Abraham Lincoln and the Union Flag


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 9, 1861

The March 9, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly Featured President Abraham Lincoln, on the cover, raising a union flag.  The paper is filled with important details of the start of he Civil War.  Newspaper Thumbnails will take you to the page of interest.


Abraham Lincoln and the Union Flag

Abraham Lincoln Raising the Union Flag

Lincoln and the Union Flag

Miss Patterson

Miss Patterson of Baltimore

Congressional News

1861 Lincoln Assassination Plot

Story on Fort Smith and Little Rock

Completed U.S. Capitol Dome

Little Rock Arkansas

Little Rock Arkansas

General Twiggs

General David Twiggs

Continuation of Twiggs Story

Jefferson Davis Inauguration in Montgomery

Lincoln Assassination Plot




MARCH 9, 1861.



WE publish on the preceding page a picture - from photographs taken at the time--of Mr. Lincoln raising the stars and stripes opposite Independence Hall, Philadelphia, on the morning of Washington's birthday. Just in front of the main entrance to the State House, and but a few feet from the sacred hall of liberty, a large platform had been erected for the President-elect to stand upon before the people while he raised the starry banner of the republic. The elevation, nearly six feet, enabled a vast multitude to observe every thing enacted thereon. The front and sides of the stage were wrapped around with an American flag, while lesser flags floated from the stanchions.

Before the flag was raised prayer was offered, and Mr. S. Benton, on behalf of the city of Philadelphia, addressed Mr. Lincoln in words of welcome. The President replied as follows:

"FELLOW-CITIZENS,—I am invited and called before you to participate in raising above Independence Hall the flag of our country, with an additional star upon it. [Cheers.] I propose now, in advance of performing this very pleasant and complimentary duty, to say a few words. I propose to say that when that flag was originally raised here it had but thirteen stars. I wish to call your attention to the fact that, under the blessing of God, each additional star added to that flag has given additional prosperity and happiness to this country, until it has advanced to its present condition; and its welfare in the future, as well as in the past, is in your hands. [Cheers.] Cultivating the spirit that animated our fathers, who gave renown and celebrity to this Hall, cherishing that fraternal feeling which has so long characterized us as a nation, excluding passion, ill-temper, and precipitate action on all occasions, I think we may promise ourselves that not only the new star placed upon that flag shall be permitted to remain there to our permanent prosperity for years to come, but additional ones shall from time to time be placed there, until we shall number, as was anticipated by the great historian, five hundred millions of happy and prosperous people. [Great applause.] With these few remarks, I proceed to the very agreeable duty assigned me."

We copy from the Philadelphia Press the following account of the actual raising of the flag:

"The excitement was of a fearful character when the President-elect seized the rope to hoist the flag of the country to the crest of the staff over the State House. The souls of all seemed starting from their eyes, and every throat was wide. The shouts of the people were like the roar of waves which do not cease to break. For full three minutes the cheers continued. The expression of the President-elect was that of silent solemnity. His long arms were extended. Each hand alternately pulled at the halyards, and a bundle of bunting, tri-colored, which had never been kissed by the wind before, slowly rose into the sky. If the shouting had been fearful and tumultuous before, it became absolutely maniacal now. From the smallest urchin to the tall form which rivaled the President's in compass of chest and length of limb, there rose a wild cry. It reminded us of some of the storied shouts which rang among the Scottish hills in the days of clans and clansmen. Suddenly, when the broad bunting had reached the summit of the mast it unrolled at once, and blazed in the sunlight. At the same moment the band struck up the Star Spangled Banner, and a cannon ranged in the square sent up peal after peal. Mr. Lincoln was then escorted to his hotel, and in a short time the crowd had melted away, many going back to their yet untasted breakfast, and the rest moving off as business or pleasure prompted."



AT last the practical statesmen of the country seem to see the way clear to a settlement of the pending political trouble, which has endangered the existence of our Confederacy. It seems pretty certain now that, by conceding certain points not inconsistent with the statement of principles on which President Lincoln claimed the suffrages of his fellow-citizens in November last, the Border Slave States can be retained in the Union. Whatever obstacles of detail may intervene, experienced observers are satisfied that a compromise will shortly be made which may conserve the allegiance of Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas to the Union, and which, so far as these States are concerned, will enable the new Administration to enter upon its career with a fair measure of tolerant support. If, as is expected, such men as JOHN A. GILMER, of North Carolina, ANDREW JOHNSON or EMERSON ETHERIDGE, of Tennessee, and Mr. Holt, of Kentucky, are invited to occupy seats in the new Cabinet, that support would naturally become active and energetic.

