Lincoln Discusses Secession and Patronage

Patronage Seekers

Thursday, February 28, 1861

President-elect Lincoln continues meetings with delegations talking compromise, patronage, and security. In response to a serenade from local Republicans, he said: “I thought much of the ill feeling that has existed between you and the people of your surroundings and that people from amongst whom I come, has depended, and now depends, upon a misunderstanding. (Several voices — ‘That’s so;’ and applause.) I hope that if things shall go along as prosperously as I believe we all desire they may, I may have it in my power to remove something of this misunderstanding— (cries of ‘Good, Good,’ and loud applause) — that I may be enabled to convince you, and the people of your section of the country, that we regard you as in all things being our equals — in all things entitled to the same respect and to the same treatment that we claim for ourselves — (cries of ‘Good,’ and applause) — that we are in no wise disposed, if it were in our power, to oppress you or deprive you of any of your rights under the constitution of the United States or even narrowly to split hairs with you in regard to these rights. (Loud and prolonged cheering.) But are determined to give you, so far as lies in our hands, all your rights under the constitution, not grudgingly, but fully and fairly. (Cries of ‘Good,’ and applause.) I hope that by thus dealing with you we will become better acquainted and be better friends. (Cries of ‘Good,’ and applause.)”

Army Major Robert Anderson reports from Fort Sumter on his situation about the estimated need for reenforcements: “The problem is one of considerable difficulty — as the Southern Confederacy have the advantage of knowing the intentions even, of our Government, and are thus enabled to make suitable preparations — These gentlemen were directed to consider the harbour closed — it is fair to consider that all of the channels would be closed as soon as information is received of the intentions of the Government.” He added: “I confess that I would not be willing to risk my reputation on an attempt to throw reenforcements into this harbour, within the time for our relief rendered necessary by the limite supply of our provisions, and with a view of holding possession of the same, with a force of less than seventy thousand good and el disciplined men.”

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Lincoln-Douglas Meeting

Wednesday, February 27, 1861

President-elect Lincoln meets with his long-time Democratic opponent in Illinois, Senator Stephen A. Douglas, who argues strenuously for compromise with the South. In the afternoon, he meets with Supreme Court. Late at night, he is again pressured to accept compromise – this time by Border State representatives.

Mayor, James G. Berret and Washington’s alderman welcome President-elect Lincoln to the city. The mayor said to Mr. Lincoln: “As the President elect, under the Constitution of the United States, you are soon to stand in the August presence of a great nation of freemen, and to enter upon the discharge of the duties of the highest trust known to our form of government, and under circumstances, menacing the peace and permanency of the Republic, which have no parallel in the history of our country. It is our earnest wish that you may be able, as we have no doubt that you will, to perform the duties in such a manner as shall restore power and harmony to our now distracted country, and finally bring the old ship into a harbor of safety and prosperity, thereby deservedly securing the universal plaudits of the whole world. I avail myself, sir, of this occasion to say that the citizens of Washington, true to the instincts of constitutional liberty, will ever be found faithful to all the obligations of patriotism, and as their chief magistrate, and in accordance with the honored usage. I bid you welcome to the seat of government.

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Lincoln Receives Guests & Delegations

Ladies Parlor, Willard's Hotel

Tuesday: February 26, 1861

As he would the following day, President-elect Lincoln takes a long early-morning walk before a day of meetings.

Lincoln aide John Hay writes for a newspaper: “If the President was in any respect an object of sympathy while on his travels, he is certainly doubly so now. He has exchanged the minor tribulations of hand-shaking and speech-making for the graver woes which attach to the martyr toasted between two fires. The conservatives have chiefly had the presidential ear since the unexpected arrival last Saturday morning. Last night a deputation of the straight-outs had an interview with him, their rumored object being to defeat the appointment of Gen. [Simon] Cameron to the cabinet. A protest, signed by a number of senators, to a similar effect was yesterday sent him, and every effort possible in his disfavor is being made.”

