Page:Abraham Lincoln address (1909).djvu/28

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26

WHAT NORTHERN PEOPLE THOUGHT IN NOVEMBER, 1864.

And it should never be forgotten that in the election held in November, 1864, between Lincoln and McClellan, in which the platform of McClellan's party charged that the war had been a failure; that the Constitution had been disregarded in every part; that justice, humanity, liberty and the public welfare demanded that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities with the ultimate convention of all the States that these may be restored on the basis of a federal union of all the States; * * * that they considered the administration's "usurpation of extraordinary and dangerous powers not granted by the Constitution" as "calculated to prevent a restoration of the union"; and which further charged that administration with "woeful disregard of its duty to prisoners of war"; that during this canvass Lincoln was denounced as a "remorseless tyrant," and his administration as the "Rebellion of Abraham Lincoln." That out of a vote of four millions of the Northern people cast in that election, nearly one-half, viz., 1,800,000 voted for McClellan and in condemnation of Mr. Lincoln on the foregoing platform and charges. So with this evidence of the condemnation of Mr. Lincoln and his administration, just five months before his death, by so many of his own people, we must be excused if we decline to accept the portraiture of his character and conduct as now so persistently presented to us by these same people, and we must be excused too for being skeptical about their sincerity in believing in the truthfulness of that portraiture themselves.

We charge, and without the fear of successful contradiction, that Mr. Lincoln, as the head of the Federal Government, and the Commander-in-chief of its armies, was directly responsible for the outrages committed by his subordinates; and that the future and un-prejudiced historian will so hold him responsible, we verily believe.

TREATMENT OF PRISONERS.

But this is not all. Mr. Lincoln was directly responsible for all the sorrows, sufferings and deaths of prisoners on both sides during the war. At the beginning of the war, the Confederate Government enacted that "rations furnished prisoners of war shall be the same in quantity and quality as those furnished to enlisted men in the