The prospect is, of course, bitter and nauseous to the old political leaders : it is natural they should repine at the revolution which is sweeping them from the political arena. For a large segment of a century Senators Mason and Hunter, of Virginia, for instance, have been the most powerful personages in American politics. The one, at the head of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, has really regulated our foreign relations for more than ten years. No foreign minister could be appointed, no embassy sent forth, no treaty ratified, no line of foreign policy determined, save with his consent. Congress, the President, the Secretary of State, have all been his servants. The power which in foreign countries is divided between the Executive, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the legislative body has all been wielded by him. Can it be- a matter of surprise that he should cling to it, and should welcome a general catastrophe to hide his own overthrow ? The other Virginia Senator has been for nearly sixteen years

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. According to Parliamentary usage, he is the leader of the Senate. He has been, as the custom is, dictator in his Committee, which is dictator in the Senate, on all money bills. No tariff, or loan, or appropriation bill has ever passed against his opinion. In all matters involving the collection or the expenditure of money, or the regulation of the national finances and currency, his will has been supreme. The President and the Secretary of the Treasury have been his servants. Does any one who knows any thing of human nature suppose that such power can be relinquished without bitterness of heart,. and even frantic struggles ?

Happily for the country, the interest of Virginia is not exclusively the interest of these two Senators. She has noble sons—Clemens, and Summers, and Millson, and Rives, and scores of others—who will maintain the honor of the Old Dominion, even if her present Senators should be stripped of their power. So with Kentucky. If certain of her sons declare the case hopeless, the sagacious Guthrie, noble old Crittenden, and the majority of her Legislature, ste' into the gap, and stand by the country and the Union. So with Tennessee. While some of her representatives in Congress seem to court universal chaos and destruction, Andrew Johnson and Emerson Etheridge stand like the brave old Romans at the Sublician Bridge, and their people triumphantly sustain them. So with North Carolina. There are disunionists there too ; but the real chief of the North Carolina delegation, and one of the most practical of the Southern leaders in Congress, John A. Gilmer, is square and uncompromisingly for the Union.

These brave men are entitled to such concessions from the now dominant North as they may deem requisite to enable them to fight successfully against disunion at home. This is not a crisis to stand upon niceties of doctrine, or exact shades of platforms. Practical politicians know that the policy of governments must not disdain to respect the temporary and erroneous passions and prejudices of the masses. Granted—if you will, for the sake of argument —that the Southern rebellion against the election of a sectional President is treason, and liable to punishment—is it wise, is it prudent, is it possible to punish it? Is it not wiser and better to deal with it as a fact, and so handle it . that it may yield by-and-by to its own inherent weakness and the vice of its origin ? If rulers had always despised outbursts of popular passion and prejudice, there would have been no government on earth at the present time. The oldest and best of the free governments in the world, that of Great Britain, has repeatedly yielded to popular pressure, and her best states-men have repeatedly sacrificed their own convictions to temporary exigencies, wisely deeming that popular errors contain within themselves the elements of their own correction, while civil war nursed no germs but hate, strife, Mood, rapine, and ruin. Nor need we go abroad for examples of the spirit of concession to error, and compromise with prejudice. The formation of the Confederacy was a wonderful instance of compromise. Our first President, General Washington, frequently abandoned his own designs to adopt the views of others which he deemed less sound—for the sake of peace. For the sake of peace, Jefferson, as we learn from his writings, departed from his peculiar principles on numberless occasions. So did Madison, Monroe, and Adams. Jackson, who is so often quoted as an example by the opponents of compromise, did directly compromise in the most open way to avoid a civil war with the little State of South Carolina—when the other Southern States were ready to crush her out at a moment's notice. In a word, our Government, like all other Governments, like every collective body, like every family, rests upon the corner-stone of COMPROMISE — the yielding by each component part of something for the general good. It is not possible that in the present day of enlightenment, civilization, progress, and commerce these obvious truths should be ignored.

But, it will be said, what of the Gulf States ? Without some security for their return to the Union, reconstruction is incomplete, and the North, if they stay out, will have compromised in vain.