Mrs. Lincoln holds both an afternoon and evening reception. Hay added: “Mrs. Lincoln receives nightly at her parlor at Willard’s. She has won all hearts by her frank, unaffected cordiality of manner, and the unconventional simplicity with which she greets those who call to pay the respect due the wife of the President. Young Bob has been extensively lionized, and a good deal of regret is expressed by the ladies at his approaching departure for Harvard. The private secretaries of the President, Nicolay and Hay, are toiling early and late with a mass of correspondence, of the extent of which I can convey no adequate idea. Some of the communications are pious, some blasphemous, many long a few threatening, and all contain applications for some little office. Judging from the number of these missives, it would seem that the number of people in the United States who find it impossible to earn an honest living must be appalling.”

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Lincoln Goes to Congress

Unfinished Capitol

Monday, February 25, 1861

President-elect Lincoln visits Congress. He is guided by New York Senator William H. Seward. Benjamin Brown French, who would become commissioner of buildings under President Lincoln, wrote that this day, he “went early to the Capitol, & then down in the City and did some errands. Returned to the Capitol, and was almost annoyed all day with visitors, some on one sort of business & some on another. Marshall Selden informed me, early in the morning, that Mr. Lincoln was to call on the Supreme Court at 3, at their consultation room. I walked over & saw Mr. L. as he entered the room and came out. He then visited the Senate, and then the House. I happened to be in the rotundo when he passed through on his way to the House, and followed him in. The members congregated around him at once & such a shaking of hands commenced as one seldom sees — cordial — even enthusiastic. After being surrounded for say 10 minutes by his political friends, he passed over the democratic side where he was quite cordially greeted by his political opponents. He remained some 15 or 20 minutes, and then left for his lodgings.”

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Lincoln Worships, Meets in Washington

Sunday, February 24, 1860

President-elect Lincoln attends services at St. John’s Episcopal Church with future Secretary of State William H. Seward. Among Lincoln’s visitors is Vice President John C. Breckinridge, one of the Democratic candidates for president whom Lincoln had defeated.

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Lincoln Leaves Harrisburg, Enters Washington Incognito

Friday, February 22, 1861

President-elect Lincoln got up early for a flag-raising ceremony outside Independence Hall – before leaving on a trip to Pennsylvania’s capital. In a speech to a welcome from the president of the Philadelphia Common Council, Lincoln said: I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. (Great cheering.) I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here 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. (Applause.) I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the mother land; but something in that Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope to the world for all future time. (Great applause.) It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. (Cheers.) This is the sentiment embodied in that Declaration of Independence.”

Lincoln aide John Hay reported on the trip to Harrisburg that took much of the morning: “All along the route from Philadelphia, and especially at Lancaster, receptions seemed more the result of curiosity than enthusiasm. Even at Harrisburg, not one man in a hundred cheered.
“The crowds everywhere were uniformly rough unruly, and ill bred. Mr. Lincoln was so unwell he could hardly be persuaded to show himself.
“Harrisburg is swarming with soldiery, some of whom came from Philadelphia, and there are hardly enough persons out of uniform to balance the display. The corps of Zouaves elicited special attention. Colonel [Ephraim] Ellsworth was in his glory to-day.
“The Jones house, where the party stopped, was fairly mobbed. The arrangements there were unprecedentedly bad; some of the suite and party were unaccommodated with rooms; several in one bed, and others had no rooms at all. The crowd, and the fatiguing ceremonies of the day, and the annoyances and vexation at the badly conducted hotel, proved too much for the patience of the party, who vented their disgust loudly. The committeemen did nothing, and were in every one’s way. Completely exhausted, Mr. Lincoln retired at 8 o’clock, and Mrs. Lincoln, on account of the crowd, disorder, confusion, want of accommodation, and her own fatigue, declined to hold any reception.
“A drunken, fighting, noisy crowd infested the city all the evening, cheering, calling for ‘Old Abe,’ and giving him all sorts of unmelodious serenades. No terms are too severe to characterize the conduct of the crowd about the hotel and the arrangements there.”

