Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Main (Oakland) will close at 3 pm on Friday, May 2. Customers may pick up holds or return items at the main entrance until 5 pm or visit other CLP locations.
small text medium text large text

Downtown: Abraham Lincoln

Postcard_of_Lincoln's_room_at_Monongahela_House.


From The Pittsburgh Evening Chronicle, 15 February 1861.

The President's Visit to Pittsburgh
His Reception at the Depot
Scenes at the Monongahela House
Old Abe Makes a Speech
What He Said and How He Said It
The Programme To-Day
Lincoln's Views on the Tariff
Departure for Cleveland
Scenes, Incidents, &c.

The special train bearing the President elect and suite reached the city at eight o'clock last night in the midst of a drenching storm. It was due here at twenty minutes after five, but an accident occurring to a freight train, near Rochester, the track became obstructed, and a detention of nearly three hours was the result. It appears that the train reached Steubenville on time, after a most pleasant and agreeable trip from Columbus. The President elect was welcomed in a most appropriate speech by Judge Lloyd, to which he replied in his usual happy and felicitous manner. There was a large crowd in attendance, and great enthusiasm prevailed. The committee appointed by the Allegheny Councils had arrived before the President, and was here introduced. Their reception was cordial in the extreme, and soon the most pleasant relations between the members of the committee and Mr. Lincoln were established. At Wellsville a short stop was made, and Mr. Lincoln appearing on the platform of the rear car, the people had full opportunity of seeing him. He was loudly cheered, and many a "God bless you" went up from the crowd. Among others who pressed forward to take his hand, was a stalwart son of Erin, who with the richest brogue imaginable, exclaimed as he neared the "Rail Splitter," "Shure I want to take your fist sur, though I did not vote for ye." You voted for Mr. Douglas, I presume, interrogated Abe. "Yes sur" answered Pat. "Well now" rejoined the President, "turn in and save the ship of State from sinking, and your man, Douglas, will have a chance the next time. But if we don't work together in her behalf there will be no chance for any of us hereafter." "I'll do it." "I'll do it sur" says Pat, and with a "long life to yer honor," and "a God sand you safe home," both addressed to Mr. Lincoln, he fell back into the crowd.

At Rochester.
A similar series of ovations awaited the excursionists at other points along the line until Rochester was reached. Here the committee, appointed by the citizens of Pittsburgh and that chosen by the Legislature, were introduced. Mr. Lincoln was in the rear car at the time, and received both committees in the handsomest possible manner. There were present, at the time, a Committee of Escort from Cleveland, with the following representatives of the Fourth Estate: W. G. Terrell, Cincinnati Gazette; M. Villard, Herald, N. Y.; Mr. Drake, Associated Press; Mr. Howard, Times, N. Y.; Mr. Page, Cleveland Leader; Mr. Dutton, N. Y. Tribune; Mr. Gray, Cleveland Plain Dealer; Mr. Smith, of the Chicago Tribune. The Cleveland committee was made up of the following gentlemen: Hugh Masters, President of Council; O. M. [Orriett], J. H. Clark, W. H. [Heywood], and C. W. Palmer. The committee of Allegheny Councils were also present. It consisted of the gentlemen named below: Messrs. James Marshall, President of Select Council; A. B. Smith, President of Common Council; William Bissell, S. Riddle, J. K. Brown, W. W. Ball, C. P. Whiston, and Mayor Drum. At Rochester it was found that an accident at Baden, through which several freight cars were thrown off the track, had so obstructed the road that a delay of some two hours would be necessary ere a free passage for the excursionists could be effected. The intelligence cast a [damper] on the spirits of all; but the detention could not be avoided now, and it was, therefore, determined to make the best of it. Mr. Superintendent Bradley, who was on the ground, had "things made right" with the least possible delay, and the train, with the excursionists aboard, was once more put in motion. At the different stations along the line large crowds of people had assembled, but the desire of the party to reach the city as early as possible left no time for delay, and the hundreds who had turned out for the purpose, were denied a sight of the "rail splitter."