We believe that the work of reconstruction is proceeding in the Gulf States. The Montgomery Convention has elected a very moderate man for President, and the most emphatic enemy of disunion for Vice-President. It has adopted the Constitution of the United States, and has altered none of the laws, and displaced none of the officials appointed by the General Government. Mr. Davis has bestirred himself actively and successfully to prevent such a collision as would impede reconstruction. His cabinet consists of Union men. The only South Carolinian, who had the courage to avow himself a friend of the Union, is also the only South Carolinian invited to a seat in the administration. You find nowhere in the proceedings at Montgomery any indorsement of the extreme per se disunionists. More than this, more than one half the ties existing between the Gulf States and the Union remain unsevered. The United States mail is carried

throughout-the seceding States. " Foreigners" in Alabama prepay letters to other " foreigners" in Georgia with United States postage stamps. Postmaster Huger, at Charleston, sends regularly to Washington for stamps and blanks, and renders his accounts as usual. The United States patent laws and copyright laws still obtain. Youths from Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama are still in their classes at West Point and Annapolis. Not five per cent. of the Southern officers in the United States army and navy have resigned their commissions. There has been a formal change in the revenue service. The United States collectors call themselves collectors for their several States. But they collect duties under the United States tariff, keep accounts of the receipts, and their States will account for the money by-and-by. South Carolina, on the eve of certain secession, still sent her census returns faithfully to Washington. Surely this is a very mild kind of separation.

It would undoubtedly be a very mischievous undertaking to keep half a dozen States in the Union against the deliberate wishes of their people. Whatever popular feeling—roused to frenzy by the seizure of forts, arsenals, revenue-cutters, and mints—might prompt on the spur of the moment, there can be no question but the enterprise of holding the Union together by force would ultimately prove futile. It would be in violation of the principle of our institutions. But it is impossible to survey the proceedings of the Gulf States in their Convention without coming to the conclusion that there is a large party in those States in favor of the maintenance of the Union, and that a fair and generous tender of equal rights, and a kindly attempt to disabuse their people of the prejudices engendered by politicians would give that party the control of all the Gulf States, even including South Carolina. Time will certify this. As the leaders of the Southern Confederacy come to grapple with the practical difficulties of their position, they will find it much harder than they supposed to tear asunder a confederacy so closely knit together as ours. The pas-sage of secession ordinances, amidst popular clamor, bell-ringing, and the firing of salutes, the muster of brave young men for the attack of forts, and the discussion of new flags and new national emblems, are all very easy and very pleasant work. But when it comes to the organization of a new postal system at a dead loss of some two millions a year, of a new revenue system on some experimental basis, of a new scheme of taxation which takes money out of the pockets of poor and rich, of new copyright and patent systems, of new naval and military schools, and of a new set of treaties with the world at large, the task will not prove so agreeable. Especially difficult will the negotiation of foreign treaties be found. Senator Mason, wielding the whole power of the United States, has been accustomed, any time these ten years, to bully the world at large. But the Foreign Minister of a Southern Confederacy would not find the task so simple. Dispatches in gobemouche newspapers have predicted a speedy recognition of a Southern Confederacy by the European Powers. But it is not likely that Great Britain and France would acknowledge any such Confederacy till long after the United States had set the example. Englishmen and Frenchmen are universally what we call Garrisonian abolitionists. They admit negroes to their table, and permit their daughters to marry them. One of the prize scholars at the College St. Louis, at Paris, the other day, was a mulatto, who was specially complimented by the Emperor. Alexandre Dumas himself is of negro extraction. As for England, more than one British Judge, wearing the ermine and holding the Queen's commission, is fully half negro : negroes are admitted to society in London ; only the other day a high-bred girl of wealthy British family married a coal-black African, without the least objection from her friends. It has been suggested that the cotton question would rule the policy of Great Britain and France. This is a fallacy. In Europe trade does not rule as it does here. Traders are a part, but not the leading part of society. Both England and France went to war in 1854 in spite of the earnest protest of the traders. But even the commercial community of Great Britain could not be relied upon by a Southern Confederacy. The Economist, the leading organ of the British commercial class, emphatically declared, the other day, that no part of England would be found more hostile to a Southern Confederacy than Manchester, Leeds, and Paisley. The only effect of a cotton panic, it said, would be to stimulate British spinners to find new sources of supply.

If we of the North give our Southern friends time enough to encounter these difficulties fairIy they will find that, after all, we are their best friends, and that they can gain nothing by throwing us off. It is well that they should try their experiment. If they can do better with-out us than with us, God forbid that we should keep them ! If the Union is really injurious to them, Heaven forbid that we should insist on preserving it ! But we think that, if they have time to consider the matter coolly, they will discover that it is best for them as for us. When they do, reconstruction will become a fact.


