“You have as difficult a task in hand as Washington had when he took command of the American army, and as little to do it with.”

“That is true, substantially,” replied the President, “but then I have larger resources to draw from,” a reply which showed that a hopeful, discriminating, thoughtful man had moved into the Executive Mansion

“You are right, Mr. President,” responded the senator; “but my remark had reference to the weak condition of the government, as the out-going administration left it—no money, no army, no navy, no fire-arms, no nothing for you to begin with.”

“But really I have what is better, the patriotism of the loyal people,” was the President’s just and noble reply. The Honorable Henry J. Raymond, speaking of a leading feature of Mr. Lincoln’s administration, said: “From the outset his reliance was upon the spirit and patriotism of the people. He had no overweening estimate of his own sagacity, he was quite sensible of his lack of that practical knowledge of men and affairs which experience of both alone can give; but he had faith in the devotion of the people to the principles of Republican government, in their attachment to the Constitution and the Union, and in that intuitive sagacity of a great community which always transcends the most cunning devices of individual men, and in a great and perilous crisis more resembles inspiration than the mere deductions of the human intellect. At the very outset of his administration President Lincoln cast himself, without reserve and without fear, upon this reliance.” A man of less confidence in the ability and fidelity of the loyal people for such a crisis would not have been qualified for his position.

The senator referred to facts with which the country was familiar,—that is, that the National Government had been under the control of the South, especially during the previous administration, and that the cabinet had used their opportunity to prepare for civil war by taking possession of its resources, that northern strength might be diminished. Howell Cobb was Secretary of the Treasury under the previous administration, and he was a slaveholder from Georgia. He left the public treasury without a dollar, and the national credit so much impaired that borrowing money was difficult if not impossible. It was supposed that he used several million dollars of the public money in preparation for the rebellion. John B. Floyd was Secretary of War; and he was a slaveholder from Virginia. He depleted northern arsenals, as Cobb depleted the treasury, and sent rifles, muskets, cannon, mortars, balls, powder and shells, to important posts in the South. The Memphis Appeal, a disloyal journal of Tennessee, said that “seven hundred and seven thousand stand of arms, and two hundred thousand revolvers, were distributed at convenient points in the South, by the action of Secretary Floyd, at the commencement of the Rebellion.” Isaac Toucey of Connecticut was Secretary of the Navy, and though not a slaveholder he was as servile a tool in the hands of rebel manipulators as lived; and he scattered our navy, ninety vessels, so widely so that it could be of no immediate service to the government, when the South should rise up against it. Only two vessels of our entire naval squadron remained in northern parts when Mr. Lincoln became President. It was to this discouraging condition of affairs that the senator referred in addressing Mr. Lincoln. The latter closed the interview by telling a story.

“Did you read the prophecy which the papers say was spoken about my administration?” asked Mr. Lincoln.

The senator signified that he had not.

“Well,” added Mr. Lincoln, “a prophet foretells that my administration will be the reign of steel. To which a wag replied, ‘Buchanan’s was the reign of stealing.’ ”

Mr. Lincoln’s humour aided his hopefulness wonderfully in the very embarrassing circumstances in which he found the government, and thereby he was all the better fitted to rule the nation at such a time.

It was very important that a leading Democrat in Congress should stand squarely by Mr. Lincoln’s administration; and Senator Douglas, the President’s old antagonist, was the man, above all others, to do it. Therefore Mr.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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