« AnteriorContinuar »
ception, with logical force, with literary fruits of his genius and learning, is likely aptitude; and his style of writing is to add much to his reputation, marked by perspicuity, precision, and vernacular pliancy. On these accounts, the Theological Discussion. Immortality and book, as we have said, ought to be a good Eternal Punishment, versus a Condione, and it is what it ought to be. All tional Immortality of the Wicked. A things considered, it is perhaps the very Reply to the Rev. William Ker, M.A., best book of the kind extant. On all mat- Incumbent of Tipton. By L. WEAVER, ters connected with Biblical geography, London : W. Pitman, Paternoster-row; biography, ethnography, natural history, W. Lister, Sutton-street. and antiquities, a more reliable authority cannot be consulted; while on doctrinal
This is really a clever performance. Apart matters admirable summaries of Biblical
from the question at issue, Mr. Weaver teaching are supplied under their proper
proves himself to be a man of superior headings.
attainments. In choiceness of language, We have so repeatedly given a favour
in logical clearness and force, and in masable opinion of this dictionary that there is
tery of the Scriptures, he is a long way the less need of our saying much at present,
ahead of his reverend antagonist. The and we take our leave of it with a hearty
case bere made out in favour of the expression of our wishes that it may have
orthodox view of the question in diseven greater success in the future than it pute is a strong one, and shows concluhas had in the past.
sively that the opposite view cannot be
sustained by an appeal to the Scriptures. Commentary on the New Testament. By
JAMES MORRISON, D.D. Parts 3 and 4, A Guide to the Daily Reading of the ScripLondon: Hamilton, Adams, and Co. tures, with Anecdotes, gc., for Young
People. By HENRY ALLEN. London: Parts 3 and 4 of this Commentary fully W. Lister. sustain the favourable opinion expressed in our last number on parts 1 and 2.
A Plea for the Sabbath-day, and a Caution In this work the highest qualities of Bibli
to Talkers. By HENRY ALLEN. London; cal exposition combine, in rare propor- W. Lister. tion : the learning of Lightfoot, the force and sagacity of Scott, the spiritual insight The first of these little volumes contains a of Henry, the aptitude and suavity of large amount of useful information, set Doddridge, together with the breadth of forth in plain unpretending style, and may view and analytical subtlety which charac- be used with advantage by Sabbath-school terise many of the German commentators. teachers and young people generally. High as is the position already occupied The second consists of a series of brief oy Dr. Morrison as a biblical expositor, pungent addresses on Sabbath desecration the present work, containing the ripest and loose talking.
ART. 1.-ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
OUR former article left Mr. Lincoln at the base of the Presidency;
the present must show how he reached the apex, and what his conduct was there, with remarks on his character and death.
The Government of the United States is republican, and the Executive Head a President, elected by the people. The election occurs every four years, that being the limited term of office, unless there be a re-election. The upheaving of society at these elections is sometimes fearful, always serious. Class against class, party against party, the population wage a terrible political war. The whole social fabric of the nation seems to be shaken to its foundations, but not with such injurious consequences as might be apprehended by a superficial observer.
The elastic character of the American people prevents those injurious effects which probably would follow such popular upheavings in English society. The excitement is transitory, the effervescence of the occasion soon dies away. As the ocean is felt to be calmer after a tempest, so the American nation feels quieter after these political storms.
The presidential election takes place in November, four months before the inauguration, which is in the March following. The proceedings are somewhat complex, and for the interest of readers not versed in American politics we will briefly describe them. First, there are conventions of different political parties in each State of the Union, at which certain gentlemen are named as candidates. Next, a National Convention is held in Chicago, composed of Representatives of the States, at which a platform of principles to be submitted to the candidates is drawn up. The character of the platform determines considerably the direction of the election. VOL. VII.-NEW SERIES.
Sometimes the principles of two or more candidates are so similar that it is difficult to determine in whose interest the election will go. The election is by ballot, and the successful candidate is he who carries a majority over each of the other candidates. Combination of parties sometimes takes place to give the majority of votes to a candidate. The popular election follows on the 6th of November, when all the electors in the nation have the opportunity of recording their votes for the candidate of their choice. This popular vote, however, does not finally decide the election, although it is usually accepted as its virtual settlement. It is reserved for the Electoral College, an institution of the nation composed of persons elected by all the States of the Union, to actually decide the contest; and by a provision of the constitution of the country the successful candidate must have a majority of two-thirds of the Electoral vote over any other candidate. Perhaps no more trying ordeal is submitted to candidates for office in any country.
