43.--the Inaugural address.
How it is received.
papers discuss the tone of Mr. Lincoln
's Inaugural Address.
regards the address with favor.
The tone of the speech is pacific ; that is to say, Mr. Lincoln avows his determination to preserve peace, so far as it may be done, in the performance of his duty as he understands it. He denies that he has the power to recognize the right or the fact of secession, and therefore denies that he has the liberty to refrain from the performance of what would be plain obligations if no such right or fact had been assumed to exist.
While, therefore, he announces his intention to collect the revenue and to possess and defend the forts, he distinctly declares that he will do these things in such a manner as to avoid the necessity for strife, if it is possible to do so. It is perfectly evident, from the whole tenor of his Address, that he does not intend to be the aggressor, if peace may not be preserved.
No one will deny that he has met the issues presented with a firmness and frankness that are in themselves commendable.
He does not expect to be misunderstood, and he foreshadows his policy with a directness that provides for no future evasions or change of programme.
It is hardly probable that the citizens of the Southern Confederacy have waited for this Inaugural with the expectation that it was to contain a relinquishment of United States authority in the seceded states, or a promise to recognize the government there set up; and if they have, it is not probable that the Address will leave them in doubt upon this subject.
Whatever may be the differences of opinion
throughout the country upon the various subjects of which the address treats, it will be very generally received as an honest and outspoken avowal of the policy of the new administration.
It is certain that it furnishes no pretext for disunion that has not existed since the November election.
The Baltimore Sun
denounces the Address as “sectional and mischievous,” and adds that “if it means what it says, it is the knell and the requiem of the Union
, and the death of hope.”
The Baltimore Exchange
says, “the measures of Mr. Lincoln
The Baltimore Patriot
believes, with the American
, that Mr. Lincoln
means to avoid aggression, and adds:
The reasoning and expositions of the Inaugural, in the virtues of patience, forbearance, &c., apply as well to Mr. Lincoln as to the people of the several States, and as he expects the people to exercise those virtues, so must he allow tihe people to expect that he will apply the counsel to himself, as well as to them.
In this there is another assurance of pacificatory purposes, and of the intention to enforce the laws, as nearly as possible, in conformity with the will of the whole people. This position is greatly strengthened by the appeal to the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with his eternal truth and justice, as the great appellate tribunal of the American people.
We make this observation in reference to Mr. Lincoln as an enlightened and conscientious statesman, and not as an educated and conscientious fanatic.
In the character of the statesman, he will wisely and judiciously apply the law he is obliged to enforce as a sufficient instrument for the accomplishment of its purposes, without any appeal to the higher law of the fanatics, which is subversive of all human law and government, and impels the submission of all human thought and consideration and action to the whim or notion of an individual man.
the secessionists denounce it as a warlike document, and threaten immediate secession and fight.
In the seceding States intense excitement was created by the reception of the Address.
In North Carolina
, the Inaugural was favorably received by the Unionists, who regarded it as a hopeful indication of the peace policy of the administration.
The St. Louis Denmocrat
says: “We can only say this morning, that it meets the highest expectations of tihe country, both in point of statesmanship and patriotism, and that its effect on the public mind cannot be other than salutary in the highest degree.”
The St. Louis Republican
says: “We hoped for a more conservative and more conciliatory expression of sentiments; much will depend upon the putting in practice of the ideas advanced that will test the question-be it one of expediency or right-whether the forts can be held or retaken and the revenues collected without bloodshed.”
The Boston Post
The conservatives will be glad to see, at this time, the opening avowals of the Address.
The pledge not to interfere with slavery in the States; tihe denunciation of lawless invasions of those States; the avowal to protect slavery in case of a servile insurrection; the promise to carry into effect the fugitive slave obligation, seem to come up to the requirements of the Constitution.
Nor is this all. Towards the conclusion the President returns to tihe subject, and further manifests his desire to conciliate, by frankly endorsing the Corwin amendment to the Constitution, which has just received a two-thirds vote of both branches of Congress.