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The Next President

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1864

Art. IV. The next Presidential Election. Mr. Lincoln. The Presidency. Action of Legislatures. One Tern Principle. Patronage. Prolonging the War. Inability and Vacillation. "Honest Old Abe" &c. 8vo., pp. 8.

This powerfully written pamphlet has been sent us through the mail, but by whom, or from what source, we are unable to say. It is intended to warn the loyal people of the Uni­ted States against enlisting in the premature and suspicious action of several State Legislatures in nominating Mr. Lin­coln for re-election, to persuade them to wait the action of the National Convention, [Caucus], which is to assemble at Baltimore early in June next, and to give them a few strong and conclusive reasons, briefly and clearly put, why Mr. Lincoln is not the man that should be our next President. The pamphlet deserves grave consideration. We say for our­selves that we intend now to vote for the nominee of the Baltimore Convention, and, though a preference for Mr. Lincoln was incidentally expressed in our January number, we are not pledged to him, and do not intend to be pledged or committed to any man for the next Presidency, prior to the action of the National Convention.

That Mr. Lincoln is not our free choice for President, that we do not consider him qualified for the position he occu­pies, that we consider him wholly unqualified, is well known to our readers. We have never been able to discover in him a single quality in any special manner fitting him to be President of the United States at any time, and especial­ly in times like the present; and we have found in him no quality not eminently unfitting him for his high office, ex­cept, perhaps, his patience, his good humor, and capacity to labor, he has not the mental qualities, the education, the habits, the manners, the personal presence and dignity, the knowledge of history, philosophy, literature, civilization, men and things, or of the human heart itself, that we de­mand in the Chief Magistrate of a great people. Of his nomination in 1860, we said in the language of Daniel Webster : "It is a nomination eminently unfit to be made." There is scarcely a county in any of the States in the Union, which could not furnish a hundred men, any one of whom would be less unfit to be President than he was when inaugurated March 4, 1861.    That he is honest, that he is a kind hearted man, well disposed, and anxious to administer the government well, need not be questioned, though we always suspect a man's honesty who has the soubriquet of honest.  "Honest old Abe," reminds one of Mr. Clay's ad­dress to a former Senator of Massachusetts : "Honest John Davis ! Canny John Davis !" The nickname is always bestowed in irony, as the livery stable man called one of his horses Spry, because he could not be made to go more than a couple of miles an hour. It, if it sticks, implies that he is canny, cunning, has, under the appearance of great sim­plicity, a long head, and will, if you are not on your guard, come round you or overreach you. But be this as it may, be the term applied in good faith or not, honesty without capacity, though it may do very well for a. private man who has a competent and faitful steward to manage his affairs, does not answer for the President of a great nation and the Commander-in-Chief of her Army and Navy, especially when her very existence is at stake.

We wish to speak of Mr. Lincoln in terms befitting our­selves and his high position, but we must say that he has proved himself totally deficient in administrative talent. No branch of the government has been well and efficiently administered under him. Much routine work, done by old experienced clerks, may have been done regularly enough; some of the Secretaries have been able men, and have man­aged their respective departments as well as they could be managed under such a chief; but the Administration in the sense that it must receive its impulse, its spirit and tone from the President himself, has been loose, fluctuating, un­systematic, weak, and inefficient, in all save expenditure of men and money. It has lacked promptness, energy, economy. Its extravagance has been appalling, its expen­ditures enormous, and little to show for them. Its yearly expenses, when all accounts are audited, will be found to be double those of Great Britain in her gigantic wars with the emperor Napoleon, when she subsidized nearly all Europe, while our resources are far less than hers were at the time. During four years it will have run up a nation­al debt above that of Great Britain, and equal to one-third of the assessed values of the whole Union, according to the census of 1860. And no small portion of this enormous sum has been literally wasted. Vast sums have been ex­pended on expeditions that have come to naught, and on the construction of Monitors, not worth their weight in old iron. Contracts have been made on terms needlessly disadvantageous to the government, and in most of them, if heavy, the government has been swindled, by collusions between, contractors and its own employes. The Administration has not known how to inspire its own agents with a sense of duty, or to hold them to a rigid accountability. It has not known how to husband its resources, or to manage its finan­ces with economy, with advantage to the public service. The people gave generously, Congress voted liberally ample supplies of men and money, but nothing has come of it, but an army of suddenly enriched contractors, speculators, and swindlers, who are using all their influence to prolong the war. The Administration seems never to have regarded economy as necessary. The war, it was sure, would be a short war ; the Rebellion was always on its last legs, and was sure to be soon put down; and what mattered to so great and rich a nation a few hundred millions a year more or less? Peace would soon return, commerce revive, and the resources of the people reunited would soon extinguish a national debt of any magnitude. Suppose thousands of contractors, speculators and swindlers do fatten on the spoils of the Treasury ; are they not sure to be loyal supporters of the Administration and the war?

