Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that Independence. 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 that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave Liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that, in due time, the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved on that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world, if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved on that basis, it will be truly awful. But, if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say that I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs, there need be no bloodshed or war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course; and I may say, in advance, that there will be no bloodshed, unless it be forced upon the Government, and then it will be compelled to act in self defense.Arrived at Harrisburg, however, on the 22d, Mr. Lincoln, looking across the slave line, experienced suddenly a decided change in the political barometer. It had been arranged that he should next day pass through Baltimore, the center of a grand procession — a cynosure of admiring eyes — the object of enthusiastic acclamations — as he had, thus far, passed through nearly all the great cities of the Free States. But Baltimore was a slaveholding city, and the spirit of Slavery was nowhere else more rampant and ferocious. The mercantile and social aristocracy of that city had been sedulously, persistently, plied by the conspirators for disunion with artful suggestions that, in a confederacy composed exclusively of the fifteen Slave States, Baltimore would hold the position that New York enjoys in the Union, being the great ship-building, shipping, importing and commercial emporium, whitening the ocean with her sails, and gemming Maryland with the palaces reared from her ample and everexpanding profits. That aristocracy had been, for the most part, thoroughly corrupted by these insidious whispers, and so were ready to rush into treason. At the other end of the social scale was the mob-reckless and godless, as mobs are apt to be, especially in slaveholding communities-and ready at all times to do the bidding of the Slave Power. Between these was the great middle class, loyal and peacefully inclined, as this class usually is-outnumbering both the others, but hitherto divided between the old pro-Slavery parties, and having arrived, as yet, at no common understanding with regard to the novel circumstances of the country and the events visibly impending. The city government was in the hands of the Breckinridge Democracy, who had seized it under a cry of reform; and the leaders of that Democracy were deep in the counsels of treason. It had been proclaimed, in many quarters, and through various channels, that Mr. Lincoln should never live to be inaugurated; and The Baltimore Republican of the 22d had a leading article directly calculated to incite tumult and violence on the occasion of Mr. Lincoln's passage through the city.1 The police
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1 The Baltimore Exchange of February 23d, significantly said:
Mr. Lincoln, the President elect of the United States, will arrive in this city with his suite this afternoon by special train from Harrisburgh, and will proceed, we learn, directly to Washington. It is to be hoped that no opportunity will be afforded him-or that, if it be afforded, he will not embrace it — to repeat in our midst the sentiments which he is reported to have expressed yesterday in Philadelphia.[The “sentiments” thus deprecated are those uttered in reply to Mr. Cuyler, and quoted on the preceding page.]
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