessity, its
constant working has been a steady and progressive effort towards the
practical equality of all men."  The fathers, he said again, had never
intended any such obvious untruth as that equality actually existed, or
that any action of theirs could immediately create it; but they had set
up a standard to which continual approximation could be made.

So far as white men were concerned such approximation had actually
taken place; the audiences Lincoln addressed were fully conscious that
very many thousands had found in the United States a scope to lead
their own lives which the traditions and institutions no less than the
physical conditions of their former countries had denied them.  There
was no need for him to enlarge on this fact; but there are repeated
indications of the distaste and alarm with which he witnessed a demand
that newcomers from Europe, or some classes of them, should be accorded
lesser privileges than they had enjoyed.

But notions of freedom and equality as applied to the negroes presented
a real difficulty.  "There is," said Lincoln, "a natural disgust in the
minds of nearly all white people at the idea of an indiscriminate
amalgamation of the white and black men."  (We might perhaps add that
as the inferior race becomes educated and rises in status it is likely
itself to share the same disgust.)  Lincoln himself disliked the
thought of intermarriage between the races.  He by no means took it for
granted that equality in political power must necessarily and properly
follow upon emancipation.  Schemes for colonial settlement of the
negroes in Africa, or for gradual emancipation accompanied by
educational measures, appealed to his sympathy.  It was not given him
to take a part in the settlement after the war, and it is impossible to
guess what he would have achieved as a constructive statesman; but it
is certain that he would have proceeded with caution and with the
patience of sure faith; and he had that human sympathy with the white
people of the South, and no less with the slaves themselves, which
taught him the difficulty of the problem.  But difficult as the problem
was, one solution was certainly wrong, and that was the permanent
acquiescence in slavery.  If we may judge from reiteration in his
speeches, no sophism angered him quite so much as the very popular
sophism which defended slavery by presenting a literal equality as the
real alternative to it.  "I protest against the counterfeit logic which
says that since I do not want a negro woman for my slave I must
necessarily want her for my wife.  I may want her for neither.  I may
simply let her alone.  In some respects she is certainly not my equal.
But in her natural right to eat the bread which she has earned by the
sweat of her brow, she is my equal and the equal of any man."

The men who had made the Union had, as Lincoln contended, and in regard
to most of them contended justly, been true to principle in their
dealing with slavery.  "They yielded to slavery," he insists, "what the
necessity of the case required, and they yielded nothing more."  It
was, as we know, impossible for them in federating America, however
much they might hope to inspire the new nation with just ideas, to take
the power of legislating as to slavery within each existing State out
of the hands of that State.  Such power as they actually possessed of
striking at slavery they used, as we have seen and as Lincoln recounted
in detail, with all promptitude and almost to its fullest extent.  They
reasonably believed, though wrongly, that the natural tendency of
opinion throughout the now freed Colonies with principles of freedom in
the air would work steadily towards emancipation.  "The fathers,"
Lincoln could fairly say, "place slavery, where the public mind could
rest in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction."
The task for statesmen now was "to put slavery back where the fathers
placed it."

Now this by no means implied that slavery in the States which now
adhered to it should be exposed to attack from outside, or the slave
owner be denied any right which he could claim under the Constitution,
however odious and painful it might be, as in the case of the rendition
of fugitive slaves, to yield him his rights.  "We allow," says Lincoln,
"slavery to exist in the slave States, not because it is right, but
from the necessities of the Union.  We grant a fugitive slave law
because it is so 'nominated in the bond'; because our fathers so
stipulated--had to--and we are bound to carry out this agreement."  And
the obligations to the slave owners and the slave States, which this
original agreement and the fundamental necessities of the Union
involved, must be fulfilled unswervingly, in spirit as well as in the
letter.  Lincoln was ready to give the slave States any possible
guarantee that the Constitution should not be altered so as to take
away their existing right of self-government in the matter of slavery.
He had remained in the past coldly aloof from the Abolitionist
propaganda when Herndon and other friends tried to interest him in it,
feeling, it seems, that agitation in the free States against laws which
existed constitutionally in the slave States was not only futile but
improper.  With all his power he dissuaded his more impulsive friends
from lending any aid to forcible and unlawful proceedings in defence of
freedom in Kansas.  "The battle of freedom," he exclaims in a vehement
plea for what may be called moderate as against radical policy, "is to
be fought out on principle.  Slavery is violation of eternal right.  We
have temporised with it from the necessities of our condition; but as
sure as God reigns and school children read, that black foul lie can
never be consecrated into God's hallowed truth."  In other words, the
sure way and the only way to combat slavery lay in the firm and the
scrupulous assertion of principles which would carry the reason and the
conscience of the people with them; the repeal of the prohibition of
slavery in the Territories was a defiance of such principles, but so
too in its way was the disregard by Abolitionists of the rights
covenanted to the slave States.  This side of Lincoln's doctrine is apt
to jar upon us.  We feel with a great American historian that the North
would have been depraved indeed if it had not bred Abolitionists, and
it requires an effort to sympathise with Lincoln's rigidly correct
feeling--sometimes harshly expressed and sometimes apparently cold.  It
is not possible to us, as it was to him a little later, to look on John
Brown's adventure merely as a crime.  Nor can we wonder that, when he
was President and Civil War was raging, many good men in the North
mistook him and thought him half-hearted, because he persisted in his
respect for the rights of the Slave States so long as there seemed to
be a chance of saving the Union in that way.  It was his primary
business, he then said, to save the Union if he could; "if I could save
the Union by emancipating all the slaves I would do so; if I could save
it by emancipating none of them, I would do it; if I could save it by
emancipating some and not others, I would do that too."  But, as in the
letter at the beginning of this chapter he called Speed to witness, his
forbearance with slavery cost him real pain, and we shall misread both
his policy as President and his character as a man if we fail to see
that in the bottom of his mind he felt this forbearance to be required
by the very same principles which roused him against the extension of
the evil.  Years before, he had written to an Abolitionist
correspondent that respect for the rights of the slave States was due
not only to the Constitution but, "as it seems to me, in a sense to
freedom itself."  Negro slavery was not the only important issue, nor
was it an isolated issue.  What really was in issue was the continuance
of the nation "dedicated," as he said on a great occasion, "to the
proposition that all men are equal," a nation founded by the Union of
self-governing communities, some of which lagged far behind the others
in applying in their own midst the elementary principles of freedom,
but yet a nation actuated from its very foundation in some important
respects by the acknowledgment of human rights.

The practical policy, then, on which his whole efforts were
concentrated consisted in this single point--the express recognition of
the essential evil of slavery by the enactment that it should not
spread further in the Territories subject to the Union.  If slavery
were thus shut up within a ring fence and marked as a wrong thing which
the Union as a whole might tolerate but would not be a party to,
emancipation in the slave States would follow in course of time.  It
would come about, Lincoln certainly thought, in a way far better for
the slaves as well as for their masters, than any forced liberation.
He was content to wait for it.  "I do not mean that when it takes a
turn towards ultimate extinction, it will be in a day, nor in a year,
nor in two years.  I do not suppose that in the most peaceful way
ultimate extinction would occur in less than a hundred years at least,
but that it will occur in the best way for both races in God's own good
time I have no doubt."  If we wonder whether this policy, if soon
enough adopted by the Union as a whole, would really have brought on
emancipation in the South, the best answer is that, when the policy did
receive national sanction by the election of Lincoln, the principal
slave States themselves instinctively recognised it as fatal to slavery.

For the extinction of slavery he would wait; for a decision on the
principle of slavery he would not.  It was idle to protest against
agitation of the question.  If politicians would be silent that would
not get rid of "this same mighty deep-seated power that somehow
operates on the minds of men, exciting them and stirring them up in
every avenue of society--in politics, in religion, in literature, in
morals, in all the manifold relations of life."  The stand, temperate
as it was, that he advocated against slavery should be taken at once
and finally.  The difference, of which people grown accustomed to
slavery among their neighbours thought little, between letting it be in
Missouri, which they could not help, and letting it cross the border
into Kansas, which they could help, appeared to Lincoln the whole
tremendous gulf between right and wrong, between a wise people's
patience with ills they could not cure and a profligate people's
acceptance of evil as their good.  And here there was a distinction
between Lincoln and many Republicans, which again may seem subtle, but
which was really far wider than that which separated him from the
Abolitionists.  Slavery must be stopped from spreading into Kansas not
because, as it turned out, the immigrants into Kansas mostly did not
want it, but because it was wrong, and the United States, where they
were free to act, would not have it.  The greatest evil in the repeal
of the Missouri Compromise was the laxity of public tone which had made
it possible.  "Little by little, but steadily as man's march to the
grave, we have been giving up the old faith for the new faith."
Formerly some deference to the "central idea" of equality was general
and in some sort of abstract sense slavery was admitted to be wrong.
Now it was boldly claimed by the South that "slavery in the abstract
was right."  All the most powerful influences in the country, "Mammon"
(for "the slave property is worth a billion dollars"), "fashion,
philosophy," and even "the theology of the day," were enlisted in
favour of this opinion.  And it met with no resistance.  "You yourself
may detest slavery; but your neighbour has five or six slaves, and he
is an excellent neighbour, or your son has married his daughter, and
they beg you to help save their property, and you vote against your
interests and principle to oblige a neighbour, hoping your vote will be
on the losing side."  And again "the party lash and the fear of
ridicule will overawe justice and liberty; for it is a singular fact,
but none the less a fact and well known by the most common experience,
that men will do things under the terror of the party lash that they
would not on any account or for any consideration do otherwise; while
men, who will march up to the mouth of a loaded cannon without
shrinking, will run from the terrible name of 'Abolitionist,' even when
pronounced by a worthless creature whom they with good reason despise."
And so people in the North, who could hardly stomach the doctrine that
slavery was good, yet lapsed into the feeling that it was a thing
indifferent, a thing for which they might rightly shuffle off their
responsibility on to the immigrants into Kansas.  This feeling that it
was indifferent Lincoln pursued and chastised with special scorn.  But
the principle of freedom that they were surrendering was the principle
of freedom for themselves as well as for the negro.  The sense of the
negro's rights had been allowed to go back till the prospect of
emancipation for him looked immeasurably worse than it had a generation
before.  They must recognise that when, by their connivance, they had
barred and bolted the door upon the negro, the spirit of tyranny which
they had evoked would then "turn and rend them."  The "central idea"
which had now established itself in the intellect of the Southern was
one which favoured the enslavement of man by man "apart from colour."
A definite choice had to be made between the principle of the fathers,
which asserted certain rights for all men, and that other principle
against which the fathers had rebelled and of which the "divine right
of kings" furnished Lincoln with his example.  In what particular
manner the white people would be made to feel the principle of tyranny
when they had definitely "denied freedom to others" and ceased to
"deserve it for themselves" Lincoln did not attempt to say, and perhaps
only dimly imagined.  But he was as convinced as any prophet that
America stood at the parting of the ways and must choose now the right
principle or the wrong with all its consequences.

The principle of tyranny presented itself for their choice in a
specious form in Douglas' "great patent, everlasting principle of
'popular sovereignty.'"  This alleged principle was likely, so to say,
to take upon their blind side men who were sympathetic to the
impatience of control of any crowd resembling themselves but not
sympathetic to humanity of another race and colour.  The claim to some
divine and indefeasible right of sovereignty overriding all other
considerations of the general good, on the part of a majority greater
or smaller at any given time in any given area, is one which can
generally be made to bear a liberal semblance, though it certainly has
no necessary validity.  Americans had never before thought of granting
it in the case of their outlying and unsettled dominions; they would
never, for instance, as Lincoln remarked, have admitted the claim of
settlers like the Mormons to make polygamy lawful in the territory they
occupied.  In the manner in which it was now employed the proposed
principle could, as Lincoln contended, be reduced to this simple form
"that, if one man chooses to enslave another, no third man shall have
the right to object."

It is impossible to estimate how far Lincoln foresaw the strain to
which a firm stand against slavery would subject the Union.  It is
likely enough that those worst forebodings for the Union, which events
proved to be very true, were confined to timid men who made a practice
of yielding to threats.  Lincoln appreciated better than many of his
fellows the sentiment of the South, but it is often hard for men, not
in immediate contact with a school of thought which seems to them
thoroughly perverse, to appreciate its pervasive power, and Lincoln was
inclined to stake much upon the hope that reason will prevail.
Moreover, he had a confidence in the strength of the Union which might
have been justified if his predecessor in office had been a man of
ordinary firmness.  But it is not to be supposed that any undue
hopefulness, if he felt it, influenced his judgment.  He was of a
temper which does not seek to forecast what the future has to show, and
his melancholy prepared him well for any evil that might come.  Two
things we can say with certainty of his aim and purpose.  On the one
hand, as has already been said, whatever view he had taken of the peril
to the Union he would never have sought to avoid the peril by what
appeared to him a surrender of the principle which gave the Union its
worth.  On the other hand, he must always have been prepared to uphold
the Union at whatever the cost might prove to be.  To a man of deep and
gentle nature war will always be hateful, but it can never, any more
than an individual death, appear the worst of evils.  And the claim of
the Southern States to separate from a community which to him was
venerable and to form a new nation, based on slavery and bound to live
in discord with its neighbors, did not appeal to him at all, though in
a certain literal sense it was a claim to liberty.  His attitude to any
possible movement for secession was defined four years at least before
secession came, in words such as it was not his habit to use without
full sense of their possible effect or without much previous thought.
They were quite simple: "We won't break up the Union, and you shan't."

Such were the main thoughts which would be found to animate the whole
of Lincoln's notable campaign, beginning with his first encounter with
Douglas in 1855 and culminating in his prolonged duel with him in the
autumn of 1858.  It is unnecessary here to follow the complexities,
especially in regard to the Dred Scott judgments, through which the
discussion wandered.  It is now worth few men's while to do more than
glance at two or three of his speeches at that period; his speeches in
the formal Lincoln-Douglas debates, except the first, are not the best
of them.  A scientific student of rhetoric, as the art by which man do
actually persuade crowds, might indeed do well to watch closely the use
by Douglas and Lincoln of their respective weapons, but for most of us
it is an unprofitable business to read reiterated argument, even though
in beautiful language, upon points of doubt that no longer trouble us.
Lincoln does not always show to advantage; later readers have found him
inferior in urbanity to Douglas, of whom he disapproved, while Douglas
probably disapproved of no man; his speeches are, of course, not free
either from unsound arguments or from the rough and tumble of popular
debate; occasionally he uses hackneyed phrases; but it is remarkable
that a hackneyed or a falsely sentimental phrase in Lincoln comes
always as a lapse and a surprise.  Passages abound in these speeches
which to almost any literate taste are arresting for the simple beauty
of their English, a beauty characteristic of one who had learned to
reason with Euclid and learned to feel and to speak with the authors of
the Bible.  And in their own kind they were a classic and probably
unsurpassed achievement.  Though Lincoln had to deal with a single
issue demanding no great width of knowledge, it must be evident that
the passions aroused by it and the confused and shifting state of
public sentiment made his problem very subtle, and it was a rare
profundity and sincerity of thought which solved it in his own mind.
In expressing the result of thought so far deeper than that of most
men, he achieved a clearness of expression which very few writers, and
those among the greatest, have excelled.  He once during the
Presidential election of 1856 wrote to a supporter of Fillmore to
persuade him of a proposition which must seem paradoxical to anyone not
deeply versed in American institutions, namely, that it was actually
against Fillmore's interest to gain votes from Fremont in Illinois.  He
demonstrated his point, but he was not always judicious in his way of
addressing solemn strangers, and in his rural manner he concludes his
letter, "the whole thing is as simple as figuring out the weight of
three small hogs," and this inelegant sentence conveys with little
exaggeration one especial merit of his often austerely graceful
language.  Grave difficulties are handled in a style which could arouse
all the interest of a boy and penetrate the understanding of a
case-hardened party man.

But if in comparison with the acknowledged masterpieces of our prose we
rank many passages in these speeches very high--and in fact the men who
have appreciated them most highly have been fastidious scholars--we
shall not yet have measured Lincoln's effort and performance.  For
these are not the compositions of a cloistered man of letters, they are
the outpourings of an agitator upon the stump.  The men who think hard
are few; few of them can clothe their thought in apt and simple words;
very, very few are those who in doing this could hold the attention of
a miscellaneous and large crowd.  Popular government owes that
comparative failure, of which in recent times we have taken perhaps
exaggerated notice, partly to the blindness of the polite world to the
true difficulty and true value of work of this kind; and the importance
which Roman education under the Empire gave to rhetoric was the mark
not of deadness, but of the survival of a manly public spirit.
Lincoln's wisdom had to utter itself in a voice which would reach the
outskirts of a large and sometimes excited crowd in the open air.  It
was uttered in strenuous conflict with a man whose reputation quite
overshadowed his; a person whose extraordinary and good-humoured
vitality armed him with an external charm even for people who, like
Mrs. Beecher Stowe, detested his principles; an orator whose mastery of
popular appeal and of resourceful and evasive debate was quite
unhampered by any weakness for the truth.  The utterance had to be kept
up day after day and night after night for a quarter of a year, by a
man too poor to afford little comforts, travelling from one crowded inn
to another, by slow trains on a railway whose officials paid little
attention to him, while his more prosperous and distinguished rival
could travel in comfort and comparative magnificence.  The physical
strain of electioneering, which is always considerable, its alternation
of feverish excitement with a lassitude that, after a while, becomes
prevailing and intense, were in this case far greater and more
prolonged than in any other instance recorded of English or probably of
American statesmen.  If, upon his sudden elevation shortly afterwards,
Lincoln was in a sense an obscure man raised up by chance, he was
nevertheless a man who had accomplished a heroic labour.

On the whole the earthen vessel in which he carried his treasure of
clear thought and clean feelings appears to have enhanced its flavour.
There was at any rate nothing outward about him that aroused the
passion of envy.  A few peculiarly observant men were immediately
impressed with his distinction, but there is no doubt that to the
ordinary stranger he appeared as a very odd fish.  "No portraits that I
have ever seen," writes one, "do justice to the awkwardness and
ungainliness of his figure."  Its movements when he began to speak
rather added to its ungainliness, and, though to a trained actor his
elocution seemed perfect, his voice when he first opened his mouth
surprised and jarred upon the hearers with a harsh note of curiously
high pitch.  But it was the sort of oddity that arrests attention, and
people's attention once caught was apt to be held by the man's
transparent earnestness.  Soon, as he lost thought of himself in his
subject, his voice and manner changed; deeper notes, of which friends
record the beauty, rang out, the sad eyes kindled, and the tall, gaunt
figure, with the strange gesture of the long, uplifted arms, acquired
even a certain majesty.  Hearers recalled afterwards with evident
sincerity the deep and instantaneous impression of some appeal to
simple conscience, as when, "reaching his hands towards the stars of
that still night," he proclaimed, "in some things she is certainly not
my equal, but in her natural right to eat the bread that she has earned
with the sweat of her brow, she is my equal, and the equal of Judge
Douglas, and the equal of any man."  Indeed, upon a sympathetic
audience, already excited by the occasion, he could produce an effect
which the reader of his recorded speeches would hardly believe.  Of his
speech at an early state convention of the Republican party there is no
report except that after a few sentences every reporter laid down his
pen for the opposite of the usual reason, and, as he proceeded, "the
audience arose from their chairs and with pale faces and quivering lips
pressed unconsciously towards him."  And of his speech on another
similar occasion several witnesses seem to have left descriptions
hardly less incongruous with English experience of public meetings.  If
we credit him with these occasional manifestations of electric
oratory--as to which it is certain that his quiet temperament did at
times blaze out in a surprising fashion--it is not to be thought that
he was ordinarily what could be called eloquent; some of his speeches
are commonplace enough, and much of his debating with Douglas is of a
drily argumentative kind that does honour to the mass meetings which
heard it gladly.  But the greatest gift of the orator he did possess;
the personality behind the words was felt.  "Beyond and above all
skill," says the editor of a great paper who heard him at Peoria, "was
the overwhelming conviction imposed upon the audience that the speaker
himself was charged with an irresistible and inspiring duty to his
fellow men."

One fact about the method of his speaking is easily detected.  In
debate, at least, he had no use for perorations, and the reader who
looks for them will often find that Lincoln just used up the last few
minutes in clearing up some unimportant point which he wanted to
explain only if there was time for it.  We associate our older
Parliamentary oratory with an art which keeps the hearer pleasedly
expectant rather than dangerously attentive, through an argument which
if dwelt upon might prove unsubstantial, secure that it all leads in
the end to some great cadence of noble sound.  But in Lincoln's
argumentative speeches the employment of beautiful words is least
sparing at the beginning or when he passes to a new subject.  It seems
as if he deliberately used up his rhetorical effects at the outset to
put his audience in the temper in which they would earnestly follow him
and to challenge their full attention to reasoning which was to satisfy
their calmer judgment.  He put himself in a position in which if his
argument were not sound nothing could save his speech from failure as a
speech.  Perhaps no standing epithet of praise hangs with such a weight
on a man's reputation as the epithet "honest."  When the man is proved
not to be a fraud, it suggests a very mediocre virtue.  But the method
by which Lincoln actually confirmed his early won and dangerous
reputation of honesty was a positive and potent performance of rare
distinction.  It is no mean intellectual and spiritual achievement to
be as honest in speech with a crowd as in the dearest intercourse of
life.  It is not, of course, pretended that he never used a fallacious
argument or made an unfair score--he was entirely human.  But this is
the testimony of an Illinois political wire-puller to Lincoln: "He was
one of the shrewdest politicians in the State.  Nobody had more
experience in that way.  Nobody knew better what was passing in the
minds of the people.  Nobody knew better how to turn things to
advantage politically."  And then he goes on--and this is really the
sum of what is to be said of his oratory: "He could not cheat people
out of their votes any more than he could out of their money."


3. _Lincoln against Douglas_.

It has now to be told how the contest with Douglas which concluded
Lincoln's labours in Illinois affected the broad stream of political
events in America as a whole.  Lincoln, as we know, was still only a
local personage; Illinois is a State bigger than Ireland, but it is
only a little part and was still a rather raw and provincial part of
the United States; but Douglas had for years been a national personage,
for a time the greatest man among the Democrats, and now, for a reason
which did him honour, he was in disgrace with many of his party and on
the point of becoming the hero of all moderate Republicans.

We need not follow in much detail the events of the great political
world.  The repeal of the Missouri Compromise threw it into a ferment,
which the continuing disorders in Kansas were in themselves sufficient
to keep up.  New great names were being made in debate in the Senate;
Seward, the most powerful opponent of the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise, kept his place as the foremost man in the Republican party
not by consistency in the stand that he made, but by his mastery of New
York political machinery; Sumner of Massachusetts, the friend of John
Bright, kept up a continual protest for freedom in turgid, scholarly
harangues, which caught the spirit of Cicero's Philippics most
successfully in their personal offensiveness.  Powerful voices in
literature and the Press were heard upon the same side--the _New York
Tribune_, edited by Horace Greeley, acquired, as far as a paper in so
large a country can, a national importance.  Broadly it may be said
that the stirring intellect of America old and young was with the
Republicans--it is a pleasant trifle to note that Longfellow gave up a
visit to Europe to vote for Fremont as President, and we know the views
of Motley and of Lowell and of Darwin's fellow labourer Asa Gray.  But
fashion and that better and quite different influence, the tone of
opinion prevailing in the pleasantest society, inclined always to the
Southern view of every question, and these influences were nowhere more
felt than among Washington politicians.  A strong and respectable group
of Southern Senators, of whom Jefferson Davis was the strongest, were
the real driving power of the administration.  Convivial President
Pierce and doting President Buchanan after him were complaisant to
their least scrupulous suggestions in a degree hardly credible of
honourable men who were not themselves Southerners.

One famous incident of life in Congress must be told to explain the
temper of the times.  In 1856, during one of the many debates that
arose out of Kansas, Sumner recited in the Senate a speech
conscientiously calculated to sting the slave-owning Senators to
madness.  Sumner was a man with brains and with courage and rectitude
beyond praise, set off by a powerful and noble frame, but he lacked
every minor quality of greatness.  He would not call his opponent in
debate a skunk, but he would expend great verbal ingenuity in coupling
his name with repeated references to that animal's attributes.  On this
occasion he used to the full both the finer and the most exquisitely
tasteless qualities of his eloquence.  This sort of thing passed the
censorship of many excellent Northern men who would lament Lincoln's
lack of refinement; and though from first to last the serious
provocation in their disputes lay in the set policy of the Southern
leaders, it ought to be realised that they, men who for the most part
were quite kind to their slaves and had long ago argued themselves out
of any compunction about slavery, were often exposed to intense verbal
provocation.  Nevertheless, what followed on Sumner's speech is
terribly significant of the depravation of Southern honour.

Congressman Preston Brooks, of South Carolina, had an uncle in the
Senate; South Carolina, and this Senator in particular, had been
specially favoured with self-righteous insolence in Sumner's speech.  A
day or so later the Senate had just risen and Sumner sat writing at his
desk in the Senate chamber in a position in which he could not quickly
rise.  Brooks walked in, burning with piety towards his State and his
uncle, and in the presence, it seems, of Southern Senators who could
have stopped him, beat Sumner on the head with a stick with all his
might.  Sumner was incapacitated by injuries to his spine for nearly
five years.  Brooks, with a virtuous air, explained in Congress that he
had caught Sumner in a helpless attitude because if Sumner had been
free to use his superior strength he, Brooks, would have had to shoot
him with his revolver.  It seems to be hardly an exaggeration to say
that the whole South applauded Brooks and exulted.  Exuberant
Southerners took to challenging Northern men, knowing well that their
principles compelled them to refuse duels, but that the refusal would
still be humiliating to the North.  Brooks himself challenged
Burlingame, a distinguished Congressman afterwards sent by Lincoln as
Minister to China, who had denounced him.  Burlingame accepted, and his
second arranged for a rifle duel at a wild spot across the frontier at
Niagara.  Brooks then drew back; he alleged, perhaps sincerely, that he
would have been murdered on his way through the Northern States, but
Northern people were a little solaced.  The whole disgusting story
contains only one pleasant incident.  Preston Brooks, who, after
numbers of congratulations, testimonials, and presentations, died
within a year of his famous exploit, had first confessed himself tired
of being a hero to every vulgar bully in the South!

Now, though this dangerous temper burned steadily in the South, and
there were always sturdy Republicans ready to provoke it, and questions
arising out of slavery would constantly recur to disturb high political
circles, it is not to be imagined that opinion in the North, the
growing and bustling portion of the States, would remain for years
excited about the repeal of the Missouri Compromise.  In 1857 men's
minds were agitated by a great commercial depression and collapse of
credit, and in 1858 there took place one of the most curious (for it
would seem to have deserved this cold description) of evanescent
religious revivals.  Meanwhile, by 1857 the actual bloodshed in Kansas
had come to an end under the administration of an able Governor; the
enormous majority of settlers in Kansas were now known to be against
slavery and it was probably assumed that the legalisation of slavery
could not be forced upon them.  Prohibition of slavery there by
Congress thus began to seem needless, and the Dred Scott judgments
raised at least a grave doubt as to whether it was possible.  Thus
enthusiasm for the original platform of the Republicans was cooling
down, and to the further embarrassment of that party, when towards the
end of 1857 the Southern leaders attempted a legislative outrage, the
great champion of the Northern protest was not a Republican, but
Douglas himself.

A Convention had been elected in Kansas to frame a State Constitution.
It represented only a fraction of the people, since, for some reason
good or bad, the opponents of slavery did not vote in the election.
But it was understood that whatever Constitution was framed would be
submitted to the popular vote.  The Convention framed a Constitution
legalising slavery, and its proposals came before Congress backed by
the influence of Buchanan.  Under them the people of Kansas were to
vote whether they would have this Constitution as it stood, or have it
with the legalisation of slavery restricted to the slaves who had then
been brought into the territory.  No opportunity was to be given them
of rejecting the Constitution altogether, though Governor Walker,
himself in favor of slavery, assured the President that they wished to
do so.  Ultimately, by way of concession to vehement resistance, the
majority in Congress passed an Act under which the people in Kansas
were to vote simply for or against the slavery Constitution as it
stood, only--if they voted for it, they as a State were to be rewarded
with a large grant of public lands belonging to the Union in their
territory.  Eventually the Kansas people, unmoved by this bribe,
rejected the Constitution by a majority of more than 11,000 to 1,800.
Now, the Southern leaders, three years before, had eagerly joined with
Douglas to claim a right of free choice for the Kansas people.  The
shamelessness of this attempt to trick them out of it is more
significant even than the tale of Preston Brooks.  There was no hot
blood there; the affair was quietly plotted by respected leaders of the
South.  They were men in many ways of character and honour, understood
by weak men like Buchanan to represent the best traditions of American
public life.  But, as they showed also in other instances that cannot
be related here, slavery had become for them a sacred cause which
hallowed almost any means.  It is essential to remember this in trying
to understand the then political situation.

Douglas here behaved very honourably.  He, with his cause of popular
sovereignty, could not have afforded to identify himself with the fraud
on Kansas, but he was a good enough trickster to have made his protest
safely if he had cared to do so.  As it was he braved the hatred of
Buchanan and the fury of his Southern friends by instant, manly,
courageous, and continued opposition.  It may therefore seem an
ungracious thing that, immediately after this, Lincoln should have
accepted the invitation of his friends to oppose Douglas' re-election.
To most of the leading Republicans out of Illinois it seemed altogether
unwise and undesirable that their party, which had seemed to be losing
ground, should do anything but welcome Douglas as an ally.  Of these
Seward indeed went too far for his friends, and in his sanguine hope
that it would work for freedom was ready to submit to the doctrine of
"popular sovereignty"; but, except the austere Chase, now Governor of
Ohio, who this once, but unfortunately not again, was whole-heartedly
with Lincoln, the Republican leaders in the East, and great Republican
journals, like the Tribune, declared their wish that Douglas should be
re-elected.  Why, then, did Lincoln stand against him?

It has often been suggested that his personal feelings towards Douglas
played some part in the matter, though no one thinks they played the
chief part.  Probably they did play a part, and it is a relief to think
that Lincoln thoroughly gratified some minor feelings in this contest.
Lincoln no doubt enjoyed measuring himself against other men; and it
was galling to his ambition to have been so completely outstripped by a
man inferior to him in every power except that of rapid success.  He
had also the deepest distrust for Douglas as a politician, thinking
that he had neither principle nor scruple, though Herndon, who knew,
declares he neither distrusted nor had cause to distrust Douglas in his
professional dealings as a lawyer.  He had, by the way, one definite,
if trifling, score to wipe off.  After their joint debate at Peoria in
1855 Douglas, finding him hard to tackle, suggested to Lincoln that
they should both undertake to make no more speeches for the present.
Lincoln oddly assented at once, perhaps for no better reason than a
ridiculous difficulty, to which he once confessed, in refusing any
request whatever.  Lincoln of course had kept this agreement strictly,
while Douglas had availed himself of the first temptation to break it.
Thus on all grounds we may be sure that Lincoln took pleasure in now
opposing Douglas.  But to go further and say that the two men cordially
hated each other is probably to misread both.  There is no necessary
connection between a keen desire to beat a man and any sort of
malignity towards him.  That much at least may be learned in English
schools, and the whole history of his dealing with men shows that in
some school or other Lincoln had learned it very thoroughly.  Douglas,
too, though an unscrupulous, was not, we may guess, an ungenerous man.

But the main fact of the matter is that Lincoln would have turned
traitor to his rooted convictions if he had not stood up and fought
Douglas even at this moment when Douglas was deserving of some
sympathy.  Douglas, it must be observed, had simply acted on his
principle that the question between slavery and freedom was to be
settled by local, popular choice; he claimed for the white men of
Kansas the fair opportunity of voting; given that, he persistently
declared, "I do not care whether slavery be voted up or voted down."
In Lincoln's settled opinion this moral attitude of indifference to the
wrongfulness of slavery, so long as respect was had to the liberties of
the privileged race, was, so to say, treason to the basic principle of
the American Commonwealth, a treason which had steadily been becoming
rife and upon which it was time to stamp.

There can be no doubt of his earnestness about this.  But the
Republican leaders, honourably enough, regarded this as an unpractical
line to take, and indeed to the political historian this is the most
crucial question in American history.  Nobody can say that civil war
would or would not have occurred if this or that had been done a little
differently, but Abraham Lincoln, at this crisis of his life, did, in
pursuance of his peculiarly cherished principle, forge at least a link
in the chain of events which actually precipitated the war.  And he did
it knowing better than any other man that he was doing something of
great national importance, involving at least great national risk.  Was
he pursuing his principles, moderate as they were in the original
conception, with fanaticism, or at the best preferring a solemn
consistency of theory to the conscientious handling of facts not
reducible to theory?  As a question of practical statesmanship in the
largest sense, how did matters really stand in regard to slavery and to
the relations between South and North, and what was Lincoln's idea of
"putting slavery back where the fathers placed it" really worth?

Herndon in these days went East to try to enlist the support of the
great men for Lincoln.  He found them friendly but immovable.  Editor
Horace Greeley said to him: "The Republican standard is too high; we
want something practical."  This, we may be pretty sure, stiffened
Lincoln's back, as a man with a cause that he cared for, and, for that
matter, as a really shrewd manager in a party which he thought stood
for something.  It reveals the flabbiness which the Northerners were in
danger of making a governing tradition of policy.  The wrongfulness of
any extension of slavery might be loudly asserted in 1854, but in 1858,
when it no longer looked as if so great an extension of it was really
imminent, there was no harm in shifting towards some less provocative
principle on which more people at the moment might agree.  Confronted
with Northern politicians who would reason in this fashion stood a
united South whose leaders were by now accustomed to make the Union
Government go which way they chose and had no sort of disposition to
compromise their principle in the least.  "What," as Lincoln put it in
an address given, not long after his contest with Douglas, at the
Cooper Institute in New York, "what do you think will content the
South?"  "Nothing," he answered, "but an acknowledgment that slavery is
right."  "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.  Nor can we justifiably
withhold this on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong."
That being so, there was no use, he said, in "groping about for some
middle ground between right and wrong," or in "a policy of 'don't care'
on a question about which all true men do care."  And there is ample
evidence that he understood rightly the policy of the South.  It is
very doubtful whether any large extension of cultivation by slave
labour was economically possible in Kansas or in regions yet further
North, but we have seen to what lengths the Southern leaders would go
in the attempt to secure even a limited recognition of slavery as
lawful in a new State.  They were not succeeding in the business of the
Kansas Constitution.  But they had a very good prospect of a far more
important success.  The celebrated dicta of Chief Justice Taney and
other judges in the Dred Scott case had not amounted to an actual
decision, nor if they had would a single decision have been
irreversible.  Whether the principle of them should become fixed in
American Constitutional law depended (though this could not be openly
said) on whether future appointments to the Supreme Court were to be
made by a President who shared Taney's views; whether the executive
action of the President was governed by the same views; and on the
subtle pressure which outside opinion does exercise, and in this case
had surely exercised, upon judicial minds.  If the simple principle
that the right to a slave is just one form of the ordinary right to
property once became firmly fixed in American jurisprudence it is hard
to see how any laws prohibiting slavery could have continued to be held
constitutional except in States which were free States when the
Constitution was adopted.  Of course, a State like New York where
slaves were industrially useless would not therefore have been filled
with slave plantations, but, among a loyally minded people, the
tradition which reprobated slavery would have been greatly weakened.
The South would have been freed from the sense that slavery was a
doomed institution.  If attempts to plant slavery further in the West
with profit failed, there was Cuba and there was Central America, on
which filibustering raids already found favour in the South, and in
which the national Government might be led to adopt schemes of conquest
or annexation.  Moreover, it was avowed by leaders like Jefferson Davis
that though it might be impracticable to hope for the repeal of the
prohibition of the slave trade, at least some relaxation of its
severity ought to be striven for, in the interest of Texas and New
Mexico and of possible future Territories where there might be room for
more slaves.  Such were the views of the leaders whose influence
preponderated with the present President and in the main with the
present Congress.  When Lincoln judged that a determined stand against
their policy was required, and further that no such stand could be
possible to a party which had embraced Douglas with his principle, "I
care not whether slavery be voted up or voted down," there is no doubt
now that he was right and the great body of Republican authority
opposed to him wrong.

When Lincoln and his friends in Illinois determined to fight Douglas,
it became impossible for the Republican party as a whole to fall far
behind them.  This was in itself at that crisis an important thing.
Lincoln added greatly to its importance by the opening words in the
first speech of his campaign.  They were the most carefully prepared
words that he had yet spoken, and the most momentous that he had spoken
till now or perhaps ever spoke.  There is nothing in them for which
what has been said of the situation and of his views will not have
prepared us, and nothing which thousands of men might not have said to
one another in private for a year or two before.  But the first public
avowal by a responsible man in trenchant phrase, that a grave issue has
been joined upon which one party or the other must accept entire
defeat, may be an event of great and perilous consequence.

He said: "If we could first know where we are and whither we are
tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it.  We are now
far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed
object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.
Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not
ceased, but has constantly augmented.  In my opinion it will not cease
until a crisis shall have been reached and passed.  'A house divided
against itself cannot stand.'  I believe this Government cannot endure
permanently half slave and half free.  I do not expect the Union to be
dissolved--I do not expect the house to fall--but I do expect that it
will cease to be divided.  It will become all one thing or all the
other.  Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread
of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that
it is in course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it
forward till it shall become lawful alike in all the States, old as
well as new--North as well as South."

It may perhaps be said that American public opinion has in the past
been very timid in facing clear-cut issues. But, as has already been
observed, an apt phrase crystallising the unspoken thought of many is
even more readily caught up in America than anywhere else; so, though
but few people in States at a distance paid much attention to the rest
of the debates, or for a while again to Lincoln, the comparison of the
house divided against itself produced an effect in the country which
did not wear out.  In this whole passage, moreover, Lincoln had
certainly formulated the question before the nation more boldly, more
clearly, more truly than any one before.  It is impossible to estimate
such influences precisely, but this was among the speeches that rank as
important actions, and the story, most characteristic of the speaker,
which lay behind it, is worth relating in detail.  Lincoln had actually
in a speech in 1856 declared that the United States could not long
endure half slave and half free.  "What in God's name," said some
friend after the meeting, "could induce you to promulgate such an
opinion?"  "Upon my soul," he said, "I think it is true," and he could
not be argued out of this opinion.  Finally the friend protested that,
true or not, no good could come of spreading this opinion abroad, and
after grave reflection Lincoln promised not to utter it again for the
present.  Now, in 1858, having prepared his speech he read it to
Herndon.  Herndon questioned whether the passage on the divided house
was politic.  Lincoln said: "I would rather be defeated with this
expression in my speech, and uphold and discuss it before the people,
than be victorious without it."  Once more, just before he delivered
it, he read it over to a dozen or so of his closest supporters, for it
was his way to discuss his intentions fully with friends, sometimes
accepting their advice most submissively and sometimes disregarding it
wholly.  One said it was "ahead of its time," another that it was a
"damned fool utterance."  All more or less strongly condemned it,
except this time Herndon, who, according to his recollection, said, "It
will make you President."  He listened to all and then addressed them,
we are told, substantially as follows: "Friends, this thing has been
retarded long enough.  The time has come when these sentiments should
be uttered; and if it is decreed that I should go down because of this
speech, then let me go down linked to the truth--let me die in the
advocacy of what is just and right."  Rather a memorable pronouncement
of a candidate to his committee; and the man who records it is
insistent upon every little illustration he can find both of Lincoln's
cunning and of his ambition.

Lincoln did go down in this particular contest.  Many friends wrote and
reproved him after this "damned fool utterance," but his defeat was
not, after all, attributed to that.  All the same he did himself assure
his defeat, and he did it with extraordinary skill, for the purpose of
ensuring that the next President should be a Republican President,
though it is impossible he should at that time have counted upon being
himself that Republican.  Each candidate had undertaken to answer set
questions which his opponent might propound to him.  And great public
attention was paid to the answers to these interrogatories.  The Dred
Scott judgments created a great difficulty for Douglas; he was bound to
treat them as right; but if they were right and Congress had no power
to prohibit slavery in a Territory, neither could a Territorial
Legislature with authority delegated by Congress have that power; and,
if this were made clear, it would seem there was an end of that free
choice of the people in the Territories of which Douglas had been the
great advocate.  Douglas would use all his evasive skill in keeping
away from this difficult point.  If, however, he could be forced to
face it Lincoln knew what he would say.  He would say that slavery
would not be actually unlawful in a Territory, but would never actually
exist in it if the Territorial Legislature chose to abstain, as it
could, from passing any of the laws which would in practice be
necessary to protect slave property.  By advocating this view Douglas
would fully reassure those of his former supporters in Illinois who
puzzled themselves on the Dred Scott case, but he would infuriate the
South.  Lincoln determined to force Douglas into this position by the
questions which he challenged him to answer.  When he told his friends
of his ambition, they all told him he would lose his election.
"Gentlemen," said Lincoln, "I am killing larger game; if Douglas
answers, he can never be President, and the battle of 1860 is worth a
hundred of this."  The South was already angry with Douglas for his
action over the Kansas Constitution, but he would have been an
invincible candidate for the South to support in 1860, and it must have
told in his favour that his offence then had been one of plain honesty.
But in this fresh offence the Southern leaders had some cause to accuse
him of double dealing, and they swore he should not be President.

A majority of the new Illinois Legislature returned Douglas to the
Senate.  Lincoln, however, had an actual majority of the votes of the
whole State.  Probably also he had gained a hold on Illinois for the
future out of all proportion to the actual number of votes then given
against the popular Douglas, and above all he had gathered to him a
band of supporters who had unbounded belief in him.  But his fall for
the moment was little noticed or regretted outside Illinois, or at any
rate in the great Eastern States, to which Illinois was, so to speak,
the provinces and he a provincial attorney.  His first words in the
campaign had made a stir, but the rest of his speeches in these long
debates could not be much noticed at a distance.  Douglas had won, and
the presumption was that he had proved himself the better man.  Lincoln
had performed what, apart from results, was a work of intellectual
merit beyond the compass of any American statesman since Hamilton;
moreover, as can now be seen, there had been great results; for, first,
the young Republican party had not capitulated and collapsed, and,
then, the great Democratic party, established in power, in
indifference, and in complicity with wrong, was split clean in two.
But these were not results that could be read yet awhile in election
figures.  Meanwhile the exhausted Lincoln reconciled himself for the
moment to failure.  As a private man he was thoroughly content that he
could soon work off his debt for his election expenses, could earn
about 500 pounds a year, and be secure in the possession of the little
house and the 2,000 pounds capital which was "as much as any man ought
to have."  As a public man he was sadly proud that he had at least
"said some words which may bear fruit after I am forgotten."
Persistent melancholy and incurable elasticity can go together, and
they make a very strong combination.  The tone of resignation had not
passed away from his comparatively intimate letters when he was writing
little notes to one political acquaintance and another inciting them to
look forward to the fun of the next fight.


4. _John Brown_.

For the next few months the excitements of the great political world
concern this biography little.  There was strife between Davis and
Douglas in the Senate.  At a meeting strong against slavery, Seward
regained courage from the occasion and roused the North with grave and
earnest words about the "irrepressible conflict."  The "underground
railway," or chain of friendly houses by which fugitive slaves were
stealthily passed on to Canada, became famous.  Methodist professors
riotously attempted to rescue an arrested fugitive at Oberlin.  A
Southern grand jury threw out the bill of indictment against a
slave-trading crew caught red-handed.  In California Democrats
belonging to what was nicknamed "the chivalry" forced upon Senator
Broderick, a literally democratic Irishman and the bravest of the
Democrats who stood out for fair treatment to Kansas, a duel in which
he might fairly be said to have been murdered.  The one event which
demands more than allusion was the raid and the death of John Brown.

John Brown, in whom Puritan religion, as strict as that of his
ancestors on the _Mayflower_, put forth gentler beauties of character
than his sanguinary mission may suggest, had been somewhat of a failure
as a scientific farmer, but as a leader of fighting men in desperate
adventure only such men as Drake or Garibaldi seem to have excelled
him.  More particularly in the commotions in Kansas he had led forays,
slain ruthlessly, witnesses dry-eyed the deaths of several of his tall,
strong sons, and as a rule earned success by cool judgment--all, as he
was absolutely sure, at the clear call of God.  In October, 1859--how
and with whose help the stroke was prepared seems to be a question of
some mystery--John Brown, gathering a little band of Abolitionists and
negroes, invaded the slave States and seized the United States arsenal
at Harper's Ferry in Virginia.  In the details, which do not matter, of
this tiny campaign, John Brown seems, for the first time in his life,
to have blundered badly.  This was the only thing that lay upon his
conscience towards the last.  What manner of success he can have
expected does not appear; most likely he had neither care nor definite
expectation as to the result.  The United States troops under Robert
Lee, soon to be famous, of course overcame him quickly.  One of his
prisoners describes how he held out to the last; a dead son beside him;
one hand on the pulse of a dying son, his rifle in the other.  He was
captured, desperately wounded.  Southerners could not believe the fact
that Brown had not contemplated some hideous uprising of slaves against
their wives and children, but he only wished to conquer them with the
sword of the Lord and of Gideon, quietly freeing slaves as he went.  So
naturally there was talk of lynching, but the Virginian gentlemen
concerned would not have that.  Governor Wise, of Virginia, had some
talk with him and justified his own high character rather than Brown's
by the estimate he gave of him in a speech at Richmond.  Brown was
hanged.  "Stonewall" Jackson, a brother fanatic, if that is the word,
felt the spectacle "awful," as he never felt slaughter in battle, and
"put up a prayer that if possible Brown might be saved."  "So perish
all foes of the human race," said the officer commanding on the
occasion, and the South generally felt the like.

A little before his death Brown was asked: "How do you justify your
acts?"  He said: "I think, my friend, you are guilty of a great wrong
against God and humanity--I say it without wishing to be offensive--and
it would be perfectly right for any one to interfere with you so far as
to free those you wilfully and wickedly hold in bondage.  I think I did
right, and that others will do right who interfere with you at any time
and at all times."  In a conversation still later, he is reported to
have concluded: "I wish to say furthermore that you had better--all you
people at the South--prepare yourselves for a settlement of this
question, that must come up for settlement sooner than you are prepared
for it.  You may dispose of me very easily.  I am nearly disposed of
now.  But this question is still to be settled--this negro question I
mean.  The end of that is not yet."  To a friend he wrote that he
rejoiced like Paul because he knew like Paul that "if they killed him,
it would greatly advance the cause of Christ."

Lincoln, who regarded lawlessness and slavery as twin evils, could only
say of John Brown's raid: "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."  Seward, it must
be recorded, spoke far more sympathetically of him than Lincoln; and
far more justly, for there is a flaw somewhere in this example, as his
chief biographer regards it, of "Mr. Lincoln's common-sense judgment."
John Brown had at least left to every healthy-minded Northern boy a
memory worth much in the coming years of war and, one hopes, ever
after.  He had well deserved to be the subject of a song which,
whatever may be its technical merits as literature, does stir.  Emerson
took the same view of him as the song writer, and Victor Hugo suggested
as an epitaph for him: "Pro Christo sicut Christus."  A calmer poet,
Longfellow, wrote in his diary on Friday, December 2, 1859, the day
when Brown was hanged: "This will be a great day in our history, the
date of a new revolution, quite as much needed as the old one.  Even
now, as I write, they are leading old John Brown to execution in
Virginia for attempting to rescue slaves.  This is sowing the wind to
reap the whirlwind, which will soon come."

Any one who is interested in Lincoln is almost forced to linger over
the contrasting though slighter character who crossed the stage just
before he suddenly took the principal part upon it.  Men like John
Brown may be fitly ranked with the equally rare men who, steering a
very different course, have consistently acted out the principles of
the Quakers, constraining no man whether by violence or by law, yet
going into the thick of life prepared at all times to risk all.  All
such men are abnormal in the sense that most men literally could not
put life through on any similar plan and would be wrong and foolish to
try.  The reason is that most men have a wider range of sympathy and of
intellect than they.  But the common sense of most of us revolts from
any attitude of condemnation or condescension towards them; for they
are more disinterested than most of us, more single-minded, and in
their own field often more successful.  With a very clear conscience we
refuse to take example from these men whose very defects have operated
in them as a special call; but undoubtedly most of us regard them with
a warmth of sympathy which we are slow to accord to safer guides.  We
turn now from John Brown, who saw in slavery a great oppression, and
was very angry, and went ahead slaying the nearest oppressor and
liberating--for some days at least--the nearest slave, to a patient
being, who, long ago in his youth, had boiled with anger against
slavery, but whose whole soul now expressed itself in a policy of
deadly moderation towards it: "Let us put back slavery where the
fathers placed it, and there let it rest in peace."  We are to study
how he acted when in power.  In almost every department of policy we
shall see him watching and waiting while blood flows, suspending
judgment, temporising, making trial of this expedient and of that,
adopting in the end, quite unthanked, the measure of which most men
will say, when it succeeds, "That is what we always said should be
done."  Above all, in that point of policy which most interests us, we
shall witness the long postponement of the blow that killed negro
slavery, the steady subordination of this particular issue to what will
not at once appeal to us as a larger and a higher issue.  All this
provoked at the time in many excellent and clever men dissatisfaction
and deep suspicion; they longed for a leader whose heart visibly glowed
with a sacred passion; they attributed his patience, the one quality of
greatness which after a while everybody might have discerned in him,
not to a self-mastery which almost passed belief, but to a tepid
disposition and a mediocre if not a low level of desire.  We who read
of him to-day shall not escape our moments of lively sympathy with
these grumblers of the time; we shall wish that this man could ever
plunge, that he could ever see red, ever commit some passionate
injustice; we shall suspect him of being, in the phrase of a great
philosopher, "a disgustingly well-regulated person," lacking that
indefinable quality akin to the honest passions of us ordinary men, but
deeper and stronger, which alone could compel and could reward any true
reverence for his memory.  These moments will recur but they cannot
last.  A thousand little things, apparent on the surface but deeply
significant; almost every trivial anecdote of his boyhood, his prime,
or his closing years; his few recorded confidences; his equally few
speeches made under strong emotion; the lineaments of his face
described by observers whom photography corroborated; all these
absolutely forbid any conception of Abraham Lincoln as a worthy
commonplace person fortunately fitted to the requirements of his office
at the moment, or as merely a "good man" in the negative and
disparaging sense to which that term is often wrested.  It is really
evident that there were no frigid perfections about him at all; indeed
the weakness of some parts of his conduct is so unlike what seems to be
required of a successful ruler that it is certain some almost
unexampled quality of heart and mind went to the doing of what he did.
There is no need to define that quality.  The general wisdom of his
statesmanship will perhaps appear greater and its not infrequent errors
less the more fully the circumstances are appreciated.  As to the man,
perhaps the sense will grow upon us that this balanced and calculating
person, with his finger on the pulse of the electorate while he cracked
his uncensored jests with all comers, did of set purpose drink and
refill and drink again as full and fiery a cup of sacrifice as ever was
pressed to the lips of hero or of saint.


5. _The Election of Lincoln_.

Unlooked-for events were now raising Lincoln to the highest place which
his ambition could contemplate.  His own action in the months that
followed his defeat by Douglas cannot have contributed much to his
surprising elevation, yet it illustrates well his strength and his
weakness, his real fitness, now and then startlingly revealed, for the
highest position, and the superficial unfitness which long hid his
capacity from many acute contemporaries.

In December, 1859, he made a number of speeches in Kansas and elsewhere
in the West, and in February, 1860, he gave a memorable address in the
Cooper Institute in New York before as consciously intellectual an
audience as could be collected in that city, proceeding afterwards to
speak in several cities of New England.  His appearance at the Cooper
Institute, in particular, was a critical venture, and he knew it.
There was natural curiosity about this untutored man from the West.  An
exaggerated report of his wit prepared the way for probable
disappointment.  The surprise which awaited his hearers was of a
different kind; they were prepared for a florid Western eloquence
offensive to ears which were used to a less spontaneous turgidity; they
heard instead a speech with no ornament at all, whose only beauty was
that it was true and that the speaker felt it.  The single flaw in the
Cooper Institute speech has already been cited, the narrow view of
Western respectability as to John Brown.  For the rest, this speech,
dry enough in a sense, is an incomparably masterly statement of the
then political situation, reaching from its far back origin to the
precise and definite question requiring decision at that moment.  Mr.
Choate, who as a young man was present, set down of late years his
vivid recollection of that evening.  "He appeared in every sense of the
word like one of the plain people among whom he loved to be counted.
At first sight there was nothing impressive or imposing about him; his
clothes hung awkwardly on his giant frame; his face was of a dark
pallor without the slightest tinge of colour; his seamed and rugged
features bore the furrows of hardship and struggle; his deep-set eyes
looked sad and anxious; his countenance in repose gave little evidence
of the brilliant power which raised him from the lowest to the highest
station among his countrymen; as he talked to me before the meeting he
seemed ill at ease."  We know, as a fact, that among his causes of
apprehension, he was for the first time painfully conscious of those
clothes.  "When he spoke," proceeds Mr. Choate, "he was transformed;
his eye kindled, his voice rang, his face shone and seemed to light up
the whole assembly.  For an hour and a half he held his audience in the
hollow of his hand.  His style of speech and manner of delivery were
severely simple.  What Lowell called 'the grand simplicities of the
Bible,' with which he was so familiar, were reflected in his discourse.
. . .  It was marvellous to see how this untutored man, by mere
self-discipline and the chastening of his own spirit, had outgrown all
meretricious arts, and found his way to the grandeur and strength of
absolute simplicity."

The newspapers of the day after this speech confirm these reverent
reminiscences.  On this, his first introduction to the cultivated world
of the East, Lincoln's audience were at the moment and for the moment
conscious of the power which he revealed.  The Cooper Institute speech
takes the plain principle that slavery is wrong, and draws the plain
inference that it is idle to seek for common ground with men who say it
is right.  Strange but tragically frequent examples show how rare it is
for statesmen in times of crisis to grasp the essential truth so
simply.  It is creditable to the leading men of New York that they
recognised a speech which just at that time urged this plain thing in
sufficiently plain language as a very great speech, and had an inkling
of great and simple qualities in the man who made it.  It is not
specially discreditable that very soon and for a long while part of
them, or of those who were influenced by their report, reverted to
their former prejudices in regard to Lincoln.  When they saw him thrust
by election managers into the Presidency, very few indeed of what might
be called the better sort believed, or could easily learn, that his
great qualities were great enough to compensate easily for the many
things he lacked.  This specially grotesque specimen of the wild West
was soon seen not to be of the charlatan type; as a natural alternative
he was assumed to be something of a simpleton.  Many intelligent men
retained this view of him throughout the years of his trial, and, only
when his triumph and tragic death set going a sort of Lincoln myth,
began to recollect that "I came to love and trust him even before I
knew him," or the like.  A single speech like this at the Cooper
Institute might be enough to show a later time that Lincoln was a man
of great intellect, but it could really do little to prepare men in the
East for what they next heard of him.

Already a movement was afoot among his friends in Illinois to secure
his nomination for the Presidency at the Convention of the Republican
party which was to be held in Chicago in May.  Before that Convention
could assemble it had become fairly certain that whoever might be
chosen as the Republican candidate would be President of the United
States, and signs were not wanting that he would be faced with grave
peril to the Union.  For the Democratic party, which had met in
Convention at Charleston in April, had proceeded to split into two
sections, Northern and Southern.  This memorable Convention was a
dignified assembly gathered in a serious mood in a city of some
antiquity and social charm.  From the first, however, a latent
antipathy between the Northern and the Southern delegates made itself
felt.  The Northerners, predisposed to a certain deference towards the
South and prepared to appreciate its graceful hospitality, experienced
an uneasy sense that they were regarded as social inferiors.  Worse
trouble than this appeared when the Convention met for its first
business, the framing of the party platform.  Whether the position
which Lincoln had forced Douglas to take up had precipitated this
result or not, dissension between Northern and Southern Democrats on
the subject of slavery had already manifested itself in Congress, and
in the party Convention the division became irreparable.  Douglas, it
will be remembered, had started with the principle that slavery in the
Territories formed a question for the people of each territory to
decide; he had felt bound to accept the doctrine underlying the Dred
Scott judgments, according to which slavery was by the Constitution
lawful in all territories; pressed by Lincoln, he had tried to
reconcile his original position with this doctrine by maintaining that
while slavery was by the Constitution lawful in every Territory it was
nevertheless lawful for a Territorial Legislature to make slave-owning
practically impossible.  In framing a declaration of the party
principles as to slavery the Southern delegates in the Democratic
Convention aimed at meeting this evasion.  With considerable show of
logic they asserted, in the party platform which they proposed, not
merely the abstract rightfulness and lawfulness of slavery, but the
duty of Congress itself to make any provision that might be necessary
to protect it in the Territories.  To this the Northern majority of the
delegates could not consent; they carried an amendment declaring merely
that they would abide by any decision of the Supreme Court as to
slavery.  Thereupon the delegates, not indeed of the whole South but of
all the cotton-growing States except Georgia, withdrew from the
Convention.  The remaining delegates were, under the rules of the
Convention, too few to select a candidate for the Presidency, and the
Convention adjourned, to re-assemble at Baltimore in June.  Eventually,
after attempts at reunion and further dissensions, two separate
Democratic Conventions at Baltimore, a Northern and a Southern,
nominated, as their respective candidates, Stephen Douglas, the obvious
choice with whom, if the Southerners had cared to temporise further, a
united Democratic party could have swept the polls, and John C.
Breckinridge of Kentucky, a gentleman not otherwise known than as the
standard bearer on this great occasion of the undisguised and
unmitigated claims of the slave owners.

Thus it was that the American Democratic party forfeited power for
twenty-four years, divided between the consistent maintenance of a
paradox and the adroit maintenance of inconsistency.  Another party in
this election demands a moment's notice.  A Convention of delegates,
claiming to represent the old Whigs, met also at Baltimore and declared
merely that it stood for "the Constitution of the country, the union of
the States, and the enforcement of the laws."  They nominated for the
Presidency John Bell of Tennessee, and for the Vice-Presidency Edward
Everett.  This latter gentleman was afterwards chosen as the orator of
the day at the ceremony on the battlefield of Gettysburg when Lincoln's
most famous speech was spoken.  He was a travelled man and a scholar;
he was Secretary of State for a little while under Fillmore, and dealt
honestly and firmly with the then troublous question of Cuba.  His
orations deserve to be looked at, for they are favourable examples of
the eloquence which American taste applauded, and as such they help to
show how original Lincoln was in the simpler beauty of his own simpler
diction.  In justice to the Whigs, let it be noted that they declared
for the maintenance of the Union, committing themselves with decision
on the question of the morrow; but it was a singular platform that
resolutely and totally ignored the only issue of the day.  Few
politicians can really afford to despise either this conspicuously
foolish attempt to overcome a difficulty by shutting one's eyes to it,
or the more plausible proposal of the Northern Democrats to continue
temporising with a movement for slavery in which they were neither bold
enough nor corrupted enough to join.  The consequences, now known to
us, of a determined stand against the advance of slavery were
instinctively foreseen by these men, and they cannot be blamed for
shrinking from them.  Yet the historian now, knowing that those
consequences exceeded in terror all that could have been foreseen, can
only agree with the judgment expressed by Lincoln in one of his Kansas
speeches: "We want and must have a national policy as to slavery which
deals with it as being a wrong.  Whoever would prevent slavery becoming
national and perpetual yields all when he yields to a policy which
treats it either as being right, or as being a matter of indifference."
The Republican party had been founded upon just this opinion.
Electoral victory was now being prepared for it, not because a majority
was likely yet to take so resolute a view, but because its effective
opponents were divided between those who had gone the length of calling
slavery right and those who strove to treat it as indifferent.  The
fate of America may be said to have depended in the early months of
1860 on whether the nominee of the Republican party was a man who would
maintain its principles with irresolution, or with obstinacy, or with
firm moderation.

When it had first been suggested to Lincoln in the course of 1859 that
he might be that nominee he said, "I do not think myself fit for the
Presidency."  This was probably his sincere opinion at the moment,
though perhaps the moment was one of dejection.  In any case his
opinion soon changed, and though it is not clear whether he encouraged
his friends to bring his name forward, we know in a general way that
when they decided to do so he used every effort of his own to help
them.  We must accept without reserve Herndon's reiterated assertion
that Lincoln was intensely ambitious; and, if ambition means the eager
desire for great opportunities, the depreciation of it, which has long
been a commonplace of literature, and which may be traced back to the
Epicureans, is a piece of cant which ought to be withdrawn from
currency, and ambition, commensurate with the powers which each man can
discover in himself, should be frankly recognised as a part of
Christian duty.  In judging him to be the best man for the Presidency,
Lincoln's Illinois friends and he himself formed a very sensible
judgment, but they did so in flagrant contradiction to many superficial
appearances.  This candidate for the chief magistracy at a critical
time of one of the great nations of the world had never administered
any concern much larger than that post office that he once "carried
around in his hat."  Of the several other gentlemen whose names were
before the party there was none who might not seem greatly to surpass
him in experience of affairs.  To one of them, Seward, the nomination
seemed to belong almost of right.  Chase and Seward both were known and
dignified figures in that great assembly the Senate.  Chase was of
proved rectitude and courage, Seward of proved and very considerable
ability.  Chase had been Governor of Ohio, Seward of New York State;
and the position of Governor in a State--a State it must be remembered
is independent in almost the whole of what we call domestic
politics--is strictly analogous to the position of President in the
Union, and, especially in a great State, is the best training ground
for the Presidency.  But beyond this, Seward, between whom and Lincoln
the real contest lay, had for some time filled a recognised though
unofficial position as the leader of his party.  He had failed, as has
been seen in his dealings with Douglas, in stern insistence upon
principle, but the failure was due rather to his sanguine and hopeful
temper than to lack of courage.  On the whole from the time when he
first stood up against Webster in the discussions of 1850, when Lincoln
was both silent and obscure, he had earned his position well.
Hereafter, as Lincoln's subordinate, he was to do his country
first-rate service, and to earn a pure fame as the most generously
loyal subordinate to a chief whom he had thought himself fit to
command.  We happen to have ample means of estimating now all Lincoln's
Republican competitors; we know that none of the rest were equal to
Seward; and we know that Seward himself, if he had had his way, would
have brought the common cause to ruin.  Looking back now at the
comparison which Lincoln, when he entered into the contest, must have
drawn between himself and Seward--for of the rest we need not take
account--we can see that to himself at least and some few in Illinois
he had now proved his capacities, and that in Seward's public record,
more especially in his attitude towards Douglas, he had the means of
measuring Seward.  In spite of the far greater experience of the latter
he may have thought himself to be his superior in that indefinable
thing--the sheer strength of a man.  Not only may he have thought this;
he must have known it.  He had shown his grasp of the essential facts
when he forced the Republican party to do battle with Douglas and the
party of indifference; he showed the same now when, after long years of
patience and self-discipline, he pushed himself into Seward's place as
the Republican leader.

All the same, what little we know of the methods by which he now helped
his own promotion suggests that the people who then and long after set
him down as a second-rate person may have had a good deal to go upon.
A kind friend has produced a letter which he wrote in March, 1860, to a
Kansas gentleman who desired to be a delegate to the Republican
Convention, and who offered, upon condition, to persuade his fellow
delegates from Kansas to support Lincoln.  Here is the letter: "As to
your kind wishes for myself, allow me to say I cannot enter the ring on
the money basis--first because in the main it is wrong; and secondly I
have not and cannot get the money.  I say in the main the use of money
is wrong; but for certain objects in a political contest the use of
some is both right and indispensable.  With me, as with yourself, this
long struggle has been one of great pecuniary loss.  I now distinctly
say this: If you shall be appointed a delegate to Chicago I will
furnish one hundred dollars to bear the expenses of the trip."  The
Kansas gentleman failed to obtain the support of the Kansas delegates
as a body for Lincoln.  Lincoln none the less held to his promise of a
hundred dollars if the man came to Chicago; and, having, we are
assured, much confidence in him, took the earliest opportunity of
appointing him to a lucrative office, besides consulting him as to
other appointments in Kansas.  This is all that we know of the affair,
but our informant presents it as one of a number of instances in which
Lincoln good-naturedly trusted a man too soon, and obstinately clung to
his mistake.  As to the appointment, the man had evidently begun by
soliciting money in a way which would have marked him to most of us as
a somewhat unsuitable candidate for any important post; and the payment
of the hundred dollars plainly transgresses a code both of honour and
of prudence which most politicians will recognise and which should not
need definition.  To say, as Lincoln probably said to himself, that
there is nothing intrinsically wrong in a moderate payment for expenses
to a fellow worker in a public cause, whom you believe to have
sacrificed much, is to ignore the point, indeed several points.
Lincoln, hungry now for some success in his own unrewarded career, was
tempted to a small manoeuvre by which he might pick up a little
support; he was at the same time tempted, no less, to act generously
(according to his means) towards a man who, he readily believed, had
made sacrifices like his own.  He was not the man to stand against this
double temptation.

Petty lapses of this order, especially when the delinquent may be seen
to hesitate and excuse himself, are more irritating than many larger
and more brazen offences, for they give us the sense of not knowing
where we are.  When they are committed by a man of seemingly strong and
high character, it is well to ask just what they signify.  Some of the
shrewdest observers of Lincoln, friendly and unfriendly, concur in
their description of the weaknesses of which this incident may serve as
the example, weaknesses partly belonging to his temperament, but partly
such as a man risen from poverty, with little variety of experience and
with no background of home training, stands small chance of escaping.
For one thing his judgment of men and how to treat them was as bad in
some ways as it was good in others.  His own sure grasp of the largest
and commonest things in life, and his sober and measured trust in human
nature as a whole, gave him a rare knowledge of the mind of the people
in the mass.  So, too, when he had known a man long, or been with him
or against him in important transactions, he sometimes developed great
insight and sureness of touch; and, when the man was at bottom
trustworthy, his robust confidence in him was sometimes of great public
service.  But he had no gift of rapid perception and no instinctive
tact or prudence in regard to the very numerous and very various men
with whom he had slight dealings on which he could bestow no thought.
This is common with men who have risen from poverty; if they have not
become hard and suspicious, they are generally obtuse to the minor
indications by which shrewd men of education know the impostor, and
they are perversely indulgent to little meannesses in their fellows
which they are incapable of committing themselves.  In Lincoln this was
aggravated by an immense good-nature--as he confessed, he could hardly
say "no";--it was an obstinate good-nature, which found a naughty
pleasure in refusing to be corrected; and if it should happen that the
object of his weak benevolence had given him personal cause of offence,
the good-nature became more incorrigible than ever.  Moreover,
Lincoln's strength was a slow strength, shown most in matters in which
elementary principles of right or the concentration of intense thought
guided him.  Where minor and more subtle principles of conduct should
have come in, on questions which had not come within the range of his
reflection so far and to which, amidst his heavy duties, he could not
spare much cogitation, he would not always show acute perception, and,
which is far worse, he would often show weakness of will.  The present
instance may be ever so trifling, yet it does relate to the indistinct
and dangerous borderland of political corruption.  It need arouse no
very serious suspicions.  Mr. Herndon, whose pertinacious researches
unearthed that Kansas gentleman's correspondence, and who is keenly
censorious of Lincoln's fault, in the upshot trusts and reveres
Lincoln.  And the massive testimony of his keenest critics to his
honesty quite decides the matter.  But Lincoln had lived in a simple
Western town, not in one of the already polluted great cities; he was a
poor man himself and took the fact that wealth was used against him as
a part of the inevitable drawbacks of his lot; and it is certain that
he did not clearly take account of the whole business of corruption and
jobbery as a hideous and growing peril to America.  It is certain too
that he lacked the delicate perception of propriety in such matters, or
the strict resolution in adhering to it on small occasions, which might
have been possessed by a far less honest man.  The severest criticisms
which Lincoln afterwards incurred were directed to the appointments
which he made; we shall see hereafter that he had very solid reasons
for his general conduct in such matters; but it cannot be said with
conviction that he had that horror of appointment on other grounds than
merit which enlightens, though it does not always govern, more educated
statesmen.  His administration would have been more successful, and the
legacy he left to American public life more bountiful, if his
traditions, or the length of his day's work, had allowed him to be more
careful in these things.  As it is he was not commended to the people
of America and must not be commended to us by the absence of defects as
a ruler or as a man, but by the qualities to which his defects
belonged.  An acute literary man wrote of Lincoln, when he had been
three years in office, these remarkable words: "You can't help feeling
an interest in him, a sympathy and a kind of pity; feeling, too, that
he has some qualities of great value, yet fearing that his weak points
may wreck him or may wreck something.  His life seems a series of wise,
sound conclusions, slowly reached, oddly worked out, on great questions
with constant failures in administration of detail and dealings with
individuals."  It was evidently a clever man who wrote this; he would
have been a wise man if he had known that the praise he was bestowing
on Lincoln was immeasurably greater than the blame.

So the natural prejudice of those who welcomed Lincoln as a prophet in
the Cooper Institute but found his candidature for the Presidency
ridiculous, was not wholly without justification.  His partisans,
however--also not unjustly--used his humble origin for all it was
worth.  The Republicans of Illinois were assembled at Decatur in
preparation for the Chicago Convention, when, amid tumultuous cheers,
there marched in old John Hanks and another pioneer bearing on their
shoulders two long fence rails labelled: "Two rails from a lot made by
Abraham Lincoln and John Hanks in the Sangamon Bottom in the year
1830."  "Gentlemen," said Lincoln, in response to loud calls, "I
suppose you want to know something about those things.  Well, the truth
is, John Hanks and I did make rails in the Sangamon Bottom.  I don't
know whether we made those rails or not; fact is, I don't think they
are a credit to the makers.  But I do know this: I made rails then, and
I think I could make better ones than these now."  It is unnecessary to
tell of the part those rails were to play in the coming campaign.  It
is a contemptible trait in books like that able novel "Democracy," that
they treat the sentiment which attached to the "Rail-splitter" as
anything but honourable.

The Republican Convention met at Chicago in circumstances of far less
dignity than the Democratic Convention at Charleston.  Processions and
brass bands, rough fellows collected by Lincoln's managers, rowdies
imported from New York by Seward's, filled the streets with noise; and
the saloon keepers did good business.  Yet the actual Convention
consisted of grave men in an earnest mood.  Besides Seward and Chase
and Lincoln, Messrs. Cameron of Pennsylvania and Bates of Missouri, of
whom we shall hear later, were proposed for the Presidency.  So also
were Messrs. Dayton and Collamer, politicians of some repute; and
McLean, of the Supreme Court, had some supporters.  The prevalent
expectation in the States was that Seward would easily secure the
nomination, but it very soon appeared in the Convention that his
opponents were too strong for that.  Several ballots took place; there
were the usual conferences and bargainings, which probably affected the
result but little; Lincoln's managers, especially Judge David Davis,
afterwards of the Supreme Court, were shrewd people; Lincoln had
written to them expressly that they could make no bargain binding on
him, but when Cameron was clearly out of the running they did promise
Cameron's supporters a place in Lincoln's Cabinet, and a similar
promise was made for one Caleb Smith.  The delegates from Pennsylvania
went on to Lincoln; then those of Ohio; and before long his victory was
assured.  A Committee of the Convention, some of them sick at heart,
was sent to bear the invitation to Lincoln.  He received them in his
little house with a simple dignity which one of them has recorded; and
as they came away one said, "Well, we might have chosen a handsomer
article, but I doubt whether a better."

On the whole, if we can put aside the illusion which besets us, who
read the preceding history if at all in the light of Lincoln's
speeches, and to whom his competitors are mere names, this was the most
surprising nomination ever made in America.  Other Presidential
candidates have been born in poverty, but none ever wore the scars of
poverty so plainly; others have been intrinsically more obscure, but
these have usually been chosen as bearing the hall-mark of eminent
prosperity or gentility.  Lincoln had indeed at this time displayed
brilliant ability in the debates with Douglas, and he had really shown
a statesman's grasp of the situation more than any other Republican
leader.  The friends in Illinois who put him forward--men like David
Davis, who was a man of distinction himself--did so from a true
appreciation of his powers.  But this does not seem to have been the
case with the bulk of the delegates from other States.  The explanation
given us of their action is curious.  The choice was not the result of
merit; on the other hand, it was not the work of the ordinary wicked
wire-puller, for what may be called the machine was working for Seward.
The choice was made by plain representative Americans who set to
themselves this question: "With what candidate can we beat Douglas?"
and who found the answer in the prevalence of a popular impression,
concerning Lincoln and Seward, which was in fact wholly mistaken.
There was, it happens, earnest opposition to Seward among some Eastern
Republicans on the good ground that he was a clean man but with
doubtful associates.  This opposition could not by itself have defeated
him.  What did defeat him was his reputation at the moment as a very
advanced Republican who would scare away the support of the weaker
brethren.  He was, for instance, the author of the alarming phrase
about "irrepressible conflict," and he had spoken once, in a phrase
that was misinterpreted, about "a higher law than the Constitution."
Lincoln had in action taken a far stronger line than Seward; he was
also the author of the phrase about the house divided against itself;
but then, besides the fact that Lincoln was well regarded just where
Douglas was most popular, Lincoln was a less noted man than Seward and
his stronger words occasioned less wide alarm.  So, to please those who
liked compromise, the Convention rejected a man who would certainly
have compromised, and chose one who would give all that moderation
demanded and die before he yielded one further inch.  Many Americans
have been disposed to trace in the raising up of Lincoln the hand of a
Providence protecting their country in its worst need.  It would be
affectation to set their idea altogether aside; it is, at any rate, a
memorable incident in the history of a democracy, permeated with
excellent intentions but often hopelessly subject to inferior
influences, that at this critical moment the fit man was chosen on the
very ground of his supposed unfitness.

The result of the contest between the four Presidential candidates was
rendered almost a foregone conclusion by the decision of the Democrats.
Lincoln in deference to the usual and seemly procedure took no part in
the campaign, nor do his doings in the next months concern us.  Seward,
to his great honour, after privately expressing his bitter chagrin at
the bestowal of what was his due upon "a little Illinois attorney,"
threw himself whole-heartedly into the contest, and went about making
admirable speeches.  On the night of November 6, Lincoln sat alone with
the operator in the telegraph box at Springfield, receiving as they
came in the results of the elections of Presidential electors in the
various States.  Long before the returns were complete his knowledge of
such matters made him sure of his return, and before he left that box
he had solved in principle, as he afterwards declared, the first and by
no means least important problem of his Presidency, the choice of a
Cabinet.

The victory was in one aspect far from complete.  If we look not at the
votes in the Electoral College with which the formal choice of
President lay, but at the popular votes by which the electors were
returned, we shall see that the new President was elected by a minority
of the American people.  He had a large majority over Douglas, but if
Douglas had received the votes which were given for the Southern
Democrat, Breckinridge, he would have had a considerable majority over
Lincoln, though the odd machinery of the Electoral College would still
have kept him out of the Presidency.  In another aspect it was a
fatally significant victory.  Lincoln's votes were drawn only from the
Northern States; he carried almost all the free States and he carried
no others.  For the first time in American history, the united North
had used its superior numbers to outvote the South.  This would in any
case have caused great vexation, and the personality of the man chosen
by the North aggravated it.  The election of Lincoln was greeted
throughout the South with a howl of derision.




CHAPTER VI

SECESSION

1. _The Case of the South against the Union_.


