February 14, 1861: Lincoln says majority should rule

Lincoln’s journey to Washington continues. In Steubenville, OH, he says that the majority should rule the country — which doesn’t seem controversial, but in the context of the various Southern efforts to get the Crittenden Compromise implemented, perhaps it needed to be said.

From the New York Times:

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Thursday, Feb. 14.
The President elect and party left here at 8 o’clock this morning, in a train in charge of Assistant Superintendent LAYING. In spite of a rain-storm which prevailed, a number of persons collected at the depot to bid Mr. LINCOLN adieu.

At Newark, Frazersburgh, Dresden, Coshocton, New-Comerstown and Urichsville, large crowds of ladies and gentlemen collected to see Mr. LINCOLN, notwithstanding the pelting rain. Mr. LINCOLN stopped at Cadiz Junction, where an elegant dejeuner was provided by Mrs. J.L. JEWETT, wife of the President of the Steubenville and Indiana Railroad. Mrs. JEWETT was invited to accompany he party, as was also the Committee from Steubenville.

STEUBENVILLE, Thursday, Feb. 14.
On the arrival of the party here the rain had ceased. A beautiful demonstration took place here. Five thousand people turned out to welcome Mr. LINCOLN. Cannon were fired, etc. Mr LINCOLN ascended a stage, and was welcomed by Judge FLOYD. Mr. LINCOLN responded briefly. He said:

“I fear that the great confidence placed in my ability is unfounded. Indeed. I am sure it is. Encompassed by vast difficulties as I am, nothing shall be wanting on my part, if sustained by the American people and God. I believe the devotion to the Constitution is equally great, on both sides of the river. It is only the different understanding of that instrument that causes difficulty. The only dispute is “What are their rights?” If the majority should not rule, who should be the judge? Where is such a judge to be found? We should all be bound by the majority of the American people — if not then the minority must control. Would that be right? Would it be just generous? Assuredly not. He reiterated the majority should rule. If he (LINCOLN) adopted a wrong policy the opportunity to condemnation would occur in four years time. Then I can be turned out and a better man with better views put in my place.”

The speech was cut short, the time being up.

J.N. MCCULLOUGH, President of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad, got on, and will accompany the party to Cleveland. Also, a Committee to invite Mr. LINCOLN to a reception in Alleghany City.
At Wellsville the Cleveland Committee joined the party. There was a very large demonstration at this place.

At Rochester, the Pittsburgh Committee got aboard. The train was delayed two hours in consequence of a freight train being off the track.

The train arrived at Allegheny at 8 o’clock this evening, in a pelting rain, which prevented the intended demonstration to some extent. The party proceeded in carriages to the Monongahela House, Pittsburgh, where Mr. LINCOLN addressed an immense crowd.

He said he would not give them a speech, as he thought it more rare, if not more wise, for a public man. Be expressed his gratitude and surprise at seeing so great at a crowd and such boundless enthusiasm manifested in the right time and under such untoward circumstances, to greet so unworthy an individual as himself. This was undoubtedly attributable to the position which more by accident than by worth he had attained. He remarked further, that if all there whole-souled people whom he saw this evening before him were for the preservation of the Union, he did not see how it could be in much danger. [Cheering, and cries of “Union, and no compromise”]. He had intended to say a few words to the people of Pittsburgh — the greatest manufacturing city of the United States — upon such matters as they desired, but as he had adopted the plan of holding his tongue for the most part during the last canvass, and since his election, he thought he had perhaps better now still continue to hold his tongue. [Cries of “Go on.” “go on”] Well. I am reminded that there is an Alleghany City as well as an Alleghany County — the former the banner town, and the latter the banner County, perhaps of the world. I am glad to see both of them and the good people of both. That I may not disappoint these, I will say a few words to you to-morrow as to the peculiar interests of Allegheny County.

As Mr. LINCOLN closed his speech, some one proposed. “Three cheers for the Union as it is,” which were given with a will.

Mr. LINCOLN will speak in the morning at 8 o’clock. He will then be escorted by the military and others through both cities and leave at 11 o’clock for Cleveland.

Had there not been a pelting storm here the display would have been fine.

It seems that no arrangements have as yet been made for Mr. LINCOLN’s visit to New-York, but it is presumed by his Republican friends that he will stop at the Astor House during his stay in that City.

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