Mr. Lincoln's military operations have shown an equal want of administrative capacity. The responsibility is not to be shifted from him to the Generals commanding in the field, or to the General-in-Chief, with his head-quarters at the seat of Government. Generals commanding armies are subordinate to the civil power, and though the ablest, having the best dispositions in the world, they can accom­plish little under a weak, indecisive, and vacillating civil administration, that has no intelligible purpose, that changes its purpose every other day, or does not insist on its pur­pose being carried out. It will not do to blame General McClellan for not destroying the Rebel Armies, and sup­pressing by force of arms the Rebellion, for Mr. Lincoln, early in April, 1861, officially declared to all the world that he willingly accepted the cardinal dogma of the Secession­ists, that the Government could not reduce the Rebel States to obedience by force of arms. Did it ever instruct General Scott, General McDowell, or General McClellan, that it wished to do so, or that it had come to believe that it could do so ? With Mr. Lincoln's official declaration before him, General McClellan could not suppose the Administration expected or desired him to crush the Rebel Armies, or that it was not his duty to study "how not to do it."     If Mr. Lincoln was sincere in the declaration he authorized Mr. Seward to make, he neither expected nor desired decisive victories, for such victories would have interfered with his manner of suppressing the Rebellion.    Moreover, he had authorized the Secretary of State to inform officially, both foreign powers and the Rebels  themselves, that the  war should be so conducted as not to change the status of any person in any of the States.    Were Scott, McClellan, Halleek, or Buel, to conduct the war as an abolition war, or in a manner damaging to slavery?    Generals  after  all  are men, sometimes reasoning and thinking men, and not mere tools in the hands of the civil administration, and what wonder that they insisted on adhering to the policy origi­nally marked out for them by Mr. Lincoln, or on keeping the pledges he authorized or instructed them to give?    Has Mr. Lincoln ever distinctly disavowed that policy ?    Has he ever distinctly accepted the anti-slavery policy ?    Is it not notorious that he has done neither the one nor the other ? That with the usual cunning of small lawyers he has at­tempted to hold on to the skirts of both at one and the same time ?   What wonder then that Generals of high character are disgusted, and content themselves with simply saving their honor as soldiers ?