The Republicans of the North had given their votes upon a very clear
issue, but probably few of them had fully realised how grave a result
would follow.  Within a few days of the election of Lincoln the first
step in the movement of Secession had been taken, and before the new
President entered upon his duties it was plain that either the
dissatisfied States must be allowed to leave the Union or the Union must
be maintained by war.

Englishmen at that time and since have found a difficulty in grasping the
precise cause of the war that followed.  Of those who were inclined to
sympathise with the North, some regarded the war as being simply about
slavery, and, while unhesitatingly opposed to slavery, wondered whether
it was right to make war upon it; others, regarding it as a war for the
Union and not against slavery at all, wondered whether it was right to
make war for a Union that could not be peaceably maintained.  Now it is
seldom possible to state the cause of a war quite candidly in a single
sentence, because as a rule there are on each side people who concur in
the final rupture for somewhat different reasons.  But, in this case,
forecasting a conclusion which must be examined in some detail, we can
state the cause of war in a very few sentences.  If we ask first what the
South fought for, the answer is: the leaders of the South and the great
mass of the Southern people had a single supreme and all-embracing object
in view, namely, to ensure the permanence and, if need be, the extension
of the slave system; they carried with them, however, a certain number of
Southerners who were opposed or at least averse to slavery, but who
thought that the right of their States to leave the Union or remain in it
as they chose must be maintained.  If we ask what the North fought for,
the answer is: A majority, by no means overwhelming, of the Northern
people refused to purchase the adhesion of the South by conniving at any
further extension of slavery, and an overwhelming majority refused to let
the South dissolve the Union for slavery or for any other cause.

The issue about slavery, then, became merged in another issue, concerning
the Union, which had so far remained in the background.

The first thing that must be grasped about it is the total difference of
view which now existed between North and South in regard to the very
nature of their connection.  The divergence had taken place so completely
and in the main so quietly that each side now realised with surprise and
indignation that the other held an opposite opinion.  In the North the
Union was regarded as constituting a permanent and unquestionable
national unity from which it was flat rebellion for a State or any other
combination of persons to secede.  In the South the Union appeared merely
as a peculiarly venerable treaty of alliance, of which the dissolution
would be very painful, but which left each State a sovereign body with an
indefeasible right to secede if in the last resort it judged that the
painful necessity had come.  In a few border States there was division
and doubt on this subject, a fact which must have helped to hide from
each side the true strength of opinion on the other.  But, setting aside
these border States, there were in the North some who doubted whether it
was expedient to fight for the Union, but none of any consequence who
doubted that it was constitutionally correct; and there were in the South
men who insisted that no occasion to secede had arisen, but these very
men, when outvoted in their States, maintained most passionately the
absolute right of secession.

The two sides contended for two contrary doctrines of constitutional law.
It is natural when parties are disputing over a question of political
wisdom and of moral right that each should claim for its contention if
possible the sanction of acknowledged legal principle.  So it was with
the parties to the English Civil War, and the tendency to regard matters
from a legal point of view is to this day deeply engrained in the mental
habits of America.  But North and South were really divided by something
other than legal opinion, a difference in the objects to which their
feelings of loyalty and patriotism were directed.  This difference found
apt expression in the Cabinet of President Buchanan, who of course
remained in office between the election of Lincoln in November and his
inauguration in March.  General Cass of Michigan had formerly stood for
the Presidency with the support of the South, and he held Cabinet office
now as a sympathiser with the South upon slavery, but he was a
Northerner.  "I see how it is," he said to two of his colleagues; "you
are a Virginian, and you are a South Carolinian; I am not a Michigander,
I am an American."

In a former chapter the creation of the Union and the beginnings of a
common national life have been traced in outline.  Obstacles to the Union
had existed both in the North and in the South, and, after it had been
carried, the tendency to threaten disruption upon some slight conflict of
interest had shown itself in each.  But a proud sense of single
nationality had soon become prevalent in both, and in the North nothing
whatever had happened to set back this growth, for the idea which Lowell
had once attributed to his Hosea Biglow of abjuring Union with slave
owners was a negligible force.  Undivided allegiance to the Union was the
natural sentiment of citizens of Ohio or Wisconsin, States created by the
authority of the Union out of the common dominion of the Union.  It had
become, if anything, more deeply engrained in the original States of the
North, for their predominant occupation in commerce would tend in this
particular to give them larger views.  The pride of a Boston man in the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts was of the same order as his pride in the
city of Boston; both were largely pride in the part which Boston and
Massachusetts had taken in making the United States of America.  Such a
man knew well that South Carolina had once threatened secession, but, for
that matter, the so-called Federalists of New England had once threatened
it.  The argument of Webster in the case of South Carolina was a classic,
and was taken as conclusive on the question of legal right.  The terser
and more resonant declaration of President Jackson, a Southerner, and the
response to it which thrilled all States, South or North, outside South
Carolina, had set the seal to Webster's doctrines.  There had been loud
and ominous talk of secession lately; it was certainly not mere bluster;
Northerners in the main were cautious politicians and had been tempted to
go far to conciliate it.  But if the claim of Southern States were put in
practice, the whole North would now regard it not as a respectable claim,
but as an outrage.

It is important to notice that the disposition to take this view did not
depend upon advanced opinions against slavery.  Some of the most violent
opponents of slavery would care relatively little about the Constitution
or the Union; they would at first hesitate as to whether a peaceful
separation between States which felt so differently on a moral question
like slavery was not a more Christian solution of their difference than a
fratricidal war.  On the other hand, men who cared little about slavery,
and would gladly have sacrificed any convictions they had upon that
matter for the sake of the Union, were at first none the less vehement in
their anger at an attack upon the Union.  There is, moreover, a more
subtle but still important point to be observed in this connection.
Democrats in the North inclined as a party to stringent and perhaps
pedantically legal views of State rights as against the rights of the
Union; but this by no means necessarily meant that they sympathised more
than Republicans with the claim to dissolve the Union.  They laid
emphasis on State rights merely because they believed that these would be
a bulwark against any sort of government tyranny, and that the large
power which was reserved to the local or provincial authorities of the
States made the government of the nation as a whole more truly expressive
of the will of the whole people.  They now found themselves entangled (as
we shall see) in curious doubts as to what the Federal Government might
do to maintain the Union, but they had not the faintest doubt that the
Union was meant to be maintained.  The point which is now being
emphasised must not be misapprehended; differences of sentiment in regard
to slavery, in regard to State rights, in regard to the authority of
Government, did, as the war went on and the price was paid, gravely
embarrass the North; but it was a solid and unhesitating North which said
that the South had no right to secede.

Up to a certain point the sense of patriotic pride in the Union had grown
also in the South.  It was fostered at first by the predominant part
which the South played in the political life of the country.  But for a
generation past the sense of a separate interest of the South had been
growing still more vigorously.  The political predominance of the South
had continued, but under a standing menace of downfall as the North grew
more populous and the patriotism which it at first encouraged had become
perverted into an arrogantly unconscious feeling that the Union was an
excellent thing on condition that it was subservient to the South.  The
common interest of the Southern States was slavery; and, when the
Northerners had become a majority which might one day dominate the
Federal Government, this common interest of the slave States found a
weapon at hand in the doctrine of the inherent sovereignty of each
individual State.  This doctrine of State sovereignty had come to be held
as universally in the South as the strict Unionist doctrine in the North,
and held with as quiet and unshakable a confidence that it could not be
questioned.  It does not seem at all strange that the State, as against
the Union, should have remained the supreme object of loyalty in old
communities like those of South Carolina and Virginia, abounding as they
did in conservative influences which were lacking in the North.  But this
provincial loyalty was not in the same sense a natural growth in States
like Alabama or Mississippi.  These, no less than Indiana and Illinois,
were the creatures of the Federal Congress, set up within the memory of
living men, with arbitrary boundaries that cut across any old lines of
division.  There was, in fact, no spontaneous feeling of allegiance
attaching to these political units, and the doctrine of their sovereignty
had no use except as a screen for the interest in slavery which the
Southern States had in common.  But Calhoun, in a manner characteristic
of his peculiar and dangerous type of intellect, had early seen in a view
of State sovereignty, which would otherwise have been obsolete, the most
serviceable weapon for the joint interests of the Southern States.  In a
society where intellectual life was restricted, his ascendency had been
great, though his disciples had, reasonably enough, thrown aside the
qualifications which his subtle mind had attached to the right of
secession.  Thus in the Southern States generally, even among men most
strongly opposed to the actual proposal to secede, the real or alleged
constitutional right of a State to secede if it chose now passed
unquestioned and was even regarded as a precious liberty.

It is impossible to avoid asking whether on this question of
constitutional law the Northern opinion or the Southern opinion was
correct.  (The question was indeed an important question in determining
the proper course of procedure for a President when confronted with
secession, but it must be protested that the moral right and political
wisdom of neither party in the war depended mainly, if at all, upon this
legal point.  It was a question of the construction which a court of law
should put upon a document which was not drawn up with any view to
determining this point.)  If we go behind the Constitution, which was
then and is now in force, to the original document of which it took the
place, we shall find it entitled "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual
Union," but we shall not find any such provisions as men desirous of
creating a stable and permanent federal government might have been
expected to frame.  If we read the actual Constitution we shall find no
word distinctly implying that a State could or could not secede.  As to
the real intention of its chief authors, there can be no doubt that they
hoped and trusted the Union would prove indissoluble, and equally little
doubt that they did not wish to obtrude upon those whom they asked to
enter into it the thought that this step would be irrevocable.  For the
view taken in the South there is one really powerful argument, on which
Jefferson Davis insisted passionately in the argumentative memoirs with
which he solaced himself in old age.  It is that in several of the
States, when the Constitution was accepted, public declarations were made
to the citizens of those States by their own representatives that a State
might withdraw from the Union.  But this is far from conclusive.  No man
gets rid of the obligation of a bond by telling a witness that he does
not mean to be bound; the question is not what he means, but what the
party with whom he deals must naturally take him to mean.  Now the
Constitution of the United States upon the face of it purports to create
a government able to take its place among the other governments of the
world, able if it declares war to wield the whole force of its country in
that war, and able if it makes peace to impose that peace upon all its
subjects.  This seems to imply that the authority of that government over
part of the country should be legally indefeasible.  It would have been
ridiculous if, during a war with Great Britain, States on the Canadian
border should have had the legal right to secede, and set up a neutral
government with a view to subsequent reunion with Great Britain.  The
sound legal view of this matter would seem to be: that the doctrine of
secession is so repugnant to the primary intention with which the
national instrument of government was framed that it could only have been
supported by an express reservation of the right to secede in the
Constitution itself.

The Duke of Argyll, one of the few British statesmen of the time who
followed this struggle with intelligent interest, briefly summed up the
question thus: "I know of no government in the world that could possibly
have admitted the right of secession from its own allegiance."  Oddly
enough, President Buchanan, in his Message to Congress on December 4, put
the same point not less forcibly.

But to say--as in a legal sense we may--that the Southern States rebelled
is not necessarily to say that they were wrong.  The deliberate endeavour
of a people to separate themselves from the political sovereignty under
which they live and set up a new political community, in which their
national life shall develop itself more fully or more securely, must
always command a certain respect.  Whether it is entitled further to the
full sympathy and to the support or at least acquiescence of others is a
question which in particular cases involves considerations such as cannot
be foreseen in any abstract discussion of political theory.  But,
speaking very generally, it is a question in the main of the worth which
we attribute on the one hand to the common life to which it is sought to
give freer scope, and on the other hand to the common life which may
thereby be weakened or broken up.  It sometimes seems to be held that
when a decided majority of the people whose voices can be heard, in a
more or less defined area, elect to live for the future under a
particular government, all enlightened men elsewhere would wish them to
have their way.  If any such principle could be accepted without
qualification, few movements for independence would ever have been more
completely justified than the secession of the Southern States.  If we
set aside the highland region of which mention has already been made, in
the six cotton-growing States which first seceded, and in several of
those which followed as soon as it was clear that secession would be
resisted, the preponderance of opinion in favour of the movement was
overwhelming.  This was not only so among the educated and governing
portions of society, which were interested in slavery.  While the negroes
themselves were unorganised and dumb and made no stir for freedom, the
poorer class of white people, to whom the institution of slavery was in
reality oppressive, were quite unconscious of this; the enslavement of
the negro appeared to them a tribute to their own dignity, and their
indiscriminating spirit of independence responded enthusiastically to the
appeal that they should assert themselves against the real or fancied
pretensions of the North.  So large a statement would require some
qualification if we were here concerned with the life of a Southern
leader; and there was of course a brief space, to be dealt with in this
chapter, in which the question of secession hung in the balance, and it
is true in this, as in every case, that the men who gave the initial push
were few.  But, broadly speaking, it is certain that the movement for
secession was begun with at least as general an enthusiasm and maintained
with at least as loyal a devotion as any national movement with which it
can be compared.  And yet to-day, just fifty-one years after the
consummation of its failure, it may be doubted whether one soul among the
people concerned regrets that it failed.

English people from that time to this have found the statement
incredible; but the fact is that this imposing movement, in which rich
and poor, gentle and simple, astute men of state and pious clergymen,
went hand in hand to the verge of ruin and beyond, was undertaken simply
and solely in behalf of slavery.  Northern writers of the time found it
so surprising that they took refuge in the theory of conspiracy, alleging
that a handful of schemers succeeded, by the help of fictitious popular
clamour and intimidation of their opponents, in launching the South upon
a course to which the real mind of the people was averse.  Later and
calmer historical survey of the facts has completely dispelled this view;
and the English suspicion, that there must have been some cause beyond
and above slavery for desiring independence, never had any facts to
support it.  Since 1830 no exponent of Southern views had ever hinted at
secession on any other ground than slavery; every Southern leader
declared with undoubted truth that on every other ground he prized the
Union; outside South Carolina every Southern leader made an earnest
attempt before he surrendered the Union cause to secure the guarantees he
thought sufficient for slavery within the Union.  The Southern statesman
(for the soldiers were not statesmen) whose character most attracts
sympathy now was Alexander Stephens, the Vice-President of the Southern
Confederacy, and though he was the man who persisted longest in the view
that slavery could be adequately secured without secession, he was none
the less entitled to speak for the South in his remarkable words on the
Constitution adopted by the Southern Confederacy: "The new Constitution
has put at rest for ever all the agitating questions relating to our
peculiar institution, African slavery.  This was the immediate cause of
the late rupture and present revolution.  The prevailing ideas
entertained by Jefferson and most of the leading statesmen at the time of
the old Constitution were that the enslavement of the African was wrong
in principle socially, morally, and politically.  Our new government is
founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its
corner stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not the equal
of the white man; that slavery--subordination to the white man--is his
natural and normal condition.  This, our new government, is the first in
the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical,
and moral truth.  The great objects of humanity are best attained when
there is conformity to the Creator's laws and decrees."  Equally explicit
and void of shame was the Convention of the State of Mississippi.  "Our
position," they declared, "is thoroughly identified with slavery."

It is common to reproach the Southern leaders with reckless folly.  They
tried to destroy the Union, which they really valued, for the sake of
slavery, which they valued more; they in fact destroyed slavery; and they
did this, it is said, in alarm at an imaginary danger.  This is not a
true ground of reproach to them.  It is true that the danger to slavery
from the election of Lincoln was not immediately pressing.  He neither
would have done nor could have done more than to prevent during his four
years of office any new acquisition of territory in the slave-holding
interest, and to impose his veto on any Bill extending slavery within the
existing territory of the Union.  His successor after four years might or
might not have been like-minded.  He did not seem to stand for any
overwhelming force in American politics; there was a majority opposed to
him in both Houses of Congress; a great majority of the Supreme Court,
which might have an important part to play, held views of the
Constitution opposed to his; he had been elected by a minority only of
the whole American people.  Why could not the Southern States have sat
still, secure that no great harm would happen to their institution for
the present, and hoping that their former ascendency would come back to
them with the changing fortunes of party strife?  This is an argument
which might be expected to have weighed with Southern statesmen if each
of them had been anxious merely to keep up the value of his own slave
property for his own lifetime, but this was far from being their case.
It is hard for us to put ourselves at the point of view of men who could
sincerely speak of their property in negroes as theirs by the "decree of
the Creator"; but it is certain that within the last two generations
trouble of mind as to the rightfulness of slavery had died out in a large
part of the South; the typical Southern leader valued the peculiar form
of society under which he lived and wished to hand it on intact to his
children's children.  If their preposterous principle be granted, the
most extreme among them deserve the credit of statesmanlike insight for
having seen, the moment that Lincoln was elected, that they must strike
for their institution now if they wished it to endure.  The Convention of
South Carolina justly observed that the majority in the North had voted
that slavery was sinful; they had done little more than express this
abstract opinion, but they had done all that.  Lincoln's administration
might have done apparently little, and after it the pendulum would
probably have swung back.  But the much-talked-of swing of the pendulum
is the most delusive of political phenomena; America was never going to
return to where it was before this first explicit national assertion of
the wrongfulness of slavery had been made.  It would have been hard to
forecast how the end would come, or how soon; but the end was certain if
the Southern States had elected to remain the countrymen of a people who
were coming to regard their fundamental institution with growing
reprobation.  Lincoln had said, "This government cannot endure
permanently, half slave and half free."  Lincoln was right, and so from
their own point of view, that of men not brave or wise enough to take in
hand a difficult social reform, were the leaders who declared immediately
for secession.

In no other contest of history are those elements in human affairs on
which tragic dramatists are prone to dwell so clearly marked as in the
American Civil War.  No unsophisticated person now, except in ignorance
as to the cause of the war, can hesitate as to which side enlists his
sympathy, or can regard the victory of the North otherwise than as the
costly and imperfect triumph of the right.  But the wrong
side--emphatically wrong--is not lacking in dignity or human worth; the
long-drawn agony of the struggle is not purely horrible to contemplate;
there is nothing that in this case makes us reluctant to acknowledge the
merits of the men who took arms in the evil cause.  The experience as to
the relations between superior and inferior races, which is now at the
command of every intelligent Englishman, forbids us to think that the
inferiority of the negro justified slavery, but it also forbids us to
fancy that men to whom the relation of owner to slave had become natural
must themselves have been altogether degraded.  The men upon the Southern
side who can claim any special admiration were simple soldiers who had no
share in causing the war; among the political leaders whom they served,
there was none who stands out now as a very interesting personality, and
their chosen chief is an unattractive figure; but we are not to think of
these authors of the war as a gang of hardened, unscrupulous, corrupted
men.  As a class they were reputable, public-spirited, and religious men;
they served their cause with devotion and were not wholly to blame that
they chose it so ill.  The responsibility for the actual secession does
not rest in an especial degree on any individual leader.  Secession began
rather with the spontaneous movement of the whole community of South
Carolina, and in the States which followed leading politicians expressed
rather than inspired the general will.  The guilt which any of us can
venture to attribute for this action of a whole deluded society must rest
on men like Calhoun, who in a previous generation, while opinion in the
South was still to some extent unformed, stifled all thought of reform
and gave the semblance of moral and intellectual justification to a
system only susceptible of a historical excuse.

The South was neither base nor senseless, but it was wrong.  To some
minds it may not seem to follow that it was well to resist it by war, and
indeed at the time, as often happens, people took up arms with greater
searchings of heart upon the right side than upon the wrong.  If the
slave States had been suffered to depart in peace they would have set up
a new and peculiar political society, more truly held together than the
original Union by a single avowed principle; a nation dedicated to the
inequality of men.  It is not really possible to think of the free
national life which they could thus have initiated as a thing to be
respected and preserved.  Nor is it true that their choice for themselves
of this dingy freedom was no concern of their neighbours.  We have seen
how the slave interest hankered for enlarged dominion; and it is certain
that the Southern Confederacy, once firmly established, would have been
an aggressive and disturbing power upon the continent of America.  The
questions of territorial and other rights between it and the old Union
might have been capable of satisfactory settlement for the moment, or
they might have proved as insoluble as Lincoln thought they were.  But,
at the best, if the States which adhered to the old Union had admitted
the claim of the first seceding States to go, they could only have
retained for themselves an insecure existence as a nation, threatened at
each fresh conflict of interest or sentiment with a further disruption
which could not upon any principle have been resisted.  The preceding
chapters have dwelt with iteration upon the sentiments which had operated
to make Americans a people, and on the form and the degree in which those
sentiments animated the mind of Lincoln.  Only so perhaps can we fully
appreciate for what the people of the North fought.  It is inaccurate,
though not gravely misleading, to say that they fought against slavery.
It would be wholly false to say that they fought for mere dominion.  They
fought to preserve and complete a political unity nobly conceived by
those who had done most to create it, and capable, as the sequel showed,
of a permanent and a healthy continuance.

And it must never be forgotten, if we wish to enter into the spirit which
sustained the North in its struggle, that loyalty for Union had a larger
aspect than that of mere allegiance to a particular authority.  Vividly
present to the mind of some few, vaguely but honestly present to the mind
of a great multitude, was the sense that even had slavery not entered
into the question a larger cause than that of their recent Union was
bound up with the issues of the war.  The Government of the United States
had been the first and most famous attempt in a great modern country to
secure government by the will of the mass of the people.  If in this
crucial instance such a Government were seen to be intolerably weak, if
it was found to be at the mercy of the first powerful minority which
seized a worked-up occasion to rebel, what they had learnt to think the
most hopeful agency for the uplifting of man everywhere would for ages to
come have proved a failure.  This feeling could not be stronger in any
American than it was in Lincoln himself.  "It has long been a question,"
he said, "whether any Government which is not too strong for the
liberties of the people can be strong enough to maintain itself."  There
is one marked feature of his patriotism, which could be illustrated by
abundance of phrases from his speeches and letters, and which the people
of several countries of Europe can appreciate to-day.  His affection for
his own country and its institutions is curiously dependent upon a wider
cause of human good, and is not a whit the less intense for that.  There
is perhaps no better expression of this widespread feeling in the North
than the unprepared speech which he delivered on his way to become
President, in the Hall of Independence at Philadelphia, in which the
Declaration of Independence had been signed.  "I have never," he said,
"had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments
embodied in the Declaration of Independence.  I have often pondered over
the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here and framed
and adopted that Declaration of Independence.  I have pondered over the
toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who
achieved that independence.  I have often inquired of myself what great
principle or idea it was that kept the Confederacy so long together.  It
was not the mere matter of separation of the colonies from the
motherland, it was the sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which
gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but I hope to the
world, for all future time.  It was that which gave promise that in due
time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men."


2. _The Progress of Secession_.

So much for the broad causes without which there could have been no Civil
War in America.  We have now to sketch the process by which the fuel was
kindled.  It will be remembered that the President elected in November
does not enter upon his office for nearly four months.  For that time,
therefore, the conduct of government lay in the hands of President
Buchanan, who, for all his past subserviency to Southern interests,
believed and said that secession was absolutely unlawful.  Several
members of his Cabinet were Southerners who favoured secession; but the
only considerable man among them, Cobb of Georgia, soon declared that his
loyalty to his own State was not compatible with his office and resigned;
and, though others, including the Secretary for War, hung on to their
position, it does not appear that they influenced Buchanan much, or that
their somewhat dubious conduct while they remained was of great
importance.  Black, the Attorney-General, and Cass, the Secretary of
State, who, however, resigned when his advice was disregarded, were not
only loyal to the Union, but anxious that the Government should do
everything that seemed necessary in its defence.  Thus this
administration, hitherto Southern in its sympathies, must be regarded for
its remaining months as standing for the Union, so far as it stood for
anything.  Lincoln meanwhile had little that he could do but to watch
events and prepare.  There was, nevertheless, a point in the negotiations
which took place between parties at which he took on himself a tremendous
responsibility and at which his action was probably decisive of all that
followed.

The Presidential election took place on November 6, 1860.  On November 10
the Legislature of South Carolina, which had remained in session for this
purpose, convened a specially elected Convention of the State to decide
upon the question of secession.  Slave owners and poor whites, young and
old, street rabble, persons of fashion, politicians and clergy, the whole
people of this peculiar State, distinguished in some marked respects even
from its nearest neighbours, received the action of the Legislature with
enthusiastic but grave approval.  It was not till December 20 that the
Convention could pass its formal "Ordinance of Secession," but there was
never for a moment any doubt as to what it would do.  The question was
what other States would follow the example of South Carolina.  There
ensued in all the Southern States earnest discussion as to whether to
secede or not, and in the North, on which the action of South Carolina,
however easily it might have been foretold, came as a shock, great
bewilderment as to what was to be done.  As has been said, there was in
the South generally no disposition to give up Southern claims, no doubt
as to the right of secession, and no fundamental and overriding loyalty
to the Union, but there was a considerable reluctance to give up the
Union and much doubt as to whether secession was really wise; there was
in the North among those who then made themselves heard no doubt whatever
as to the loyalty due to the Union, but there was, apart from previous
differences about slavery, every possible variety and fluctuation of
opinion as to the right way of dealing with States which should secede or
rebel.  In certain border States, few in number but likely to play an
important part in civil war, Northern and Southern elements were mingled.
Amid loud and distracted discussion, public and private, leaders of the
several parties and of the two sections of the country conducted earnest
negotiations in the hope of finding a peaceable settlement, and when
Congress met, early in December, their debates took a formal shape in
committees appointed by the Senate and by the House.

Meanwhile the President was called upon to deal with the problem
presented for the Executive Government of the Union by the action of
South Carolina.  It may be observed that if he had given his mind to the
military measures required to meet the possible future, the North, which
in the end had his entire sympathy, would have begun the war with that
advantage in preparation which, as it was, was gained by the South.  In
this respect he did nothing.  But, apart from this, if he had taken up a
clear and comprehensible attitude towards South Carolina and had given a
lead to Unionist sympathy, he would have consolidated public opinion in
the North, and he would have greatly strengthened those in the South who
remained averse to secession.  There would have been a considerable
further secession, but in all likelihood it would not have become so
formidable as it did.  As it was, the movement for secession proceeded
with all the proud confidence that can be felt in a right which is not
challenged, and the people of the South were not aware, though shrewd
leaders like Jefferson Davis knew it well, of the risk they would
encounter till they had committed themselves to defying it.

The problem before Buchanan was the same which, aggravated by his failure
to deal with it, confronted Lincoln when he came into office, and it must
be clearly understood.  The secession of South Carolina was not a
movement which could at once be quelled by prompt measures of repression.
Even if sufficient military force and apt forms of law had existed for
taking such measures they would have united the South in support of South
Carolina, and alienated the North, which was anxious for conciliation.
Yet it was possible for the Government of the Union, while patiently
abstaining from violent or provocative action, to make plain that in the
last resort it would maintain its rights in South Carolina with its full
strength.  The main dealings of the Union authorities with the people of
a State came under a very few heads.  There were local Federal Courts to
try certain limited classes of issues; jurors, of course, could not be
compelled to serve in these nor parties to appear.  There was the postal
service; the people of South Carolina did not at present interfere with
this source of convenience to themselves and of revenue to the Union.
There were customs duties to be collected at the ports, and there were
forts at the entrance of the harbour in Charleston, South Carolina, as
well as forts, dockyards and arsenals of the United States at a number of
points in the Southern States; the Government should quietly but openly
have taken steps to ensure that the collection should go on unmolested,
and that the forts and the like should be made safe from attack, in South
Carolina and everywhere else where they were likely to be threatened.
Measures of this sort were early urged upon Buchanan by Scott, the
Lieutenant-General (that is, Second in Command under the President) of
the Army, who had been the officer that carried out Jackson's military
dispositions when secession was threatened in South Carolina thirty years
before, and by other officers concerned, particularly by Major Anderson,
a keen Southerner, but a keen soldier, commanding the forts at
Charleston, and by Cass and Black in his Cabinet.  Public opinion in the
North demanded such measures.

If further action than the proper manning and supply of certain forts had
been in contemplation, an embarrassing legal question would have arisen.
In the opinion of the Attorney-General, of leading Democrats like Cass
and Douglas, and apparently of most legal authorities of every party,
there was an important distinction, puzzling to an English lawyer even if
he is versed in the American Constitution, between the steps which the
Government might justly take in self-protection, and measures which could
be regarded as coercion of the State of South Carolina as such.  These
latter would be unlawful.  Buchanan, instead of acting on or declaring
his intentions, entertained Congress, which met early in December, with a
Message, laying down very clearly the illegality of secession, but
discussing at large this abstract question of the precise powers of the
Executive in resisting secession.  The legal question will not further
concern us because the distinction which it was really intended to draw
between lawful and unlawful measures against secession quite coincided,
in its practical application, with what common sense and just feeling
would in these peculiar circumstances have dictated.  But, as a natural
consequence of such discussion, an impression was spread abroad of the
illegality of something vaguely called coercion, and of the shadowy
nature of any power which the Government claimed.

Up to Lincoln's inauguration the story of the Charleston forts, of which
one, lying on an island in the mouth of the harbour, was the famous Fort
Sumter, is briefly this.  Buchanan was early informed that if the Union
Government desired to hold them, troops and ships of war should instantly
be sent.  Congressmen from South Carolina remaining in Washington came to
him and represented that their State regarded these forts upon its soil
as their own; they gave assurances that there would be no attack on the
forts if the existing military situation was not altered, and they tried
to get a promise that the forts should not be reinforced.  Buchanan would
give them no promise, but he equally refused the entreaties of Scott and
his own principal ministers that he should reinforce the forts, because
he declared that this would precipitate a conflict.  Towards the end of
the year Major Anderson, not having men enough to hold all the forts if,
as he expected, they were attacked, withdrew his whole force to Fort
Sumter, which he thought the most defensible, dismantling the principal
other fort.  The Governor of South Carolina protested against this as a
violation of a supposed understanding with the President, and seized upon
the United States arsenal and the custom house, taking the revenue
officers into State service.  Commissioners had previously gone from
South Carolina to Washington to request the surrender of the forts, upon
terms of payment for property; they now declared that Anderson's
withdrawal, as putting him in a better position for defence, was an act
of war, and demanded that he should be ordered to retire to the mainland.
Buchanan wavered; decided to yield to them on this last point;
ultimately, on the last day of 1860, yielded instead to severe pressure
from Black, and decided to reinforce Anderson on Fort Sumter.  The actual
attempt to reinforce him was bungled; a transport sent for this purpose
was fired upon by the South Carolina forces, and returned idle.  This
first act of war, for some curious reason, caused no excitement.  The
people of the North were intensely relieved that Buchanan had not yielded
to whatever South Carolina might demand, and, being prone to forgive and
to applaud, seem for a time to have experienced a thrill of glory in the
thought that the national administration had a mind.  Dix, the Secretary
of the Treasury, elated them yet further by telegraphing to a Treasury
official at New Orleans, "If any one attempts to haul down the American
flag, shoot him on the spot."  But Anderson remained without
reinforcements or further provisions when Lincoln entered office; and
troops in the service first of South Carolina and afterwards of the
Southern Confederacy, which was formed in February, erected batteries and
prepared to bombard Fort Sumter.

No possible plea for President Buchanan can make him rank among those who
have held high office with any credit at all, but he must at once be
acquitted of any intentional treachery to the Union.  It is agreed that
he was a truthful and sincere man, and there is something pleasant in the
simple avowal he made to a Southern negotiator who was pressing him for
some instant concession, that he always said his prayers before deciding
any important matter of State.  His previous dealings with Kansas would
suggest to us robust unscrupulousness, but it seems that he had quite
given his judgment over into the keeping of a little group of Southern
Senators.  Now that he was deprived of this help, he had only enough will
left to be obstinate against other advice.  It is suggested that he had
now but one motive, the desire that the struggle should break out in his
successor's time rather than his own.  Even this is perhaps to judge
Buchanan's notorious and calamitous laches unfairly.  Any action that he
took must to a certain extent have been provocative, and he knew it, and
he may have clung to the hope that by sheer inaction he would give time
for some possible forces of reason and conciliation to work.  If so, he
was wrong, but similar and about as foolish hopes paralysed Lincoln's
Cabinet (and to a less but still very dangerous degree Lincoln himself)
when they took up the problem which Buchanan's neglect had made more
urgent.  Buchanan had in this instance the advantage of far better
advice, but this silly old man must not be gibbeted and Lincoln left free
from criticism for his part in the same transaction.  Both Presidents
hesitated where to us who look back the case seems clear.  The
circumstances had altered in some respects when Lincoln came in, but it
is only upon a somewhat broad survey of the governing tendencies of
Lincoln's administration and of its mighty result in the mass that we
discover what really distinguishes his slowness of action in such cases
as this from the hesitation of a man like Buchanan.  Buchanan waited in
the hope of avoiding action, Lincoln with the firm intention to see his
path in the fullest light he could get.

From an early date in November, 1860, every effort was made, by men too
numerous to mention, to devise if possible such a settlement of what were
now called the grievances of the South as would prevent any other State
from following the example of South Carolina.  Apart from the intangible
difference presented by much disapprobation of slavery in the North and
growing resentment in the South as this disapprobation grew louder, the
solid ground of dispute concerned the position of slavery in the existing
Territories and future acquisitions of the United States Government; the
quarrel arose from the election of a President pledged to use whatever
power he had, though indeed that might prove little, to prevent the
further extension of slavery; and we may almost confine our attention to
this point.  Other points came into discussion.  Several of the Northern
States had "Personal Liberty Laws" expressly devised to impede the
execution of the Federal law of 1850 as to fugitive slaves.  Some
attention was devoted to these, especially by Alexander Stephens, who, as
the Southern leader most opposed to immediate secession, wished to direct
men's minds to a grievance that could be remedied.  Lincoln, who had
always said that, though the Fugitive Slave Law should be made just and
seemly, it ought in substance to be enforced, made clear again that he
thought such "Personal Liberty Laws" should be amended, though he
protested that it was not for him as President-elect to advise the State
Legislatures on their own business.  The Republicans generally agreed.
Some of the States concerned actually began amending their laws.  Thus,
if the disquiet of the South had depended on this grievance, the cause of
disquiet would no doubt have been removed.  Again the Republican leaders,
including Lincoln in particular, let there be no ground for thinking that
an attack was intended upon slavery in the States where it was
established; they offered eventually to give the most solemn pledge
possible in this matter by passing an Amendment of the Constitution
declaring that it should never be altered so as to take away the
independence of the existing slave States as to this portion of their
democratic institutions.  Lincoln indeed refused on several occasions to
make any fresh public disclaimer of an intention to attack existing
institutions.  His views were "open to all who will read."  "For the good
men in the South," he writes privately, "--I regard the majority of them
as such--I have no objection to repeat them seventy times seven.  But I
have bad men to deal with both North and South; men who are eager for
something new upon which to base new misrepresentations; men who would
like to frighten me, or at least fix upon me the character of timidity
and cowardice."  Nevertheless he endeavoured constantly in private
correspondence to narrow and define the issue, which, as he insisted,
concerned only the territorial extension of slavery.

The most serious of the negotiations that took place, and to which most
hope was attached, consisted in the deliberations of a committee of
thirteen appointed by the Senate in December, 1860, which took for its
guidance a detailed scheme of compromise put forward by Senator
Crittenden, of Kentucky.  The efforts of this committee to come to an
agreement broke down at the outset upon the question of the Territories,
and the responsibility, for good or for evil, of bringing them to an end
must probably be attributed to the advice of Lincoln.  Crittenden's first
proposal was that there should be a Constitutional Amendment declaring
that slavery should be prohibited "in all the territory of the United
States, now held or hereafter acquired, north of latitude 36 degrees 30
minutes"--(the limit fixed in the Missouri Compromise, but restricted
then to the Louisiana purchase)--while in all territory, now held or
thereafter acquired south of that line, it should be permitted.
Crittenden also proposed that when a Territory on either side of the line
became a State, it should become free to decide the question for itself;
but the discussion never reached this point.  On the proposal as to the
Territories there seemed at first to be a prospect that the Republicans
would agree, in which case the South might very likely have agreed too.
The desire for peace was intensely strong among the commercial men of New
York and other cities, and it affected the great political managers and
the statesmen who, like Seward himself, were in close touch with this
commercial influence.  Tenacious adherence to declared principle may have
been as strong in country districts as the desire for accommodation was
in these cities, but it was at any rate far less vocal, and on the whole
it seems that compromise was then in the air.  It seemed clear from the
expressed opinions of his closest allies that Seward would support this
compromise.  Now Seward just at this time received Lincoln's offer of the
office of Secretary of State, a great office and one in which Seward
expected to rule Lincoln and the country, but in accepting which, as he
did, he made it incumbent on himself not to part company at once with the
man who would be nominally his chief.  Then there occurred a visit paid
on Seward's behalf by his friend Thurlow Weed, an astute political
manager but also an able statesman, to Lincoln at Springfield.  Weed
brought back a written statement of Lincoln's views.  Seward's support
was not given to the compromise; nor naturally was that of the more
radical Republicans, to use a term which now became common; and the
Committee of Thirteen found itself unable to agree.

It is unnecessary to repeat what Lincoln's conviction on this, to him the
one essential point of policy, was, or to quote from the numerous letters
in which from the time of his nomination he tried to keep the minds of
his friends firm on this single principle, and to show them that if there
were the slightest further yielding as to this, save indeed as to the
peculiar case of New Mexico, which did not matter, and which perhaps he
regarded as conceded already, the Southern policy of extending slavery
and of "filibustering" against neighbouring counties for that purpose
would revive in full force, and the whole labour of the Republican
movement would have to begin over again.  Since his election he had been
writing also to Southern politicians who were personally friendly, to
Gilmer of North Carolina, to whom he offered Cabinet office, and to
Stephens, making absolutely plain that his difference with them lay in
this one point, but making it no less plain that on this point he was,
with entire respect to them, immovable.  Now, on December 22, the _New
York Tribune_ was "enabled to state that Mr. Lincoln stands now as he
stood in May last, square upon the Republican platform."  The writing
that Weed brought to Seward must have said, perhaps more elaborately, the
same.  If Lincoln had not stood square upon that platform there were
others like Senator Wade of Ohio and Senator Grimes of Iowa who might
have done so and might have been able to wreck the compromise.  Lincoln,
however, did wreck it, at a time when it seemed likely to succeed, and it
is most probable that thereby he caused the Civil War.  It cannot be said
that he definitely expected the Civil War.  Probably he avoided making
any definite forecast; but he expressed no alarm, and he privately told a
friend about this time that "he could not in his heart believe that the
South designed the overthrow of the Government."  But, if he had in his
heart believed it, nothing in his life gives reason to think that he
would have been more anxious to conciliate the South; on the contrary, it
is in line with all we know of his feelings to suppose that he would have
thought firmness all the more imperative.  We cannot recall the solemnity
of his long-considered speech about "a house divided against itself,"
with which all his words and acts accorded, without seeing that, if
perhaps he speculated little about the risks, he was prepared to face
them whatever they were.  Doubtless he took a heavy responsibility, but
it is painful to find honourable historians, who heartily dislike the
cause of slavery, capable to-day of wondering whether he was right to do
so.  "If he had not stood square" in December upon the same "platform" on
which he had stood in May, if he had preferred to enroll himself among
those statesmen of all countries whose strongest words are uttered for
their own subsequent enjoyment in eating them, he might conceivably have
saved much bloodshed, but he would not have left the United States a
country of which any good man was proud to be a citizen.

Thus, by the end of 1860, the bottom was really out of the policy of
compromise, and it is not worth while to examine the praiseworthy efforts
that were still made for it while State after State in the South was
deciding to secede.  One interesting proposal, which was aired in
January, 1861, deserves notice, namely, that the terms of compromise
proposed by Crittenden should have been submitted to a vote of the whole
people.  It was not passed.  Seward, whom many people now thought likely
to catch at any and every proposal for a settlement, said afterwards with
justice that it was "unconstitutional and ineffectual."  Ineffectual it
would have been in this sense: the compromise would in all probability
have been carried by a majority consisting of men in the border States
and of all those elsewhere who, though they feared war and desired good
feeling, had no further definite opinion upon the chief questions at
issue; but it would have left a local majority in many of the Southern
States and a local majority in many of the Northern States as
irreconcilable with each other as ever.  It was opposed also to the
spirit of the Constitution.  In a great country where the people with
infinitely varied interests and opinions can slowly make their
predominant wishes appear, but cannot really take counsel together and
give a firm decision upon any emergency, there may be exceptional cases
when a popular vote on a defined issue would be valuable, significant,
desired by the people themselves; but the machinery of representative
government, however faulty, is the only machinery by which the people can
in some sense govern itself, instead of making itself ungovernable.
Above all, in a serious crisis it is supremely repugnant to the spirit of
popular government that the men chosen by a people to govern it should
throw their responsibility back at the heads of the electors.  It is well
to be clear as to the kind of proceeding which the authors of this
proposal were really advocating: a statesman has come before the ordinary
citizen with a definite statement of the principle on which he would act,
and an ordinary citizen has thereupon taken his part in entrusting him
with power; then comes the moment for the statesman to carry out his
principle, and the latent opposition becomes of necessity more alarming;
the statesman is therefore to say to the ordinary citizen, "This is a
more difficult matter than I thought; and if I am to act as I said I
would, take on yourself the responsibility which I recently put myself
forward to bear."  The ordinary citizen will naturally as a rule decline
a responsibility thus offered him, but he will not be grateful for the
offer or glad to be a forced accomplice in this process of indecision.

If we could determine the prevailing sentiment in the North at some
particular moment during the crisis, it would probably represent what
very few individual men continued to think for six months together.
Early in the crisis some strong opponents of slavery were for letting the
South go, declaring, as did Horace Greeley of the _New York Tribune_,
that "they would not be citizens of a Republic of which one part was
pinned to the other part with bayonets"; but this sentiment seems soon to
have given way when the same men began to consider, as Lincoln had
considered, whether an agreement to sever the Union between the States,
with the difficult adjustment of mutual interests which it would have
involved, could be so effected as to secure a lasting peace.  A blind
rage on behalf of conciliation broke out later in prosperous business men
in great towns--even in Boston it is related that "Beacon Street
aristocrats" broke up a meeting to commemorate John Brown on the
anniversary of his death, and grave persons thought the meeting an
outrage.  Waves of eager desire for compromise passed over the Northern
community.  Observers at the time and historians after are easily
mistaken as to popular feeling; the acute fluctuations of opinion
inevitable among journalists, and in any sort of circle where men are
constantly meeting and talking politics, may leave the great mass of
quiet folk almost unaffected.  We may be sure that there was a
considerable body of steady opinion very much in accord with Lincoln;
this should not be forgotten, but it must not be supposed that it
prevailed constantly.  On the contrary, it was inherent in the nature of
the crisis that opinion wavered and swayed.  We should miss the whole
significance of Lincoln's story if we did not think of the North now and
to the end of the war as exposed to disunion, hesitation, and quick
reaction.  If at this time a sufficiently authoritative leader with
sufficiently determined timidity had inaugurated a policy of stampede, he
might have had a vast and tumultuous following.  Only his following would
quickly, if too late, have repented.  What was wanted, if the people of
the North were to have what most justly might be called their way, was a
leader who would not seem to hurry them along, nor yet be ever looking
round to see if they followed, but just go groping forward among the
innumerable obstacles, guided by such principles of good sense and of
right as would perhaps on the whole and in the long run be approved by
the maturer thought of most men; and Lincoln was such a leader.

When we turn to the South, where, as has been said, the movement for
secession was making steady though not unopposed progress, we have indeed
to make exceptions to any sweeping statement, but we must recognise a far
more clearly defined and far more prevailing general opinion.  We may set
aside for the moment the border slave States of Maryland, Virginia,
Kentucky, and Missouri, each of which has a distinct and an important
history.  Delaware belonged in effect to the North.  In Texas there were
peculiar conditions, and Texas had an interesting history of its own in
this matter, but may be treated as remote.  There was also, as has been
said, a highland region covering the west of Virginia and the east of
Kentucky but reaching far south into the northern part of Alabama.
Looking at the pathetic spectacle of enduring heroism in a mistaken cause
which the South presented, many people have been ready to suppose that it
was manoeuvred and tricked into its folly by its politicians and might
have recovered itself from it if the North and the Government had
exercised greater patience and given it time.  In support of this view
instances are cited of strong Unionist feeling in the South.  Such
instances probably belong to the peculiar people of this highland
country, or else to the mixed and more or less neutral population that
might be found at New Orleans or trading along the Mississippi.  There
remains a solid and far larger South in which indeed (except for South
Carolina) dominant Southern policy was briskly debated, but as a question
of time, degree, and expediency.  Three mental forces worked for the same
end: the alarmed vested interest of the people of substance, aristocratic
and otherwise; the racial sentiment of the poor whites, a sentiment often
strongest in those who have no subject of worldly pride but their colour;
and the philosophy of the clergy and other professional men who
constituted what in some countries is called the intellectual class.
These influences resulted in a rare uniformity of opinion that slavery
was right and all attacks on it were monstrous, that the Southern States
were free to secede and form, if they chose, a new Confederacy, and that
they ought to do this if the moment should arrive when they could not
otherwise safeguard their interests.  Doubtless there were leading men
who had thought over the matter in advance of the rest and taken counsel
together long before, but the fact seems to be that such leaders now
found their followers in advance of them.  Jefferson Davis, by far the
most commanding man among them, now found himself--certainly it served
him right--anxiously counselling delay, and spending nights in prayer
before he made his farewell speech to the Senate in words of greater
dignity and good feeling than seem to comport with the fanatical
narrowness of his view and the progressive warping of his determined
character to which it condemned him.  Whatever fundamental loyalty to the
Union existed in any man's heart there were months of debate in which it
found no organised and hardly any audible expression.  The most notable
stand against actual secession was that which was made in Georgia by
Stephens; he was determined and outspoken, but he proceeded wholly upon
the ground that secession was premature.  And this instance is
significant of something further.  It has been said that discussion and
voting were not free, and it would be altogether unlikely that their
freedom should in no cases be infringed, but there is no evidence that
this charge was widely true.  It is surely significant of the general
temper of the South, and most honourable to it, that Stephens, who thus
struggled against secession at that moment, was chosen Vice-President of
the Southern Confederacy.

By February 4, 1861, the States of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama,
Georgia, and Louisiana had followed South Carolina by passing Ordinances
of Secession, and on that date representatives of these States met at
Montgomery in Alabama to found a new Confederacy.  Texas, where
considerable resistance was offered by Governor Houston, the adventurous
leader under whom that State had separated from Mexico, was in process of
passing the like Ordinance.  Virginia and North Carolina, which lie north
of the region where cotton prevails, and with them their western
neighbour Tennessee, and Arkansas, yet further west and separated from
Tennessee by the Mississippi River, did not secede till after Lincoln's
inauguration and the outbreak of war.  But the position of Virginia
(except for its western districts) admitted of very little doubt, and
that of Tennessee and North Carolina was known to be much the same.
Virginia took a historic pride in the Union, and its interest in slavery
was not quite the same as that of the cotton States, yet its strongest
social ties were to the South.  This State was now engaged in a last idle
attempt to keep itself and other border States in the Union, with some
hope also that the departed States might return; and on this same
February 6, a "Peace Convention," invited by Virginia and attended by
delegates from twenty-one States, met at Washington with ex-President
Tyler in the chair; but for Virginia it was all along a condition of any
terms of agreement that the right of any State to secede should be fully
acknowledged.

The Congress of the seceding States, which met at Montgomery, was
described by Stephens as, "taken all in all, the noblest, soberest, most
intelligent, and most conservative body I was ever in."  It has been
remarked that Southern politicians of the agitator type were not sent to
it.  It adopted a provisional Constitution modelled largely upon that of
the United States.  Jefferson Davis, who had retired to his farm, was
sent for to become President; Stephens, as already said, became
Vice-President.  The delegates there were to continue in session for the
present as the regular Congress.  Whether sobered by the thought that
they were acting in the eyes of the world, or in accordance with their
own prevailing sentiment, these men, some of whom had before urged the
revival of the slave trade, now placed in their Constitution a perpetual
prohibition of it, and when, as a regular legislature, they afterwards
passed a penal statute which carried out this intention inadequately,
President Davis conscientiously vetoed it and demanded a more
satisfactory measure.  At his inauguration the Southern President
delivered an address, typical of that curious blending of propriety and
insincerity, of which the politics of that period in America had offered
many examples.  It may seem incredible, but it contained no word of
slavery, but recited in dignified terms how the South had been driven to
separation by "wanton aggression on the part of others," and after it had
"vainly endeavoured to secure tranquillity."  The new Southern Congress
now resolved to take over the forts and other property in the seceded
States that had belonged to the Union, and the first Confederate general,
Beauregard, was sent to Charleston to hover over Fort Sumter.


3. _The Inauguration of Lincoln_.

The first necessary business of the President-elect, while he watched the
gathering of what Emerson named "the hurricane in which he was called to
the helm," was to construct a strong Cabinet, to which may be added the
seemingly unnecessary business forced upon him of dealing with a horde of
pilgrims who at once began visiting him to solicit some office or, in
rarer cases, to press their disinterested opinions.  His Cabinet,
designed in principle, as has been said, while he was waiting in the
telegraph office for election returns, was actually constructed with some
delay and hesitation.  Lincoln could not know personally all the men he
invited to join him, but he proceeded with the view of conjoining in his
administration representatives of the chief shades of opinion which in
this critical time it would be his supreme duty to hold together.  Not
only different shades of opinion, but the local sentiment of different
districts had to be considered; he once complained that if the twelve
Apostles had to be chosen nowadays the principle of locality would have
to be regarded; but at this time there was very solid reason why
different States should be contented and why he should be advised as to
their feelings.  His own chief rivals for the Presidency offered a good
choice from both these points of view.  They were Seward of New York,
Chase of Ohio, Bates of Missouri, Cameron of Pennsylvania.  Seward and
Chase were both able and outstanding men: the former was in a sense the
old Republican leader, but was more and more coming to be regarded as the
typical "Conservative," or cautious Republican; Chase on the other hand
was a leader of the "Radicals," who were "stern and unbending" in their
attitude towards slavery and towards the South.  These two must be got
and kept together if possible.  Bates was a good and capable man who
moreover came from Missouri, a border slave State, where his influence
was much to be desired.  He became Attorney-General.  Cameron, an
unfortunate choice as it turned out, was a very wealthy business man of
Pennsylvania, representative of the weighty Protectionist influence
there.  After he had been offered office, which had been without
Lincoln's authority promised him in the Republican Convention, Lincoln
was dismayed by representations that he was "a bad, corrupted man"; he
wrote a curious letter asking Cameron to refuse his offer; Cameron
instead produced evidence of the desire of Pennsylvania for him; Lincoln
stuck to his offer; the old Whig element among Republicans, the
Protectionist element, and above all, the friends of the indispensable
Seward, would otherwise have been outweighted in the Cabinet.  Cameron
eventually became for a time Secretary of War.  To these Lincoln, upon
somebody's strong representations, tried, without much hope, to add some
distinctly Southern politician.  The effort, of course, failed.
Ultimately the Cabinet was completed by the addition of Caleb Smith of
Indiana as Secretary of the Interior, Gideon Welles of Connecticut as
Secretary of the Navy, and Montgomery Blair of Maryland as
Postmaster-General.  Welles, with the guidance of a brilliant
subordinate, Fox, served usefully, was very loyal to Lincoln, had an
antipathy to England which was dangerous, and kept very diligently a
diary for which we may be grateful now.  Blair was a vehement,
irresponsible person with an influential connection, and, which was
important, his influence and that of his family lay in Maryland and other
border slave States.  Of all these men, Seward, Secretary of State--that
is, Foreign Minister and something more--and Chase, Secretary of the
Treasury, most concern us.  Lincoln's offer to Seward was made and
accepted in terms that did credit to both men, and Seward, still smarting
at his own defeat, was admirably loyal.  But his friends, though they had
secured the appointment of Cameron to support them, thought increasingly
ill of the prospects of a Cabinet which included the Radical Chase.  On
the very night before his inauguration Lincoln received from Seward, who
had just been helping to revise his Inaugural Address, a letter
withdrawing his acceptance of office.  By some not clearly recorded
exercise of that great power over men, which, if with some failures, was
generally at his command, he forced Seward to see that the unconditional
withdrawal of this letter was his public duty.  It must throughout what
follows be remembered that Lincoln's first and most constant duty was to
hold together the jarring elements in the North which these jarring
elements in his own Cabinet represented; and it was one of his great
achievements that he kept together, for as long as was needful, able but
discordant public servants who could never have combined together without
him.

On February 11, 1861, Lincoln, standing on the gallery at the end of a
railway car, upon the instant of departure from the home to which he
never returned, said to his old neighbours (according to the version of
his speech which his private secretary got him to dictate immediately
after): "My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my
feeling of sadness at this parting.  To this place, and the kindness of
these people, I owe everything.  Here I have lived for a quarter of a
century, and have passed from a young to an old man.  Here my children
have been born and one is buried.  I now leave, not knowing when or
whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that 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."

He was, indeed, going to a task not less great than Washington's, but he
was going to it with a preparation in many respects far inferior to his.
For the last eight years he had laboured as a public speaker, and in a
measure as a party leader, and had displayed and developed comprehension,
perhaps unequalled, of some of the larger causes which mould public
affairs.  But, except in sheer moral discipline, those years had done
nothing to supply the special training which he had previously lacked,
for high executive office.  In such office at such a time ready decision
in an obscure and passing situation may often be a not less requisite
than philosophic grasp either of the popular mind or of eternal laws.
The powers which he had hitherto shown would still be needful to him, but
so too would other powers which he had never practised in any comparable
position, and which nature does not in a moment supply.  Any attempt to
judge of Lincoln's Presidency--and it can only be judged at all when it
has gone on some way--must take account, not perhaps so much of his
inexperience, as of his own reasonable consciousness of it and his great
anxiety to use the advice of men who were in any way presumably more
competent.

He deliberately delayed his arrival in Washington and availed himself of
official invitations to stay at four great towns and five State capitals
which he could conveniently pass on his way.  The journey abounded in
small incidents and speeches, some of which exposed him to a little
ridicule in the press, though they probably created an undercurrent of
sympathy for him.  Near one station where the train stopped lived a
little girl he knew, who had recently urged upon him to wear a beard or
whiskers.  To this dreadful young person, and to that persistent good
nature of his which was now and then fatuous, was due the ill-designed
hairy ornamentation which during his Presidency hid the really beautiful
modelling of his jaw and chin.  He enquired for her at the station, had
her fetched from the crowd, claimed her praise for this supposed
improvement, and kissed her in presence of the press.  In New York he was
guilty of a more sinister and tragic misfeasance.  In that city, where,
if it may be said with respect, there has existed from of old a
fashionable circle not convinced of its own gentility and insisting the
more rigorously on minor decorum, Lincoln went to the opera, and history
still deplores that this misguided man went there and sat there with his
large hands in black kid gloves.  Here perhaps it is well to say that the
educated world of the Eastern States, including those who privately
deplored Lincoln's supposed unfitness, treated its untried chief
magistrate with that engrained good breeding to which it was utterly
indifferent how plain a man he might be.  His lesser speeches as he went
were unstudied appeals to loyalty, with very simple avowals of inadequacy
to his task, and expressions of reliance on the people's support when he
tried to do his duty.  To a man who can sometimes speak from the heart
and to the heart as Lincoln did it is perhaps not given to be uniformly
felicitous.  Among these speeches was that delivered at Philadelphia,
which has already been quoted, but most of them were not considered
felicitous at the time.  They were too unpretentious.  Moreover, they
contained sentences which seemed to understate the gravity of the crisis
in a way which threw doubt on his own serious statesmanship.  Whether
they were felicitous or not, the intention of these much-criticised
utterances was the best proof of his statesmanship.  He would appeal to
the steady loyalty of the North, but he was not going to arouse its
passion.  He assumed to the last that calm reflection might prevail in
the South, which was menaced by nothing but "an artificial crisis."  He
referred to war as a possibility, but left no doubt of his own wish by
all means to avoid it.  "There will," he said, "be no bloodshed unless it
be forced on the Government.  The Government will not use force unless
force is used against it."

Before he passed through Baltimore he received earnest communications
from Seward and from General Scott.  Each had received trustworthy
information of a plot, which existed, to murder him in that city.  Owing
to their warnings he went through Baltimore secretly at night, so that
his arrival in Washington, on February 23, was unexpected.  This was his
obvious duty, and nobody who knew him was ever in doubt of his personal
intrepidity; but of course it helped to damp the effect of what many
people would have been glad to regard as a triumphal progress.

On March 4, 1861, old Buchanan came in his carriage to escort his
successor to the inaugural ceremony, where it was the ironical fate of
Chief Justice Taney to administer the oath to a President who had already
gone far to undo his great work.  Yet a third notable Democrat was there
to do a pleasant little act.  Douglas, Lincoln's defeated rival, placed
himself with a fine ostentation by his side, and, observing that he was
embarrassed as to where to put his new tall hat and preposterous
gold-knobbed cane, took charge of these encumbrances before the moment
arrived for the most eagerly awaited of all his speeches.  Lincoln had
submitted his draft of his "First Inaugural" to Seward, and this draft
with Seward's abundant suggestions of amendment has been preserved.  It
has considerable literary interest, and, by the readiness with which most
of Seward's suggestions were adopted, and the decision with which some,
and those not the least important, were set aside by Lincoln, it
illustrates well the working relation which, after one short struggle,
was to be established between these two men.  By Seward's advice Lincoln
added to an otherwise dry speech some concluding paragraphs of emotional
appeal.  The last sentence of the speech, which alone is much remembered,
is Seward's in the first conception of it, Seward's in the slightly
hackneyed phrase with which it ends, Lincoln's alone in the touch of
haunting beauty which is on it.

His "First Inaugural" was by general confession an able state paper,
setting forth simply and well a situation with which we are now familiar.
It sets out dispassionately the state of the controversy on slavery, lays
down with brief argument the position that the Union is indissoluble, and
proceeds to define the duty of the Government in face of an attempt to
dissolve it.  "The power," he said, "confided to me will be used to hold,
occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government,
and to collect the duties on imports; but beyond what may be necessary
for these objects there will be no invasion, no using of force against or
among the people anywhere.  The mails, unless repelled, will continue to
be furnished in all parts of the Union."  He proceeded to set out what he
conceived to be the impossibility of real separation; the intimate
relations between the peoples of the several States must still continue;
they would still remain for adjustment after any length of warfare; they
could be far better adjusted in Union than in enmity.  He concluded: "In
your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the
momentous issue of civil war.  The Government will not assail you.  You
can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.  I am loath
to close.  We are not enemies but friends.  We must not be enemies.
Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of
affection.  The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every
battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all
over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again
touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."


4. _The Outbreak of War_.

Upon the newly-inaugurated President there now descended a swarm of
office-seekers.  The Republican party had never been in power before, and
these patriotic people exceeded in number and voracity those that had
assailed any American President before.  To be accessible to all such was
the normal duty of a President; it was perhaps additionally incumbent on
him at this time.  When in the course of nature the number of
office-seekers abated, they were succeeded, as will be seen, by
supplicants of another kind, whose petitions were often really harrowing.
The horror of this enduring visitation has been described by Artemus Ward
in terms which Lincoln himself could not have improved upon.  His
classical treatment of the subject is worth serious reference; for it
should be realised that Lincoln, who had both to learn his new trade of
statecraft and to exercise it in a terrible emergency, did so with a
large part of each day necessarily consumed by worrying and distasteful
tasks of a much paltrier kind.

On the day after the Inauguration came word from Major Anderson at Fort
Sumter that he could only hold out a few weeks longer unless reinforced
and provisioned.  With it came to Lincoln the opinion of General Scott,
that to relieve Fort Sumter now would require a force of 20,000 men,
which did not exist.  The Cabinet was summoned with military and naval
advisers.  The sailors thought they could throw men and provisions into
Fort Sumter; the soldiers said the ships would be destroyed by the
Confederate batteries.  Lincoln asked his Cabinet whether, assuming it to
be feasible, it was politically advisable now to provision Fort Sumter.
Blair said yes emphatically; Chase said yes in a qualified way.  The
other five members of the Cabinet said no; General Scott had given his
opinion, as on a military question, that the fort should now be
evacuated; they argued that the evacuation of this one fort would be
recognised by the country as merely a military necessity arising from the
neglect of the last administration.  Lincoln reserved his decision.

Let us conceive the effect of a decision to evacuate Fort Sumter.  South
Carolina had for long claimed it as a due acknowledgment of its sovereign
and independent rights, and for no other end; the Confederacy now claimed
it and its first act had been to send Beauregard to threaten the fort.
Even Buchanan had ended by withstanding these claims.  The assertion that
he would hold these forts had been the gist of Lincoln's Inaugural.  This
was the one fort that was in the eyes of the Northern public or the
Southern public either; they probably never realised that there were
other forts, Fort Pickens, for example, on the Gulf of Mexico, which the
administration was prepared to defend.  And now it was proposed that
Lincoln, who had put down his foot with a bang yesterday, should take it
up with a shuffle to-day.  And Lincoln reserved his judgment; and, which
is much more, went on reserving it till the question nearly settled
itself to his disgrace.

Lincoln lacked here, it would seem, not by any means the qualities of the
trained administrator, but just that rough perception and vigour which
untaught genius might be supposed to possess.  The passionate Jackson
(who, by the way, was a far more educated man in the respects which
count) would not have acted so.  Lincoln, it is true, had declared that
he would take no provocative step--"In your hands, my dissatisfied
fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war,"
and the risk which he would have taken by over-ruling that day the
opinion of the bulk of his Cabinet based on that of his chief military
adviser is obvious, but it seems to have been a lesser risk than he did
take in delaying so long to overrule his Cabinet.  It is precisely
characteristic of his strength and of his weakness that he did not at
once yield to his advisers; that he long continued weighing the matter
undisturbed by the danger of delay; that he decided as soon as and no
sooner than he felt sure as to the political results, which alone here
mattered, for the military consequences amounted to nothing.

This story was entangled from the first with another difficult story.
Commissioners from the Southern Confederacy came to Washington and sought
interviews with Seward; they came to treat for the recognition of the
Confederacy and the peaceful surrender of forts and the like within its
borders.  Meanwhile the action of Virginia was in the balance, and the
"Peace Convention," summoned by Virginia, still "threshing again," as
Lowell said, "the already twice-threshed straw of debate."  The action of
Virginia and of other border States, about which Lincoln was intensely
solicitous, would certainly depend upon the action of the Government
towards the States that had already seceded.  Might it not be well that
the Government should avoid immediate conflict with South Carolina about
Fort Sumter, though conflict with the Confederacy about Fort Pickens and
the rest would still impend?  Was it not possible that conflict could be
staved off till an agreement could be reached with Virginia and the
border States, which would induce the seceded States to return?  These
questions were clearly absurd, but they were as clearly natural, and they
greatly exercised Seward.  Disappointed at not being President and
equally disturbed at the prospect of civil war, but still inclined to
large and sanguine hopes, he was rather anxious to take things out of
Lincoln's hands and very anxious to serve his country as the great
peacemaker.  Indirect negotiations now took place between him and the
Southern Commissioners, who of course could not be officially recognised,
through the medium of two Supreme Court Judges, especially one Campbell,
who was then in Washington.  Seward was quite loyal to Lincoln and told
him in a general way what he was doing; he was also candid with Campbell
and his friends, and explained to them his lack of authority, but he
talked freely and rashly of what he hoped to bring about.  Lincoln gave
Seward some proper cautions and left him all proper freedom; but it is
possible that he once told Douglas that he intended, at that moment, to
evacuate Fort Sumter.  The upshot of the matter is that the decision of
the Government was delayed by negotiations which, as it ought to have
known, could come to nothing, and that the Southern Government and the
Commissioners, after they had got home, thought they had been deceived in
these negotiations.

Discussions were still proceeding as to Fort Sumter when a fresh
difficulty arose for Lincoln, but one which enabled him to become
henceforth master in his Cabinet.  The strain of Seward's position upon a
man inclined to be vain and weak can easily be imagined, but the sudden
vagary in which it now resulted was surprising.  Upon April 1 he sent to
Lincoln "Some Thoughts for the President's Consideration."  In this
paper, after deploring what he described as the lack of any policy so
far, and defining, in a way that does not matter, his attitude as to the
forts in the South, he proceeded thus: "I would demand explanations from
Great Britain and Russia, and send agents into Canada, Mexico, and
Central America, to raise a vigorous spirit of independence on this
continent against European intervention, and if satisfactory explanations
are not received from Spain and France, would convene Congress and
declare war against them."  In other words, Seward would seek to end all
domestic dissensions by suddenly creating out of nothing a dazzling
foreign policy.  But this was not the only point, even if it was the main
point; he proceeded: "Either the President must do it" (that is the sole
conduct of this policy) "himself, or devolve it on some member of his
Cabinet.  It is not my especial province.  But I neither seek to evade
nor assume responsibility."  In other words, Seward put himself forward
as the sole director of the Government.  In his brief reply Lincoln made
no reference whatever to Seward's amazing programme.  He pointed out that
the policy so far, as to which Seward had complained, was one in which
Seward had entirely concurred.  As to the concluding demand that some one
man, and that man Seward, should control all policy, he wrote, "If this
must be done, I must do it.  When a general line of policy is adopted, I
apprehend there is no danger of its being changed without good reason, or
continuing to be a subject of unnecessary debate; still, upon points
arising in its progress I wish, and suppose I am entitled to have, the
advice of all the Cabinet."  Seward was not a fool, far from it; he was
one of the ablest men in America, only at that moment strained and
excited beyond the limits of his good sense.  Lincoln's quiet answer
sobered him then and for ever after.  He showed a generous mind; he wrote
to his wife soon after: "Executive force and vigour are rare qualities;
the President is the best of us."  And Lincoln's generosity was no less;
his private secretary, Nicolay, saw these papers; but no other man knew
anything of Seward's abortive rebellion against Lincoln till after they
both were dead.  The story needs no explanation, but the more attentively
all the circumstances are considered, the more Lincoln's handling of this
emergency, which threatened the ruin of his Government, throws into shade
the weakness he had hitherto shown.

Lincoln was thus in a stronger position when he finally decided as to
Fort Sumter.  It is unnecessary to follow the repeated consultations that
took place.  There were preparations for possible expeditions both to
Fort Sumter and to Fort Pickens, and various blunders about them, and
Seward made some trouble by officious interference about them.  An
announcement was sent to the Governor of South Carolina that provisions
would be sent to Fort Sumter and he was assured that if this was
unopposed no further steps would be taken.  What chiefly concerns us is
that the eventual decision to send provisions but not troops to Fort
Sumter was Lincoln's decision; but that it was not taken till after
Senators and Congressmen had made clear to him that Northern opinion
would support him.  It was the right decision, for it conspicuously
avoided the appearance of provocation, while it upheld the right of the
Union; but it was taken perilously late, and the delay exposed the
Government to the risk of a great humiliation.

An Alabama gentleman had urged Jefferson Davis that the impending
struggle must not be delayed.  "Unless," he said, "you sprinkle blood in
the face of the people of Alabama, they will be back in the old Union in
ten days."  There is every reason to suppose that the gentleman's
statement as to the probable collapse of the South was mere rhetoric, but
it seems that his advice led to orders being sent to Beauregard to reduce
Fort Sumter.  Beauregard sent a summons to Anderson; Anderson, now all
but starved out, replied that unless he received supplies or instructions
he would surrender on April 15.  Whether by Beauregard's orders or
through some misunderstanding, the Confederate batteries opened fire on
Fort Sumter on April 12.  Fort Sumter became untenable on the next day,
when the relief ships, which Anderson had been led to expect sooner, but
which could in no case really have helped him, were just appearing in the
offing.  Anderson very properly capitulated.  On Sunday, April 14, 1861,
he marched out with the honours of war.  The Union flag had been fired
upon in earnest by the Confederates, and, leaving Virginia and the States
that went with it to join the Confederacy if they chose, the North sprang
to arms.

In the events which had led up to the outbreak of war Abraham Lincoln had
played a part more admirable and more decisive in its effect than his
countrymen could have noted at the time or perhaps have appreciated
since.  He was confronted now with duties requiring mental gifts of a
different kind from those which he had hitherto displayed, and with
temptations to which he had not yet been exposed.  In a general sense the
greatness of mind and heart which he unfolded under fierce trial does not
need to be demonstrated to-day.  Yet in detail hardly an action of his
Presidency is exempt from controversy; nor is his many-sided character
one of those which men readily flatter themselves that they understand.
There are always, moreover, those to whom it is a marvel how any great
man came by his name.  The particular tribute, which in the pages that
follow it is desired to pay to him, consists in the careful examination
of just those actions and just those qualities of his upon which candid
detraction has in fact fastened, or on which candid admiration has
pronounced with hesitancy.




CHAPTER VII

THE CONDITIONS OF THE WAR

In recounting the history of Lincoln's Presidency, it will be necessary
to mark the course of the Civil War stage by stage as we proceed.
There are, however, one or two general features of the contest with
which it may be well to deal by way of preface.

It has seldom happened that a people entering upon a great war have
understood at the outset what the character of that war would be.  When
the American Civil War broke out the North expected an easy victory,
but, as disappointment came soon and was long maintained, many clever
people adopted the opinion, which early prevailed in Europe, that there
was no possibility of their success at all.  At the first the
difficulty of the task was unrecognised; under early and long-sustained
disappointment the strength by which those difficulties could be
overcome began to be despaired of without reason.

The North, after several slave States, which were at first doubtful,
had adhered to it, had more than double the population of the South; of
the Southern population a very large part were slaves, who, though
industrially useful, could not be enlisted.  In material resources the
superiority of the North was no less marked, and its material wealth
grew during the war to a greater extent than had perhaps ever happened
to any other belligerent power.  These advantages were likely to be
decisive in the end, if the North could and would endure to the end.
But at the very beginning these advantages simply did not tell at all,
for the immediately available military force of the North was
insignificant, and that of the South clearly superior to it; and even
when they began to tell, it was bound to be very long before their full
weight could be brought to bear.  And the object which was to be
obtained was supremely difficult of attainment.  It was not a defeat of
the South which might result in the alteration of a frontier, the
cession of some Colonies, the payment of an indemnity, and such like
matters; it was a conquest of the South so complete that the Union
could be restored on a firmer basis than before.  Any less result than
this would be failure in the war.  And the country, to be thus
completely conquered by an unmilitary people of nineteen millions, was
of enormous extent: leaving out of account the huge outlying State of
Texas, which is larger than Germany, the remaining Southern States
which joined in the Confederacy have an area somewhat larger than that
of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Holland, and Belgium put together; and
this great region had no industrial centres or other points of such
great strategic importance that by the occupation of them the remaining
area could be dominated.  The feat which the Northern people eventually
achieved has been said by the English historians of the war (perhaps
with some exaggeration) to have been "a greater one than that which
Napoleon attempted to his own undoing when he invaded Russia in 1812."

On the other hand, the South was in some respects very favourably
placed for resisting invasion from the North.  The Southern forces
during most of the war were, in the language of military writers,
operating on interior lines; that is, the different portions of them
lay nearer to one another than did the different portions of the
Northern forces, and could be more quickly brought to converge on the
same point; the country abounded in strong positions for defence which
could be held by a relatively small force, while in every invading
movement the invaders had to advance long distances from the base, thus
exposing their lines of communication to attack.  The advantage of this
situation, if competent use were made of it, was bound to go very far
towards compensating for inferiority of numbers; the North could not
make its superior numbers on land tell in any rapidly decisive fashion
without exposing itself to dangerous counter-strokes.  In naval
strength its superiority was asserted almost from the first, and by
cutting off foreign supplies caused the Southern armies to suffer
severe privations before the war was half through; but its full effect
could only be produced very slowly.  Thus, if its people were brave and
its leaders capable, the South was by no means in so hopeless a case as
might at first have appeared; with good fortune it might hope to strike
its powerful antagonist some deadly blow before that antagonist could
bring its strength to bear; and even if this hope failed, a
sufficiently tenacious defence might well wear down the patience of the
North.

As soldiers the Southerners started with a superiority which the
Northerners could only overtake slowly.  If each people were taken in
the mass, the proportion of Southerners bred to an outdoor life was
higher.  Generally speaking, if not exactly more frugal, they were far
less used to living comfortably.  Above all, all classes of people
among them were still accustomed to think of fighting as a normal and
suitable occupation for a man; while the prevailing temper of the North
thought of man as meant for business, and its higher temper was apt to
think of fighting as odious and war out of date.  This, like the other
advantages of the South, was transitory; before very long Northerners
who became soldiers at a sacrifice of inclination, from the highest
spirit of patriotism or in the methodic temper in which business has to
be done, would become man for man as good soldiers as the Southerners;
but the original superiority of the Southerners would continue to have
a moral effect in their own ranks and on the mind of the enemy, more
especially of the enemy's generals, even after its cause had ceased to
exist; and herein the military advantage of the South was undoubtedly,
through the first half of the war, considerable.

In the matter of leadership the South had certain very real and certain
other apparent but probably delusive advantages.  The United States had
no large number of trained military officers, still capable of active
service.  The armies of the North and South alike had to be commanded
and staffed to a great extent by men who first studied their profession
in that war; and the lack of ripe military judgment was likely to be
felt most in the higher commands where the forces to be employed and
co-ordinated were largest.  The South secured what may be called its
fair proportion of the comparatively few officers, but it was of
tremendous moment that, among the officers who, when the war began,
were recognised as competent, two, who sadly but in simple loyalty to
the State of Virginia took the Southern side, were men of genius.  The
advantages of the South would have been no advantages without skill and
resolution to make use of them.  The main conditions of the war--the
vast space, the difficulty in all parts of it of moving troops, the
generally low level of military knowledge--were all such as greatly
enhance the opportunities of the most gifted commander.  Lee and
"Stonewall" Jackson thus became, the former throughout the war, the
latter till he was killed in the summer of 1863, factors of primary
importance in the struggle.  Wolseley, who had, besides studying their
record, conversed both with Lee and with Moltke, thought Lee even
greater than Moltke, and the military writers of our day speak of him
as one of the great commanders of history.  As to Jackson, Lee's belief
in him is sufficient testimony to his value.  And the good fortune of
the South was not confined to these two signal instances.  Most of the
Southern generals who appeared early in the war could be retained in
important commands to the end.

The South might have seemed at first equally fortunate in the character
of the Administration at the back of the generals.  An ascendency was
at once conceded to Jefferson Davis, a tried political leader, to which
Lincoln had to win his way, and the past experiences of the two men had
been very different.  The operations of war in which Lincoln had taken
part were confined, according to his own romantic account in a speech
in Congress, to stealing ducks and onions from the civil population;
his Ministers were as ignorant in the matter as he; their military
adviser, Scott, was so infirm that he had soon to retire, and it proved
most difficult to replace him.  Jefferson Davis, on the other hand,
started with knowledge of affairs, including military affairs; he had
been Secretary of War in Pierce's Cabinet and Chairman of the Senate
Committee on War since then; above all, he had been a soldier and had
commanded a regiment with some distinction in the Mexican War.  It is
thought that he would have preferred a military command to the
Presidency of the Confederacy, and as his own experience of actual war
was as great as that of his generals, he can hardly be blamed for a
disposition to interfere with them at the beginning.  But military
historians, while criticising (perhaps a little hastily) all Lincoln's
interventions in the affairs of war up to the time when he found
generals whom he trusted, insist that Davis' systematic interference
was far more harmful to his cause; and Wolseley, who watched events
closely from Canada and who visited the Southern Army in 1863, is most
emphatic in this opinion.  He interfered with Lee to an extent which
nothing but Lee's devoted friendship and loyalty could have made
tolerable.  He put himself into relations of dire hostility with Joseph
Johnston, and in 1864 suspended him in the most injudicious manner.
Above all, when the military position of the South had begun to be
acutely perilous, Jefferson Davis neither devised for himself, nor
allowed his generals to devise, any bold policy by which the chance
that still remained could be utilised.  His energy of will showed
itself in the end in nothing but a resolution to protract bloodshed
after it had certainly become idle.

