The President Elect

New York Morning Courier and Enquirer, February 15, 1861

The position now held by Mr. LINCOLN is one demanding the exercise of those qualities which make a man. Few public men have ever been placed in a position which demanded of them a more strict and conscientious adherence to principle. Between firmness and obstinacy there is a vast difference; and while in the present state of affairs the one is eminently indispensable, the other is for every reason to be avoided. While the one will produce good, the other can only lead to evil. In times like these, true lovers of their country form their opinions only after due deliberation; but having formed them, they do not change them unless convinced that they are wrong. Mr. LINCOLN has thus far proved that he is a man well fitted for the position in which he is placed. He is not one of your hasty men, whose opinions are formed upon the spur of the moment, and who, consequently, have to change them often. He is no mere politician, who can see nothing beyond the lines of his party. He is one who loves his country, who studies her interests, and therefore believes the welfare of the whole, and not of one part only, should be cared for. Possessing ability and a well-matured judgment; firm in his determination but never obstinate; governed at all times by an earnest desire to do his duty faithfully, he is one who, having marked out his line of conduct, does not deviate from it from any fears of the consequences. He seems to possess that which so many lack, and which is now so necessary—moral courage. Assailed as he has been by his political enemies, and accused by them of keeping the country in a disturbed state, he would, had he been a weak man, have been driven into doing what his conscience would have condemned. His silence has not, however, been the result of a sullen disposition, nor has it arisen from a want of appreciation of the difficulties which disturb the country. Did any candid person entertain a doubt as to the motives of Mr. LINCOLN'S silence, they would be removed by what he himself said on Wednesday at Columbus. "Allusion," said he, "has been made to the interest felt in relation to the policy of the new Administration. In this I have received from some a degree of credit for having kept silent, and from others some deprecation. I still think that I was right. In the varying and repeatedly shifting scenes of the present, and without a precedent which could enable me to judge by the past, it has seemed fitting that before speaking upon the difficulties of the country, I should have gained a view of the whole field; to be sure, after all, being at liberty to modify and change the course of policy as future events may make a change necessary. I have not maintained silence from any want of real anxiety."

These remarks not only show that his course has been rightly guessed, but that he is one who seeks something more than the mere interests of party.

When, then, the character of this man is duly appreciated; when it is remembered that he is eminently sincere, there is something exceedingly gratifying in watching his progress towards the National Capital. He goes there to find that a number of the States are in open rebellion. He knows that this rebellion has abettors among those by whom he is daily surrounded. He finds great differences of opinion as to what, when in office, he can and ought to do. He is told that the seceding States are now in fact independent, and that the attempt to take from them what they have stolen would be the result of madness. It is again and again proclaimed in the National Legislature, that unless he does consent to sacrifice his principles he will ruin the country. But by all the various influences which his opponents bring to bear upon him he is unmoved. Having marked out the course which the present events seemingly demand, he is not to be driven from it by fears or threats. Reason only will influence him, but a reason for changing his policy has not yet been given. Trusting not solely in his own abilities, but relying upon a Higher Power, he presents the picture of a true Christian man discharging his duty under trying circumstances.

The more the character of Mr. LINCOLN is developed, the more fitted does he appear to be placed at this time at the head of our Government. The difficulties which disturb us result from a want of firmness. The lack of confidence which affects our business relations is the result of a distrust in the Government. What we need is the evidence that our Government has some strength, and that the Union is not that often spoken of "rope of sand." Our present position is not only disastrous to us at home, but it destroys confidence in us abroad. We need now to know that we have a Government which has some inherent force, and which can deal with rebels as they should be dealt with. When we know this, confidence will return, and business generally will become unusually prosperous. The foundations for it were never firmer, and confidence only is required to give it impetus. This confidence will return when it is found that he who presides in the Presidential Chair, is one who not only knows what his duty is, but one who will discharge it fearlessly. Under the Administration of such a man, rebels will return to reason, without being coerced. When the child knows that it is governed by one who will compel obedience, it seldom attempts to disobey. It is the weak, vacillating parent who has most trouble in managing his children.