Early that evening, Lincoln and Ward Hill Lamon sneek out of the Harrisburg activities for a special train to Philadelphia where he was secreted into a train for Baltimore. Ward Hill Lamon later recalled: “At the moment for the departure of the Baltimore train drew near, the carriage paused in the dark shadows of the depot building. It was not considered prudent to approach the entrance.
“We were directed to the sleeping-car. Mr. Kenny ran forward and delivered the ‘important package,’ and in three minutes the train was in motion. The tickets for the whole party had been procured by George R. Dunn, an express agent, who had selected berths in the rear of the car, and had insisted that the rear door of the car should be opened on the plea that one of the party was an invalid, who would arrive late, and did not desire to be carried through the narrow passage-way of the crowded car. Mr. Lincoln got into his berth immediately, the curtains were carefully closed, and the rest of the party waited until the conductor came round when the detective handed him the sick man’s ticket. During the night Mr. Lincoln indulged in a joke or two, in an undertone; but with that exception the two sections occupied by us were perfectly silent. The detective said he had men stationed at various places along the road to let him know if all was right; and he rose and went to the platform occasionally to observe their signals, returning each time with a favorable report.
“A thirty minutes past three the train reached Baltimore. One of the spy’s assistance came on board and informed him in a whisper that ‘all was right.’ Mr. Lincoln lay still in his berth; and in a few moments the care was being slowly drawn through the quiet streets of the city toward what was called the Washington depot. There again was another pause, but no sound more alarming than the noise of shifting cars and engineers. The passengers, tucked away on their narrow shelves, dozed on as peacefully as if Mr. Lincoln had never been born, until they were awakened by the loud strokes of a huge club against a night-watchman’s box, which stood within the depot and close to the track. It was an Irishman, trying to arouse a sleepy ticket-agent comfortably ensconced within. For twenty minutes the Irishman pounded the box with ever-increasing vigor, and at each blow shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Captain! it’s four o’clock! it’s four o’clock!’ The Irishman seemed to think that time had ceased to run at four o’clock, and making no allowance for the period consumed by his futile exercises, repeated to the last his original statement that it was four o’clock. The passengers were intensely amused; and their jokes and laughter at the Irishman’s expense were not lost upon the occupants of the sections in the rear.
“In due time the train sped out of the suburbs of Baltimore, and the apprehensions of the President and his friends diminished with each welcome revolution of the wheels. At six o’clock the dome of the Capitol came in sight, and a moment later we rolled into that long, unsightly building, the Washington depot. We passed out of the car unobserved, and pushed along with the living stream often and women toward the outer door. One man alone in the great crowd seemed to watch Mr. Lincoln with special attention. Standing a little to one side, he looked very sharply at him, and as he passed, seized hold of his hand, and said in a loud tone of voice, ‘Abe, you can’t play that one me!’ We were instantly alarmed, and would have struck the stranger had not Mr. Lincoln hastily said, ‘Don’t strike him! It is Washburne. Don’t you know him?’ Mr. Seward had given to Mr Washburne a hint of the information received through his son; and Mr. Washburne knew its value as well as another.
“The detective admonished Washburne to keep quiet for the present, and we passed on together. Taking a hack, we drove toward Willard’s Hotel. Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Washburne, and the detective got out in the street, and approached the ladies’ entrance, while I drove on to the main entrance, and sent the proprietor to meet his distinguished guest at the side door. A few minutes later Mr. Seward arrived, and was introduced to the company by Mr. Washburne. He spoke in very strong terms of the great danger which Mr. Lincoln had so narrowly escaped, and most heartily applauded the wisdom of the secret passage.’
“It now soon became apparent that Mr. Lincoln wished to be left alone. He said he was ‘rather tired;’ and, upon this intimation, the party separated. The detective went to the telegraph-office and loaded the wires with despatches in cipher, containing the pleasing intelligence that ‘Plums’ had brought ‘Nuts’ through in safety.”