If we turn to the political conditions, on which, in any but a short
war, so much depends, the South will appear to have had great
advantages.  Its people were more richly endowed than the mixed and
crudely democratic multitude of the North, in the traditional aptitude
for commanding or obeying which enables people to pull together in a
crisis.  And they were united in a cause such as would secure the
sustained loyalty of any ordinary people under any ordinary leader.
For, though it was nothing but slavery that led to their assertion of
independence, from the moment that they found themselves involved in
war, they were fighting for a freedom to which they felt themselves
entitled, and for nothing else whatever.   A few successful encounters
at the start tempted the ordinary Southerner to think himself a better
man than the ordinary Northerner, even as the Southern Congressmen felt
themselves superior to the persons whom the mistaken democracy of the
North too frequently elected.  This claim of independence soon acquired
something of the fierce pride that might have been felt by an ancient
nation.  But it would have been impossible that the Northern people as
a whole should be similarly possessed by the cause in which they
fought.  They did not seem to be fighting for their own liberty, and
they would have hated to think that they were fighting for conquest.
They were fighting for the maintenance of a national unity which they
held dear.  The question how far it was worth fighting a formidable
enemy for the sake of eventual unity with him, was bound to present
itself.  Thus, far from wondering that the cause of the Union aroused
no fuller devotion than it did in the whole lump of the Northern
people, we may wonder that it inspired with so lofty a patriotism men
and women in every rank of life who were able to leaven that lump.  But
the political element in this war was of such importance as to lead to
a startling result; the North came nearest to yielding at a time when
in a military sense its success had become sure.  To preserve a united
North was the greatest and one of the hardest of the duties of
President Lincoln.

To a civilian reader the history of the war, in spite of the
picturesque incidents of many battles, may easily be made dreary.  Till
far on in the lengthy process of subjecting the South, we might easily
become immersed in some futile story of how General X. was superseded
by General Y. in a command, for which neither discovered any purpose
but that of not co-operating with General Z.  And this impression is
not merely due to our failure to understand the difficulties which
confronted these gallant officers.  The dearth of trained military
faculty, which was felt at the outset, could only be made good by the
training which the war itself supplied.  Such commanders as Grant and
Sherman and Sheridan not only could not have been recognised at the
beginning of the war; they were not then the soldiers that they
afterwards became.  And the want was necessarily very serious in the
case of the higher commands which required the movement of large
forces, the control of subordinates each of whom must have a wide
discretion, and the energy of intellect and will necessary for
resolving the more complex problems of strategy.  We are called upon to
admire upon both sides the devotion of forgotten thousands, and to
admire upon the side of the South the brilliant and daring operations
by which in so many battles Lee and Jackson defeated superior forces.
On the Northern side, later on, great generals came to view, but it is
in the main a different sort of achievement which we are called upon to
appreciate.  An Administration appointed to direct a stupendous
operation of conquest was itself of necessity ill prepared for such a
task; behind it were a Legislature and a public opinion equally ill
prepared to support and to assist it.  There were in its military
service many intelligent and many enterprising men, but none, at first,
so combining intelligence and enterprise that he could grapple with any
great responsibility or that the civil power would have been warranted
in reposing complete confidence in him.  The history of the war has to
be recounted in this volume chiefly with a view to these difficulties
of the Administration.

One of the most interesting features of the war would, in any military
study of it, be seen to be the character of the troops on both sides.
On both sides their individual quality was high; on both, circumstances
and the disposition of the people combined to make discipline weak.
This character, common to the two armies, was conspicuous in many
battles of the war, but a larger interest attaches to the policy of the
two administrations in raising and organising their civilian armies.
The Southern Government, if its proceedings were studied in detail,
would probably seem to have been better advised at the start on matters
of military organisation; for instance, it had early and long retained
a superiority in cavalry which was not a mere result of good fortune.
But here, too, there was an inherent advantage in the very fact that
the South had started upon a desperate venture.  There can hardly be a
more difficult problem of detail for statesmen than the co-ordination
of military and civil requirements in the raising of an army.  But in
the South all civil considerations merged themselves in the paramount
necessity of a military success for which all knew the utmost effort
was needed.  The several States of the South, claiming as they did a
far larger independence than the Northern States, knew that they could
only make that claim good by being efficient members of the
Confederacy.  Thus it was comparatively easy for the Confederate
Government to adopt and maintain a consecutive policy in this matter,
and though, from the conditions of a widely spread agricultural
population, voluntary enlistment produced poor results at the beginning
of the war, it appears to have been easy to introduce quite early an
entirely compulsory system of a stringent kind.

The introduction of compulsory service in the North has its place in
our subsequent story.  The system that preceded it need not be dwelt
upon here, because, full of instruction as a technical study of it
(such as has been made by Colonel Henderson) must be, no brief survey
by an amateur could be useful.  It is necessary, however, to understand
the position in which Lincoln's Administration was placed, without much
experience In America, or perhaps elsewhere in the world, to guide it.
It must not be contended, for it cannot be known that the problem was
fully and duly envisaged by Lincoln on his Cabinet, but it would
probably in any case have been impossible for them to pursue from the
first a consecutive and well-thought-out policy for raising an army and
keeping up its strength.  The position of the North differed
fundamentally from that of the South; the North experienced neither the
ardour nor the throes of a revolution; it was never in any fear of
being conquered, only of not conquering.  There was nothing, therefore,
which at once bestowed on the Government a moral power over the country
vastly in excess of that which it exercised in normal times.  This,
however, was really necessary to it if the problem of the Army was to
be handled in the way which was desirable from a military point of
view.  Compulsory service could not at first be thought of.  It was
never supposed that the tiny regular Army of the United States
Government could be raised to any very great size by voluntary
enlistment, and the limited increase of it which was attempted was not
altogether successful.  The existing militia system of the several
States was almost immediately found faulty and was discarded.  A great
Volunteer Force had to be raised which should be under the command of
the President, who by the Constitution is Commander-in-Chief of the
forces of the Union, but which must be raised in each State by the
State Governor (or, if he was utterly wanting, by leading local
citizens).  Now State Governors are not--it must be recalled--officers
under the President, but independent potentates acting usually in as
much detachment from him as the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford or Cambridge
from the Board of Education or a Presbyterian minister from a bishop.
This group of men, for the most part able, patriotic, and determined,
were there to be used and had to be consulted.  It follows that the
policy of the North in raising and organising its armies had at first
to be a policy evolved between numerous independent authorities which
never met and were held together by a somewhat ignorant public opinion,
sometimes much depressed and sometimes, which was worse, oversanguine.
It is impossible to judge exactly how ill or how well Lincoln, under
such circumstances, grappled with this particular problem, but many
anomalies which seem to us preposterous--the raising of raw new
regiments when fine seasoned regiments were short of half their
strength, and so forth--were in these circumstances inevitable.  The
national system of recruiting, backed by compulsion, which was later
set up, still required for its success the co-operation of State and
local authorities of this wholly independent character.

Northern and Southern armies alike had necessarily to be commanded to a
great extent by amateur officers; the number of officers, in the
service or retired, who had been trained at West Point, was
immeasurably too small for the needs of the armies.  Amateurs had to be
called in, and not only so, but they had in some cases to be given very
important commands.  The not altogether unwholesome tradition that a
self-reliant man can turn his hand to anything was of course very
strong in America, and the short military annals of the country had
been thought to have added some illustrious instances to the roll of
men of peace who have distinguished themselves in arms.  So a political
leader, no matter whether he was Democrat or Republican, who was a man
of known general capacity, would sometimes at first seem suitable for
an important command rather than the trained but unknown professional
soldier who was the alternative.  Moreover, it seemed foolish not to
appoint him, when, as sometimes happened, he could bring thousands of
recruits from his State.  The Civil War turned out, however, to show
the superiority of the duly trained military mind in a marked degree.
Some West-Pointers of repute of course proved incapable, and a great
many amateur colonels and generals, both North and South, attained a
very fair level of competence in the service (the few conspicuous
failures seem to have been quite exceptional); but, all the same, of
the many clever and stirring men who then took up soldiering as novices
and served for four years, not one achieved brilliant success; of the
generals in the war whose names are remembered, some had indeed passed
years in civil life, but every one had received a thorough military
training in the years of his early manhood.  It certainly does not
appear that the Administration was really neglectful of professional
merit; it hungered to find it; but many appointments must at first have
been made in a haphazard fashion, for there was no machinery for
sifting claims.  A zealous but unknown West-Pointer put under an
outsider would be apt to write as Sherman did in early days: "Mr.
Lincoln meant to insult me and the Army"; and a considerable jealousy
evidently arose between West-Pointers and amateurs.  It was aggravated
by the rivalry between officers of the Eastern army and those of the,
more largely amateur, Western army.  The amateurs, too, had something
to say on their side; they were apt to accuse West-Pointers as a class
of a cringing belief that the South was invincible.  There was nothing
unnatural or very serious in all this, but political influences which
arose later caused complaints of this nature to be made the most of,
and a general charge to be made against Lincoln's Administration of
appointing generals and removing them under improper political
influences.  This general charge, however, rests upon a limited number
of alleged instances, and all of these which are of any importance will
necessarily be examined in later chapters.

It may be useful to a reader who wishes to follow the main course of
the war carefully, if the chief ways in which geographical facts
affected it are here summarised--necessarily somewhat dryly.  Minor
operations at outlying points on the coast or in the Far West will be
left out of account, so also will a serious political consideration,
which we shall later see caused doubt for a time as to the proper
strategy of the North.

It must be noted first, startling as it may be to Englishmen who
remember the war partly by the exploits of the _Alabama_, that the
naval superiority of the North was overwhelming.  In spite of many
gallant efforts by the Southern sailors, the North could blockade their
coasts and could capture most of the Southern ports long before its
superiority on land was established.  Turning then to land, we may
treat the political frontier between the two powers, after a short
preliminary stage of war, as being marked by the southern boundaries of
Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, just as they are seen
on the map to-day.  In doing so, we must note that at the commencement
of large operations parts of Kentucky and Missouri were occupied by
Southern invading forces.  This frontier is cut, not far from the
Atlantic, by the parallel mountain chains which make up the Alleghanies
or Appalachians.  These in effect separated the field of operations
into a narrow Eastern theatre of war, and an almost boundless Western
theatre; and the operations in these two theatres were almost to the
end independent of each other.

In the Eastern theatre of war lies Washington, the capital of the
Union, a place of great importance to the North for obvious reasons,
and especially because if it fell European powers would be likely to
recognise the Confederacy.  It lies, on the Potomac, right upon the
frontier; and could be menaced also in the rear, for the broad and
fertile trough between the mountain chains formed by the valley of the
Shenandoah River, which flows northward to join the Potomac at a point
north-west of Washington, was in Confederate hands and formed a sort of
sally-port by which a force from Richmond could get almost behind
Washington.  A hundred miles south of Washington lay Richmond, which
shortly became the capital of the Confederates, instead of Montgomery
in Alabama.  As a brand-new capital it mattered little to the
Confederates, though at the very end of the war it became their last
remaining stronghold.  The intervening country, which was in Southern
hands, was extraordinarily difficult.  The reader may notice on the map
the rivers with broad estuaries which are its most marked features, and
with the names of which we shall become familiar.  The rivers
themselves were obstacles to an invading Northern army; their
estuaries, on the other hand, soon afforded it safe communication by
sea.

In the Western theatre of war we must remember first the enormous
length of frontier in proportion to the population on either side.
This necessarily made the progress of Northern invasion slow, and its
proper direction hard to determine, for diversions could be created by
a counter-invasion elsewhere along the frontier or a stroke at the
invaders' communications.  The principal feature of the whole region is
the great waterways, on which the same advantages which gave the sea to
the North gave it also an immense superiority in the river warfare of
flotillas of gunboats.  When the North with its gunboats could get
control of the Mississippi the South would be deprived of a
considerable part of its territory and resources, and cut off from its
last means of trading with Europe (save for the relief afforded by
blockade-runners) by being cut off from Mexico and its ports.  Further,
when the North could control the tributaries of the Mississippi,
especially the Cumberland and the Tennessee which flow into the great
river through the Ohio, it would cut deep into the internal
communications of the South.  Against this menace the South could only
contend by erecting powerful fortresses on the rivers, and the capture
of some of them was the great object of the earlier Northern operations.

The railway system of the South must also be taken into account in
connection with their waterways.  This, of course, cannot be seen on a
modern map.  Perhaps the following may make the main points clear.  The
Southern railway system touched the Mississippi and the world beyond it
at three points only: Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans.  A traveller
wishing to go, say, from Richmond by rail towards the West could have,
if distance were indifferent to him, a choice of three routes for part
of the way.  He could go through Knoxville in Tennessee to Chattanooga
in that State, where he had a choice of routes further West, or he
could take one of two alternative lines south into Georgia and thence
go either to Atlanta or to Columbus in the west of that State.  Arrived
at Atlanta or Columbus, he could proceed further West either by making
a detour northwards through Chattanooga or by making a detour
southwards through the seaport town of Mobile, crossing the harbour by
boat.  Thus the capture of Chattanooga from the South would go far
towards cutting the whole Southern railway system in two, and the
capture of Mobile would complete it.  Lastly, we may notice two lines
running north and south through the State of Mississippi, one through
Corinth and Meridian, and the other nearer the great river.  From this
and the course of the rivers the strategic importance of some of the
towns mentioned may be partly appreciated.

The subjugation of the South in fact began by a process, necessarily
slow and much interrupted, whereby having been blockaded by sea it was
surrounded by land, cut off from its Western territory, and deprived of
its main internal lines of communication.  Richmond, against which the
North began to move within the first three months of the war, did not
fall till nearly four years later, when the process just described had
been completed, and when a Northern army had triumphantly progressed,
wasting the resources of the country as it went, from Chattanooga to
Atlanta, thence to the Atlantic coast of Georgia, and thence northward
through the two Carolinas till it was about to join hands with the army
assailing Richmond.  Throughout this time the attention of a large part
of the Northern public and of all those who watched the war from Europe
was naturally fastened to a great extent upon the desperate fighting
which occurred in the region of Washington and of Richmond and upon the
ill success of the North in endeavours of unforeseen difficulty against
the latter city.  We shall see, however, that the long and humiliating
failure of the North in this quarter was neither so unaccountable nor
nearly so important as it appeared.




CHAPTER VIII

THE OPENING OF THE WAR AND LINCOLN'S ADMINISTRATION

1. _Preliminary Stages_.

On the morning after the bombardment of Fort Sumter there appeared a
Proclamation by the President calling upon the Militia of the several
States to furnish 75,000 men for the service of the United States in
the suppression of an "unlawful combination."  Their service, however,
would expire by law thirty days after the next meeting of Congress,
and, in compliance with a further requirement of law upon this subject,
the President also summoned Congress to meet in extraordinary session
upon July 4.  The Army already in the service of the United States
consisted of but 16,000 officers and men, and, though the men of this
force, being less affected by State ties than their officers, remained,
as did the men of the Navy, true almost without exception to their
allegiance, all but 3,000 of them were unavailable and scattered in
small frontier forts in the West.  A few days later, when it became
plain that the struggle might long outlast the three months of the
Militia, the President called for Volunteers to enlist for three years'
service, and perhaps (for the statements are conflicting) some 300,000
troops of one kind and another had been raised by June.

The affair of Fort Sumter and the President's Proclamation at once
aroused and concentrated the whole public opinion of the free States in
the North and, in an opposite sense, of the States which had already
seceded.  The border slave States had now to declare for the one side
or for the other.  Virginia as a whole joined the Southern Confederacy
forthwith, but several Counties in the mountainous region of the west
of that State were strongly for the Union.  These eventually succeeded
with the support of Northern troops in separating from Virginia and
forming the new State of West Virginia.  Tennessee also joined the
South, though in Eastern Tennessee the bulk of the people held out for
the Union without such good fortune as their neighbours in West
Virginia.  Arkansas beyond the Mississippi followed the same example,
though there were some doubt and division in all parts of that State.
In Delaware, where the slaves were very few, the Governor did not
formally comply with the President's Proclamation, but the people as a
whole responded to it.  The attitude of Maryland, which almost
surrounds Washington, kept the Government at the capital in suspense
and alarm for a while, for both the city of Baltimore and the existing
State legislature were inclined to the South.  In Kentucky and Missouri
the State authorities were also for the South, and it was only after a
struggle, and in Missouri much actual fighting, that the Unionist
majority of the people in each State had its way.  The secession of
Virginia had consequences even more important than the loss to the
Union of a powerful State.  General Robert E. Lee, a Virginian, then in
Washington, was esteemed by General Scott to be the ablest officer in
the service.  Lincoln and his Secretary of War desired to confer on him
the command of the Army.  Lee's decision was made with much reluctance
and, it seems, hesitation.  He was not only opposed to the policy of
secession, but denied the right of a State to secede; yet he believed
that his absolute allegiance was due to Virginia.  He resigned his
commission in the United States Army, went to Richmond, and, in
accordance with what Wolseley describes as the prevailing principle
that had influenced most of the soldiers he met in the South, placed
his sword at the disposal of his own State.  The same loyalty to
Virginia governed another great soldier, Thomas J. Jackson, whose
historic nickname, "Stonewall," fails to convey the dashing celerity of
his movements.  While they both lived these two men were to be linked
together in the closest comradeship and mutual trust.  They sprang from
different social conditions and were of contrasting types.  The epithet
Cavalier has been fitly enough applied to Lee, and Jackson, after
conversion from the wild courses of his youth, was an austere Puritan.
To quote again from a soldier's memoirs, Wolseley calls Lee "one of the
few men who ever seriously impressed and awed me with their natural,
their inherent, greatness"; he speaks of his "majesty," and of the
"beauty," of his character, and of the "sweetness of his smile and the
impressive dignity of the old-fashioned style of his address"; "his
greatness," he says, "made me humble."  "There was nothing," he tells
us, "of these refined characteristics in Stonewall Jackson," a man with
"huge hands and feet."  But he possessed "an assured self-confidence,
the outcome of his sure trust in God.  How simple, how humble-minded a
man.  As his impressive eyes met yours unflinchingly, you knew that his
was an honest heart."  To this he adds touches less to be expected
concerning a Puritan warrior, whose Puritanism was in fact inclined to
ferocity--how Jackson's "remarkable eyes lit up for the moment with a
look of real enthusiasm as he recalled the architectural beauty of the
seven lancet windows in York Minster," how "intense" was the
"benignity" of his expression, and how in him it seemed that "great
strength of character and obstinate determination were united with
extreme gentleness of disposition and with absolute tenderness towards
all about him."  Men such as these brought to the Southern cause
something besides their military capacity; but as to the greatness of
that capacity, applied in a war in which the scope was so great for
individual leaders of genius, there is no question.  A civilian reader,
looking in the history of war chiefly for the evidences of personal
quality, can at least discern in these two famous soldiers the moral
daring which in doubtful circumstances never flinches from the
responsibility of a well-considered risk, and, in both their cases as
in those of some other great commanders, can recognise in this rare and
precious attribute the outcome of their personal piety.  We shall
henceforth have to do with the Southern Confederacy and its armies, not
in their inner history but with sole regard to the task which they
imposed upon Lincoln and the North.  But at this parting of the ways a
tribute is due to the two men, pre-eminent among many devoted people,
who, in their soldier-like and unreflecting loyalty to their cause,
gave to it a lustre in which, so far as they can be judged, neither its
statesmen nor its spiritual guides had a share.

There were Virginian officers who did not thus go with their State.  Of
these were Scott himself, and G. H. Thomas; and Farragut, the great
sailor, was from Tennessee.

Throughout the free States of the North there took place a national
uprising of which none who remember it have spoken without feeling anew
its spontaneous ardour.  Men flung off with delight the hesitancy of
the preceding months, and recruiting went on with speed and enthusiasm.
Party divisions for the moment disappeared.  Old Buchanan made public
his adhesion to the Government.  Douglas called upon Lincoln to ask how
best he could serve the public cause, and, at his request, went down to
Illinois to guide opinion and advance recruiting there; so employed,
the President's great rival, shortly after, fell ill and died, leaving
the leadership of the Democrats to be filled thereafter by more
scrupulous but less patriotic men.  There was exultant confidence in
the power of the nation to put down rebellion, and those who realised
the peril in which for many days the capital and the administration
were placed were only the more indignantly determined.  Perhaps the
most trustworthy record of popular emotions is to be found in popular
humorists.  Shortly after these days Artemus Ward, the author who
almost vied with Shakespeare in Lincoln's affections, relates how the
confiscation of his show in the South led him to have an interview with
Jefferson Davis.  "Even now," said Davis, in this pleasant fiction, "we
have many frens in the North."  "J. Davis," is the reply, "there's your
grate mistaik.  Many of us was your sincere frends, and thought certin
parties amung us was fussin' about you and meddlin' with your consarns
intirely too much.  But, J. Davis, the minit you fire a gun at the
piece of dry goods called the Star-Spangled Banner, the North gits up
and rises en massy, in defence of that banner.  Not agin you as
individooals--not agin the South even--but to save the flag.  We should
indeed be weak in the knees, unsound in the heart, milk-white in the
liver, and soft in the hed, if we stood quietly by and saw this glorus
Govyment smashed to pieces, either by a furrin or a intestine foe.  The
gentle-harted mother hates to take her naughty child across her knee,
but she knows it is her dooty to do it.  So we shall hate to whip the
naughty South, but we must do it if you don't make back tracks at onct,
and we shall wallup you out of your boots!"  In the days which
followed, when this prompt chastisement could not be effected and it
seemed indeed as if the South would do most of the whipping, the
discordant elements which mingled in this unanimity soon showed
themselves.  The minority that opposed the war was for a time silent
and insignificant, but among the supporters of the war there were those
who loved the Union and the Constitution and who, partly for this very
reason, had hitherto cultivated the sympathies of the South.
These--adherents mainly of the Democratic party--would desire that
civil war should be waged with the least possible breach of the
Constitution, and be concluded with the least possible social change;
many of them would wish to fight not to a finish but to a compromise.
On the other hand, there were those who loved liberty and hated alike
the slave system of the South and the arrogance which it had
engendered.  These--the people distinguished within the Republican
party as Radicals--would pay little heed to constitutional restraints
in repelling an attack on the Constitution, and they would wish from
the first to make avowed war upon that which caused the war--slavery.
In the border States there was of course more active sympathy with the
South, and in conflict with this the Radicalism of some of these States
became more stalwart and intractable.  To such causes of dissension was
added as time went on sheer fatigue of the war, and strangely enough
this influence was as powerful with a few Radicals as it was with the
ingrained Democratic partisans.  They despaired of the result when
success at last was imminent, and became sick of bloodshed when it
passed what they presumably regarded as a reasonable amount.

It was the task of the Administration not only to conduct the war, but
to preserve the unity of the North in spite of differences and its
resolution in spite of disappointments.  Lincoln was in more than one
way well fitted for this task.  Old experience in Illinois and Kentucky
enabled him to understand very different points of view in regard to
the cause of the South.  The new question that was now to arise about
slavery was but a particular form of the larger question of principle
to which he had long thought out an answer as firm and as definite as
it was moderate and in a sense subtle.  He had, moreover, a quality of
heart which, as it seemed to those near him, the protraction of the
conflict, with its necessary strain upon him, only strengthened.  In
him a tenacity, which scarcely could falter in the cause which he
judged to be right, was not merely pure from bitterness towards his
antagonists, it was actually bound up with a deep-seated kindliness
towards them.  Whatever rank may be assigned to his services and to his
deserts, it is first and foremost in these directions, though not in
these directions alone, that the reader of his story must look for
them.  Upon attentive study he will probably appear as the embodiment,
in a degree and manner which are alike rare, of the more constant and
the higher judgment of his people.  It is plainer still that he
embodied the resolute purpose which underlay the fluctuations upon the
surface of their political life.  The English military historians, Wood
and Edmonds, in their retrospect over the course of the war, well sum
up its dramatic aspect when they say: "Against the great military
genius of certain of the Southern leaders fate opposed the unbroken
resolution and passionate devotion to the Union, which he worshipped,
of the great Northern President.  As long as he lived, and ruled the
people of the North, there could be no turning back."

There are plenty of indications in the literature of the time that
Lincoln's determination soon began to be widely felt and to be
appreciated by common people.  Literally, crowds of people from all
parts of the North saw him, exchanged a sentence or two, and carried
home their impressions; and those who were near him record the constant
fortitude of his bearing, noting as marked exceptions the unrestrained
words of impatience and half-humorous despondency which did on rare
occasions escape him.  In a negative way, too, even the political world
bore its testimony to this; his administration was charged with almost
every other form of weakness, but there was never a suspicion that he
would give in.  Nor again, in the severest criticisms upon him by
knowledgeable men that have been unearthed and collected, does the
suggestion of petty personal aims or of anything but unselfish devotion
ever find a place.  The belief that he could be trusted spread itself
among plain people, and, given this belief, plain people liked him the
better because he was plain.  But if at the distance at which we
contemplate him, and at which from the moment of his death all America
contemplated him, certain grand traits emerge, it is not for a moment
to be supposed that in his life he stood out in front of the people as
a great leader, or indeed as a leader at all, in the manner, say, of
Chatham or even of Palmerston.  Lincoln came to Washington doubtless
with some deep thoughts which other men had not thought, doubtless also
with some important knowledge, for instance of the border States, which
many statesmen lacked, but he came there a man inexperienced in
affairs.  It was a part of his strength that he knew this very well,
that he meant to learn, thought he could learn, did not mean to be
hurried where he had not the knowledge to decide, entirely appreciated
superior knowledge in others, and was entirely unawed by it.  But
Senators and Representatives in Congress and journalists of high
standing, as a rule, perceived the inexperience and not the strength.
The deliberation with which he acted, patiently watching events, saying
little, listening to all sides, conversing with a naivete which was
genuine but not quite artless, seemingly obdurate to the pressure of
wise counsels on one side and on the other--all this struck many
anxious observers as sheer incompetence, and when there was just and
natural cause for their anxiety, there was no established presumption
of his wisdom to set against it.  And this effect was enhanced by what
may be called his plainness, his awkwardness, and actual eccentricity
in many minor matters.  To many intelligent people who met him they
were a grievous stumbling-block, and though some most cultivated men
were not at all struck by them, and were pleased instead by his
"seeming sincere, and honest, and steady," or the like, it is clear
that no one in Washington was greatly impressed by him at first
meeting.  His oddities were real and incorrigible.  Young John Hay,
whom Nicolay, his private secretary, introduced as his assistant, a
humorist like Lincoln himself, but with leanings to literary elegance
and a keen eye for social distinctions, loved him all along and came to
worship him, but irreverent amusement is to be traced in his recently
published letters, and the glimpses which he gives us of "the Ancient"
or "the Tycoon" when quite at home and quite at his ease fully justify
him.  Lincoln had great dignity and tact for use when he wanted them,
but he did not always see the use of them.  Senator Sherman was
presented to the new President.  "So you're John Sherman?" said
Lincoln.  "Let's see if you're as tall as I am.  We'll measure."  The
grave politician, who was made to stand back to back with him before
the company till this interesting question was settled, dimly perceived
that the intention was friendly, but felt that there was a lack of
ceremony.  Lincoln's height was one of his subjects of harmless vanity;
many tall men had to measure themselves against him in this manner, and
probably felt like John Sherman.  On all sorts of occasions and to all
sorts of people he would "tell a little story," which was often enough,
in Lord Lyons' phrase, an "extreme" story.  This was the way in which
he had grown accustomed to be friendly in company; it served a purpose
when intrusive questions had to be evaded, or reproofs or refusals to
be given without offence.  As his laborious and sorrowful task came to
weigh heavier upon him, his capacity for play of this sort became a
great resource to him.  As his fame became established people
recognised him as a humorist; the inevitable "little story" became to
many an endearing form of eccentricity; but we may be sure it was not
so always or to everybody.

"Those," says Carl Schurz, a political exile from Prussia, who did good
service, military and political, to the Northern cause--"those who
visited the White House--and the White House appeared to be open to
whosoever wished to enter--saw there a man of unconventional manners,
who, without the slightest effort to put on dignity, treated all men
alike, much like old neighbours; whose speech had not seldom a rustic
flavour about it; who always seemed to have time for a homely talk and
never to be in a hurry to press business; and who occasionally spoke
about important affairs of State with the same nonchalance--I might
almost say irreverence--with which he might have discussed an every-day
law case in his office at Springfield, Illinois."

Thus Lincoln was very far from inspiring general confidence in anything
beyond his good intentions.  He is remembered as a personality with a
"something" about him--the vague phrase is John Bright's--which widely
endeared him, but his was by no means that "magnetic" personality which
we might be led to believe was indispensable in America.  Indeed, it is
remarkable that to some really good judges he remained always
unimpressive.  Charles Francis Adams, who during the Civil War served
his country as well as Minister in London as his grandfather had done
after the War of Independence, lamented to the end that Seward, his
immediate chief, had to serve under an inferior man; and a more
sympathetic man, Lord Lyons, our representative at Washington, refers
to Lincoln with nothing more than an amused kindliness.  No detail of
his policy has escaped fierce criticism, and the man himself while he
lived was the subject of so much depreciation and condescending
approval, that we are forced to ask who discovered his greatness till
his death inclined them to idealise him.  The answer is that precisely
those Americans of trained intellect whose title to this description is
clearest outside America were the first who began to see beneath his
strange exterior.  Lowell, watching the course of public events with
ceaseless scrutiny; Walt Whitman, sauntering in Washington in the
intervals of the labour among the wounded by which he broke down his
robust strength, and seeing things as they passed with the sure
observation of a poet; Motley, the historian of the Dutch Republic,
studying affairs in the thick of them at the outset of the war, and not
less closely by correspondence when he went as Minister to Vienna--such
men when they praised Lincoln after his death expressed a judgment
which they began to form from the first; a judgment which started with
the recognition of his honesty, traced the evidence of his wisdom as it
appeared, gradually and not by repentant impulse learned his greatness.
And it is a judgment large enough to explain the lower estimate of
Lincoln which certainly had wide currency.  Not to multiply witnesses,
Motley in June, 1861, having seen him for the second time, writes: "I
went and had an hour's talk with Mr. Lincoln.  I am very glad of it,
for, had I not done so, I should have left Washington with a very
inaccurate impression of the President.  I am now satisfied that he is
a man of very considerable native sagacity; and that he has an
ingenuous, unsophisticated, frank, and noble character.  I believe him
to be as true as steel, and as courageous as true.  At the same time
there is doubtless an ignorance about State matters, and particularly
about foreign affairs, which he does not attempt to conceal, but which
we must of necessity regret in a man placed in such a position at such
a crisis.  Nevertheless his very modesty in this respect disarms
criticism.  We parted very affectionately, and perhaps I shall never
set eyes on him again, but I feel that, so far as perfect integrity and
directness of purpose go, the country will be safe in his hands."
Three years had passed, and the political world of America was in that
storm of general dissatisfaction in which not a member of Congress
would be known as "a Lincoln man," when Motley writes again from Vienna
to his mother, "I venerate Abraham Lincoln exactly because he is the
true, honest type of American democracy.  There is nothing of the
shabby-genteel, the would-be-but-couldn't-be fine gentleman; he is the
great American Demos, honest, shrewd, homely, wise, humorous, cheerful,
brave, blundering occasionally, but through blunders struggling onwards
towards what he believes the right."  In a later letter he observes,
"His mental abilities were large, and they became the more robust as
the more weight was imposed upon them."

This last sentence, especially if in Lincoln's mental abilities the
qualities of his character be included, probably indicates the chief
point for remark in any estimate of his presidency.  It is true that he
was judged at first as a stranger among strangers.  Walt Whitman has
described vividly a scene, with "a dash of comedy, almost farce, such
as Shakespeare puts in his blackest tragedies," outside the hotel in
New York where Lincoln stayed on his journey to Washington; "his look
and gait, his perfect composure and coolness," to cut it short, the
usually noted marks of his eccentricity, "as he stood looking with
curiosity on that immense sea of faces, and the sea of faces returned
the look with similar curiosity, not a single one" among the crowd "his
personal friend."  He was not much otherwise situated when he came to
Washington.  It is true also that in the early days he was learning his
business.  "Why, Mr. President," said some one towards the end of his
life, "you have changed your mind."  "Yes, I have," said he, "and I
don't think much of a man who isn't wiser to-day than he was
yesterday."  But it seems to be above all true that the exercise of
power and the endurance of responsibility gave him new strength.  This,
of course, cannot be demonstrated, but Americans then living, who
recall Abraham Lincoln, remark most frequently how the man grew to his
task.  And this perhaps is the main impression which the slight record
here presented will convey, the impression of a man quite unlike the
many statesmen whom power and the vexations attendant upon it have in
some piteous way spoiled and marred, a man who started by being tough
and shrewd and canny and became very strong and very wise, started with
an inclination to honesty, courage, and kindness, and became, under a
tremendous strain, honest, brave, and kind to an almost tremendous
degree.

The North then started upon the struggle with an eagerness and
unanimity from which the revulsion was to try all hearts, and the
President's most of all; and not a man in the North guessed what the
strain of that struggle was to be.  At first indeed there was alarm in
Washington for the immediate safety of the city.  Confederate flags
could be seen floating from the hotels in Alexandria across the river;
Washington itself was full of rumours of plots and intended
assassinations, and full of actual Southern spies; everything was
disorganised; and Lincoln himself, walking round one night, found the
arsenal with open doors, absolutely unguarded.

By April 20, first the Navy Yard at Gosport, in Virginia, had to be
abandoned, then the Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, and on the day of this
latter event Lee went over to the South.  One regiment from
Massachusetts, where the State authorities had prepared for war before
the fall of Sumter, was already in Washington; but it had had to fight
its way through a furious mob in Baltimore, with some loss of life on
both sides.  A deputation from many churches in that city came to the
President, begging him to desist from his bloodthirsty preparations,
but found him "constitutionally genial and jovial," and "wholly
inaccessible to Christian appeals."  It mattered more that a majority
of the Maryland Legislature was for the South, and that the Governor
temporised and requested that no more troops should pass through
Baltimore.  The Mayor of Baltimore and the railway authorities burned
railway bridges and tore up railway lines, and the telegraph wires were
cut.  Thus for about five days the direct route to Washington from the
North was barred.  It seemed as if the boast of some Southern orator
that the Confederate flag would float over the capital by May 1 might
be fulfilled.  Beauregard could have transported his now drilled troops
by rail from South Carolina and would have found Washington isolated
and hardly garrisoned.  As a matter of fact, no such daring move was
contemplated in the South, and the citizens of Richmond, Virginia, were
themselves under a similar alarm; but the South had a real opportunity.

The fall of Washington at that moment would have had political
consequences which no one realised better than Lincoln.  It might well
have led the Unionists in the border States to despair, and there is
evidence that even then he so fully realised the task which lay before
the North as to feel that the loss of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri
would have made it impossible.  He was at heart intensely anxious, and
quaintly and injudiciously relieved his feelings by the remark to the
"6th Massachusetts" that he felt as if all other help were a dream, and
they were "the only real thing."  Yet those who were with him testify
to his composure and to the vigour with which he concerted with his
Cabinet the various measures of naval, military, financial, postal, and
police preparation which the occasion required, but which need not here
be detailed.  Many of the measures of course lay outside the powers
which Congress had conferred on the public departments, but the
President had no hesitation in "availing himself," as he put it, "of
the broader powers conferred by the Constitution in cases of
insurrection," and looking for the sanction of Congress afterwards,
rather than "let the Government at once fall into ruin."  The
difficulties of government were greatly aggravated by the uncertainty
as to which of its servants, civil, naval, or military, were loyal, and
the need of rapidly filling the many posts left vacant by unexpected
desertion.  Meanwhile troops from New England, and also from New York,
which had utterly disappointed some natural expectations in the South
by the enthusiasm of its rally to the Union, quickly arrived near
Baltimore.  They repaired for themselves the interrupted railway tracks
round the city, and by April 25 enough soldiers were in Washington to
put an end to any present alarm.  In case of need, the law of "habeas
corpus" was suspended in Maryland.  The President had no wish that
unnecessary recourse should be had to martial law.  Naturally, however,
one of his generals summarily arrested a Southern recruiting agent in
Baltimore.  The ordinary law would probably have sufficed, and Lincoln
is believed to have regretted this action, but it was obvious that he
must support it when done.  Hence arose an occasion for the old Chief
Justice Taney to make a protest on behalf of legality, to which the
President, who had armed force on his side, could not give way, and
thus early began a controversy to which we must recur.  It was gravely
urged upon Lincoln that he should forcibly prevent the Legislature of
Maryland from holding a formal sitting; he refused on the sensible
ground that the legislators could assemble in some way and had better
not assemble with a real grievance in constitutional law.  Then a
strange alteration came over Baltimore.  Within three weeks all active
demonstration in favour of the South had subsided; the disaffected
Legislature resolved upon neutrality; the Governor, loyal at heart--if
the brief epithet loyal may pass, as not begging any profound legal
question--carried on affairs in the interest of the Union; postal
communication and the passage of troops were free from interruption by
the middle of May; and the pressing alarm about Maryland was over.
These incidents of the first days of war have been recounted in some
detail, because they may illustrate the gravity of the issue in the
border States, in others of which the struggle, though further removed
from observation, lasted longer; and because, too, it is well to
realise the stress of agitation under which the Government had to make
far-reaching preparation for a larger struggle, while Lincoln, whose
will was decisive in all these measures, carried on all the while that
seemingly unimportant routine of a President's life which is in the
quietest times exacting.

The alarm in Washington was only transitory, and it was generally
supposed in the North that insurrection would be easily put down.  Some
even specified the number of days necessary, agreeably fixing upon a
smaller number than the ninety days for which the militia were called
out.  Secretary Seward has been credited with language of this kind,
and even General Scott, whose political judgment was feeble, though his
military judgment was sound, seems at first to have rejected proposals,
for example, for drilling irregular cavalry, made in the expectation of
a war of some length.  There is evidence that neither Lincoln nor
Cameron, the Secretary of War, indulged in these pleasant fancies.
Irresistible public opinion, in the East especially, demanded to see
prompt activity.  The North had arisen in its might; it was for the
Administration to put forth that might, capture Richmond, to which the
Confederate Government had moved, and therewith make an end of
rebellion.  The truth was that the North had to make its army before it
could wisely advance into the assured territory of the South; the
situation of the Southern Government in this respect was precisely the
same.  The North had enough to do meantime in making sure of the States
which were still debatable ground.  Such forces as were available must
of necessity be used for this purpose, but for any larger operations of
war military considerations, especially on the side which had the
larger resources at its back, were in favour of waiting and perfecting
the instrument which was to be used.  But in the course of July the
pressure of public opinion and of Congress, which had then assembled,
overcame, not without some reason, the more cautious military view, and
on the 21st of that month the North received its first great lesson in
adversity at the battle of Bull Run.

Before recounting this disaster we may proceed with the story of the
struggle in the border States.  At an early date the rising armies of
the North had been organised into three commands, called the Department
of the Potomac, on the front between Washington and Richmond, the
Department of the Ohio, on the upper watershed of the river of that
name, and the Department of the West.  Of necessity the generals
commanding in these two more Western Departments exercised a larger
discretion than the general at Washington.  The Department of the Ohio
was under General McClellan, before the war a captain of Engineers, who
had retired from active service and had been engaged as a railway
manager, in which capacity he has already been noticed, but who had
earned a good name in the Mexican War, had been keen enough in his
profession to visit the Crimea, and was esteemed by General Scott.  The
people of West Virginia, who, as has been said, were trying to organise
themselves as a new State, adhering to the Union, were invaded by
forces despatched by the Governor of their old State.  They lay mainly
west of the mountains, and help could reach them up tributary valleys
of the Ohio.  They appealed to McClellan, and the successes quickly won
by forces despatched by him, and afterwards under his direct command,
secured West Virginia, and incidentally the reputation of McClellan.
In Kentucky, further west, the Governor endeavoured to hold the field
for the South with a body known as the State Guard, while Unionist
leaders among the people were raising volunteer regiments for the
North.  Nothing, however, was determined by fighting between these
forces.  The State Legislature at first took up an attitude of
neutrality, but a new Legislature, elected in June, was overwhelmingly
for the Union.  Ultimately the Confederate armies invaded Kentucky, and
the Legislature thereupon invited the Union armies into the State to
expel them, and placed 40,000 Kentucky volunteers at the disposal of
the President.  Thenceforward, though Kentucky, stretching as it does
for four hundred miles between the Mississippi and the Alleghanies,
remained for long a battle-ground, the allegiance of its people to the
Union was unshaken.  But the uncertainty about their attitude continued
till the autumn of 1861, and while it lasted was an important element
in Lincoln's calculations.  (It must be remembered that slavery existed
in Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri.)  In Missouri the strife of
factions was fierce.  Already in January there had been reports of a
conspiracy to seize the arsenal at St. Louis for the South when the
time came, and General Scott had placed in command Captain Nathaniel
Lyon, on whose loyalty he relied the more because he was an opponent of
slavery.  The Governor was in favour of the South--as was also the
Legislature, and the Governor could count on some part of the State
Militia; so Lincoln, when he called for volunteers, commissioned Lyon
to raise them in Missouri.  In this task a Union State Committee in St.
Louis greatly helped him, and the large German population in that city
was especially ready to enlist for the Union.  Many of the German
immigrants of those days had come to America partly for the sake of its
free institutions.  A State Convention was summoned by the Governor to
pass an Ordinance of Secession, but its electors were minded otherwise,
and the Convention voted against secession.  In several encounters
Lyon, who was an intrepid soldier, defeated the forces of the Governor;
in June he took possession of the State capital, driving the Governor
and Legislature away; the State Convention then again assembled and set
up a Unionist Government for the State.  This new State Government was
not everywhere acknowledged; conspiracies in the Southern interest
continued to exist in Missouri; and the State was repeatedly molested
by invasions, of no great military consequence, from Arkansas.  Indeed,
in the autumn there was a serious recrudescence of trouble, in which
Lyon lost his life.  But substantially Missouri was secured for the
Union.  Naturally enough, a great many of the citizens of Missouri who
had combined to save their State to the Union became among the
strongest of the "Radicals" who will later engage our attention.  Many,
however, of the leading men who had done most in this cause, including
the friends of Blair, Lincoln's Postmaster-General, adhered no less
emphatically to the "Conservative" section of the Republicans.


2. _Bull Run_.

Thus, in the autumn of 1861, North and South had become solidified into
something like two countries.  In the month of July, which now concerns
us, this process was well on its way, but it is to be marked that the
whole long tract of Kentucky still formed a neutral zone, which the
Northern Government did not wish to harass, and which perhaps the South
would have done well to let alone, while further west in Missouri the
forces of the North were not even as fully organised as in the East.
So the only possible direction in which any great blow could be struck
was the direction of Richmond, now the capital, and it might seem,
therefore, the heart, of the Confederacy.  The Confederate Congress was
to meet there on July 20.  The _New York Tribune_, which was edited by
Mr. Horace Greeley, a vigorous writer whose omniscience was unabated by
the variation of his own opinion, was the one journal of far-reaching
influence in the North; and it only gave exaggerated point to a general
feeling when it declared that the Confederate Congress must not meet.
The Senators and Congressmen now in Washington were not quite so
exacting, but they had come there unanimous in their readiness to vote
taxes and support the war in every way, and they wanted to see
something done; and they wanted it all the more because the three
months' service of the militia was running out.  General Scott, still
the chief military adviser of Government, was quite distinct in his
preference for waiting and for perfecting the discipline and
organisation of the volunteers, who had not yet even been formed into
brigades.  On the militia he set no value at all.  For long he refused
to countenance any but minor movements preparatory to a later advance.
It is not quite certain, however, that Congress and public opinion were
wrong in clamouring for action.  The Southern troops were not much, if
at all, more ready for use than the Northerners; and Jefferson Davis
and his military adviser, Lee, desired time for their defensive
preparations.  It was perhaps too much to expect that the country after
its great uprising should be content to give supplies and men without
end while nothing apparently happened; and the spirit of the troops
themselves might suffer more from inaction than from defeat.  A further
thought, while it made defeat seem more dangerous, made battle more
tempting.  There was fear that European Powers might recognise the
Southern Confederacy and enter into relations with it.  Whether they
did so depended on whether they were confirmed in their growing
suspicion that the North could not conquer the South.  Balancing the
military advice which was given them as to the risk against this
political importunity, Lincoln and his Cabinet chose the risk, and
Scott at length withdrew his opposition.  Lincoln was possibly more
sensitive to pressure than he afterwards became, more prone to treat
himself as a person under the orders of the people, but there is no
reason to doubt that he acted on his own sober judgment as well as that
of his Cabinet.  Whatever degree of confidence he reposed in Scott,
Scott was not very insistent; the risk was not overwhelming; the battle
was very nearly won, would have been won if the orders of Scott had
been carried out.  No very great harm in fact followed the defeat of
Bull Run; and the danger of inaction was real.  He was probably then,
as he certainly was afterwards, profoundly afraid that the excessive
military caution which he often encountered would destroy the cause of
the North by disheartening the people who supported the war.  That is
no doubt a kind of fear to which many statesmen are too prone, but
Lincoln's sense of real popular feeling throughout the wide extent of
the North is agreed to have been uncommonly sure.  Definite judgment on
such a question is impossible, but probably Lincoln and his Cabinet
were wise.

However, they did not win their battle.  The Southern army under
Beauregard lay near the Bull Run river, some twenty miles from
Washington, covering the railway junction of Manassas on the line to
Richmond.  The main Northern army, under General McDowell, a capable
officer, lay south of the Potomac, where fortifications to guard
Washington had already been erected on Virginian soil.  In the
Shenandoah Valley was another Southern force, under Joseph Johnston,
watched by the Northern general Patterson at Harper's Ferry, which had
been recovered by Scott's operations.  Each of these Northern generals
was in superior force to his opponent.  McDowell was to attack the
Confederate position at Manassas, while Patterson, whose numbers were
nearly double Johnston's, was to keep him so seriously occupied that he
could not join Beauregard.  With whatever excuse of misunderstanding or
the like, Patterson made hardly an attempt to carry out his part of
Scott's orders, and Johnston, with the bulk of his force, succeeded in
joining Beauregard the day before McDowell's attack, and without his
gaining knowledge of this movement.  The battle of Bull Run or Manassas
(or rather the earlier and more famous of two battles so named) was an
engagement of untrained troops in which up to a certain point the high
individual quality of those troops supplied the place of discipline.
McDowell handled with good judgment a very unhandy instrument.  It was
only since his advance had been contemplated that his army had been
organised in brigades.  The enemy, occupying high wooded banks on the
south side of the Bull Run, a stream about as broad as the Thames at
Oxford but fordable, was successfully pushed back to a high ridge
beyond; but the stubborn attacks over difficult ground upon this
further position failed from lack of co-ordination, and, when it
already seemed doubtful whether the tired soldiers of the North could
renew them with any hope, they were themselves attacked on their right
flank.  It seems that from that moment their success upon that day was
really hopeless, but some declare that the Northern soldiers with one
accord became possessed of a belief that this flank attack by a
comparatively small body was that of the whole force of Johnston,
freshly arrived upon the scene.  In any case they spontaneously retired
in disorder; they were not effectively pursued, but McDowell was unable
to rally them at Centreville, a mile or so behind the Bull Run.  Among
the camp followers the panic became extreme, and they pressed into
Washington in wild alarm, accompanied by citizens and Congressmen who
had come out to see a victory, and who left one or two of their number
behind as prisoners of war.  The result was a surprise to the Southern
army.  Johnston, who now took over the command, declared that it was as
much disorganised by victory as the Northern army by defeat.  With the
full approval of his superiors in Richmond, he devoted himself to
entrenching his position at Manassas.  But in Washington, where rumours
of victory had been arriving all through the day of battle, there
prevailed for some time an impression that the city was exposed to
immediate capture, and this impression was shared by McClellan, to whom
universal opinion now turned as the appointed saviour, and who was
forthwith summoned to Washington to take command of the army of the
Potomac.

Within the circle of the Administration there was, of course, deep
mortification.  Old General Scott passionately declared himself to have
been the greatest coward in America in having ever given way to the
President's desire for action.  Lincoln, who was often to prove his
readiness to take blame on his own shoulders, evidently thought that
the responsibility in this case was shared by Scott, and demanded to
know whether Scott accused him of having overborne his judgment.  The
old general warmly, if a little ambiguously, replied that he had served
under many Presidents, but never known a kinder master.  Plainly he
felt that his better judgment had somehow been overpowered, and yet
that there was nothing in their relations for which in his heart he
could blame the President; and this trivial dialogue is worth
remembering during the dreary and controversial tale of Lincoln's
relations with Scott's successor.  Lincoln, however bitterly
disappointed, showed no signs of discomposure or hesitancy.  The
business of making the army of the Potomac quietly began over again.
To the four days after Bull Run belongs one of the few records of the
visits to the troops which Lincoln constantly paid when they were not
too far from Washington, cheering them with little talks which served a
good purpose without being notable.  He was reviewing the brigade
commanded at Bull Run by William Sherman, later, but not yet, one of
the great figures in the war.  He was open to all complaints, and a
colonel of militia came to him with a grievance; he claimed that his
term of service had already expired, that he had intended to go home,
but that Sherman unlawfully threatened to shoot him if he did so.
Lincoln had a good look at Sherman, and then advised the colonel to
keep out of Sherman's way, as he looked like a man of his word.  This
was said in the hearing of many men, and Sherman records his lively
gratitude for a simple jest which helped him greatly in keeping his
brigade in existence.

Not one of the much more serious defeats suffered later in the war
produced by itself so lively a sense of discomfiture in the North as
this; thus none will equally claim our attention.  But, except for the
first false alarms in Washington, there was no disposition to mistake
its military significance.  The "second uprising of the North," which
followed upon this bracing shock, left as vivid a memory as the little
disaster of Bull Run.  But there was of necessity a long pause while
McClellan remodelled the army in the East, and the situation in the
West was becoming ripe for important movements.  The eagerness of the
Northern people to make some progress, again asserted itself before
long, but to their surprise, and perhaps to that of a reader to-day,
the last five months of 1861 passed without notable military events.
Here then we may turn to the progress of other affairs, departmental
affairs, foreign affairs, and domestic policy, which, it must not be
forgotten, had pressed heavily upon the Administration from the moment
that war began.


3. _Lincoln's Administration Generally_.

Long before the Eastern public was very keenly aware of Lincoln the
members of his Cabinet had come to think of the Administration as his
Administration, some, like Seward, of whom it could have been little
expected, with a loyal, and for America most fortunate, acceptance of
real subordination, and one at least, Chase, with indignant surprise
that his own really great abilities were not dominant.  One Minister
early told his friends that there was but one vote in the Cabinet, the
President's.  This must not be taken in the sense that Lincoln's
personal guidance was present in every department.  He had his own
department, concerned with the maintenance of Northern unity and with
that great underlying problem of internal policy which will before long
appear again, and the business of the War Department was so immediately
vital as to require his ceaseless attention; but in other matters the
degree and manner of his control of course varied.  Again, it is far
from being the case that the Cabinet had little influence on his
action.  He not only consulted it much, but deferred to it much.  His
wisdom seems to have shown itself in nothing more strongly than in
recognising when he wanted advice and when he did not, when he needed
support and when he could stand alone.  Sometimes he yielded to his
Ministers because he valued their judgment, sometimes also because he
gauged by them the public support without which his action must fail.
Sometimes, when he was sure of the necessity, he took grave steps
without advice from them or any one.  More often he tried to arrive
with them at a real community of decision.  It is often impossible to
guess what acts of an Administration are rightly credited to its chief.
The hidden merit or demerit of many statesmen has constantly lain in
the power, or the lack of it, of guiding their colleagues and being
guided in turn.  If we tried to be exact in saying Lincoln, or
Lincoln's Cabinet, or the North did this or that, it would be necessary
to thresh out many bushels of tittle-tattle.  The broad impression,
however, remains that in the many things in which Lincoln did not
directly rule he ruled through a group of capable men of whom he made
the best use, and whom no other chief could have induced to serve so
long in concord.  As we proceed some authentic examples of his precise
relations with them will appear, in which, unimportant as they seem,
one test of his quality as a statesman and of his character should be
sought.

The naval operations of the war afford many tales of daring on both
sides which cannot here be noticed.  They afford incidents of strange
interest now, such as the exploit of the first submarine.  (It belonged
to the South; its submersion invariably resulted in the death of the
whole crew; and, with full knowledge of this, a devoted crew went down
and destroyed a valuable Northern iron-clad.)  The ravages on commerce
of the _Alabama_ and some other Southern cruisers became only too
famous in England, from whose ship-building yards they had escaped.
The North failed too in some out of the fairly numerous combined naval
and military expeditions, which were undertaken with a view to making
the blockade more complete and less arduous by the occupation of
Southern ports, and perhaps to more serious incursions into the South.
Among those of them which will require no special notice, most
succeeded.  Thus by the spring of 1863 Florida was substantially in
Northern hands, and by 1865 the South had but two ports left,
Charleston and Wilmington; but the venture most attractive to Northern
sentiment, an attack upon Charleston itself, proved a mere waste of
military force.  Moreover, till a strong military adviser was at last
found in Grant there was some dissipation of military force in such
expeditions.  Nevertheless, the naval success of the North was so
continuous and overwhelming that its history in detail need not be
recounted in these pages.  Almost from the first the ever-tightening
grip of the blockade upon the Southern coasts made its power felt, and
early in 1862 the inland waterways of the South were beginning to fall
under the command of the Northern flotillas.  Such a success needed, of
course, the adoption of a decided policy from the outset; it needed
great administrative ability to improvise a navy where hardly any
existed, and where the conditions of its employment were in many
respects novel; and it needed resourceful watching to meet the
surprises of fresh naval invention by which the South, poor as were its
possibilities for ship-building, might have rendered impotent, as once
or twice it seemed likely to do, the Northern blockade.  Gideon Welles,
the responsible Cabinet Minister, was constant and would appear to have
been capable at his task, but the inspiring mind of the Naval
Department was found in Gustavus V. Fox, a retired naval officer, who
at the beginning of Lincoln's administration was appointed Assistant
Secretary of the Navy.  The policy of blockade was begun by Lincoln's
Proclamation on April 19, 1861.  It was a hardy measure, certain to be
a cause of friction with foreign Powers.  The United States Government
had contended in 1812 that a blockade which is to confer any rights
against neutral commerce must be an effective blockade, and has not
lately been inclined to take lax views upon such questions; but when it
declared its blockade of the South it possessed only three steamships
of war with which to make it effective.  But the policy was stoutly
maintained.  The Naval Department at the very first set about buying
merchant ships in Northern ports and adapting them to warlike use, and
building ships of its own, in the design of which it shortly obtained
the help of a Commission of Congress on the subject of ironclads.  The
Naval Department had at least the fullest support and encouragement
from Lincoln in the whole of its policy.  Everything goes to show that
he followed naval affairs carefully, but that, as he found them
conducted on sound lines by men that he trusted, his intervention in
them was of a modest kind.  Welles continued throughout the member of
his Cabinet with whom he had the least friction, and was probably one
of those Ministers, common in England, who earn the confidence of their
own departments without in any way impressing the imagination of the
public; and a letter by Lincoln to Fox immediately after the affair of
Fort Sumter shows the hearty esteem and confidence with which from the
first he regarded Fox.  Of the few slight records of his judgment in
these matters one is significant.  The unfortunate expedition against
Charleston in the spring of 1863 was undertaken with high hopes by the
Naval Department; but Lincoln, we happen to know, never believed it
could succeed.  He has, rightly or wrongly, been blamed for dealings
with his military officers in which he may be said to have spurred them
hard; he cannot reasonably be blamed for giving the rein to his expert
subordinates, because his own judgment, which differed from theirs,
turned out right.  This is one of very many instances which suggest
that at the time when his confidence in himself was full grown his
disposition, if any, to interfere was well under control.  It is also
one of the indications that his attention was alert in many matters in
which his hand was not seen.

He was no financier, and that important part of the history of the war,
Northern finance, concerns us little.  The real economic strength of
the North was immense, for immigration and development were going on so
fast, that, for all the strain of the war, production and exports
increased.  But the superficial disturbance caused by borrowing and the
issue of paper money was great, and, though the North never bore the
pinching that was endured in the South, it is an honourable thing that,
for all the rise in the cost of living and for all the trouble that
occurred in business when the premium on gold often fluctuated between
40 and 60 and on one occasion rose to 185, neither the solid working
class of the country generally nor the solid business class of New York
were deeply affected by the grumbling at the duration of the war.  The
American verdict upon the financial policy of Chase, a man of intellect
but new to such affairs, is one of high praise.  Lincoln left him free
in that policy.  He had watched the acts and utterances of his chief
contemporaries closely and early acquired a firm belief in Chase's
ability.  How much praise is due to the President, who for this reason
kept Chase in his Cabinet, a later part of this story may show.

One function of Government was that of the President alone.  An English
statesman is alleged to have said upon becoming Prime Minister, "I had
important and interesting business in my old office, but now my chief
duty will be to create undeserving Peers."  Lincoln, in the anxious
days that followed his first inauguration, once looked especially
harassed; a Senator said to him: "What is the matter, Mr. President?
Is there bad news from Fort Sumter?"  "Oh, no," he answered, "it's the
Post Office at Baldinsville."  The patronage of the President was
enormous, including the most trifling offices under Government, such as
village postmasterships.  In the appointment to local offices, he was
expected to consult the local Senators and Representatives of his own
party, and of course to choose men who had worked for the party.  In
the vast majority of cases decent competence for the office in the
people so recommended might be presumed.  The established practice
further required that a Republican President on coming in should
replace with good Republicans most of the nominees of the late
Democratic administration, which had done the like in its day.
Lincoln's experience after a while led him to prophesy that the
prevalence of office-seeking would be the ruin of American politics,
but it certainly never occurred to him to try and break down then the
accepted rule, of which no party yet complained.  It would have been
unmeasured folly, even if he had thought of it, to have taken during
such a crisis a new departure which would have vexed the Republicans
far more than it would have pleased the Democrats.  And at that time it
was really of great consequence that public officials should be men of
known loyalty to the Union, for obviously a postmaster of doubtful
loyalty might do mischief.  Lincoln, then, except in dealing with posts
of special consequence, for which men with really special
qualifications were to be found, frankly and without a question took as
the great principle of his patronage the fairest possible distribution
of favours among different classes and individuals among the supporters
of the Government, whom it was his primary duty to keep together.  His
attitude in the whole business was perfectly understood and respected
by scrupulous men who watched politics critically.  It was the cause in
one way of great worry to him, for, except when his indignation was
kindled, he was abnormally reluctant to say "no,"--he once shuddered to
think what would have happened to him if he had been a woman, but was
consoled by the thought that his ugliness would have been a shield; and
his private secretaries accuse him of carrying out his principle with
needless and even ridiculous care.  In appointments to which the party
principle did not apply, but in which an ordinary man would have felt
party prejudice, Lincoln's old opponents were often startled by his
freedom from it.  If jobbery be the right name for his persistent
endeavour to keep the partisans of the Union pleased and united, his
jobbery proved to have one shining attribute of virtue; later on, when,
apart from the Democratic opposition which revived, there arose in the
Republican party sections hostile to himself, the claims of personal
adherence to him and the wavering prospects of his own reelection seem,
from recorded instances, to have affected his choice remarkably little.


4. _Foreign Policy and England_.

The question, what was his influence upon foreign policy, is more
difficult than the general praise bestowed upon it might lead us to
expect; because, though he is known to have exercised a constant
supervision over Seward, that influence was concealed from the
diplomatic world.

For at least the first eighteen months of the war, apart from lesser
points of quarrel, a real danger of foreign intervention hung over the
North.  The danger was increased by the ambitions of Napoleon III. in
regard to Mexico, and by the loss and suffering caused to England,
above all, not merely from the interruption of trade but from the
suspension of cotton supplies by the blockade.  From the first there
was the fear that foreign powers would recognise the Southern
Confederacy as an independent country; that they were then likely to
offer mediation which it would at the best have been embarrassing for
the President to reject; that they might ultimately, when their
mediation had been rejected, be tempted to active intervention.  It is
curious that the one European Government which was recognised all along
as friendly to the Republic was that of the Czar, Alexander II. of
Russia, who in this same year, 1861, was accomplishing the project,
bequeathed to him by his father, of emancipating the serfs.  Mercier,
the French Minister in Washington, advised his Government to recognise
the South Confederacy as early as March, 1861.  The Emperor of the
French, though not the French people, inclined throughout to this
policy; but he would not act apart from England, and the English
Government, though Americans did not know it, had determined, and for
the present was quite resolute, against any hasty action.  Nevertheless
an almost accidental cause very soon brought England and the North
within sight of a war from which neither people was in appearance
averse.

Neither the foreign policy of Lincoln's Government nor, indeed, the
relations of England and America from his day to our own can be
understood without some study of the attitude of the two countries to
each other during the war.  If we could put aside any previous judgment
on the cause as between North and South, there are still some marked
features in the attitude of England during the war which every
Englishman must now regret.  It should emphatically be added that there
were some upon which every Englishman should look back with
satisfaction.  Many of the expressions of English opinion at that time
betray a powerlessness to comprehend another country and a
self-sufficiency in judging it, which, it may humbly be claimed, were
not always and are not now so characteristic of Englishmen as they were
in that period of our history, in many ways so noble, which we
associate with the rival influences of Palmerston and of Cobden.  It is
not at all surprising that ordinary English gentlemen started with a
leaning towards the South; they liked Southerners and there was much in
the manners of the North, and in the experiences of Englishmen trading
with or investing in the North, which did not impress them favourably.
Many Northerners discovered something snobbish and unsound in this
preference, but they were not quite right.  With this leaning,
Englishmen readily accepted the plea of the South that it was
threatened with intolerable interference; indeed to this day it is
hardly credible to Englishmen that the grievance against which the
South arose in such passionate revolt was so unsubstantial as it really
was.  On the other hand, the case of the North was not apprehended.
How it came to pass, in the intricate and usually uninteresting play of
American politics, that a business community, which had seemed pretty
tolerant of slavery, was now at war on some point which was said to be
and said not to be slavery, was a little hard to understand.  Those of
us who remember our parents' talk of the American Civil War did not
hear from them the true and fairly simple explanation of the war, that
the North fought because it refused to connive further in the extension
of slavery, and would not--could not decently--accept the disruption of
a great country as the alternative.  It is strictly true that the
chivalrous South rose in blind passion for a cause at the bottom of
which lay the narrowest of pecuniary interests, while the over-sharp
Yankees, guided by a sort of comic backwoodsman, fought, whether wisely
or not, for a cause as untainted as ever animated a nation in arms.
But it seems a paradox even now, and there is no reproach in the fact,
that our fathers, who had not followed the vacillating course of
Northern politics hitherto, did not generally take it in.  We shall see
in a later chapter how Northern statesmanship added to their
perplexity.  But it is impossible not to be ashamed of some of the
forms in which English feeling showed itself and was well known in the
North to show itself.  Not only the articles of some English
newspapers, but the private letters of Americans who then found
themselves in the politest circles in London, are unpleasant to read
now.  It is painful, too, that a leader of political thought like
Cobden should even for a little while--and it was only a little
while--have been swayed in such a matter by a sympathy relatively so
petty as agreement with the Southern doctrine of Free Trade.  We might
now call it worthier of Prussia than of England that a great Englishman
like Lord Salisbury (then Lord Robert Cecil) should have expressed
friendship for the South as a good customer of ours, and antagonism for
the North as a rival in our business.  When such men as these said such
things they were, of course, not brutally indifferent to right, they
were merely blind to the fact that a very great and plain issue of
right and wrong was really involved in the war.  Gladstone, to take
another instance, was not blind to that, but with irritating
misapprehension he protested against the madness of plunging into war
to propagate the cause of emancipation.  Then came in his love of small
states, and from his mouth, while he was a Cabinet Minister, came the
impulsive pronouncement, bitterly regretted by him and bitterly
resented in the North: "Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South
have made an army; they are making, it appears, a navy; and they have
made--what is more than either--they have made a nation."  Many other
Englishmen simply sympathised with the weaker side; many too, it should
be confessed, with the apparently weaker side which they were really
persuaded would win.  ("Win the battles," said Lord Robert Cecil to a
Northern lady, "and we Tories shall come round at once.")  These things
are recalled because their natural effect in America has to be
understood.  What is really lamentable is not that in this distant and
debatable affair the sympathy of so many inclined to the South, but
that, when at least there was a Northern side, there seemed at first to
be hardly any capable of understanding or being stirred by it.  Apart
from politicians there were only two Englishmen of the first rank,
Tennyson and Darwin, who, whether or not they understood the matter in
detail, are known to have cared from their hearts for the Northern
cause.  It is pleasant to associate with these greater names that of
the author of "Tom Brown."  The names of those hostile to the North or
apparently quite uninterested are numerous and surprising.  Even
Dickens, who had hated slavery, and who in "Martin Chuzzlewit" had
appealed however bitterly to the higher national spirit which he
thought latent in America, now, when that spirit had at last and in
deed asserted itself, gave way in his letters to nothing but hatred of
the whole country.  And a disposition like this--explicable but
odious--did no doubt exist in the England of those days.

There is, however, quite another aspect of this question besides that
which has so painfully impressed many American memories.  When the
largest manufacturing industry of England was brought near to famine by
the blockade, the voice of the stricken working population was loudly
and persistently uttered on the side of the North.  There has been no
other demonstration so splendid of the spirit which remains widely
diffused among individual English working men and which at one time
animated labour as a concentrated political force.  John Bright, who
completely grasped the situation in America, took a stand, in which J.
S. Mill, W. E. Forster, and the Duke of Argyll share his credit, but
which did peculiar and great honour to him as a Quaker who hated war.
But there is something more that must be said.  The conduct of the
English Government, supported by the responsible leaders of the
Opposition, was at that time, no less than now, the surest indication
of the more deep-seated feelings of the real bulk of Englishmen on any
great question affecting our international relations; and the attitude
of the Government, in which Lord Palmerston was Prime Minister and Lord
John Russell Foreign Secretary, and with which in this matter
Conservative leaders like Disraeli and Sir Stafford Northcote entirely
concurred, was at the very least free from grave reproach.  Lord John
Russell, and, there can be little doubt, his colleagues generally,
regarded slavery as an "accursed institution," but they felt no anger
with the people of the South for it, because, as he said, "we gave them
that curse and ours were the hands from which they received that fatal
gift"; in Lord John at least the one overmastering sentiment upon the
outbreak of the war was that of sheer pain that "a great Republic,
which has enjoyed institutions under which the people have been free
and happy, is placed in jeopardy."  Their insight into American affairs
did not go deep; but the more seriously we rate "the strong antipathy
to the North, the strong sympathy with the South, and the passionate
wish to have cotton," of which a Minister, Lord Granville, wrote at the
time, the greater is the credit due both to the Government as a whole
and to Disraeli for having been conspicuously unmoved by these
considerations; and "the general approval from Parliament, the press,
and the public," which, as Lord Granville added, their policy received,
is creditable too.  It is perfectly true, as will be seen later, that
at one dark moment in the fortunes of the North, the Government very
cautiously considered the possibility of intervention, but Disraeli, to
whom a less patriotic course would have offered a party advantage,
recalled to them their own better judgment; and it is impossible to
read their correspondence on this question without perceiving that in
this they were actuated by no hostility to the North, but by a sincere
belief that the cause of the North was hopeless and that intervention,
with a view to stopping bloodshed, might prove the course of honest
friendship to all America.  Englishmen of a later time have become
deeply interested in America, and may wish that their fathers had
better understood the great issue of the Civil War, but it is matter
for pride, which in honesty should be here asserted, that with many
selfish interests in this contest, of which they were most keenly
aware, Englishmen, in their capacity as a nation, acted with complete
integrity.

But for our immediate purpose the object of thus reviewing a subject on
which American historians have lavished much research is to explain the
effect produced in America by demonstrations of strong antipathy and
sympathy in England.  The effect in some ways has been long lasting.
The South caught at every mark of sympathy with avidity, was led by its
politicians to expect help, received none, and became resentful.  It is
surprising to be told, but may be true, that the embers of this
resentment became dangerous to England in the autumn of 1914.  In the
North the memory of an antipathy which was almost instantly perceived
has burnt deep--as many memoirs, for instance those recently published
by Senator Lodge, show--into the minds of precisely those Americans to
whom Englishmen have ever since been the readiest to accord their
esteem.  There were many men in the North with a ready-made dislike of
England, but there were many also whose sensitiveness to English
opinion, if in some ways difficult for us to appreciate, was intense.
Republicans such as James Russell Lowell had writhed under the
reproaches cast by Englishmen upon the acquiescence of all America in
slavery; they felt that the North had suddenly cut off this reproach
and staked everything on the refusal to give way to slavery any
further; they looked now for expressions of sympathy from many quarters
in England; but in the English newspapers which they read and the
reports of Americans in England they found evidence of nothing but
dislike.  There soon came evidence, as it seemed to the whole North, of
actually hostile action on the part of the British Government.  It
issued a Proclamation enjoining neutrality upon British subjects.  This
was a matter of course on the outbreak of what was nothing less than
war; but Northerners thought that at least some courteous explanation
should first have been made to their Government, and there were other
matters which they misinterpreted as signs of an agreement of England
with France to go further and open diplomatic relations with the
Confederate Government.  Thus alike in the most prejudiced and in the
most enlightened quarters in the North there arose an irritation which
an Englishman must see to have been natural but can hardly think to
have been warranted by the real facts.

Here came in the one clearly known and most certainly happy
intervention of Lincoln's in foreign affairs.  Early in May Seward
brought to him the draft of a vehement despatch, telling the British
Government peremptorily what the United States would not stand, and
framed in a manner which must have frustrated any attempt by Adams in
London to establish good relations with Lord John Russell.  That draft
now exists with the alterations made in Lincoln's own hand.  With a few
touches, some of them very minute, made with the skill of a master of
language and of a life-long peacemaker, he changed the draft into a
firm but entirely courteous despatch.  In particular, instead of
requiring Adams, as Seward would have done, to read the whole despatch
to Russell and leave him with a copy of it, he left it to the man on
the spot to convey its sense in what manner he judged best.  Probably,
as has been claimed for him, his few penstrokes made peaceful relations
easy when Seward's despatch would have made them almost impossible;
certainly a study of this document will prove both his strange,
untutored diplomatic skill and the general soundness of his view of
foreign affairs.

Now, however, followed a graver crisis in which his action requires
some discussion.  Messrs. Mason and Slidell were sent by the
Confederate Government as their emissaries to England and France.  They
got to Havana and there took ship again on the British steamer _Trent_.
A watchful Northern sea captain overhauled the _Trent_, took Mason and
Slidell off her, and let her go.  If he had taken the course, far more
inconvenient to the _Trent_, of bringing her into a Northern harbour,
where a Northern Prize Court might have adjudged these gentlemen to be
bearers of enemy despatches, he would have been within the law.  As it
was he violated well-established usage, and no one has questioned the
right and even the duty of the British Government to demand the release
of the prisoners.  This they did in a note of which the expression was
made milder by the wish of the Queen (conveyed in almost the last
letter of the Prince Consort), but which required compliance within a
fortnight.  Meanwhile Secretary Welles had approved the sea captain's
action.  The North was jubilant at the capture, the more so because
Mason and Slidell were Southern statesmen of the lower type and held to
be specially obnoxious; and the House of Representatives, to make
matters worse, voted its approval of what had been done.  Lincoln, on
the very day when the news of the capture came, had seen and said
privately that on the principles which America had itself upheld in the
past the prisoners would have to be given up with an apology.  But
there is evidence that he now wavered, and that, bent as he was on
maintaining a united North, he was still too distrustful of his own
better judgment as against that of the public.  At this very time he
was already on other points in painful conflict with many friends.  In
any case he submitted to Seward a draft despatch making the ill-judged
proposal of arbitration.  He gave way to Seward, but at the Cabinet
meeting on Christmas Eve, at which Seward submitted a despatch yielding
to the British demand, it is reported that Lincoln, as well as Chase
and others, was at first reluctant to agree, and that it was Bates and
Seward that persuaded the Cabinet to a just and necessary surrender.

This was the last time that there was serious friction in the actual
intercourse of the two Governments.  The lapse of Great Britain in
allowing the famous _Alabama_ to sail was due to delay and misadventure
("week-ends" or the like) in the proceedings of subordinate officials,
and was never defended, and the numerous minor controversies that
arose, as well as the standing disagreement as to the law of blockade
never reached the point of danger.  For all this great credit was due
to Lord Lyons and to C. F. Adams, and to Seward also, when he had a
little sobered down, but it might seem as if the credit commonly given
to Lincoln by Americans rested on little but the single happy
performance with the earlier despatch which has been mentioned.  Adams
and Lyons were not aware of his beneficent influence--the papers of the
latter contain little reference to him beyond a kindly record of a
trivial conversation, at the end of which, as the Ambassador was going
for a holiday to England, the President said, "Tell the English people
I mean them no harm."  Yet it is evident that Lincoln's supporters in
America, the writer of the Biglow Papers, for instance, ascribed to him
a wise, restraining power in the _Trent_ dispute.  What is more,
Lincoln later claimed this for himself.  Two or three years later, in
one of the confidences with which he often startled men who were but
slight acquaintances, but who generally turned out worthy of
confidence, he exclaimed with emphatic self-satisfaction, "Seward knows
that I am his master," and recalled with satisfaction how he had forced
Seward to yield to England in the _Trent_ affair.  It would have been
entirely unlike him to claim praise when it was wholly undue to him; we
find him, for example, writing to Fox, of the Navy Department, about "a
blunder which was probably in part mine, and certainly was not yours";
so that a puzzling question arises here.  It is quite possible that
Lincoln, who did not press his proposal of arbitration, really
manoeuvred Seward and the Cabinet into full acceptance of the British
demands by making them see the consequences of any other action.  It is
also, however, likely enough that, being, as he was, interested in
arbitration generally, he was too inexperienced to see the
inappropriateness of the proposal in this case.  If so, we may none the
less credit him with having forced Seward to work for peace and
friendly relations with Great Britain, and made that minister the
agent, more skilful than himself, of a peaceful resolution which in its
origin was his own.


5. _The Great Questions of Domestic Policy_.

The larger questions of civil policy which arose out of the fact of the
war, and which weighed heavily on Lincoln before the end of 1861, can
be related with less intricate detail if the fundamental point of
difficulty is made clear.

Upon July 4 Congress met.  In an able Message which was a skilful but
simple appeal not only to Congress, but to the "plain people," the
President set forth the nature of the struggle as he conceived it,
putting perhaps in its most powerful form the contention that the Union
was indissoluble, and declaring that the "experiment" of "our popular
government" would have failed once for all if it did not prove that
"when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no
successful appeal back to bullets."  He recounted the steps which he
had taken since the bombardment of Fort Sumter, some of which might be
held to exceed his constitutional authority as indeed they did, saying
he would have been false to his trust if for fear of such illegality he
had let the whole Constitution perish, and asking that, if necessary,
Congress should ratify them.  He appealed to Congress now to do its
part, and especially he appealed for such prompt and adequate provision
of money and men as would enable the war to be speedily brought to a
close.  Congress, with but a few dissentient voices, chiefly from the
border States, approved all that he had done, and voted the supplies
that he had asked.  Then, by a resolution of both Houses, it defined
the object of the war; the war was not for any purpose of conquest or
subjugation, or of "overthrowing or interfering with the rights or
established institutions" of the Southern States; it was solely "to
preserve the Union with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the
several States unimpaired."