Mr. Lincoln has never told the army what he wanted of expected of it, for he has never known himself. He wanted to put down the Rebellion indeed, but by force of arms? by political manipulation ? or by both combined? At first the troops were called out only to defend Washington, and the war was to be purely defensive. Then there came a cry, "On to Richmond." Then an expedition was sent out to gain a few ports on the Southern coast, and then to get a foothold in some rebel State, for political and commercial rather than for military purposes. New Orleans was taken in order to please the shipping interest, and the Mississippi River was left closed for the benefit of the railroad interest. One day attention is momentarily given to military interests, and the next every thing yields to the desire of manufacturing by the aid of Federal bayonets sham States in Rebeldom, and securing a few Congressional or Electoral votes for the Ad­ministration. What can the military do, liable every mo­ment to be disconcerted by some new trick or crotchet of the Administration ? The astonishment is that they have done so much, not that they have not done more.  The Administration has never looked properly after the army. Congress voted men enough, but we have heard constantly the cry that our forces are outnumbered, that we want more men. This cry has indeed not always been true. McClellan's forces outnumbered the Rebels in the battles before Richmond, and Hooker's forces outnumbered Lee's at Chancellorsville, about two to one; but generally we have not had men enough where and when we wanted them. Then we have never had only about three-fifths of the men present whose names are on the muster rolls, and whom the Government is paying. In August, 1862, the President himself told us, that the number of men on the grand roll receiving pay from the Government was six hundred thousand, and yet the number present in the several armies was only about three hundred and sixty thousand! Where were the rest? In hospitals? Some of them were, but the greater part were well and hearty, the President said, at ome, tending bar, at work on railroads, or on farms, and a considerable number of them, he might have said, had never been enlisted. But for these absent men, stragglers, deserters, or never enlisted, the three hundred thousand ad­ditional volunteers called for in July of that year would not have been needed. The administration of the army is all of a piece with this, and probably the Government has all along been paying for at least one-fourth more men than it has or ever has had in its service. Who dare say that this could happen under a President of even ordinary administrative capacity ?

The policy of the Administration in its conduct of the war has been not only expensive, inefficient, but capricious, often unintelligible, to be explained only as one or another influence in the cabinet, or outside, predominated. Gene­ral Fremont was appointed to the command of the West, head-quarters St. Louis, with the fullest powers the Admin­istration could give him. Unhappily, it had previously con­ferred blank powers on Frank P. Blairjun., which it lacked the disposition or the courage to recall, and when Fremont refused to recognize Blair as his superior and commanding officer, a quarrel broke out between them. Blair was abusive, and Fremont placed him in arrest; Scott released him. By incredible exertions Fremont got an army together, armed, disciplined, and appointed, with which he proposed to sweep the Rebel armies from Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, clear the Mississippi, and take possession of New Orleans, and open the route to the Gulf, and this he could and would, in all human probability, have done by January, 1862, or soon after, if he had been sustained by the Administration. But just as he was in presence of the enemy, and on the eve of a certain victory, he was relieved, and the command given to another, who marched the army back towards St. Louis, permitted it to scatter, and gave up the greater part of the State of Missouri to the tender mercies of the Reb­els. The task which Butler, Banks, and Grant finally suc­ceeded in accomplishing, at a terrible cost, a year and a half afterwards, was too easy of accomplishment at that time to suit the Administration, which seems to have a fondness for struggling with difficulties. Mr. Lincoln sent a fleet, with a land force under General T.W. Sherman, and took possession of Hilton Head, after one of the most splendid naval victories over land fortifications on record. Sherman, aided by the fleet, could easily, at that time, have taken possession of both Charleston and Savannah, but he had positive orders not to set a foot on the main land. Why ? We know not, unless Charleston and Savannah were not strongly enough fortified and garrisoned to render their capture sufficiently difficult and costly,unless it would have too seriously damaged the Rebellion, and been too great a humiliation to the Rebels. Perhaps it would have ir­ritated them. It has been the misfortune of Mr. Lincoln, from the capture of the Arsenal and Armory at Harper's Ferry, and the Navy Yard at Gosport, down to the present, to be never ready at the time, to be always behindhand, or in the wrong place, and obliged to retake at great ex­pense and terrible loss of life what a little forethought, promptness, and energy might have enabled him to keep, or never to have lost. But for the courage and boldness of General Morris, when he first took command of Fort McHenry, the Rebels in Baltimore might easily have taken that Fort, the key to the whole position, and carried away Washington and Maryland in the secession movement, and so secured the Confederacy a prompt recognition as the United States by Foreign Powers, for the Fort, if attacked only with pikes and scaling ladders by the Rebel force then in Baltimore, could have made no defence, and must have sur­rendered, so destitute had it been left. The President is never ready to strike a home blow, and his measures are generally wrong measures or right measures at a wrong time, or in a wrong place. 