Illinois Congressman Elihu Washburne later recalled the arrival of President Lincoln’s controversial arrival in the nation’s capital: “There has been a great deal printed in the newspapers about Mr. Lincoln’s arrival in Washington and about the ‘Scotch cap’ and ‘big shawl’ he were through Baltimore, etc., etc., most of which is mere stuff. I propose now to tell about his arrival at Washington, from my own personal knowledge — what I saw with my own eyes and what I heard with my own ears, not the eyes and ears of some one else.
“As I have stated, I stood behind the pillar awaiting the arrival of the train. When it came to a stop I watched with fear and trembling to see the passengers descend. I saw every car emptied, and there was no Mr. Lincoln. I was well-nigh in despair, and when about to leave I saw slowly emerge from the last sleeping car three persons. I could not mistake the long, lank form of Mr. Lincoln, and my heart bounded with joy and gratitude. He had on a soft low-crowned hat, a muffler around his neck, and a short-bob-tailed overcoat. Any one who knew him at that time could not have failed to recognize him at once, but I must confess, he looked more like a well-to-do farmer from one of the back towns of Joe Davies County coming to Washington to see the city, take out his land warrant and get the patent for his farm, than the President of the United States,
“The only persons that accompanied Mr. Lincoln were Pinkerton, the well-known detective, recently deceased, and Ward H. Lamon. When they were fairly on the platform and a short distance from the car, I stepped forward and accosted the President: ‘How are you, Lincoln?’
“At this unexpected and rather familiar salutation the gentlemen were apparently somewhat startled, but Mr. Lincoln, who had recognized me, relieved them at once by remarking in his peculiar voice:
‘This is only Washburne!’
“Then we all exchanged congratulations and walked out to the front of the depot, where I had a carriage in waiting.”

Lincoln Leaves New York for Philadelphia

Thursday, February 21, 1861

The Lincoln entourage leaves New York City by ferry for New Jersey where it resumes its travel by train, making several stops in the state for brief remarks before stopping in Trenton around noon, where he lunched and gave speeches.

President-elect Lincoln tells the New Jersey State Senate: “I remember all the accounts there given of the battle fields and struggles for the liberties of the country, and none fixed themselves upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at Trenton, New-Jersey. The crossing of the river; the contest with the Hessians; the great hardships endured at that time, all fixed themselves on my memory more than any single revolutionary event; and you all know, for you have all been boys, how these early impressions last longer than any others. I recollect thinking the, boy even though I was, that there must been something more than common that those men struggled for; that something even more than National Independence; that something that held out a great promise to all the people of the world to all time to come; I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in according with the original idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.”

Lincoln overnights at Continental Hotel in Philadelphia where after a reception, he receives word about a plot to murder him in Baltimore. Information comes from several sources including New York Senator William H. Seward, who writes from Washington: “My son goes express to you — He will show you a report made by our detective to General Scott — and by him communicated to me this morning. I deem it so important as to dispatch my son to meet you wherever he may find you — I concur with Genl Scott in thinking it best for you to reconsider your arrangements. No one here but Genl Scott, myself & the bearer is aware of this communication.”