In this resolution may be found the clue to the supreme political
problem with which, side by side with the conduct of the war, Lincoln
was called upon to grapple unceasingly for the rest of his life.  That
problem lay in the inevitable change, as the war dragged on, of the
political object involved in it.  The North as yet was not making war
upon the institutions of Southern States, in other words upon slavery,
and it would have been wrong to do so.  It was simply asserting the
supremacy of law by putting down what every man in the North regarded
as rebellion.  That rebellion, it seemed likely, would completely
subside after a decisive defeat or two of the Southern forces.  The law
and the Union would then have been restored as before.  A great victory
would in fact have been won over slavery, for the policy of restricting
its further spread would have prevailed, but the constitutional right
of each Southern State to retain slavery within its borders was not to
be denied by those who were fighting, as they claimed, for the
Constitution.

Such at first was the position taken up by an unanimous Congress.  It
was obviously in accord with those political principles of Lincoln
which have been examined in a former chapter.  More than that, it was
the position which, as he thought, his official duty as President
imposed on him.  It is exceedingly difficult for any Englishman to
follow his course as the political situation developed.  He was neither
a dictator, nor an English Prime Minister.  He was first and foremost
an elected officer with powers and duties prescribed by a fixed
Constitution which he had sworn to obey.  His oath was continually
present to his mind.

He was there to uphold the Union and the laws, with just so much
infraction of the letter of the law, and no more, as might be obviously
necessary if the Union and the whole fabric of law were not to perish.

The mere duration of the war altered of necessity the policy of the
North and of the President.  Their task had presented itself as in
theory the "suppression of an unlawful combination" within their
country; it became in manifest fact the reabsorption of a country now
hostile, with which reunion was possible only if slavery, the
fundamental cause of difference, was uprooted.

As the hope of a speedy victory and an easy settlement vanished, wide
differences of opinion appeared again in the North, and the lines on
which this cleavage proceeded very soon showed themselves.  There were
those who gladly welcomed the idea of a crusade against slavery, and
among them was an unreasonable section of so-called Radicals.  These
resented that delay in a policy of wholesale liberation which was
enforced by legal and constitutional scruples, and by such practical
considerations as the situation in the slave States which adhered to
the North.  There was, on the other hand, a Democratic party Opposition
which before long began to revive.  It combined many shades of opinion.
There were supporters or actual agents of the South, few at first and
very quiet, but ultimately developing a treasonable activity.  There
were those who constituted themselves the guardians of legality and
jealously criticised all the measures of emergency which became more or
less necessary.  Of the bulk of the Democrats it would probably be fair
to say that their conscious intention throughout was to be true to the
Union, but that throughout they were beset by a respect for Southern
rights which would have gone far to paralyse the arm of the Government.
Lastly, there were Republicans, by no means in sympathy with the
Democratic view, who became suspect to their Radical fellows and were
vaguely classed together as Conservatives.  This term may be taken to
cover men simply of moderate and cautious, or in some cases, of
variable disposition, but it included, too, some men who, while
rigorous against the South, were half-hearted in their detestation of
slavery.

So far as Lincoln's private opinions were concerned, it would have been
impossible to rank him in any of these sections.  He had as strong a
sympathy with the Southern people as any Democrat, but he was for the
restoration of the Union absolutely and without compromise.  He was the
most cautious of men, but his caution veiled a detestation of slavery
of which he once said that he could not remember the time when he had
not felt it.  It was his business, so far as might be, to retain the
support of all sections in the North to the Union.  In the course, full
of painful deliberation, which we shall see him pursuing, he tried to
be guided by a two-fold principle which he constantly avowed.  The
Union was to be restored with as few departures from the ways of the
Constitution as was possible; but such departures became his duty
whenever he was thoroughly convinced that they were needful for the
restoration of the Union.

Before the war was four months old, the inevitable subject of dispute
between Northern parties had begun to trouble Lincoln.  As soon as a
Northern force set foot on Southern soil slaves were apt to escape to
it, and the question arose, what should the Northern general do with
them, for he was not there to make war on the private property of
Southern citizens.  General Butler--a newspaper character of some fame
or notoriety throughout the war--commanded at Fort Monroe, a point on
the coast of Virginia which was always held by the North.  He learnt
that the slaves who fled to him had been employed on making
entrenchments for the Southern troops, so he adopted a view, which took
the fancy of the North, that they were "contraband of war," and should
be kept from their owners.  The circumstances in which slaves could
thus escape varied so much that great discretion must be left to the
general on the spot, and the practice of generals varied.  Lincoln was
well content to leave the matter so.  Congress, however, passed an Act
by which private property could be confiscated, if used in aid of the
"insurrection" but not otherwise, and slaves were similarly dealt with.
This moderate provision as to slaves met with a certain amount of
opposition; it raised an alarming question in slave States like
Missouri that had not seceded.  Lincoln himself seems to have been
averse to any legislation on the subject.  He had deliberately
concentrated his mind, or, as his critics would have said, narrowed it
down to the sole question of maintaining the Union, and was resolved to
treat all other questions as subordinate to this.

Shortly after, there reappeared upon the political scene a leader with
what might seem a more sympathetic outlook.  This was Fremont,
Lincoln's predecessor as the Republican candidate for the Presidency.
Fremont was one of those men who make brilliant and romantic figures in
their earlier career, and later appear to have lost all solid
qualities.  It must be recalled that, though scarcely a professional
soldier (for he had held a commission, but served only in the Ordnance
Survey) he had conducted a great exploring expedition, had seen
fighting as a free-lance in California, and, it is claimed, had with
his handful of men done much to win that great State from Mexico.  Add
to this that he, a Southerner by birth, was known among the leaders who
had made California a free State, and it is plain how appropriate it
must have seemed when he was set to command the Western Department,
which for the moment meant Missouri.  Here by want of competence, and,
which was more surprising, lethargy he had made a present of some
successes to a Southern invading force, and had sacrificed the
promising life of General Lyon.  Lincoln, loath to remove him, had made
a good effort at helping him out by tactfully persuading a more
experienced general to serve as a subordinate on his staff.  At the end
of August Fremont suddenly issued a proclamation establishing martial
law throughout Missouri.  This contained other dangerous provisions,
but above all it liberated the slaves and confiscated the whole
property of all persons proved (before Court Martial) to have taken
active part with the enemy in the field.  It is obvious that such a
measure was liable to shocking abuse, that it was certain to infuriate
many friends of the Union, and that it was in conflict with the law
which Congress had just passed on the subject.  To Lincoln's mind it
presented the alarming prospect that it might turn the scale against
the Union cause in the still pending deliberations in Kentucky.
Lincoln's overpowering solicitude on such a point is among the proofs
that his understanding of the military situation, however elementary,
was sound.  He wished, characteristically, that Fremont himself should
withdraw his Proclamation.  He invited him to withdraw it in private
letters from which one sentence may be taken: "You speak of it as being
the only means of saving the Government.  On the contrary, it is itself
the surrender of the Government.  Can it be pretended that it is any
longer the Government of the United States--any government of
constitution and laws--wherein a general or a president may make
permanent rules of property by proclamation?"  Fremont preferred to
make Lincoln publicly overrule him, which he did; and the inevitable
consequence followed.  When some months later, the utter military
disorganisation, which Fremont let arise while he busied himself with
politics, and the scandalous waste, out of which his flatterers
enriched themselves, compelled the President to remove him from his
command, Fremont became, for a time at least, to patriotic crowds and
to many intelligent, upright and earnest men from St. Louis to Boston,
the chivalrous and pure-hearted soldier of freedom, and Lincoln, the
soulless politician, dead to the cause of liberty, who, to gratify a
few wire-pulling friends, had struck this hero down on the eve of
victory to his army--an army which, by the way, he had reduced almost
to nonentity.

This salient instance explains well enough the nature of one half of
the trial which Lincoln throughout the war had to undergo.  Pursuing
the restoration of the Union with a thoroughness which must estrange
from him the Democrats of the North, he was fated from the first to
estrange also Radicals who were generally as devoted to the Union as
himself and with whose over-mastering hatred of slavery he really
sympathised.  In the following chapter we are more concerned with the
other half of his trial, the war itself.  Of his minor political
difficulties few instances need be given--only it must be remembered
that they were many and involved, besides delicate questions of
principle, the careful sifting of much confident hearsay; and, though
the critics of public men are wont to forget it, that there are only
twenty-four hours in the day.

But the year 1861 was to close with a further vexation that must be
related.  Secretary Cameron proved incapable on the business side of
war administration.  Waste and alleged corruption called down upon him
a searching investigation by a committee of the House of
Representatives.  He had not added to his own considerable riches, but
his political henchmen had grown fat.  The displeasure with the whole
Administration was the greater because the war was not progressing
favourably, or at all.  There were complaints of the Naval Department
also, but politicians testified their belief in the honesty of Welles
without saying a word for Cameron.  There is every reason to think he
was not personally dishonourable.  Lincoln believed in his complete
integrity, and so also did sterner critics, Chase, an apostle of
economy and uprightness, and Senator Sumner.  But he had to go.  He
opened the door for his removal by a circular to generals on the
subject of slaves, which was comparable to Fremont's Proclamation and
of which Lincoln had to forbid the issue.  He accepted the appointment
of Minister to Russia, and when, before long, he returned, he justified
himself and Lincoln's judgment by his disinterested friendship and
support.  He was removed from the War Office at the end of December and
a remarkable incident followed.  While Lincoln's heart was still set on
his law practice, the prospect of appearing as something more than a
backwoods attorney smiled for a single moment on him.  He was briefed
to appear in an important case outside Illinois with an eminent lawyer
from the East, Edwin M. Stanton; but he was not allowed to open his
mouth, for Stanton snuffed him out with supreme contempt, and he
returned home crestfallen.  Stanton before the war was a strong
Democrat, but hated slavery.  In the last days of Buchanan's Presidency
he was made Attorney-General and helped much to restore the lost credit
of that Administration.  He was now in Washington, criticising the slow
conduct of the war with that explosive fury and scorn which led him to
commit frequent injustice (at the very end of the war he publicly and
monstrously accused Sherman of being bribed into terms of peace by
Southern gold), which concealed from most eyes his real kindness and a
lurking tenderness of heart, but which made him a vigorous
administrator intolerant of dishonesty and inefficiency.  He was more
contemptuous of Lincoln than ever, he would constantly be denouncing
his imbecility, and it is incredible that kind friends were wanting to
convey his opinion to Lincoln.  Lincoln made him Secretary of War.

Since the summer, to the impatient bewilderment of the Northern people,
of Congress, now again in session, and of the President himself, their
armies in the field were accomplishing just nothing at all, and, as
this agitating year, 1861, closed, a deep gloom settled on the North,
to be broken after a while by the glare of recurrent disaster.




CHAPTER IX

THE DISASTERS OF THE NORTH

1. _Military Policy of the North_.

The story of the war has here to be told from the point of view of the
civilian administrator, the President; stirring incidents of combat and
much else of interest must be neglected; episodes in the war which
peculiarly concerned him, or have given rise to controversy about him,
must be related lengthily.  The President was an inexperienced man.  It
should be said, too--for respect requires perfect frankness--that he
was one of an inexperienced people.  The Americans had conquered their
independence from Great Britain at the time when the ruling factions of
our country had reached their utmost degree of inefficiency.  They had
fought an indecisive war with us in 1812-14, while our main business
was to win at Salamanca and Vittoria.  These experiences in some ways
warped American ideas of war and politics, and their influence perhaps
survives to this day.  The extent of the President's authority and his
position in regard to the advice he could obtain have been explained.
An examination of the tangle in which military policy was first
involved may make the chief incidents of the war throughout easier to
follow.

Immediately after Bull Run McClellan had been summoned to Washington to
command the army of the Potomac.  In November, Scott, worn out by
infirmity, and finding his authority slighted by "my ambitious junior,"
retired, and thereupon McClellan, while retaining his immediate command
upon the Potomac, was made for the time General-in-Chief over all the
armies of the North.  There were, it should be repeated, two other
principal armies besides that of the Potomac: the army of the Ohio, of
which General Buell was given command in July; and that of the West, to
which General Halleck was appointed, though Fremont seems to have
retained independent command in Missouri.  All these armies were in an
early stage of formation and training, and from a purely military point
of view there could be no haste to undertake a movement of invasion
with any of them.

Three distinct views of military policy were presented to Lincoln in
the early days.  Scott, as soon as it was clear that the South meant
real fighting, saw how serious its resistance would be.  His military
judgment was in favour of a strictly defensive attitude before
Washington; of training the volunteers for at least four months in
healthy camps; and of then pushing a large army right down the
Mississippi valley to New Orleans, making the whole line of that river
secure, and establishing a pressure on the South between this Western
army and the naval blockade which must slowly have strangled the
Confederacy.  He was aware that public impatience might not allow a
rigid adherence to his policy, and in fact, when his view was made
public before Bull Run, "Scott's Anaconda," coiling itself round the
Confederacy, was the subject of general derision.  The view of the
Northern public and of the influential men in Congress was in favour of
speedy and, as it was hoped, decisive action, and this was understood
as involving, whatever else was done, an attempt soon to capture
Richmond.  In McClellan's view, as in Scott's, the first object was the
full preparation of the Army, but he would have wished to wait till he
had a fully trained force of 273,000 men on the Potomac, and a powerful
fleet with many transports to support his movements; and, when he had
all this, to move southwards in irresistible force, both advancing
direct into Virginia and landing at points on the coast, subduing each
of the Atlantic States of the Confederacy in turn.  If the indefinite
delay and the overwhelming force which his fancy pictured could have
been granted him, it is plain, the military critics have said, that "he
could not have destroyed the Southern armies--they would have withdrawn
inland, and the heart of the Confederacy would have remained
untouched."  But neither the time nor the force for which he wished
could be allowed him.  So he had to put aside his plan, but in some
ways perhaps it still influenced him.

It would have been impossible to disregard the wishes of those, who in
the last resort were masters, for a vigorous attempt on Richmond, and
the continually unsuccessful attempts that were made did serve a
military purpose, for they kept up a constant drain upon the resources
of the South.  In any well-thought-out policy the objects both of
Scott's plan and of the popular plan would have been borne in mind.
That no such policy was consistently followed from the first was partly
a result of the long-continued difficulty in finding any younger man
who could adequately take the place of Scott; it was not for a want of
clear ideas, right or wrong, on Lincoln's part.

Only two days after the battle of Bull Run, he put on paper his own
view as to the future employment of the three armies.  He thought that
one should "threaten" Richmond; that one should move from Cincinnati,
in Ohio, by a pass called Cumberland Gap in Kentucky, upon Knoxville in
Eastern Tennessee; and that the third, using Cairo on the Mississippi
as its base, should advance upon Memphis, some 120 miles further south
on that river.  Apparently he did not at first wish to commit the army
of the Potomac very deeply in its advance on Richmond, and he certainly
wished throughout that it should cover Washington against any possible
attack.  Memphis was one of the three points at which the Southern
railway system touched the great river and communicated with the States
beyond--Vicksburg and New Orleans, much further south, were the others.
Knoxville again is a point, by occupying which, the Northern forces
would have cut the direct railway communication between Virginia and
the West, but for this move into Eastern Tennessee Lincoln had other
reasons nearer his heart.  The people of that region were strongly for
the Union; they were invaded by the Confederates and held down by
severe coercion, and distressing appeals from them for help kept
arriving through the autumn; could they have been succoured and their
mountainous country occupied by the North, a great stronghold of the
Union would, it seemed to Lincoln, have been planted securely far into
the midst of the Confederacy.  Therefore he persistently urged this
part of his scheme on the attention of his generals.  The chief
military objection raised by Buell was that his army would have to
advance 150 miles from the nearest base of supply upon a railway; (for
200 miles to the west of the Alleghanies there were no railways running
from north to south).  To meet this Lincoln, in September, urged upon a
meeting of important Senators and Representatives the construction of a
railway line from Lexington in Kentucky southwards, but his hearers,
with their minds narrowed down to an advance on Richmond, seem to have
thought the relatively small cost in time and money of this work too
great.  Lincoln still thought an expedition to Eastern Tennessee
practicable at once, and it has been argued from the circumstances in
which one was made nearly two years later that he was right.  It would,
one may suppose, have been unwise to separate the armies of the Ohio
and of the West so widely; for the main army of the Confederates in the
West, under their most trusted general, Albert Sidney Johnston, was
from September onwards in South-western Kentucky, and could have struck
at either of these two Northern armies; and this was in Buell's mind.
On the other hand, Lincoln's object was a wise one in itself and would
have been worth some postponement of the advance along the Mississippi
if thereby the army in the West could have been used in support of it.
However this may be, the fact is that Lincoln's plan, as it stood, was
backed up by McClellan; McClellan was perhaps unduly anxious for Buell
to move on Eastern Tennessee, because this would have supported the
invasion of Virginia which he himself was now contemplating, and he was
probably forgetful of the West; but he was Lincoln's highest military
adviser and his capacity was still trusted.  Buell's own view was that,
when he moved, it should be towards Western Tennessee.  He would have
had a railway connection behind him all his way, and Albert Johnston's
army would have lain before him.  He wished that Halleck meanwhile
should advance up the courses of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers;
Eastern Tennessee (he may have thought) would be in the end more
effectively succoured; their two armies would thus have converged on
Johnston's.  Halleck agreed with Buell to the extent of disagreeing
with Lincoln and McClellan, but no further.  He declined to move in
concert with Buell.  Fremont had disorganised the army of the West, and
Halleck, till he had repaired the mischief, permitted only certain
minor enterprises under his command.

Each of the three generals, including the General-in-Chief, who was the
Government's chief adviser, was set upon his own immediate purpose, and
indisposed to understanding the situation of the others--Buell perhaps
the least so.  Each of them had at first a very sound reason, the
unreadiness of his army, for being in no hurry to move, but then each
of them soon appeared to be a slow or unenterprising commander.  Buell
was perhaps unlucky in this, for his whole conduct is the subject of
some controversy; but he did appear slow, and the two others, it is
universally agreed, really were so.  As 1861 drew to a close, it became
urgent that something should be done somewhere, even if it were not
done in the best possible direction.  The political pressure upon the
Administration became as great as before Bull Run.  The army of the
Potomac had rapidly become a fine army, and its enemy, in no way
superior, lay entrenching at Manassas, twenty miles in front of it.
When Lincoln grew despondent and declared that "if something was not
done soon, the bottom would drop out of the whole concern," soldiers
remark that the military situation was really sound; but he was right,
for a people can hardly be kept up to the pitch of a high enterprise if
it is forced to think that nothing will happen.  Before the end of the
year 1861 military reasons for waiting were no longer being urged;
McClellan had long been promising immediate action, Buell and Halleck
seemed merely unable to agree.

In later days when Lincoln had learnt much by experience it is hard to
trace the signs of his influence in military matters, because, though
he followed them closely, he was commonly in full agreement with his
chief general and he invariably and rightly left him free.  At this
stage, when his position was more difficult, and his guidance came from
common sense and the military books, of which, ever since Bull Run, he
had been trying, amidst all his work, to tear out the heart, there is
evidence on which to judge the intelligence which he applied to the
war.  Certainly he now and ever after looked at the matter as a whole
and formed a clear view of it, which, for a civilian at any rate, was a
reasonable view.  Certainly also at this time and for long after no
military adviser attempted, in correcting any error of his, to supply
him with a better opinion equally clear and comprehensive.  This is
probably why some Northern military critics, when they came to read his
correspondence with his generals, called him, as his chief biographers
were tempted to think him, "the ablest strategist of the war."  Grant
and Sherman did not say this; they said, what is another thing, that
his was the greatest intellectual force that they had met with.
Strictly speaking, he could not be a strategist.  If he were so judged,
he would certainly be found guilty of having, till Grant came to
Washington, unduly scattered his forces.  He could pick out the main
objects; but as to how to economise effort, what force and how composed
and equipped was necessary for a particular enterprise, whether in
given conditions of roads, weather, supplies, and previous fatigue, a
movement was practicable, and how long it would take any clever
subaltern with actual experience of campaigning ought to have been a
better judge than he.  The test, which the reader must be asked to
apply to his conduct of the war, is whether he followed, duly or unduly
his own imperfect judgment, whether, on the whole, he gave in whenever
it was wise to the generals under him, and whether he did so without
losing his broad view or surrendering his ultimate purpose.  It is
really no small proof of strength that, with the definite judgments
which he constantly formed, he very rarely indeed gave imperative
orders as Commander-in-Chief, which he was, to any general.  The
circumstances, all of which will soon appear, in which he was tempted
or obliged to do so, are only the few marked exceptions to his habitual
conduct.  There are significant contrary instances in which he
abstained even from seeking to know his general's precise intentions.
At the time which has just been reviewed, when the scheme of the war
was in the making, his correspondence with Buell and Halleck shows his
fundamental intention.  He emphatically abstains from forcing them; he
lucidly, though not so tactfully as later, urges his own view upon the
consideration of his general, begging him, not necessarily to act upon
it, but at least to see the point, and if he will not do what is
wished, to form and explain as clearly a plan for doing something
better.


2. _The War in the West Up to May, 1862_.

The pressure upon McClellan to move grew stronger and indeed more
justifiable month after month, and when at last, in March, 1862,
McClellan did move, the story of the severest adversity to the North,
of Lincoln's sorest trials, and, some still say, his gravest failures,
began.  Its details will concern us more than those of any other part
of the war.  But events in the West began earlier, proceeded faster,
and should be told first.  Buell could not obtain from McClellan
permission to carry out his own scheme.  He did, however, obtain
permission for Halleck, if he consented, to send flotillas up the
Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers to make a diversion while Buell, as
Lincoln had proposed and as McClellan had now ordered, marched upon
Eastern Tennessee.  Halleck would not move.  Buell prepared to move
alone, and in January, 1862, sent forward a small force under Thomas to
meet an equally small Confederate force that had advanced through
Cumberland Gap into Eastern Kentucky.  Thomas won a complete victory,
most welcome as the first success since the defeat of Bull Run, at a
place called Mill Springs, far up the Cumberland River towards the
mountains.  But at the end of January, while Buell was following up
with his forces rather widely dispersed because he expected no support
from Halleck, he was brought to a stop, for Halleck, without warning,
did make an important movement of his own, in which he would need
Buell's support.

The Cumberland and the Tennessee are navigable rivers which in their
lower course flow parallel in a northerly or north-westerly direction
to join the Ohio not far above its junction with the Mississippi at
Cairo.  Fort Henry was a Confederate fort guarding the navigation of
the Tennessee near the northern boundary of the State of that name,
Fort Donelson was another on the Cumberland not far off.  Ulysses
Simpson Grant, who had served with real distinction in the Mexican War,
had retired from the Army and had been more or less employed about his
father's leather store in Illinois and in the gloomy pursuit of
intoxication and of raising small sums from reluctant friends when he
met them.  On the outbreak of the Civil War he suddenly pulled himself
together, and with some difficulty got employment from the Governor of
Illinois as a Major-General in the State Militia (obtaining Army rank
later).  Since then, while serving under Halleck, he had shown sense
and promptitude in seizing an important point on the Ohio, upon which
the Confederates had designs.  He had a quick eye for seeing important
points.  Grant was now ordered or obtained permission from Halleck to
capture Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.  By the sudden movements of Grant
and of the flotilla acting with him, the Confederates were forced to
abandon Fort Henry on February 6, 1862.  Ten days later Fort Donelson
surrendered with nearly 10,000 prisoners, after a brilliant and nearly
successful sortie by the garrison, in which Grant showed, further,
tenacity and a collected mind under the pressure of imminent calamity.
Halleck had given Grant little help.  Buell was reluctant to detach any
of his volunteer troops from their comrades to act with a strange army,
and Halleck had not warned him of his intentions.  Halleck soon applied
to Lincoln for the supreme command over the two Western armies with
Buell under him.  This was given to him.  Experience showed that one or
the other must command now that concerted action was necessary.
Nothing was known at Washington to set against Halleck's own claim of
the credit for the late successes.  So Lincoln gave him the command,
though present knowledge shows clearly that Buell was the better man.
Grant had been left before Fort Donelson in a position of some danger
from the army under Albert Johnston; and, from needless fear of
Beauregard with a Confederate force under him yet further West, Halleck
let slip the chance of sending Grant in pursuit of Johnston, who was
falling back up the Cumberland valley.  As it was, Johnston for a time
evacuated Nashville, further up the Cumberland, the chief town of
Tennessee and a great railway centre, which Buell promptly occupied;
Beauregard withdrew the Confederate troops from Columbus, a fortress of
great reputed strength on the Mississippi not far below Cairo, to
positions forty or fifty miles (as the crow flies) further down the
stream.  Thus, as it was, some important steps had been gained in
securing that control of the navigation of the river which was one of
the great military objects of the North.  Furthermore, successful work
was being done still further West by General Curtis in Missouri, who
drove an invading force back into Arkansas and inflicted a crushing
defeat upon them there in March.  But a great stroke should now have
been struck.  Buell, it is said, saw plainly that his forces and
Halleck's should have been concentrated as far up the Tennessee as
possible in an endeavour to seize upon the main railway system of the
Confederacy in the West.  Halleck preferred, it would seem, to
concentrate upon nothing and to scatter his forces upon minor
enterprises, provided he did not risk any important engagement.  An
important engagement with the hope of destroying an army of the enemy
was the very thing which, as Johnston's forces now stood, he should
have sought, but he appears to have been contented by the temporary
retirement of an unscathed enemy who would return again reinforced.
Buell was an unlucky man, and Halleck got quite all he deserved, so it
is possible that events have been described to us without enough regard
to Halleck's case as against Buell.  But at any rate, while much should
have been happening, nothing very definite did happen till April 6,
when Albert Johnston, now strongly reinforced from the extreme South,
came upon Grant, who (it is not clear why) had lain encamped, without
entrenching, and not expecting immediate attack, near Shiloh, far up
the Tennessee River in the extreme south of Tennessee State.  Buell at
the time, though without clear information as to Grant's danger, was on
his way to join him.  There seems to have been negligence both on
Halleck's part and on Grant's.  The battle of Shiloh is said to have
been highly characteristic of the combats of partly disciplined armies,
in which the individual qualities, good or bad, of the troops play a
conspicuous part.  Direction on the part of Johnston or Grant was not
conspicuously seen, but the latter, whose troops were surprised and
driven back some distance, was intensely determined.  In the course of
that afternoon Albert Johnston was killed.  Rightly or wrongly
Jefferson Davis and his other friends regarded his death as the
greatest of calamities to the South.  After the manner of many battles,
more especially in this war, the battle of Shiloh was the subject of
long subsequent dispute between friends of Grant and of Buell, and far
more bitter dispute between friends of Albert Johnston and Beauregard.
But it seems that the South was on the point of winning, till late on
the 6th the approach of the first reinforcements from Buell made it
useless to attempt more.  By the following morning further large
reinforcements had come up; Grant in his turn attacked, and Beauregard
had difficulty in turning a precipitate retirement into an orderly
retreat upon Corinth, forty miles away, a junction upon the principal
railway line to be defended.  The next day General Pope, who had some
time before been detached by Halleck for this purpose, after arduous
work in canal cutting, captured, with 7,000 prisoners, the northernmost
forts held by the Confederacy on the Mississippi.  But Halleck's plans
required that his further advance should be stopped.  Halleck himself,
in his own time, arrived at the front.  In his own time, after being
joined by Pope, he advanced, carefully entrenching himself every night.
He covered in something over a month the forty miles route to Corinth,
which, to his surprise, was bloodlessly evacuated before him.  He was
an engineer, and like some other engineers in the Civil War, was
overmuch set upon a methodical and cautious procedure.  But his mere
advance to Corinth caused the Confederates to abandon yet another fort
on the Mississippi, and on June 6 the Northern troops were able to
occupy Memphis, for which Lincoln had long wished, while the flotilla
accompanying them destroyed a Confederate flotilla.  Meanwhile, on May
1, Admiral Farragut, daringly running up the Mississippi, had captured
New Orleans, and a Northern force under Butler was able to establish
itself in Louisiana.  The North had now gained the command of most of
the Mississippi, for only the hundred miles or so between Vicksburg far
south and Port Hudson, between that and New Orleans, was still held by
the South; and command by Northern gunboats of the chief tributaries of
the great river was also established.  The Confederate armies in the
West were left intact, though with some severe losses, and would be
able before long to strike northward in a well-chosen direction; for
all that these were great and permanent gains.  Yet the North was not
cheered.  The great loss of life at Shiloh, the greatest battle in the
war so far, created a horrible impression.  Halleck, under whom all
this progress had been made, properly enough received a credit, which
critics later have found to be excessive, though it is plain that he
had reorganised his army well; but Grant was felt to have been caught
napping at Shiloh; there were other rumours about him, too, and he fell
deep into general disfavour.  The events of the Western war did not
pause for long, but, till the end of this year 1862, the North made no
further definite progress, and the South, though it was able to invade
the North, achieved no Important result.  It will be well then here to
take up the story of events in the East and to follow them continuously
till May, 1863, when the dazzling fortune of the South in that theatre
if the war reached its highest point.


3. _The War in the East Up to May, 1863_.

The interest of this part of the Civil War lies chiefly in the
achievements of Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson.  From the point of view of
the North, it was not only disastrous but forms a dreary and
controversial chapter.  George McClellan came to Washington amid
overwhelming demonstrations of public confidence.  His comparative
youth added to the interest taken in him; and he was spoken of as "the
young Napoleon."  This ridiculous name for a man already thirty-four
was a sign that the people expected impossible things from him.
Letters to his wife, which have been injudiciously published, show him
to us delighting at first in the consideration paid to him by Lincoln
and Scott, proudly confident in his own powers, rather elated than
otherwise by a sense that the safety of the country rested on him
alone.  "I shall carry the thing _en grande_, and crush the rebels in
one campaign."  He soon had a magnificent army; he may be said to have
made it himself.  Before, as he thought, the time had come to use it,
he had fallen from favour, and a dead set was being made against him in
Washington.  A little later, at the crisis of his great venture, when,
as he claimed, the Confederate capital could have been taken, his
expedition was recalled.  Then at a moment of deadly peril to the
country his services were again called in.  He warded off the danger.
Yet a little while and his services were discarded for ever.  This
summary, which is the truth, but not the whole truth, must enlist a
certain sympathy for him.  The chief fact of his later life should at
once be added.  In 1864, when a Presidential election was approaching
and despondency prevailed widely in the North, he was selected as the
champion of a great party.  The Democrats adopted a "platform" which
expressed neither more nor less than a desire to end the war on any
terms.  In accordance with the invariable tradition of party opposition
in war time, they chose a war hero as their candidate for the
Presidency.  McClellan publicly repudiated their principles, and no
doubt he meant it, but he became their candidate--their master or their
servant as it might prove.  That he was Lincoln's opponent in the
election of that year ensured that his merits and his misfortunes would
be long remembered, but his action then may suggest to any one the
doubtful point in his career all along.

Some estimate of his curious yet by no means uncommon type of character
is necessary, if Lincoln's relations with him are to be understood at
all.  The devotion to him shown by his troops proves that he had great
titles to confidence, besides, what he also had, a certain faculty of
parade, with his handsome charger, his imposing staff and the rest.  He
was a great trainer of soldiers, and with some strange lapses, a good
organiser.  He was careful for the welfare of his men; and his almost
tender carefulness of their lives contrasted afterwards with what
appeared the ruthless carelessness of Grant.  Unlike some of his
successors, he could never be called an incapable commander.  His great
opponent, Lee, who had known him of old, was wont to calculate on his
extraordinary want of enterprise, but he spoke of him on the whole in
terms of ample respect--also, by the way, he sympathised with him like
a soldier when, as he naturally assumed, he became a victim to scheming
politicians; and Lee confided this feeling to the ready ears of another
great soldier, Wolseley.  As he showed himself in civil life, McClellan
was an attractive gentleman of genial address; it was voted that he was
"magnetic," and his private life was so entirely irreproachable as to
afford lively satisfaction.  More than this, it may be conjectured that
to a certain standard of honour, loyalty, and patriotism, which he set
consciously before himself, he would always have been devotedly true.
But if it be asked further whether McClellan was the desired instrument
for Lincoln's and the country's needs, and whether, as the saying is,
he was a man to go tiger-hunting with, something very much against him,
though hard to define, appears in every part of his record (except
indeed, one performance in his Peninsular Campaign).  Did he ever do
his best to beat the enemy?  Did he ever, except for a moment,
concentrate himself singly upon any great object?  Were even his
preparations thorough?  Was his information ever accurate?  Was his
purpose in the war ever definite, and, if so, made plain to his
Government?  Was he often betrayed into marked frankness, or into
marked generosity?  No one would be ready to answer yes to any of these
questions.  McClellan fills so memorable a place in American history
that he demands such a label as can be given to him.  In the most
moving and the most authentic of all Visions of Judgment, men were not
set on the right hand or the left according as they were of
irreproachable or reproachable character; they were divided into those
who did and those who did not.  In the provisional judgment which men,
if they make it modestly, should at times make with decision,
McClellan's place is clear.  The quality, "spiacente a Dio ed ai nemici
suoi," of the men who did not, ran through and through him.

Lincoln required first a general who would make no fatal blunder, but
he required too, when he could find him, a general of undaunted
enterprise; he did not wish to expose the North to disaster, but he did
mean to conquer the South.  There was some security in employing
McClellan, though employing him did at one time throw on Lincoln's
unfit shoulders the task of defending Washington.  It proved very hard
to find another general equally trustworthy.  But, in the light of
facts which Lincoln came to perceive, it proved impossible to consider
McClellan as the man to finish the war.

We need only notice the doings of the main armies in this theatre of
the war and take no account of various minor affairs at outlying posts.
From the battle of Bull Run, which was on July 21, 1861, to March 5,
1862, the Southern army under Joseph Johnston lay quietly drilling at
Manassas.  It, of course, entrenched its position, but to add to the
appearance of its strength, it constructed embrasures for more than its
number of guns and had dummy guns to show in them.  At one moment there
was a prospect that it might move.  Johnston and the general with him
had no idea of attacking the army of the Potomac where it lay, but they
did think that with a further 50,000 or 60,000 they might successfully
invade Maryland, crossing higher up the Potomac, and by drawing
McClellan away from his present position, get a chance of defeating
him.  The Southern President came to Manassas, at their invitation, on
October 1, but he did not think well to withdraw the trained men whom
he could have sent to Johnston from the various points in the South at
which they were stationed; he may have had good reasons but it is
likely that he sacrificed one of the best chances of the South.
McClellan's army was soon in as good a state of preparation as
Johnston's.  Early in October McClellan had, on his own statement, over
147,000 men at his disposal; Joseph Johnston, on his own statement,
under 47,000.  Johnston was well informed as to McClellan's
numbers--very likely he could get information from Maryland more easily
than McClellan from Virginia.  The two armies lay not twenty-five miles
apart.  The weather and the roads were good to the end of December; the
roads were practicable by March and they seem to have been so all the
time.  As spring approached, it appeared to the Southern generals that
McClellan must soon advance.  Johnston thought that his right flank was
liable to be turned and the railway communications south of Manassas
liable to be cut.  In the course of February it was realised that his
position was too dangerous; the large stores accumulated there were
removed; and when, early in March, there were reports of unusual
activity in the Northern camp, Johnston, still expecting attack from
the same direction, began his retreat.  On March 9 it was learned in
Washington that Manassas had been completely evacuated.  McClellan
marched his whole army there, and marched it back.  Johnston withdrew
quietly behind the Rapidan River, some 30 miles further south, and to
his surprise was left free from any pursuit.

For months past the incessant report in the papers, "all quiet upon the
Potomac," had been getting upon the nerves of the North.  The gradual
conversion of their pride in an imposing army into puzzled rage at its
inactivity has left a deeper impression on Northern memories than the
shock of disappointment at Bull Run.  Public men of weight had been
pressing for an advance in November, and when the Joint Committee of
Congress, an arbitrary and meddlesome, but able and perhaps on the
whole useful body, was set up in December, it brought its full
influence to bear on the President.  Lincoln was already anxious
enough; he wished to rouse McClellan himself to activity, while he
screened him against excessive impatience or interference with his
plans.  It is impossible to say what was McClellan's real mind.  Quite
early he seems to have held out hopes to Lincoln that he would soon
attack, but he was writing to his wife that he expected to be attacked
by superior numbers.  It is certain, however, that he was possessed now
and always by a delusion as to the enemy's strength.  For instance
Lincoln at last felt bound to work out for himself definite prospects
for a forward movement; it is sufficient to say of this layman's effort
that he proposed substantially the line of advance which Johnston a
little later began to dread most; Lincoln's plan was submitted for
McClellan's consideration; McClellan rejected it, and his reasons were
based on his assertion that he would have to meet nearly equal numbers.
He, in fact, out-numbered the enemy by more than three to one.  If we
find the President later setting aside the general's judgment on
grounds that are not fully explained, we must recall McClellan's vast
and persistent miscalculations of an enemy resident in his
neighbourhood.  And the distrust which he thus created was aggravated
by another propensity of his vague mind.  His illusory fear was the
companion of an extravagant hope; the Confederate army was invincible
when all the world expected him to attack it then and there, but the
blow which he would deal it in his own place and his own time was to
have decisive results, which were indeed impossible; the enemy was to
"pass beneath the Caudine Forks."  The demands which he made on the
Administration for men and supplies seemed to have no finality about
them; his tone in regard to them seemed to degenerate into a chronic
grumble.  The War Department certainly did not intend to stint him in
any way; but he was an unsatisfactory man to deal with in these
matters.  There was a great mystery as to what became of the men sent
to him.  In the idyllic phrase, which Lincoln once used of him or of
some other general, sending troops to him was "like shifting fleas
across a barn floor with a shovel--not half of them ever get there."
But his fault was graver than this; utterly ignoring the needs of the
West, he tried, as General-in-Chief, to divert to his own army the
recruits and the stores required for the other armies.

The difficulty with him went yet further; McClellan himself
deliberately set to work to destroy personal harmony between himself
and his Government.  It counts for little that in private he soon set
down all the civil authorities as the "greatest set of incapables," and
so forth, but it counts for more that he was personally insolent to the
President.  Lincoln had been in the habit, mistaken in this case but
natural in a chief who desires to be friendly, of calling at
McClellan's house rather than summoning him to his own.  McClellan
acquired a habit of avoiding him, he treated his enquiries as idle
curiosity, and he probably thought, not without a grain of reason, that
Lincoln's way of discussing matters with many people led him into
indiscretion.  So one evening when Lincoln and Seward were waiting at
the general's house for his return, McClellan came in and went
upstairs; a message was sent that the President would be glad to see
him; he said he was tired and would rather be excused that night.
Lincoln damped down his friends' indignation at this; he would, he once
said, "hold General McClellan's stirrup for him if he will only win us
victories."  But he called no more at McClellan's, and a curious
abruptness in some of his orders later marks his unsuccessful effort to
deal with McClellan in another way.  The slightly ridiculous light in
which the story shows Lincoln would not obscure to any soldier the full
gravity of such an incident.  It was not merely foolish to treat a kind
superior rudely; a general who thus drew down a curtain between his own
mind and that of the Government evidently went a very long way to
ensure failure in war.

Lincoln had failed to move McClellan early in December.  For part of
that month and January McClellan was very ill.  Consultations were held
with other generals, including McDowell, who could not be given the
chief command because the troops did not trust him.  McDowell and the
rest were in agreement with Lincoln.  Then McClellan suddenly recovered
and was present at a renewed consultation.  He snubbed McDowell; the
inadequacy of his force to meet, in fact, less than a third of its
number was "so plain that a blind man could see it"; he was severely
and abruptly tackled as to his own plans by Secretary Chase; Lincoln
intervened to shield him, got from him a distinct statement that he had
in his mind a definite time for moving, and adjourned the meeting.
Stanton, one of the friends to whom McClellan had confided his
grievances, was now at the War Department and was at one with the Joint
Committee of Congress in his impatience that McClellan should move.  At
last, on January 27, Lincoln published a "General War Order" that a
forward movement was to be made by the army of the Potomac and the
Western armies on February 22.  It seems a blundering step, but it
roused McClellan.  For a time he even thought of acting as Lincoln
wished; he would move straight against Johnston, and "in ten days," he
told Chase on February 13, "I shall be in Richmond."  But he quickly
returned to the plan which he seems to have been forming before but
which he only now revealed to the Government, and it was a plan which
involved further delay.  When February 22 passed and nothing was done,
the Joint Committee were indignant that Lincoln still stood by
McClellan.  But McClellan now was proposing definite action; apart from
the difficulty of finding a better man, there was the fact that
McClellan had made his army and was beloved by it; above all, Lincoln
had not lost all the belief he had formed at first in McClellan's
capacity; he believed that "if he could once get McClellan started" he
would do well.  Professional criticism, alive to McClellan's military
faults, has justified Lincoln in this, and it was for something other
than professional failure that Lincoln at last removed him.

McClellan had determined to move his army by sea to some point further
down the coast of the Chesapeake Bay.  The questions which Lincoln
wrote to him requesting a written answer have never been adequately
answered.  Did McClellan's plan, he asked, require less time or money
than Lincoln's?  Did it make victory more certain?  Did it make it more
valuable?  In case of disaster, did it make retreat more easy?  The one
point for consideration in McClellan's reply to him is that the enemy
did not expect such a movement.  This was quite true; but the enemy was
able to meet it, and McClellan was far too deliberate to reap any
advantage from a surprise.  His original plan was to land near a place
called Urbana on the estuary of the Rappahannock, not fifty miles east
of Richmond.  When he heard that Johnston had retreated further south,
he assumed, and ever after declared, that this was to anticipate his
design upon Urbana, which, he said, must have reached the enemy's ears
through the loose chattering of the Administration.  As has been seen,
this was quite untrue.  His project of going to Urbana was now changed,
by himself or the Government, upon the unanimous advice of his chief
subordinate generals, into a movement to Fort Monroe, which he had even
before regarded as preferable to a direct advance southwards.  A few
days after Johnston's retreat, the War Department began the embarkation
of his troops for this point.  Fort Monroe is at the end of the
peninsula which lies between the estuaries of the York River on the
north and the James on the south.  Near the base of this projection of
land, seventy-five miles from Fort Monroe, stands Richmond.  On April
2, 1862, McClellan himself landed to begin the celebrated Peninsula
Campaign which was to close in disappointment at the end of July.

Before the troops were sent to the Peninsula several things were to be
done.  An expedition to restore communication westward by the Baltimore
and Ohio Rail way involved bridging the Potomac with boats which were
to be brought by canal.  It collapsed because McClellan's boats were
six inches too wide for the canal locks.  Then Lincoln had insisted
that the navigation of the lower Potomac should be made free from the
menace of Confederate batteries which, if McClellan would have
co-operated with the Navy Department, would have been cleared away long
before.  This was now done, and though a new peril to the
transportation of McClellan's army suddenly and dramatically disclosed
itself, it was as suddenly and dramatically removed.  In the hasty
abandonment of Norfolk harbour on the south of the James estuary by the
North, a screw steamer called the _Merrimac_ had been partly burnt and
scuttled by the North.  On March 1 she steamed out of the harbour in
sight of the North.  The Confederates had raised her and converted her
into an ironclad.  Three wooden ships of the North gave gallant but
useless fight to her and were destroyed that day; and the news spread
consternation in every Northern port.  On the very next morning there
came into the mouth of the James the rival product of the Northern Navy
Department and of the Swedish engineer Ericsson's invention.  She was
compared to a "cheesebox on a raft"; she was named the _Monitor_, and
was the parent of a type of vessel so called which has been heard of
much more recently.  The _Merrimac_ and the _Monitor_ forthwith fought
a three hours' duel; then each retired into harbour without fatal
damage.  But the _Merrimac_ never came out again; she was destroyed by
the Confederates when McClellan had advanced some way up the Peninsula;
and it will be unnecessary to speak of the several similar efforts of
the South, which nearly but not quite achieved very important successes
later.

Before and after his arrival at the Peninsula, McClellan received
several mortifications.   Immediately after the humiliation of the
enemy's escape from Manassas, he was without warning relieved of his
command as General-in-Chief.  This would in any case have followed
naturally upon his expedition away from Washington; it was in public
put on that ground alone; and he took it well.  He had been urged to
appoint corps commanders, for so large a force as his could not remain
organised only in divisions; he preferred to wait till he had made
trial of the generals under him; Lincoln would not have this delay, and
appointed corps commanders chosen by himself because he believed them
to be fighting men.  The manner in which these and some other
preparatory steps were taken were, without a doubt, intended to make
McClellan feel the whip.  They mark a departure, not quite happy at
first, from Lincoln's formerly too gentle manner.  A worse shock to
McClellan followed.  The President had been emphatic in his orders that
a sufficient force should be left to make Washington safe, and supposed
that he had come to a precise understanding on this point.  He suddenly
discovered that McClellan, who had now left for Fort Monroe, had
ordered McDowell to follow him with a force so large that it would not
leave the required number behind.  Lincoln immediately ordered McDowell
and his whole corps to remain, though he subsequently sent a part of it
to McClellan.  McClellan's story later gives reason for thinking that
he had intended no deception; but if so, he had expressed himself with
unpardonable vagueness, and he had not in fact left Washington secure.
Now and throughout this campaign Lincoln took the line that Washington
must be kept safe--safe in the judgment of all the best military
authorities available.

McClellan's progress up the Peninsula was slow.  He had not informed
himself correctly as to the geography; he found the enemy not so
unprepared as he had supposed; he wasted, it is agreed, a month in
regular approaches to their thinly-manned fortifications at Yorktown,
when he might have carried them by assault.  He was soon confronted by
Joseph Johnston, and he seems both to have exaggerated Johnston's
numbers again and to have been unprepared for his movements.  The
Administration does not seem to have spared any effort to support him.
In addition to the 100,000 troops he took with him, 40,000 altogether
were before long despatched to him.  He was operating in a very
difficult country, but he was opposed at first by not half his own
number.  Lincoln, in friendly letters, urged upon him that delay
enabled the enemy to strengthen himself both in numbers and in
fortifications.  The War Department did its best for him.  The whole of
his incessant complaints on this score are rendered unconvincing by the
language of his private letters about that "sink of iniquity,
Washington," "those treacherous hounds," the civil authorities, who
were at least honest and intelligent men, and the "Abolitionists and
other scoundrels," who, he supposed, wished the destruction of his
army.  The criticism in Congress of himself and his generals was no
doubt free, but so, as Lincoln reminded him, was the criticism of
Lincoln himself.  Justly or not, there were complaints of his relations
with corps commanders.  Lincoln gave no weight to them, but wrote him a
manly and a kindly warning.  The points of controversy which McClellan
bequeathed to writers on the Civil War are innumerable, but no one can
read his correspondence at this stage without concluding that he was
almost impossible to deal with, and that the whole of his evidence in
his own case was vitiated by a sheer hallucination that people wished
him to fail.  He had been nearly two months in the Peninsula when he
was attacked at a disadvantage by Johnston, but defeated him on May 31
and June 1 in a battle which gave confidence and prestige to the
Northern side, but which he did not follow up.  A part of his army
pursued the enemy to within four miles of Richmond, and it has been
contended that if he had acted with energy he could at this time have
taken that city.  His delay, to whatever it was due, gave the enemy
time to strengthen himself greatly both in men and in fortifications.
The capable Johnston was severely wounded in the battle, and was
replaced by the inspired Lee.  According to McClellan's own account,
which English writers have followed, his movements had been greatly
embarrassed by the false hope given him that McDowell was now to march
overland and join him.  His statement that he was influenced by this is
refuted by his own letters at the time.  McClellan, however, suffered a
great disappointment.  The front of Washington was now clear of the
enemy and Lincoln had determined to send McDowell when he was induced
to keep him back by a diversion in the war which he had not expected,
and which indeed McClellan had advised him not to expect.

"Stonewall" Jackson's most famous campaign happened at this juncture,
and to save Washington, Lincoln and Stanton placed themselves, or were
placed, in the trying position of actually directing movements of
troops.  There were to the south and south-west of Washington, besides
the troops under McDowell's command, two Northern forces respectively
commanded by Generals Banks and Fremont.  These two men were among the
chief examples of those "political generals," the use of whom in this
early and necessarily blundering stage of the war has been the subject
of much comment.  Banks was certainly a politician, a self-made man,
who had worked in a factory and who had risen to be at one time Speaker
of the House.  He was now a general because as a powerful man in the
patriotic State of Massachusetts he brought with him many men, and
these were ready to obey him.  On the other hand, he on several
occasions showed good judgment both in military matters and in the
questions of civil administration which came under him; his heart was
in his duty; and, though he held high commands almost to the end of the
war, want of competence was never imputed to him till the failure of a
very difficult enterprise on which he was despatched in 1864.  He was
now in the lower valley of the Shenandoah, keeping a watch over a much
smaller force under Jackson higher up the valley.  Fremont was in some
sense a soldier, but after his record in Missouri he should never have
been employed.  His new appointment was one of Lincoln's greatest
mistakes, and it was a mistake of a characteristic kind.  It will
easily be understood that there were real political reasons for not
leaving this popular champion of freedom unused and unrecognized.
These reasons should not have, and probably would not have, prevailed.
But Lincoln's personal reluctance to resist all entreaties on behalf of
his own forerunner and his own rival was great; and then Fremont came
to Lincoln and proposed to him a knight-errant's adventure to succour
the oppressed Unionists of Tennessee by an expedition through West
Virginia.  So he was now to proceed there, but was kept for the present
in the mountains near the Shenandoah valley.  The way in which the
forces under McDowell, Banks and Fremont were scattered on various
errands was unscientific; what could be done by Jackson, in
correspondence with Lee, was certainly unforeseen.  At the beginning of
May, Jackson, who earlier in the spring had achieved some minor
successes in the Shenandoah valley and had raided West Virginia, began
a series of movements of which the brilliant skill and daring are
recorded in Colonel Henderson's famous book.  With a small force,
surrounded by other forces, each of which, if concentrated, should have
outnumbered him, he caught each in turn at a disadvantage, inflicted on
them several damaging blows, and put the startled President and
Secretary of War in fear for the safety of Washington.  There seemed to
be no one available who could immediately be charged with the supreme
command of these three Northern forces, unless McDowell could have been
spared from where he was; so Lincoln with Stanton's help took upon
himself to ensure the co-operation of their three commanders by orders
from Washington.  His self-reliance had now begun to reach its full
stature, his military good sense in comparison with McClellan's was
proving greater than he had supposed, and he had probably not
discovered its limitations.  Presumably his plans now were, like an
amateur's, too complicated, and it is not worth while to discuss them.
But he was trying to cope with newly revealed military genius, and, so
far as can be told, he was only prevented from crushing the adventurous
Jackson by a piece of flat disobedience on the part of Fremont.
Fremont, having thus appropriately punished Lincoln, was removed, this
time finally, from command.  Jackson, having successfully kept McDowell
from McClellan, had before the end of June escaped safe southward.
McClellan was nearing Richmond.  Lee, by this time, had been set free
from Jefferson Davis' office and had taken over the command of Joseph
Johnston's army.  Lincoln must have learnt a great deal, and he fully
realised that the forces not under McClellan in the East should be
under some single commander.  Pope, an experienced soldier, had
succeeded well in the West; he was no longer necessary there, and there
was no adverse criticism upon him.  He was in all respects a proper
choice, and he was now summoned to take command of what was to be
called the army of Virginia.  A few days later, upon the advice, as it
seems, of Scott, Halleck himself was called from the West.  His old
command was left to Grant and he himself was made General-in-Chief and
continued at Washington to the end of the war as an adviser of the
Government.  All the progress in the West had been made under Halleck's
supervision, and his despatches had given an exaggerated impression of
his own achievement at Corinth.  He had not seen active service before
the war, but he had a great name as an accomplished military writer; in
after years he was well known as a writer on international law.  He is
not thought to have justified his appointment by showing sound judgment
about war, and Lincoln upon some later emergency told him in his direct
way that his military knowledge was useless if he could not give a
definite decision in doubtful circumstances.  But whether Halleck's
abilities were great or small, Lincoln continued to use them, because
he found him "wholly for the service," without personal favour or
prejudice.

McClellan was slowly but steadily nearing Richmond.  From June 26 to
July 2 there took place a series of engagements between Lee and
McClellan, or rather the commanders under him, known as the Seven Days'
Battles.  The fortunes of the fighting varied greatly, but the upshot
is that, though the corps on McClellan's left won a strong position not
far from Richmond, the sudden approach of Jackson's forces upon
McClellan's right flank, which began on the 26th, placed him in what
appears to have been, as he himself thought it, a situation of great
danger.  Lee is said to have "read McClellan like an open book,"
playing upon his caution, which made him, while his subordinates
fought, more anxious to secure their retreat than to seize upon any
advantage they gained.  But Lee's reading deceived him in one respect.
He had counted upon McClellan's retreating, but thought he would
retreat under difficulties right down the Peninsula to his original
base and be thoroughly cut up on the way.  But on July 2 McClellan with
great skill withdrew his whole army to Harrison's Landing far up the
James estuary, having effected with the Navy a complete transference of
his base.  Here his army lay in a position of security; they might yet
threaten Richmond, and McClellan's soldiers still believed in him.  But
the South was led by a great commander and had now learned to give him
unbounded confidence; there was some excuse for a panic in Wall Street,
and every reason for dejection in the North.

On the third of the Seven Days, McClellan, much moved by the sight of
dead and wounded comrades, sent a gloomy telegram to the Secretary of
War, appealing with excessive eloquence for more men.  "I only wish to
say to the President," he remarked in it, "that I think he is wrong in
regarding me as ungenerous when I said that my force was too weak."  He
concluded: "If I save the army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no
thanks to you nor to any other persons in Washington.  You have done
your best to sacrifice this army."  Stanton still expressed the
extraordinary hope that Richmond would fall in a day or two.  He had
lately committed the folly of suspending enlistment, an act which,
though of course there is an explanation of it, must rank as the one
first-rate blunder of Lincoln's Administration.  He was now negotiating
through the astute Seward for offers from the State Governors of a levy
of 300,000 men to follow up McClellan's success.  Lincoln, as was his
way, feared the worst.  He seems at one moment to have had fears for
McClellan's sanity.  But he telegraphed, himself, an answer to him,
which affords as fair an example as can be given of his characteristic
manner.  "Save your army at all events.  Will send reinforcements as
fast as we can.  Of course they cannot reach you to-day or to-morrow,
or next day.  I have not said you were ungenerous for saying you needed
reinforcements.  I thought you were ungenerous in assuming that I did
not send them as fast as I could.  I feel any misfortune to you and
your army quite as keenly as you feel it yourself.  If you have had a
drawn battle or repulse, it is the price we pay for the enemy not being
in Washington.  We protected Washington and the enemy concentrated on
you.  Had we stripped Washington, he would have been upon us before the
troops could have gotten to you.  Less than a week ago you notified us
reinforcements were leaving Richmond to come in front of us.   It is
the nature of the case, and neither you nor the Government are to
blame.  Please tell me at once the present condition and aspect of
things."

Demands for an impossible number of reinforcements continued.  Lincoln
explained to McClellan a few days later that they were impossible, and
added: "If in your frequent mention of responsibility you have the
impression that I blame you for not doing more than you can, please be
relieved of such an impression.  I only beg that, in like manner, you
will not ask impossibilities of me."  Much argument upon Lincoln's next
important act may be saved by the simple observations that the problem
in regard to the defence of Washington was real, that McClellan's
propensity to ask for the impossible was also real, and that Lincoln's
patient and loyal attitude to him was real too.

Five days after his arrival at Harrison's Landing, McClellan wrote
Lincoln a long letter.  It was a treatise upon Lincoln's political
duties.  It was written as "on the brink of eternity."  He was not then
in fact in any danger, and possibly he had composed it seven days
before as his political testament; and apprehensions, free from
personal fear, excuse, without quite redeeming, its inappropriateness.
The President is before all things not to abandon the cause.  But the
cause should be fought for upon Christian principles.  Christian
principles exclude warfare on private property.  More especially do
they exclude measures for emancipating slaves.  And if the President
gives way to radical views on slavery, he will get no soldiers.  Then
follows a mandate to the President to appoint a Commander-in-Chief, not
necessarily the writer.  Such a summary does injustice to a certain
elevation of tone in the letter, but that elevation is itself slightly
strained.  McClellan, whatever his private opinions, had not meddled
with politics before he left Washington.  The question why in this
military crisis he should have written what a Democratic politician
might have composed as a party manifesto must later have caused Lincoln
some thought, but it apparently did not enter into the decision he next
took.  He arrived himself at Harrison's Landing next day.  McClellan
handed him the letter.  Lincoln read it, and said that he was obliged
to him.  McClellan sent a copy to his wife as "a very important record."

Lincoln had come in order to learn the views of McClellan and all his
corps commanders.  They differed a good deal on important points, but a
majority of them were naturally anxious to stay and fight there.
Lincoln was left in some anxiety as to how the health of the troops
would stand the climate of the coming months if they had to wait long
where they were.  He was also disturbed by McClellan's vagueness about
the number of his men, for he now returned as present for duty a number
which far exceeded that which some of his recent telegrams had given
and yet fell short of the number sent him by an amount which no
reasonable estimate of killed, wounded, and sick could explain.  This
added to Lincoln's doubt on the main question presented to him.
McClellan believed that he could take Richmond, but he demanded for
this very large reinforcements.  Some part of them were already being
collected, but the rest could by no means be given him without leaving
Washington with far fewer troops to defend it than McClellan or anybody
else had hitherto thought necessary.

On July 24, the day after his arrival at Washington, Halleck was sent
to consult with McClellan and his generals.  The record of their
consultations sufficiently shows the intricacy of the problem to be
decided.  The question of the health of the climate in August weighed
much with Halleck, but the most striking feature of their conversation
was the fluctuation of McClellan's own opinion upon each important
point--at one moment he even gave Halleck the impression that he wished
under all the circumstances to withdraw and to join Pope.  When Halleck
returned to Washington McClellan telegraphed in passionate anxiety to
be left in the Peninsula and reinforced.  On the other hand, some of
the officers of highest rank with him wrote strongly urging withdrawal.
This latter was the course on which Lincoln and Halleck decided.  In
the circumstances it was certainly the simplest course to concentrate
all available forces in an attack upon the enemy from the direction of
Washington which would keep that capital covered all the while.  It was
in any case no hasty and no indefensible decision, nor is there any
justification for the frequent assertion that some malignant influence
brought it about.  It is one of the steps taken by Lincoln which have
been the most often lamented.  But if McClellan had had all he demanded
to take Richmond and had made good his promise, what would Lee have
done?  Lee's own answer to a similar question later was, "We would swap
queens"; that is, he would have taken Washington.  If so the
Confederacy would not have fallen, but in all probability the North
would have collapsed, and European Powers would at the least have
recognised the Confederacy.

Lincoln indeed had acted as any prudent civilian Minister would then
have acted.  But disaster followed, or rather there followed, with
brief interruption, a succession of disasters which, after this long
tale of hesitation, can be quickly told.  It would be easy to represent
them as a judgment upon the Administration which had rejected the
guidance of McClellan.  But in the true perspective of the war, the
point which has now been reached marks the final election by the North
of the policy by which it won the war.  McClellan, even if he had taken
Richmond while Washington remained safe, would have concentrated the
efforts of the North upon a line of advance which gave little promise
of finally reducing the Confederacy.  It is evident to-day that the
right course for the North was to keep the threatening of Richmond and
the recurrent hammering at the Southern forces on that front duly
related to that continual process by which the vitals of the Southern
country were being eaten into from the west.  This policy, it has been
seen, was present to Lincoln's mind from an early day; the temptation
to depart from it was now once for all rejected.  On the other hand,
the three great Southern victories, the second battle of Bull Run,
Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville, which followed within the next
nine months, had no lasting influence.  Jefferson Davis might perhaps
have done well if he had neglected all else and massed every man he
could gather to pursue the advantage which these battles gave him.  He
did not--perhaps could not--do this.  But he concentrated his greatest
resource of all, the genius of Lee, upon a point at which the real
danger did not lie.

Pope had now set vigorously to work collecting and pulling together his
forces, which had previously been scattered under different commanders
in the north of Virginia.  He was guilty of a General Order which
shocked people by its boastfulness, insulted the Eastern soldiers by a
comparison with their Western comrades, and threatened harsh and most
unjust treatment of the civil population of Virginia.  But upon the
whole he created confidence, for he was an officer well trained in his
profession as well as an energetic man.  The problem was now to effect
as quickly as possible the union of Pope's troops and McClellan's in an
overwhelming force.  Pope was anxious to keep McClellan unmolested
while he embarked his men.  So, to occupy the enemy, he pushed boldly
into Virginia; he pushed too far, placed himself in great danger from
the lightning movements which Lee now habitually employed Jackson to
execute, but extricated himself with much promptitude, though with some
considerable losses.  McClellan had not been deprived of command; he
was in the curious and annoying position of having to transfer troops
to Pope till, for a moment, not a man remained under him, but the
process of embarking and transferring them gave full scope for energy
and skill.  McClellan, as it appeared to Lincoln, performed his task
very slowly.  This was not the judgment of impatience, for McClellan
caused the delay by repeated and perverse disobedience to Halleck's
orders.  But the day drew near when 150,000 men might be concentrated
under Pope against Lee's 55,000.  The stroke which Lee now struck after
earnest consultation with Jackson has been said to have been "perhaps
the most daring in the history of warfare."  He divided his army almost
under the enemy's eyes and sent Jackson by a circuitous route to cut
Pope's communications with Washington.  Then followed an intricate
tactical game, in which each side was bewildered as to the movements of
the other.  Pope became exasperated and abandoned his prudence.  He
turned on his enemy when he should and could have withdrawn to a safe
position and waited.  On August 29 and 30, in the ominous neighbourhood
of the Bull Run and of Manassas, he sustained a heavy defeat.  Then he
abandoned hope before he need have done so, and, alleging that his men
were demoralised, begged to be withdrawn within the defences of
Washington, where he arrived on September 3, and, as was inevitable in
the condition of his army, was relieved of his command.  McClellan, in
Lincoln's opinion, had now been guilty of the offence which that
generous mind would find it hardest to forgive.  He had not bestirred
himself to get his men to Pope.  In Lincoln's belief at the time he had
wished Pope to fail.  McClellan, who reached Washington at the crisis
of Pope's difficulties, was consulted, and said to Lincoln that Pope
must be left to get out of his scrape as best he could.  It was perhaps
only an awkward phrase, but it did not soften Lincoln.

Washington was now too strongly held to be attacked, but Lee determined
to invade Maryland.  At least this would keep Virginia safe during
harvest time.  It might win him many recruits in Maryland.  It would
frighten the North, all the more because a Confederate force further
west was at that same time invading Kentucky; it might accomplish there
was no saying how much.  This much, one may gather from the "Life of
Lord John Russell," any great victory of the South on Northern soil
would probably have accomplished: the Confederacy would have been
recognised, as Jefferson Davis longed for it to be, by European Powers.
Lincoln now acted in total disregard of his Cabinet and of all
Washington, and in equal disregard of any false notions of dignity.  By
word of mouth he directed McClellan to take command of all the troops
at Washington.  His opinion of McClellan had not altered, but, as he
said to his private secretaries, if McClellan could not fight himself,
he excelled in making others ready to fight.  No other step could have
succeeded so quickly in restoring order and confidence to the Army.
Few or no instructions were given to McClellan.  He was simply allowed
the freest possible hand, and was watched with keen solicitude as to
how he would rise to his opportunity.

Lee, in his advance, expected his opponent to be slow.  He actually
again divided his small army, leaving Jackson with a part of it behind
for a while to capture, as he did, the Northern fort at Harper's Ferry.
A Northern private picked up a packet of cigars dropped by some
Southern officer with a piece of paper round it.  The paper was a copy
of an order of Lee's which revealed to McClellan the opportunity now
given him of crushing Lee in detail.  But he did not rouse himself.  He
was somewhat hampered by lack of cavalry, and his greatest quality in
the field was his care not to give chances to the enemy.  His want of
energy allowed Lee time to discover what, had happened and fall back a
little towards Harper's Ferry.  Yet Lee dared, without having yet
reunited his forces, to stop at a point where McClellan must be tempted
to give him battle, and where, if he could only stand against
McClellan, Jackson would be in a position to deliver a deadly
counter-stroke.  Lee knew that for the South the chance of rapid
success was worth any risk.  McClellan, however, moved so slowly that
Jackson was able to join Lee before the battle.  The Northern army came
up with them near the north bank of the Potomac on the Antietam Creek,
a small tributary of that river, about sixty miles north-east of
Washington.  There, on September 17, 1862, McClellan ordered an attack,
to which he did not attempt to give his personal direction.  His corps
commanders led assaults on Lee's position at different times and in so
disconnected a manner that each was repulsed singly.  But on the
following morning Lee found himself in a situation which determined him
to retreat.

As a military success the battle of Antietam demanded to be followed
up.  Reinforcements had now come to McClellan, and Lincoln telegraphed,
"Please do not let him get off without being hurt."  Lee was between
the broad Potomac and a Northern army fully twice as large as his own,
with other large forces near.  McClellan's subordinates urged him to
renew the attack and drive Lee into the river.  But Lee was allowed to
cross the river, and McClellan lay camped on the Antietam battlefield
for a fortnight.  He may have been dissatisfied with the condition of
his army and its supplies.  Some of his men wanted new boots; many of
Lee's were limping barefoot.  He certainly, as often before,
exaggerated the strength of his enemy.  Lee recrossed the Potomac
little damaged.  Lincoln, occupied in those days over the most
momentous act of his political life, watched McClellan eagerly, and
came to the Antietam to see things for himself.  He came back in the
full belief that McClellan would move at once.  Once more undeceived,
he pressed him with letters and telegrams from himself and Halleck.  He
was convinced that McClellan, if he tried, could cut off Lee from
Richmond.  Hearing of the fatigue of McClellan's horses, he telegraphed
about the middle of October, "Will you pardon me for asking what your
horses have done since the battle of Antietam that tires anything."
This was unkind; McClellan indeed should have seen about cavalry in the
days when he was organising in Washington, but at this moment the
Southern horse had just raided right round his lines and got safe back,
and his own much inferior cavalry was probably worn out with vain
pursuit of them.  On the same day Lincoln wrote more kindly, "My dear
Sir, you remember my speaking to you of what I called your
over-cautiousness.  Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you
cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing?  Change positions with
the enemy, and think you not, he would break your communications with
Richmond within the next twenty-four hours."  And after a brief
analysis of the situation, which seems conclusive, he ends: "I say
'try'; if we never try we shall never succeed. . . .  If we cannot beat
him now when he bears the wastage of coming to us, we never can when we
bear the wastage of going to him."  His patience was nearing a limit
which he had already fixed in his own mind.  On October 28, more than
five weeks after the battle, McClellan began to cross the Potomac, and
took a week in the process.  On November 5, McClellan was removed from
his command, and General Burnside appointed in his place.

Lincoln had longed for the clear victory that he thought McClellan
would win; he gloomily foreboded that he might not find a better man to
put in his place; he felt sadly how he would be accused, as he has been
ever since, of displacing McClellan because he was a Democrat.   "In
considering military merit," he wrote privately, "the world has
abundant evidence that I disregard politics."  A friend, a Republican
general, wrote to him a week or so after McClellan had been removed to
urge that all the generals ought to be men in thorough sympathy with
the Administration.  He received a crushing reply (to be followed in a
day or two by a friendly invitation) indignantly proving that Democrats
served as well in the field as Republicans.  But in regard to McClellan
himself we now know that a grave suspicion had entered Lincoln's mind.
He might, perhaps, in the fear of finding no one better, have tolerated
his "over-cautiousness"; he did not care what line an officer who did
his duty might in civil life take politically; but he would not take
the risk of entrusting the war further to a general who let his
politics govern his strategy, and who, as he put it simply, "did not
want to hurt the enemy."  This, he had begun to believe, was the cause
of McClellan's lack of energy.  He resolved to treat McClellan's
conduct now, in fighting Lee or in letting him escape South, as the
test of whether his own suspicion about him was justified or not.  Lee
did get clear away, and Lincoln dismissed McClellan in the full belief,
right or wrong, that he was not sorry for Lee's escape.

It is not known exactly what further evidence Lincoln then had for his
belief, but information which seems to have come later made him think
afterwards that he had been right.  The following story was told him by
the Governor of Vermont, whose brother, a certain General Smith, served
under McClellan and was long his intimate friend.  Lincoln believed the
story; so may we.  The Mayor of New York, a shifty demagogue named
Fernando Wood, had visited McClellan in the Peninsula with a proposal
that he should become the Democratic candidate for the Presidency, and
with a view to this should pledge himself to certain Democratic
politicians to conduct the war in a way that should conciliate the
South, which to Lincoln's mind meant an "inefficient" way.  McClellan,
after some days of unusual reserve, told Smith of this and showed him a
letter which he had drafted giving the desired pledge.  On Smith's
earnest remonstrance that this "looked like treason," he did not send
the letter then.  But Wood came again after the battle of Antietam, and
this time McClellan sent a letter in the same sense.  This he
afterwards confessed to Smith, showing him a copy of the letter.  Smith
and other generals asked, after this, to be relieved from service under
him.  If, as can hardly be doubted, McClellan did this, there can be no
serious excuse for him, and no serious question that Lincoln was right
when he concluded it was unsafe to employ him.  McClellan, according to
all evidence except his own letters, was a nice man, and was not likely
to harbour a thought of what to him seemed treason; it is honourable to
him that he wished later to serve under Grant but was refused by him.
But, to one of his views, the political situation before and after
Antietam was alarming, and it is certain that to his inconclusive mind
and character an attitude of half loyalty would be easy.  He may not
have wished that Lee should escape, but he had no ardent desire that he
should not.  Right or wrong, such was the ground of Lincoln's
independent and conscientiously deliberate decision.

The result again did not reward him.  His choice of Burnside was a
mistake.  There were corps commanders under McClellan who had earned
special confidence, but they were all rather old.  General Burnside,
who was the senior among the rest, had lately succeeded in operations
in connection with the Navy on the North Carolina coast, whereby
certain harbours were permanently closed to the South.  He had since
served under McClellan at the Antietam, but had not earned much credit.
He was a loyal friend to McClellan and very modest about his own
capacity.  Perhaps both these things prejudiced Lincoln in his favour.
He continued in active service till nearly the end of the war, when a
failure led to his retirement; and he was always popular and respected.
At this juncture he failed disastrously.  On December 11 and 12, 1862,
Lee's army lay strongly posted on the south of the Rappahannock.
Burnside, in spite, as it appears, of express warnings from Lincoln,
attacked Lee at precisely the point, near the town of Fredericksburg,
where his position was really impregnable.  The defeat of the Northern
army was bloody and overwhelming.  Burnside's army became all but
mutinous; his corps commanders, especially General Hooker, were loud in
complaint.  He was tempted to persist, in spite of all protests, in
some further effort of rashness.  Lincoln endeavoured to restrain him.
Halleck, whom Lincoln begged to give a definite military opinion,
upholding or overriding Burnside's, had nothing more useful to offer
than his own resignation.  After discussions and recriminations among
all officers concerned, Burnside offered his resignation.  Lincoln was
by no means disposed to remove a general upon a first failure or to
side with his subordinates against him, and refused to accept it.
Burnside then offered the impossible alternative of the dismissal of
all his corps commanders for disaffection to him, and on January 25,
1863, his resignation was accepted.

There was much discussion in the Cabinet as to the choice of his
successor.  It was thought unwise to give the Eastern army a commander
from the West again.  At Chase's instance [Transcriber's note:
insistance?] the senior corps commander who was not too old, General
Hooker, sometimes called "Fighting Joe Hooker," was appointed.  He
received a letter, often quoted as the letter of a man much altered
from the Lincoln who had been groping a year earlier after the right
way of treating McClellan: "I have placed you," wrote Lincoln, "at the
head of the Army of the Potomac.  Of course I have done this upon what
appear to me to be sufficient reasons, and yet I think it best for you
to know that there are some things in regard to which I am not quite
satisfied with you.  I believe you to be a brave and skilful soldier,
which of course I like.  I also believe that you do not mix politics
with your profession, in which you are right.  You have confidence in
yourself, which is a valuable, if not indispensable, quality.  You are
ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm;
but I think that during General Burnside's command of the army you have
taken counsel of your ambition and thwarted him as much as you could,
in which you did a great wrong to the country, and to a most
meritorious and honourable brother officer.  I have heard, in such a
way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the Army and
the Government needed a dictator.  Of course it was not for this, but
in spite of it, that I gave you the command.  Only those generals who
gain successes can set up dictators.  What I now ask of you is military
success, and I will risk the dictatorship.  The Government will support
you to the utmost of its ability, which is neither more nor less than
it has done and will do for all commanders.  I much fear that the
spirit which you have aided to infuse into the army, of criticising
their commander and withholding confidence from him, will now turn upon
you.  Neither you nor Napoleon, if he were alive again, could get any
good out of an army while such a spirit prevails in it; and now beware
of rashness.  Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless
vigilance go forward and give us victories."

"He talks to me like a father," exclaimed Hooker, enchanted with a
rebuke such as this.  He was a fine, frank, soldierly fellow, with a
noble figure, with "a grand fighting head," fresh complexion and bright
blue eyes.  He was a good organiser; he put a stop to the constant
desertions; he felt the need of improving the Northern cavalry; and he
groaned at the spirit with which McClellan had infected his army, a
curious collective inertness among men who individually were daring.
He seems to have been highly strung; the very little wine that he drank
perceptibly affected him; he gave it up altogether in his campaigns.
And he cannot have been very clever, for the handsomest beating that
Lee could give him left him unaware that Lee was a general.  In the end
of April he crossed the Rappahannock and the Rapidan, which still
divided the two armies, and in the first week of May, 1863, a brief
campaign, full of stirring incident, came to a close with the three
days' battle of Chancellorsville, in which Hooker, hurt and dazed with
pain, lost control and presence of mind, and, with heavy loss, drew
back across the Rappahannock.  The South had won another amazing
victory; but "Stonewall" Jackson, at the age of thirty-nine, had fallen
in the battle.

Abroad, this crowning disaster to the North seemed to presage the full
triumph of the Confederacy; and it was a gloomy time enough for Lincoln
and his Ministers.  A second and more serious invasion by Lee was
impending, and the lingering progress of events in the West, of which
the story must soon be resumed, caused protracted and deepening
anxiety.  But the tide turned soon.  Moreover, Lincoln's military
perplexities, which have demanded our detailed attention during these
particular campaigns, were very nearly at an end.  We have here to turn
back to the political problem of his Presidency, for the bloody and
inconclusive battle upon the Antietam, more than seven months before,
had led strangely to political consequences which were great and
memorable.