The state of political parties in America at the period of Mr. Lincoln's election was extremely febrile and critical. The pro-slavery and anti-slavery sentiment were more antagonistic than ever. The evil of slavery was becoming greater and more extended, and, like every other class of evil, more imperious, not to say impudent, as it increased in extent and power. The anti-slavery party, so repeatedly quieted by the many compromises introduced on the subject, were now not to be pacified by any such subterfuges, and their idea was that the progress of the monster evil must be arrested. The conscience of the North was aroused, and in the assertion of its authority demanded the prohibition of slavery in the territories of the Union. It was simply a question of ways and means. How could this opposition be best offered ? Could it not be best done in the election of an anti-slavery President? As almost every other measure had been tried with more or less failure, might not this be successful ? The North decided to try the experiment. It was no mere party domination (and had it been it would not have been unfair to the South, as for a quarter of a century previously they had carried the election of President against the North), but a simple attempt to check the extension of a great wrong, which was alike a shame and an injury to the whole country. Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, was selected by the republican party of the Union as a suitable person to carry out the design. He was recognised as an able, faithful, and consistent republican leader; and was known to represent in his life and opinion the precise aim and object of the party. He was anti-slavery, but no rabid abolitionist; and so thought less likely to offend the pro-slavery party of the Union. Mr. Lincoln's opinion on the subject of slavery and of the Executive's relation thereto shall be given in his own words: “If slavery is not wrong, said Mr. Lincoln, “then nothing is wrong." And again, “I have
no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.' He was, as his biographer justly remarks, “a native of a slave-holding state; and while he had been opposed to slavery, he had regarded it as a local institution, the creation of local laws, with which the National Government of the United States had nothing whatever to do. But, in common with all observant public men, he had watched with distrust and apprehension the advance of slavery, as an element of political power, towards ascendency in the Government of the nation, and had cordially co-operated with those who thought it absolutely necessary for the future well-being of the country that this advance should be checked. He had, therefore, opposed very strenuously the extension of slavery into the territories, and had asserted the right and the duty of Congress to exclude it by positive legislation therefrom." Now these views exactly coincided with the cardinal feature of the republican platform for the election of 1860, and hence pointed out Mr. Lincoln as the man for President.
The usual proceedings attended his election. The Illinois State Republican Convention nominated Mr. Lincoln for the Presidency -an honour as creditable to his own state as just to him for his political services to the country. A singular incident occurred in connection with his state nomination. Almost simultaneously with his nomination, a democrat of Macon county presented to the Convention two gaily-decorated fence-rails, upon which were inscribed the following words : “ Abraham Lincoln, the rail candidate for President in 1860. Two rails from a lot of 3,000, made in 1830, by Thomas Hanks and Abe Lincoln, whose father was the first pioneer of Macon county." The production of these singular and appropriate tokens of the advantages which the American democratic institution afforded to the humblest in life was a signal for enthusiastic applause. Mr. Lincoln, who happened to be present as a spectator, was loudly called upon for a speech. He rose from his seat, acknowledged that he had been a rail-splitter some 30 years previous, and said that he was informed that those before him were some which his own axe had hewn.
The state nomination of Mr. Lincoln was endorsed by the National Republican Convention, which met at the “Wigwam,” in Chicago, May 16th, 1860. The actual contest here was between Mr. Seward and Mr. Lincoln. Upon the first ballot Mr. Seward had 173} votes to 102 for Mr. Lincoln. Upon the second ballot Mr. Seward had 1844 to 181 for Mr. Lincoln; and the third ballot gave Mr. Lincoln 230 votes, nearly a majority. Hereupon Mr. Carter, of Ohio, announced a change in Ohio's vote of 4 votes in favour of “The Young Giant of the West;” as one delegate described Mr. Lincoln, which raised the excitement of the Convention to the highest pitch. Now as the choice was certain, state after state struggled to be next in succession to exchange votes for Mr. Lincoln. The whole number of votes cast at the next ballot was 466, of which 234 were necessary to a choice : 354 were cast for Abraham Lincoln, who was thereupon declared duly nominated. When the loud applause with which the nomination was greeted had somewhat subsided, Mr. W. Evarts, of New York city, came forward, and moved that the nomination be made unanimous, which was accordingly done. “ The excitement consequent upon the nomination spread from the Convention to the audience within the building, and from them, like wildfire, to the crowds without, to whom the result had been announced. The building vibrated with the shouts of the delighted thousands beneath its roof, and, with cheer upon cheer, the multitude in the streets caught up the glad acclaim; while, amid the boom of artillery salutes, theundulation of banners, and the tempestuous gusts of bandmusic, the intelligence of the people's choice flashed over the wires from Maine to Arkansas and from the lakes to the gulf.”
Mr. Lincoln received his nomination with great modesty. He was at home (Springfield) at the time. He had been in the telegraph office during the casting of the first and second ballots, but then left, and went over to the office of the State Journal, where he was sitting conversing with friends while the third ballot was being taken. In a few moments came across the wires the announcement of the result. The Superintendent of the Telegraph Company wrote on a scrap
of “Mr. Lincoln: you are nominated on the third ballot:" and a boy ran with the message to Mr. Lincoln. He looked at it in silence, amid the shouts of those around him; then rising and putting it in his pocket, be said quietly, “There's a little woman down at our house would like to hear this. I'll go down and tell her.” It would be false to fact to say the nomination was not felt by Mr. Lincoln to be a great honour, but it certainly was felt also to be a great responsibility; indeed, the feelings were kindred in his experience; and it is said that on the following day he listened to the address of the committee charged to officially apprize him of his nomination “with a degree of grave dignity that almost wore the appearance of sadness.”
The nomination of Mr. Lincoln proved universally acceptable to the republican party. Its members recognised in him a man of firm principles, of ardent love for freedom, of strict integrity and truth; and they went into the political contest with a zeal and enthusiasın which were without parallel in the history of the country. More noise was made in the campaign of 1840, when General Harrison was elected; but the zeal of 1860 was more national and all-prevading, betraying a resolute purpose not to be defeated. And they were not defeated. Three other candidates besides Mr.