Lincoln also received warnings from railroad officials and their detective. Seward’s son, Frederick W. Seward, later recalled events: “About Noon, on Thursday, the 21st, I was in the gallery of the Senate Chamber when one of the pages touched my arm, and told me that Senator Seward wished to see me immediately. Going down I met him in the lobby. He said that he had received a note from General Scott and Colonel Stone, communicating information that seemed of grave import and requiring immediate attention. He handed me a letter which he had just written to Mr. Lincoln, enclosing the note from General Scott. He said:
“Whether this story is well founded or not, Mr. Lincoln ought to know of it at once. But I know of no reason to doubt it. General Scott is impressed with the belief that the danger is real. Colonel Stone has facilities for knowing, and is not apt to exaggerate. I want you to go by the first train. Find Mr. Lincoln wherever he is.
“Let no one else know your errand. I have written him that I think he should change his arrangements, and pass through Baltimore at a different hour. I know it may occasion some embarrassment, and perhaps some ill-natured talk. Nevertheless, I would strongly advise him to do it.”
“The train, a tedious one, brought me into Philadelphia about ten o’clock at night. I had learned from the newspapers, and the conversation of my fellow-passengers, that the party of the President-elect would spend the night at the Continental Hotel, where he would be serenaded.
“Arriving at the hotel, I found Chestnut Street crowded with people, gay with lights, and echoing with music and cheering. Within, the halls and stairways were packed, and the brilliantly lighted parlours were filled with ladies and gentlemen who had come to ‘pay their respects.’ A burst of animated conversation pervaded the throng, and its centre presentations to the President-elect appeared to be going on. Clearly, this was no time for the delivery of a confidential message. I turned into a room near the head of the stairway, which had been pointed out as that of Mr. Robert Lincoln. He was surrounded by a group of young friends. On my introducing myself, he met and greeted me with courteous warmth, and then called to Colonel Ward H. Lamon, who was passing, and introduced us to each other. Colonel Lamon, taking me by the arm, proposed at once to go back into the parlour to present me to Mr. Lincoln. ON my telling him that I wanted my interview to be as private and to attract as little attention as possible, the Colonel laughed and said:
“Then I think I had better take you to his bedroom. If you don’t mind waiting there, you’ll be sure to meet him, for he has got to go there sometime tonight, and it is the only place I know of where he will be likely to be alone.”
“This was the very opportunity I desired. Thanking the Colonel, I sat and waited for an hour or more in the quiet room that was in such contrast to the bustle outside. Presently Colonel Lamon called me, and we met Mr. Lincoln, who was coming down the hall. I had never before seen him; but the campaign portraits had made his face quite familiar. I could not but notice how accurately they had copied his features, and how totally they had omitted his careworn look, and his pleasant, kindly smile.
“After a few words of friendly greeting, with inquiries about my father and matters in Washington, he sat down by the table under the gas light to peruse the letter I had startling nature he made no exclamation, and I saw no sign of surprise in his face. After reading it carefully through, he again held it to the light, and deliberately read it through a second time. Then, after musing a moment, he looked up and asked:
“‘Did you hear anything about the way this information was obtained? Do you know anything about how they got it?'”
“No, I had known nothing in regard to it, till that morning when called down by my father from the Senate gallery.
“‘Your father and General Scott do not say who they think are concerned it. Do you think they know?'”
“On that point, too, I could give no additional information further than my impression that my father’s knowledge was limited to what had been communicated to him by Colonel Stone, in whose statements he had implicit confidence.
“‘Did you hear names mentioned? Did you, for instance, ever hear anything said about such a name as Pinkerton?'”
“No, I had heard no such name in connection with the matter, — no name at all, in fact, except those of General Scott and Colonel Stone.
“He thought a moment, and then said:
“‘I may as well tell you why I ask. There were stories or rumours some time ago, before I left home, about people who were intending to do me a mischief. I never attached much importance to them – never wanted to believe any such thing. So I never would do anything about them, in the way of taking precautions and the like. Some of my friends, though, thought differently – Judd and others – and without my knowledge they employed a detective to look into the matter. It seems he has occasionally reported what he found, and only today, since we arrived at this house, he brought on my life in confusion and hurly-burly of the reception at Baltimore.'”
“‘Surely, Mr. Lincoln,'” said I, “‘that is a strong corroboration of the news I bring you.'”
He smiled and shook his head.
“‘That is exactly why I was asking you about names. If different persons, not knowing of each other’s work, have been pursuing separate clues that led to the same result, why then it shows there may be something in it. But if this is only the same story, filtered through two channels, and reaching me in two ways, then that don’t make it any stronger. Don’t you see?'”
“The logic was unanswerable. But I asserted my strong belief that the two investigations had been conducted independently of each other, and urged that there was enough of probability to make it prudent to adopt the suggestion, and make the slight change in hour and train which would avoid all risk.
“After a little further discussion of the subject, Mr. Lincoln rose and said:
“‘Well, we haven’t got to decide it tonight, anyway, and I see it’s getting late.'”
“Then, noticing that I looked disappointed at his reluctance to regard the warning, he said kindly:
“‘You need not think I will not consider it well. I shall think it over carefully, and try to decide it right; and I will let you know in the morning.'”