CHAPTER X

EMANCIPATION

When the news of a second battle of Bull Run reached England it seemed
at first to Lord John Russell that the failure of the North was
certain, and he asked Palmerston and his colleagues to consider whether
they must not soon recognise the Confederacy, and whether mediation in
the interest of peace and humanity might not perhaps follow.  But
within two months all thoughts of recognising the Confederacy had been
so completely put aside that even Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville
caused no renewal of the suggestion, and an invitation from Louis
Napoleon to joint action of this kind between England and France had
once for all been rejected.  The battle of Antietam had been fought in
the meantime.  This made men think that the South could no more win a
speedy and decisive success than the North, and that victory must rest
in the end with the side that could last.  But that was not all; the
battle of Antietam was followed within five days by an event which made
it impossible for any Government of this country to take action
unfriendly to the North.

On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln set his hand to a Proclamation
of which the principal words were these: "That, on the first day of
January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated
part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against
the United States, shall be then, thenceforward and forever free."

The policy and the true effect of this act cannot be understood without
some examination.  Still less so can the course of the man who will
always be remembered as its author.  First, in regard to the legal
effect of the Proclamation; in normal times the President would of
course not have had the power, which even the Legislature did not
possess, to set free a single slave; the Proclamation was an act of war
on his part, as Commander-in-Chief of the forces, by which slaves were
to be taken from people at war with the United States, just as horses
or carts might be taken, to subtract from their resources and add to
those of the United States.  In a curiously prophetic manner,
ex-President John Quincy Adams had argued in Congress many years before
that, if rebellion ever arose, this very thing might be done.  Adams
would probably have claimed that the command of the President became
law in the States which took part in the rebellion.  Lincoln only
claimed legal force for his Proclamation in so far as it was an act of
war based on sufficient necessity and plainly tending to help the
Northern arms.  If the legal question had ever been tried out, the
Courts would no doubt have had to hold that at least those slaves who
obtained actual freedom under the Proclamation became free in law; for
it was certainly in good faith an act of war, and the military result
justified it.  A large amount of labour was withdrawn from the industry
necessary to the South, and by the end of the war 180,000 coloured
troops were in arms for the North, rendering services, especially in
occupying conquered territory that was unhealthy for white troops,
without which, in Lincoln's opinion, the war could never have been
finished.  The Proclamation had indeed an indirect effect more
far-reaching than this; it committed the North to a course from which
there could be no turning back, except by surrender; it made it a
political certainty that by one means or another slavery would be ended
if the North won.  But in Lincoln's view of his duty as President, this
ulterior consequence was not to determine his action.  The fateful step
by which the end of slavery was precipitated would not have taken the
form it did take if it had not come to commend itself to him as a
military measure conducing to the suppression of rebellion.

On the broader grounds on which we naturally look at this measure, many
people in the North had, as we have seen, been anxious from the
beginning that he should adopt an active policy of freeing Southern
slaves.  It was intolerable to think that the war might end and leave
slavery where it was.  To convert the war into a crusade against
slavery seemed to many the best way of arousing and uniting the North.
This argument was reinforced by some of the American Ministers abroad.
They were aware that people in Europe misunderstood and disliked the
Constitutional propriety with which the Union government insisted that
it was not attacking the domestic institutions of Southern States.
English people did not know the American Constitution, and when told
that the North did not threaten to abolish slavery would answer "Why
not?"  Many Englishmen, who might dislike the North and might have
their doubts as to whether slavery was as bad as it was said to be,
would none the less have respected men who would fight against it.
They had no interest in the attempt of some of their own seceded
Colonists to coerce, upon some metaphysical ground of law, others who
in their turn wished to secede from them.  Seward, with wonderful
misjudgment, had instructed Ministers abroad to explain that no attack
was threatened on slavery, for he was afraid that the purchasers of
cotton in Europe would feel threatened in their selfish interests; the
agents of the South were astute enough to take the same line and insist
like him that the North was no more hostile to slavery than the South.
If this misunderstanding were removed English hostility to the North
would never again take a dangerous form.  Lincoln, who knew less of
affairs but more of men than Seward, was easily made to see this.  Yet,
with full knowledge of the reasons for adopting a decided policy
against slavery, Lincoln waited through seventeen months of the war
till the moment had come for him to strike his blow.

Some of his reasons for waiting were very plain.  He was not going to
take action on the alleged ground of military necessity till he was
sure that the necessity existed.  Nor was he going to take it till it
would actually lead to the emancipation of a great number of slaves.
Above all, he would not act till he felt that the North generally would
sustain his action, for he knew, better than Congressmen who judged
from their own friends in their own constituencies, how doubtful a
large part of Northern opinion really was.  We have seen how in the
summer of 1861 he felt bound to disappoint the advanced opinion which
supported Fremont.  He continued for more than a year after in a course
which alienated from himself the confidence of the men with whom he had
most sympathy.  He did this deliberately rather than imperil the
unanimity with which the North supported the war.  There was indeed
grave danger of splitting the North in two if he appeared unnecessarily
to change the issue from Union to Liberation.  We have to remember that
in all the Northern States the right of the Southern States to choose
for themselves about slavery had been fully admitted, and that four of
the Northern States were themselves slave States all this while.

But this is not the whole explanation of his delay.  It is certain that
apart from this danger he would at first rather not have played the
historic part which he did play as the liberator of the slaves, if he
could have succeeded in the more modest part of encouraging a process
of gradual emancipation.  In his Annual Message to Congress in
December, 1861, he laid down the general principles of his policy in
this matter.  He gave warning in advance to the Democrats of the North,
who were against all interference with Southern institutions, that
"radical and extreme measures" might become indispensable to military
success, and if indispensable would be taken; but he declared his
anxiety that if possible the conflict with the South should not
"degenerate into a violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle," for
he looked forward with fear to a complete overturning of the social
system of the South.  He feared it not only for the white people but
also for the black.  "Gradual and not sudden emancipation," he said, in
a later Message, "is better for all."  It is now probable that he was
right, and yet it is difficult not to sympathise with the earnest
Republicans who were impatient at his delay, who were puzzled and
pained by the free and easy way in which in grave conversation he would
allude to "the nigger question," and who concluded that "the President
is not with us; has no sound Anti-slavery sentiment."  Indeed, his
sentiment did differ from theirs.  Certainly, he hated slavery, for he
had contended more stubbornly than any other man against any concession
which seemed to him to perpetuate slavery by stamping it with approval;
but his hatred of it left him quite without the passion of moral
indignation against the slave owners, in whose guilt the whole country,
North and South, seemed to him an accomplice.  He would have classed
that very natural indignation under the head of "malice"--"I shall do
nothing in malice," he wrote to a citizen of Louisiana; "what I deal
with is too vast for malicious dealing."  But it was not, as we shall
see before long, too vast for an interest, as sympathetic as it was
matter of fact, in the welfare of the negroes.  They were actual human
beings to him, and he knew that the mere abrogation of the law of
slavery was not the only thing necessary to their advancement.  Looking
back, with knowledge of what happened later, we cannot fail to be glad
that they were emancipated somehow, but we are forced to regret that
they could not have been emancipated by some more considerate process.
Lincoln, perhaps alone among the Americans who were in earnest in this
matter, looked at it very much in the light in which all men look at it
to-day.

In the early part of 1862 the United States Government concluded a
treaty with Great Britain for the more effectual suppression of the
African slave trade, and it happened about the same time that the first
white man ever executed as a pirate under the American law against the
slave trade was hanged in New York.  In those months Lincoln was
privately trying to bring about the passing by the Legislature of
Delaware of an Act for emancipating, with fit provisions for their
welfare, the few slaves in that State, conditionally upon compensation
to be paid to the owners by the United States.  He hoped that if this
example were set by Delaware, it would be followed in Maryland, and
would spread later.  The Delaware House were favourable to the scheme,
but the Senate of the State rejected it.  Lincoln now made a more
public appeal in favour of his policy.  In March, 1862, he sent a
Message to Congress, which has already been quoted, and in which he
urged the two Houses to pass Resolutions pledging the United States to
give pecuniary help to any State which adopted gradual emancipation.
It must be obvious that if the slave States of the North could have
been led to adopt this policy it would have been a fitting preliminary
to any action which might be taken against slavery in the South; and
the policy might have been extended to those Southern States which were
first recovered for the Union.  The point, however, upon which Lincoln
dwelt in his Message was that, if slavery were once given up by the
border States, the South would abandon all hope that they would ever
join the Confederacy.  In private letters to an editor of a newspaper
and others he pressed the consideration that the cost of compensated
abolition was small in proportion to what might be gained by a quicker
ending of the war.  During the discussion of his proposal in Congress
and again after the end of the Session he invited the Senators and
Representatives of the border States to private conference with him in
which he besought of them "a calm and enlarged consideration, ranging,
if it may be, far above, personal and partisan politics," of the
opportunity of good now open to them.  The hope of the Confederacy was,
as he then conceived, fixed upon the sympathy which it might arouse in
the border States, two of which, Kentucky and Maryland, were in fact
invaded that year with some hope of a rising among the inhabitants.
The "lever" which the Confederates hoped to use in these States was the
interest of the slave owners there; "Break that lever before their
eyes," he urged.  But the hundred and one reasons which can always be
found against action presented themselves at once to the
Representatives of the border States.  Congress itself so far accepted
the President's view that both Houses passed the Resolution which he
had suggested.  Indeed it gladly did something more; a Bill, such as
Lincoln himself had prepared as a Congressman fourteen years before,
was passed for abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia;
compensation was paid to the owners; a sum was set apart to help the
settlement in Liberia of any of the slaves who were willing to go; and
at Lincoln's suggestion provision was added for the education of the
negro children.  Nothing more was done at this time.

Throughout this matter Lincoln took counsel chiefly with himself.  He
could not speak his full thought to the public, and apparently he did
not do so to any of his Cabinet.  Supposing that the border States had
yielded to his persuasion, it may still strike us as a very sanguine
calculation that their action would have had much effect upon the
resolution of the Confederates.  But it must be noted that when Lincoln
first approached the Representatives of the border States, the highest
expectations were entertained of the victory that McClellan would win
in Virginia, and when he made his last, rather despairing, appeal to
them, the decision to withdraw the army from the Peninsula had not yet
been taken.  If a really heavy blow had been struck at the Confederates
in Virginia, their chief hope of retrieving their military fortunes
would certainly have lain in that invasion of Kentucky, which did
shortly afterwards occur and which was greatly encouraged by the hope
of a rising of Kentucky men who wished to join the Confederacy.  This
part of Lincoln's calculations was therefore quite reasonable.  And it
was further reasonable to suppose that, if the South had then given in
and Congress had acted in the spirit of the Resolution which it had
passed, the policy, of gradual emancipation, starting in the border
States, would have spread steadily.  The States which were disposed to
hold out against the inducement that the cost of compensated
emancipation, if they adopted it, would be borne by the whole Union,
would have done so at a great risk; for each new free State would have
been disposed before long to support a Constitutional Amendment to
impose enfranchisement, possibly with no compensation, upon the States
that still delayed.  The force of example and the presence of this fear
could not have been resisted long.  Lincoln was not a man who could be
accused of taking any course without a reason well thought out; we can
safely conclude that in the summer of 1862 he nursed a hope, by no
means visionary, of initiating a process of liberation free from
certain evils in that upon which he was driven back.

Before, however, he had quite abandoned this hope he had already begun
to see his way in case it failed.  His last appeal to the border States
was made on July 12, 1862, while McClellan's army still lay at
Harrison's Landing.  On the following day he privately told Seward and
Bates that he had "about come to the conclusion that it was a military
necessity, absolutely essential to the salvation of the nation, that we
must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued."  On July 22 he read to
his Cabinet the first draft of his Proclamation of Emancipation;
telling them before he consulted them that substantially his mind was
made up.  Various members of the Cabinet raised points on which he had
already thought and had come to a conclusion, but, as he afterwards
told a friend, Seward raised a point which had never struck him before.
He said that, if issued at that time of depression, just after the
failure in the Peninsula, the Proclamation would seem like "a cry of
distress"; and that it would have a much better effect if it were
issued after some military success.

Seward was certainly right.  The danger of division in the North would
have been increased and the prospect of a good effect abroad would have
been diminished if the Proclamation had been issued at a time of
depression and manifest failure.  Lincoln, who had been set on issuing
it, instantly felt the force of this objection.  He put aside his
draft, and resolved not to issue the Proclamation till the right
moment, and apparently resolved to keep the whole question open in his
own mind till the time for action came.

Accordingly the two months which followed were not only full of anxiety
about the war; they were full for him of a suspense painfully
maintained.  It troubled him perhaps comparatively little that he was
driven into a position of greater aloofness from the support and
sympathy of any party or school.  He must now expect an opposition from
the Democrats of the North, for they had declared themselves strongly
against the Resolution which he had induced Congress to pass.  And the
strong Republicans for their part had acquiesced in it coldly, some of
them contemptuously.  In May of this year he had been forced for a
second time publicly to repress a keen Republican general who tried to
take this question of great policy into his own hands.  General Hunter,
commanding a small expedition which had seized Port Royal in South
Carolina and some adjacent islands rich in cotton, had in a grand
manner assumed to declare free all the slaves in South Carolina,
Georgia and Florida.  This, of course, could not be let pass.
Congress, too, had been occupied in the summer with a new measure for
confiscating rebel property; some Republicans in the West set great
store on such confiscation; other Republicans saw in it the incidental
advantage that more slaves might be liberated under it.  It was learnt
that the President might put his veto upon it.  It seemed to purport,
contrary to the Constitution, to attaint the property of rebels after
their death, and Lincoln was unwilling that the Constitution should be
stretched in the direction of revengeful harshness.  The objectionable
feature in the Bill was removed, and Lincoln accepted it.  But the
suspicion with which many Republicans were beginning to regard him was
now reinforced by a certain jealousy of Congressmen against the
Executive power; they grumbled and sneered about having to "ascertain
the Royal pleasure" before they could legislate.  This was an able,
energetic, and truly patriotic Congress, and must not be despised for
its reluctance to be guided by Lincoln.  But it was reluctant.

Throughout August and September he had to deal in the country with
dread on the one side of any revolutionary action, and belief on the
other side that he was timid and half-hearted.  The precise state of
his intentions could not with advantage be made public.  To up-holders
of slavery he wrote plainly, "It may as well be understood once for all
that I shall not surrender this game leaving any available card
unplayed"; to its most zealous opponents he had to speak in an entirely
different strain.  While the second battle of Bull Run was impending,
Horace Greeley published in the _New York Tribune_ an "open letter" of
angry complaint about Lincoln's supposed bias for slavery.  Lincoln at
once published a reply to his letter.  "If there be in it," he said,
"any statements or assumptions of fact which I may know to be
erroneous, I do not now and here controvert them.  If there be
perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in
deference to an old friend whose heart I have always supposed to be
right.  My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union.  If
I could save the Union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if
I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could
save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the
cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will
help the cause.  I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear
to be true views."

It was probably easy to him now to write these masterful generalities,
but a week or two later, after Pope's defeat, he had to engage in a
controversy which tried his feelings much more sorely.  It had really
grieved him that clergymen in Illinois had opposed him as unorthodox,
when he was fighting against the extension of slavery.  Now, a week or
two after his correspondence with Greeley, a deputation from a number
of Churches in Chicago waited upon him, and some of their members spoke
to him with assumed authority from on high, commanding him in God's
name to emancipate the slaves.  He said, "I am approached with the most
opposite opinions and advice, and that by religious men who are equally
certain that they represent the divine will.  I am sure that either the
one or the other class is mistaken in that belief, and perhaps in some
respects both.  I hope it will not be irreverent for me to say that, if
it is probable that God would reveal His will to others, on a point so
connected with my duty, it might be supposed He would reveal it
directly to me.  What good would a proclamation of emancipation from me
do especially as we are now situated?  I do not want to issue a
document that the whole world will see must necessarily be inoperative
like the Pope's Bull against the comet.  Do not misunderstand me,
because I have mentioned these objections.  They indicate the
difficulties that have thus far prevented my acting in some such way as
you desire.  I have not decided against a proclamation of liberty to
the slaves, but hold the matter under advisement.  And I can assure you
that the subject is on my mind, by day and night, more than any other.
Whatever shall appear to be God's will, I will do."  The language of
this speech, especially when the touch is humorous, seems that of a
strained and slightly irritated man, but the solemnity blended in it
showed Lincoln's true mind.

In this month, September, 1862, he composed for his own reading alone a
sad and inconclusive fragment of meditation which was found after his
death.  "The will of God prevails," he wrote.  "In great contests each
party claims to act in accordance with the will of God.  Both may be
and one must be wrong.  God cannot be for and against the same thing at
the same time.  In the present civil war it is quite possible that
God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party,
and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of
the best adaptation to effect His purpose.  I am almost ready to say
that this is probably true, that God wills this contest, and wills that
it shall not end yet.  By His mere great power on the minds of the
contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without
a human contest.  Yet the contest began, and, having begun, He could
give the final victory to either side any day.  Yet the contest
proceeds."  For Lincoln's own part it seemed his plain duty to do what
in the circumstances he thought safest for the Union, and yet he was
almost of a mind with the deputation which had preached to him, that he
must be doing God's will in taking a great step towards emancipation.
The solution, that the great step must be taken at the first opportune
moment, was doubtless clear enough in principle, but it must always
remain arguable whether any particular moment was opportune.  He told
soon afterwards how his mind was finally made up.

On the day that he received the news of the battle of Antietam, the
draft Proclamation was taken from its drawer and studied afresh; his
visit to McClellan on the battlefield intervened; but on the fifth day
after the battle the Cabinet was suddenly called together.  When the
Ministers had assembled Lincoln first entertained them by reading the
short chapter of Artemus Ward entitled "High-handed Outrage at Utica."
It is less amusing than most of Artemus Ward; but it had just appeared;
it pleased all the Ministers except Stanton, to whom the frivolous
reading he sometimes had to hear from Lincoln was a standing vexation;
and it was precisely that sort of relief to which Lincoln's mind when
overwrought could always turn.  Having thus composed himself for
business, he reminded his Cabinet that he had, as they were aware,
thought a great deal about the relation of the war to slavery, and had
a few weeks before read them a draft Proclamation on this subject.
Ever since then, he said, his mind had been occupied on the matter,
and, though he wished it were a better time, he thought the time had
come now.  "When the rebel army was at Frederick," he is related to
have continued, "I determined, as soon as it should be driven out of
Maryland, to issue a Proclamation of Emancipation such as I thought
likely to be most useful.  I said nothing to any one, but I made the
promise to myself and"--here he hesitated a little--"to my Maker.  The
rebel army is now driven out, and I am going to fulfil that promise.  I
have got you together to hear what I have written down.  I do not wish
your advice about the main matter, for that I have determined for
myself.  This I say without intending anything but respect for any one
of you."  He then invited their suggestions upon the expressions used
in his draft and other minor matters, and concluded: "One other
observation I will make.  I know very well that many others might in
this matter, as in others, do better than I can; and if I was satisfied
that the public confidence was more fully possessed by any one of them
than by me, and knew of any constitutional way in which he could be put
in my place, he should have it.  I would gladly yield it to him.  But
though I believe I have not so much of the confidence of the people as
I had some time since, I do not know that, all things considered, any
other person has more; and, however this may be, there is no way in
which I can have any other man put where I am.  I am here; I must do
the best I can, and bear the responsibility of taking the course which
I feel I ought to take."  Then he read his draft, and in the long
discussion which followed, and owing to which a few slight changes were
made in it, he told them further, without any false reserve, just how
he came to his decision.  In his great perplexity he had gone on his
knees, before the battle of Antietam, and, like a child, he had
promised that if a victory was given which drove the enemy out of
Maryland he would consider it as an indication that it was his duty to
move forward.  "It might be thought strange," he said, "that he had in
this way submitted the disposal of matters, when the way was not clear
to his mind what he should do.  God had decided this question in favour
of the slaves."

Such is the story of what we may now remember as one of the signal
events in the chequered progress of Christianity.  We have to follow
its consequences a little further.  These were not at first all that
its author would have hoped.  "Commendation in newspapers and by
distinguished individuals is," he said in a private letter, "all that a
vain man could wish," but recruits for the Army did not seem to come in
faster.  In October and November there were elections for Congress, and
in a number of States the Democrats gained considerably, though it was
noteworthy that the Republicans held their ground not only in New
England and in the furthest Western States, but also in the border
slave States.  The Democrats, who from this time on became very
formidable to Lincoln, had other matters of complaint, as will be seen
later, but they chiefly denounced the President for trying to turn the
war into one against slavery.  "The Constitution as it is and the Union
as it was" had been their election cry.  The good hearing that they
got, now as at a later time, was due to the fact that people were
depressed about the war; and it is plain enough that Lincoln had been
well advised in delaying his action till after a military success.  As
it was, there was much that seemed to show that public confidence in
him was not strong, but public confidence in any man is hard to
estimate, and the forces that in the end move opinion most are not
quickly apparent.  There are little indications that his power and
character were slowly establishing their hold; it seems, for instance,
to have been about this time that "old Abe" or "Uncle Abe" began to be
widely known among common people by the significant name of "Father
Abraham," and his secretaries say that he was becoming conscious that
his official utterances had a deeper effect on public opinion than any
immediate response to them in Congress showed.

In his Annual Message of December, 1862, Lincoln put before Congress,
probably with little hope of result, a comprehensive policy for dealing
with slavery justly and finally.  He proposed that a Constitutional
Amendment should be submitted to the people providing: first, that
compensation should be given in United States bonds to any State,
whether now in rebellion or not, which should abolish slavery before
the year 1900; secondly, that the slaves who had once enjoyed actual
freedom through the chances of the war should be permanently free and
that their owners should be compensated; thirdly, that Congress should
have authority to spend money on colonisation for negroes.  Even if the
greater part of these objects could have been accomplished without a
Constitutional Amendment, it is evident that such a procedure would
have been more satisfactory in the eventual resettlement of the Union.
He urged in his Message how desirable it was, as a part of the effort
to restore the Union, that the whole North should be agreed in a
concerted policy as to slavery, and that parties should for this
purpose reconsider their positions.  "The dogmas of the quiet past," he
said, "are inadequate to the stormy present.  The occasion is piled
high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.  As our case
is new, so we must think anew and act anew.  We must disenthrall
ourselves, and then we shall save our country.  Fellow citizens, we
cannot escape history.  We of this Congress and this Administration
will be remembered in spite of ourselves.  No personal significance or
insignificance can spare one or another of us.  We say we are for the
Union.  The world will not forget that we say this.  We know how to
save the Union.  The world knows we do know how to save it.  In giving
freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free.  We shall nobly
save or meanly lose the last, best hope of earth.  Other means may
succeed, this could not fail."  The last four words expressed too
confident a hope as to what Northern policy apart from Northern arms
could do towards ending the war, but it was impossible to exaggerate
the value which a policy, concerted between parties in a spirit of
moderation, would have had in the settlement after victory.  Every
honest Democrat who then refused any action against slavery must have
regretted it before three years were out, and many sensible Republicans
who saw no use in such moderation may have lived to regret their part
too.  Nothing was done.  It is thought that Lincoln expected this; but
the Proclamation of Emancipation would begin to operate within a month;
it would produce by the end of the war a situation in which the country
would be compelled to decide on the principle of slavery, and Lincoln
had at least done his part in preparing men to face the issue.

Before this, the nervous and irritable feeling of many Northern
politicians, who found in emancipation a good subject for quarrel among
themselves and in the slow progress of the war a good subject of
quarrel with the Administration, led to a crisis in Lincoln's Cabinet.
Radicals were inclined to think Seward's influence in the
Administration the cause of all public evils; some of them had now got
hold of a foolish private letter, which he had written to Adams in
England a few months before, denouncing the advocates of emancipation.
Desiring his downfall, they induced a small "caucus" of Republican
Senators to speak in the name of the party and the nation and send the
President a resolution demanding such changes in his Cabinet as would
produce better results in the war.  Discontented men of opposite
opinions could unite in demanding success in the war; and Conservative
Senators joined in this resolution hoping that it would get rid not
only of Seward, but also of Chase and Stanton, the objects of their
particular antipathy.  Seward, on hearing of this, gave Lincoln his
resignation, which was kept private.  Though egotistic, he was a clever
man, and evidently a pleasant man to work with; he was a useful
Minister under a wise chief, though he later proved a harmful one under
a foolish chief.  Stanton was most loyal, and invaluable as head of the
War Department.  Chase, as Lincoln said in private afterwards, was "a
pretty good fellow and a very able man"; Lincoln had complete
confidence in him as a Finance Minister, and could not easily have
replaced him.  But this handsome, dignified, and righteous person was
unhappily a sneak.  Lincoln found as time went on that, if he ever had
to do what was disagreeable to some important man, Chase would pay
court to that important man and hint how differently he himself would
have done as President.  On this occasion he was evidently aware that
Chase had encouraged the Senators who attacked Seward.  Much as he
wished to retain each of the two for his own worth, he was above all
determined that one should not gain a victory over the other.
Accordingly, when a deputation of nine important Senators came to
Lincoln to present their grievances against Seward, they found
themselves, to their great annoyance, confronted with all the Cabinet
except Seward, who had resigned, and they were invited by Lincoln to
discuss the matter in his presence with these Ministers.  Chase, to his
still greater annoyance, found himself, as the principal Minister
there, compelled for decency's sake to defend Seward from the very
attack which he had helped to instigate.  The deputation withdrew, not
sure that, after all, it wanted Seward removed.  Chase next day
tendered, as was natural, his resignation.  Lincoln was able, now that
he had the resignations of both men, to persuade both of their joint
duty to continue in the public service.  By this remarkable piece of
riding he saved the Union from a great danger.  The Democratic
opposition, not actually to the prosecution of the war, but to any and
every measure essential for it, was now developing, and a serious
division, such as at this stage any important resignation would have
produced in the ranks of the Republicans, or, as they now called
themselves, the "Union men," would have been perilous.

On the first day of January, 1863, the President signed the further
Proclamation needed to give effect to emancipation.  The small portions
of the South which were not in rebellion were duly excepted; the naval
and military authorities were ordered to maintain the freedom of the
slaves seeking their protection; the slaves were enjoined to abstain
from violence and to "labour faithfully for reasonable wages" if
opportunity were given them; all suitable slaves were to be taken into
armed service, especially for garrison duties.  Before the end of 1863,
a hundred thousand coloured men were already serving, as combatants or
as labourers, on military work in about equal number.  They were
needed, for volunteering was getting slack, and the work of guarding
and repairing railway lines was specially repellent to Northern
volunteers.  The coloured regiments fought well; they behaved well in
every way.  Atrocious threats of vengeance on them and their white
officers were officially uttered by Jefferson Davis, but, except for
one hideous massacre wrought in the hottest of hot blood, only a few
crimes by individuals were committed in execution of these threats.  To
Lincoln himself it was a stirring thought that when democratic
government was finally vindicated and restored by the victory of the
Union, "then there will be some black men who can remember that with
silent tongue and clenched teeth and steady eye and well-poised bayonet
they have helped mankind on to this great consummation."  There was,
however, prejudice at first among many Northern officers against negro
enlistment.  The greatest of the few great American artists, St.
Gaudens, commemorated in sculpture (as the donor of the new playing
fields at Harvard commemorated by his gift) the action of a brilliant
and popular Massachusetts officer, Robert Gould Shaw, who set the
example of leaving his own beloved regiment to take command of a
coloured regiment, at the head of which he died, gallantly leading them
and gallantly followed by them in a desperate fight.

It was easier to raise and train these negro soldiers than to arrange
for the control, shelter, and employment of the other refugees who
crowded especially to the protection of Grant's army in the West.  The
efforts made for their benefit cannot be related here, but the
recollections of Army Chaplain John Eaton, whom Grant selected to take
charge of them in the West, throw a little more light on Lincoln and on
the spirit of his dealing with "the nigger question."  When Eaton after
some time had to come to Washington, upon the business of his charge
and to visit the President, he received that impression, of versatile
power and of easy mastery over many details as well as over broad
issues, which many who worked under Lincoln have described, but he was
above all struck with the fact that from a very slight experience in
early life Lincoln had gained a knowledge of negro character such as
very few indeed in the North possessed.  He was subjected to many
seemingly trivial questions, of which he was quick enough to see the
grave purpose, about all sorts of persons and things in the West, but
he was also examined closely, in a way which commanded his fullest
respect as an expert, about the ideas, understanding, and expectations
of the ordinary negroes under his care, and more particularly as to the
past history and the attainments of the few negroes who had become
prominent men, and who therefore best illustrated the real capacities
of their race.  Later visits to the capital and to Lincoln deepened
this impression, and convinced Eaton, though by trifling signs, of the
rare quality of Lincoln's sympathy.  Once, after Eaton's difficult
business had been disposed of, the President turned to relating his own
recent worries about a colony of negroes which he was trying to
establish on a small island off Hayti.  There flourishes in Southern
latitudes a minute creature called _Dermatophilus penetrans_, or the
jigger, which can inflict great pain on barefooted people by housing
itself under their toe-nails.  This Colony had a plague of jiggers, and
every expedient for defeating them had failed.  Lincoln was not merely
giving the practical attention to this difficulty that might perhaps be
expected; the Chaplain was amazed to find that at that moment, at the
turning point of the war, a few days only after Vicksburg and
Gettysburg, with his enormous pre-occupations, the President's mind had
room for real and keen distress about the toes of the blacks in the Cow
Island.  At the end of yet another interview Eaton was startled by the
question, put by the President with an air of shyness, whether
Frederick Douglass, a well-known negro preacher, could be induced to
visit him.  Of course he could.  Frederick Douglass was then reputed to
be the ablest man ever born as a negro slave; he must have met many of
the best and kindest Northern friends of the negro; and he went to
Lincoln distressed at some points in his policy, particularly at his
failure to make reprisals for murders of negro prisoners by Southern
troops.  When he came away he was in a state little short of ecstasy.
It was not because he now understood, as he did, Lincoln's policy.
Lincoln had indeed won his warm approval when he told him "with a
quiver in his voice" of his horror of killing men in cold blood for
what had been done by others, and his dread of what might follow such a
policy; but he had a deeper gratification, the strangeness of which it
is sad to realise.  "He treated me as a man," exclaimed Douglass.  "He
did not let me feel for a moment that there was any difference in the
colour of our skins."

Perhaps the hardest effort of speech that Lincoln ever essayed was an
address to negroes which had to do with this very subject of colour.
His audience were men who had been free from birth or for some time and
were believed to be leaders among their community.  It was Lincoln's
object to induce some of them to be pioneers in an attempt at
colonisation in some suitable climate, an attempt which he felt must
fail if it started with negroes whose "intellects were clouded by
slavery."  He clung to these projects of colonisation, as probably the
best among the various means by which the improvement of the negro must
be attempted, because their race, "suffering the greatest wrong ever
inflicted on any people," would "yet be far removed from being on an
equality with the white race" when they ceased to be slaves; a
"physical difference broader than exists between almost any other two
races" and constituting "a greater disadvantage to us both," would
always set a "ban" upon the negroes even where they were best treated
in America.  This unpalatable fact he put before them with that total
absence of pretence which was probably the only possible form of tact
in such a discussion, with no affectation of a hope that progress would
remove it or of a desire that the ordinary white man should lose the
instinct that kept him apart from the black.  But this only makes more
apparent his simple recognition of an equality and fellowship which did
exist between him and his hearers in a larger matter than that of
social intercourse or political combination.  His appeal to their
capacity for taking large and unselfish views was as direct and as
confident as in his addresses to his own people; it was made in the
language of a man to whom the public spirit which might exist among
black people was of the same quality as that which existed among white,
in whose belief he and his hearers could equally find happiness in
"being worthy of themselves" and in realising the "claim of kindred to
the great God who made them."

It may be well here, without waiting to trace further the course of the
war, in which at the point where we left it the slow but irresistible
progress of conquest was about to set in, to recount briefly the later
stages of the abolition of slavery in America.  In 1863 it became
apparent that popular feeling in Missouri and in Maryland was getting
ripe for abolition.  Bills were introduced into Congress to compensate
their States if they did away with slavery; the compensation was to be
larger if the abolition was immediate and not gradual.  There was a
majority in each House for these Bills, but the Democratic minority was
able to kill them in the House of Representatives by the methods of
"filibustering," or, as we call it, obstruction, to which the procedure
of that body seems well adapted.  The Republican majority had not been
very zealous for the Bills; its members asked "why compensate for a
wrong" which they had begun to feel would soon be abolished without
compensation; but their leaders at least did their best for the Bills.
It would have been idle after the failure of these proposals to
introduce the Bills that had been contemplated for buying out the loyal
slave owners in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, which was now
fast being regained for the Union.  Lincoln after his Message of
December, 1862, recognised it as useless for him to press again the
principles of gradual emancipation or of compensation, as to which it
is worth remembrance that the compensation which he proposed was for
loyal and disloyal owners alike.  His Administration, however, bought
every suitable slave in Delaware for service (service as a free man) in
the Army.  In the course of 1864 a remarkable development of public
opinion began to be manifest in the States chiefly concerned.  In the
autumn of that year Maryland, whose representatives had paid so little
attention to Lincoln two years before, passed an Amendment to the State
Constitution abolishing slavery without compensation.  A movement in
the same direction was felt to be making progress in Kentucky and
Tennessee; and Missouri followed Maryland's example in January, 1865.
Meanwhile, Louisiana had been reconquered, and the Unionists in these
States, constantly encouraged and protected by Lincoln when Congress
looked upon them somewhat coldly or his generals showed jealousy of
their action, had banded themselves together to form State Governments
with Constitutions that forbade slavery.  Lincoln, it may be noted, had
suggested to Louisiana that it would be well to frame some plan by
which the best educated of the negroes should be admitted to the
franchise.  Four years after his death a Constitutional Amendment was
passed by which any distinction as to franchise on the ground of race
or colour is forbidden in America.  The policy of giving the vote to
negroes indiscriminately had commended itself to the cold pedantry of
some persons, including Chase, on the ground of some natural right of
all men to the suffrage; but it was adopted as the most effective
protection for the negroes against laws, as to vagrancy and the like,
by which it was feared they might practically be enslaved again.
Whatever the excuse for it, it would seem to have proved in fact a
great obstacle to healthy relations between the two races.  The true
policy in such a matter is doubtless that which Rhodes and other
statesmen adopted in the Cape Colony and which Lincoln had advocated in
the case of Louisiana.  It would be absurd to imagine that the spirit
which could champion the rights of the negro and yet face fairly the
abiding difficulty of his case died in America with Lincoln, but it
lost for many a year to come its only great exponent.

But the question of overwhelming importance, between the principles of
slavery and of freedom, was ready for final decision when local opinion
in six slave States was already moving as we have seen.  The Republican
Convention of 1864, which again chose Lincoln as its candidate for the
Presidency, declared itself in favour of a Constitutional Amendment to
abolish slavery once for all throughout America.  Whether the first
suggestion came from him or not, it is known that Lincoln's private
influence was energetically used to procure this resolution of the
Convention.  In his Message to Congress in 1864 he urged the initiation
of this Amendment.  Observation of elections made it all but certain
that the next Congress would be ready to take this action, but Lincoln
pleaded with the present doubtful Congress for the advantage which
would be gained by ready, and if possible, unanimous concurrence in the
North in the course which would soon prevail.  The necessary Resolution
was passed in the Senate, but in the House of Representatives till
within a few hours of the vote it was said to be "the toss of a copper"
whether the majority of two-thirds, required for such a purpose, would
be obtained.  In the efforts made on either side to win over the few
doubtful voters Lincoln had taken his part.  Right or wrong, he was not
the man to see a great and beneficent Act in danger of postponement
without being tempted to secure it if he could do so by terrifying some
unprincipled and white-livered opponents.  With the knowledge that he
was always acquiring of the persons in politics, he had been able to
pick out two Democratic Congressmen who were fit for his
purpose--presumably they lay under suspicion of one of those
treasonable practices which martial law under Lincoln treated very
unceremoniously.  He sent for them.  He told them that the gaining of a
certain number of doubtful votes would secure the Resolution.  He told
them that he was President of the United States.  He told them that the
President of the United States in war time exercised great and dreadful
powers.  And he told them that he looked to them personally to get him
those votes.  Whether this wrong manoeuvre affected the result or not,
on January 31, 1865, the Resolution was passed in the House by a
two-thirds majority with a few votes to spare, and the great crowd in
the galleries, defying all precedent, broke out in a demonstration of
enthusiasm which some still recall as the most memorable scene in their
lives.  On December 18 of that year, when Lincoln had been eight months
dead, William Seward, as Secretary of State, was able to certify that
the requisite majority of States had passed the Thirteenth Amendment to
the Constitution, and the cause of that "irrepressible conflict" which
he had foretold, and in which he had played a weak but valuable part,
was for ever extinguished.

At the present day, alike in the British Empire and in America, the
unending difficulty of wholesome human relations between races of
different and unequal development exercises many minds; but this
difficulty cannot obscure the great service done by those who, first in
England and later and more hardly in America, stamped out that cardinal
principle of error that any race is without its human claim.  Among
these men William Lloyd Garrison lived to see the fruit of his labours,
and to know and have friendly intercourse with Lincoln.  There have
been some comparable instances in which men with such different
characters and methods have unconsciously conspired for a common end,
as these two did when Garrison was projecting the "Liberator" and
Lincoln began shaping himself for honourable public work in the vague.
The part that Lincoln played in these events did not seem to him a
personal achievement of his own.  He appeared to himself rather as an
instrument.  "I claim not," he once said in this connection, "to have
controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me."
In 1864, when a petition was sent to him from some children that there
should be no more child slaves, he wrote, "Please tell these little
people that I am very glad their young hearts are so full of just and
generous sympathy, and that, while I have not the power to grant all
they ask, I trust they will remember that God has, and that, as it
seems, He wills to do it."  Yet, at least, he redeemed the boyish
pledge that has been, fancifully perhaps, ascribed to him; each
opportunity that to his judgment ever presented itself of striking some
blow for human freedom was taken; the blows were timed and directed by
the full force of his sagacity, and they were never restrained by
private ambition or fear.  It is probable that upon that cool review,
which in the case of this singular figure is difficult, the sense of
his potent accomplishment would not diminish, but increase.




CHAPTER XI

THE APPROACH OF VICTORY


1. _The War to the End of 1863_.

The events of the Eastern theatre of war have been followed into the
early summer of 1863, when Lee was for the second time about to invade
the North.  The Western theatre of war has been left unnoticed since the
end of May, 1862.  From that time to the end of the year no definite
progress was made here by either side, but here also the perplexities of
the military administration were considerable; and in Lincoln's life it
must be noted that in these months the strain of anxiety about the
Eastern army and about the policy of emancipation was accompanied by
acute doubt in regard to the conduct of war in the West.

When Halleck had been summoned from the West, Lincoln had again a general
by his side in Washington to exercise command under him of all the
armies.  Halleck was a man of some intellectual distinction who might be
expected to take a broad view of the war as a whole; this and his freedom
from petty feelings, as to which Lincoln's known opinion of him can be
corroborated, doubtless made him useful as an adviser; nor for a
considerable time was there any man with apparently better qualifications
for his position.  But Lincoln soon found, as has been seen, that Halleck
lacked energy of will, and cannot have been long in discovering that his
judgment was not very good.  The President had thus to make the best use
he could of expert advice upon which he would not have been justified in
relying very fully.

When Halleck arrived at Corinth at the end of May, 1862, the whole of
Western and Middle Tennessee was for the time clear of the enemy, and he
turned his attention at once to the long delayed project of rescuing the
Unionists in Eastern Tennessee, which was occupied by a Confederate army
under General Kirby Smith.  His object was to seize Chattanooga, which
lay about 150 miles to the east of him, and invade Eastern Tennessee by
way of the valley of the Tennessee River, which cuts through the
mountains behind Chattanooga.  With this in view he would doubtless have
been wise if he had first continued his advance with his whole force
against the Confederate army under Beauregard, which after evacuating
Corinth had fallen back to rest and recruit in a far healthier situation
50 miles further south.  Beauregard would have been obliged either to
fight him with inferior numbers or to shut himself up in the fortress of
Vicksburg.  As it was, Halleck spent the month of June merely in
repairing the railway line which runs from Corinth in the direction of
Chattanooga.  When he was called to Washington he left Grant, who for
several months past had been kept idle as his second in command, in
independent command of a force which was to remain near the Mississippi
confronting Beauregard, but he restricted him to a merely defensive part
by ordering him to keep a part of his army ready to send to Buell
whenever that general needed it, as he soon did.  Buell, who again took
over his former independent command, was ordered by Halleck to advance on
Chattanooga, using Corinth as his base of supply.  Buell had wished that
the base for the advance upon Chattanooga should be transferred to
Nashville, in the centre of Tennessee, in which case the line of railway
communication would have been shorter and also less exposed to raids by
the Southern cavalry.  After Halleck had gone, Buell obtained permission
to effect this change of base.  The whole month of June had been wasted
in repairing the railway with a view to Halleck's faulty plan.  When
Buell himself was allowed to proceed on his own lines and was approaching
Chattanooga, his communications with Nashville were twice, in the middle
of July and in the middle of August, cut by Confederate cavalry raids,
which did such serious damage as to impose great delay upon him.  In the
end of August and beginning of September Kirby Smith, whose army had been
strengthened by troops transferred from Beauregard, crossed the mountains
from East Tennessee by passes some distance northeast of Chattanooga, and
invaded Kentucky, sending detachments to threaten Louisville on the
Indiana border of Kentucky and Cincinnati in Ohio.  It was necessary for
Buell to retreat, when, after a week or more of uncertainty, it became
clear that Kirby Smith's main force was committed to this invasion.
Meanwhile General Bragg, who, owing to the illness of Beauregard, had
succeeded to his command, left part of his force to hold Grant in check,
marched with the remainder to support Kirby Smith, and succeeded in
placing himself between Buell's army and Louisville, to protect which
from Kirby Smith had become Buell's first object.  It seems that Bragg,
who could easily have been reinforced by Kirby Smith, had now an
opportunity of fighting Buell with great advantage.  But the Confederate
generals, who mistakenly believed that Kentucky was at heart with them,
saw an imaginary political gain in occupying Frankfort, the State
capital, and formally setting up a new State Government there.  Bragg
therefore marched on to join Kirby Smith at Frankfort, which was well to
the east of Buell's line of retreat, and Buell was able to reach
Louisville unopposed by September 25.

These events were watched in the North with all the more anxiety because
the Confederate invasion of Kentucky began just about the time of the
second battle of Bull Run, and Buell arrived at Louisville within a week
after the battle of Antietam while people were wondering how that victory
would be followed up.  Men of intelligence and influence, especially in
the Western States, were loud in their complaints of Buell's want of
vigour.  It is remarkable that the Unionists of Kentucky, who suffered
the most through his supposed faults, expressed their confidence in him;
but his own soldiers did not like him, for he was a strict disciplinarian
without either tact or any quality which much impressed them.  Their
reports to their homes in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, from which they
mostly came, increased the feeling against him which was arising in those
States, and his relations with the Governors of Ohio and Indiana, who
were busy in sending him recruits and whose States were threatened with
invasion, seem, wherever the fault may have lain, to have been
unfortunate.  Buell's most powerful friend had been McClellan, and by an
irrational but unavoidable process of thought the real dilatoriness of
McClellan became an argument for blaming Buell as well.  Halleck defended
him loyally, but this by now probably seemed to Lincoln the apology of
one irresolute man for another.  Stanton, whose efficiency in the
business of the War Department gave him great weight, had become eager
for the removal of Buell.  Lincoln expected that as soon as Buell could
cover Louisville he would take the offensive promptly.  His army appears
to have exceeded in numbers, though not very much, the combined forces of
Bragg and Kirby Smith, and except as to cavalry it was probably as good
in quality.  If energetically used by Halleck some months before, the
Western armies should have been strong enough to accomplish great
results; and if the attempt had been made at first to raise much larger
armies, it seems likely that the difficulties of training and
organisation and command would have increased out of proportion to any
gain.  Buell remained some days at Louisville itself, receiving
reinforcements which were considerable, but consisted mainly of raw
recruits.  While he was there orders arrived from Lincoln removing him
and appointing his second in command, the Virginian Thomas, in his place.
This was a wise choice; Thomas was one of the four Northern generals who
won abiding distinction in the Civil War.  But Thomas felt the injustice
which was done to Buell, and he refused the command in a letter
magnanimously defending him.  The fact was that Lincoln had rescinded his
orders before they were received, for he had issued them under the belief
that Buell was remaining on the defensive, but learnt immediately that an
offensive movement was in progress, and had no intention of changing
commanders under those circumstances.

On October 8 a battle, which began in an accidental minor conflict, took
place between Buell with 58,000 men and Bragg with considerably less than
half that number of tried veterans.  Buell made little use of his
superior numbers, for which the fault may have lain with the corps
commander who first became engaged and who did not report at once to him;
the part of Buell's army which bore the brunt of the fighting suffered
heavy losses, which made a painful impression in the North, and the
public outcry against him, which had begun as soon as Kentucky was
invaded by the Confederates, now increased.  After the battle Bragg fell
back and effected a junction with Kirby Smith.  Their joint forces were
not very far inferior to Buell's in numbers, but after a few more days
Bragg determined to evacuate Kentucky, in which his hope of raising many
recruits had been disappointed.  Buell, on perceiving his intention,
pursued him some distance, but, finding the roads bad for the movement of
large bodies of troops, finally took up a position at Bowling Green, on
the railway to the north of Nashville, intending later in the autumn to
move a little south of Nashville and there to wait for the spring before
again moving on Chattanooga.  He was urged from Washington to press
forward towards Chattanooga at once, but replied decidedly that he was
unable to do so, and added that if a change of command was desired the
present was a suitable time for it.  At the end of October he was removed
from command.  In the meantime the Confederate forces that had been left
to oppose Grant had attacked him and been signally defeated in two
engagements, in each of which General Rosecrans, who was serving under
Grant, was in immediate command on the Northern side.  Rosecrans, who
therefore began to be looked upon as a promising general, and indeed was
one of those who, in the chatter of the time, were occasionally spoken of
as suitable for a "military dictatorship," was now put in Buell's place,
which Thomas had once refused.  He advanced to Nashville, but was as firm
as Buell in refusing to go further till he had accumulated rations enough
to make him for a time independent of the railway.  Ultimately he moved
on Murfreesborough, some thirty miles further in the direction of
Chattanooga.  Here on December 31, 1862, Bragg, with somewhat inferior
numbers, attacked him and gained an initial success, which Rosecrans and
his subordinates, Thomas and Sheridan, were able to prevent him from
making good.  Bragg's losses were heavy, and, after waiting a few days in
the hope that Rosecrans might retreat first, he fell back to a point near
the Cumberland mountains a little in advance of Chattanooga.  Thus the
battle of Murfreesborough counted as a victory to the North, a slight
set-off to the disaster at Fredericksburg a little while before.  But it
had no very striking consequences.  For over six months Rosecrans
proceeded no further.  The Northern armies remained in more secure
possession of all Tennessee west of the mountains than they had obtained
in the first half of 1862; but the length of their communications and the
great superiority of the South in cavalry, which could threaten those
communications, suspended their further advance.  Lincoln urged that
their army could subsist on the country which it invaded, but Buell and
Rosecrans treated the idea as impracticable; in fact, till a little later
all Northern generals so regarded it.

Thus Chattanooga, which it was hoped would be occupied soon after Halleck
had occupied Corinth, remained in Southern hands for more than a year
after that, notwithstanding the removal of Buell, to whom this
disappointment and the mortifying invasion of Kentucky were at first
attributed.  This was rightly felt to be unsatisfactory, but the chief
blame that can now be imputed falls upon the mistakes of Halleck while he
was still commanding in the West.  There is no reason to suppose that
Buell had any exceptional amount of intuition or of energy and it was
right to demand that a general with both these qualities should be
appointed if he could be found.  But he was at least a prudent officer,
of fair capacity, doing his best.  The criticisms upon him, of which the
well informed were lavish, were uttered without appreciation of practical
difficulties or of the standard by which he was really to be judged.  So,
with far more justice than McClellan, he has been numbered among the
misused generals.  Lincoln, there is no doubt, had watched his
proceedings, as he watched those of Rosecrans after him, with a feeling
of impatience, and set him down as unenterprising and obstinate.  In one
point his Administration was much to blame in its treatment of the
Western commanders.  It became common political talk that the way to get
victories was to treat unsuccessful generals almost as harshly as the
French in the Revolution were understood to have treated them.  Lincoln
did not go thus far, but it was probably with his authority that before
Buell was removed Halleck, with reluctance on his own part, wrote a
letter referring to this prevalent idea and calculated to put about among
the Western commanders an expectation that whichever of them first did
something notable would be put over his less successful colleagues.
Later on, and, as we can hardly doubt, with Lincoln's consent, Grant and
Rosecrans were each informed that the first of them to win a victory
would get the vacant major-generalship in the United States Army in place
of his present volunteer rank.  This was not the way to handle men with
proper professional pride, and it is one of those cases, which are
strangely few, where Lincoln made the sort of mistake that might have
been expected from his want of training and not from his native
generosity.  But in the main his treatment of this difficult question was
sound.  Sharing as he did the prevailing impatience with Buell, he had no
intention of yielding to it till there was a real prospect that a change
of generals would be a change for the better.  When the appointment of
Thomas was proposed there really was such a prospect.  When Rosecrans was
eventually put in Buell's place the result was disappointing to Lincoln,
but it was evidently not a bad appointment, and a situation had then
arisen in which it would have been folly to retain Buell if any capable
successor to him could be found; for the Governors of Indiana, Ohio and
Illinois, of whom the first named was reputed the ablest of the "war
Governors" in the West, and on whom his army depended for recruits, now
combined in representations against him which could not be ignored.
Lincoln, who could not have personal acquaintance with the generals of
the Western armies as he had with those in the East, was, it should be
observed, throughout unceasing in his efforts to get the fullest and
clearest impression of them that he could; he was always, as it has been
put, "taking measurements" of men, and a good deal of what seemed idle
and gossipy talk with chance visitors, who could tell him little
incidents or give him new impressions, seems to have had this serious
purpose.  For the first half of the war the choice of men for high
commands was the most harassing of all the difficulties of his
administration.  There is no doubt of his constant watchfulness to
discern and promote merit.  He was certainly beset by the feeling that
generals were apt to be wanting in the vigour and boldness which the
conduct of the war demanded, but, though this in some cases probably
misled him, upon the whole there was good reason for it.  On the other
hand, it must be considered that all this while he knew himself to be
losing influence through his supposed want of energy in the war, and that
he was under strong and unceasing pressure from every influential quarter
to dismiss every general who caused disappointment.  Newspapers and
private letters of the time demonstrate that there was intense impatience
against him for not producing victorious generals.  This being so, his
own patience in this matter and his resolution to give those under him a
fair chance appear very remarkable and were certainly very wise.

We have come, however, to the end, not of all the clamour against
Lincoln, but of his own worst perplexities.  In passing to the operations
further west we are passing to an instance in which Lincoln felt it right
to stand to the end by a decried commander, and that decried commander
proved to possess the very qualities for which he had vainly looked in
others.  The reverse side of General Grant's fame is well enough known to
the world.  Before the war he had been living under a cloud.  In the
autumn of 1862, while his army lay between Corinth and Memphis, the cloud
still rested on his reputation.  In spite of the glory he had won for a
moment at Fort Donelson, large circles were ready to speak of him simply
as an "incompetent and disagreeable man."  The crowning work of his life
was accomplished with terrible bloodshed which was often attributed to
callousness and incapacity on his part.  The eight years of his
Presidency afterwards, which cannot properly be discussed here, added at
the best no lustre to his memory.  Later still, when he visited Europe as
a celebrity the general impression which he created seems to be contained
in the words "a rude man."  Thus the Grant that we discover in the
recollections of a few loyal and loving friends, and in the memoirs which
he himself began when late in life he lost his money and which he
finished with the pains of death upon him, is a surprising, in some ways
pathetic, figure.  He had been a shy country boy, ready enough at all the
work of a farm and good with horses, but with none of the business
aptitude that make a successful farmer, when his father made him go to
West Point.  Here he showed no great promise and made few friends; his
health became delicate, and he wanted to leave the army and become a
teacher of mathematics.  But the Mexican War, one of the most unjust in
all history, as he afterwards said, broke out, and--so he later
thought--saved his life from consumption by keeping him in the open air.
After that he did retire, failed at farming and other ventures, and at
thirty-nine, when the Civil War began, was as has been seen, a
shabby-looking, shiftless fellow, pretty far gone in the habit of drink,
and more or less occupied about a leather business of his father's.
Rough in appearance and in manner he remained--the very opposite of
smart, the very opposite of versatile, the very opposite of expansive in
speech or social intercourse.  Unlike many rough people, he had a really
simple character--truthful, modest, and kind; without varied interests,
or complicated emotions, or much sense of fun, but thinking intensely on
the problems that he did see before him, and in his silent way keenly
sensitive on most of the points on which it is well to be sensitive.  His
friends reckoned up the very few occasions on which he was ever seen to
be angry; only one could be recalled on which he was angry on his own
account; the cruelty of a driver to animals in his supply train,
heartless neglect in carrying out the arrangements he had made for the
comfort of the sick and wounded, these were the sort of occasions which
broke down Grant's habitual self-possession and good temper.  "He was
never too anxious," wrote Chaplain Eaton, who, having been set by him in
charge of the negro refugees with his army, had excellent means of
judging, "never too preoccupied with the great problems that beset him,
to take a sincere and humane interest in the welfare of the most
subordinate labourer dependent upon him."  And he had delicacy of feeling
in other ways.  Once in the crowd at some hotel, in which he mingled an
undistinguished figure, an old officer under him tried on a lecherous
story for the entertainment of the General, who did not look the sort of
man to resent it; Grant, who did not wish to set down an older man
roughly, and had no ready phrases, but had, as it happens, a sensitive
skin, was observed to blush to the roots of his hair in exquisite
discomfort.  It would be easy to multiply little recorded traits of this
somewhat unexpected kind, which give grace to the memory of his
determination in a duty which became very grim.

The simplicity of character as well as manner which endeared him to a few
close associates was probably a very poor equipment for the Presidency,
which, from that very simplicity, he afterwards treated as his due; and
Grant presented in some ways as great a contrast as can be imagined to
the large and complex mind of Lincoln.  But he was the man that Lincoln
had yearned for.  Whatever degree of military skill may be ascribed to
him, he had in the fullest measure the moral attributes of a commander.
The sense that the war could be put through and must be put through
possessed his soul.  He was insusceptible to personal danger--at least,
so observers said, though he himself told a different story--and he
taught himself to keep a quiet mind in the presence of losses, rout in
battle, or failure in a campaign.  It was said that he never troubled
himself with fancies as to what the enemy might be doing, and he
confessed to having constantly told himself that the enemy was as much
afraid of him as he of the enemy.  His military talent was doubled in
efficacy by his indomitable constancy.  In one sense, moreover, and that
a wholly good sense, he was a political general; for he had constantly
before his mind the aims of the Government which employed him, perceiving
early that there were only two possible ends to the war, the complete
subjugation of the South or the complete failure of the Union; perceiving
also that there was no danger of exhausting the resources of the North
and great danger of discouraging its spirit, while the position of the
South was in this respect the precise contrary.  He was therefore the
better able to serve the State as a soldier, because throughout he
measured by a just standard the ulterior good or harm of success or
failure in his enterprises.

The affectionate confidence which existed between Lee and "Stonewall"
Jackson till the latter was killed at Chancellorsville had a parallel in
the endearing friendship which sprung up between Grant and his principal
subordinate, William T. Sherman, who was to bear a hardly less momentous
part than his own in the conclusion of the war.  Sherman was a man of
quick wits and fancy, bright and mercurial disposition, capable of being
a delightful companion to children, and capable of being sharp and
inconsiderate to duller subordinates.  It is a high tribute both to this
brilliant soldier and to Grant himself that he always regarded Grant as
having made him, not only by his confidence but by his example.

As has been said, Grant was required to remain on the defensive between
Memphis and Corinth, which mark the line of the Northern frontier at this
period, while Buell was advancing on Chattanooga.  Later, while the
Confederates were invading Kentucky further east, attacks were also
directed against Grant to keep him quiet.  These were defeated, though
Grant was unable to follow up his success at the time.  When the invasion
of Kentucky had collapsed and the Confederates under Bragg were
retreating before Buell and his successor out of Middle Tennessee, it
became possible for Grant and for Halleck and the Government at
Washington to look to completing the conquest of the Mississippi River.
The importance to the Confederates of a hold upon the Mississippi has
been pointed out; if it were lost the whole of far South-West would
manifestly be lost with it; in the North, on the other hand, public
sentiment was strongly set upon freeing the navigation of the great
river.  The Confederacy now held the river from the fortress of
Vicksburg, which after taking New Orleans Admiral Farragut had attacked
in vain, down to Port Hudson, 120 miles further south, where the
Confederate forces had since then seized and fortified another point of
vantage.  Vicksburg, it will be observed, lies 175 to 180 miles south of
Memphis, or from Grand Junction, between Memphis and Corinth, the points
in the occupation of the North which must serve Grant as a base.  At
Vicksburg itself, and for some distance south of it, a line of bluffs or
steep-sided hills lying east of the Mississippi comes right up to the
edge of the river.  The river as it approaches these bluffs makes a
sudden bend to the north-east and then again to the south-west, so that
two successive reaches of the stream, each from three to four miles long,
were commanded by the Vicksburg guns, 200 feet above the valley; the
eastward or landward side of the fortress was also well situated for
defence.  To the north of Vicksburg the country on the east side of the
Mississippi is cut up by innumerable streams and "bayous" or marshy
creeks, winding and intersecting amid a dense growth of cedars.  The
North, with a flotilla under Admiral Porter, commanded the Mississippi
itself, and the Northern forces could freely move along its western shore
to the impregnable river face of Vicksburg beyond.  But the question of
how to get safely to the assailable side of Vicksburg presented
formidable difficulty to Grant and to the Government.

Grant's operations began in November, 1862.  Advancing directly southward
along the railway from Memphis with the bulk of his forces, he after a
while detached Sherman with a force which proceeded down the Mississippi
to the mouth of the Yazoo, a little north-west of Vicksburg.  Here
Sherman was to land, and, it was hoped, surprise the enemy at Vicksburg
itself while the bulk of the enemy's forces were fully occupied by
Grant's advance from the north.  But Grant's lengthening communications
were cut up by a cavalry raid, and he had to retreat, while Sherman came
upon an enemy fully prepared and sustained a defeat a fortnight after
Burnside's defeat at Fredericksburg.  This was the first of a long series
of failures during which Grant, who for his part was conspicuously frank
and loyal in his relations with the Government, received upon the whole
the fullest confidence and support from them.  There occurred, however,
about this time an incident which was trying to Grant, and of which the
very simple facts must be stated, since it was the last of the occasions
upon which severe criticism of Lincoln's military administration has been
founded.  General McClernand was an ambitious Illinois lawyer-politician
of energy and courage; he was an old acquaintance of Lincoln's, and an
old opponent; since the death of Douglas he and another
lawyer-politician, Logan, had been the most powerful of the Democrats in
Illinois; both were zealous in the war and had joined the Army upon its
outbreak.  Logan served as a general under Grant with confessed ability.
It must be repeated that, North and South, former civilians had to be
placed in command for lack of enough soldiers of known capacity to go
round, and that many of them, like Logan and like the Southern general,
Polk, who was a bishop in the American Episcopal Church, did very good
service.  McClernand had early obtained high rank and had shown no sign
as yet of having less aptitude for his new career than other men of
similar antecedents.  Grant, however, distrusted him, and proved to be
right.  In October, 1862, McClernand came to Lincoln with an offer of his
personal services in raising troops from Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa,
with a special view to clearing the Mississippi.  He of course expected
to be himself employed in this operation.  Recruiting was at a low ebb,
and it would have been folly to slight this offer.  McClernand did in
fact raise volunteers to the number of a whole army corps.  He was placed
under Grant in command of the expedition down the Mississippi which had
already started under Sherman.  Sherman's great promise had not yet been
proved to any one but Grant; he appears at this time to have come under
the disapproval of the Joint Committee of Congress on the War, and the
newspaper Press had not long before announced, with affected regret, the
news that he had become insane.  McClernand, arriving just after
Sherman's defeat near Vicksburg, fell in at once with a suggestion of his
to attack the Post of Arkansas, a Confederate stronghold in the State of
Arkansas and upon the river of that name, from the shelter of which
Confederate gunboats had some chance of raiding the Mississippi above
Vicksburg.  The expedition succeeded in this early in January, 1863, and
was then recalled to join Grant.  This was a mortification to McClernand,
who had hoped for a command independent of Grant.  In his subsequent
conduct he seems to have shown incapacity; he was certainly insubordinate
to Grant, and he busied himself in intrigues against him, with such
result as will soon be seen.  As soon as Grant told the Administration
that he was dissatisfied with McClernand, he was assured that he was at
liberty to remove him from command.  This he eventually did after some
months of trial.

In the first three months of 1863, while the army of the Potomac,
shattered at Fredericksburg, was being prepared for the fresh attack upon
Lee which ended at Chancellorsville, and while Bragg and Rosecrans lay
confronting each other in Middle Tennessee, each content that the other
was afraid to weaken himself by sending troops to the Mississippi, Grant
was occupied in a series of enterprises apparently more cautious than
that in which he eventually succeeded, but each in its turn futile.  An
attempt was made to render Vicksburg useless by a canal cutting across
the bend of the Mississippi to the west of that fortress.  Then Grant
endeavoured with the able co-operation of Admiral Porter and his flotilla
to secure a safe landing on the Yazoo, which enters the Mississippi a
little above Vicksburg, so that he could move his army to the rear of
Vicksburg by this route.  Next Grant and Porter tried to establish a sure
line of water communication from a point far up the Mississippi through
an old canal, then somehow obstructed, into the upper waters of the Yazoo
and so to a point on that river 30 or 40 miles to the north-east of
Vicksburg, by which they would have turned the right of the main
Confederate force; but this was frustrated by the Confederates, who
succeeded in establishing a strong fort further up the Yazoo.  Yet a
further effort was made to establish a waterway by a canal quitting the
Mississippi about 40 miles north of Vicksburg and communicating, through
lakes, bayous, and smaller rivers, with its great tributary the Red River
far to the south.  This, like the first canal attempted, would have
rendered Vicksburg useless.

Each of these projects failed in turn.  The tedious engineering work
which two of them involved was rendered more depressing by adverse
conditions of weather and by ill-health among Grant's men.  Natural
grumbling among the troops was repeated and exaggerated in the North.
McClernand employed the gift for intrigue, which perhaps had helped him
to secure his command, in an effort to get Grant removed.  It is
melancholy to add that a good many newspapers at this time began to print
statements that Grant had again taken to drink.  It is certain that he
was at this time a total abstainer.  It is said that he had offended the
authors of this villainy by the restrictions which he had long before
found necessary to put upon information to the Press.  Some of the men
freely confessed afterwards that they had been convinced of his sobriety,
and added the marvellous apology that their business was to give the
public "the news."  Able and more honest journalists urged that Grant had
proved his incompetence.  Secretary Chase took up their complaints and
pressed that Grant should be removed.  Lincoln, before the outcry against
Grant had risen to its height, had felt the need of closer information
than he possessed about the situation on the Mississippi; and had hit
upon the happy expedient of sending an able official of the War
Department, who deserved and obtained the confidence of Grant and his
officers, to accompany the Western army and report to him.  Apart,
however, from the reports he thus received, he had always treated the
attacks on Grant with contempt.  "I cannot spare this general; he
fights," he said.  In reply to complaints that Grant drank, he enquired
(adapting, as he knew, George II.'s famous saying about Wolfe) what
whisky he drank, explaining that he wished to send barrels of it to some
of his other generals.  His attitude is remarkable, because in his own
mind he had not thought well of any of Grant's plans after his first
failure in December; he had himself wished from an early day that Grant
would take the very course by which he ultimately succeeded.  He let him
go his own way, as he afterwards told him, from "a general hope that you
know better than I."

At the end of March Grant took a memorable determination to transfer his
whole force to the south of Vicksburg and approach it from that
direction.  He was urged by Sherman to give up any further attempt to use
the river, and, instead, to bring his whole army back to Memphis and
begin a necessarily slow approach on Vicksburg by the railway.  He
declared himself that on ordinary grounds of military prudence this would
have been the proper course, but he decided for himself that the
depressing effect of the retreat to Memphis would be politically
disastrous.  At Grand Gulf, 30 miles south of Vicksburg, the South
possessed another fortified post on the river; to reach this Grant
required the help of the Navy, not only in crossing from the western bank
of the river, but in transporting the supplies for which the roads west
of the river were inadequate.  Admiral Porter, with his gunboats and
laden barges, successfully ran the gauntlet of the Vicksburg batteries by
night without serious damage.  Grand Gulf was taken on May 3, and Grant's
army established at this new base.   A further doubt now arose.  General
Banks in Louisiana was at this time preparing to besiege Port Hudson.  It
might be well for Grant to go south and join him, and, after reducing
Port Hudson, return with Banks' forces against Vicksburg.  This was what
now commended itself to Lincoln.  In the letter of congratulation which
some time later he was able to send to Grant, after referring to his
former opinion which had been right, he confessed that he had now been
wrong.  Banks was not yet ready to move, and Vicksburg, now seriously
threatened, might soon be reinforced.  Orders to join Banks, though they
were probably meant to be discretionary, were actually sent to Grant, but
too late.  He had cut himself loose from his base at Grand Gulf and
marched his troops north, to live with great hardship to themselves on
the country and the supplies they could take with them.  He had with him
35,000 men.  General Pemberton, to whom he had so far been opposed, lay
covering Vicksburg with 20,000 and a further force in the city; Joseph
Johnston, whom he afterwards described as the Southern general who in all
the war gave him most trouble, had been sent by Jefferson Davis to take
supreme command in the West, and had collected 11,000 men at Jackson, the
capital of Mississippi, 45 miles east of Vicksburg.  Grant was able to
take his enemy in detail.  Having broken up Johnston's force he defeated
Pemberton in a series of battles.  His victory at Champion's Hill on May
16, not a fortnight after Chancellorsville, conveyed to his mind the
assurance that the North would win the war.  An assault on Vicksburg
failed with heavy loss.  Pemberton was at last closely invested in
Vicksburg and Grant could establish safe communications with the North by
way of the lower Yazoo and up the Mississippi above its mouth.  There had
been dissension between Pemberton and Johnston, who, seeing that gunboats
proved able to pass Vicksburg in any case, thought that Pemberton, whom
he could not at the moment hope to relieve, should abandon Vicksburg and
try to save his army.  Long before Johnston could be sufficiently
reinforced to attack Grant, Grant's force had been raised to 71,000.  On
July 4, 1863, the day of the annual commemoration of national
Independence, Vicksburg was surrendered.  Its garrison, who had suffered
severely, were well victualled by Grant and allowed to go free on parole.
Pemberton in his vexation treated Grant with peculiar insolence, which
provoked a singular exhibition of the conqueror's good temper to him; and
in his despatches to the President, Grant mentioned nothing with greater
pride than the absence of a word or a sign on the part of his men which
could hurt the feelings of the fallen.  Johnston was forced to abandon
the town of Jackson with its large stores to Sherman, but could not be
pursued in his retreat.  On July 9, five days later, the defender of Port
Hudson, invested shortly before by Banks, who had not force enough for an
assault, heard the news of Vicksburg and surrendered.  Lincoln could now
boast to the North that "the Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the
sea."

At the very hour when Vicksburg was surrendered Lincoln had been issuing
the news of another victory won in the preceding three days, which, along
with the capture of Vicksburg, marked the turning point of the war.  For
more than a month after the battle of Chancellorsville the two opposing
armies in the East had lain inactive.  The Conscription Law, with which
we must deal later, had recently been passed, and various elements of
discontent and disloyalty in the North showed a great deal of activity.
It seems that Jefferson Davis at first saw no political advantage in the
military risk of invading the North.  Lee thought otherwise, and was
eager to follow up his success.  At last, early in June, 1863, he started
northward.  This time he aimed at the great industrial regions of
Pennsylvania, hoping also while assailing them to draw Hooker further
from Washington.  Hooker, on first learning that Lee had crossed the
Rappahannock, entertained the thought of himself going south of it and
attacking Richmond.  Lincoln dissuaded him, since he might be "entangled
upon the river, like an ox jumped half over a fence"; he could not take
Richmond for weeks, and his communications might be cut; besides, Lincoln
added, his true objective point throughout was Lee's army and not
Richmond.  Hooker's later movements, in conformity with what he could
gather of Lee's movements, were prudent and skilful.  He rejected a later
suggestion of Lincoln's that he should strike quickly at the most
assailable point in Lee's lengthening line of communications, and he was
wise, for Lee could live on the country he was traversing, and Hooker now
aimed at covering Philadelphia or Baltimore and Washington, according to
the direction which Lee might take, watching all the while for the moment
to strike.  He found himself hampered in some details by probably
injudicious orders of his superior, Halleck, and became irritable and
querulous; Lincoln had to exercise his simple arts to keep him to his
duty and to soothe him, and was for the moment successful.  Suddenly on
June 27, with a battle in near prospect, Hooker sent in his resignation;
probably he meant it, but there was no time to debate the matter.
Probably he had lost confidence in himself, as he did before at
Chancellorsville.  Lincoln evidently judged that his state of mind made
it wise to accept this resignation.  He promptly appointed in Hooker's
place one of his subordinates, General George Meade, a lean, tall,
studious, somewhat sharp-tongued man, not brilliant or popular or the
choice that the army would have expected, but with a record in previous
campaigns which made him seem to Lincoln trustworthy, as he was.  A
subordinate command in which he could really distinguish himself was
later found for Hooker, who now took leave of his army in words of marked
generosity towards Meade.  All this while there was great excitement in
the North.  Urgent demands had been raised for the recall of McClellan, a
course of which, Lincoln justly observed, no one could measure the
inconvenience so well as he.

Lee was now feeling his way, somewhat in the dark as to his enemy's
movements, because he had despatched most of his cavalry upon raiding
expeditions towards the important industrial centre of Harrisburg.  Meade
continued on a parallel course to him, with his army spread out to guard
against any movements of Lee's to the eastward.  Each commander would
have preferred to fight the other upon the defensive.  Suddenly on July
1, three days after Meade had taken command, a chance collision took
place north of the town of Gettysburg between the advance guards of the
two armies.  It developed into a general engagement, of which the result
must partly depend on the speed with which each commander could bring up
the remainder of his army.  On the first day Lee achieved a decided
success.  The Northern troops were driven back upon steep heights just
south of Gettysburg, of which the contour made it difficult for the enemy
to co-ordinate his movements in any attack on them.  Here Meade, who when
the battle began was ten miles away and did not expect it, was able by
the morning of the 2nd or during that day to bring up his full force; and
here, contrary to his original choice of a position for bringing on a
battle, he made his stand.  The attack planned by Lee on the following
day must, in his opinion, afterwards have been successful if "Stonewall"
Jackson had been alive and with him.  As it was, his most brilliant
remaining subordinate, Longstreet, disapproved of any assault, and on
this and the following day obeyed his orders reluctantly and too slowly.
On July 3, 1863, Lee renewed his attack.  In previous battles the
Northern troops had been contending with invisible enemies in woods; now,
after a heavy cannonade, the whole Southern line could be seen advancing
in the open to a desperate assault.  This attack was crushed by the
Northern fire.  First and last in the fighting round Gettysburg the North
lost 23,000 out of about 93,000 men, and the South about an equal number
out of 78,000.  The net result was that, after a day's delay, Lee felt
compelled to retreat.  Nothing but an actual victory would have made it
wise for him to persist in his adventurous invasion.

The importance of this, which has been remembered as the chief battle of
the war, must be estimated rather by the peril from which the North was
delivered than by the results it immediately reaped.  Neither on July 3
nor during Lee's subsequent retreat did Meade follow up his advantage
with the boldness to which Lincoln, in the midst of his congratulations,
exhorted him.  On July 12 Lee recrossed the Potomac.  Meade on the day
before had thought of attacking him, but desisted on the advice of the
majority in a council of war.  That council of war, as Lincoln said,
should never have been held.  Its decision was demonstrably wrong, since
it rested on the hope that Lee would himself attack.  Lincoln writhed at
a phrase in Meade's general orders about "driving the invader from our
soil."  "Will our generals," he exclaimed in private, "never get that
idea out of their heads?  The whole country is our soil."  Meade,
however, unlike McClellan, was only cautious, not lukewarm, nor without a
mind of his own.  The army opposed to him was much larger than that which
McClellan failed to overwhelm after Antietam.  He had offered to resign
when he inferred Lincoln's dissatisfaction from a telegram.  Lincoln
refused this, and made it clear through another officer that his strong
opinion as to what might have been done did not imply ingratitude or want
of confidence towards "a brave and skilful officer, and a true man."
Characteristically he relieved his sense of Meade's omissions in a letter
of most lucid criticism, and characteristically he never sent it.  Step
by step Meade moved on Lee's track into the enemy's country.  Indecisive
manoeuvres on both sides continued over four months.  Lee was forced over
the Rappahannock, then over the Rapidan; Meade followed him, found his
army in peril, and prudently and promptly withdrew.  In December the two
armies went into winter quarters on the two sides of the Rappahannock to
await the opening of a very different campaign when the next spring was
far advanced.

The autumn months of 1863 witnessed in the Middle West a varying conflict
ending in a Northern victory hardly less memorable than those of
Gettysburg and Vicksburg.  At last, after the fall of Vicksburg,
Rosecrans in Middle Tennessee found himself ready to advance.  By skilful
manoeuvres, in the difficult country where the Tennessee River cuts the
Cumberland mountains and the parallel ranges which run from north-east to
south-west behind, he turned the flank of Bragg's position at Chattanooga
and compelled him to evacuate that town in the beginning of September.
Bragg, as he retreated, succeeded in getting false reports as to his
movements and the condition of his army conveyed to Rosecrans, who
accordingly followed him up in an incautious manner.  By this time the
bulk of the forces that had been used against Vicksburg should have been
brought to support Rosecrans.  Halleck, however, at first scattered them
for purposes which he thought important in the West.  After a while,
however, one part of the army at Vicksburg was brought back to General
Burnside in Ohio, from whom it had been borrowed.  Burnside accomplished
the very advance by Lexington, in Kentucky, over the mountains into
Eastern Tennessee, which Lincoln had so long desired for the relief of
the Unionists there, and he was able to hold his ground, defeating at
Knoxville a little later an expedition under Longstreet which was sent to
dislodge him.  Other portions of the Western army were at last ordered to
join Rosecrans, but did not reach him before he had met with disaster.
For the Confederate authorities, eager to retrieve their losses, sent
every available reinforcement to Bragg, and he was shortly able to turn
back towards Chattanooga with over 71,000 men against the 57,000 with
which Rosecrans, scattering his troops in false security, was pursuing
him.  The two armies came upon one another, without clear expectation,
upon the Chicamauga Creek beyond the ridge which lies south-east of
Chattanooga.  The battle fought among the woods and hills by Chicamauga
on September 19 and 20 surpassed any other in the war in the heaviness of
the loss on each side.  On the second day Bragg's manoeuvres broke
Rosecrans' line, and only an extraordinarily gallant stand by Thomas with
a part of the line, in successive positions of retreat, prevented Bragg
from turning the hasty retirement of the remainder into a disastrous
rout.  As it was, Rosecrans made good his retreat to Chattanooga, but
there he was in danger of being completely cut off.  A corps was promptly
detached from Meade in Virginia, placed under Hooker, and sent to relieve
him.  Rosecrans, who in a situation of real difficulty seems to have had
no resourcefulness, was replaced in his command by Thomas.  Grant was
appointed to supreme command of all the forces in the West and ordered to
Chattanooga.  There, after many intricate operations on either side, a
great battle was eventually fought on November 24 and 25, 1863.  Grant
had about 60,000 men; Bragg, who had detached Longstreet for his vain
attack on Burnside, had only 33,000, but he had one steep and entrenched
ridge behind another on which to stand.  The fight was marked by notable
incidents--Hooker's "battle above the clouds"; and the impulse by which
apparently with no word of command, Thomas' corps, tired of waiting while
Sherman advanced upon the one flank and Hooker upon the other, arose and
carried a ridge which the enemy and Grant himself had regarded as
impregnable.  It ended in a rout of the Confederates, which was
energetically followed up.  Bragg's army was broken and driven right back
into Georgia.  To sum up the events of the year, the one serious invasion
of the North by the South had failed, and the dominion on which the
Confederacy had any real hold was now restricted to the Atlantic States,
Alabama, and a part of the State of Mississippi.

