-- Lincoln`s Inaugural Address --


Albany Evening Journal, March 5, 1861
Wednesday Evening

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The Inaugural Message

No document was ever looked for with more intense interest than the Inaugural Message of President LINCOLN. And no Message was ever received with greater favor. It is universally conceded to be alike clear, compact and impressive--equally firm and conciliatory. Every sentence bears the impress of a pure and exalted patriotism, and affords unmistakable evidence of his purpose to go to the very verge of his constitutional duty to reconcile conflicting interests, to restore harmony to the Union and to bring back the Seceding States to their allegiance to the Republic.

He could have said no less than he has said in vindication of his own position and of the principles which, in his election, have received the endorsement of the people. Nor could he have said more, without subjecting himself to the charge of cowardice and hypocrisy, to manifest his desire for a peaceful adjustment of all questions at issue between the North and the South. He commends the conciliatory action of Congress, as embodied in the proposed amendment of the Constitution, guaranteeing to every state supreme control over its own domestic institutions; and approves the suggestion of a Convention of the People to revise and amend the Constitution so as, if possible, to remove all future sectional conflicts. He thus, as well as in the general tone of his address, foreshadows the conciliatory spirit which will govern his administration, and presents solid ground upon which to base the hope that, ere long, the dark war clouds which hang over the Republic will be dispersed by the rising sun of fraternal fellowship and peace.

Nor is his avowed purpose to maintain the rights and dignity of the Government at all in conflict with this spirit of conciliation. Where no appreciation of duty is shown there can be no confidence felt. If present obligations are ignored, no faith can be placed in any professions which must await development in the future. To permit the authority of the General Government to be contemned would be to invite distrust, and to excite well grounded apprehensions of the want both of the disposition and the ability to so administer the trust reposed in him, as to accomplish the end desired.

The Border States cannot object to the affirmative action proposed--the occupation of the "places and property belonging to the Government, and the collection of the duties on imports." There would be no such "coercion" in this as would manifest either a retaliatory or a vindictive spirit. To do less would be to entirely succumb to lawless violence. To do more would be to invite civil war;--a calamity which the President, in common with every Christian patriot, desires to avert, and which, under the line of policy which he has marked out, can only come upon the country through the agency of the lawless men who assume the right to usurp a sovereignty which belongs alone to the General Government of the Confederated States.

In this purpose, the President will have the sympathy and the support of the whole people. If any withhold these from him, it will only be because they are false to the Union, and recognise the heresy that Secession is the legitimate prerogative of every State, while the Union is but a rope of sand, having neither strength nor vitality, nor even the common right of self-preservation.

The processes by which these results are to be attained, will be speedily developed. They may precipitate a conflict. If so, the responsibility will rest, not with those who seek to vindicate, but with those who resist, the lawful authority of the General Government. But may we not rather hope that the reasonableness and necessity of what is purposed will be so apparent, that its wisdom and propriety will be universally conceded; and that it will ultimate in a speedy reconciliation of all interests, to the supreme authority of the Constitution and laws?

But whatever may be the result, what is proposed is a necessity as well as a duty. It must be done, or the overthrow of the Government must be recognised as a settled fact.

Of the argumentative portion of the Message, there is no need to speak. It is alike comprehensive and unanswerable. The friends of the Union may rest their vindication upon it without the slightest fear of overthrow; for its positions are impregnable. Indeed, the whole document is admirable, and affords a triumphant vindication of the wisdom of the people in conferring upon its author the high and responsible office of Chief Magistrate of the Union. He will be true to his trust, falter who may.