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Lincoln Spends Hectic Day in New York City

Wednesday, February 20, 1861

President-elect Lincoln spends his entire day in a relentless schedule of activities in New York City. He begins the day in a breakfast with New York merchants and ends the day attending one act of a performance of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” at the Academy of Music. Bronson Murray reported: “There is a story that — a purse proud chap was presented to L. and said ‘Mr. L — ahem — I am a director of the bank of commerce Sir.’ ‘Are you sir & where is that.’ ‘Why here in New York Sir. We take all the Govt. Loans.’ ‘Oh well’ said L ‘then we will become better acquainted.’ This is thought a capital thing here & people want to know who the director is. Some of these fellows fancy there is no place in the Union but N. York and their clique or sett.”

In response to a welcome from Mayor Fernando Wood, who had floated the idea that New York City could secede from the Union as well, Lincoln said: “There is nothing that can ever bring me willingly to consent to the destruction of this Union, under which not only the commercial city of New York, but the whole country has acquired its greatness, unless it were to be that thing for which the Union itself was made. I understand a ship to be made for the carrying and preservation of the cargo, and so long as the ship can be saved, with the cargo, it should never be abandoned. This Union should likewise never be abandoned unless it fails and the probability of its preservation shall cease to exist without throwing the passengers and cargo overboard. So long, then, as it is possible that the prosperity and the liberties of the people can be preserved in the Union, it shall be my purpose at all times to preserve it. Thanking you for the reception given me, allow me to come to a close.”

Prior to the opera, the Lincolns and Hamlins shared dinner – and Lincoln’s first encounter with oysters on the half-shell tickled Vice President-elect Hannibal Hamlin. Lincoln told Hamlin: “Well, I don’t know that I can manage these things, but I guess I can learn.”

After dinner, both couples went to the opera, where some New Yorkers criticized Lincoln for wearing black rather than the regulation white gloves. Nevertheless, at the conclusion of the first act, a “demonstration of respect and reverence to the chosen President became so general and enthusiastic that no person present could be said to be a non-participant in it.” After leaving the opera, Mrs. Lincoln holds a reception at their hotel.

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Lincoln Greeted by Big Crowds in New York City

