Lincoln Tackles Tariff before Returning to Ohio

Friday, February 15, 1861

Before he leaves for the train depot in Pittsburgh, President-elect Lincoln delivers a long and detailed speech on economics and the tariff from balcony of Mongahela House: “. “So long as direct taxation for the support of government is not resorted to, a tariff is necessary. The tariff is to the government what a meal is to the family; but, while this is admitted, it still becomes necessary to modify and change its operations according to new interests and new circumstances. So far there is little difference of opinion, but the question as to how far imposts may be adjusted for the protection of home industry, gives rise to various views and objections. I must confess that I do not understand this subject in all its multiform bearings, but I promise you that I will give it my closest attention, and endeavor to comprehend it more fully. and here I may remark that the Chicago platform contains a plank upon this subject, which I think should be regarded as law for the incoming administration.”

The Lincoln entourage then doubled back from Pennsylvania to Ohio. Lincoln John Hay reported that in Cleveland that night :“The dining room was crowded. There were elderly women, with umbrellas and spectacles, mounted upon chairs; aged gentlemen, with crutches and benedictions; local politicians, with fluffy white cravats and tremendous appetites; colored persons of both sexes, one or two infants at the breast, together with all the other varieties which make up western life. The dinner was excellent and profuse. At its conclusion Mr. Lincoln was conducted to the balcony and spoke a few words to the assembly, after which the suite formed in line and again enter the cars.” Aide John G. Nicolay wrote: “Today, here at Cleveland, the arrangements have been good (better than we have found anywhere else [)] and almost perfect order has been kept. I am longing anxiously for our arrival at Buffalo to-morrow evening, after which we shall have a whole day of rest and quiet.”

Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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