So has it been with the slavery question. Mr. Lincoln would take no step towards emancipation till he had wearied out the hopes of the negroes, disheartened them, alienated them, by making them feel that the war was to bring them no deliverance. When his generals took steps to reassure them, he rescinded their orders, snubbed them, then relieved them. After the hopes of the negroes had been sufficiently damped, after their enthusiasm had died away, and their confidence in the Yankees had been destroyed, then he comes out with a threat to emancipate the slaves in certain States and parts of States, but taking care to give the Rebels a hundred days to prepare for it, and to guard against the damage it might do them. He then comes out with his Proclamation, but takes care to confine its operation to slave territory not within our lines, and hemmed in by other slave territory into which they could not escape with­out being liable to be arrested and imprisoned as runaway slaves. He left Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, slave States apparently, to bar escape, by State laws, to the poor slaves from the States in which he declared them free. Was he afraid that the slave would take him at his word, and get away from his master, and be a free man ? If he had adopted the Emancipation Policy immediately after the first battle of Bull Run ; or if he had sustained the Pro­clamation of General Fremont in the Department of the West, the military order of General Hunter in the De­partment of the Soiith, and quietly instructed Generals Butler, Burnside, Buel, and McClellan, to issue similar orders in their respective Departments, the policy would have encountered no serious opposition in the loyal States, it would have excited great enthusiasm; would have secur­ed the confidence of the negro population, and struck a heavy blow at the very heart of the Rebellion. But no; Mr. Lincoln wan't ready ; he must study longer his colored map, and meditate what he should do with the negroes freed by the presence of our armies, when our lines should be driven back, and they come again within the lines of the Rebels; and so the golden opportunity passed away, never to return.

So it has been from first to last. Mr. Lincoln evidently knows nothing of the philosophy of history, or of the higher elements of human nature. He imagines that men act only from low and interested motives, and does not suspect, be­cause he does not feel, the presence of a heroic element, the element, Carlyle would call it, of Hero-worship, that makes men admire and cling to, and uphold a bold, daring policy, energetically proclaimed, firmly adhered to, and consistent­ly acted on, though in the face and eyes of their interest. His soul seems made of leather, and incapable of any grand or noble emotion. Compared with the mass of men, he is a line of flat prose in a beautiful and spirited lyric. He lowers, he never elevates you. You leave his presence with your enthusiasm damped, your better feelings crushed, and your hopes cast to the winds. You ask not, can this man carry the nation through its terrible struggles? but, can the nation carry this man through them, and not perish in the attempt? He never adopts a clean policy. When he hits upon a policy, substantially good in itself, he con­trives to belittle it, besmear it, or in some way to render it mean, contemptible, and useless. Even wisdom from him seems but folly. It is not his fault, but his misfortune. He is a good sort of man, with much natural shrewdness and respectable native abilities ; but he is misplaced in the Presidential Chair. He lives and moves in an order of thought, in a world many degrees below that in which a great man lives and moves. We blame him not because he is mole-eyed and not eagle-eyed, and that he has no sus­picion of that higher region of thought and action in which lie the great interests and questions he is called upon to deal with as President of the United States. He has done as much as was in his power to make himself, and should be respected for what he has made himself, and the fault that he is not fit for his position is the fault of us who put him there. His only fault is, the misfortune of being unconscious of his own unfitness for his place.

