Two Inaugurations--Two Republics--Two Presidents
Philadelphia Morning Pennsylvanian, February 18, 1861
Two inaugurations are upon the tapis. One occurs to-day at Montgomery, the other on the 4th of March, at Washington. The first is the inauguration of JEFFERSON DAVIS, President elect of the Southern Confederation, the other the inauguration of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the President elect of the United States. The new confederacy commences with six States. In a short time it will have eight, and unless our national difficulties shall be speedily adjusted, it will, before the lapse of many months, comprise fifteen States, two more than the old thirteen.
JEFFERSON DAVIS' election was not one whit more sectional in its character than ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S. If no Northern State helped to elect the former, neither did any Southern State help to elect the latter. If both the President and Vice President of the Southern Confederacy are Southern men and slaveholders, both the President and Vice President of this Confederacy are Northern men and free-soilers. Like begets like, and the sectional programme and anti-slavery policy of the Black Republicans drove the cotton States into the formation of a sectional Government and a slavery policy. But for the first, the last would not have existence.
These two administrations will start almost simultaneously. The one is small, the other large. The one asks peace, and to be let alone. The other threatens coercion and war. The one is persecuted, the other a persecutor. One protects slave property as it protects all other property. The other makes war upon slave property, as it does not upon any other property.
The President of the Southern Confederacy is a gentleman, a scholar, a soldier, and a statesman. He has attained eminence in every department of life to which he has turned his attention, and his name is the very synonym of purity and honor. Like the Chevalier BAYARD, he is without fear and without reproach.
The President elect of the United States is neither a scholar, a soldier, nor a statesman. He has some experience as a Nisi Prius lawyer and a local politician—more, if we may trust his Republican biographers, as a flat boatman and a rail splitter. Without the polished elegance of the well bred man, he has all the rough manners and coarse sayings of the clown.
The Vice President of the new Confederacy, ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS, stands confessed one of the purest, ablest, and most experienced statesmen known to American politics. His enviable name has never been coupled with a word of even ordinary censure. Of unimpeached and unimpeachable honor, stern integrity, dauntless courage, and the loftiest patriotism, he is the fit associate and colleague of JEFFERSON DAVIS.
The Vice President of the United States, HANNIBAL HAMLIN, stands as inferior, in all respects, to ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS, as ABRAHAM LINCOLN does to JEFFERSON DAVIS. He has one advantage—that of political experience, an advantage which he is said to have turned to account in the management of claims before Congress, for which he was feed.
Between these men there can be no comparison. It is all contrast. The young Republic puts forward its best men; the old Republic puts forward its most indifferent men. A great political game is about to open, of which nations will be the witnesses.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, we fear, desires to add civil war to disunion. JEFFERSON DAVIS, we hope, looks forward to the time when the six States of which he is President, unthreatened by stripes, may be lighted back from the darkness of secession into the wide portals of our Union, by the serene stars that glitter in our firmament.