THE other morning, quietly jogging along in a country stage, the Lounger heard an expression which was very amusing, and upon which, in the manner of Dr. Franklin and his whistle, lie immediately fell to moralizing. It was in a retired and romantic region among the hills, and an aqueduct crossed the road, over the head of the passenger, upon its way from a spring in the hill-side to some factory below. Viator, who sat opposite the Lounger, began to smile, and presently to laugh in a low voice, as he looked up the woody hill

"Now," said he, "Joe was a good fellow—a mighty good fellow ; yes, and a smart. But there was one thing that was always a leetle ahead of him, and that was to make water run up hill."

Then he laughed quietly to himself again, and his face beamed pleasantly like she west when the sun sets calmly. Victor Number Two said, " Humph!" as a mere mattes- of courtesy apparently, not at all as if Joe had undertaken any very difficult task. But the Lounger, as is the habit of loungers, began instantly to think of all the Joes he knew who had always found making water run up hill a leetle ahead of them.

There, for instance, is Joe A, for fifteen years he has been pursuing Serena W, with his heart in his hand, and throwing it at her continually. In vain, it doesn't hit. In vain she smiles and begs him to save himself and spare the pains. Joe will fling his heart. Serena is perfectly willing to pick it up as a brother's gift to a sister ; but the word brother makes Joe frantic. In vain Serena shows him and tells him that she has no heart to throw him in return—that she gave it away long ago to a youth who died, and, carrying with him all his most precious possessions, it was buried with him. Joe will not listen ; he will not believe ; and to his last day he will wonder why on earth he could not make water run up hill.

Then there is Joe B, the poet. He believes in his poetry as Parson Adams believed in his sermons. He reads his verses to kind friends, and, as they toast their feet by his fire and smoke his cigars, they say to him, " By Jove, what publisher are you going to let bring them out ?" Could they grudge a kind word in repayment of such comfortable quarters ? In vain Joe sends an ode privately to the newspapers. They will not publish. In vain he incloses sonnets to the magazines. They are respectfully declined. In vain he besieges the publishers in their counting-rooms. They bluff him off and bow him out. In vain more judicious friends suggest that his verses are not remarkable. Joe only waxes indignant—reminds them of the traditional neglect of poets, and declares that he will bide his time. But he does not bide it. He frets in a burning fever to take the public captive. He pays for the insertion of some of his best lines in a popular journal. - The Public agrees with Joe's judicious friends, and that capital, good fellow does not see that he is trying to make water run up hill.

And there is Joe C. He is rich and well, and an American citizen. He groans and sighs over his country. " Where are we going to? What is to become of me ?" he asks and asks twenty times a day. He curses the politicians, the parties, the people. It all comes, he is sure, of our foul and corrupt partisans, the total want of principle in our public men, the grog-shop statesmanship of the country. But he stays at home, and sobs and blubbers and whines. He would not go to primary meetings. He would have nothing to do with filthy politicians. He would be afraid of his morals as well as his pockets if he ventured into their society. Yet every thing depends upon him and such as he. The government is nothing but the people ; and whoever shirks his political duty removes the strength and support of one stone from the edifice, and brings it just so much nearer its ruinous fall. Joe knows that he can not have a hat without paying the price of a hat ; but he apparently seriously believes that he can have the best government in the world without paying any price of personal exertion and inconvenience whatever. Joe C. is the worst of all possible cases of men who are trying to make water run up hill. He is a clever man and a respectable man; but if the people of this country interpreted their duty as he does his, the success of our system would be always as much, as getting water to run up hill was a leetle ahead of the original Joe.


THE history of the great epoch of modern times is properly written by a son of the country which is the fairest flower and illustration of the spirit which was victorious at that epoch. The close of the seventeenth century is the most fascinating, as well as momentous, of all the periods since the Christian era ; for it was the hour of the final de-bate between the great systems of despotism and liberty; between freedom of thought and speech and the annihilation of the very fundamental conditions of human progress; between the Papacy and all its consequences and the Reformation with all its results.

Our own national existence, and the circumstances and spirit of the settlement of this country, are so directly referable to the movement of that time, that the champions of religious liberty then should naturally be our household heroes now. The Netherlands were the battle-field of Christian civilization and political progress ; and the great captains in that battle, whether they fought with sword or pen, or, as was most generally the case, with both, were, upon the side of religious liberty, men whose fame makes the most splendid era of their countries.

It was Elizabeth's England—the greatest monarch and the most illustrious subjects that that country has ever seen—which stands in history as the final succor of the cause, which is our cause



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