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

were held by representatives of the rebel government. The only forts in the South which remained in possession of the Union, were Forts Pickens, Taylor, and Jefferson on the Florida coast, and Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, and preparations were far advanced for the reduction and capture of these. Officers of the army and navy from the South had resigned their commissions and entered the rebel service. Civil officers representing the United States within the limits of the Southern States could no longer discharge their functions, and all the powers of that Government were practically paralyzed.

It was under these circumstances that Mr. LINCOLN entered upon the duties of his office, and addressed himself to the task, first, of withholding the Border States from joining the Confederacy, as an indispensable preliminary to the great work of quelling the rebellion and restoring the authority of the Constitution.

The ceremony of inauguration took place as usual in front of the Capitol and in presence of an immense multitude of spectators. A large military force was in attendance under the immediate command of General Scott, but nothing occurred to interrupt the harmony of the occasion. Before taking the oath of office Mr. LINCOLN delivered the following


INAUGURAL ADDRESS.

Fellow-Citizens of the United States:

In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President "before he enters on the execution of his office."

I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement.

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered.

-112-

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