Abraham Lincoln At Atsor House


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 2, 1861

The March 2, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly featured a cover illustration of president elect Abraham Lincoln.  The remainder of the newspaper includes incredible stories on the opening events of the Civil War.  We have posted the newspaper below.  Newspaper Thumbnails will take you to the page of interest.


President-Elect Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln at Astor House

Cummings Point

Cumming's Point

Congressional Business

Jefferson Davis Inauguration Speech

Fort Taylor Description

Fort Johnson

Fort Johnson

Ft. Taylor

Fort Taylor






[MARCH 2, 1861.



MR. LINCOLN, the President-elect, arrived at New York on Tuesday, 19th, as announced in the programme of his journey. An enormous crowd lined the streets to gaze at him as he passed. When he reached the Astor House there must have been some five thousand people assembled at the door, and they soon gave audible evidence of their wish to hear the distinguished visitor. With his usual good nature, Mr. Lincoln stepped out of a window, in company with a member of the Common Council, and, standing on the balcony, ad-dressed them as follows :

"FELLOW-CITIZENS,—I have stepped before you merely in compliance with what appeared to be your wish, and with no purpose of making a speech. In fact, I do not propose making a speech this afternoon. I could not be heard by any but a very small fraction of you at best, but what is still worse than that is, that I have nothing just now to say worth your hearing. [Loud applause.] I beg you to believe that I do not now refuse to address you through any disposition to disoblige you, but the contrary. But at the same time I beg of you to excuse me for the present."

Mr. Lincoln then bowed again to the several gentlemen who were then presented to him, all of whom he cordially received.




WE have published, from time to time, articles from the leading journals of France and England upon the lamentable events which have lately occurred in this country; we now publish, in the news columns, an extract from the Queen's Speech, just sent to the British Parliament, and an extract from the debates of one of the most authoritative bodies in France—the French Academy. Both, as will be seen, breathe the kindest spirit and the most earnest wish for a peaceable settlement of our difficulties.

An idea has long prevailed in this country that foreign governments were anxious to see this Union dissolved. A design to bring about disunion has been familiarly imputed to the British aristocracy in particular ; and many per-sons, otherwise well-informed and sound-minded, have seriously and honestly believed that the British House of Peers was so solicitous for the dismemberment of the Confederacy of the United States that their influence and their means were at the service of any traitors who proposed to effect this result. The events of the past few weeks—calamitous as they have been in other respects—have, at all events, had the effect of exploding this delusion, and teaching us sounder views on the attitude of foreign countries toward the United States.

No Power in Europe—not even excepting the Papacy—really desires to see the calm and successful career of this nation cut short by intestine broils. It is the interest of every foreign nation in the world that the United States should thrive, should remain united, and should increase steadily. For the United States have grown to their present magnitude by the cultivation of peace, commerce, and industry ; by establishing with all countries commercial relations as beneficial to them as to us ; by offering a safe home to exiles of all sorts ; by relieving overcrowded European countries of their surplus population ; and by setting a memorable example of a peaceful government carried on exclusively for the benefit of the governed.

Forty years ago, perhaps, in the days when the Tories ruled in England, when the divine right monarchy flourished in France, and when Holy Alliances met at Laybach and elsewhere to enforce popular submission to despotic theories, the success of the system pursued in the United States might have provoked jealousy and even opposition in Europe. But men's minds change a good deal in forty years. At the present time England is as democratic in sentiment as this country; France has established universal suffrage as the corner-stone of of her Empire ; Russia is liberalizing her institutions ; Italy is consolidating a constitutional monarchy on a popular basis ; Germany is steadily growing more and more democratic. All the nations of Europe are treading in our foot-steps. British, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish journals, while taking sides pretty plainly in our domestic quarrel, all sympathize warmly with us in our trouble, and hope that it may be settled without war.

It is said that this sentiment is not wholly disinterested. A civil war in this country would no doubt derange our trade with all the nations of Europe, and put all of them to some inconvenience. But it would be unjustifiable to ascribe all the sympathy we receive to the interested impulses of European traders. Trade is not paramount in Europe, as it is here. Many expressions of good feeling have reached us from sources far beyond the control of the counting-house. The mercenary instinct has had its influence, no doubt ; but beyond and above it, a friendly voice, proceeding from the open heart of our friends across the ocean, reaches us through such channels as the Queen's Speech,

and teaches us a lesson of international good feeling and fraternity which ought not to be forgotten.