Arrival of the Excursionists.
The train reached the Allegheny station at eight o'clock, and though the rain came down in torrents, an immense crowd had assembled, as well inside as outside the depot, to receive it. The "Washington Infantry," "Jackson Independent Blues," and "Pennsylvania Dragoons," were on hand, but presented a sorry sight. They had been on the ground since six o'clock, and though drenched with rain, and shivering with cold, they stood their posts like men, never once flinching until the word "march" was given. The "Greys" were to have turned out but didn't--a [course] for which they are severely censured. They were very prompt in doing honor to the Prince of Wales when he came here, marching ankle deep in mud to testify their respect for the youthful Guelph, yet, when the President of the United States honors our city with his presence, they give him the cold shoulder, and decline to take any part whatever in his reception. The thing speaks for itself and needs no comment. As soon as the confusion incident on the arrival of the train had subsided, Mr. Lincoln was escorted to the platform, and received by Mayor Drum in an appropriate address. The President declined making a formal reply owing to fatigue and the lateness of the hour, and contented himself with briefly expressing his thanks for the honor done him, and the enthusiastic manner in which his Allegheny friends were pleased to receive him. He was then escorted to a carriage in waiting, and the procession formed in the following order: The right was given to the Pennsylvania Dragoons, Capt. [Vierheller], who mustered in full strength. They were followed by the Jackson Independent Blues, Capt. S. M'Kee, and the Washington Infantry, Capt. T. A. [Rowley]. Then came the open carriage containing the President and others, followed in order by the Legislative delegation and other parties of the special train, and the Councilmen of Allegheny and Pittsburgh. Along the route many spectators still held their positions, in defiance of rain and darkness. Along St. Clair, [Market], Fifth and Smithfield, the pavements were crowded, and the utmost enthusiasm was everywhere manifested, while from the windows of the different houses hundreds looked down upon the procession as it passed, chuckling over the fact that they were enabled to enjoy the scene without being subjected to the annoyances which those below were suffering.

At the Monongahela House.
The scene at the Monongahela House, immediately preceding the arrival of the President, baffles description. In front of the building some four thousand people had collected, and though the rain came down heavier than ever, they refused to stir until gratified with a sight of Mr. Lincoln. Inside the house the jam was equally as great. The vestibule, parlors and office were all crowded with people, many of them ladies, while the balcony looked as if it might give way under the weight of the immense crowd which thronged it. At length the President's carriage arrived, and the military clearing away the crowd from the door, he was permitted to enter the house unmolested. But once inside it was quite different. The vast throng in attendance, in their eagerness to catch a sight of him, now set all order and decorum at defiance, and before he could reach the parlor, where it was arranged Mayor Wilson should receive him, he found himself hemmed in on every side by a boisterous and enthusiastic crowd, from which escape was impossible. Finding it useless longer to maintain silence, he handed his coat to a friend, and mounting a chair, brought him for the purpose, was received with loud and prolonged cheers. He then spoke as follows:

Fellow Citizens:--We had an accident upon the road to-day, and were delayed till this late hour. I am sorry for this, inasmuch as it was my desire and intention to address the citizens of Pennsylvania briefly this evening, on what is properly styled their peculiar interests. And I still hope that some arrangement may be made to-morrow morning which will afford me the pleasure of talking to a larger number of my friends than can assemble in this hall. ("Go on now; there's enough here.") I have a great regard for Allegheny county. It is 'the banner county of the Union,' (cheers,) and rolled up an immense majority for what I, at least, consider a good cause. By a mere accident, and not through any merit of mine, it happened that I was the representative of that cause, and I acknowledge with all sincerity the high honor you have conferred on me. ("Three cheers for Honest Abe," and a voice saying, "It was no accident that elected you, but your own merits, and the worth of the cause.") I thank you, my fellow citizen, for your kind remark, and trust that I feel a becoming sense of the responsibility resting upon me. ("We know you do.")