President-elect Lincoln's Arrival in New York

Tuesday, February 19, 1861

The special train carrying President-elect Lincoln leaves Albany and arrives in New York City. It proceeds through the streets of New York among 250,000 people. Poet Walt Whitman recalled: “I shall not easily forget the first time I ever saw Abraham Lincoln. It must have been about the 18th or 19th of February, 1861. It was a rather pleasant afternoon in New York City, as he arrived there from the West, to remain a few hours and then pass on to Washington to prepare for his inauguration. I saw him in Broadway, near the site of the present post office. He came down, I think from Canal Street, to stop at the Astor House.
“The broad spaces, sidewalks, and street in that neighborhood and for some distance were crowded with solid masses of people — many thousands. The omnibuses and other vehicles had all been turned off, leaving an unusual hush in that busy part of the city. Presently two or three shabby hack barouches made their way with difficulty through the crowd and drew up at the Astor House entrance.
“A tall figure stepped out of the center of these barouches, paused leisurely on the sidewalk, looked up at the granite walls and looming architecture of the grand old hotel — then, after a relieving stretch of arms and legs, turned around for over a minute to slowly and good-humoredly scan the appearance of the vast and silent crowds.
“There were no speeches, no compliments, no welcome — as far as I could hear, not a word said. Still, much anxiety was concealed in that quiet. Cautious persons had feared some marked insult or indignity to the president-elect — for he possessed no personal popularity at all in New York City and very little political. But it was evidently tacitly agreed that if the few political supporters of Mr. Lincoln present would entirely abstain from any demonstration on their side, the immense majority — who were anything but supporters — would abstain on their side also. The result was a sulky, unbroken silence, such as certainly never before characterized a New York crowd.
“From the top of an omnibus (driven up on side, close by, and blocked by the curbstone and the crowds) I had, I say, a capital view of it all and especially of Mr. Lincoln: his looks and gait; his perfect composure and coolness; his unusual and uncouth height; his dress of complete black, stovepipe hat pushed back on his head; dark-brown complexion; seamed and wrinkled yet canny-looking face; black, bush head of hair; disproportionately long neck; and his hands held behind, as he stood observing the people.
“He looked with curiosity upon that immense sea of faces, and the sea of faces returned the look with similar curiosity. In both there was a dash of comedy, almost farce, such as Shakespeare puts in his blackest tragedies. The crowd that hemmed around consisted, I should think, of thirty to forty thousand men, not a single one his personal friend, while, I have no doubt (so frenzied were the ferments of the time) many an assassin’s knife and pistol lurked in hip- or breast-pocket there — ready, soon as break and riot came.
“But no break or riot came. The tall figure gave another relieving stretch or two of arms and legs; then, with moderate pace, and accompanied by a few unknown-looking persons, ascended the portico steps of the Astor House, disappeared through its broad entrance — and the dumb-show ended.”

Vice President-elect Hannibal Hamlin persuaded the Lincolns to stay at the Astor House, owned by a Republican support. He had written Lincoln: ‘If you go [to Washington] by way of N.Y. will you not stop with Stetson at the Astor,’ Hamlin had written. ‘He is a gentleman in every sense of the word, and is the only man of all the Hotel keepers of the first class, who was openly and squarely with us. It has injured him some. I do therefore hope you will stop with him.’

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Lincoln Travels from Buffalo to Albany

Edwin D. Morgan

Monday, February 18, 1861

Lincoln entourage leaves Buffalo early for long trip to Albany. Frequent stops are required – at Batavia, Rochester, Clyde, Syracuse, Utica, Little Falls, Fonda, Amsterdam, and Schenectady.

On arrival in Albany, President-elect speaks at railroad station and is greeted by a sign: ‘NO MORE COMPROMISES.” He goes to Delavan House hotel, then speaks at steps of Capital and to joint session of legislature: “You have generously tendered me the united support of the great Empire State. For this, in behalf of the nation, in behalf of the present and future of the nation, in behalf of the civil and religious liberty for all time to come, most gratefully do I thank you. I do not propose to enter into an explanation of any particular line of policy as to our present difficulties to be adopted by the incoming administration. I deem it just to you, to myself and to all that I should see everything, that I should hear everything, that I should have every light that can be brought within my reach, in order that when I do speak, I shall have enjoyed every opportunity to take correct and true ground; and for this reason I don’t propose to speak at this time of the policy of the Government; but when the time comes I shall speak as well as I am able for the good of the present and future of this country — for the good both of the North and the South of this country — for the good of the one and the other, and of all sections of the country.”

Local editor and Republican chief Thurlow Weed, a close ally of Senator William H. Seward, briefly talks to Lincoln at his hotel. Later, Lincoln and a party of 14 dine with Governor Edwin D. Morgan at governor’s mansion. Morgan, a financier, is very worried about the impact of secession on his business and wants some inside information on Lincoln’s intentions. Afterwards, Lincoln attends a raucous reception at his hotel.

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