IF New York had no other claim to the rank of the metropolis of America, her crowds would establish her right to the title. In no other city in this country can a truly metropolitan crowd be gathered together. Large numbers of people occasionally assemble in other cities, and impede the thoroughfares; but a genuine crowd, numbering 50,000, 75,000, 100,000, or 150,000 individuals, all animated by the same purpose, all conscious of their responsibilities, and all keenly alive to their rights, is a sight which can only be seen in three cities in the civilized world—Paris, London; and New York.

The greatest crowd ever gathered together in the streets of New York was undoubtedly that which greeted the eye of the Prince of Wales on his arrival here. It is probable that 250,000 people were afoot that day, in Broadway, the Fifth Avenue, and the adjacent streets, bent on seeing " the Prince." This is, of course, a small assemblage in comparison with the crowd which assembled on Kennington Common and the vicinity, in London, on 11th April, 1848 ; and with the crowds which Napoleon the Third occasionally summons to the Champ de Mars, or the Champs Elysees. In London and Paris it is supposed that half a million of people can be collected by an extraordinary attraction. Still, considering the size of New York, 250,000 people is a very large muster. It is nearly one-third the total population of the city, and when we remember how many individuals must re-main at work, how many must stay at home, how many are under age and sick, an actual muster of one-third the aggregate population in a few streets evinces a genuine metropolitan love for sight-seeing.

It is supposed that, next to the Prince of Wales' crowd, the assemblage which gathered to see the Japanese land, and that which was collected to inaugurate the Atlantic telegraph, were the largest ever seen in New York. After these the greatest crowd ever gathered in Broad-way was assembled on Tuesday last to see Abraham Lincoln, President-elect.

The last, though a very large crowd—probably exceeding 100,000 persons in number—was far less than those which went forth to stare at the Prince of Wales and the Japanese Princes, mainly from the fact that it contained few or no women. It would seem that the ladies, who suffered martyrdom to see the British Prince, and endured some hardships to look at "Tom-my," did not care about seeing Mr. Lincoln. Whether the absence of military display had any thing to do with the fact we will not under-take to decide.

It is gratifying to notice that our crowds, like those of Paris, and unlike those of London, are generally orderly and peaceable. In the British capital, a crowd always fills the police stations and the hospitals. In Paris, a few more pickpockets than usual are arrested, but fights seldom occur. In this city, our recent crowds have been quite orderly ; the only acts of violence noticed have been committed by over-zealous and brutal policemen ; even the Bowery boys have latterly behaved themselves quietly.

A metropolitan crowd is intelligent, quick-witted, and though (outside of London) naturally peaceable, easily roused to fury. A Paris mob of three hundred thousand people will divert itself a whole day in the sunshine without a single blow struck ; but if you once rouse them, they fall to barricades naturally, and no-thing short of copious doses of grape will quiet them. We rather think that, as New York grows, its crowds will develop similar characteristics. Large masses of men are dangerous bodies. Our rulers should watch our crowds and study them.


"PATRIOTISM," says the Dictionary, "is love of country." "Patriotism," said Dr. Johnson, the Tory, " is the last refuge of a scoundrel." "A man devoid of patriotism," says a leading philosopher, " is capable of the greatest crimes." Sings Walter Scott :

"Lives there a man with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land ?"

This subject of patriotism is in a fair way of being more thoroughly ventilated than it ever was before. Every body appears to admit that patriotism is a virtue, and that a man should love his country. But the question arises at every corner—What is our country ? Smith, in South Carolina, says that the United States is his country, and that he loves the stars and stripes ; for which expression of opinion he is instantly exiled from the State under pain of a prosecution for treason. On the other hand, Jones, born in Georgia, but in the service of the United States, declares that the secession of Georgia requires him to resign his commission, and to proceed forthwith to Milledgeville to pre-pare for war against the United States ; for which proceeding he is denounced at the North as devoid of patriotism, and by many as an absolute

traitor. Jones protests that he is the purest kind of patriot, and that he will lay down his life for Georgia. The question seems to be—How much country must a man love to be a genuine patriot?

Smith says—You must love your whole country as represented by and included under the national flag. Jones says—No, it suffices to love your own State. Upon this Robinson starts up and says that, in his opinion, it is sufficient to love your own county. Brown is of opinion that he fulfills his duty by loving his town. And Thomson fiercely claims the title of patriot because he loves his native farm.