At this point, at which the issue of the war, if it were only pursued,
could not be doubted, and at which, as it happens, the need of Lincoln's
personal intervention in military matters became greatly diminished, we
may try to obtain a general impression of his wisdom, or want of it, in
such affairs.  The closeness and keen intelligence with which he followed
the war is undoubted, but could only be demonstrated by a lengthy
accumulation of evidence.  The larger strategy of the North, sound in the
main, was of course the product of more than one co-operating mind, but
as his was undoubtedly the dominant will of his Administration, so too it
seems likely that, with his early and sustained grasp of the general
problem, he contributed not a little to the clearness and consistency of
the strategical plans.  The amount of the forces raised was for long, as
we shall see later, beyond his control, and, in the distribution of what
he had to the best effect, his own want of knowledge and the poor
judgment of his earlier advisers seem to have caused some errors.  He
started with the evident desire to put himself almost unreservedly in the
hands of the competent military counsellors, and he was able in the end
to do so; but for a long intermediate period, as we have seen, he was
compelled as a responsible statesman to forego this wish.  It was all
that time his function first to pick out, with very little to go by, the
best officers he could find, replacing them with better when he could;
and secondly to give them just so much direction, and no more, as his
wisdom at a distance and their more expert skill upon the spot made
proper.  In each of these respects his occasional mistakes are plain
enough, but the evidence, upon which he has often been thought capable of
setting aside sound military considerations causelessly or in obedience
to interested pressure, breaks down when the facts of any imputed
instance are known.  It is manifest that he gained rapidly both in
knowledge of the men he dealt with and in the firm kindness with which he
treated them.  It is remarkable that, with his ever-burning desire to see
vigour and ability displayed, he could watch so constantly as he did for
the precise opportunity or the urgent necessity before he made changes in
command.  It is equally remarkable that, with his decided and often right
views as to what should be done, his advice was always offered with equal
deference and plainness.  "Quite possibly I was wrong both then and now,"
he once wrote to Hooker, "but in the great responsibility resting upon
me, I cannot be entirely silent.  Now, all I ask is that you will be in
such mood that we can get into action the best cordial judgment of
yourself and General Halleck, with my poor mite added, if indeed he and
you shall think it entitled to any consideration at all."  The man whose
habitual attitude was this, and who yet could upon the instant take his
own decision, may be presumed to have been wise in many cases where we do
not know his reasons.  Few statesmen, perhaps, have so often stood
waiting and refrained themselves from a firm will and not from the want
of it, and for the sake of the rare moment of action.

The passing of the crisis in the war was fittingly commemorated by a
number of State Governors who combined to institute a National Cemetery
upon the field of Gettysburg.  It was dedicated on November 19, 1863.
The speech of the occasion was delivered by Edward Everett, the
accomplished man once already mentioned as the orator of highest repute
in his day.  The President was bidden then to say a few words at the
close.  The oration with which for two hours Everett delighted his vast
audience charms no longer, though it is full of graceful sentiment and
contains a very reasonable survey of the rights and wrongs involved in
the war, and of its progress till then.  The few words of Abraham Lincoln
were such as perhaps sank deep, but left his audience unaware that a
classic had been spoken which would endure with the English language.
The most literary man present was also Lincoln's greatest admirer, young
John Hay.  To him it seemed that Mr. Everett spoke perfectly, and "the
old man" gracefully for him.  These were the few words: "Four score and
seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation,
conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are
created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether
that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long
endure.  We are met on a great battlefield of that war.  We have come to
dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who
here gave their lives that that nation might live.  It is altogether
fitting and proper that we should do this.  But, in a larger sense, we
cannot dedicate--we cannot consecrate--we cannot hallow--this ground.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it
far above our poor power to add or to detract.  The world will little
note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what
they did here.  It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to
the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly
advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task
remaining before us--that from these honoured dead we take increased
devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of
devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died
in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom;
and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall
not perish from the earth."


2. _Conscription and the Politics of 1863_.

The events of our day may tempt us to underestimate the magnitude of the
American Civil War, not only in respect of its issues, but in respect of
the efforts that were put forth.  Impartial historians declare that "no
previous war had ever in the same time entailed upon the combatants such
enormous sacrifices of life and wealth."  Even such battles as Malplaquet
had not rivalled in carnage the battles of this war, and in the space of
these four years there took place a number of engagements--far more than
can be recounted here--in many of which, as at Gettysburg, the casualties
amounted to a quarter of the whole forces engaged.  The Southern armies,
especially towards the end of the war, were continually being pitted
against vastly superior numbers; the Northern armies, whether we look at
the whole war as one vast enterprise of conquest or at almost any
important battle save that of Gettysburg, were as continually confronted
with great obstacles in the matter of locality and position.  In this
case, of a new and not much organised country unprepared for war, exact
or intelligible figures as to losses or as to the forces raised must not
be expected, but, according to what seems to be a fair estimate, the
total deaths on the Northern and the Southern side directly due to the
war stood to the population of the whole country at its beginning as at
least 1 to 32.  Of these deaths about half occurred on the Northern and
half on the Southern side; this, however, implies that in proportion to
its population the South lost twice as heavily as the North.

Neither side obtained the levies of men that it needed without resort to
compulsion.  The South, in which this necessity either arose more quickly
or was seen more readily, had called up before the end of the war its
whole available manhood.  In the North the proportion of effort and
sacrifice required was obviously less, and, at least at one critical
moment, it was disastrously under-estimated.  A system of compulsion, to
be used in default of volunteering, was brought into effect half-way
through the war.  Under this system there were in arms at the end of the
war 980,000 white Northern soldiers, who probably stood to the population
at that time in as high a proportion as 1 to 25, and everything was in
readiness for calling up a vastly greater number if necessary.  After
twenty months of war, when the purely voluntary system still existed but
was proving itself inadequate to make good the wastage of the armies, the
number in arms for the North was 860,717, perhaps as much as 1 in 27 of
the population then.  It would be useless to evade the question which at
once suggests itself, whether the results of voluntary enlistment in this
country during the present war have surpassed to the extent to which they
undoubtedly ought to have surpassed the standard set by the North in the
Civil War.  For these two cases furnish the only instances in which the
institution of voluntary enlistment has been submitted to a severe test
by Governments reluctant to abandon it.  The two cases are of course not
strictly comparable.  Our own country in this matter had the advantages
of riper organisation, political and social, and of the preparatory
education given it by the Territorials and by Lord Roberts.  The
extremity of the need was in our case immediately apparent; and the cause
at issue appealed with the utmost simplicity and intensity to every brave
and to every gentle nature.  In the Northern States, on the other hand,
apart from all other considerations, there were certain to be sections,
local, racial, and political, upon which the national cause could take no
very firm hold.  That this was so proves no unusual prevalence of
selfishness or of stupidity; and the apathy of such sections of the
people, like that of smaller sections in our own case, sets in a brighter
light the devotion which made so many eager to give their all.  Moreover,
the general patriotism of the Northern people is not to be judged by the
failure of the purely voluntary system, but rather, as will be seen
later, by the success of the system which succeeded it.  There is in our
case no official statement of the exact number serving on any particular
day, but the facts which are published make it safe to conclude that, at
the end of fifteen months of war, when no compulsion was in force, the
soldiers then in service and drawn from the United Kingdom alone amounted
to 1 in 17 of the population.  The population in this case is one of
which a smaller proportion are of military age than was the case in the
Northern States, with their great number of immigrants.  The apparent
effect of these figures would be a good deal heightened if it were
possible to make a correct addition in the case of each country for the
numbers killed or disabled in war up to the dates in question and for the
numbers serving afloat.  Moreover, the North, when it was driven to
abandon the purely voluntary system, had not reached the point at which
the withdrawal of men from civil occupations could have been regarded
among the people as itself a national danger, or at which the Government
was compelled to deter some classes from enlisting; new industries
unconnected with the war were all the while springing up, and the
production and export of foodstuffs were increasing rapidly.  For the
reasons which have been stated, there is nothing invidious in thus
answering an unavoidable question.  Judged by any previous standard of
voluntary national effort, the North answered the test well.  Each of our
related peoples must look upon the rally of its fathers and grandfathers
in the one case, its brothers and sons in the other, with mingled
feelings in which pride predominates, the most legitimate source of pride
in our case being the unity of the Empire.  To each the question must
present itself whether the nations, democratic and otherwise, which have
followed from the first, or, like the South, have rapidly adopted a
different principle, have not, in this respect, a juster cause of pride.
In some of these countries, by common and almost unquestioning consent,
generation after generation of youths and men in their prime have held
themselves at the instant disposal of their country if need should arise;
and, in the absence of need and the absence of excitement, have
contentedly borne the appreciable sacrifice of training.  With this it is
surely necessary to join a further question, whether the compulsion
which, under conscription, the public imposes on individuals is
comparable in its harshness to the sacrifice and the conflict of duties
imposed by the voluntary system upon the best people in all classes as
such.

From the manner in which the war arose it will easily be understood that
the South was quicker than the North in shaping its policy for raising
armies.  Before a shot had been fired at Fort Sumter, and when only seven
of the ten Southern States had yet seceded, President Jefferson Davis had
at his command more than double the number of the United States Army as
it then was.  He had already lawful authority to raise that number to
nearly three times as many.  And, though there was protest in some
States, and some friction between the Confederate War Department and the
State militias, on the whole the seceding States, in theory jealous of
their rights, submitted very readily in questions of defence to the
Confederacy.

It is not clear how far the Southern people displayed their warlike
temper by a sustained flow of voluntary enlistment; but their Congress
showed the utmost promptitude in granting every necessary power to their
President, and on April 16, 1862, a sweeping measure of compulsory
service was passed.  The President of the Confederacy could call into the
service any white resident in the South between the ages of eighteen and
thirty-five, with certain statutory exemptions.  There was, of course,
trouble about the difficult question of exemptions, and under conflicting
pressure the Confederate Congress made and unmade various laws about
them.  After a time all statutory exemptions were done away, and it was
left entirely in the discretion of the Southern President to say what men
were required in various departments of civil life.  The liability to
serve was extended in September, 1862, to all between eighteen and
forty-five, and finally in February, 1864, to all between seventeen and
fifty.  The rigorous conscription which necessity required could not be
worked without much complaint.  There was a party disposed to regard the
law as unconstitutional.  The existence of sovereign States within the
Confederacy was very likely an obstacle to the local and largely
voluntary organisation for deciding claims which can exist in a unified
country.  A Government so hard driven must, even if liberally minded,
have enforced the law with much actual hardship.  A belief in the
ruthlessness of the Southern conscription penetrated to the North.  If
was probably exaggerated from the temptation to suppose that secession
was the work of a tyranny and not of the Southern people.  Desertion and
failure of the Conscription Law became common in the course of 1864, but
this would seem to have been due not so much to resentment at the system
as to the actual loss of a large part of the South, and the spread of a
perception that the war was now hopelessly lost.  In the last extremities
of the Confederate Government the power of compulsion of course
completely broke down.  But, upon the surface at least, it seems plain
that what has been called the military despotism of Jefferson Davis
rested upon the determination rather than upon the submissiveness of the
people.

In the North, where there was double the population to draw upon, the
need for compulsion was not likely to be felt as soon.  The various
influences which would later depress enlistment had hardly begun to
assert themselves, when the Government, as if to aggravate them in
advance, committed a blunder which has never been surpassed in its own
line.  On April 3, 1862, recruiting was stopped dead; the central
recruiting office at Washington was closed and its staff dispersed.  Many
writers agree in charging this error against Stanton.  He must have been
the prime author of it, but this does not exonerate Lincoln.  It was no
departmental matter, but a matter of supreme policy.  Lincoln's knowledge
of human nature and his appreciation of the larger bearings of every
question might have been expected to set Stanton right, unless, indeed,
the thing was done suddenly behind his back.  In any case, this must be
added to the indications seen in an earlier chapter, that Lincoln's calm
strength and sure judgment had at that time not yet reached their full
development.  As for Stanton, a man of much narrower mind, but acute,
devoted, and morally fearless, kept in the War Department as a sort of
tame tiger to prey on abuses, negligences, pretensions, and political
influences, this was one among a hundred smaller erratic doings, which
his critics have never thought of as outweighing his peculiar usefulness.
His departmental point of view can easily be understood.  Recruits,
embarrassingly, presented themselves much faster than they could be
organised or equipped, and an overdriven office did not pause to think
out some scheme of enlistment for deferred service.  Waste had been
terrific, and Stanton did not dislike a petty economy which might shock
people in Washington.  McClellan clamoured for more men--let him do
something with what he had got; Stanton, indeed, very readily became
sanguine that McClellan, once in motion, would crush the Confederacy.
Events conspired to make the mistake disastrous.  In these very days the
Confederacy was about to pass its own Conscription Act.  McClellan,
instead of pressing on to Richmond, sat down before Yorktown and let the
Confederate conscripts come up.  Halleck was crawling southward, when a
rapid advance might have robbed the South of a large recruiting area.
The reopening of enlistment came on the top of the huge disappointment at
McClellan's failure in the peninsula.  There was a creditable response to
the call which was then made for volunteers.  But the disappointment of
the war continued throughout 1862; the second Bull Run; the inconclusive
sequel to Antietam; Fredericksburg; and, side by side with these events,
the long-drawn failure of Buell's and Rosecrans' operations.  The spirit
of voluntary service seems to have revived vigorously enough wherever and
whenever the danger of Southern invasion became pressing, but under this
protracted depressing influence it no longer rose to the task of subduing
the South.  It must be added that wages in civil employment were very
high.  Lincoln, it is evident, felt this apparent failure of patriotism
sadly, but in calm retrospect it cannot seem surprising.

In the latter part of 1862 attempts were made to use the powers of
compulsion which the several States possessed, under the antiquated laws
as to militia which existed in all of them, in order to supplement
recruiting.  The number of men raised for short periods in this way is so
small that the description of the Northern armies at this time as purely
volunteer armies hardly needs qualification.  It would probably be worth
no one's while to investigate the makeshift system with which the
Government, very properly, then tried to help itself out; for it speedily
and completely failed.  The Conscription Act, which became law on March
3, 1863, set up for the first time an organisation for recruiting which
covered the whole country but was under the complete control of the
Federal Government.  It was placed under an officer of great ability,
General J. B. Fry, formerly chief of staff to Buell, and now entitled
Provost-Marshal-General.  It was his business, through provost-marshals
in a number of districts, each divisible into sub-districts as
convenience might require, to enroll all male citizens between twenty and
forty-five.  He was to assign a quota, in other words a stated proportion
of the number of troops for which the Government might at any time call,
to each district, having regard to the number of previous enlistments
from each district.  The management of voluntary enlistment was placed in
his hands, in order that the two methods of recruiting might be worked in
harmony.  The system as a whole was quite distinct from any such system
of universal service as might have been set up beforehand in time of
peace.  Compulsion only came into force in default of sufficient
volunteers from any district to provide its required number of the troops
wanted.  When it came into force the "drafts" of conscripts were chosen
by lot from among those enrolled as liable for service.  But there was a
way of escape from actual service.  It seems, from what Lincoln wrote, to
have been looked upon as a time-honoured principle, established by
precedent in all countries, that the man on whom the lot fell might
provide a substitute if he could.  The market price of a substitute (a
commodity for the provision of which a class of "substitute brokers" came
into being) proved to be about 1,000 dollars.  Business or professional
men, who felt they could not be spared from home but wished to act
patriotically, did buy substitutes; but they need not have done so, for
the law contained a provision intended, as Lincoln recorded, to safeguard
poorer men against such a rise in prices.  They could escape by paying
300 dollars, or 60 pounds, not, in the then state of wages, an
extravagant penalty upon an able-bodied man.  The sums paid under this
provision covered the cost of the recruiting business.

Most emphatically the Conscription Law operated mainly as a stimulus to
voluntary enlistment.  The volunteer received, as the conscript did not,
a bounty from the Government; States, counties, and smaller localities,
when once a quota was assigned to them, vied with one another in filling
their quota with volunteers, and for that purpose added to the Government
bounty.  It goes without saying that in a new country, with its scattered
country population and its disorganised great new towns, there were
plenty of abuses.  Substitute brokers provided the wrong article;
ingenious rascals invented the trade of "bounty-jumping," and would
enlist for a bounty, desert, enlist for another bounty, and so on
indefinitely; and the number of men enrolled who were afterwards
unaccounted for was large.  There was of course also grumbling of
localities at the quotas assigned to them, though no pains were spared to
assign them fairly.  There was some opposition to the working of the law
after it was passed, but it was, not general, but partly the opposition
of rowdies in degraded neighbourhoods, partly factitious political
opposition, and partly seditious and openly friendly to the South.  In
general the country accepted the law as a manifest military necessity.
The spirit and manner of its acceptance may be judged from the results of
any of the calls for troops under this law.  For example, in December,
1864, towards the end of the war, 211,752 men were brought up to the
colours; of these it seems that 194,715 were ordinary volunteers, 10,192
were substitutes provided by conscripts, and only 6,845 were actually
compelled men.  It is perhaps more significant still that among those who
did not serve there were only 460 who paid the 300-dollar penalty, as
against the 10,192 who must have paid at least three times that sum for
substitutes.  Behind the men who had been called up by the end of the war
the North had, enrolled and ready to be called, over two million men.
The North had not to suffer as the South suffered, but unquestionably in
this matter it rose to the occasion.

The constitutional validity of the law was much questioned by
politicians, but never finally tried out on appeal to the Supreme Court.
There seems to be no room for doubt that Lincoln's own reasoning on this
matter was sound.  The Constitution simply gave to Congress "power to
raise and support armies," without a word as to the particular means to
be used for the purpose; the new and extremely well-considered
Constitution of the Confederacy was in this respect the same.  The
Constitution, argued Lincoln, would not have given the power of raising
armies without one word as to the mode in which it was to be exercised,
if it had not meant Congress to be the sole judge as to the mode.  "The
principle," he wrote, "of the draft, which simply is involuntary or
enforced service, is not new.  It has been practised in all ages of the
world.  It was well known to the framers of our Constitution as one of
the modes of raising armies. . . .  It had been used just before, in
establishing our independence, and it was also used under the
Constitution in 1812."  In fact, as we have seen, a certain power of
compelling military service existed in each of the States and had existed
in them from the first.  Their ancestors had brought the principle with
them from the old country, in which the system of the "militia ballot"
had not fallen into desuetude when they became independent.  The
traditional English jealousy, which the American Colonies had imbibed,
against the military power of the Crown had never manifested itself in
any objection to the means which might be taken to raise soldiers, but in
establishing a strict control of the number which the Crown could at any
moment maintain; and this control had long been in England and had always
been in America completely effective.  We may therefore treat the protest
which was raised against the law as unconstitutional, and the companion
argument that it tended towards military despotism, as having belonged to
the realm of political verbiage, and as neither founded in reason nor
addressed to living popular emotions.

This is the way in which the Northern people, of whom a large part were,
it must be remembered, Democrats, seem to have regarded these
contentions, and a real sense, apart from these contentions, that
conscription was unnecessary or produced avoidable hardship seems
scarcely to have existed.  It was probably for this reason that Lincoln
never published the address to the people, or perhaps more particularly
to the Democratic opposition, to which several references have already
been made.  In the course of it he said: "At the beginning of the war,
and ever since, a variety of motives, pressing, some in one direction and
some in the other, would be presented to the mind of each man physically
fit to be a soldier, upon the combined effect of which motives he would,
or would not, voluntarily enter the service.  Among these motives would
be patriotism, political bias, ambition, personal courage, love of
adventure, want of employment, and convenience, or the opposite of some
of these.  We already have and have had in the service, as it appears,
substantially all that can be obtained upon this voluntary weighing of
motives.  And yet we must somehow obtain more or relinquish the original
object of the contest, together with all the blood and treasure already
expended in the effort to secure it.  To meet this necessity the law for
the draft has been enacted.  You who do not wish to be soldiers do not
like this law.  This is natural; nor does it imply want of patriotism.
Nothing can be so just and necessary as to make us like it if it is
disagreeable to us.  We are prone, too, to find false arguments with
which to excuse ourselves for opposing such disagreeable things."  He
proceeded to meet some of these arguments upon the lines which have
already been indicated.  After speaking of the precedents for
conscription in America, he continued: "Wherein is the peculiar hardship
now?  Shall we shrink from the necessary means to maintain our free
government, which our grandfathers employed to establish it and our
fathers have already once employed to maintain it?  Are we degenerate?
Has the manhood of our race run out?"  Unfair administration was
apprehended.  "This law," he said, "belongs to a class, which class is
composed of those laws whose object is to distribute burthens or benefits
on the principle of equality.  No one of these laws can ever be
practically administered with that exactness which can be conceived of in
the mind.  A tax law . . . will be a dead letter if no one will be
compelled to pay until it can be shown that every other one will be
compelled to pay in precisely the same proportion according to value;
nay, even it will be a dead letter if no one can be compelled to pay
until it is certain that every other one will pay at all. . . .  This
sort of difficulty applies in full force to the practical administration
of the draft law.  In fact, the difficulty is greater in the case of the
draft law"; and he proceeded to state the difficulties.  "In all these
points," he continued, "errors will occur in spite of the utmost
fidelity.  The Government is bound to administer the law with such an
approach to exactness as is usual in analogous cases, and as entire good
faith and fidelity will reach."  Errors, capable of correction, should,
he promised, be corrected when pointed out; but he concluded: "With these
views and on these principles, I feel bound to tell you it is my purpose
to see the draft law faithfully executed."  It was his way, as has been
seen, sometimes to set his thoughts very plainly on paper and to consider
afterwards the wisdom of publishing them.  This paper never saw the light
till after his death.  It is said that some scruple as to the custom in
his office restrained him from sending it out, but this scruple probably
weighed with him the more because he saw that the sincere people whom he
had thought of addressing needed no such appeal.  It was surely a wise
man who, writing so wisely, could see the greater wisdom of silence.

The opposition to the Conscription Law may be treated simply as one
element in the propaganda of the official Opposition to the
Administration.  The opposition to such a measure which we might possibly
have expected to arise from churches, or from schools of thought
independent of the ordinary parties, does not seem, as a matter of fact,
to have arisen.  The Democratic party had, as we have seen, revived in
force in the latter part of 1862.  Persons, ambitious, from whatever
mixture of motives, of figuring as leaders of opposition during a war
which they did not condemn, found a public to which to appeal, mainly
because the war was not going well.  They found a principle of opposition
satisfactory to themselves in condemning the Proclamation of
Emancipation.  (It was significant that McClellan shortly after the
Proclamation issued a General Order enjoining obedience to the Government
and adding the hint that "the remedy for political errors, if any are
committed, is to be found only in the action of the people at the
polls.")  In the curious creed which respectable men, with whom
allegiance to an ancient party could be a powerful motive at such a time,
were driven to construct for themselves, enforcement of the duty to
defend the country and liberation of the enemy's slaves appeared as twin
offences against the sacred principles of constitutional freedom.  It
would have been monstrous to say that most of the Democrats were opposed
to the war.  Though a considerable number had always disliked it and now
found courage to speak loudly, the bulk were as loyal to the Union as
those very strong Republicans like Greeley, who later on despaired of
maintaining it.  But there were naturally Democrats for whom a chance now
appeared in politics, and who possessed that common type of political
mind that meditates deeply on minor issues and is inflamed by zeal
against minor evils.  Such men began to debate with their consciences
whether the wicked Government might not become more odious than the
enemy.  There arose, too, as there often arises in war time, a fraternal
feeling between men who hated the war and men who reflected how much
better they could have if waged it themselves.

There was, of course, much in the conduct of the Government which called
for criticism, and on that account it was a grievous pity that
independence should have stultified itself by reviving in any form the
root principle of party government, and recognising as the best critics
of the Administration men who desired to take its place.  More useful
censure of the Government at that time might have come from men who, if
they had axes to grind, would have publicly thrown them away.  There were
two points which especially called for criticism, apart from military
administration, upon which, as it happened, Lincoln knew more than his
critics knew and more than he could say.  One of these points was
extravagance and corruption in the matter of army contracts and the like;
these evils were dangerously prevalent, but members of the Cabinet were
as anxious to prevent them as any outside critic could be, and it was
friendly help, not censure, that was required.  The other point was the
exercise of martial law, a difficult question, upon which a word must
here be said, but upon which only those could usefully have spoken out
whose general support of the Government was pronounced and sincere.

In almost every rebellion or civil war statesmen and the military
officers under them are confronted with the need, for the sake of the
public safety or even of ordinary justice, of rules and procedure which
the law in peace time would abhor.  In great conflicts, such as our own
wars after the French Revolution and the American Civil War, statesmen
such as Pitt and Lincoln, capable of handling such a problem well, have
had their hands full of yet more urgent matters.  The puzzling part of
the problem does not lie in the neighbourhood of the actual fighting,
where for the moment there can be no law but the will of the commander,
but in the districts more distantly affected, or in the period when the
war is smouldering out.  Lincoln's Government had at first to guard
itself against dangerous plots which could be scented but not proved in
Washington; later on it had to answer such questions as this: What should
be done when a suspected agent of the enemy is vaguely seen to be working
against enlistment, when an attack by the civil mob upon the recruits is
likely to result, and when the local magistrate and police are not much
to be trusted?  There is no doubt that Seward at the beginning, and
Stanton persistently, and zealous local commanders now and then solved
such problems in a very hasty fashion, or that Lincoln throughout was far
more anxious to stand by vigorous agents of the Government than to
correct them.

Lincoln claimed that as Commander-in-Chief he had during the continuance
of civil war a lawful authority over the lives and liberties of all
citizens, whether loyal or otherwise, such as any military commander
exercises in hostile country occupied by his troops.  He held that there
was no proper legal remedy for persons injured under this authority
except by impeachment of himself.  He held, further, that this authority
extended to every place to which the action of the enemy in any form
extended--that is, to the whole country.  This he took to be the doctrine
of English Common Law, and he contended that the Constitution left this
doctrine in full force.  Whatever may be said as to his view of the
Common Law doctrine, his construction of the Constitution would now be
held by every one to have been wrong.  Plainly read, the Constitution
swept away the whole of that somewhat undefined doctrine of martial law
which may be found in some decisions of our Courts, and it did much more.
Every Legislature in the British Empire can, subject to the veto of the
Crown, enact whatever exceptional measures of public safety it thinks
necessary in an emergency.  The Constitution restricted this legislative
power within the very narrowest limits.  There is, moreover, a recognised
British practice, initiated by Wellington and Castlereagh, by which all
question as to the authority of martial law is avoided; a governor or
commander during great public peril is encouraged to consider what is
right and necessary, not what is lawful, knowing that if necessary there
will be enquiry into his conduct afterwards, but knowing also that,
unless he acts quite unconscionably, he and his agents will be protected
by an Act of Indemnity from the legal consequences of whatever they have
done in good faith.  The American Constitution would seem to render any
such Act of Indemnity impossible.  In a strictly legal sense, therefore,
the power which Lincoln exercised must be said to have been usurped.  The
arguments by which he defended his own legality read now as good
arguments on what the law should have been, but bad arguments on what the
law was.  He did not, perhaps, attach extreme importance to this legal
contention, for he declared plainly that he was ready to break the law in
minor matters rather than let the whole fabric of law go to ruin.  This,
however, does not prove that he was insincere when he pleaded legal as
well as moral justification; he probably regarded the Constitution in a
manner which modern lawyers find it difficult to realise; he probably
applied in construing it a principle such as Hamilton laid down for the
construction of statutes, that it was "qualified and controlled" by the
Common Law and by considerations of "convenience" and of "reason" and of
the policy which its framers, as wise and honest men, would have followed
in present circumstances; he probably would have adapted to the occasion
Hamilton's position that "construction may be made against the letter of
the statute to render it agreeable to natural justice."

In the exercise of his supposed prerogative Lincoln sanctioned from
beginning to end of the war the arrest of many suspected dangerous
persons under what may be called "letters de cachet" from Seward and
afterwards from Stanton.  He publicly professed in 1863 his regret that
he had not caused this to be done in cases, such as those of Lee and
Joseph Johnston, where it had not been done.  When agitation arose on the
matter in the end of 1862 many political prisoners were, no doubt wisely,
released.  Congress then proceeded, in 1863, to exercise such powers in
the matter as the Constitution gave it by an Act suspending, where the
President thought fit, the privilege of the writ of _habeas corpus_.  A
decision of the Supreme Court, delivered curiously enough by Lincoln's
old friend David Davis, showed that the real effect of this Act, so far
as valid under the Constitution, was ridiculously small (see _Ex parte
Milligan_, 4 Russell, 2).  In any case the Act was hedged about with many
precautions.  These were entirely disregarded by the Government, which
proceeded avowedly upon Lincoln's theory of martial law.  The whole
country was eventually proclaimed to be under martial law, and many
persons were at the orders of the local military commander tried and
punished by court-martial for offences, such as the discouragement of
enlistment or the encouragement of desertion, which might not have been
punishable by the ordinary law, or of which the ordinary Courts might not
have convicted them.  This fresh outbreak of martial law must in large
part be ascribed to Lincoln's determination that the Conscription Act
should not be frustrated; but apart from offences relating to enlistment
there was from 1863 onwards no lack of seditious plots fomented by the
agents of the Confederacy in Canada, and there were several secret
societies, "knights" of this, that, or the other.  Lincoln, it is true,
scoffed at these, but very often the general on the spot thought
seriously of them, and the extreme Democratic leader, Vallandigham,
boasted that there were half a million men in the North enrolled in such
seditious organisations.  Drastic as the Government proceedings were, the
opposition to them died down before the popular conviction that strong
measures were necessary, and the popular appreciation that the
blood-thirsty despot "King Abraham I.," as some Democrats were pleased to
call him, was not of the stuff of which despots were made and was among
the least blood-thirsty men living.  The civil Courts made no attempt to
interfere; they said that, whatever the law, they could not in fact
resist generals commanding armies.  British Courts would in many cases
have declined to interfere, not on the ground that the general had the
might, but on the ground that he had the right; yet, it seems, they would
not quite have relinquished their hold on the matter, but would have held
themselves free to consider whether the district in which martial law was
exercised was materially affected by the state of war or not.  The legal
controversy ended in a manner hardly edifying to the layman; in the
course of 1865 the Supreme Court solemnly tried out the question of the
right of one Milligan to a writ of _habeas corpus_.  At that time the
war, the only ground on which the right could have been refused him, had
for some months been ended; and nobody in court knew or cared whether
Milligan was then living to enjoy his right or had been shot long before.

Save in a few cases of special public interest, Lincoln took no personal
part in the actual administration of these coercive measures.  So great a
tax was put upon his time, and indeed his strength, by the personal
consideration of cases of discipline in the army, that he could not
possibly have undertaken a further labour of the sort.  Moreover, he
thought it more necessary for the public good to give steady support to
his ministers and generals than to check their action in detail.  He
contended that no great injustice was likely to arise.  Very likely he
was wrong; not only Democrats, but men like Senator John Sherman, a
strong and sensible Republican, thought him wrong.  There are evil
stories about the secret police under Stanton, and some records of the
proceedings of the courts-martial, composed sometimes of the officers
least useful at the front, are not creditable.  Very likely, as John
Sherman thought, the ordinary law would have met the needs of the case in
many districts.  The mere number of the political prisoners, who counted
by thousands, proves nothing, for the least consideration of the
circumstances will show that the active supporters of the Confederacy in
the North must have been very numerous.  Nor does it matter much that, to
the horror of some people, there were persons of station, culture, and
respectability among the sufferers; persons of this kind were not likely
to be exposed to charges of disloyal conduct if they were actively loyal.
Obscure and ignorant men are much more likely to have become the innocent
victims of spiteful accusers or vile agents of police.  Doubtless this
might happen; but that does not of itself condemn Lincoln for having
maintained an extreme form of martial law.  The particular kind of
oppression that is likely to have occurred is one against which the
normal procedure of justice and police in America is said to-day to
provide no sufficient safeguard.  It is almost certain that the regular
course of law would have exposed the public weal to formidable dangers;
but it by no means follows that it would have saved individuals from
wrong.  The risk that many individuals would be grievously wronged was at
least not very great.  The Government was not pursuing men for erroneous
opinions, but for certain very definite kinds of action dangerous to the
State.  These were indeed kinds of action with which Lincoln thought
ordinary Courts of justice "utterly incompetent" to deal, and he avowed
that he aimed rather at preventing intended actions than at punishing
them when done.  To some minds this will seem to be an attitude dangerous
to liberty, but he was surely justified when he said, "In such cases the
purposes of men are much more easily understood than in cases of ordinary
crime.  The man who stands by and says nothing when the peril of his
Government is discussed cannot be misunderstood.  If not hindered, he is
sure to help the enemy, much more if he talks ambiguously--talks for his
country with 'buts' and 'ifs' and 'ands.'"  In any case, Lincoln stood
clearly and boldly for repressing speech or act, that could help the
enemy, with extreme vigour and total disregard for the legalities of
peace time.  A little later on we shall see fully whether this imported
on his part any touch whatever of the ferocity which it may seem to
suggest.

The Democratic opposition which made some headway in the first half of
1863 comprised a more extreme opposition prevailing in the West and led
by Clement Vallandigham, a Congressman from Ohio, and a milder opposition
led by Horatio Seymour, who from the end of 1862 to the end of 1864, when
he failed of re-election, was Governor of New York State.  The extreme
section were often called "Copperheads," after a venomous snake of that
name.  Strictly, perhaps, this political term should be limited to the
few who went so far as to desire the victory of the South; more loosely
it was applied to a far larger number who went no further than to say
that the war should be stopped.  This demand, it must be observed, was
based upon the change of policy shown in the Proclamation of
Emancipation.  "The war for the Union," said Vallandigham in Congress in
January, 1863, "is in your hands a most bloody and costly failure.  War
for the Union was abandoned; war for the negro openly begun.  With what
success?  Let the dead at Fredericksburg answer.--Ought this war to
continue?  I answer no--not a day, not an hour.  What then?  Shall we
separate?  Again I answer, no, no, no.--Stop fighting.  Make an
armistice.  Accept at once friendly foreign mediation."  And further:
"The secret but real purpose of the war was to abolish slavery in the
States, and with it the change of our present democratical form of
government into an imperial despotism."  This was in no sense treason; it
was merely humbug.  The alleged design to establish despotism, chiefly
revealed at that moment by the liberation of slaves, had of course no
existence.  Equally false, as will be seen later, was the whole
suggestion that any peace could have been had with the South except on
the terms of separation.  Vallandigham, a demagogue of real vigour, had
perhaps so much honesty as is compatible with self-deception; at any
rate, upon his subsequent visit to the South his intercourse with
Southern leaders was conducted on the footing that the Union should be
restored.  But his character inspired no respect.  Burnside, now
commanding the troops in Ohio, held that violent denunciation of the
Government in a tone that tended to demoralise the troops was treason,
since it certainly was not patriotism, and when in May, 1863,
Vallandigham made a very violent and offensive speech in Ohio he had him
arrested in his house at night, and sent him before a court-martial which
imprisoned him.  Loud protest was raised by every Democrat.  This worry
came upon Lincoln just after Chancellorsville.  He regretted Burnside's
action--later on he had to reverse the rash suppression of a newspaper by
which Burnside provoked violent indignation--but on this occasion he
would only say in public that he "regretted the necessity" of such
action.  Evidently he thought it his duty to support a well-intentioned
general against a dangerous agitator.  The course which after some
consideration he took was of the nature of a practical joke, perhaps
justified by its success.  Vallandigham was indeed released; he was taken
to the front and handed over to the Confederates as if he had been an
exchanged prisoner of war.  In reply to demands from the Democratic
organisation in Ohio that Vallandigham might be allowed to return home,
Lincoln offered to consent if their leaders would sign a pledge to
support the war and promote the efficiency of the army.  This they called
an evasion.  Vallandigham made his way to Canada and conducted intrigues
from thence.  In his absence he was put up for the governorship of Ohio
in November, but defeated by a huge majority, doubtless the larger
because of Gettysburg and Vicksburg.  The next year he suddenly returned
home, braving the chance of arrest, and, probably to his disappointment,
Lincoln let him be.  In reply to protests against Vallandigham's arrest
which had been sent by meetings in Ohio and New York, Lincoln had written
clear defences of his action, from which the foregoing account of his
views on martial law has been taken.  In one of them was a sentence which
probably went further with the people of the North than any other: "Must
I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must not touch a
hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert?"  There may or may not
be some fallacy lurking here, but it must not be supposed that this
sentence came from a pleader's ingenuity.  It was the expression of a man
really agonised by his weekly task of confirming sentences on deserters
from the army.

Governor Seymour was a more presentable antagonist than Vallandigham.  He
did not propose to stop the war.  On the contrary, his case was that the
war could only be effectively carried on by a law-abiding Government,
which would unite the people by maintaining the Constitution, not, as the
Radicals argued, by the flagitious policy of freeing the slaves.  It
should be added that he was really concerned at the corruption which was
becoming rife, for which war contracts gave some scope, and which, with a
critic's obliviousness to the limitations of a human force, he thought
the most heavily-burdened Administration of its time could easily have
put down.  With a little imagination it is easy to understand the
difficult position of the orthodox Democrats, who two years before had
voted against restricting the extension of slavery, and were now asked
for the sake of the Union to support a Government which was actually
abolishing slavery by martial law.  Also the attitude of the thoroughly
self-righteous partisan is perfectly usual.  Many of Governor Seymour's
utterances were fair enough, and much of his conduct was patriotic
enough.  His main proceedings can be briefly summarised.  His election as
Governor in the end of 1862 was regarded as an important event, the
appearance of a new leader holding an office of the greatest influence.
Lincoln, assuming, as he had a right to do, the full willingness of
Seymour to co-operate in prosecuting the war, did the simplest and best
thing.  He wrote and invited Seymour after his inauguration in March,
1863, to a personal conference with himself as to the ways in which, with
their divergent views, they could best co-operate.  The Governor waited
three weeks before he acknowledged this letter.  He then wrote and
promised a full reply later.  He never sent this reply.  He protested
energetically and firmly against the arrest of Vallandigham.  In July,
1863, the Conscription Act began to be put in force in New York city;
then occurred the only serious trouble that ever did occur under the Act;
and it was very serious.  A mob of foreign immigrants, mainly Irish, put
a forcible stop to the proceeding of the draft.  It set fire to the
houses of prominent Republicans, and prevented the fire brigade from
saving them.  It gave chase to all negroes that it met, beating some to
death, stringing up others to trees and lamp-posts and burning them as
they hung.  It burned down an orphanage for coloured children after the
police had with difficulty saved its helpless inmates.  Four days of
rioting prevailed throughout the city before the arrival of fresh troops
restored order.  After an interval of prudent length the draft was
successfully carried out.  Governor Seymour arrived in the city during
the riots.  He harangued this defiled mob in gentle terms, promising
them, if they would be good, to help them in securing redress of the
grievance to which he attributed their conduct.  Thenceforward to the end
of his term of office he persecuted Lincoln with complaints as to the
unfairness of the quota imposed on certain districts under the
Conscription Act.  It is true that he also protested on presumably
sincere constitutional grounds against the Act itself, begging Lincoln to
suspend its enforcement till its validity had been determined by the
Courts.  As to this Lincoln most properly agreed to facilitate, if he
could, an appeal to the Supreme Court, but declined, on the ground of
urgent military necessity, to delay the drafts in the meantime.
Seymour's obstructive conduct, however, was not confined to the
intelligible ground of objection to the Act itself; it showed itself in
the perpetual assertion that the quotas were unfair.  No complaint as to
this had been raised before the riots.  It seems that a quite unintended
error may in fact at first have been made.  Lincoln, however, immediately
reduced the quotas in question to the full extent which the alleged error
would have required.  Fresh complaints from Seymour followed, and so on
to the end.  Ultimately Seymour was invited to come to Washington and
have out the whole matter of his complaints in conference with Stanton.
Like a prudent man, he again refused to face personal conference.  It
seems that Governor Seymour, who was a great person in his day, was very
decidedly, in the common acceptance of the term, a gentleman.  This has
been counted unto him for righteousness.  It should rather be treated as
an aggravation of his very unmeritable conduct.

Thus, since the Proclamation of Emancipation the North had again become
possessed of what is sometimes considered a necessity of good government,
an organised Opposition ready and anxious to take the place of the
existing Administration.  It can well be understood that honourable men
entered into this combination, but it is difficult to conceive on what
common principle they could hold together which would not have been
disastrous in its working.  The more extreme leaders, who were likely to
prove the driving force among them, were not unfitly satirised in a novel
of the time called the "Man Without a Country."  Their chance of success
in fact depended upon the ill-fortune of their country in the war and on
the irritation against the Government, which could be aroused by that
cause alone and not by such abuses as they fairly criticised.  In the
latter part of 1863 the war was going well.  A great meeting of "Union
men" was summoned in August in Illinois.  Lincoln was tempted to go and
speak to them, but he contented himself with a letter.  Phrases in it
might suggest the stump orator, more than in fact his actual stump
speeches usually did.  In it, however, he made plain in the simplest
language the total fallacy of such talk of peace as had lately become
common; the Confederacy meant the Confederate army and the men who
controlled it; as a fact no suggestion of peace or compromise came from
them; if it ever came, the people should know it.  In equally simple
terms he sought to justify, even to supporters of the Union who did not
share his "wish that all men could be free," his policy in regard to
emancipation.  In any case, freedom had for the sake of the Union been
promised to negroes who were now fighting or working for the North, "and
the promise being made must be kept."  As that most critical year of the
war drew to a close there was a prevailing recognition that the rough but
straight path along which the President groped his way was the right
path, and upon the whole he enjoyed a degree of general favour which was
not often his portion.


3. _The War in 1864_.

It is the general military opinion that before the war entered on its
final stage Jefferson Davis should have concentrated all his forces for a
larger invasion of the North than was ever in fact undertaken.  In the
Gettysburg campaign he might have strengthened Lee's army by 20,000 men
if he could have withdrawn them from the forts at Charleston.
Charleston, however, was threatened during 1863 by the sea and land
forces of the North, in an expedition which was probably itself unwise,
as Lincoln himself seems to have suspected, but which helped to divert a
Confederate army.  In the beginning of 1864 Davis still kept this force
at Charleston; he persisted also in keeping a hold on his own State,
Mississippi, with a further small army; while Longstreet still remained
in the south-east corner of Tennessee, where a useful employment of his
force was contemplated but none was made.  The chief Southern armies with
which we have to deal are that of Lee, lying south of the Rapidan, and
that of Bragg, now superseded by Joseph Johnston, at Dalton, south of
Chattanooga.  The Confederacy, it is thought, was now in a position in
which it might take long to reduce it, but the only military chance for
it was concentration on one great counter-stroke.  This seems to have
been the opinion of Lee and Longstreet.  Jefferson Davis clung, even late
in the year 1864, to the belief that disaster must somehow overtake any
invading Northern army which pushed far.  Possibly he reckoned also that
the North would weary of the repeated checks in the process of conquest.
Indeed, as will be seen later, the North came near to doing so, while a
serious invasion of the North, unless overwhelmingly successful, might
really have revived its spirit.  In any case Jefferson Davis, unlike
Lincoln, had no desire to be guided by his best officers.  He was for
ever quarrelling with Joseph Johnston and often with Beauregard; the less
capable Bragg, though removed from the West, was now installed as his
chief adviser in Richmond; and the genius of Lee was not encouraged to
apply itself to the larger strategy of the war.

At the beginning of 1864 an advance from Chattanooga southward into the
heart of the Confederate country was in contemplation.  Grant and
Farragut wished that it should be supported by a joint military and naval
attack upon Mobile, in Alabama, on the Gulf of Mexico.  Other
considerations on the part of the Government prevented this.  In 1863
Marshal Bazaine had invaded Mexico to set up Louis Napoleon's ill-fated
client the Archduke Maximilian as Emperor.  As the so-called "Monroe
Doctrine" (really attributable to the teaching of Hamilton and the action
of John Quincy Adams, who was Secretary of State under President Monroe)
declared, such an extension of European influence, more especially
dynastic influence, on the American continent was highly unacceptable to
the United States.  Many in the North were much excited, so much so that
during 1864 a preposterous resolution, which meant, if anything, war with
France, was passed on the motion of one Henry Winter Davis.  It was of
course the business of Lincoln and of Seward, now moulded to his views,
to avoid this disaster, and yet, with such dignity as the situation
allowed, keep the French Government aware of the enmity which they might
one day incur.  They did this.  But they apprehended that the French,
with a footing for the moment in Mexico, had designs on Texas; and thus,
though the Southern forces in Texas were cut off from the rest of the
Confederacy and there was no haste for subduing them, it was thought
expedient, with an eye on France, to assert the interest of the Union in
Texas.  General Banks, in Louisiana, was sent to Texas with the forces
which would otherwise have been sent to Mobile.  His various endeavours
ended in May, 1864, with the serious defeat of an expedition up the Red
River.  This defeat gave great annoyance to the North and made an end of
Banks' reputation.  It might conceivably have had a calamitous sequel in
the capture by the South of Admiral Porter's river flotilla, which
accompanied Banks, and the consequent undoing of the conquest of the
Mississippi.  As it was it wasted much force.

Before Grant could safely launch his forces southward from Chattanooga
against Johnston, it was necessary to deal in some way with the
Confederate force still at large in Mississippi.  Grant determined to do
this by the destruction of the railway system by which alone it could
move eastward.  For this purpose he left Thomas to hold Chattanooga,
while Sherman was sent to Meridian, the chief railway centre in the
Southern part of Mississippi.  In February Sherman arrived there, and,
though a subsidiary force, sent from Memphis on a similar but less
important errand somewhat further north, met with a severe repulse, he
was able unmolested to do such damage to the lines around Meridian as to
secure Grant's purpose.

There was yet a further preliminary to the great final struggle.  On
March 1, 1864, pursuant to an Act of Congress which was necessary for
this object, Lincoln conferred upon Grant the rank of Lieutenant-General,
never held by any one else since Washington, for it was only brevet rank
that was conferred on Scott.  Therewith Grant took the command, under the
President, of all the Northern armies.  Grant came to Washington to
receive his new honour.  He had taken leave of Sherman in an interchange
of letters which it is good to read; but he had intended to return to the
West.  Sherman, who might have desired the command in the West for
himself, had unselfishly pressed him to return.  He feared that the
dreaded politicians would in some way hurt Grant, and that he would be
thwarted by them, become disgusted, and retire; they did hurt him, but
not then, nor in the way that Sherman had expected.  Grant, however,
could trust Sherman to carry out the work he wanted done in the West, and
he now saw that, as Lincoln might have told him and possibly did, the
work he wanted done in the East must be done by him.  He went West again
for a few days only, to settle his plans with Sherman.  Sherman with his
army of 100,000 was to follow Johnston's army of about 60,000, wherever
it went, till he destroyed it.  Grant with his 120,000 was to keep up an
equally unfaltering fight with Lee's army, also of 60,000.  There was, of
course, nothing original about this conception except the idea, fully
present to both men's minds, of the risk and sacrifice with which it was
worth while to carry it out.  Lincoln and Grant had never met till this
month.  Grant at the first encounter was evidently somewhat on his guard.
He was prepared to like Lincoln, but he was afraid of mistaken dictation
from him, and determined to discourage it.  Also Stanton had advised him
that Lincoln, out of mere good nature, would talk unwisely of any plans
discussed with him.  This was probably quite unjust.  Stanton, in order
to keep politicians and officers in their places, was accustomed to bite
off the noses of all comers.  Lincoln, on the contrary, would talk to all
sorts of people with a readiness which was sometimes astonishing, but
there was a good deal of method in this--he learnt something from these
people all the time--and he certainly had a very great power of keeping
his own counsel when he chose.  In any case, when Grant at the end of
April left Washington for the front, he parted with Lincoln on terms of
mutual trust which never afterwards varied.  Lincoln in fact, satisfied
as to his general purpose, had been happy to leave him to make his plans
for himself.  He wrote to Grant: "Not expecting to see you again before
the spring campaign begins, I wish to express in this way my entire
satisfaction with what you have done up to this time so far as I
understand it.  The particulars of your plan I neither know nor seek to
know.  You are vigilant and self-reliant, and, pleased with this, I wish
not to obtrude any constraints or restraints upon you.  While I am very
anxious that any great disaster or capture of our men in great numbers
shall be avoided, I know these points are less likely to escape your
attention than they would be mine.  If there is anything wanting which is
within my power to give, do not fail to let me know it.  And now, with a
brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you."  Grant replied: "From
my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country to the
present day I have never had cause of complaint--have never expressed or
implied a complaint against the Administration, or the Secretary of War,
for throwing any embarrassment in the way of my vigorously prosecuting
what appeared to me my duty.  Indeed, since the promotion which placed me
in command of all the armies, and in view of the great responsibility and
importance of success, I have been astonished at the readiness with which
everything asked for has been yielded, without even an explanation being
asked.  Should my success be less than I desire or expect, the least I
can say is, the fault is not with you."  At this point the real
responsibility of Lincoln in regard to military events became
comparatively small, and to the end of the war those events may be traced
with even less detail than has hitherto been necessary.

Upon joining the Army of the Potomac Grant retained Meade, with whom he
was pleased, in a somewhat anomalous position under him as commander of
that army.  "Wherever Lee goes," he told him, "there you will go too."
His object of attack was, in agreement with the opinion which Lincoln had
from an early date formed, Lee's army.  If Lee could be compelled, or
should choose, to shut himself up in Richmond, as did happen, then
Richmond would become an object of attack, but not otherwise.  Grant,
however, hoped that he might force Lee to give him battle in the open.
In the open or behind entrenchments, he meant to fight him, reckoning
that if he lost double the number that Lee did, his own loss could easily
be made up, but Lee's would be irreparable.  His hope was to a large
extent disappointed.  He had to do with a greater general than himself,
who, with his men, knew every inch of a tangled country.  In the
engagements which now followed, Grant's men were constantly being hurled
against chosen positions, entrenched and with the new device of wire
entanglements in front of them.  "I mean," he wrote, "to fight it out on
this line if it takes all summer."  It took summer, autumn, winter, and
the early spring.  Once across the Rapidan he was in the tract of scrubby
jungle called the Wilderness.  He had hoped to escape out of this
unopposed and at the same time to turn Lee's right by a rapid march to
his own left.  But he found Lee in his way.  On May 5 and 6 there was
stubborn and indecisive fighting, with a loss to Grant of 17,660 and to
Lee of perhaps over 10,000--from Grant's point of view something gained.
Then followed a further movement to the left to out-flank Lee.  Again Lee
was to be found in the way in a chosen position of his own near
Spottsylvania Court House.  Here on the five days from May 8 to May 12
the heavy fighting was continued, with a total loss to Grant of over
18,000 and probably a proportionate loss to Lee.  Another move by Grant
to the left now caused Lee to fall back to a position beyond the North
Anna River, on which an attack was made but speedily given up.  Further
movements in the same general direction, but without any such serious
fighting--Grant still endeavouring to turn Lee's right, Lee still moving
so as to cover Richmond--brought Grant by the end of the month to Cold
Harbour, some ten miles east by north of Richmond, close upon the scene
of McClellan's misadventures.  Meanwhile Grant had caused an expedition
under General Butler to go by sea up the James, and to land a little
south of Richmond, which, with the connected fortress of Petersburg,
twenty-two miles to the south of it, had only a weak garrison left.
Butler was a man with remarkable powers of self-advertisement; he had now
a very good chance of taking Petersburg, but his expedition failed
totally.  From June 1 to June 3 Grant was occupied on the most disastrous
enterprise of his career, a hopeless attack upon a strong entrenched
position, which, with the lesser encounters that took place within the
next few days, cost the North 14,000 men, against a loss to the South
which has been put as low as 1,700.  It was the one battle which Grant
regretted having fought.  He gave up the hope of a fight with Lee on
advantageous conditions outside Richmond.  On June 12 he suddenly moved
his army across the James to the neighbourhood of City Point, east of
Petersburg.  Lee must now stand siege in Richmond and Petersburg.  Had he
now marched north against Washington, Grant would have been after him and
would have secured for his vastly larger force the battle in the open
which he had so far vainly sought.  Yet another disappointment followed.
On July 30 an attempt was made to carry Petersburg by assault immediately
after the explosion of an enormous mine.  It failed with heavy loss,
through the fault of the amiable but injudicious Burnside, who now passed
into civil life, and of the officers under him.  The siege was to be a
long affair.  In reality, for all the disappointment, and in spite of
Grant's confessed mistake at Cold Harbour, his grim plan was progressing.
The force which the South could ill spare was being worn down, and Grant
was in a position in which, though he might have got there at less cost,
and though the end would not be yet, the end was sure.  His army was for
the time a good deal shaken, and the estimation in which the West Point
officers held him sank low.  His own determination was quite unshaken,
and, though Lincoln hinted somewhat mildly that these enormous losses
ought not to recur, his confidence in Grant was unabated, too.

People in Washington who had watched all this with alternations of
feeling that ended in dejection had had another trial to their nerves
early in July.  The Northern General Sigel, who commanded in the lower
part of the Shenandoah Valley, protecting the Baltimore and Ohio Railway,
had marched southward in June in pursuance of a subsidiary part of
Grant's scheme, but in a careless and rather purposeless manner.  General
Early, detached by Lee to deal with him, defeated him; outmanoeuvred and
defeated General Hunter, who was sent to supersede him; overwhelmed with
superior force General Lew Wallace, who stood in his way further on; and
upon July 11 appeared before Washington itself.  The threat to Washington
had been meant as no more than a threat, but the garrison was largely
made up of recruits; reinforcements to it sent back by Grant arrived only
on the same day as Early, and if that enterprising general had not wasted
some previous days there might have been a chance that he could get into
Washington, though not that he could hold it.  As it was he attacked one
of the Washington forts.  Lincoln was present, exhibiting, till the
officers there insisted on his retiring, the indifference to personal
danger which he showed on other occasions too.  The attack was soon given
up, and in a few days Early had escaped back across the Potomac, leaving
in Grant's mind a determination that the Shenandoah Valley should cease
to be so useful to the South.

Sherman set out from Chattanooga on the day when Grant crossed the
Rapidan.  Joseph Johnston barred his way in one entrenched position after
another.  Sherman, with greater caution than Grant, or perhaps with
greater facilities of ground, manoeuvred him out of each position in
turn, pushing him slowly back along the line of the railway towards
Atlanta, the great manufacturing centre of Georgia, one hundred and
twenty miles south by east from Chattanooga.  Only once, towards the end
of June at Kenesaw Mountain, some twenty miles north of Atlanta, did he
attack Johnston's entrenchments, causing himself some unnecessary loss
and failing in his direct attack on them, but probably thinking it
necessary to show that he would attack whenever needed.  Johnston has
left a name as a master of defensive warfare, and doubtless delayed and
hampered Sherman as much as he could.  Jefferson Davis angrily and
unwisely sent General Hood to supersede him.  This less prudent officer
gave battle several times, bringing up the Confederate loss before
Atlanta fell to 34,000 against 30,000 on the other side, and being, by
great skill on Sherman's part, compelled to evacuate Atlanta on September
2.

By this time there had occurred the last and most brilliant exploit of
old Admiral Farragut, who on August 5 in a naval engagement of
extraordinarily varied incident, had possessed himself of the harbour of
Mobile, with its forts, though the town remained as a stronghold in
Confederate hands and prevented a junction with Sherman which would have
quite cut the Confederacy in two.

Nearer Washington, too, a memorable campaign was in process.  For three
weeks after Early's unwelcome visit, military mismanagement prevailed
near Washington.  Early was able to turn on his pursuers, and a further
raid, this time into Pennsylvania, took place.  Grant was too far off to
exercise control except through a sufficiently able subordinate, which
Hunter was not.  Halleck, as in a former crisis, did not help matters.
Lincoln, though at this time he issued a large new call for recruits, was
unwilling any longer to give military orders.  Just now his political
anxieties had reached their height.  His judgment was never firmer, but
friends thought his strength was breaking under the strain.  On this and
on all grounds he was certainly wise to decline direct interference in
military affairs.  On August 1 Grant ordered General Philip H. Sheridan
to the Shenandoah on temporary duty, expressing a wish that he should be
put "in command of all the troops in the field, with instructions to put
himself south of the enemy or follow him to the death."  Lincoln
telegraphed to Grant, quoting this despatch and adding, "This I think is
exactly right; but please look over the despatches you may have received
from here even since you made that order and see if there is any idea in
the head of any one here of putting our army south of the enemy or
following him to the death in any direction.  I repeat to you it will
neither be done nor attempted unless you watch it every day and hour and
force it."  Grant now came to Hunter's army and gently placed Sheridan in
that general's place.  The operations of that autumn, which established
Sheridan's fame and culminated in his final defeat of Early at Cedar
Creek on October 19, made him master of all the lower part of the valley.
Before he retired into winter quarters he had so laid waste the resources
of that unfortunate district that Richmond could no longer draw supplies
from it, nor could it again support a Southern army in a sally against
the North.

In the month of November Sherman began a new and extraordinary movement,
of which the conception was all his own, sanctioned with reluctance by
Grant, and viewed with anxiety by Lincoln, though he maintained his
absolute resolve not to interfere.  He had fortified himself in Atlanta,
removing its civil inhabitants, in an entirely humane fashion, to places
of safety, and he had secured a little rest for his army.  But he lay far
south in the heart of what he called "Jeff Davis' Empire," and Hood could
continually harass him by attacks on his communications.  Hood, now
supervised by Beauregard, was gathering reinforcements, and Sherman
learnt that he contemplated a diversion by invading Tennessee.  Sherman
determined to divide his forces, to send Thomas far back into Tennessee
with sufficient men, as he calculated, to defend it, and himself with the
rest of his army to set out for the eastern sea-coast, wasting no men on
the maintenance of his communications, but living on the country and
"making the people of Georgia feel the weight of the war."  He set out
for the East on November 15.  Hood, at Beauregard's orders, shortly
marched off for the North, where the cautious Thomas awaited events
within the fortifications of Nashville.  At Franklin, in the heart of
Tennessee, about twenty miles south of Nashville, Hood's army suffered
badly in an attack upon General Schofield, whom Thomas had left to check
his advance while further reinforcements came to Nashville.  Schofield
fell back slowly on Thomas, Hood rashly pressing after him with a small
but veteran army now numbering 44,000.  Grant and the Washington
authorities viewed with much concern an invasion which Thomas had
suffered to proceed so far.  Grant had not shared Sherman's faith in
Thomas.  He now repeatedly urged him to act, but Thomas had his own views
and obstinately bided his time.  Days followed when frozen sleet made an
advance impossible.  Grant had already sent Logan to supersede Thomas,
and, growing still more anxious, had started to come west himself, when
the news reached him of a battle on December 15 and 16 in which Thomas
had fallen on Hood, completely routing him, taking on these days and in
the pursuit that followed no less than 13,000 prisoners.

There was a song, "As we go marching through Georgia," which was
afterwards famous, and which Sherman could not endure.  What his men most
often sang, while they actually were marching through Georgia, was
another, and of its kind a great song:--

  "John Brown's body lies amouldering in the grave,
  But his soul goes marching on.
  Glory, glory, Hallelujah."

Their progress was of the nature of a frolic, though in one way a very
stern frolic.  They had little trouble from the small and scattered
Confederate forces that lay near their route.  They industriously and
ingeniously destroyed the railway track of the South, heating the rails
and twisting them into knots; and the rich country of Georgia, which had
become the chief granary of the Confederates, was devastated as they
passed, for a space fifty or sixty miles broad, by the destruction of all
the produce they could not consume.  This was done under control by
organised forage parties.  Reasonable measures were taken to prevent
private pillage of houses.  No doubt it happened.  Sherman's able cavalry
commander earned a bad name, and "Uncle Billy," as they called him to his
face, clearly had a soft corner in his heart for the light-hearted and
light-fingered gentlemen called "bummers" (a "bummer," says the Oxford
Dictionary, "is one who quits the ranks and goes on an independent
foraging expedition on his own account").  They were, incidentally,
Sherman found, good scouts.  But the serious crimes committed were very
few, judged by the standard of the ordinary civil population.  The
authentic complaints recorded relate to such matters as the smashing of a
grand piano or the disappearance of some fine old Madeira.  Thus the
suffering caused to individuals was probably not extreme, and a long
continuance of the war was rendered almost impossible.  A little before
Christmas Day, 1864, Sherman had captured, with slight opposition, the
city of Savannah, on the Atlantic, with many guns and other spoils, and
was soon ready to turn northwards on the last lap of his triumphant
course.  Lincoln's letter of thanks characteristically confessed his
earlier unexpressed and unfulfilled fears.

Grant was proceeding all the time with his pressure on the single large
fortress which Richmond and Petersburg together constituted.  Its circuit
was far too great for complete investment.  His efforts were for a time
directed to seizing the three railway lines which converged from the
south on Petersburg and to that extent cutting off the supplies of the
enemy.  But he failed to get hold of the most important of these
railways.  He settled down to the slow process of entrenching his own
lines securely and extending the entrenchment further and further round
the south side of Petersburg.  Lee was thus being forced to extend the
position held by his own small army further and further.  In time the
lines would crack and the end come.

It need hardly be said that despair was invading the remnant of the
Confederacy; supplies began to run short in Richmond, recruiting had
ceased, desertion was increasing.  Before the story of its long
resistance closes it is better to face the gravest charge against the
South.  That charge relates to the misery inflicted upon many thousands
of Northern prisoners in certain prisons or detention camps of the South.
The alleged horrors were real and were great.  The details should not be
commemorated, but it is right to observe that the pitiable condition in
which the stricken survivors of this captivity returned, and the tale
they had to tell, caused the bitterness which might be noted afterwards
in some Northerners.  The guilt lay mainly with a few subordinate but
uncontrolled officials.  In some degree it must have been shared by
Jefferson Davis and his Administration, though a large allowance should
be made for men so sorely driven.  But it affords no ground whatever, as
more fortunate prisoners taken by the Confederates have sometimes
testified, for any general imputation of cruelty against the Southern
officers, soldiers, or people.  There is nothing in the record of the war
which dishonours the South, nothing to restrain the tribute to its
heroism which is due from a foreign writer, and which is irrepressible in
the case of a writer who rejoices that the Confederacy failed.


4. _The Second Election of Lincoln: 1864_.

Having the general for whom he had long sought, Lincoln could now be in
military matters little more than the most intelligent onlooker; he could
maintain the attitude, congenial to him where he dealt with skilled men,
that when he differed from them they probably knew better than he.  This
was well, for in 1864 his political anxieties became greater than they
had been since war declared itself at Fort Sumter.  Whole States which
had belonged to the Confederacy were now securely held by the Union
armies, and the difficult problem of their government was approaching its
final settlement.  It seemed that the war should soon end; so the
question of peace was pressed urgently.  Moreover, the election of a
President was due in the autumn, and, strange as it is, the issue was to
be whether, with victory in their grasp, the victors should themselves
surrender.

It was not given to Lincoln after all to play a great part in the
reconstruction of the South; that was reserved for much rougher and much
weaker hands.  But the lines on which he had moved from the first are of
interest.  West Virginia, with its solid Unionist population, was simply
allowed to form itself into an ordinary new State.  But matters were not
so simple where the Northern occupation was insecure, or where a tiny
fraction of a State was held, or where a large part of the people leaned
to the Confederacy.  Military governors were of course appointed; in
Tennessee this position was given to a strong Unionist, Andrew Johnson,
who was already Senator for that State.  In Louisiana and elsewhere
Lincoln encouraged the citizens who would unreservedly accept the Union
to organise State Governments for themselves.  Where they did so there
was friction between them and the Northern military governor who was
still indispensable.  There was also to the end triangular trouble
between the factions in Missouri and the general commanding there.  To
these little difficulties, which were of course unceasing, Lincoln
applied the firmness and tact which were no longer surprising in him,
with a pleasing mixture of good temper and healthy irritation.  But
further difficulties lay in the attitude of Congress, which was concerned
in the matter because each House could admit or reject the Senators or
Representatives claiming to sit for a Southern State.  There were
questions about slavery in such States.  Lincoln, as we have seen, had
desired, if he could, to bring about the abolition of slavery through
gradual and through local action, and he had wished to see the franchise
given only to the few educated negroes.  Nothing came of this, but it
kept up the suspicion of Radicals in Congress that he was not sound on
slavery; and, apart from slavery, the whole question of the terms on
which people lately in arms against the country could be admitted as
participators in the government of the country was one on which statesmen
in Congress had their own very important point of view.  Lincoln's main
wish was that, with the greatest speed and the least heat spent on
avoidable controversy, State government of spontaneous local growth
should spring up in the reconquered South.  "In all available ways," he
had written to one of his military governors, "give the people a chance
to express their wishes at these elections.  Follow forms of law as far
as convenient, but at all events get the expression of the largest number
of people possible."  Above all he was afraid lest in the Southern
elections to Congress that very thing should happen which after his death
did happen.  "To send a parcel of Northern men here as representatives,
elected, as would be understood (and perhaps really so), at the point of
the bayonet, would be disgraceful and outrageous."  For a time he and
Congress worked together well enough, but sharp disagreement arose in
1864.  He had propounded a particular plan for the reconstruction of
Southern States.  Senator Wade, the formidable Chairman of the Joint
Committee on the War, and Henry Winter Davis, a keen, acrid, and fluent
man who was powerful with the House, carried a Bill under which a State
could only be reconstructed on their own plan, which differed from
Lincoln's.  The Bill came to Lincoln for signature in the last hours of
the session, and, amidst frightened protests from friendly legislators
then in his room, he let it lie there unsigned, till it expired with the
session, and went on with his work.  This was in July, 1864; his
re-election was at stake.  The Democrats were gaining ground; he might be
giving extreme offence to the strongest Republican.  "If they choose," he
said, "to make a point of this I do not doubt that they can do harm"
(indeed, those powerful men Wade and Davis now declared against his
re-election with ability and extraordinary bitterness); but he continued:
"At all events I must keep some consciousness of being somewhere near
right.  I must keep some standard or principle fixed within myself."  The
Bill would have repressed loyal efforts already made to establish State
Governments in the South.  It contained also a provision imposing the
abolition of slavery on every such reconstructed State.  This was an
attempt to remedy any flaw in the constitutional effect of the
Proclamation of Emancipation.  But it was certainly in itself flagrantly
unconstitutional; and the only conclusive way of abolishing slavery was
the Constitutional Amendment, for which Lincoln was now anxious.  This
was not a pedantic point, for there might have been great trouble if the
courts had later found a constitutional flaw in some negro's title to
freedom.  But the correctness of Lincoln's view hardly matters.  In lots
of little things, like a tired man who was careless by nature, Lincoln
may perhaps have yielded to influence or acted for his political
convenience in ways which may justly be censured, but it would be merely
immoral to care whether he did so or did not, since at the crisis of his
fate he could risk all for one scruple.  In an earlier stage of his
controversies with the parties he had written: "From time to time I have
done and said what appeared to me proper to do and say.  The public knows
it all.  It obliges nobody to follow me, and I trust it obliges me to
follow nobody.  The Radicals and Conservatives each agree with me in some
things and disagree in others.  I could wish both to agree with me in all
things; for then they would agree with each other, and be too strong for
any foe from any quarter.  They, however, choose to do otherwise, and I
do not question their right.  I, too, shall do what seems to be my duty.
I hold whoever commands in Missouri or elsewhere responsible to me and
not to either Radicals or Conservatives.  It is my duty to hear all; but
at last I must, within my sphere, judge what to do and what to forbear."

In this same month of July, after the Confederate General Early's
appearance before Washington had given Lincoln a pause from political
cares, another trouble reached a point at which it is known to have tried
his patience more than any other trouble of his Presidency.  Peace after
war is not always a matter of substituting the diplomatist for the
soldier.  When two sides were fighting, one for Union and the other for
Independence, one or the other had to surrender the whole point at issue.
In this case there might appear to have been a third possibility.  The
Southern States might have been invited to return to the Union on terms
which admitted their right to secede again if they felt aggrieved.  The
invitation would in fact have been refused.  But, if it had been made and
accepted, this would have been a worse surrender for the North than any
mere acknowledgment that the South could not be reconquered; for national
unity from that day to this would have existed on the sufferance of a
factious or a foreign majority in any single State.  Lincoln had faced
this.  He was there to restore the Union on a firm foundation.  He meant
to insist to the point of pedantry that, by not so much as a word or line
from the President or any one seeming to act for him, should the lawful
right of secession even appear to be acknowledged.  Some men would have
been glad to hang Jefferson Davis as a traitor, yet would have been ready
to negotiate with him as with a foreign king.  Lincoln, who would not
have hurt one hair of his head, and would have talked things over with
Mr. Davis quite pleasantly, would have died rather than treat with him on
the footing that he was head of an independent Confederacy.  The blood
shed might have been shed for nothing if he had done so.  But to many
men, in the long agony of the war and its disappointments, the plain
position became much obscured.  The idea in various forms that by some
sort of negotiation the issue could be evaded began to assert itself
again and again.  The delusion was freely propagated that the South was
ready to give in if only Lincoln would encourage its approaches.  It was
sheer delusion.  Jefferson Davis said frankly to the last that the
Confederacy would have "independence or extermination," and though
Stephens and many others spoke of peace to the electors in their own
States, Jefferson Davis had his army with him, and the only result which
agitation against him ever produced was that two months before the
irreparable collapse the chief command under him was given to his most
faithful servant Lee.  But it was useless for Lincoln to expose the
delusion in the plainest terms; it survived exposure and became a danger
to Northern unity.

Lincoln therefore took a strange course, which generally succeeded.  When
honest men came to him and said that the South could be induced to yield,
he proposed to them that they should go to Jefferson Davis and see for
themselves.  The Chairman of the Republican organisation ultimately
approached Lincoln on this matter at the request of a strong committee;
but he was a sensible man whom Lincoln at once converted by drafting the
precise message that would have to be sent to the Confederate President.
On two earlier occasions such labourers for peace were allowed to go
across the lines and talk with Davis; it could be trusted to their honour
to pretend to no authority; they had interesting talks with the great
enemy, and made religious appeals to him or entertained him with wild
proposals for a joint war on France over Mexico.  They returned,
converted also.  But in July Horace Greeley, the great editor, who was
too opinionated to be quite honest, was somehow convinced that Southern
agents at Niagara, who had really come to hold intercourse with the
disloyal group among the Democrats, were "two ambassadors" from the
Confederacy seeking an audience of Lincoln.  He wrote to Lincoln, begging
him to receive them.  Lincoln caused Greeley to go to Niagara and see the
supposed ambassadors himself.  He gave him written authority to bring to
him any person with proper credentials, provided, as he made plain in
terms that perhaps were blunt, that the basis of any negotiation should
include the recognition of the Union and the abolition of slavery.  The
persons whom Greeley saw had no authority to treat about anything.
Greeley in his irritation now urged Lincoln to convey to Jefferson Davis
through these mysterious men his readiness to receive them if they were
accredited.  In other words, the North was to begin suing for peace--a
thing clearly unwise, which Lincoln refused.  Greeley now involved
Lincoln in a tangled controversy to which he gave such a turn that,
unless Lincoln would publish the most passionately pacific of Greeley's
letters, to the great discouragement of the public with whom Greeley
counted, he must himself keep silent on what had passed.  He elected to
keep silent while Greeley in his paper criticised him as the person
responsible for the continuance of senseless bloodshed.  This was
publicly harmful; and, as for its private bearing, the reputation of
obstinate blood-thirstiness was certain to be painful to Lincoln.

The history of Lincoln's Cabinet has a bearing upon what is to follow.
He ruled his Ministers with undisputed authority, talked with them
collectively upon the easiest terms, spoke to them as a headmaster to his
school when they caballed against one another, kept them in some sort of
unison in a manner which astonished all who knew them.  Cameron had had
to retire early; so did the little-known Caleb Smith, who was succeeded
in his unimportant office as Secretary of the Interior by a Mr. Usher,
who seems to have been well chosen.  Bates, the Attorney-General,
retired, weary of his work, towards the end of 1864, and Lincoln had the
keen pleasure of appointing James Speed, the brother of that unforgotten
and greatly honoured friend whom he honoured the more for his
contentedness with private station.  James Speed himself was in Lincoln's
opinion "an honest man and a gentleman, and one of those well-poised men,
not too common here, who are not spoiled by a big office."

Blair might be regarded as a delightful, or equally as an intolerable
man.  He attacked all manner of people causelessly and violently, and
earned implacable dislike from the Radicals In his party.  Then he
frankly asked Lincoln to dismiss him whenever it was convenient.  There
came a time when Lincoln's re-election was in great peril, and he might,
it was urged, have made it sure by dismissing Blair.  It is significant
that Lincoln then refused to promote his own cause by seeming to
sacrifice Blair, but later on, when his own election was fairly certain,
but a greater degree of unity in the Republican party was to be gained,
did ask Blair to go; (Blair's quarrels, it should be added, had become
more and more outrageous).  So he went and immediately flung himself with
enthusiasm into the advocacy of Lincoln's cause.  All the men who left
Lincoln remained his friends, except one who will shortly concern us.  Of
Lincoln's more important ministers Welles did his work for the Navy
industriously but unnoted.  Stanton, on the other hand, and Lincoln's
relations with Stanton are the subjects of many pages of literature.
These two curious and seemingly incompatible men hit upon extraordinary
methods of working together.  It can be seen that Lincoln's chief care in
dealing with his subordinates was to give support and to give free play
to any man whose heart was in his work.  In countless small matters he
would let Stanton disobey him and flout him openly.  ("Did Stanton tell
you I was a damned fool?  Then I expect I must be one, for he is almost
always right and generally says what he means.")  But every now and then,
when he cared much about his own wish, he would step in and crush Stanton
flat.  Crowds of applicants to Lincoln with requests of a kind that must
be granted sparingly were passed on to Stanton, pleased with the
President, or mystified by his sadly observing that he had not much
influence with this Administration but hoped to have more with the next.
Stanton always refused them.  He enjoyed doing it.  Yet it seems a low
trick to have thus indulged his taste for unpopularity, till one
discovers that, when Stanton might have been blamed seriously and
unfairly, Lincoln was very careful to shoulder the blame himself.  The
gist of their mutual dealings was that the hated Stanton received a
thinly disguised, but quite unfailing support, and that hated or
applauded, ill or well, wrong in this detail and right in that, he abode
in his department and drove, and drove, and drove, and worshipped
Lincoln.  To Seward, who played first and last a notable part in history,
and who all this time conducted foreign affairs under Lincoln without any
mishap in the end, one tribute is due.  When he had not a master it is
said that his abilities were made useless by his egotism; yet it can be
seen that, with his especial cause to be jealous of Lincoln, he could not
even conceive how men let private jealousy divide them in the performance
of duty.