But entertaining these views of Mr. Lincoln's character, his eminent unfitness for his place, and the extreme peril of the country with him in the Presidential Chair, why have you proposed him for re-election? We might reply, it was a blunder. We might say we were very ill when we did it, and were not disposed to be sent to the Old Capitol Prison, or to Fort Lafayette; but we prefer always the fair, undisguised truth. What we said in our January Review, which does not amount to proposing Mr. Lincoln for re-election, unless he should be the candidate of the Union party, was said under the impression that he being determined to be a candidate, it would be like fighting against the inevitable to oppose him, and we must either accept him, or give the election and the administration for the next four years to the Democrats. We have seen no reason to alter our opinion since. We practise no concealment, put on no political disguise. Mr. Lincoln, in our judgment, is a very unsuitable person to be President. A more unsuitable per­son we could hardly name, but we look upon him as an unavoidable evil. His re-election, we do not for its own sake or his sake, desire. It would continue in place Seward, Blair, the whole class of politicians that our very soul loatheth, and continue a policy we have elsewhere described as neither fish nor flesh, neither fowl nor yet good red herring. But what is to be done? These politicians have for their own selfish purposes persuaded him to consent to be a can­didate for re-election. They have tickled his vanity, and shrewd as he is, he is not shrewd enough to penetrate their motives, or he has not principle and patriotism enough to resist them. He has consented to be a candidate, and is determined to be re-elected, if possible. There is  a little woman" that will be grieved if defeated. So much is cer­tain. Now who can run against him ? There are better men enough, but with the Seward and Blair interests, and the whole influence of the Shoddy interest and the officers and employes of the Government on his side, how can you expect to get another candidate nominated ? Can we doubt that all the patronage of the Government will be wielded in his favor and against any man who dares oppose him? We believe him strong enough, with his patronage and his demagogical and selfish supporters, to prevent any other man from getting the nomination, or if he gets it, to pre­vent him from being elected, and we believe him just the man to do so. To us, therefore, the question is simply this : Shall we endeavor to re-elect Mr. Lincoln, or let the election go by default to the Democrats? Let us not de­ceive ourselves, Mr. Lincoln has the inside track, and is able to keep it. If he is not strong enough to secure his election, he is yet strong enough to kill off any other man in the Republican ranks who shall be his rival.

We have heard Mr. Chase's name mentioned, in connec­tion with the next presidential election. Mr. Chase is a man infinitely superior every way to Mr. Lincoln. He moves in a sphere of thought and integrity of which Mr. Lincoln has no conception. He is morally and intellectu­ally infinitely above the comprehension of Abraham Lin­coln. And yet, were they to become rivals, the most that could result would be that each would kill the other. The names of John C. Fremont, and of Benjamin F. Butler, have been mentioned, either of whom would be infinitely preferable to the present incumbent, we had almost written, incumbrance. General Fremont has been politically wounded by Messrs. Lincoln, Seward, Blair & Co., and we fear his chance is not much better than that of Mr. Chase, though it would give us pleasure to see him nominated by the Convention, and if so nominated, we would most heartily support him, for we like him and respect him personally. General Butler has ability, genius, activity, fertility of resource, and would, if elected, make an able, efficient, and popular President. He is, also, a hard man to kill. Of all the men named, he would be the best able to survive a rivalship with Mr. Lincoln. But even he cannot do it. The Government patronage would crush him. There are other men by scores and by hundreds we could name, in Congress and out of Congress, in the East­ern, Western, and Northwestern States, whom we should prefer to Mr. Lincoln, but to what good? Mr. Lincoln having made up his mind to be a candidate, he will suffer no other man to be nominated, if he can help it, and help it he can. This to us is conclusive. Having been foolish enough to make Mr. Lincoln our candidate in 1860, we must accept him as our candidate in 1864, or perhaps do worse, if worse be possible.