It is pretty clear that Thomson, at all events, is wrong. His patriotism is mere selfishness, and has no merit at all of a public nature. It is also clear that Smith is right—though it may be pretended by Jones and the others that he demands too much--when he claims the title of patriot for loving his whole country. The question is—Can a line be drawn between them? If a man is no patriot for merely loving his farm, is he a patriot for loving his town and neglecting the rest of his county? Is he a patriot if he loves his county, and despises the rest of his State? Can he claim the title of patriot if he loves his State only, and confesses no obligation to the rest of the Confederacy? These are questions which will engage some attention in the course of the pending revolution.

About thirteen years ago the people of Italy were unanimous in favor of national independence, and the overthrow of the Austrian power. Every Italian wanted the same thing. In those days Charles Albert, King of Piedmont, the only Italian Potentate who had both an Italian soul and an Italian army, said to the people of the peninsula: "Join me, and we shall free Italy." There were people throughout Italy who were for responding heartily, Yes. But when it came to the fighting-point, the Venetians said they were Venetians, the Tuscans said they were Tuscans, the Parmese said they were Parmese, the Romans said they were Romans; the Neapolitans said they were Neapolitans, the Sicilians said they were Sicilians : and lo ! there were no Italians in all Italy. So Charles Albert's appeal failed, Austria triumphed, and for thirteen years more Italy groveled in chains. It would seem that the event—which is in every one's memory--sheds some light on the law of patriotism.



IF any enterprising newspaper could have se-cured Ariel as its special reporter during the last two or three weeks we should have had some striking and spirited reading. For Mr. Ariel would have seen three great processions in the three great cities of modern times, each in honor of the progress of the chief of the nation to address the nation upon its intimate and important relations. The Queen of England, the Emperor of France, and the President of the United States have each marched in state to the seat of their several Governments.

The contrast of the marching is instructive. The Queen, as the chief of an aristocratic class, surrounded by every kind of pageantry, in which the military is most conspicuous, gives London a holiday. The Emperor, a General, and the wise head of a military despotism, marches to his Assembly through his bright camp of Paris. The President, the plainest and simplest of citizens, without badge or decoration, without a soldier or a drum, with a band of constables to clear the way, and another to restrain the pressing crowd, rides quietly with bare head in an open barouche, followed by a dozen other barouches, and saluted from sidewalk and window and balcony, by the earnest sympathy of thousands of hearts and voices loyal to their country and its Government, and quickened to deep enthusiasm by the proud flag—the symbol of national greatness and renown—which floated at intervals down the long vista of the street.

The contrast of the spectacle was the difference of the political systems. Ours rests upon opinion, upon rational conviction : the others, upon the military arm. With us, the sword is the unsheathed defense of the necessary rights of every government, which represents the popular will lawfully expressed ; in the others, it is the emphasis and argument of a governing will, which may or may not be that of the nation. Other systems presuppose two powers—the government and the people. In our system they are one; and the antagonism is between the people and discontented or rebellious individuals. And our system secures to each of those individuals an absolute right to persuade all the other citizens of the justice of their opinions, and therefore the opportunity of making them legally prevail.

The wit of man could not devise a plan more perfect ; and the event of the last week was the entry of the lately-elected representative of that will into the city of New York. A simple, earnest, sincere-looking man, gazing curiously at the noble street and the vast crowd that filled it, he bowed at intervals with natural dignity, yet abstractedly, as if he were instinctively conscious, as he has so frequently said, that it was not he, but the majesty of the nation visible in his person, that aroused the profound interest of the people. It was a very striking contrast to the Japanese wonder and the pageant that welcomed the Prince of Wales. They were pretty spectacles, in which nobody had any particular interest ; but the intent interest of every citizen of the country at this moment made the curiosity with which the new President was regard

ed significant and solemn. There was the same kind of hushed intensity of feeling as he passed which one may imagine in the crowds that watched Washington.

The Lounger, like his fellow-citizens, has seen more than one Presidential progress. He saw the acting-President Tyler as he drove through the streets of Boston to hear the oration of Daniel Webster at the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument: and before that he saw, with all New York, the entrance of President Van Buren as he passed up Broadway from the Battery—the occasion which is also memorable for the advent of Jenkins in New York journalism : for the town was favored next day with a description of the President's bedchamber and dressing-room. But neither of these scenes was of more than superficial interest. The entry of President Lincoln will be always memorable; for we were looking upon a man to whom greater and more trying duties have been intrusted than to any President since Washington: and all that he has said and done, all that is told of his life, certifies the deep sincerity of his words when he says that he relies for the just performance of those duties upon the favor of God and the support of the people.