It was otherwise with the ablest man in the Cabinet.  Salmon P. Chase
must really have been a good man in the days before he fell in love with
his own goodness.  Lincoln and the country had confidence in his
management of the Treasury, and Lincoln thought more highly of his
general ability than of that of any other man about him.  He, for his
part, distrusted and despised Lincoln.  Those who read Lincoln's
important letters and speeches see in him at once a great gentleman;
there were but few among the really well-educated men of America who made
much of his lacking some of the minor points of gentility to which most
of them were born; but of these few Chase betrayed himself as one.  At
the beginning of 1864 Chase was putting it about that he had himself no
wish to be President, but--; that of course he was loyal to Mr. Lincoln,
but--; and so forth.  He had, as indeed he deserved, admirers who wished
he should be President, and early in the year some of them expressed this
wish in a manifesto.  Chase wrote to Lincoln that this was not his own
doing; Lincoln replied that he himself knew as little of these things "as
my friends will allow me to know."  To those who spoke to him of Chase's
intrigues he only said that Chase would in some ways make a very good
President, and he hoped they would never have a worse President than he.
The movement in favour of Chase collapsed very soon, and it evidently had
no effect on Lincoln.  Chase, however, was beginning to foster grievances
of his own against Lincoln.  These related always to appointments in the
service of the Treasury.  He professed a horror of party influences in
appointments, and imputed corrupt motives to Lincoln in such matters.  He
shared the sound ideas of the later civil service reformers, though he
was far too easily managed by a low class of flatterers to have been of
the least use in carrying them out.  Lincoln would certainly not at that
crisis have permitted strife over civil service reform, but some of his
admirers have probably gone too far in claiming him as a sturdy supporter
of the old school who would despise the reforming idea.  Letters of his
much earlier betray his doubts as to the old system, and he was exactly
the man who in quieter times could have improved matters with the least
possible fuss.  However that may be, all the tiresome circumstances of
Chase's differences with him are well known, and in these instances
Lincoln was clearly in the right, and Chase quarrelled only because he
could not force upon him appointments that would have created fury.  Once
Chase was overruled and wrote his resignation.  Lincoln went to him with
the resignation in his hand, treated him with simple affection for a man
whom he still liked, and made him take it back.  Later on Chase got his
own way on the whole, but was angry and sent another resignation.  Some
one heard of it and came to Lincoln to say that the loss of Chase would
cause a financial panic.  Lincoln's answer was to this effect: "Chase
thinks he has become indispensable to the country; that his intimate
friends know it, and he cannot comprehend why the country does not
understand it.  He also thinks he ought to be President; has no doubt
whatever about that.  It is inconceivable to him why people do not rise
as one man and say so.  He is a great statesman, and at the bottom a
patriot.  Ordinarily he discharges the duties of a public office with
greater ability than any man I know.  Mind, I say 'ordinarily,' but he
has become irritable, uncomfortable, so that he is never perfectly happy
unless he is thoroughly miserable and able to make everybody else just as
uncomfortable as he is himself.  He is either determined to annoy me, or
that I shall pat him on the shoulder and coax him to stay.  I don't think
I ought to do it.  I will not do it.  I will take him at his word."  So
he did.  This was at the end of June, 1864, when Lincoln's apprehensions
about his own re-election were keen, and the resignation of Chase, along
with the retention of Blair, seemed likely to provoke anger which was
very dangerous to himself.  An excellent successor to the indispensable
man was soon found.  Chase found more satisfaction than ever in insidious
opposition to Lincoln.  Lincoln's opportunity of requiting him was not
yet.

The question of the Presidency loomed large from the beginning of the
year to the election in November.  At first, while the affairs of war
seemed to be in good train, the chief question was who should be the
Republican candidate.  It was obviously not a time when a President of
even moderate ability and character, with all the threads in his hands,
could wisely have been replaced except for overwhelming reasons.  But
since 1832, when Jackson had been re-elected, the practice of giving a
President a second term had lapsed.  It has been seen that there was
friction, not wholly unnatural, between Lincoln and many of his party.
The inner circles of politicians were considering what candidate could
carry the country.  They were doing so with great anxiety, for
disaffection was growing serious in the North and the Democrats would
make a good fight.  They honestly doubted whether Lincoln was the best
candidate, and attributed their own excited mood of criticism to the
public at large.  They forgot the leaning of ordinary men towards one who
is already serving them honestly.  Of the other possible candidates,
including Chase, Fremont had the most energetic backers.  Enough has been
said already of his delusive attractiveness.  General Butler had also
some support.  He was an impostor of a coarser but more useful stamp.  A
successful advocate in Massachusetts, he had commanded the militia of the
State when they first appeared on the scene at Baltimore in 1861, and he
had been in evidence ever since without sufficient opportunity till May,
1864, of proving that real military incapacity of which some of Lincoln's
friends suspected him.  He had a kind of resourceful impudence, coupled
with executive vigour and a good deal of wit, which had made him useful
in the less martial duties of his command.  Generals in a war of this
character were often so placed that they had little fighting to do and
much civil government, and Butler, who had first treated slaves as
"contraband" and had dealt with his difficulties about negroes with more
heart and more sense than many generals, had to some extent earned his
reputation among the Republicans.  Thus of those volunteer generals who
never became good soldiers he is said to have been the only one that
escaped the constant process of weeding out.  To the end he kept
confidently claiming higher rank in the Army, and when he had signally
failed under Grant at Petersburg he succeeded somehow in imposing himself
upon that, at first indignant, general.  Nothing actually came of the
danger that the public might find a hero in this man, who was neither
scrupulous nor able, but he had so captivated experienced politicians
that some continued even after Lincoln's re-election to think Butler the
man whom the people would have preferred.  Last but not least many were
anxious to nominate Grant.  It was an innocent thought, but Grant's
merits were themselves the conclusive reason why he should not be taken
from the work he had already in hand.

Through the early months of the year the active politicians earnestly
collogued among themselves about possible candidates, and it seems there
was little sign among them of that general confidence in Lincoln which a
little while before had been recognised as prevailing in the country.  In
May the small and light-headed section of the so-called Radicals who
favoured Fremont organised for themselves a "national meeting" of some
few people at which they nominated him for the Presidency.  They had no
chance of success, but they might have helped the Democrats by carrying
off some Republican votes.  Besides, there are of course men who, having
started as extremists in one direction and failed, will go over to the
opposite extreme rather than moderate their aims.  Months later, when a
Republican victory of some sort became certain, unanimity among
Republicans was secured; for some passions were appeased by the
resignation of Blair, and Fremont was prevailed upon to withdraw.  But in
the meantime the Republican party had sent its delegates to a Convention
at Baltimore early in June.  This Convention met in a comparatively
fortunate hour.  In spite of the open disaffection of small sections, the
Northern people had been in good spirits about the war when Grant set out
to overcome Lee.  At first he was felt to be progressing pretty well,
and, though the reverse at Cold Harbour had happened a few days before,
the size of that mishap was not yet appreciated.  Ordinary citizens,
called upon now and then to decide a broad and grave issue, often judge
with greater calm than is possible to any but the best of the politicians
and the journalists.  Indeed, some serious politicians had been anxious
to postpone the Convention, justly fearing that these ignorant delegates
were not yet imbued with that contempt for Lincoln which they had worked
up among themselves.  At the Baltimore Convention the delegates of one
State wanted Grant, but the nomination of Lincoln was immediate and
almost unanimous.  This same Convention declared for a Constitutional
Amendment to abolish slavery.  Lincoln would say nothing as to the choice
of a candidate for the Vice-Presidency.  He was right, but the result was
most unhappy in the end.  The Convention chose Andrew Johnson.  Johnson,
whom Lincoln could hardly endure, began life as a journeyman tailor.  He
had raised himself like Lincoln, and had performed a great part in
rallying the Unionists of Tennessee.  But--not to dwell upon the fact
that he was drunk when he was sworn in as Vice-President--his political
creed was that of bitter class-hatred, and his character degenerated into
a weak and brutal obstinacy.  This man was to succeed Lincoln.  Lincoln,
in his letter to accept the nomination, wrote modestly, refusing to take
the decision of the Convention as a tribute to his peculiar fitness for
his post, but was "reminded in this connection of a story of an old Dutch
farmer, who remarked to a companion that it was not best to swap horses
when crossing a stream."

It remained possible that the dissatisfied Republicans would revolt later
and put another champion in the field.  But now attention turned to the
Democrats.  Their Convention was to meet at Chicago at the end of August,
and in the interval the North entered upon the period of deepest mental
depression that came to it during the war.  It is startling to learn now
that in the course of that year, when the Confederacy lay like a nut in
the nutcrackers, when the crushing of its resistance might indeed require
a little stronger pressure than was expected, and the first splitting in
its hard substance might not come on the side on which it was looked for,
but when no wise man could have a doubt as to the end, the victorious
people were inclined to think that the moment had come for giving in.
"In this purpose to save the country and its liberties," said Lincoln,
"no class of people seem so nearly unanimous as the soldiers in the field
and the sailors afloat.  Do they not have the hardest of it?  Who should
quail while they do not?"  Yet there is conclusive authority for saying
that there was now more quailing in the North than there had ever been
before.  When the war had gone on long, checks to the course of victory
shook the nerves of people at home more than crushing defeats had shaken
them in the first two years of the struggle, and men who would have
wrapped the word "surrender" in periphrasis went about with surrender in
their hearts.  Thus the two months that went before the great rally of
the Democrats at Chicago were months of good omen for a party which,
however little the many honourable men in its ranks were willing to face
the fact, must base its only hope upon the weakening of the national
will.  For public attention was turned away from other fields of war and
fixed upon the Army of the Potomac.  Sherman drove back Johnston, and
routed Hood; Farragut at Mobile enriched the annals of the sea; but what
told upon the imagination of the North was that Grant's earlier progress
was followed by the definite failure of his original enterprise against
Lee's army, by Northern defeats on the Shenandoah and an actual dash by
the South against Washington, by the further failure of Grant's first
assault upon Petersburg, and by hideous losses and some demoralisation in
his army.  The candidate that the Democrats would put forward and the
general principle of their political strategy were well known many weeks
before their Convention met; and the Republicans already despaired of
defeating them.  In the Chicago Convention there were men, apparently
less reputable in character than their frank attitude suggests, who were
outspoken against the war; their leader was Vallandigham.  There were men
who spoke boldly for the war, but more boldly against emancipation and
the faults of the Government; their leader was Seymour, talking with the
accent of dignity and of patriotism.  Seymour, for the war, presided over
the Convention; Vallandigham, against the war, was the master spirit in
its debates.  It was hard for such men, with any saving of conscience, to
combine.  The mode of combination which they discovered is memorable in
the history of faction.  First they adopted a platform which meant peace;
then they adopted a candidate intended to symbolise successful war.  They
resolved "that this Convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of
the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the
Union by the experiment of war . . . justice, humanity, liberty, and the
public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of
hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of the States or other
peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace
may be restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the States."  The
fallacy which named the Union as the end while demanding as a means the
immediate cessation of hostilities needs no demonstration.  The
resolution was thus translated: "Resolved that the war is a failure"; and
the translation had that trenchant accuracy which is often found in
American popular epigram.  The candidate chosen was McClellan; McClellan
in set terms repudiated the resolution that the war was a failure, and
then accepted the candidature.  He meant no harm to the cause of the
Union, but he meant no definite and clearly conceived good.  Electors
might now vote Democratic because the party was peaceful or because the
candidate was a warrior.  The turn of fortune was about to arrest this
combination in the really formidable progress of its crawling approach to
power.  Perhaps it was not only, as contemporary observers thought,
events in the field that began within a few days to make havoc with the
schemes of McClellan and his managers.  Perhaps if the patience of the
North had been tried a little longer the sense of the people would still
have recoiled from the policy of the Democrats, which had now been
defined in hard outline.  As a matter of fact it was only in the months
while the Chicago Convention was still impending and for a few days or
weeks after it had actually taken place that the panic of the Republicans
lasted.  But during that time the alarm among them was very great,
whether it was wholly due to the discouragement of the people about the
war or originated among the leaders and was communicated to their flock.
Sagacious party men reported from their own neighbourhoods that there was
no chance of winning the election.  In one quarter or another there was
talk of setting aside Lincoln and compelling Grant to be a candidate.
About August 12 Lincoln was told by Thurlow Weed, the greatest of party
managers, that his election was hopeless.  Ten days later he received the
same assurance from the central Republican Committee through their
chairman, Raymond, together with the advice that he should make overtures
for peace.

Supposing that in the following November McClellan should have been
elected, and that in the following March he should have come into office
with the war unfinished, it seems now hardly credible that he would have
returned to slavery, or at least disbanded without protection the 150,000
negroes who were now serving the North.  Lincoln, however, seriously
believed that this was the course to which McClellan's principles and
those of his party committed him, and that (policy and honour apart) this
would have been for military reasons fatal.  McClellan had repudiated the
Peace Resolution, but his followers and his character were to be reckoned
with rather than his words, and indeed his honest principles committed
him deeply to some attempt to reverse Lincoln's policy as to slavery, and
he clearly must have been driven into negotiations with the South.  The
confusion which must inevitably be created by attempts to satisfy the
South, when it was in no humour of moderation, and by the fury which
yielding would have provoked in half the people of the North, was well
and tersely described by Grant in a letter to a friend, which that friend
published in support of Lincoln.  At a fair at Philadelphia for the help
of the wounded Lincoln said: "We accepted this war; we did not begin it.
We accepted it for an object, and when that object is accomplished the
war will end, and I hope to God that it will never end until that object
is accomplished."  Whatever the real mind of McClellan and of the average
Democrat may have been, it was not this; and the posterity of Mr.
Facing-both-ways may succeed in an election, but never in war or the
making of lasting peace.

Lincoln looked forward with happiness, after he was actually re-elected,
to the quieter pursuits of private life which might await him in four
years' time.  He looked forward not less happily to a period of peace
administration first, and there can be no doubt that he would have prized
as much as any man the highest honour that his countrymen could bestow, a
second election to the Presidency.  But, even in a smaller man who had
passed through such an experience as he had and was not warped by power,
these personal wishes might well have been merged in concern for the
cause in hand.  There is everything to indicate that they were completely
so in his case.  A President cannot wisely do much directly to promote
his own re-election, but he appears to have done singularly little.  At
the beginning of 1864, when the end of the war seemed near, and the
election of a Republican probable, he may well have thought that he would
be the Republican candidate, but he had faced the possible choice of
Chase very placidly, and of Grant he said, "If he takes Richmond let him
have the Presidency."  It was another matter when the war again seemed
likely to drag on and a Democratic President might come in before the end
of it.  An editor who visited the over-burdened President in August told
him that he needed some weeks of rest and seclusion.  But he said, "I
cannot fly from my thoughts.  I do not think it is personal vanity or
ambition, though I am not free from those infirmities, but I cannot but
feel that the weal or woe of the nation will be decided in November.
There is no proposal offered by any wing of the Democratic party but that
must result in the permanent destruction of the Union."  He would have
been well content to make place for Grant if Grant had finished his work.
But that work was delayed, and then Lincoln became greatly troubled by
the movement to force Grant, the general whom he had at last found, into
politics with his work undone; for all would have been lost if McClellan
had come in with the war still progressing badly.  Lincoln had been
invited in June to a gathering in honour of Grant, got up with the thinly
disguised object of putting the general forward as his rival.  He wrote,
with true diplomacy: "It is impossible for me to attend.  I approve
nevertheless of whatever may tend to strengthen and sustain General Grant
and the noble armies now under his command.  He and his brave soldiers
are now in the midst of their great trial, and I trust that at your
meeting you will so shape your good words that they may turn to men and
guns, moving to his and their support."  In August he told his mind
plainly to Grant's friend Eaton.  He never dreamed for a moment that
Grant would willingly go off into politics with the military situation
still insecure, and he believed that no possible pressure could force
Grant to do so; but on this latter question he wished to make himself
sure; with a view to future military measures he really needed to be sure
of it.  Eaton saw Grant, and in the course of conversation very tactfully
brought to Grant's notice the designs of his would-be friends.  "We had,"
writes Eaton, "been talking very quietly, but Grant's reply came in an
instant and with a violence for which I was not prepared.  He brought his
clenched fists down hard on the strap arms of his camp chair, 'They can't
do it.  They can't compel me to do it.'  Emphatic gesture was not a
strong point with Grant.  'Have you said this to the President?' I asked.
'No,' said Grant.  'I have not thought it worth while to assure the
President of my opinion.  I consider it as important for the cause that
he should be elected as that the army should be successful in the
field.'"  "I told you," said Lincoln afterwards, "they could not get him
to run till he had closed out the rebellion."  Since the great danger was
now only that McClellan would become President in March, there was but
one thing to do--to try and finish the war before then.  Raymond's advice
in favour of negotiations with the South now came, and Lincoln's mode of
replying to this has been noticed.  Rumours were afloat that if McClellan
won in November there would be an attempt to bring him irregularly into
power at once.  Lincoln let it be known that he should stay at his post
at all costs till the last lawful day.  On August 23, in that curious way
in which deep emotion showed itself with him, he wrote a resolution upon
a paper, which he folded and asked his ministers to endorse with their
signatures without reading it.  They all wrote their names on the back of
it, ready, if that were possible, to commit themselves blindly to support
of him in whatever he had resolved; a great tribute to him and to
themselves.  He sealed it up and put it away.

How far in this dark time the confidence of the people had departed from
Lincoln no one can tell.  It might be too sanguine a view of the world to
suppose that they would have been proof against what may be called a
conspiracy to run him down.  There were certainly quarters in which the
perception of his worth came soon and remained.  Not all those who are
poor or roughly brought up were among those plain men whose approval
Lincoln desired and often expected; but at least the plain man does exist
and the plain people did read Lincoln's words.  The soldiers of the
armies in the East by this time knew Lincoln well, and there were by now,
as we shall see, in every part of the North, honest parents who had gone
to Washington, and entered the White House very sad, and came out very
happy, and taken their report of him home.  No less could there be found,
among those to whom America had given the greatest advantages that birth
and upbringing can offer, families in which, when Lincoln died, a
daughter could write to her father as Lady Harcourt (then Miss Lily
Motley) wrote: "I echo your 'thank God' that we always appreciated him
before he was taken from us."  But if we look at the political world, we
find indeed noble exceptions such as that of Charles Sumner among those
who had been honestly perplexed by Lincoln's attitude on slavery; we have
to allow for the feelings of some good State Governor who had come to him
with a tiresome but serious proposition and been adroitly parried with an
untactful and coarse apologue; yet it remains to be said that a thick
veil, woven of self-conceit and half-education, blinded most politicians
to any rare quality in Lincoln, and blinded them to what was due in
decency to any man discharging his task.  The evidence collected by Mr.
Rhodes as to the tone prevailing in 1864 at Washington and among those in
touch with Washington suggests that strictly political society was on the
average as poor in brain and heart as the court of the most decadent
European monarchy.  It presents a stern picture of the isolation, on one
side at least, in which Lincoln had to live and work.

A little before this crowning period of Lincoln's career Walt Whitman
described him as a man in the streets of Washington could see him, if he
chose.  He has been speaking of the cavalry escort which the President's
advisers insisted should go clanking about with him.  "The party," he
continues, "makes no great show in uniform or horses.  Mr. Lincoln on the
saddle generally rides a good-sized, easy-going grey horse, is dressed in
plain black, somewhat rusty and dusty, and looks about as ordinary in
attire, etc., as the commonest man.  The entirely unornamental _cortege_
arouses no sensation; only some curious stranger stops and gazes.  I see
very plainly Abraham Lincoln's dark brown face, with the deep-cut lines,
the eyes always to me with a deep latent sadness in the expression.  We
have got so that we exchange bows, and very cordial ones.  Sometimes the
President goes and comes in an open barouche" (not, the poet intimates, a
very smart turn-out).  "Sometimes one of his sons, a boy of ten or
twelve, accompanies him, riding at his right on a pony.  They passed me
once very close, and I saw the President in the face fully as they were
moving slowly, and his look, though abstracted, happened to be directed
steadily in my eye.  He bowed and smiled, but far beneath his smile I
noticed well the expression I have alluded to.  None of the artists or
pictures has caught the deep though subtle and indirect expression of
this man's face.  There is something else there.  One of the great
portrait painters of two or three centuries ago is needed."

The little boy on the pony was Thomas, called "Tad," a constant companion
of his father's little leisure, now dead.  An elder boy, Robert, has
lived to be welcomed as Ambassador in this country, and was at this time
a student at Harvard.  Willie, a clever and lovably mischievous child,
"the chartered libertine of the White House" for a little while, had died
at the age of twelve in the early days of 1862, when his father was
getting so impatient to stir McClellan into action.  These and a son who
had long before died in infancy were the only children of Mr. and Mrs.
Lincoln.  Little has been made public concerning them, but enough to
convey the impression of a wise and tender father, trusted by his
children and delighting in them.  John Nicolay, his loyal and capable
secretary, and the delightful John Hay must be reckoned on the cheerful
side--for there was one--of Lincoln's daily life.  The life of the home
at the White House, and sometimes in summer at the "Soldiers' Home" near
Washington, was simple, and in his own case (not in that of his guests)
regardless of the time, sufficiency, or quality of meals.  He cannot have
given people much trouble, but he gave some to the guard who watched him,
themselves keenly watched by Stanton; for he loved, if he could, to walk
alone from his midnight conferences at the War Department to the White
House or the Soldiers' Home.  The barest history of the events with which
he dealt is proof enough of long and hard and anxious working days, which
continued with hardly a break through four years.  In that history many a
complication has here been barely glanced at or clean left out; in this
year, for example, the difficulty about France and Mexico and the failure
of the very estimable Banks in Texas have been but briefly noted.  And
there must be remembered, in addition, the duty of a President to be
accessible to all people, a duty which Lincoln especially strove to
fulfil.

Apart from formal receptions, the stream of callers on him must have
given Lincoln many compensations for its huge monotony.  Very odd, and
sometimes attractive, samples of human nature would come under his keen
eye.  Now and then a visitor came neither with a troublesome request, nor
for form's sake or for curiosity, but in simple honesty to pay a tribute
of loyalty or speak a word of good cheer which Lincoln received with
unfeigned gratitude.  Farmers and back-country folk, of the type he could
best talk with, came and had more time than he ought to have spared
bestowed on them.  At long intervals there came a friend of very
different days.  Some ingenious men, for instance, fitted out Dennis
Hanks in a new suit of clothes and sent him as their ambassador to plead
for certain political offenders.  It is much to be feared that they were
more successful than they deserved, though Stanton intervened and Dennis,
when he had seen him, favoured his old companion, the President, with
advice to dismiss that minister.  But the immense variety of puzzling
requests to be dealt with in such interviews must have made heavy demands
upon a conscientious and a kind man, especially if his conscience and his
kindness were, in small matters, sometimes at variance.  Lincoln sent a
multitude away with that feeling, so grateful to poor people, that at
least they had received such hearing as it was possible to give them; and
in dealing with the applications which imposed the greatest strain on
himself he made an ineffaceable impression upon the memory of his
countrymen.

The American soldier did not take naturally to discipline.  Death
sentences, chiefly for desertion or for sleeping or other negligence on
the part of sentries, were continually being passed by courts-martial.
In some cases or at some period these used to come before the President
on a stated day of the week, of which Lincoln would often speak with
horror.  He was continually being appealed to in relation to such
sentences by the father or mother of the culprit, or some friend.  At one
time, it may be, he was too ready with pardon; "You do not know," he
said, "how hard it is to let a human being die, when you feel that a
stroke of your pen will save him."  Butler used to write to him that he
was destroying the discipline of the army.  A letter of his to Meade
shows clearly that, later at least, he did not wish to exercise a merely
cheap and inconsiderate mercy.  The import of the numberless pardon
stories really is that he would spare himself no trouble to enquire, and
to intervene wherever he could rightly give scope to his longing for
clemency.  A Congressman might force his way into his bedroom in the
middle of the night, rouse him from his sleep to bring to his notice
extenuating facts that had been overlooked, and receive the decision,
"Well, I don't see that it will do him any good to be shot."  It is
related that William Scott, a lad from a farm in Vermont, after a
tremendous march in the Peninsula campaign, volunteered to do double
guard duty to spare a sick comrade, slept at his post, was caught, and
was under sentence of death, when the President came to the army and
heard of him.  The President visited him, chatted about his home, looked
at his mother's photograph, and so forth.  Then he laid his hands on the
boy's shoulders and said with a trembling voice, "My boy, you are not
going to be shot.  I believe you when you tell me that you could not keep
awake.  I am going to trust you and send you back to the regiment.  But I
have been put to a great deal of trouble on your account. . . .  Now what
I want to know is, how are you going to pay my bill?"  Scott told
afterwards how difficult it was to think, when his fixed expectation of
death was suddenly changed; but how he managed to master himself, thank
Mr. Lincoln and reckon up how, with his pay and what his parents could
raise by mortgage on their farm and some help from his comrades, he might
pay the bill if it were not more than five or six hundred dollars.  "But
it is a great deal more than that," said the President.  "My bill is a
very large one.  Your friends cannot pay it, nor your bounty, nor the
farm, nor all your comrades.  There is only one man in the world who can
pay it, and his name is William Scott.  If from this day William Scott
does his duty, so that, when he comes to die, he can look me in the face
as he does now and say, 'I have kept my promise and I have done my duty
as a soldier,' then my debt will be paid.  Will you make the promise and
try to keep it?"  And William Scott did promise; and, not very long
after, he was desperately wounded, and he died, but not before he could
send a message to the President that he had tried to be a good soldier,
and would have paid his debt in full if he had lived, and that he died
thinking of Lincoln's kind face and thanking him for the chance he gave
him to fall like a soldier in battle.  If the story is not true--and
there is no reason whatever to doubt it--still it is a remarkable man of
whom people spin yarns of that kind.

When Lincoln's strength became visibly tried friends often sought to
persuade him to spare himself the needless, and to him very often
harrowing, labour of incessant interviews.  They never succeeded.
Lincoln told them he could not forget what he himself would feel in the
place of the many poor souls who came to him desiring so little and with
so little to get.  But he owned to the severity of the strain.  He was
not too sensitive to the ridicule and reproach that surrounded him.
"Give yourself no uneasiness," he had once said to some one who had
sympathised with him over some such annoyance, "I have endured a great
deal of ridicule without much malice, and have received a great deal of
kindness not quite free from ridicule.  I am used to it."  But the gentle
nature that such words express, and that made itself deeply felt by those
that were nearest him, cannot but have suffered from want of
appreciation.  With all this added to the larger cares, which before the
closing phases of the war opened had become so intense, Lincoln must have
been taxed near to the limit of what men have endured without loss of
judgment, or loss of courage or loss of ordinary human feeling.  There is
no sign that any of these things happened to him; the study of his record
rather shows a steady ripening of mind and character to the end.  It has
been seen how throughout his previous life the melancholy of his
temperament impressed those who had the opportunity of observing it.  A
colleague of his at the Illinois bar has told how on circuit he sometimes
came down in the morning and found Lincoln sitting alone over the embers
of the fire, where he had sat all night in sad meditation, after an
evening of jest apparently none the less hilarious for his total
abstinence.  There was no scope for this brooding now, and in a sense the
time of his severest trial cannot have been the saddest time of Lincoln's
life.  It must have been a cause not of added depression but of added
strength that he had long been accustomed to face the sternest aspect of
the world.  He had within his own mind two resources, often, perhaps
normally, associated together, but seldom so fully combined as with him.
In his most intimate circle he would draw upon his stores of poetry,
particularly of tragedy; often, for instance, he would recite such
speeches as Richard II.'s:

  "For God's sake let us sit upon the ground
  And tell sad stories of the death of kings.
  . . . . .  All murdered."

Slighter acquaintances saw, day by day, another element in his thoughts,
the companion to this; for the hardly interrupted play of humour in which
he found relief continued to help him to the end.  Whatever there was in
it either of mannerism or of coarseness, no one can grudge it him; it is
an oddity which endears.  The humour of real life fades in reproduction,
but Lincoln's, there is no doubt was a vein of genuine comedy, deep,
rich, and unsoured, of a larger human quality than marks the brilliant
works of literary American humorists.  It was, like the comedy of
Shakespeare, plainly if unaccountably akin with the graver and grander
strain of thought and feeling that inspired the greatest of his speeches.
Physically his splendid health does not seem to have been impaired beyond
recovery.  But it was manifestly near to breaking; and the "deep-cut
lines" were cut still deeper, and the long legs were always cold.

The cloud over the North passed very suddenly.  The North indeed paid the
penalty of a nation which is spared the full strain of a war at the
first, and begins to discover its seriousness when the hope of easy
victory has been many times dashed down.  It has been necessary to dwell
upon the despondency which at one time prevailed; but it would be hard to
rate too highly the military difficulty of the conquest undertaken by the
North, or the trial involved to human nature by perseverance in such a
task.  If the depression during the summer was excessive, as it clearly
was, at least the recovery which followed was fully adequate to the
occasion which produced it.  On September 2 Sherman telegraphed, "Atlanta
is ours and fairly won."  The strategic importance of earlier successes
may have been greater, but the most ignorant man who looked at a map
could see what it signified that the North could occupy an important city
in the heart of Georgia.  Then they recalled Farragut's victory of a
month before.  Then there followed, close to Washington, putting an end
to a continual menace, stirring and picturesquely brilliant beyond other
incidents of the war, Sheridan's repeated victories in the Shenandoah
Valley.  The war which had been "voted a failure" was evidently not a
failure.  At the same time men of high character conducted a vigorous
campaign of speeches for Lincoln.  General Schurz, the German
revolutionary Liberal, who lived to tell Bismarck at his table that he
still preferred democracy to his amused host's method of government,
sacrificed his command in the Army--for Lincoln told him it could not be
restored--to speak for Lincoln.  Even Chase was carried away, and after
months of insidious detraction, went for Lincoln on the stump.  In the
elections in November Lincoln was elected by an enormous popular
majority, giving him 212 out of the 233 votes in the electoral college,
where in form the election is made.  Three Northern States only, one of
them his native State, had gone against him.  He made some little
speeches to parties which came to "serenade" him; some were not very
formal speeches, for, as he said, he was now too old to "care much about
the mode of doing things."  But one was this: "It has long been a grave
question whether any Government not too strong for the liberties of its
people can be strong enough to maintain its existence in great
emergencies.  On this point the present rebellion brought our Government
to a severe test, and a Presidential election occurring in regular course
during the rebellion added not a little to the strain.  But we cannot
have a free Government without elections; and if the rebellion could
force us to forego or postpone a national election it might fairly claim
to have already conquered and ruined us.  But the election along with its
incidental and undesirable strife has done good too.  It has demonstrated
that a people's Government can sustain a national election in the midst
of a great civil war.  Until now it has not been known to the world that
this was a possibility.  But the rebellion continues, and now that the
election is over may not all have a common interest to reunite in a
common effort to save our common country?  For my own part I have striven
and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way.  So long as I
have been here I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man's bosom.
While I am duly sensible to the high compliment of a re-election, and
duly grateful as I trust to Almighty God for having directed my
countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their good, it adds
nothing to my satisfaction that any man may be disappointed by the
result.  May I ask those who have not differed from me to join with me in
this same spirit towards those who have?  And now let me close by asking
three hearty cheers for our brave soldiers and seamen, and their gallant
and skilful commanders."

In the Cabinet he brought out the paper that he had sealed up in the dark
days of August; he reminded his ministers of how they had endorsed it
unread, and he read it them.  Its contents ran thus: "This morning, as
for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this
Administration will not be re-elected.  Then it will be my duty to so
co-operate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the
election and the inauguration, as he will have secured his election on
such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards."  Lincoln
explained what he had intended to do if McClellan had won.  He would have
gone to him and said, "General, this election shows that you are
stronger, have more influence with the people of this country than I";
and he would have invited him to co-operate in saving the Union now, by
using that great influence to secure from the people the willing
enlistment of enough recruits.  "And the general," said Seward, "would
have said, 'Yes, yes'; and again the next day, when you spoke to him
about it, 'Yes, yes'; and so on indefinitely, and he would have done
nothing."

"Seldom in history," wrote Emerson in a letter after the election, "was
so much staked upon a popular vote.  I suppose never in history."

And to those Americans of all classes and in all districts of the North,
who had set their hearts and were giving all they had to give to preserve
the life of the nation, the political crisis of 1864 would seem to have
been the most anxious moment of the war.  It is impossible--it must be
repeated--to guess how great the danger really was that their popular
government might in the result betray the true and underlying will of the
people; for in any country (and in America perhaps more than most) the
average of politicians, whose voices are most loudly heard, can only in a
rough and approximate fashion be representative.  But there is in any
case no cause for surprise that the North should at one time have
trembled.  Historic imagination is easily, though not one whit too
deeply, moved by the heroic stand of the South.  It is only after the
effort to understand the light in which the task of the North has
presented itself to capable soldiers, that a civilian can perceive what
sustained resolution was required if, though far the stronger, it was to
make its strength tell.  Notwithstanding the somewhat painful impression
which the political chronicle of this time at some points gives, it is
the fact that the wisest Englishmen who were in those days in America and
had means of observing what passed have retained a lasting sense of the
constancy, under trial, of the North.




CHAPTER XII

THE END

On December 6, 1864, Lincoln sent the last of his Annual Messages to
Congress.  He treated as matter for oblivion the "impugning of motives
and heated controversy as to the proper means of advancing the Union
cause," which had played so large a part in the Presidential election
and the other elections of the autumn.  For, as he said, "on the
distinct issue of Union or no Union the politicians have shown their
instinctive knowledge that there is no diversity among the people."
This was accurate as well as generous, for though many Democrats had
opposed the war, none had avowed that for the sake of peace he would
give up the Union.  Passing then to the means by which the Union could
be made to prevail he wrote: "On careful consideration of all the
evidence accessible it seems to me that no attempt at negotiation with
the insurgent leader could result in any good.  He would accept nothing
short of severance of the Union--precisely what we will not and cannot
give.  Between him and us the issue is distinct, simple, and
inflexible.  It is an issue which can only be tried by war and decided
by victory.  The abandonment of armed resistance to the national
authority on the part of the insurgents is the only indispensable
condition to ending the war on the part of the Government."  To avoid a
possible misunderstanding he added that not a single person who was
free by the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation or of any Act of
Congress would be returned to slavery while he held the executive
authority.  "If the people should by whatever mode or means make it an
executive duty to re-enslave such persons, another, and not I, must be
their instrument to perform it."  This last sentence was no meaningless
flourish; the Constitutional Amendment prohibiting slavery could not be
passed for some time, and might conceivably be defeated; in the
meantime the Courts might possibly have declared any negro in the
Southern States a slave; Lincoln's words let it be seen that they would
have found themselves without an arm to enforce their decision.  But in
fact there was no longer an issue with the South as to abolition.
Jefferson Davis had himself declared that slavery was gone, for most
slaves had now freed themselves, and that he for his part troubled very
little over that.  There remained, then, no issue between North and
South except that between Independence and Union.

On the same day that he sent his annual message Lincoln gave himself a
characteristic pleasure by another communication which he sent to the
Senate.  Old Roger Taney of the Dred Scott case had died in October;
the Senate was now requested to confirm the President's nomination of a
new Chief Justice to succeed him; and the President had nominated
Chase.  Chase's reputation as a lawyer had seemed to fit him for the
position, but the well informed declared that, in spite of some
appearances on the platform for Lincoln he still kept "going around
peddling his griefs in private ears and sowing dissatisfaction against
Lincoln."  So in spite of Lincoln's pregnant remark on this subject
that he "did not believe in keeping any man under," nobody supposed
that Lincoln would appoint him.  Sumner and Congressman Alley of
Massachusetts had indeed gone to Lincoln to urge the appointment.  "We
found, to our dismay," Alley relates, "that the President had heard of
the bitter criticisms of Mr. Chase upon himself and his Administration.
Mr. Lincoln urged many of Chase's defects, to discover, as we
afterwards learned, how his objection could be answered.  We were both
discouraged and made up our minds that the President did not mean to
appoint Mr. Chase.  It really seemed too much to expect of poor human
nature."  One morning Alley again saw the President.  "I have something
to tell you that will make you happy," said Lincoln.  "I have just sent
Mr. Chase word that he is to be appointed Chief Justice, and you are
the first man I have told of it."  Alley said something natural about
Lincoln's magnanimity, but was told in reply what the only real
difficulty had been.  Lincoln from his "convictions of duty to the
Republican party and the country" had always meant to appoint Chase,
subject to one doubt which he had revolved in his mind till he had
settled it.  This doubt was simply whether Chase, beset as he was by a
craving for the Presidency which he could never obtain, would ever
really turn his attention with a will to becoming the great Chief
Justice that Lincoln thought he could be.  Lincoln's occasional
failures of tact had sometimes a noble side to them; he even thought
now of writing to Chase and telling him with simple seriousness where
he felt his temptation lay, and he with difficulty came to see that
this attempt at brotherly frankness would be misconstrued by a
suspicious and jealous man.  Charles Sumner, Chase's advocate on this
occasion, was all this time the most weighty and the most pronounced of
those Radicals who were beginning to press for unrestricted negro
suffrage in the South and in general for a hard and inelastic scheme of
"reconstruction," which they would have imposed on the conquered South
without an attempt to conciliate the feeling of the vanquished or to
invite their co-operation in building up the new order.  He was thus
the chief opponent of that more tentative, but as is now seen, more
liberal and more practical policy which lay very close to Lincoln's
heart; enough has been said of him to suggest too that this grave
person, bereft of any glimmering of fun, was in one sense no congenial
companion for Lincoln.  But he was stainlessly unselfish and sincere,
and he was the politician above all others in Washington with whom
Lincoln most gladly and most successfully maintained easy social
intercourse.  And, to please him in little ways, Lincoln would
disentangle his long frame from the "grotesque position of comfort"
into which he had twisted it in talk with some other friend, and would
assume in an instant a courtly demeanour when Sumner was about to enter
his room.

On January 31, 1865, the resolution earlier passed by the Senate for a
Constitutional Amendment to prohibit slavery was passed by the House of
Representatives, as Lincoln had eagerly desired, so that the requisite
voting of three quarters of the States in its favour could now begin.
Before that time the Confederate Congress had, on March 13, 1865,
closed its last, most anxious and distracted session by passing an Act
for the enlistment of negro volunteers, who were to become free on
enlistment.  As a military measure it was belated and inoperative, but
nothing could more eloquently have marked the practical extinction of
slavery which the war had wrought than the consent of Southern
legislators to convert the remaining slaves into soldiers.

The military operations of 1865 had proceeded but a very little way
when the sense of what they portended was felt among the Southern
leaders in Richmond.  The fall of that capital itself might be hastened
or be delayed; Lee's army if it escaped from Richmond might prolong
resistance for a shorter or for a longer time, but Sherman's march to
the sea, and the far harder achievements of the same kind which he was
now beginning, made the South feel, as he knew it would feel, that not
a port, not an arsenal, not a railway, not a corn district of the South
lay any longer beyond the striking range of the North.  Congressmen and
public officials in Richmond knew that the people of the South now
longed for peace and that the authority of the Confederacy was gone.
They beset Jefferson Davis with demands that he should start
negotiations.  But none of them had determined what price they would
pay for peace; and there was not among them any will that could really
withstand their President.  In one point indeed Jefferson Davis did
wisely yield.  On February 9, 1865, he consented to make Lee
General-in-Chief of all the Southern armies.  This belated delegation
of larger authority to Lee had certain military results, but no
political result whatever.  Lee could have been the dictator of the
Confederacy if he had chosen, and no one then or since would have
blamed him; but it was not in his mind to do anything but his duty as a
soldier.  The best beloved and most memorable by far of all the men who
served that lost cause, he had done nothing to bring about secession at
the beginning, nor now did he do anything but conform to the wishes of
his political chief.  As for that chief, Lincoln had interpreted Davis'
simple position quite rightly.  Having once embraced the cause of
Southern independence and taken the oath as chief magistrate of an
independent Confederacy, he would not yield up that cause while there
was a man to obey his orders.  Whether this attitude should be set
down, as it usually has been set down, to a diseased pride or to a very
real heroism on his part, he never faced the truth that the situation
was desperate and the spirit of his people daunted at last.  But it is
probable that just like Lincoln he was ready that those who were in
haste to make peace should see what peace involved; and it is probable
too that, in his terrible position, he deluded himself with some vague
and vain hopes as to the attitude of the North.  Lincoln on the other
hand would not enter into any proceedings in which the secession of the
South was treated otherwise than as a rebellion which must cease; but
this did not absolutely compel him to refuse every sort of informal
communication with influential men in the South, which might help them
to see where they stood and from which he too might learn something.

Old Mr. Francis Blair, the father of Lincoln's late Postmaster-General,
was the last of the honest peace-makers whom Lincoln had allowed to see
things for themselves by meeting Jefferson Davis.  His visit took place
in January, 1865, and from his determination to be a go-between and the
curious and difficult position in which Lincoln and Davis both stood in
this respect an odd result arose.  The Confederate Vice-President
Stephens, who had preached peace in the autumn without a quarrel with
Davis, and two other Southern leaders presented themselves at Grant's
headquarters with the pathetic misrepresentation that they were sent by
Davis on a mission which Lincoln had undertaken to receive.  What they
could show was authority from Davis to negotiate with Lincoln on the
footing of the independence of the Confederacy, and a politely turned
intimation from Lincoln that he would at any time receive persons
informally sent to talk with a view to the surrender of the rebel
armies.  Grant, however, was deeply impressed with the sincerity of
their desire for peace, and he entreated Lincoln to receive them.
Lincoln therefore decided to overlook the false pretence under which
they came.  He gave Grant strict orders not to delay his operations on
this account, but he came himself with Seward and met Davis' three
commissioners on a ship at Hampton Roads on February 3.  He and
Stephens had in old days been Whig Congressmen together, and Lincoln
had once been moved to tears by a speech of Stephens.  They met now as
friends.  Lincoln lost no time in making his position clear.  The
unhappy commissioners made every effort to lead him away from the plain
ground he had chosen.  It is evident that they and possible that
Jefferson Davis had hoped that when face to face with them he would
change his mind, and possibly Blair's talk had served to encourage this
hope.  They failed, but the conversation continued in a frank and
friendly manner.  Lincoln told them very freely his personal opinions
as to how the North ought to treat the South when it did surrender, but
was careful to point out that he could make no promise or bargain,
except indeed this promise that so far as penalties for rebellion were
concerned the executive power, which lay in his sole hands, would be
liberally used.  Slavery was discussed, and Seward told them of the
Constitutional Amendment which Congress had now submitted to the
people.  One of the commissioners returning again to Lincoln's refusal
to negotiate with armed rebels, as he considered them, cited the
precedent of Charles I.'s conduct in this respect.  "I do not profess,"
said Lincoln, "to be posted in history.  On all such matters I turn you
over to Seward.  All I distinctly recollect about Charles I. is that he
lost his head in the end."  Then he broke out into simple advice to
Stephens as to the action he could now pursue.  He had to report to
Congress afterwards that the conference had had no result.  He brought
home, however, a personal compliment which he valued.  "I understand,
then," Stephens had said, "that you regard us as rebels, who are liable
to be hanged for treason."  "That is so," said Lincoln.  "Well," said
Stephens, "we supposed that would have to be your view.  But, to tell
you the truth, we have none of us been much afraid of being hanged with
you as President."  He brought home, besides the compliment, an idea of
a kind which, if he could have had his way with his friends, might have
been rich in good.  He had discovered how hopeless the people of the
South were, and he considered whether a friendly pronouncement might
not lead them more readily to surrender.  He deplored the suffering in
which the South might now lie plunged, and it was a fixed part of his
creed that slavery was the sin not of the South but of the nation.  So
he spent the day after his return in drafting a joint resolution which
he hoped the two Houses of Congress might pass, and a Proclamation
which he would in that case issue.  In these he proposed to offer to
the Southern States four hundred million dollars in United States
bonds, being, as he calculated the cost to the North of two hundred
days of war, to be allotted among those States in proportion to the
property in slaves which each had lost.  One half of this sum was to be
paid at once if the war ended by April 1, and the other half upon the
final adoption of the Constitutional Amendment.  It would have been a
happy thing if the work of restoring peace could have lain with a
statesman whose rare aberrations from the path of practical politics
were of this kind.  Yet, considering the natural passions which even in
this least revengeful of civil wars could not quite be repressed, we
should be judging the Congress of that day by a higher standard than we
should apply in other countries if we regarded this proposal as one
that could have been hopefully submitted to them.  Lincoln's illusions
were dispelled on the following day when he read what he had written to
his Cabinet, and found that even among his own ministers not one man
supported him.  It would have been worse than useless to put forward
his proposals and to fail.  "You are all opposed to me," he said sadly;
and he put his papers away.  But the war had now so far progressed that
it is necessary to turn back to the point at which we left it at the
end of 1864.

Winter weather brought a brief pause to the operations of the armies.
Sherman at Savannah was preparing to begin his northward march, a
harder matter, owing to the rivers and marshes that lay in his way,
than his triumphal progress from Atlanta.  Efforts were made to
concentrate all available forces against him at Augusta to his
north-west.  Making feints against Augusta on the one side, and against
the city and port of Charleston on the other, he displayed the
marvellous engineering capacity of his army by an advance of
unlooked-for speed across the marshes to Columbia, due north of him,
which is the State capital of South Carolina.  He reached it on
February 17, 1865.  The intended concentration of the South at Augusta
was broken up.  The retreating Confederates set fire to great stores of
cotton and the unfortunate city was burnt, a calamity for which the
South, by a natural but most unjust mistake, blamed Sherman.  The
railway communications of Charleston were now certain to be severed; so
the Confederates were forced to evacuate it, and on February 18, 1865,
the North occupied the chief home of the misbegotten political ideals
of the South and of its real culture and chivalry.

Admiral Porter (for age and ill-health had come upon Farragut) was
ready at sea to co-operate with Sherman.  Thomas' army in Tennessee had
not been allowed by Grant to go into winter quarters.  A part of it
under Schofield was brought to Washington and there shipped for North
Carolina, where, ever since Burnside's successful expedition in 1862,
the Union Government had held the ports north of Wilmington.
Wilmington itself was the only port left to the South, and Richmond had
now come to depend largely on the precarious and costly supplies which
could still, notwithstanding the blockade, be run into that harbour.
At the end of December, Butler, acting in flagrant disobedience to
Grant, had achieved his crowning failure in a joint expedition with
Porter against Wilmington.  But Porter was not discouraged, nor was
Grant, who from beginning to end of his career had worked well together
with the Navy.  On February 8, Porter, this time supported by an
energetic general, Terry, effected a brilliant capture of Fort Fisher
at the mouth of Wilmington harbour.  The port was closed to the South.
On the 22nd, the city itself fell to Schofield, and Sherman had now
this sea base at hand if he needed it.

Meanwhile Grant's entrenchments on the east of Richmond and Petersburg
were still extending southward, and Lee's defences had been stretched
till they covered nearly forty miles.  Grant's lines now cut the
principal railway southward from the huge fortress, and he was able
effectually to interrupt communication by road to the southwest.  There
could be little doubt that Richmond would fall soon, and the real
question was coming to be whether Lee and his army could escape from
Richmond and still carry on the war.

The appointment of Lee as General-in-Chief was not too late to bear one
consequence which may have prolonged the war a little.  Joseph
Johnston, whose ability in a campaign of constant retirement before
overwhelming force had been respected and redoubted by Sherman, had
been discarded by Davis in the previous July.  He was now put in
command of the forces which it was hoped to concentrate against
Sherman, with a view to holding up his northward advance and preventing
him from joining hands with Grant before Richmond.  There were
altogether about 89,000 Confederate troops scattered in the Carolinas,
Georgia, and Florida, and there would be about the same number under
Sherman when Schofield in North Carolina could join him, but the number
which Johnston could now collect together seems never to have exceeded
33,000.  It was Sherman's task by the rapidity of his movements to
prevent a very formidable concentration against him.  Johnston on the
other hand must hinder if he could Sherman's junction with Schofield.
Just before that junction took place he narrowly missed dealing a
considerable blow to Sherman's army at the battle of Bentonville in the
heart of North Carolina, but had in the end to withdraw within an
entrenched position where Sherman would not attack him, but which upon
the arrival of Schofield he was forced to abandon.  On March 23, 1865,
Sherman took possession of the town and railway junction of
Goldsborough between Raleigh and New Berne.  From Savannah to
Goldsborough he had led his army 425 miles in fifty days, amid
disadvantages of ground and of weather which had called forth both
extraordinary endurance and mechanical skill on the part of his men.
He lay now 140 miles south of Petersburg by the railway.  The port of
New Berne to the east of him on the estuary of the Neuse gave him a
sure base of supplies, and would enable him quickly to move his army by
sea to Petersburg and Richmond if Grant should so decide.  The
direction in which Johnston would now fall back lay inland up the Neuse
Valley, also along a railway, towards Greensborough, some 150 miles
south-west of Petersburg; Greensborough was connected by another
railway with Petersburg and Richmond, and along this line Lee might
attempt to retire and join him.

All this time whatever designs Lee had of leaving Richmond were
suspended because the roads in that weather were too bad for his
transport; and, while of necessity he waited, his possible openings
narrowed.  Philip Sheridan had now received the coveted rank of
Major-General, which McClellan had resigned on the day on which he was
defeated for the Presidency.  The North delighted to find in his
achievements the dashing quality which appeals to civilian imagination,
and Grant now had in him, as well as in Sherman, a lieutenant who would
faithfully make his chief's purposes his own, and who would execute
them with independent decision.  The cold, in which his horses
suffered, had driven Sheridan into winter quarters, but on February 27
he was able to start up the Shenandoah Valley again with 10,000
cavalry.  Most of the Confederate cavalry under Early had now been
dispersed, mainly for want of forage in the desolated valley; the rest
were now dispersed by Sheridan, and the greater part of Early's small
force of infantry with all his artillery were captured.  There was a
garrison in Lynchburg, 80 or 90 miles west of Richmond, which though
strong enough to prevent Sheridan's cavalry from capturing that place
was not otherwise of account; but there was no Confederate force in the
field except Johnston's men near enough to co-operate with Lee; only
some small and distant armies, hundreds of miles away with the railway
communication between them and the East destroyed.  Sheridan now broke
up the railway and canal communication on the north-west side of
Richmond.  He was to have gone on south and eventually joined Sherman
if he could; but, finding himself stopped for the time by floods in the
upper valley of the James, he rode past the north of Richmond, and on
March 19 joined Grant, to put his cavalry and brains at his service
when Grant judged that the moment for his final effort had come.

On March 4, 1865, Abraham Lincoln took office for the second time as
President of the United.  States.  There was one new and striking
feature in the simple ceremonial, the presence of a battalion of negro
troops in his escort.  This time, though he would say no sanguine word,
it cannot have been a long continuance of war that filled his thoughts,
but the scarcely less difficult though far happier task of restoring
the fabric of peaceful society in the conquered South.  His
difficulties were now likely to come from the North no less than the
South.  Tentative proposals which he had once or twice made suggest the
spirit in which he would have felt his way along this new path.  In the
Inaugural address which he now delivered that spirit is none the less
perceptible because he spoke of the past.  The little speech at
Gettysburg, with its singular perfection of form, and the "Second
Inaugural" are the chief outstanding examples of his peculiar
oratorical power.  The comparative rank of his oratory need not be
discussed, for at any rate it was individual and unlike that of most
other great speakers in history, though perhaps more like that of some
great speeches in drama.

But there is a point of some moment in which the Second Inaugural does
invite a comment, and a comment which should be quite explicit.
Probably no other speech of a modern statesman uses so unreservedly the
language of intense religious feeling.  The occasion made it natural;
neither the thought nor the words are in any way conventional; no
sensible reader now could entertain a suspicion that the orator spoke
to the heart of the people but did not speak from his own heart.  But
an old Illinois attorney, who thought he knew the real Lincoln behind
the President, might have wondered whether the real Lincoln spoke here.
For Lincoln's religion, like everything else in his character, became,
when he was famous, a stock subject of discussion among his old
associates.  Many said "he was a Christian but did not know it."  Some
hinted, with an air of great sagacity, that "so far from his being a
Christian or a religious man, the less said about it the better."  In
early manhood he broke away for ever from the scheme of Christian
theology which was probably more or less common to the very various
Churches which surrounded him.  He had avowed this sweeping denial with
a freedom which pained some friends, perhaps rather by its rashness
than by its impiety, and he was apt to regard the procedure of
theologians as a blasphemous twisting of the words of Christ.  He
rejected that belief in miracles and in the literally inspired accuracy
of the Bible narrative which was no doubt held as fundamental by all
these Churches.  He rejected no less any attempt to substitute for this
foundation the belief in any priestly authority or in the authority of
any formal and earthly society called the Church.  With this total
independence of the expressed creeds of his neighbours he still went
and took his boys to Presbyterian public worship--their mother was an
Episcopalian and his own parents had been Baptists.  He loved the Bible
and knew it intimately--he is said also by the way to have stored in
his memory a large number of hymns.  In the year before his death he
wrote to Speed: "I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible.  Take
all of this book upon reason that you can and the balance upon faith
and you will live and die a better man."  It was not so much the Old
Testament as the New Testament and what he called "the true spirit of
Christ" that he loved especially, and took with all possible
seriousness as the rule of life.  His theology, in the narrower sense,
may be said to have been limited to an intense belief in a vast and
over-ruling Providence--the lighter forms of superstitious feelings
which he is known to have had in common with most frontiersmen were
apparently of no importance in his life.  And this Providence, darkly
spoken of, was certainly conceived by him as intimately and kindly
related to his own life.  In his Presidential candidature, when he
owned to some one that the opposition of clergymen hurt him deeply, he
is said to have confessed to being no Christian and to have continued,
"I know that there is a God and that He hates injustice and slavery.  I
see the storm coming and I know that His hand is in it.  If He has a
place and work for me, and I think He has, I believe I am ready.  I am
nothing, but truth is everything; I know I am right because I know that
liberty is right, for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God.  I have
told them that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and Christ
and reason say the same, and they will find it so."  When old
acquaintances said that he had no religion they based their opinion on
such remarks as that the God, of whom he had just been speaking
solemnly, was "not a person."  It would be unprofitable to enquire what
he, and many others, meant by this expression, but, later at any rate,
this "impersonal" power was one with which he could hold commune.  His
robust intellect, impatient of unproved assertion, was unlikely to rest
in the common assumption that things dimly seen may be treated as not
being there.  So humorous a man was also unlikely to be too conceited
to say his prayers.  At any rate he said them; said them intently;
valued the fact that others prayed for him and for the nation; and, as
in official Proclamations (concerning days of national religious
observance) he could wield, like no other modern writer, the language
of the Prayer Book, so he would speak of prayer without the smallest
embarrassment in talk with a general or a statesman.  It is possible
that this was a development of later years.  Lincoln did not, like most
of us, arrest his growth.  To Mrs. Lincoln it seemed that with the
death of their child, Willie, a change came over his whole religious
outlook.  It well might; and since that grief, which came while his
troubles were beginning, much else had come to Lincoln; and now through
four years of unsurpassed trial his capacity had steadily grown, and
his delicate fairness, his pitifulness, his patience, his modesty had
grown therewith.  Here is one of the few speeches ever delivered by a
great man at the crisis of his fate on the sort of occasion which a
tragedian telling his story would have devised for him.  This man had
stood alone in the dark.  He had done justice; he had loved mercy; he
had walked humbly with his God.  The reader to whom religious utterance
makes little appeal will not suppose that his imaginative words stand
for no real experience.  The reader whose piety knows no questions will
not be pained to think that this man had professed no faith.

He said, "Fellow Countrymen: At this second appearance to take the oath
of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended
address than there was at the first.  Then a statement, somewhat in
detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper.  Now, at
the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have
been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great
contest which still absorbs the energies and engrosses the attention of
the nation, little that is new could be presented.  The progress of our
arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the
public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and
encouraging to all.  With high hope for the future, no prediction in
regard to it is ventured.

"On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts
were anxiously directed to an impending civil war.  All dreaded it--all
sought to avert it.  While the inaugural address was being delivered
from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war,
insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without
war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects, by negotiation.
Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than
let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let
it perish.  And the war came.

"One-eighth of the whole population were coloured slaves, not
distributed generally over the Union, but localised in the Southern
part of it.  These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest.
All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war.  To
strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for
which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the
Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial
enlargement of it.  Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or
the duration which it has already attained.  Neither expected that the
cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict
itself should cease.  Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result
less fundamental and astounding.  Both read the same Bible, and pray to
the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.  It may seem
strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in
wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us
judge not, that we be not judged.  The prayers of both could not be
answered--that of neither has been answered fully.  The Almighty has
His own purposes.  'Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must
needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense
cometh.'  If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those
offenses, which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which,
having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove,
and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war, as the woe
due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any
departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living
God always ascribe to Him?  Fondly do we hope--fervently do we
pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.  Yet, if
God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman's
two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until
every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid with another
drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it
must be said, 'The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous
altogether.'

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the
right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the
work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who
shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do
all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among
ourselves, and with all nations."

Lincoln's own commentary may follow upon his speech:

"March 15, 1865.  Dear Mr. Weed,--Every one likes a little compliment.
Thank you for yours on my little notification speech and on the recent
inaugural address.  I expect the latter to wear as well as--perhaps
better than--anything I have produced; but I believe it is not
immediately popular.  Men are not flattered by being shown that there
has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them.  To
deny it however in this case is to deny that there is a God governing
the world.  It is a truth which I thought needed to be told, and, as
whatever of humiliation there is in it falls most directly on myself, I
thought others might afford for me to tell it.

"Truly yours,

"A. LINCOLN."


On March 20, 1865, a period of bright sunshine seems to have begun in
Lincoln's life.  Robert Lincoln had some time before finished his
course at Harvard, and his father had written to Grant modestly asking
him if he could suggest the way, accordant with discipline and good
example, in which the young man could best see something of military
life.  Grant immediately had him on to his staff, with a commission as
captain, and now Grant invited Lincoln to come to his headquarters for
a holiday visit.  There was much in it besides holiday, for Grant was
rapidly maturing his plans for the great event and wanted Lincoln near.
Moreover Sheridan had just arrived, and while Lincoln was there Sherman
came from Goldsborough with Admiral Porter for consultation as to
Sherman's next move.  Peremptory as he was in any necessary political
instructions, Lincoln was now happy to say nothing of military matters,
beyond expressing his earnest desire that the final overmastering of
the Confederate armies should be accomplished with the least further
bloodshed possible, and indulging the curiosity that any other guest
might have shown.  A letter home to Mrs. Lincoln betrays the interest
with which he heard heavy firing quite near, which seemed to him a
great battle, but did not excite those who knew.  Then there were rides
in the country with Grant's staff.  Lincoln in his tall hat and frock
coat was a marked and curious figure on a horse.  He had once, by the
way, insisted on riding with Butler, catechising him with remorseless
chaff on engineering matters and forbidding his chief engineer to
prompt him, along six miles of cheering Northern troops within easy
sight and shot of the Confederate soldiers to whom his hat and coat
identified him.  But, however odd a figure, he impressed Grant's
officers as a good and bold horseman.  Then, after Sherman's arrival,
there evidently was no end of talk.  Sherman was at first amused by the
President's anxiety as to whether his army was quite safe without him
at Goldsborough; but that keen-witted soldier soon received, as he has
said, an impression both of goodness and of greatness such as no other
man ever gave him.

What especially remained on Sherman's and on Porter's mind was the
recollection of Lincoln's over-powering desire for mercy and for
conciliation with the conquered.  Indeed Sherman blundered later in the
terms he first accepted from Johnston; for he did not see that
Lincoln's clemency for Southern leaders and desire for the welfare of
the South included no mercy at all for the political principle of the
Confederacy.  Grant was not exposed to any such mistake, for a week or
two before Lee had made overtures to him for some sort of conference
and Lincoln had instantly forbidden him to confer with Lee for any
purpose but that of his unconditional surrender.  What, apart from the
reconstruction of Southern life and institutions, was in part weighing
with Lincoln was the question of punishments for rebellion.  By Act of
Congress the holders of high political and military office in the South
were liable as traitors, and there was now talk of hanging in the
North.  Later events showed that a very different sentiment would make
itself heard when the victory came; but Lincoln was much concerned.  To
some one who spoke to him of this matter he exclaimed, "What have I to
do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries
unto me?  Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel?"
There can be no doubt that the prerogative of mercy would have been
vigorously used in his hands, but he did not wish for a conflict on
this matter at all; and Grant was taught, in a parable about a teetotal
Irishman who forgave being served with liquor unbeknownst to himself,
that zeal in capturing Jefferson Davis and his colleagues was not
expected of him.

While Lincoln was at Grant's headquarters at City Point, Lee, hoping to
recover the use of the roads to the south-west, endeavoured to cause a
diversion of the besiegers' strength by a sortie on his east front.  It
failed and gave the besiegers a further point of vantage.  On April 1
Sheridan was sent far round the south of Lee's lines, and in a battle
at a point called Five Forks established himself in possession of the
railway running due west from Petersburg.  The defences were weakest on
this side, and to prevent the entrance of the enemy there Lee was bound
to withdraw troops from other quarters.  On the two following days
Grant's army delivered assaults at several points on the east side of
the Petersburg defences, penetrating the outer lines and pushing on
against the inner fortifications of the town.  On Sunday, April 2,
Jefferson Davis received in church word from Lee to make instant
preparation for departure, as Petersburg could not be held beyond that
night and Richmond must fall immediately.  That night the Confederate
Government left the capital, and Lee's evacuation of the fortress began
the next day.  Lincoln was sent for.  He came by sea, and to the
astonishment and alarm of the naval officers made his way at once to
Richmond with entirely insufficient escort.  There he strolled about,
hand in hand with his little son Tad, greeted by exultant negroes, and
stared at by angry or curious Confederates, while he visited the former
prison of the Northern prisoners and other places of more pleasant
attraction without receiving any annoyance from the inhabitants.  He
had an interesting talk with Campbell, formerly a Supreme Court judge,
and a few weeks back one of Davis' commissioners at Hampton Roads.
Campbell obtained permission to convene a meeting of the members of the
Virginia Legislature with a view to speedier surrender by Lee's army.
But the permission was revoked, for he somewhat clumsily mistook its
terms, and, moreover, the object in view had meantime been accomplished.

Jefferson Davis was then making his way with his ministers to
Johnston's army.  When they arrived he and they held council with
Johnston and Beauregard.  He would issue a Proclamation which would
raise him many soldiers and he would "whip them yet."  No one answered
him.  At last he asked the opinion of Johnston, who bluntly undeceived
him as to facts, and told him that further resistance would be a crime,
and got his permission to treat with Sherman, while the fallen
Confederate President escaped further south.

Lee's object was to make his way along the north side of the Appomattox
River, which flows east through Petersburg to the James estuary, and at
a certain point strike southwards towards Johnston's army.  He fought
for his escape with all his old daring and skill, while hardly less
vigorous and skilful efforts were made not only to pursue, but to
surround him.  Grant in his pursuit sent letters of courteous entreaty
that he would surrender and spare further slaughter.  Northern cavalry
got ahead of Lee, tearing up the railway lines he had hoped to use and
blocking possible mountain passes; and his supply trains were being cut
off.  After a long running fight and one last fierce battle on April 6,
at a place called Sailor's Creek, Lee found himself on April 9 at
Appomattox Court House, some seventy miles west of Petersburg,
surrounded beyond hope of escape.  On that day he and Grant with their
staffs met in a neighbouring farmhouse.  Those present recalled
afterwards the contrast of the stately Lee and the plain, ill-dressed
Grant arriving mud-splashed in his haste.  Lee greeted Meade as an old
acquaintance and remarked how grey he had grown with years.  Meade
gracefully replied that Lee and not age was responsible for that.
Grant had started "quite jubilant" on the news that Lee was ready to
surrender, but in presence of "the downfall of a foe who had fought so
long and valiantly" he fell into sadness.  Pleasant "talk of old army
times" followed, and he had almost forgotten, as he declares, the
business in hand, when Lee asked him on what terms he would accept
surrender.  Grant sat down and wrote, not knowing when he began what he
should go on to write.  As he wrote he thought of the handsome sword
Lee carried.  Instantly he added to his terms permission for every
Southern officer to keep his sword and his horse.  Lee read the paper
and when he came to that point was visibly moved.  He gauged his man,
and he ventured to ask something more.  He thought, he said, Grant
might not know that the Confederate cavalry troopers owned their own
horses.  Grant said they would be badly wanted on the farms and added a
further concession accordingly.  "This will have the best possible
effect on the men," said Lee.  "It will do much towards conciliating
our people."  Grant included also in his written terms words of general
pardon to Confederate officers for their treason.  This was an
inadvertent breach, perhaps, of Lincoln's orders, but it was one which
met with no objection.  Lee retired into civil life and devoted himself
thereafter to his neighbours' service as head of a college in
Virginia--much respected, very free with alms to old soldiers and not
much caring whether they had fought for the South or for the North.
Grant did not wait to set foot in the capital which he had conquered,
but, the main business being over, posted off with all haste to see his
son settled in at school.

Lincoln remained at City Point till April 8, when he started back by
steamer.  Those who were with him on the two days' voyage told
afterwards of the happy talk, as of a quiet family party rejoicing in
the return of peace.  Somebody said that Jefferson Davis really ought
to be hanged.  The reply came in the quotation that he might almost
have expected, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."  On the second day,
Sunday, the President read to them parts of "Macbeth."  Sumner, who was
one of them, recalled that he read twice over the lines,

        "Duncan is in his grave;
  After life's fitful fever he sleeps well;
  Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison,
  Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
  Can touch him further."

On the Tuesday, April 11, a triumphant crowd came to the White House to
greet Lincoln.  He made them a speech, carefully prepared in substance
rather than in form, dealing with the question of reconstruction in the
South, with special reference to what was already in progress in
Louisiana.  The precise points of controversy that arose in this regard
hardly matter now.  Lincoln disclaimed any wish to insist pedantically
upon any detailed plan of his; but he declared his wish equally to keep
clear of any merely pedantic points of controversy with any in the
South who were loyally striving to revive State Government with
acceptance of the Union and without slavery; and he urged that genuine
though small beginnings should be encouraged.  He regretted that in
Louisiana his wish for the enfranchisement of educated negroes and of
negro soldiers had not been followed; but as the freedom of the negroes
was unreservedly accepted, as provision was made for them in the public
schools, and the new State constitution allowed the Legislature to
enfranchise them, there was clear gain.  "Concede that the new
government of Louisiana is only to what it should be as the egg is to
the fowl, we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by
smashing it.  What has been said of Louisiana will apply generally to
other States.  So new and unprecedented," he ended, "is the whole case
that no exclusive and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed as to
details and collaterals.  Such exclusive and inflexible plan would
surely become a new entanglement.  Important principles may and must be
inflexible.  In the present situation, as the phrase goes, it may be my
duty to make some new announcement to the people of the South.  I am
considering, and shall not fail to act when satisfied that action will
be proper."  A full generation has had cause to lament that that
announcement was never to be made.

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, with solemn religious service the Union
flag was hoisted again on Fort Sumter by General Anderson, its old
defender.  On that morning there was a Cabinet Council in Washington.
Seward was absent, in bed with an injury from a carriage accident.
Grant was there a little anxious to get news from Sherman.  Lincoln was
in a happy mood.  He had earlier that morning enjoyed greatly a talk
with Robert Lincoln about the young man's new experience of soldiering.
He now told Grant and the Cabinet that good news was coming from
Sherman.  He knew it, he said, for last night he had dreamed a dream,
which had come to him several times before.  In this dream, whenever it
came, he was sailing in a ship of a peculiar build, indescribable but
always the same, and being borne on it with great speed towards a dark
and undefined shore.  He had always dreamed this before victory.  He
dreamed it before Antietam, before Murfreesborough, before Gettysburg,
before Vicksburg.  Grant observed bluntly that Murfreesborough had not
been a victory, or of any consequence anyway.  Lincoln persisted on
this topic undeterred.  After some lesser business they discussed the
reconstruction of the South.  Lincoln rejoiced that Congress had
adjourned and the "disturbing element" in it could not hinder the work.
Before it met again, "if we are wise and discreet we shall re-animate
the States and get their governments in successful operation, with
order prevailing and the Union re-established."  Lastly, there was talk
of the treatment of rebels and of the demand that had been heard for
"persecution" and "bloody work."  "No one need expect me," said
Lincoln, "to take any part in hanging or killing these men, even the
worst of them.  Frighten them out of the country, open the gates, let
down the bars, scare them off."  "Shoo," he added, throwing up his
large hands like a man scaring sheep.  "We must extinguish our
resentments if we expect harmony and union.  There is too much of the
desire on the part of some of our very good friends to be masters, to
interfere with and dictate to those States, to treat the people not as
fellow citizens; there is too little respect for their rights.  I do
not sympathise in these feelings."  Such was the tenor of his last
recorded utterance on public affairs.

In the afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln drove together and he talked to
her with keen pleasure of the life they would live when the Presidency
was over.  That night Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln went to the theatre, for the
day was not observed as in England.  The Grants were to have been with
them, but changed their minds and left Washington that day, so a young
officer, Major Rathbone, and the lady engaged to him, both of them
thereafter ill-fated, came instead.  The theatre was crowded; many
officers returned from the war were there and eager to see Lincoln.
The play was "Our American Cousin," a play in which the part of Lord
Dundreary was afterwards developed and made famous.  Some time after 10
o'clock, at a point in the play which it is said no person present
could afterwards remember, a shot was heard in the theatre and Abraham
Lincoln fell forward upon the front of the box unconscious and dying.
A wild-looking man, who had entered the box unobserved and had done his
work, was seen to strike with a knife at Major Rathbone, who tried to
seize him.  Then he jumped from the box to the stage; he caught a spur
in the drapery and fell, breaking the small bone of his leg.  He rose,
shouted "Sic semper tyrannis," the motto of Virginia, disappeared
behind the scenes, mounted a horse that was in waiting at the stage
door, and rode away.

This was John Wilkes Booth, brother of a famous actor then playing
"Hamlet" in Boston.  He was an actor too, and an athletic and daring
youth.  In him that peculiarly ferocious political passion which
occasionally showed itself among Southerners was further inflamed by
brandy and by that ranting mode of thought which the stage develops in
some few.  He was the leader of a conspiracy which aimed at compassing
the deaths of others besides Lincoln.  Andrew Johnson, the
Vice-President, was to die.  So was Seward.  That same night one of the
conspirators, a gigantic boy of feeble mind, gained entrance to
Seward's house and wounded three people, including Seward himself, who
was lying already injured in bed and received four or five wounds.
Neither he nor the others died.  The weak-minded or mad boy, another
man, whose offense consisted in having been asked to kill Johnson and
refused to do so, and another alleged conspirator, a woman, were hanged
after a court-martial whose proceedings did credit neither to the new
President nor to others concerned.  Booth himself, after many
adventures, was shot in a barn in which he stood at bay and which had
been set on fire by the soldiers pursuing him.  During his flight he is
said to have felt much aggrieved that men did not praise him as they
had praised Brutus and Cassius.

There were then in the South many broken and many permanently
embittered men, indeed the temper which would be glad at Lincoln's
death could be found here and there and notably among the partisans of
the South in Washington.  But, if it be wondered what measure of
sympathy there was for Booth's dark deed, an answer lies in the fact
that the murder of Lincoln would at no time have been difficult for a
brave man.  Fair blows were now as powerless as foul to arrest the end.
On the very morning when Lincoln and Grant at the Cabinet had been
telling of their hopes and fears for Sherman, Sherman himself at
Raleigh in North Carolina had received and answered a letter from
Johnston opening negotiations for a peaceful surrender.  Three days
later he was starting by rail for Greensborough when word came to him
from the telegraph operator that an important message was upon the
wire.  He went to the telegraph box and heard it.  Then he swore the
telegraph operator to secrecy, for he feared that some provocation
might lead to terrible disorders in Raleigh, if his army, flushed with
triumph, were to learn, before his return in peace, the news that for
many days after hushed their accustomed songs and shouts and cheering
into a silence which was long remembered.  He went off to meet Johnston
and requested to be with him alone in a farmhouse near.  There he told
him of the murder of Lincoln.  "The perspiration came out in large
drops on Johnston's forehead," says Sherman, who watched him closely.
He exclaimed that it was a disgrace to the age.  Then he asked to know
whether Sherman attributed the crime to the Confederate authorities.
Sherman could assure him that no one dreamed of such a suspicion
against men like him and General Lee; but he added that he was not so
sure of "Jefferson Davis and men of that stripe."  Then followed some
delay, through a mistake of Sherman's which the authorities in
Washington reversed, but in a few days all was settled and the whole of
the forces under Johnston's command laid down their arms.  Twenty years
later, as an old man and infirm, their leader left his Southern home to
be present at Sherman's funeral, where he caught a chill from which he
died soon after.  Jefferson Davis was captured on May 10, near the
borders of Florida.  He was, not without plausible grounds but quite
unjustly, suspected in regard to the murder, and he suffered
imprisonment for some time till President Andrew Johnson released him
when the evidence against him had been seen to be worthless.  He lived
many years in Mississippi and wrote memoirs, in which may be found the
fullest legal argument for the great Secession, his own view of his
quarrels with Joseph Johnston, and much besides.  Amongst other things
he tells how when they heard the news of Lincoln's murder some troops
cheered, but he was truly sorry for the reason that Andrew Johnson was
more hostile to the cause than Lincoln.  It is disappointing to think,
of one who played a memorable part in history with much determination,
that in this reminiscence he sized his stature as a man fairly
accurately.  After several other surrenders of Southern towns and small
scattered forces, the Confederate General Kirby Smith, in Texas,
surrendered to General Canby, Banks' successor, on May 26, and after
four years and forty-four days armed resistance to the Union was at an
end.

On the night of Good Friday, Abraham Lincoln had been carried still
unconscious to a house near the theatre.  His sons and other friends
were summoned.  He never regained consciousness.  "A look of
unspeakable peace," say his secretaries who were there, "came over his
worn features."  At 7.22 on the morning of April 15, Stanton, watching
him more closely than the rest, told them what had passed in the words,
"Now he belongs to the ages."

The mourning of a nation, voiced to later times by some of the best
lines of more than one of its poets, and deeper and more prevailing for
the lack of comprehension which some had shown him before, followed his
body in its slow progress--stopping at Baltimore, where once his life
had been threatened, for the homage of vast crowds; stopping at New
York, where among the huge assembly old General Scott came to bid him
affectionate farewell; stopping at other cities for the tribute of
reverent multitudes--to Springfield, his home of so many years, where,
on May 4, 1865, it was laid to rest.  After the burial service the
"Second Inaugural" was read over his grave, nor could better words than
his own have been chosen to honour one who "with malice toward none,
with charity toward all, with firmness in the right as God gave him to
see the right, had striven on to finish the work that he was in."  In
England, apart from more formal tokens of a late-learnt regard and an
unfeigned regret, Punch embodied in verse of rare felicity the manly
contrition of its editor for ignorant derision in past years; and Queen
Victoria symbolised best of all, and most acceptably to Americans, the
feeling of her people when she wrote to Mrs. Lincoln "as a widow to a
widow."  Nor, though the transactions in which he bore his part were
but little understood in this country till they were half forgotten,
has tradition ever failed to give him, by just instinct, his rank with
the greatest of our race.

