History of the Administration of President Lincoln: Including His Speeches, Letters, Addresses, Proclamations, and Messages. With a Preliminary Sketch of His Life

By Henry J. Raymond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II.
FROM SPRINGFIELD TO WASHINGTON.

From the date of his election, Mr. LINCOLN maintained silence on the affairs of the country. The government was to remain for three months longer in the hands of Mr. Buchanan, and the new President did not deem it becoming or proper for him to interfere, in any way, with the regular discharge of its duties and responsibilities. On the 11th of February, 1861, he left his home in Springfield, Illinois, accompanied to the railroad dépôt by a large concourse of his friends and neighbors, whom he bade farewell in the following words:

My FRIENDS: No one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived more than a quarter of a century; here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. A duty devolves upon me which is, perhaps, greater than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of WASHINGTON. He never would have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which sustained him, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support, and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance, without which I cannot succeed, but with which, success is certain. Again I bid you all an affectionate farewell.

As the train passed through the country the President was greeted with hearty cheers and good wishes by the thousands who assembled at the railway stations along the route. Party spirit seemed to have been forgotten, and the cheers were always given for "Lincoln and the Constitution." At Tolono

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