We do not like this aspect of the case, for it gives us no freedom of choice. It amounts to suffering Mr. Lincoln to nominate himself as his own successor. The alternative is simply, as it seems to us, Mr. Lincoln or a Democrat. Having resolved to run again, we do not believe the Re­publicans are able to prevent him from being a candidate. But if a candidate, can he be re-elected? If the Democrats run a Peace Democrat against him, we think he can. If they run a decided War Democrat, like General Dix, for example, a man of ability, energy, and character, we regard it as doubtful, to say the least. Is it better that he should be elected, better for the country, we mean, than a Demo­crat. Than a Peace Democrat, or Copperhead, certainly; than a War Democrat, we think not. Mr. Lincoln, by per­sisting in being a candidate for re-election, and thus crip­pling the Republicans, gives the Democrats the finest opportunity they could ask for, to redeem their own politi­cal character, to return to power, and to serve their country.  Whether they will avail themselves of it or not remains to be seen. Messrs. Seward and Weed's policy of dividing the Democratic party, and gaining a' portion of it for Mr. Lincoln, on the ground that he is to run on a quasi con­servative platform, will fail. The Democrats know them, and, though willing enough to use them to break up and ruin the Republican party, they will not trust them. No, not so soon as they would Mr. Simmer or Wendell Phillips. They have no confidence in them, and no respect for Mr. Lincoln, who cannot properly be said to be one thing or another. Nothing is to be hoped for Mr. Lincoln in the coming election from that side of the house, and saving a few politicians who wish to use him, the employes of the Government, office-holders under it, and the army of con­tractors and their friends, who wish the war prolonged, there is not an intelligent man, woman, or child in the country that wishes Mr. Lincoln to be re-elected, or that would vote for him, except as the lesser of two evils, or if it was felt that he could be opposed without detriment to the Union cause. Save by the classes designated, Mr. Lincoln is now supported only from pure patriotism, because the Govern­ment cannot be supported without supporting the Adminis­tration, and because without supporting the Government the Union cannot be maintained, the Rebellion put down, and the life and integrity of the nation preserved. Men may not, in general, deem it wise or prudent to say so, but such, nevertheless, is the literal fact. William Lloyd Gar­rison, we are told, is in favor of his re-election, because he thinks him an anti-Slavery man, we presume; but Wendell Phillips, worth a dozen of him as an index to the real feeling of the abolition party, opposes it. The leading anti-Slavery men of the country, not technically abolitionists, are opposed to it, and wish some other candi­date. Witness the movement for Chase. None but such anti-Slavery men as Weed, Seward, Bates, and the Blairs, wish Mr. Lincoln re-elected, and they, it is well known, are among the worst enemies of the anti-slavery cause to be found at present in the Union. It is, therefore, clear to us that, if the Democrats have the wisdom and the virtue to put up a War Democrat, who is willing to let Slavery die and be buried, a man whom loyal Union men can vote for without betraying their Government or endangering the national cause, Mr. Lincoln will stand a poor chance of re-election, if he leaves the election free, and does not undertake to control it by the military. Hundreds and thousands of loyal Republicans would abstain from voting, and some, most likely; would even bolt their party.

But in case the Democrats run a Peace Democrat, say Governor Seymour of this State, or General George B. McClellan of New Jersey, Mr. Lincoln can be re-elected, and better, we think, Mr. Lincoln than a Copperhead. This is the issue, we supposed last December, when we expressed ourselves favorable to Mr. Lincoln's re-election ; and in such an issue we do not think any loyal man ought to hesitate. Mr. Lincoln lacks administrative capacity, lacks knowledge, ability, thought, decision, energy; but he is loyal as he un­derstands loyalty, and means honestly to put down the Re­bellion, and bring back the seceded States to their place in the Union. Of this no one can doubt. To this end he is earnestly devoted, and acts with such light, wisdom, and strength as he has. He has learned something,  not much, it is true, but something,  from experience, and is less unfit for his place than when he first occupied it. He is, as a sailor would say, a little lubberly, but he has learned the ropes, and is no longer to be rated as a green hand. It is perhaps possible to carry him another four years, and by "pegging away,"  to borrow his own classic phrase,  to sup­press the Rebellion after awhile, to make a final end of slavery, and to get some sort of a peace. We submit, therefore, if it is not better to make him our candidate than it is to run the risk of throwing the Government for the next four years into the hands of such a man as Fernando Wood, Horatio Seymour, or Clement L. Vallandigham, or a man who will carry out the policy of these gentlemen.