Many great deeds had been done in the war.  The greatest was the
keeping of the North together in an enterprise so arduous, and an
enterprise for objects so confusedly related as the Union and freedom.
Abraham Lincoln did this; nobody else could have done it; to do it he
bore on his sole shoulders such a weight of care and pain as few other
men have borne.  When it was over it seemed to the people that he had
all along been thinking their real thoughts for them; but they knew
that this was because he had fearlessly thought for himself.  He had
been able to save the nation, partly because he saw that unity was not
to be sought by the way of base concession.  He had been able to free
the slaves, partly because he would not hasten to this object at the
sacrifice of what he thought a larger purpose.  This most unrelenting
enemy to the project of the Confederacy was the one man who had quite
purged his heart and mind from hatred or even anger towards his
fellow-countrymen of the South.  That fact came to be seen in the South
too, and generations in America are likely to remember it when all
other features of his statecraft have grown indistinct.  A thousand
reminiscences ludicrous or pathetic, passing into myth but enshrining
hard fact, will prove to them that this great feature of his policy was
a matter of more than policy.  They will remember it as adding a
peculiar lustre to the renovation of their national existence; as no
small part of the glory, surpassing that of former wars, which has
become the common heritage of North and South.  For perhaps not many
conquerors, and certainly few successful statesmen, have escaped the
tendency of power to harden or at least to narrow their human
sympathies; but in this man a natural wealth of tender compassion
became richer and more tender while in the stress of deadly conflict he
developed an astounding strength.

Beyond his own country some of us recall his name as the greatest among
those associated with the cause of popular government.  He would have
liked this tribute, and the element of truth in it is plain enough, yet
it demands one final consideration.  He accepted the institutions to
which he was born, and he enjoyed them.  His own intense experience of
the weakness of democracy did not sour him, nor would any similar
experience of later times have been likely to do so.  Yet if he
reflected much on forms of government it was with a dominant interest
in something beyond them.  For he was a citizen of that far country
where there is neither aristocrat nor democrat.  No political theory
stands out from his words or actions; but they show a most unusual
sense of the possible dignity of common men and common things.  His
humour rioted in comparisons between potent personages and Jim Jett's
brother or old Judge Brown's drunken coachman, for the reason for which
the rarely jesting Wordsworth found a hero in the "Leech-Gatherer" or
in Nelson and a villain in Napoleon or in Peter Bell.  He could use and
respect and pardon and overrule his far more accomplished ministers
because he stood up to them with no more fear or cringing, with no more
dislike or envy or disrespect than he had felt when he stood up long
before to Jack Armstrong.  He faced the difficulties and terrors of his
high office with that same mind with which he had paid his way as a
poor man or navigated a boat in rapids or in floods.  If he had a
theory of democracy it was contained in this condensed note which he
wrote, perhaps as an autograph, a year or two before his Presidency:
"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.  This expresses
my idea of democracy.  Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the
difference, is no democracy.--A. LINCOLN."




APPENDIX




BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

A complete bibliography of books dealing specially with Lincoln, and of
books throwing important light upon his life or upon the history of the
American Civil War, cannot be attempted here.  The author aims only at
mentioning the books which have been of greatest use to him and a few
others to which reference ought obviously to be made.

The chief authorities for the life of Lincoln are:--

"Abraham Lincoln: A History," by John G. Nicolay and John Hay (his
private secretaries), in ten volumes: The Century Company, New York,
and T. Fisher Unwin, London; "The Works of Abraham Lincoln" (_i. e._,
speeches, letters, and State papers), in eight volumes: G. Putnam's
Sons, London and New York; and, for his early life, "The Life of
Abraham Lincoln," by Herndon and Weik: Appleton, London and New York.

There are numerous short biographies of Lincoln, but among these it is
not invidious to mention as the best (expressing as it does the mature
judgment of the highest authority) "A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln,"
by John G. Nicolay: The Century Company, New York.

The author may be allowed to refer, moreover, to the interest aroused
in him as a boy by "Abraham Lincoln," by C. G. Leland, in the "New
Plutarch Series": Marcus Ward & Co., London; and to the light he has
much later derived from "Abraham Lincoln," by John T. Morse, Junior:
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A.

Among studies of Lincoln, containing a wealth of illustrative stories,
a very high place is due to "The True Abraham Lincoln," by William
Eleroy Curtis: The J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and London.

For the history of America at the period concerned the reader may be
most confidently referred to a work, which by plentiful extracts and
citations enables its writer's judgment to be checked, without
detracting from the interest and power of his narrative, namely,
"History of the United States, 1850-1877," by James Ford Rhodes, in
seven volumes: The Macmillan Company, London and New York.

Among the shorter complete histories of the United States are: "The
United States: an Outline of Political History," by Goldwin Smith: The
Macmillan Company, London and New York; the article "United States of
America" (section "History") in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" (see
also the many excellent articles on American biography in the
"Encyclopaedia Britannica"); "The Cambridge Modern History: Vol. VII.,
United States of America": Cambridge University Press, and The
Macmillan Company, New York.

Two volumes of special interest in regard to the early days of the
United States, in some ways complementary to each other in their
different points of view, are: "Alexander Hamilton," by F. G. Oliver:
Constable & Co., and "Historical Essays," by John Fitch.

Almost every point in regard to American institutions and political
practice is fully treated in "The American Commonwealth," by Viscount
Bryce, O.M., two volumes: The Macmillan Company, London and New York.

For the attitude of the British Government during the war the
conclusive authority is the correspondence to be found in "The Life of
Lord John Russell," by Sir Spencer Walpole, K.C.B., two volumes:
Longmans, Green & Co., London and New York; and light on the attitude
of the English people is thrown by "The Life of John Bright," by G. M.
Trevelyan: Constable, London, and Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston,
U.S.A.

With respect to the military history of the Civil War the author is
specially indebted to "The Civil War in the United States," by W.
Birkbeck Wood and Major J. E. Edmonds, R.E., with an introduction by
Spenser Wilkinson: Methuen & Co., London, and Putnam, New York, which
is the only concise and complete history of the war written with full
knowledge of all recent works bearing on the subject.  Mr. Nicolay's
chapters in the "Cambridge Modern History" give a very lucid narrative
of the war.

Among works of special interest bearing on the war, though not much
concerning the subject of this book, it is only necessary to mention
"'Stonewall' Jackson," by Colonel Henderson, C.B., two volumes:
Longmans, London and New York; "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War"
(a book of monographs by several authors, many of them actors in the
war), four volumes: T. Fisher Unwin, London, and Century Company, New
York, and "Story of the Civil War," by J. C. Ropes: Putnam, London and
New York.

It may be added that a life of General Robert E. Lee had been
projected, as a companion volume to this in the same series, by
Brigadier-General Frederick Maurice, C.B., and it is to be hoped that,
though suspended by the present war, this book may still be written.
Existing biographies of Lee are disappointing.  It has been (especially
in view of this intended book on Lee) outside the scope of this volume
to present the history of the Civil War with special reference to the
Southern actors in it, but "Memoirs of Jefferson Davis" must be here
referred to as in some sense an authoritative, though not a very
attractive or interesting, exposition of the views of Southern
statesmen at the time.

An interesting sidelight on the war may be found in "Life with the
Confederate Army," by Watson, being the experiences of a Scotchman who
for a time served under the Confederacy.

In regard to slavery and to Southern society before the war the author
has made much use of "Our Slave States," by Frederick Law Olmsted; Dix
and Edwards, New York, 1856, and other works of the same author.  Mr.
Olmsted was a Northerner, but his very full observations can be checked
by the numerous quotations on the same subject collected by Mr. Rhodes
in his history.

For the history of the South since the war and the present position of
the negroes, see the chapters on this subject in Bryce's "American
Commonwealth," second or any later edition, two volumes: Macmillan,
London and New York.

Mr. Owen Wister's novel, "Lady Baltimore": Macmillan, London and New
York, embraces a most interesting study of the survivals of the old
Southern society at the present time and of the present relations
between it and the North.

The treatment of the negroes freed during the war is the main subject
of "Grant, Lincoln and the Freedmen," by John Eaton and E. O. Mason:
Longmans, Green & Co., London and New York, a book to which the author
is also indebted for other interesting matter.

The personal memoirs, and especially the autobiographies dealing with
the Civil War, are very numerous, and the author therefore would only
wish to mention those which seem to him of altogether unusual interest.
"Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant": Century Company, New York,
is a book of very high order (Sherman's memoirs: Appleton, New York,
and his correspondence with his brother: Scribner, New York, have also
been quoted in these pages).

Great interest both in regard to Lincoln personally and to the history
of the United States after his death attaches to "Reminiscences," by
Carl Schurz, three volumes (Vol. I. being concerned with Germany in
1848): John Murray, London, and Doubleday Page, New York, and to "The
Life of John Hay," by W. R. Thayer, two volumes: Constable & Co.,
London, and Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A.

The author has derived much light from "Specimen Days, and Collect," by
Walt Whitman: Wilson and McCormick, Glasgow, and McKay, U.S.A.

He may be allowed, in conclusion, to mention the encouragement given to
him in beginning his work by the late Mr. Henry James, O.M., whose
vivid and enthusiastic judgment of Lincoln he had the privilege of
receiving.




 CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

 Some events in History of United    Some events in English and
 States.                             General History.

 1759.  Capture of Quebec.           1759.  Capture of Quebec.

                                     1757-60.  Ministry of Chatham
                                                 (William Pitt).

                                     1760.  _Contrat Social_ published.

                                     1764-76.  Great inventions in
                                                 spinning industries.

 1765.  Stamp Act passed.            1765.  Watt's steam engine.

 1776.  Declaration of               1776.  Publication of "Wealth of
          Independence                        Nations."

                                     1778.  Death of Chatham.

                                     1782.  Rodney's victory.

 1783.  American Independence
          recognised.

 1787.  Constitution framed.
        North West Territory ceded
          by States to Congress and
          slavery excluded from it.

 1789.  Constitution comes into      1789.  Meeting of States General.
          force.

 1793.  Eli Whitney invents cotton   1793.  England at war with French
          gin.                                Republic.

                                     1794.  Slave Trade abolished by
                                              French Convention.

 1799.  Death of Washington.

                                     1802.  Peace of Amiens.

 1803.  Louisiana purchase.          1803.  England at war with
                                              Napoleon.

 1804.  Death of Hamilton.

                                     1805.  Trafalgar.

                                     1806.  The American Fulton's
                                              steam-boat on Seine.

 1807.  Fulton's steam-boat on       1807.  Slave Trade abolished by
          Hudson.                             Great Britain.

 1808.  Slave Trade abolished by     1808.  Battle of Vimiera.
          U. S. A.                            Convention of Cintra.

                                            Wordsworth's literary
                                              activity about at its
                                              culmination.

 1809.  Abraham Lincoln born.        1809.  Darwin, Tennyson, and
                                              Gladstone born.

 1812-1814.  War with Great
               Britain.

                                     1815.  Waterloo.

 1820.  Missouri Compromise.

 1823.  Monroe doctrine declared.

                                     1825.  First railway opened in
                                              England.

 1826.  Death of Jefferson.          1826.  Independence of Mexico and
                                              Spanish Colonies in South
                                              America recognised by
                                              Canning.

                                     1827.  Navarino.

 1828.  Commencement of
          "nullification" movement.
        Election of Jackson.

                                     1829.  Catholic emancipation.

 1830.  Hayne-Webster debate.

 1831.  Garrison publishes first     1831.  Mazzini founds Young
          number of _Liberator_.              Italy.
        Lincoln starts life in New
          Salem.
        First railway opened in
          America.

                                     1832.  First Reform Bill.

                                     1833.  Slavery abolished in
                                              British Colonies.

 1834.  Lincoln elected to Illinois
          legislature

                                     1836-40.  Great Boer Trek.

 1837.  End of Jackson's second      1837.  Queen Victoria's accession.
          presidency.                       First steam-boat from
                                              England to America.

                                     1838.  First telegraph line in
                                              England.

                                     1839.  Lord Durham's report on
                                              Canada.

 1841.  First telegraph in America.

 1842.  Lincoln leaves Illinois
          legislature, and (Nov.)
          is married.

                                     1844.  "Martin Chuzzlewit"
                                              published.

 1845.  Annexation of Texas.

 1846.  Boundary of Oregon and       1846.  Boundary of Oregon and
          British Columbia settled            British Columbia settled
          with Great Britain.                 with U. S. A.

 1846-7.  Mexican War.               1846-7.  Irish famine.

 1847-8.  Lincoln in Congress.

 1848.  Gold discovery in            1848.  Revolution in France and
          California.                         in many parts of Europe.

 1850.  Clay's compromise adopted.   1850.  Constitution Act for
        Death of Calham.                        Australian colonies.

 1852.  Deaths of Clay and Webster.  1852.  Constitution Act for New
                                                Zealand.

 1854.  Missouri Compromise          1854-5.  Gold rush to Australia.
          repealed.
        Republican Party formed.              Crimean War.

                                     1854-6.  Abolition of slavery in
                                                various Portuguese
                                                Dominions.

 1856.  Defeat of Fremont by
          Buchanan.

 1857.  Dred Scott case.             1857-8.  Indian Mutiny.

 1858.  Kansas.  Lincoln-Douglas
          debate.

 1859.  John Brown's raid.           1859.  Publication of "Origin of
                                              Species."

                                     1859-60.  Kingdom of Italy formed.

 1860.  Nov.  Lincoln elected        1860.  Slavery abolished in Dutch
          President.                          East Indies.

        Dec.  Secession carried in
          South Carolina.

 1861.  Feb. 4.  Southern            1861.  Emancipation of Russian
          Confederacy formed.                 serfs.

        Mar. 4.  Lincoln inaugurated.

        Ap. 12-14.  Bombardment
          of Fort Sumter.

        Ap.  War begins.  Further
          secessions.

        July.  First Battle of Bull
          Run.

        Dec.  Claim of Great Britain
          as to Trent accepted.

 1862.  Ap.-Aug.  McClellan in       1862.  _Alabama_ escapes from the
          Peninsula.                          Mersey (July).

        Ap.  Shiloh.

        May.  Jackson in Shenandoah
          Valley.

        Aug.-Oct.  Confederates in
          Kentucky.

        Aug.  Second Battle of Bull
          Run.

        Sept.  Antietam.  Proclamation
          of emancipation.

        Nov.  McClellan removed.

        Dec.  Fredericksburg.
          Murfreesborough.

 1863.  Mar. 1.  Conscription Act.   1863.  Revolution in Poland.
                                            Maximilian proclaimed Emperor
                                              of Mexico.

        May.  Chancellorsville.
          Jackson killed.

        July.  Gettysburg, Vicksburg.
          New York riots.

        Sept.  Chickamauga.

        Nov.  Gettysburg speech.
          Chattanooga.

 1864.  May.  Beginning of Grant's    1864.  Prussia and Austria invade
          and Sherman's great                  Denmark.
          campaigns.

 1864.  June.  Cold Harbour.
          Baltimore Convention.

        July.  Early's raid reaches
          Washington.

        Aug.  Mobile.  Chicago
         Convention.

        Sept.  Sherman at Atlanta.
               Sheridan in Shenandoah
                 Valley.

        Nov.  Lincoln re-elected
                President.

        Dec.  Nashville.  Sherman
                at Savannah.

 1865.  Jan.  Congress passes 13th
          Amendment.

        Feb.  Further progress of
          Sherman and Sheridan.

        Mar. 4.  Second inauguration
          of Lincoln.

        Ap. 2-9.  Richmond falls,
          and Lee surrenders.

        Ap. 14-15.  Lincoln
          assassinated and dies.

        Dec. 13.  Amendment
          ratified.

 1866.  Atlantic cable               1866.  Atlantic cable successfully
          successfully laid.                  laid.

                                            War between Austria and
                                              Prussia.

                                     1867.  British North America Act.
                                            Slave children emancipated
                                              in Brazil.
                                            Fall and execution of
                                              Maximilian in Mexico.

 1868.  Rise of acute disorder in    1868.  Mikado resumes
          "reconstructed" South.              government in Japan.

 1870.  Amendment securing negro     1870.  Papal infallibility.
          suffrage.                         Franco-German War.

 1872.  _Alabama_ arbitration with   1872.  _Alabama_ arbitration with
          Great Britain.                      U. S. A.
                                            Responsible Government in
                                              Cape Colony.

 1876.  Admitted failure of
          Reconstruction.  Election
          of Hayes.

 1877.  Federal troops withdrawn
          from South.

                                     1878.  Slavery abolished in Cuba
                                              (last of Spanish Colonies).




INDEX


Abolition and Abolitionists: Early movement dies down, 36-9; rise of
later movement, 50-2; persecuted, 51, 76; Lincoln's attitude, 76, 101,
116, 126-7, 151; their position in view of civil war, 172.  _See_
Slavery and Garrison.

Adams, Charles Francis: 236, 262, 264, 328.

Adams, John: 37, 236.

Adams, John Quincy: 47, 51, 115, 314, 388.

Aesop: 10.

_Alabama_, the: 224, 251, 264.

Alabama State: 175, 199, 212, 361, 388.

Alamo, the: 91.

Alexander II. of Russia: 256.

Alleghany (or Appalachian) Mountains: 26, 225, 244; distinct character
of people in them, 56, 198.

Alley: 429.

Alton: 76.

Amendment of Constitution: how carried, 24; suggested amendment to
conciliate South, 192; Thirteenth Amendment prohibiting slavery, 335-7,
431, 433; Fifteenth Amendment requiring negro suffrage, 334-5.

America, United States of, and American: Diverse character of Colonies,
resemblances to and differences from England, 16-20; first attempt at
Union, 20; independence and making of Constitution, 21-3; features of
Constitution, 23-5; expansion, 26-8; Union Government brought into
effect, 28-30, 41; rise of national tradition, 30-5; compromise on main
cause of disunion, slavery, 35-40; parties and tendencies in the first
half of nineteenth century, 40-52; triumph of Union sentiment, 45-6;
growth of separate interest and sentiment in South, 43-5, 52-9;
intellectual development and foundations of American patriotism, 59-61;
further compromise on slavery, 96-101; political cleavage of North and
South becomes definite, 109-12; "a house divided against itself,"
143-7; for further developments, _see_ North and South; _see also_
Lincoln; Lincoln's position as to enforcement of union, 143-4; common
heritage of America from Civil War, 455.

American Party, or Know-Nothings: 112, 117-8.

American Policy (so-called): 42-8.

Anderson, Major: 189-90, 208, 212-3, 449.

Appalachians.  _See_ Alleghany Mountains.

Appomattox River and Court House: 447.

Arbitration: 263-4.

Argyll, Duke of: 176, 260.

Arizona: 96.

Arkansas River: 28, 351.

Arkansas State: 199, 229, 244, 351.

Armstrong, Jack and Hannah: 64, 108.

Army: comparison of Northern and Southern men, 216; and their officers,
216-7, 220, 223-4, 350; system of recruiting, 221-3, 363-74;
discipline, 220, 248, 282, 420-1; size of regular army, 228.  _See
also_ Conscription, Voluntary Service and Militia.

Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union: 20, 175.

Atlanta: 226-7, 394-5, 396, 424.

Augusta: 435.


Baker: 90.

Baltimore: 205, 239-42, 453; Conventions there, 159-60, 410-1.

Banks, N. P., General: 296, 354-5, 389.

Bates, Attorney-General: 166, 201-2, 264, 320, 405.

Battles (sieges, campaigns, etc., separately entered): Antietam, 306-7,
313, 324-5, 450; Bentonville, 437; Bull Run, first battle, 245-9; Bull
Run, second battle, 305, 313; Cedar Creek, 396; Champion's Hill, 355;
Chancellorsville, 311-13; Chattanooga, 360; Chickamauga, 360; Cold
Harbour, 393, 410; Five Forks, 446; Fort Donelson, 281; Four Oaks, 295;
Franklin, 396; Fredericksburg, 309, 313; Gettysburg, 357.  450; Kenesaw
Mountain, 394; Manassas (two battles), _see_ Bull Run; Mill Springs,
280; Mobile, 395; Murfreesborough, 343, 450; Nashville, 396; New
Orleans, 283; Perryville, 342; Sailor's Creek, 447; Seven Days'
Battles, 298; Seven Pines, _see_ Four Oaks; Shiloh, 282-3;
Spottsylvania, 392; Wilderness, 392.

Bazaine, Marshal: 388.

Bell, John: 159.

Bentham, Jeremy: 32.

Berry: 66-7.

Bible: 10, 132, 439-40.

Bismarck: 424.

Black: 185.

Black Hawk: 65.

Blackstone's Commentaries: 67.

Blair, Francis, senr.: 432-3.

Blair, Montgomery: 202, 208, 245, 405, 410.

Blockade: 224, 226, 251-2, 436.

Booth, John Wilkes: 451.

Border States: 171, 228-9, 243-5, 270, 318-9, 333-4.

Boston: 47, 51, 59-60, 172-3.

Boswell, James: 102.

Bragg, General: 340-3, 352, 359-60, 387-8.

Breckinridge, John C.: 159.

Bright, John: 127, 236, 260.

British Columbia: 28, 110.

Brooks, Phillips: 60.

Brooks, Preston: 138-9.

Brown, John: 126, 150-5, 197, 397.

Brown, Judge: 85.

Buchanan, James: 113, 138, 140, 141, 177, 184-90, 206, 208, 231.

Buell, Don Carlos, General; 274, 276-82, 339-44, 369.

Bummers: 397.

Burlingame: 139.

Barns, Robert: 103, 105.

Burnside, Ambrose, General: 307, 309, 359-60, 382, 393, 435.

Burr, Aaron: 29.

Butler, Benjamin, General: 268, 283, 392-3, 409, 436, 444.

Butterfield: 95.


Calhoun, John: 68.

Calhoun, John Caldwell: his character and influence, 42-5: his doctrine
of "nullification" and secession, 45-6; his death, 100; further
references, 97, 113, 175, 182.

California: 28, 91-3, 96-9.

Cambridge, Massachusetts: 59.

Cameron, Simon: 166-7, 201-3, 242, 271.

Campbell, Justice: 210, 446.

Canada: 176, 211, 383.

Carolina.  _See_ North Carolina and South Carolina.

Cass, General: 65, 94, 96, 172, 186.

Castlereagh: 377.

Cecil, Lord R.  _See_ Salisbury.

Central America: 145.

Charming, Rev. William Eleroy: 51.

Charles I.: 433.

Charleston: 43, 251-3, 387, 435.  _And see_ Fort Sumter.

Chase, Salmon P.; rising opponent of slavery, 101; approves of
Lincoln's opposition to Douglas, 141; claims to the Presidency, 161,
166; Secretary of the Treasury, 201-2; his successful administration of
finance, 254; regarded as Radical leader, intrigues against Lincoln and
causes difficulty in Cabinet, 328-9; continues troublesome, desires
Presidency, resigns, 406-8; appointed Chief Justice, 429-30; other
references, 208, 311, 415.

Chatham, 20, 234.

Chattanooga: 226-7, 339-40, 342-3, 359-60, 387-8, 394.

Chicago: Republican Convention there, 166-9; deputation of clergy, 323;
Democratic Convention, 411-4.

Choate, Joseph H.: 106, 156.

Civil Service: 50.

Civil War.  _See_ War.

Clary's Grove: 64, 66.

Clay, Henry: 41; his character and career, 42, 48; compromise of 1850
originated by him, 99; his death, 100; Lincoln on him, 101, 122.

Cobb: 185.

Cobden, Richard: 257-8.

Cock-fighting: 63, 69.

Collamer, Senator: 167.

Colonies.  _See_ America.

Colonisation.  _See_ Negroes.

Columbia, South Carolina: 435.

Columbia, District of: 94, 319.

Columbia River: 28.

Columbus, Georgia: 226-7.

Compulsory Service.  _See_ Conscription.

Confederacy, Confederates; _see also_ South; Confederacy of six States
formed and Constitution adopted at Montgomery and claims of these
States to Federal Government's forts, etc., or their soil taken over,
199-201; commencement of war by Confederacy, 212-3; area of its country
and difficulty of conquest, 214-6; character of population, 216; spirit
of independence animating Confederacy, 218-9; other conditions telling
against or for its success in the war, 214-27; original Confederate
States, viz., South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana,
Florida, joined subsequently by Texas, and on outbreak of war by
Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, 228-9; capital moved
to Richmond, 242; for course of war, _see_ War; for political course of
Confederacy, _see_ J. Davis and Congress of Confederacy; attitude of
foreign Governments to Confederacy, 256, 261, 302, 313; refusal of
Lincoln to treat with Confederacy as an independent state, 403, 432-3;
refusal of Davis to negotiate on other terms, 428, 432-3; ultimate
surrender of Confederate forces and dispersion of its Government, 445-8.

Congregationalists: 17, 19.

Congress of original American Confederation: 20, 38.

Congress of U.S.A. under the Constitution: distinguished from
Parliament by the severance between it and the executive government, by
the limitation of its functions to strictly Federal matters, and by its
subjection to provisions of Constitution, 23-4, _see also_ 371, 377-9,
402, 429; for certain Acts of Congress, _see_ Slavery; attempts at
pacification during progress of Secession, 192-3; action of and
discussions in Congress during Civil War, 246, 253, 263, 265-6, 269,
271, 276, 288, 316-9, 321-3, 324-7, 333-6, 351, 369-70, 379, 380, 382,
388, 389, 400-1, 434.

Congress of Confederacy: 200, 366-7, 431.

Conscription: in South; 366-7; in North, 364-5, 369-70; superior on
grounds of moral principle to voluntary system, 366.

_Conservative_, the: 119.

Conservatives: 245, 267-8, 328.

Constitution, British: 20, 23, 377.

Constitution of United States: 22-5, 41.  _See also_ Amendment of
Constitution.

Contraband: 268, 409.

Cooper Institute; 144, 155.

Copperheads: 382.

Corinth: 283, 338-9.

Cotton: 39, 259-60, 313.

Cow Island: 331.

Cowper, William: 11.

Crittenden: 192-5.

Cuba: 145, 159.

Cumberland River: 226, 277, 280-1.

Curtis, B. R., Justice; 114.


Darwin, Charles: 138, 259.

Davis, David, Justice: 167, 379.

Davis, Henry Winter: 388, 401.

Davis, Jefferson: his rise as an extreme Southern leader, 101, 138,
150; inclined to favour slave trade, 145; his-argument for right of
Secession, 176; his part in Secession, 198-200; President of
Confederacy, 200; vetoes Bill against slave trade as inadequate and
fraudulent, 200; orders attack on Fort Sumter, 212; criticisms upon his
military policy, 217-8, 387-8; his part in the war, 246, 355, 387-8,
395, 431, 433, 446; his determination to hold out and his attitude to
peace, 403-4, 431-4; as to prisoners of war, 330, 399; escape from
Richmond and last public action, 446; his capture, and his emotions on
Lincoln's assassination, 452-3; his memoirs, 453, 460.

Dayton, Senator: 167.

Declaration of Independence: meaning of its principles, 32-5; how
slave-holders signed it, 35-9; Lincoln's interpretation of it, 123; his
great speech upon it, 184.

Delaware: 17, 198, 318, 334.

Democracy: fundamental ideas in it, 32-9, 123; development of extreme
form and of certain abuses of it in America, 47-50; its institutions
and practices still in an early stage of development, 50; a foolish
perversion of it in the Northern States, 59, 218; Lincoln sees a decay
of worthy and honest democratic feeling, 117; the Civil War regarded by
Lincoln and many in North as a test whether democratic government could
maintain itself, 183-4, 362-3, 425; the sense in which Lincoln was a
great democrat, 455-6.

Democratic Party: traces descent from Jefferson, 30; originated or
started anew by Jackson, its principles, 47-8; general subservience of
its leaders to Southern interests, 91, 110, 140, _see also_ Mexico,
Pierce, Douglas, Buchanan; breach between Northern and Southern
Democrats, 141, 148-50, 157-9; Northern Democrats loyal to Union,
172-4, 177, 188, 231; progress of Democratic opposition to Lincoln,
267, 316, 374-5, 381-5, 401, 411-5; Lincoln's appeal after defeating
them, 425.

Dickens, Charles: 31, 32, 41, 259.

Disraeli, Benjamin: 74, 260.

Dough-Faces: 40.

Douglas, Stephen: rival to Lincoln in Illinois Legislature, 71;
possibly also in love, 81, 87; his rise, influence, and character, 101,
110-1; repeals Missouri Compromise, 110-1; supports rights of Kansas,
115, 140; Lincoln's contest with him, 121-2, 132-7, 140-9; gist of
Lincoln's objection to his principles, 130, 142-5; unsuccessful
candidate for Presidency, 159, 168-9; attitude to Secession, 188;
relations with Lincoln after Secession, 206, 210, 231; death, 231.

Douglass, Frederick: 332.

Drink: 63, 76-7, 353, 423.

Dundreary: 451.


Early, General: 394, 395, 438.

Eaton, John: 330-2, 347, 416, 461.

Edmonds.  _See_ Wood and Edmonds.

Edwards, Mrs. Ninian: 81.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: 60, 152, 426.

Episcopalians: 85, 351, 440.

Equality.  _See_ Declaration of Independence.

Euclid: 104, 132.

Everett, Edward: 159, 362.


Farragut, David, Admiral: 231, 283, 349, 388, 395, 412, 424, 435.

Federalism: 22.

Federalist Party: 30, 173.

Filibustering: (1) in sense of piracy: 194.  (2) in sense of
obstruction: 333.

Fillmore, Millard: 99, 112, 114, 133.

Finance: 67-8, 254.

Florida: 16, 26, 199, 251, 453.

Fort Donelson: 280-1.

Fort Fisher: 436.

Fort Henry: 281.

Fort Monroe: 268, 292.

Fort Sumter: 187-90, 201, 208, 210, 212-3, 228, 449.

Fox, Gustavus V.: 202, 252-3, 264.

France: influence of French Revolution, 31; Louisiana territory
acquired from France, 26; French settlers, 27; slavery in Louisiana
State, 39-40; relations with America during Civil War, 211, 256, 262,
313, 388, 404, 420.

Frankfort, Kentucky: 340.

Franklin, Benjamin: 37.

Franklin, Tennessee: 396-7.

Free-Soil Party: 111.

Free Trade: 45, 258.

Fremont, John: 112, 133, 269-70, 274, 277, 296-7, 316, 409-10.

Fry, J. B., General: 370.


Garrison, William Lloyd: 50-2, 336.

Gentryville: 4, 6, 7.

Gettysburg, Lincoln's speech at: 363.

Georgia: 36, 56, 199, 226, 396-7.

George II.: 353.

Gibbon, Edward: 67.

Gilmer: 194.

Gladstone, W. E.: 258.

Goldsborough: 437, 444.

Governors of States: 20, 161, 222, 299, 343-5, 362.

Graham, Mentor: 63, 64, 68.

Grant, Ulysses S., General: previous disappointing career and return to
Army, earlier success in Civil War, 280; captures Fort Henry and Fort
Donelson, surprised but successful at Shiloh, 280-4; negro refugees
with his army, 330; kept idle as Halleck's second in command, and on
his departure left on defensive near Corinth, 339, 342; his reputation
now and his real greatness of character, 345-8; Vicksburg campaigns,
348-55; Lincoln's relations with him from the first, 352-3; Chattanooga
campaign, 359-60; appointed Lieutenant General, meeting with Lincoln,
parting from Sherman, 389-90; plans for final stages of war, 390;
unsuccessful attempts to crush Lee in the open field and movement to
City Point for siege of Petersburg and Richmond in which first
operations fail, 391-2; sends Sheridan to Shenandoah Valley, 393-4;
unnecessary anxiety as to Thomas, 397; siege of Petersburg and Richmond
continued, 398; attempts to get him to run for Presidency, 410-11; his
loyalty to Lincoln, 416-7; his wish to promote peace, 433; further
progress of siege, 436, 437-8; Lincoln's visit to him at City Point,
443-5; forbidden to treat with Lee on political questions, 445; fall of
Richmond, 445-6; Lee forced to surrender, 446-8; last interview with
Lincoln, 449-50; Memoirs, 459.

Granville, Earl: 260.

Gray, Asa: 138.

Great Britain and Ireland: early relations with U.S.A., 16-20; relative
progress of the two countries at different periods, 32, 33, 38; English
views of American Revolution, 21, _see_ Constitution of Great Britain
and U.S.A.; war in 1812-14 with U.S.A., 42, 46, 273; comparisons of
English and American Government, 49, 50; relations of the two countries
in the Civil War, 211, 256-65, 313; voluntary system of recruiting in
the two countries and its result in each, 364-6, 370; Lincoln's fame in
England, 454.

Greeley, Horace: 137, 143, 245, 322-3, 404.

Greene, Bowline: 79.

Greensborough: 437, 452.

Grigsby, Reuben, and family: 6, 11, 12.

Grimes, Senator: 194.


Halleck, Henry W., General: 274, 277-84, 297-8, 301-2, 306, 309,
338-43, 349, 356, 395.

Hamilton, Alexander: his greatness, 29; his origin and career, he
brings the Union Government into successful operation, his beautiful
and heroic character, 29-30; original source of Monroe doctrine, 385;
other references, 34, 37; his view on construction of Statutes, 377-8.

Hampton Roads: 433.

Hanks, Dennis: 4, 6, 420.

Hanks, John: 4, 6, 14, 166.

Hanks, Joseph: 4.

Harcourt, Lady: 417.

Hardin: 90.

Harper's Ferry: 151, 239.

Harrison, William Henry: 72.

Harrison's Landing: 298-302.

Harvard: 59, 330, 444.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel: 101.

Hay, John: 235, 419, 458, 461.

Hayne, Senator: 45.

Henderson, Colonel: 221.

Herndon, William: 66, 79, 87, 94, 102-3, 105, 119, 126, 142, 147, 165.

Hood, John B., General: 394, 396-7.

Hooker, Joseph, General: 309-11, 355-6, 360, 362.

House of Commons.  _See_ Parliament.

House of Lords: 33.

House of Representatives.  _See_ Congress of U.S.A.

Houston, Governor: 199.

Hugo, Victor: 152.

Hunter, General: 321, 395.

Hymns: 11, 440.


Illinois, 27, 38, Chapters I., III., IV., 1 and 3, and V., 1, 3, and 5;
344, 350.

Inaugural Address: Lincoln's first, 206-7; his second, 441-3; Jefferson
Davis', 200-1.

Inaugural Ceremony: Lincoln's first, 206; Lincoln's second, 438.

Independence.  _See_ Declaration of Independence.

Independents.  _See_ Congregationalists.

Indiana: 4, 9, 27, 38, 345.

Indians, North American: 3, 65.

Iowa; 27, 194.

Ironclads: 252.


Jackson, Andrew: his opinion of Calhoun, 43; frustrates movement for
nullification, 46; his character, 46; revives party and promotes growth
of party machinery, and adopts "spoils system," 46-49; other
references, 66, 173, 209, 409.

Jackson, Thomas J., called "Stonewall," General: his acknowledged
genius, 217, 220; goes with State of Virginia, 229; his character, 230;
Shenandoah Valley campaign and movement to outflank McClellan, 295-8;
Antietam campaign, 305; killed during victory of Chancellorsville, 311;
Lee's estimate of his loss, 357.

James, Henry: 461.

James River: 292, 298, 392-3, 438, 447.

Jefferson, Thomas: curious and displeasing character, 30; great and
lasting influence on American life, 30-2; practical achievements in
statesmanship, 32; real sense and value of his doctrine, 32-5; opinion
and action as to slavery, 37-8; other references, 28, 46, 56, 179.

Jiggers: 331.

Johnson, Andrew: 400, 411, 451, 453.

Johnson, Samuel: 33, 35.

Johnston, Albert Sidney, General: 276-7, 281-2.

Johnston, John: 4, 6, 14.

Johnston, Joseph, General; 218, 247-8, 287-8, 295, 354-5, 378, 387,
390, 394, 436-7, 452.


Kansas: 110-2, 115, 117, 126, 128, 139-40, 162-3.

Kentucky: 2-5, 9, 26, 81, 192, 197, 225, 229, 270, 334, 339-43.

Kipling, Rudyard: 88.

Kirkham's Grammar: 63.

"Know-Nothings."  _See_ American Party.

Knoxville: 226, 275, 359.


Law, Lincoln's law study and practice, 10, 67, 68, 106-8, 271-2, 423.

Lee, Robert E., General: his acknowledged genius, 217, 220; goes with
State of Virginia, 229, 239, 376; his character, 230; cautious military
advice at first, 246; opinion of McClellan, 285; operations against
McClellan, Pope, Burnside, and Hooker, 297, 311; invasion of
Pennsylvania and retreat, 355-8, 386-7; resistance to Grant, _see_
Grant, 391-2, 398; appointed General in Chief, 431; abstains always
from political action, 431-2; final effort, surrender and later life,
445-6.

Lincoln, Abraham, President: his career and policy up to his
Presidency, _see_ in Table of Contents; his military administration and
policy, 273-9, 302, 308, 345, _and see_ McClellan; his administration
generally, 250-5; his foreign policy, 261-5; his policy generally,
265-72, _and see_ Slavery, Negotiations for Peace, Reconstruction;
development of his abilities and character, 7-15, 62, 73-7, 87-8,
103-6, 134-6, 153-5, 163-6, 233-9, 337, 418-24, 439-41; his fame
to-day, 454-6.

Lodge, Senator: 261.

Logan, General: 350, 397.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth: 53, 60, 61, 137, 152.

Longstreet, General: 357, 359-60, 387.

Louisiana Purchase: 26, 32, 39-40.

Louisiana State: 26, 39-40, 199, 283, 334, 400, 448-9.

Louisville: 116, 339-41.

Love joy: 76.

Lowell, James Russell, and references to his writings: 19, 92, 138,
172, 209, 237, 261, 264.

Lundy: 50.

Lynchburg: 438.

Lyon, Nathaniel: 244-5, 269.

Lyons, Lord: 236, 237, 264.


McDowell, General: 247-8, 290, 293-7.

Machine, in politics: 48-9, 167-8.

McClellan, George B., General: practical help to Douglas, 134;
successes in West Virginia, 243; put in command of Army of Potomac and
later of all armies, 272; his strategic views at outset of war, 274-5,
276, 280; his career and character, 284-6; Lincoln's problem about him,
286-7; procrastination and friction before he moved, 287-91;
preliminaries to campaign in Peninsula, 291-3; relieved of command over
Western armies, 293; campaign in Peninsula, 293-5, 298-302; his recall
and failure to support Pope, 302-4; army of Potomac restored to him,
305; battle of Antietam and subsequent delays, 305-7; his final
dismissal and its cause, 307-9; his political career, 300, 308, 374,
413-5, 416, 424; resigns from Army, 437; Seward's judgment on him, 427.

McClernand, General: 350-2.

McLean, Justice: 114, 167.

Madison, James: 37.

Maine: 16, 40.

Malplaquet: 364.

Marcy: 49.

Marshall, John: 41.

Martial Law: 376-81.  _See also_ 265-7, 269-70, 313, 321, 335-6, 451.

Martineau, Harriet: 43.

Maryland: 197, 225, 240-2, 304-7, 333-4.

Mason: 263.

Massachusetts: 16, 19, 172-3, 239-40, 296, 409.

Mathematics: 67.  _And see_ Euclid.

Maximilian, Archduke and Emperor: 388.

_Mayflower_: 150.

Meade, George, General: 356-8, 391, 447.

Memphis: 226, 275, 349, 389.

Meridian: 227, 389.

Merrimac: 292-3.

Methodists: 150.

Mexico: 28, 90; war with, 91-3; later relations, 211, 256, 388-9, 404,
420.

Mexico, Gulf of: 27, 208.

Michigan: 38, 172.

Militia: 228, 246, 369.

Mill, John Stuart: 260.

Milligan, case of, in Supreme Court: 378.

Minnesota: 27.

Mississippi River: 7, 8, 13, 26, 56, 198, 226, 275, 281, 283, 348-55.

Mississippi State: 26, 175, 179, 199, 227.  _And see_ Meridian and
Vicksburg.

Missouri Compromise: 39-40; repealed, 109-12; question whether
unconstitutional, 112-5.

Missouri River: 26.

Missouri State: 27, 39-40, 113, 197, 225, 229, 244-5, 269-70, 333-4,
400.

Mobile: 227, 388, 395, 412.

Moltke: 217.

Monroe Doctrine: 388.

Montana: 26.

Montgomery: 199-200, 225.

Mormons: 99, 130.

Motley, John Lathrop: 138, 237, 238, 417.


Napoleon I.: 26, 215.

Napoleon III.: 256, 313, 388.

Nashville: 339, 396.

National Bank: 42, 47, 65.

Nebraska: 110, 113.

Negotiations for peace, impossible demand for them: 402-5, 428, 431-4.

Negroes: Lincoln on notion of equality as applied to them, 124;
Stephens on great moral truth of their inferiority, 179; their good
conduct during the war and their valour as soldiers, 330; Lincoln's
human sympathy with them, and the right attitude in face of the bar
between the two races, 330-3; mistaken precipitancy in giving them the
suffrage, 334-5, 430; the Confederacy ultimately enlists negroes, 431;
negro bodyguard at Lincoln's second Inauguration, 435; projects for
colonisation of negroes, 42, 317, 331, 332.  _See also_ Slavery.

Neuse River: 437.

Nevada: 95.

New Berne: 437.

New England: 17, 173, 241, 326.

New Hampshire: 100.

New Jersey: 17.

New Mexico: 96, 99, 145, 194.

New Orleans; 4, 13-4, 46, 198, 226, 283.

New Salem: 4, 63-9, 78-80.

New York City: 29, 49, 144, 155-6, 205, 241, 254, 384.

New York State: 16, 17, 29.

Niagara: 105, 139, 404.

Nicolay, John: 211, 235, 419, 458, 460.

North: original characteristics and gradual divergence from South, in
America and South; advantages and disadvantages in the war, 214-9;
divisions in the North, _see_ Democrats and Radicals; magnitude of
effort and endurance shown by the North, 363-6, 426-7.

North Anna River: 392.

North Carolina: 26, 27, 194; secedes with Virginia, 229, 435-7, 452.

North-West Territory: 38.

Northcote, Sir Stafford: 260.

Novels: 67.

Nueces River: 92.


Oberlin, 150.

Officers: 220, 223-4, 350.

Ohio River: 4, 8, 26, 117, 226, 243, 280.

Ohio State: 38, 161, 172, 340-2, 344, 359, 381-3.

Olmsted, Frederick Law: 53, 57, 460.

Oratory in America: 34, 41, 133, 136, 138, 155, 159, 362.

Oregon, Territory and State: 28, 92, 96, 112.

Orsini: 152.

Owens, Mary: 80-1.


Paine, Tom: 69.

Palmerston: 234, 260, 313.

Pardon of offenders by Lincoln; 420-1.

Parliament: relation to Colonies, 19; contrast with Congress, 20, 23.

Parliamentarians under Charles I.: 33.

Party and Parties: 46-50, 374-5, 385.  _And see_ American, Federalist,
Free-Soil, Democratic, Republican and Whig.

Patterson, General: 247.

Pemberton, General: 354-5.

Pennsylvania: 17, 202, 355-8.

Peoria: 72, 135, 142.

Petersburg.  _See_ Richmond.

Philadelphia: 184, 356.

Pierce, Franklin: 100, 111, 138, 218.

Pilgrim's Progress: 10.

Pitt, William, the younger: 376.

Polk, President: 91-3.

Polk, Bishop and General, 350.

Pope, General: 283, 301, 302-3.

Port Hudson: 343, 354-5.

Porter, Admiral: 349, 353, 388, 435-6, 444.

Post of Arkansas: 351.

Potomac: 225, 243, 249, 288, 306, 358.

Presbyterian: 77, 439.

Prince Consort: 263.

Prisoners of War: 398.

Protection: 42, 45, 65, 68, 202.

Public Works; 42, 65, 71.

Puritans: 17.


Quakers: 17, 50, 153.


Radicals: 232-3, 245, 267-70, 328, 398-400, 410, 430.

Railways: 7, 27, 226-7, 276, 339, 388, 396, 397, 447.

Raleigh: 437, 452.

Rapidan: 288, 311, 358, 391.

Rappahannock: 309, 311, 355, 358.

Rathbone, Major: 450-1.

Raymond: 414.  _And see_ 404.

Reconstruction: 326-8, 333-5, 398-401, 434-5, 448-50.

Red River: 388.

Republican Party: (1) Party of this name which followed Jefferson and
of which leading members were afterwards Democrats, 30, 31; (2) New
party formed in 1854 to resist extension of slavery in Territories,
111; runs Fremont for Presidency, 112; embarrassed by Dred Scott
judgment, 112, 115; possibility of differences underlying its simple
principles, 122; disposition among its leaders to support Douglas after
Kansas scandal, 141-3; consistency of thought and action supplied to it
by Lincoln, 122, 145-6; nomination and election of Lincoln, 160-2,
166-9; sections in the party during war, 267-71; increasing divergence
between Lincoln and the leading men in the party, 321, 326-9, 401-2,
409-14, 430, 434-5, 450.

Reuben, First Chronicles of: 11-2.

Revolution, American: 20-2.

Revolution, French: 31.

Rhodes, Cecil: 335.

Rhodes, James Ford: 418, 459.

Richmond: 225-7, 242, 245, 275, 302, 392; siege of Petersburg and
Richmond, _see_ Lee or Grant; feeling in Richmond towards end, 431-2;
Lincoln's visit to it, 447.

Roberts, F. M. Earl: 364.

Robinson Crusoe: 10.

Rollin: 67.

Romilly, Samuel: 32.

Rosecrans, General: 342-3, 351, 359-60.

Russell, Lord John: 260, 263, 313.

Russia: 118, 211, 256.

Rutledge, Ann: 78.


St. Gaudens, Augustus: 330.

St. Louis: 116, 244.

Salisbury, Marquess of: 258, 259.

Sangamon: 64-5, 166.

Savannah: 398, 435.

Schofield, General: 397, 436-7.

Schools, Lincoln's: 10.

Schurz, Carl: 235, 421.

Scott, Dred, and his case; 112-5, 144.

Scott, William: 421-2.

Scott, Winfield, General: 93, 100, 205, 208, 231, 246-9, 274-5, 388,
453.

Secession.  _See_ South and Confederacy.

Seward, William: opponent of compromise of 1850 and rising Republican
leader, 101, 137, 152; against opposing Douglas, 141; speaks well of
John Brown, 152; expected to be Republican candidate for Presidency,
rejected partly for his unworthy associates, more for his supposed
strong opinions, 161-8; supports Lincoln in election, 169; action
during progress of Secession, 193-5, 204; on First Inaugural, 206;
action during crisis of Fort Sumter, 208-10; vain attempt to master
Lincoln and generous acceptance of defeat, 210-1, 250; his part in
foreign policy, 262-5, 387; wise advice to postpone Emancipation, 320;
retained by Lincoln in spite of intrigues against him, 328-30;
administration of martial law, 376; his usefulness and great loyalty,
406; his judgment on McClellan, 426; attempt to assassinate him, 451;
certifies ratification of 13th amendment, 336.

Seymour, Horatio: 381, 383-5, 413.

Sigel, General: 394.

Shakespeare: 103, 108, 423, 448.

Shaw, Robert Gould: 330.

Shenandoah Valley; 225, 247, 296, 394, 395-6, 424, 437-8.

Sheridan, Philip, General: 220, 343, 395-6, 424, 437-8, 444.

Sherman, John, Senator: 235, 380.

Sherman, William Tecumseh, General; 52, 220, 224, 249; character and
relations with Grant, 348; failure in first attempt on Vicksburg, 350;
under McClernand, takes Post of Arkansas, 351; with Grant in rest of
Vicksburg campaigns, 353-5; at Chattanooga, 360; at Meridian, 388;
parting with Grant, his fears for him, their concerted plans, 389;
Atlanta campaign, 394-5, 424; detaches Thomas against Hood, 397-8; from
Atlanta to the sea, 397-9; campaigns in the Carolinas, 435-6; meets
Lincoln at City Point, 444-5; Lincoln's dream about him, 449;
Johnston's surrender to him, 452.

Shields, Colonel: 85.

Slave Trade: how treated by Constitution of U.S.A., 24; prohibition of
it in American colonies vetoed, 36; prohibited by several American
States, by United Kingdom, and by Union, 38; movement to revive it in
Southern States, 145, 150; prohibited by Confederate Constitution and
inadequate Bill against it vetoed by J. Davis, 200; treaty between
United Kingdom and U.S.A., for its more effectual prevention, and first
actual execution of a slave-trader in U.S.A., 317.

Slavery: compromise about it in Constitution, 25; opinion and action of
the "Fathers" in regard to it, 35-9; becomes more firmly rooted in
South, 39; disputes as to it temporarily settled by Missouri
Compromise, 39-40; its real character in America, 52-5; its political
and social effect on the South, 43-5, 55-9; Abolition movement, _see_
Abolition; its increasing influence on Southern policy; _see_ South;
repeal of Missouri Compromise, and dicta of Supreme Court in favour of
slavery, 109-15; Lincoln's attitude from first in regard to it, 14, 76,
94; his principles as to it, 121-131, 144; slavery the sole cause of
Secession, 178-9; the progress of actual Emancipation, 313-37; already
coming to an end in the South before the end of the war, 429, 431.
_See also_ Negroes.

Slidell: 263.

Smith, Baldwin, General: 308.

Smith, Caleb: 167, 202, 405.

Smith, Kirby, General: 339-42, 453.

South: original difference of character and interest between Northern
and Southern States becoming more marked concurrently with growth of
Union, 17-8, 36, 39-40, 43-5; slavery and Southern society, 52-9;
growing power of a Southern policy for slavery to which the North
generally is subservient, 91-2, 98-100, 117, 138-41; rise of resistance
to this, _see_ Republican Party; causes of Secession and prevailing
feeling in South about it, 170-88; history of Secession and War, _see_
Confederacy and War; Southern spirit in the war, 216, 218-20; heroism
of struggle, 397; memory of the war a common inheritance to North and
South, 455.

South Carolina: 26-7, 36, 44-6, 57-8, 173, 179-80, 182, 185-90, 200-1,
208, 253, 321, 386, 435.

Spain: 16, 26, 90, 211.

Speed, James: 405.

Speed, Joshua: 70, 81, 87, 116-8, 405, 440.

Spoils System: 49-50, 95, 254-5.

Springfield: Lincoln's life there, 70-7, 81-7, 101-9; his farewell
speech there, 203; his funeral there, 453.

Stanton, Edwin: rude to Lincoln in law case, services in Buchanan's
Cabinet, denounces Lincoln's administration, made Secretary of War,
272; great mistake as to recruiting, 299, 368; Conservative hostility
to him, 328-9; services in War Department and loyalty to Lincoln, 272,
290, 329, 389, 406, 419-20; at Lincoln's death-bed, 453.

States: relations to Federal Government and during secession to
Confederacy, 24, 221-3.

Stephens, Alexander: 179, 199-200, 432-4.

Stevenson, Robert Louis: 87.

Stowe, Mrs. Beecher: 51, 54, 110.

Submarines: 251.

Sumner, Charles: 101, 138-9, 418, 429, 448.

Supreme Court: 41, 112-5, 144, 378, 382.

Swedish colonists: 17.

Swett, Leonard: 13.


Talleyrand: 29.

Taney, Roger: 112-5, 144, 206, 242, 429.

Taylor, Zachary: 92-3, 95, 98.

Tennessee River: 226, 280, 339.

Tennessee State: 27, 199, 226, 229, 275-7, 279-84, 338-40, 342-3,
393-4, 397, 408.

Tennyson, Alfred: 259.

Territories: their position under Constitution, 25; expansion and
settlement, 26-8; cessions of Territories by States to Union, 38;
conflict as to slavery in them, _see_ Slavery.

Terry, General; 433.

Texas: 28, 91, 198, 199, 388, 453.

Thomas, George H., General: 231, 280, 341, 343, 369, 388, 396-7.

Todd, Mary.  _See_ Lincoln, Mrs.

Trumbull, Lyman: 120.

Tyler, John: 72, 91, 200.


"Underground Railway": 150.

Union and United States.  _See_ America.

Union men: letter of Lincoln to great meeting of, 384-5.

Urbana: 291-2.

Usher: 405.

Utah: 99.


Vallandigham, Clement: 379, 381-3, 413.

Van Buren, Martin: 47, 49, 66.

Vandalia: 72.

Vermont: 16, 38.

Vicksburg: 226, 282, 339, 348-55, 449.

Victoria, Queen: 263, 451.

Virginia: 3, 27, 37, 38, 39, 47, 54, 69, 98, 197-200, 209, 213, 217,
228; and for stages of war in Virginia _see_ McClellan, Lee and
Shenandoah Valley.

Volney: 69.

Voltaire: 69.

Voluntary enlistment in the North, 221-2; results here and in U.S.A.,
364-5; its fundamental immorality when used on a large scale, 366.


Wad, Senator: 194, 400.

Walker, Governor: 140.

Wallace, General: 393.

War, Civil, in U.S.A.: general conditions and strategic aspects of the
war, 214-27, 273-8; preliminary struggles in border States, 228-45;
first Battle of Bull Run, 245-50; blockade of South and naval
operations generally, 251-3; war in West to occupation of Corinth and
taking of New Orleans, 279-84; _Merrimac_ and _Monitor_, 292-3;
beginning of Peninsula campaign, 290-5; "Stonewall" Jackson's Valley
campaign, 295-7; end of Peninsula campaign, 298-302; second Battle of
Bull Run, 303-4; Lee's invasion of Maryland and Antietam, 304-7;
Fredericksburg, 309; Chancellorsville, 311; Buell's operations in
autumn of 1863, Confederate invasion of Kentucky, and Murfreesborough,
338-43; Vicksburg campaigns and completion of, conquest of Mississippi,
348-55; Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, Gettysburg, and Meade's
campaign in Virginia, 355-8; campaigns of Chickamauga, Eastern
Tennessee, and Chattanooga, 358-64; certain minor operations, 386-8;
military situation at beginning of 1864 and Grant's plans, 386, 389;
Grant's campaign against Lee to beginning of siege of Petersburg,
390-2; Early's Shenandoah campaign, 394; Sherman's Atlanta campaign,
394-5; Farragut at Mobile, 395; Sheridan in Lower Shenandoah Valley,
395-6; Sherman's plans, 396; Hood's invasion of Tennessee, 396-7;
Sherman's march to Savannah, 397-8; Petersburg siege continues, 398;
effect of Sherman's operations, 431; Sherman's advance northward from
Savannah, 435; Porter and Terry take Fort Fisher, 435-6; Petersburg
siege progresses, 436; Sherman in North Carolina, 436-7; Sheridan in
Upper Shenandoah Valley, 437-8; fall of Petersburg and Richmond, and
surrender of Lee, 445-8; surrender of other Confederate forces, 452-3.

Ward, Artemus: 208, 231, 324.

Washington City: its importance and dangers in the war, 225, 239-42,
248, 293-4, 295-7, 302, 304, 355-6, 376, 392-3; its political society,
418.

Washington, George: 10, 21, 37, 76, 203-4, 388.

Watson, William: 460.

Webster, Daniel: his career and services, 41-2; his great speech, 45-6,
173; value of his support to Whigs, 68; Lincoln meets him, 91; his
support of compromise of 1850 and his death, 99-100.

Weed, Thurlow, 193-4, 414, 443.

Weems' Life of Washington: 10.

Welles, Gideon: 202, 252-3, 263, 271, 406.

Wellington: 377.

Wesley, Samuel: 35.

West, the: 7-9, 27-8, 46, 61, 91, 93, 155, 224, 226, 303, 305.  _And
see_ War.

West Indies, British: 29, 52.

West Point: 223, 390.

West Virginia: 225, 229, 243, 296, 334, 400.

Whig Party: 48, 66-8, 91-3, 95, 100, 111, 117, 159, 433.

Whites, Poor or Mean: 55, 178.

Whitman, Walt: 61, 237, 238, 418-9.

Whitney, Eli: 39.

Wilmington: 251, 435-6.

Wilmot, David and Wilmot Proviso: 96, 99, 117.

Wilson, President: 45, 54.

Wisconsin: 38, 172.

Wood and Edmonds: 233, 456.

Wood, Fernando: 309.

Wolfe, Sir James: 353.

Wolseley, F. M. Viscount: 217, 218, 229-30, 285.


Yazoo: 350, 352.

Young Men's Lyceum: 69.


Zeruiah, her sons: 445.




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_Reprinted by permission from_

LINCOLN'S OWN STORIES

_told by Anthony Gross_


VI

THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF

Delegations from Baltimore called to protest against the "pollution" of
the soil of Maryland by the feet of the soldiers marching across it to
fight against the South.  They had no difficulty in understanding the
President's reply:

"We must have troops; and, as they can neither crawl _under_ Maryland
nor fly _over_ it, they must come across it."


When the war had actually begun he delighted in the soldiers' grim
humor in the face of death.  He told story after story about the
"boys," laughing, with tears in his gray eyes, at their heroism in
danger.  He never laughed at the private soldier, except in the pride
of his hearty patriotism.  But he made constant fun of the assumptions
of generals and other high officials.  The stories he most enjoyed
telling were of the soldiers' scoffing at rank and pretension.  He
delighted in the following:

A picket challenged a tug going up Broad River, South Carolina, with:

"Who goes there?"

"The Secretary of War and Major-General Foster," was the pompous reply.

"Aw!  We've got major-generals enough up here--why don't you bring us
up some hardtack?"


On another occasion a friend burst into his room to tell him that a
brigadier-general and twelve army mules had been carried off by a
Confederate raid.

"How unfortunate!  Those mules cost us two hundred dollars apiece!" was
the President's only reply.


Mr. Lincoln was a very abstemious man, ate very little and drank
nothing but water, not from principle, but because he did not like wine
or spirits.  Once, in rather dark days early in the war, a temperance
committee came to him and said that the reason we did not win was
because our army drank so much whisky as to bring the curse of the Lord
upon them.  He said, in reply, that it was rather unfair on the part of
the aforesaid curse, as the other side drank more and worse whisky than
ours did.


Some one urged President Lincoln to place General Fremont in command of
some station.  While the President did not want to offend his friend at
a rather critical time of the war, he pushed him gently and firmly
aside in this wise: He said he did not know where to place General
Fremont, and it reminded him of an old man who advised his son to take
a wife, to which the young man responded, "Whose wife shall I take?"


On one occasion, exasperated at the discrepancy between the aggregate
of troops forwarded to McClellan and the number of men the General
reported as having received, Lincoln exclaimed, "Sending men to that
army is like shoveling fleas across a barnyard--half of them never get
there."


Lincoln's orders to his generals are filled with the kindly courtesy,
the direct argument, and the dry humor which are so characteristic of
the man.  To Grant, who had telegraphed, "If the thing is pressed, I
think that Lee will surrender," Lincoln replied, "Let the thing be
pressed."

To McClellan, gently chiding him for his inactivity: "I have just read
your despatch about sore tongue and fatigued horse.  Will you pardon me
for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of
Antietam that fatigues anything?"

Referring to General McClellan's inactivity, President Lincoln once
expressed his impatience by saying, "McClellan is a pleasant and
scholarly gentleman; he is an admirable engineer, but he seems to have
a special talent for stationary engineering."


After a long period of inaction on the part of the Union forces a
telegram from Cumberland Gap reached Mr. Lincoln, saying that firing
was heard in the direction of Knoxville.  The President simply remarked
that he was glad of it.  As General Burnside was in a perilous position
in Tennessee at that time, those present were greatly surprised at
Lincoln's calm view of the case.  "You see," said the President, "it
reminds me of Mistress Sallie Ward, a neighbor of mine, who had a very
large family.  Occasionally one of her numerous progeny would be heard
crying in some out-of-the-way place, upon which Mrs. Ward would
exclaim, 'There's one of my children not dead yet!'"


Writing to Hooker, who succeeded Burnside, Lincoln said:

"I believe you to be a brave and skilful soldier, which, of course, I
like.  I also believe you do not mix politics with your profession, in
which you are right.  You have confidence in yourself, which is a
valuable, if not indispensable, quality.  You are ambitious, which
within reasonable bounds does good rather than harm; but I think that
during General Burnside's command of the army you have taken counsel
with your ambition, and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you
did a great wrong to the country and to a most meritorious and
honorable brother-officer.  I have heard, in such a way as to believe
it, of your recently saying that both the army and the government
needed a dictator.  Of course, it is not for this, but in spite of it,
that I have given you the command.  Only those generals who gain
successes can set up dictators.  What I now ask of you is military
success, and I will risk the dictatorship."


General Fry, who was Provost-Marshal of the War Department and received
daily instructions from the President in regard to the draft for
troops, which was one of the most embarrassing and perplexing questions
that arose during the war, illustrates this peculiar trait by an
anecdote.  He says:

"Upon one occasion the Governor of a State came to my office bristling
with complaints in relation to the number of troops required from his
State, the details of drafting the men, and the plan of compulsory
service in general.  I found it impossible to satisfy his demands, and
accompanied him to the Secretary of War's office, whence, after a
stormy interview with Stanton, he went alone to press his ultimatum
upon the highest authority.  After I had waited anxiously for some
hours, expecting important orders or decisions from the President, or
at least a summons to the White House for explanation, the Governor
returned, and said, with a pleasant smile, that he was going home by
the next train, and merely dropping in _en route_ to say good-by.
Neither the business he came upon nor his interview with the President
was alluded to.

"As soon as I could see Lincoln I said: 'Mr. President, I am very
anxious to learn how you disposed of Governor ----.  He went to your
office from the War Department in a towering rage.  I suppose you found
it necessary to make large concessions to him, as he returned from you
entirely satisfied.'

"'Oh no,' he replied, 'I did not concede anything.  You know how that
Illinois farmer managed the big log that lay in the middle of the
field?  To the inquiries of his neighbors, one Sunday, he announced
that he had got rid of the big log.  "Got rid of it!" said they.  "How
did you do it?  It was too big to haul out, too knotty to split, and
too wet and soggy to burn; what did you do?"  "Well, now, boys,"
replied the farmer, "if you won't divulge the secret, I'll tell you how
I got rid of it.  I _plowed around_ it."  Now,' said Lincoln, 'don't
tell anybody, but that's the way I got rid of Governor ----.  I _plowed
around_ him, but it took me three mortal hours to do it, and I was
afraid every moment he'd see what I was at.'"


Commenting on Jeb Stuart's raid into Maryland and Pennsylvania and his
complete circuit of McClellan's army and his return over the river
unharmed despite McClellan's attempt to head him off, Lincoln remarked:

"When I was a boy we used to play a game, three times round and out.
Stuart has been round twice; if he goes round him once more, gentlemen,
McClellan will be out."

The General ascribed Stuart's success to his lack of horses, and
telegraphed that unless the army got more horses there would be similar
expeditions.  To this Halleck telegraphed:

"The President has read your telegram, and


[Transcriber's note: end of this extract.]




  The following
  is reprinted by permission from
  RECOLLECTIONS AND LETTERS
  OF ROBERT E. LEE
  by his son Captain Robert E. Lee


LEE'S OPINION UPON THE LATE WAR

envelope in which they were inclosed was the following indorsement in
General Lee's handwriting:


"LONDON, July 31, 1866.

"Herbert C. Saunders asks permission to publish his conversation with
me.  August 22d--Refused."


"3 BOLTON GARDENS, SOUTH KENSINGTON,

"LONDON, July 31, 1866.

"_My Dear General Lee_: Presuming on the acquaintance with you which I
had the honour and pleasure of making last November at Lexington, while
travelling in Virginia, I venture now to write to you under these
circumstances.  You may remember that, at the time I presented to you
my letter of introduction, I told you that two other Englishmen,
friends of mine, who had come with me to America, were then making a
tour through Georgia, the Carolinas, and some other Southern States.
One of them, Mr. Kennaway, was so much interested with all he saw, and
the people at home have appreciated his letters descriptive of it so
well, that he is intending to publish a short account of his visit.
Not having, however, had an introduction to yourself, he is anxious to
avail himself of the somewhat full accounts I wrote home at the time,
descriptive of my most interesting interview with you, and, with this
view, he has asked me to put into the shape of a letter all those more
prominent points which occur to me as gathered from my letters and my
recollection, and which are likely to interest and instruct the English
public.  I have, after some hesitation, acceded to the request--a
hesitation caused mainly by the fact that at the time I saw you I
neither prepared my notes with a view to publication nor did I inform
you that there was any chance of what you told me being repeated.  I
may add that I never until a month or two ago had the slightest thought
of publishing anything, and, in fact, have constantly resisted the many
applications by my friends that I should let my letters see the light.
My object in now writing to you is to know whether you have any
objection to my giving my friend the inclosed short account of our
interview, as it would, I am convinced, add greatly to the interest of
the narrative.  If you have no objection to this, perhaps you would
kindly correct any statements put into your mouth which are not quite
accurate, or expunge anything which might prejudice you with the public
either of the North or the South, if unluckily anything of this nature
should have crept in.  My letters were written a day or two after the
conversation, but you had so much of interest and new to tell me that I
do not feel sure that I may not have confused names of battles, etc.,
in some instances.  It will be necessary for me to deliver my part of
the performance early in September to the publishers, and, therefore, I
should feel much obliged by your sending me an answer at your earliest
convenience.  There will be a mail due here about the first of that
month, leaving the United States on Wednesday, the 22d., and I shall,
therefore, wait till its arrival before sending my letter to Mr.
Kennaway; but should I not hear from you then I shall consider you have
no objections to make or alterations to suggest, and act accordingly.
If you have any new facts which you think it desirable should be known
by the public, it will give me much pleasure to be the medium of their
communication.

"I am sure I need scarcely tell you with what keen interest I have read
all the accounts from your continent of the proceedings in Congress and
elsewhere in connection with the reconstruction of the South.  I do
sincerely trust it may be eventually effected in a way satisfactory to
the South, and I most deeply deplore the steps taken by the Radical
side of the House to set the two (North and South) by the ears again.
President Johnson's policy seems to me to be that which, if pursued,
would be most likely to contribute to the consolidation of the country;
but I am both surprised and pained to find how little power the
Executive has against so strong a faction as the Radicals, who, while
they claim to represent the North, do, in fact, but misrepresent the
country.  I am sure you will believe that I say with sincerity that I
always take great interest in anything I hear said or that I read of
yourself, and I am happy to say that, even with all the rancour of the
Northern Radicals against the South, it is little they find of ill to
say of you.

"Hoping you will not think I am doing wrong in the course I propose to
take, and that your answer may be satisfactory, I remain, my dear
General Lee,

"Yours very sincerely, HERBERT C. SAUNDERS.


"GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE."

"LEXINGTON, Virginia, August 22, 1866.

"MR. HERBERT C. SAUNDERS,

"3 Bolton Gardens,

"South Kensington, London, England.

"_My Dear Mr. Saunders_: I received to-day your letter of the 31st ult.
What I stated to you in conversation, during the visit which you did me
the honour to pay me in November last, was entirely for your own
information, and was in no way intended for publication.  My only
object was to gratify the interest which you apparently evinced on the
several topics which were introduced, and to point to facts which you
might investigate, if you so desired, in your own way.  I have an
objection to the publication of my private conversations, which are
never intended but for those to whom they are addressed.  I cannot,
therefore, without an entire disregard of the rule which I have
followed in other cases, and in violation of my own sense of propriety,
assent to what you propose.  I hope, therefore, you will excuse me.
What you may think proper to publish I hope will be the result of your
own observations and convictions, and not on my authority.  In the
hasty perusal which I have been obliged to give the manuscript inclosed
to me, I perceive many inaccuracies, resulting as much, perhaps, from
my imperfect narration as from misapprehension on your part.  Though
fully appreciating your kind wish to correct certain erroneous
statements as regards myself, I prefer remaining silent to doing
anything that might excite angry discussion at this time, when strong
efforts are being made by conservative men, North and South, to sustain
President Johnson in his policy, which, I think, offers the only means
of healing the lamentable divisions of the country, and which the
result of the late convention at Philadelphia gives great promise of
doing.  Thanking you for the opportunity afforded me of expressing my
opinion before executing your purpose, I am, etc.,

"R. E. LEE."


The following is Mr. Saunders' account of the interview:

"On only one subject would he talk at any length about his own conduct,
and that was with reference to the treatment of the Federal prisoners
who had fallen into his hands.  He seemed to feel deeply the backhanded
stigma cast upon him by his having been included by name in the first
indictment framed against Wirz, though he was afterward omitted from
the new charges.  He explained to me the circumstances under which he
had arranged with McClellan for the exchange of prisoners; how he had,
after the battles of Manassas, Fredericksburg, and (I think)
Chancellorsville, sent all the wounded over to the enemy on the
engagement of their generals to parole them.  He also told me that on
several occasions his commissary generals had come to him after a
battle and represented that he had not rations enough both for
prisoners and the army when the former had to be sent several days'
march to their place of confinement, and he had always given orders
that the wants of the prisoners should be first attended to, as from
their position they could not save themselves from starvation by
foraging or otherwise, as the army could when in straits for
provisions.  The General also explained how every effort had always
been made by the Confederates to do away with the necessity of
retaining prisoners by offering every facility for exchange, till at
last, when all exchange was refused, they found themselves with 30,000
prisoners for whom they were quite unable to do as much as they wished
in the way of food.  He stated, furthermore, that many of their
hardships arose from the necessity of constantly changing the prisons
to prevent recapture.  With the management of the prisons he assured me
he had no more to do than I had, and did not even know that Wirz was in
charge of Andersonville prison (at least, I think he asserted this)
till after the war was over.  I could quite sympathise with him in his
feeling of pain under which his generous nature evidently suffered that
the authorities at Washington should have included him and others
similarly circumstanced in this charge of cruelty at the time that
letters written by himself (General Lee), taken in Richmond when
captured, complaining that the troops in his army had actually been for
days together on several occasions without an ounce of meat, were in
possession of the military authorities.

"When discussing the state of feeling in England with regard to the
war, he assured me that it had all along given him the greatest
pleasure to feel that the Southern cause had the sympathies of so many
in the 'old country,' to which he looked as a second home; but, in
answer to my questions, he replied that he had never expected us to
give them material aid, and added that he thought all governments were
right in studying only the interests of their own people and in not
going to war for an 'idea' when they had no distinct cause of quarrel.

"On the subject of slavery, he assured me that he had always been in
favour of the emancipation of the negroes, and that in Virginia the
feeling had been strongly inclining in the same direction, till the
ill-judged enthusiasm (amounting to rancour) of the abolitionists in
the North had turned the Southern tide of feeling in the other
direction.  In Virginia, about thirty years ago, an ordinance for the
emancipation of the slaves had been rejected by only a small majority,
and every one fully expected at the next convention it would have been
carried, but for the above cause.  He went on to say that there was
scarcely a Virginian now who was not glad that the subject had been
definitely settled, though nearly all regretted that they had not been
wise enough to do it themselves the first year of the war.  Allusion
was made by him to a conversation he had with a distinguished
countryman of mine.  He had been visiting a large slave plantation
(Shirley) on the James River.  The Englishman had told him that the
working population were better cared for there than in any country he
had ever visited, but that he must never expect an approval of the
institution of slavery by England, or aid from her in any cause in
which that question was involved.  Taking these facts and the
well-known antipathy of the mass of the English to the institution into
consideration, he said he had never expected help from England.  The
people 'at the South' (as the expression is), in the main, though
scarcely unanimously, seem to hold much the same language as General
Lee with reference to our neutrality, and to be much less bitter than
Northerners generally--who, I must confess, in my own opinion, have
much less cause to complain of our interpretation of the laws of
neutrality than the South.  I may mention here, by way of parenthesis,
that I was, on two separate occasions (once in Washington and once in
Lexington), told that there were many people in the country who wished
that General Washington had never lived and that they were still
subjects of Queen Victoria; but I should certainly say as a rule the
Americans are much too well satisfied with themselves for this feeling
to be at all common.  General Lee, in the course of this to me most
interesting evening's _seance_, gave me many details of the war too
long to put on paper, but, with reference to the small result of their
numerous victories, accounted for it in this way: the force which the
Confederates brought to bear was so often inferior in numbers to that
of the Yankees that the more they followed up the victory against one
portion of the enemy's line the more did they lay themselves open to
being surrounded by the remainder of the enemy.  He likened the
operation to a man breasting a wave of the sea, who, as rapidly as he
clears a way before him, is enveloped by the very water he has
displaced.  He spoke of the final surrender as inevitable owing to the
superiority in numbers of the enemy.  His own army had, during the last
few weeks, suffered materially from defection in its ranks, and,
discouraged by failures and worn out by hardships, had at the time of
the surrender only 7,892 men under arms, and this little army was
almost surrounded by one of 100,000.  They might, the General said with
an air piteous to behold, have cut their way out as they had done
before, but, looking upon the struggle as hopeless, I was not surprised
to hear him say that he thought it cruel to prolong it.  In two other
battles he named (Sharpsburg and Chancellorsville, I think he said),
the Confederates were to the Federals in point of numbers as 35,000 to
120,000 and as 45,000 to 155,000 respectively, so that the mere
disparity of numbers was not sufficient to convince him of the
necessity of surrender; but feeling that his own army was persuaded of
the ultimate hopelessness of the contest as evidenced by their
defection, he took the course of surrendering his army in lieu of
reserving it for utter annihilation.

"Turning to the political bearing of the important question at issue,
the great Southern general gave me, at some length, his feelings with
regard to the abstract right of secession.  This right, he told me, was
held as a constitutional maxim at the South.  As to its exercise at the
time on the part of the South, he was distinctly opposed, and it was
not until Lincoln issued a proclamation for 75,000 men to invade the
South, which was deemed clearly unconstitutional, that Virginia
withdrew from the United States.

"We discussed a variety of other topics, and, at eleven o'clock when I
rose to go, he begged me to stay on, as he found the nights full long.
His son, General Custis Lee, who had distinguished himself much during
the war, but whom I had not the good fortune of meeting, is the only
one of his family at present with him at Lexington, where he occupies
the position of a professor in the Military Institute of Virginia.
This college had 250 cadets in it when the war broke out, General
'Stonewall' Jackson being one of the professors.  At one moment in the
war, when the Federals were advancing steadily up the Shenandoah
Valley, these youths (from 16 to 22 years of age) were marched to join
the Confederate Army, and did good service.  In one battle at
Newmarket, of which I shall have occasion to speak later in my letters,
they distinguished themselves in a conspicuous way under the leadership
of Colonel Shipp, who is still their commandant.  By a brilliant
charge, they contributed, in a great measure, to turn the tide of
affairs, losing nine of their number killed and more than forty
wounded.  General Hunter, on a subsequent occasion, when occupying
Lexington with a body of Federal troops, quartered his men in the
Military Institute for several days, and, on leaving, had the
building--a very handsome and extensive one--fired in numerous places,
completely destroying all but the external walls, which now stand.  The
professors' houses stood in detached positions, and these, too, with
the house of Mr. Letcher, a former governor of the State, he also burnt
to the ground.  The Washington College, the presidency of which General
Lee now holds, they also ransacked, destroying everything it contained,
and were preparing it for the flames, to which they were with
difficulty restrained from devoting it by earnest representations of
its strictly educational nature."











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