THE man of sixty, as he waits for his wife in the dressing-room, and hears the throbbing beat and passionate movement of the dancing music be-low, looks with a half-sighing, regretful curiosity upon the eager youth around him, buttoning their gloves and surveying their neck-ties, and sympathizes with them in his heart, that they are born too late, and that all the high festival of life was ended before they arrived to enjoy it.

He recalls the dances of other days, the belles that were belles, the sweet tingle of excitement in the nerves, the fine delirium of love and youth, and pities those who think that the ball to-night can be what the ball was in -'20, when Mrs. Ptolemy Philadelphus, who is now chiefly intent upon terrapin at supper, was the superb Cleopatra of universal homage. The play is done, his musing, melancholy glance seems to say to the impatient youth of to-day : The lamps are put out ; they only smoke now and smell unpleasantly; the lovely partners are grandmothers and unmarried aunts in the corner ; 'tis all a mistake of yours, young gentleman: this but fun; this is only a carnival of spectres—a ghastly satire.

The light rustle and sweep of airy dress floating down the staircase into that warm gulf of music and flowers and gems and beaming faces below, does not disturb the fidelity of his faith in the past. He pities the whole ; he disbelieves iii it; he can not persuade himself that they are truly happy as he was happy, long ago. Could some kind fairy whisper that when he was young, and eager, and hopeful, there were also the musing, melancholy men of sixty, who disbelieved as heartily in his enjoyment, he might pause a moment and wonder; and as his wife appeared, no longer a sylph in muslin, but a brocaded, diamonded dowager, the conviction might slowly steal into his mind that it was he, and not human nature, that had changed; that twenty is as blithe and hopeful as ever twenty was before; and that the skepticism of sixty may be largely made up of a secret, sad regret that the heart kindled and the foot bounded no more with the passionate persuasion of "the dancers dancing in tune."

It was with the same skepticism of sixty that a gentleman whom the Lounger saw upon the late festival of good Bishop Valentine scolded as pretty and merry a group of school-girls as was ever seen. It was in a small village, and afternoon school was out. Not less than forty or fifty eager little faces and forms, from five and six years up to fifteen, were packed in a shouting, gabbling throng around the window of the post-office, all pushing and straining to be in front; and when the most energetic reached the spot, and the grave-faced boy of seven-teen asked the name, there was such blushing forgetfulness of her own name in every case, that the impatient expectants behind all shouted it in chorus of childlike treble, and the bashful girl in the woolen hood evidently wished she had not been so energetic and successful. There was the most gleesome babble, and nobody thought of doing any-thing but opening the tender missive upon the spot, and reading then and there. "Ain't you ashamed, Almiry Jane, to stop up the way so?" " Emma Hutchin! Emma Hutchin! let us up." "Oh! Hannah, it's too bad! It's real selfish to stand there !" Then a general, merry, wrangling hub-hub and squeezing; and the delivery of letters for the purposes of trade was then and there suspended."What infernal nonsense!" said the neighbor of the Lounger--waiting, like him, for a chance to get near enough to drop in a letter. "Here, children, get out of the way! Don't make such a noise! What are you doing here? Why don't you go home and behave yourselves !" The gleesome noise died before this rough exorcism as the cooing of cloves in the sun stops in the shadow of the hawk. The little faces were turned up in timid doubt; the throng parted, and the gentleman dropped his letter and departed. Why do we so easily forget that we have been young, and that youth is always the same? The instinctive feeling of each bright-eyed child in that pretty crowd was, of course, "How glad I am that I am not that man's child!" Yes, and how sorry they would have felt, if they had been as old as the Lounger, for that man's children! Let us hope that his oldest boy has sent that beautiful valentine over which Almiry Jane is blushing, and that his next vows that never Fate shall sever his heart from the clutchin' of Emma Hutchin; while his third declares in capital letters that his heart is a banner engraved with Hannah, which ne'er shall be furled in this dreary world, but through every hap continue to flap.

That would be poetic justice. Their pleasure should thus come out of his pocket, if not out of him heart.



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