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now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done." 1
THE ELECTION OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
Within a year and a half from the day of his death, the North and the South were at war with each other, and a Northern regiment on its way to the contest was singing,
'John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
313. The Election of Abraham Lincoln; Secession of South Carolina. In November, 1860, Abraham Lincoln2 of
1 Governor Wise of Virginia said of John Brown: "He inspired me with great trust in his integrity as a man of truth." The governor also said: " They are mistaken who take Brown for a madman. He is a bundle of the best nerves I ever saw... cool, collected, indomitable." In his last speech at his trial, John Brown declared that his only object had been to liberate the slaves, and that he did not intend to commit murder or treason or to destroy property. "I feel," said he, "no consciousness of guilt."
It is worthy of note that when the Republican party, which was opposed to the extension of slavery, nominated Abraham Lincoln for the presidency in 1861, it expressly denounced John Brown's attempt as "lawless and unjustifiable."
2 Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, in 1809. His early life was spent in toil, hardship, and poverty; but it was the independent poverty of the Western wilderness, and it made men of those who fought their way out of it.
When the boy was only eight years old he had learned to swing an axe. From that time until he came of age he literally chopped and hewed his way forward and upward. He learned to read from two books- the spelling-book and the Bible; then he borrowed "Pilgrim's Progress" and Æsop's Fables, and would sit up half the night reading them "by the blaze of the logs his own axe had split."
In 1816 the Lincoln family moved to Spencer County, Indiana; and in 1830, to Decatur, Illinois. On this last occasion, young Lincoln walked the entire distance, nearly two hundred miles, through mud and water, driving a four-ox team. The journey took fifteen days; for even two yoke of oxen do not move quite as fast as steam. When they reached their destination, in what was then an almost unsettled country, the father and son set to work to build the log-cabin which was to be their home; and when that was finished, the young man split the rails to fence in their farm of ten acres.
Such work was play to him. He was now twenty-one; he stood six feet three and a half inches, barefooted; he was in perfect health; could out-run, out-jump, out-wrestle, and, if necessary, out-fight, any one of his age in the county, and "his
Illinois was elected President of the United States, then a nation of over thirty millions, by the Republican party. That party,
though it denounced John Brown,' had pledged itself to shut out slavery from the territories. The people of South Carolina believed that the election of Mr. Lincoln meant that the great majority of the North was determined to bring about the liberation of the negroes. That was a great mistake; but the Carolinians could not then be convinced to the contrary. They furthermore saw that they could no longer hope to maintain the power they once possessed in Congress, for the free states now had
Boyhood of Lincoln.
six more senators and fifty-seven more representatives than the slave states had.2
grip was like the grip of Hercules." Without this rugged strength he could never have endured the strain that the nation later put upon him.
In 1834 he resolved to begin the study of law. A friend in Springfield offered to lend him some books; Lincoln walked there, twenty-two miles from New Salem (where he then lived), and, it is said, brought back with him four heavy volumes of Blackstone, at the end of the same day.
A few years later he opened a law-office in Springfield. In 1846 "Honest Abe," as his neighbors and friends called him, was elected to Congress; and in 1860, to the presidency of the United States, by the Republican party (Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, Vice-President). The Democratic party had split into a Northern and a Southern party. The former had nominated Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois; and the latter, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky. The former American (or "KnowNothing") party, which now called itself the "Constitutional Union Party," had nominated John Bell of Tennessee. Lincoln received nearly half a million more votes than Douglas, and more than a million in excess of those cast for either of the other candidates. 1 See page 279, note I.
2 In 1790, just after the foundation of the government, the free states had 14
FORMATION OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES.
On December 20, 1860, a convention met in "Secession Hall," in Charleston, and unanimously voted "that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved." Those who thus voted said that it was no hasty resolution on their part, but that it had been under consideration for many years. The declaration of secession was welcomed in the streets of the city with the firing of cannon and the ringing of bells. The Union was broken up, and "the state of South Carolina had now become a free and independent nation."
314. Secession of Six Other Southern States; Formation of the "Confederate States of America.” By the first of February (1861) the states of Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas-making seven in all- had likewise withdrawn from the Union. As one seceding senator expressed it, they had left the national government "a corpse lying in state in Washington." On February 4 (1861), delegates from these states (except those from Texas, who arrived later) met at Montgomery, Alabama, and, having framed a government and taken the name of the "Confederate States of America," they elected Jefferson Davis1 of Mississippi, President, and Alexander H. Stephens of
senators and 35 representatives in Congress; the slave states, 12 senators and 30 representatives. From 1796 to 1812, inclusive, the free states and the slave states had an equal number in the Senate, but the free states had a majority in the House. After 1848 the free states had a majority in both Senate and House, and in the latter it was constantly and largely increasing. That fact meant that the South had lost its political power simply because the North had outgrown it in population.
1 Jefferson Davis was born in Kentucky in 1808; died, 1889. He graduated at West Point Military Academy in 1828. In 1845 he was elected to Congress by the Democrats in Mississippi, of which state he had become a resident. He served with distinction in the Mexican War (see Paragraph 290). In 1847 he entered the United States Senate, where, like Calhoun, he advocated state rights and the extension of slavery. President Pierce made him Secretary of War. He was United States Senator under Buchanan. His state (Mississippi) seceded on January 9, 1861. Mr. Davis kept his seat in the Senate until January 21, and then, with a speech asserting the right of secession, he withdrew to join the Southern Confederacy.
2 Alexander H. Stephens was born in Georgia in 1812; died, 1883. He was in