There is a reason besides of some weight, for re-electing Mr. Lincoln. The patronage of the Government is becoming enormous, and unless it is diminished, or some measure de­vised by which the scramble for office can be restricted, the Union will not hold together long, even if restored. Each Presidential election will convulse the nation, and the shock become too great to be borne with safety. As a means of lessening the evil, it is desirable to adopt the one term prin­ciple; but a much longer term than four years. We would have the presidential term of office so long, that the office-seekers who fail of getting an office with the incoming administration, shall think it quite useless to begin forthwith to agitate for a change, so as to give them another chance. To every office in the gift of the Government, there are at least a hundred applicants, and, consequently, ninety-nine disappointed applicants, who are indignant that their merits are undervalued, and their claims overlooked. These, in­stead of quietly returning home and becoming honest farm­ers, shop-keepers, blacksmiths, carpenters, attorneys, school­masters, parsons, or day laborers, join with the disappointed of the opposite party, and begin forthwith to agitate in relation to the next president, and for a president who as soon as inaugurated, will make a clean sweep of all the offices, so as to be able to reward his loyal and disinterested supporters. The consequence is that the places under gov­ernment are filled with raw, inexperienced, and, for the most part, incompetent and untrustworthy persons, and a whole army, ninety-nine times more numerous than the office-holders themselves, of lean and hungry expectants are constantly at work to keep the political pot boiling, and the community in a state of political ferment.

Now, as a partial remedy to this we would alter the Con­stitution so as to extend the term for which the President and Vice President are elected, from four to at least ten yearsfifteen years, or during life, would be better, but this is said parentheticallyat least ten years, and to ren­der the President ineligible for a second term. Ten years would be too long a time for the disappointed applicants to keep up their agitation; and they would return home, and after venting their wrath in a few spiteful remarks, would settle down into quiet citizens, and we might hope for a brief interval of peace. Besides, the President being elected for so long a term, there would be more care bestowed in selecting the candidatemore attention paid to fitness and less to availability, that precious legacy left by the Old Whigs to their Republican successors, whence our own pres­ent calamity. The people would pay more attention to fitness, and demand the nomination of candidates to whom the administration of the government could be safely intrusted, and for whom an honest man. with a moderate share of in­telligence, might vote without sacrificing his self-respect. That would be a comfort and a real advantage. Now such a change can be better brought about under a second term than under the first, for, not likely to dream of a third term for himself, the President can have no interest in opposing it, but would, most likely, lend all his influence to effect it. This is the only positive reason, we know, for wishing Mr. Lincoln's re-election, and we give it for what it is worth.

We hare told our thought plainly, our honest thought, without reticence or circumlocution; we have also told some truths not likely to be as plainly told by others. We never allow ourselves to despair of the Republic; but we cannot deny that we feel no little uneasiness at present. Things nowhere look bright and promising; we can discern no blue sky beyond the clouds that lower over our political heavens. We do not share the convictions of those who tell us "the back bone of the Rebellion is broken, and there is to be no more serious fighting." Not more than a few ribs are cracked at most. We find no consolation in the assurances of our anti-slavery friends, that slavery is dead. We hope it is dead, and would it were buried; but that ill consoles us for the loss of our country, the life and integrity of the nation, or its glorious Constitution. We have fought for our country, not for abolition, as a patriot, not as an abolitionist. Abolition has been with us but a means to an end, and that end the salvation of our country. Gain abolition and not the salvation, and you have gained nothing for us. We see not our way clear. But we will not be disheartened. Things may not be so bad as they seem to us. Nay, they may brighten, and assume a hope-inspiring and a love-attracting shape. God grant it may be so, for our poor country's sake, wounded well nigh unto death in the house of her friends, and in still greater danger from the quacks! who undertake her cure. Vigorous and immortal is her constitution, if she survives and feels again the pulses of her young life!