I could not help thinking, my friends, as I traveled in the rain through your crowded streets, on my way here, that if all that people were in favor of the Union, it can certainly be in no great danger--it will be preserved. (A voice--"We are all Union men." Another voice--"That's so." A third voice--"No compromise." A fourth--"Three cheers for the Union.") But I am talking too long, longer than I ought. ("Oh, no! go on; split another rail." Laughter.) You know that it has not been my custom, since I started on the route to Washington, to make long speeches; I am rather inclined to silence, ("That's right") and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual now-a-days to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot. (Laughter, and a voice--"No railery Abe.") I thank you, sincerely, for the warm reception I have received, and in the morning, if an arrangement can be made, of which I am not yet certain, I may have something to say to you of that "peculiar interest of Pennsylvania" before mentioned. ("Say it now, we are all attention.") Well, my friends, as it is not much I have to say, and as there may be some uncertainty of another opportunity, I will utter it now, if you will permit me to procure a few notes that are in my overcoat pocket. ("Certainly we will," and cheers.)

Old Abe Waxeth Funny.
Here Mr. Lincoln descended from the chair for the purpose of procuring his notes, but the surging crowd becoming quite as impatient and ungovernable as before, he was forced to take refuge in a private parlor, where a number of ladies, the wives and daughters of our citizens, had assembled with a view of seeing him. The crowd outside, who had all this time heard nothing of what was passing inside, now became impatient, and from all sides cries went up of "Lincoln, Lincoln," "Come out and show yourself, Abe," "Speech, speech," "Let us hear from the Rail Splitter," &c. Inside the same disorder prevailed, the crowd swaying and surging backwards and forwards, and indulging in all kinds of exclamations, many of them of a character partaking of the emphatic rather than the polite. At length it was announced that the President would not speak again that night, and the police stating that the hall should be cleared, a large portion of the audience left, and order again prevailed. Taking advantage of the moment, Mr. Lincoln made his way to the balcony, and being at once recognized, was received with a storm of applause with lasted for several minutes. He remarked that he appeared before them tonight for the purpose, simply, of coming to an understanding as to when he should address them more at length. His arrangements, he said, rendered it necessary that he should leave the city at ten o'clock to-morrow. The inclemency of the weather rendered it impossible for him to speak tonight, but it would give him pleasure to address them for fifteen or twenty minutes to-morrow morning on a subject in which he knew as Pennsylvanians they took a deep interest. He would meet them, then, at half past eight o'clock, when all would have an opportunity of seeing, as clearly as might be, the lineaments of his beautiful countenance. (Roars of laughter, and cries of "Go in Abe," More power to you," &c.) Mr. L. then bid his friends good night, and with a "God bless you all," retired.

Retiring for the Night.
Mr. Lincoln, wearied and fatigued by the day's exertions, now desired to retire to his room, but the difficulty was, how to get there. The hall was still blocked up with people, whose anxiety to be near the President remained unabated, and to preserve order among whom the police seemed wholly powerless. Here, then, was Mr. L., shut up in a private parlor, with all means of ingress or egress closed, and the crowd persisting in keeping matters just as they were. At this juncture Col. Ellsworth, in the suite of the President, and widely known as captain of the Chicago Zouaves, came forward, and learning from Mr. Crossan where Mr. Lincoln desired to go, he proceeded at once to clear a passage for him, and in five minutes succeeded in doing that which the police had been vainly essaying to do all night. He labored like a good fellow, but carried his point, and the coast being clear, "Old Abe" emerged from his retreat, and hurrying up stairs was soon lost to view. Calls for Ellsworth drew a speech from the Colonel, in which, in his usual rugged, chopping style, he alluded to his visit here with his company last summer, and the kindness shown him, and thanked the crowd for the promptness with which they had responded to his request to give a "free passage" to the President. He then retired, and the crowd soon afterwards separated.

The [Proceedings] To-Day.
The morning opened drearily, affording but little hope that the programme for the day could be carried out. A heavy rain was falling, while the streets were alike deep with mud, and the whole aspect of the city highly uncomfortable. Notwithstanding all this, crowds began arriving at the hotel by half past seven, and at eight the different public rooms were jammed with people. Outside too, notwithstanding the heavy rain, hundreds had collected, and as new arrivals reached the ground every few minutes, these were soon swelled to thousands. Umbrellas were in demand, and from Water to Second street, the street seemed absolutely covered with them. Mr. Lincoln rose shortly before seven, and after breakfast received a number of our citizens, all of whom seemed highly pleased with his candor and genial conversation. At half past eight, in pursuance of his promise of last night, he appeared on the balcony, and was received with thunders of applause. He wore a black dress suit, rather fashionably made, with large turn down collar and black tie. His face bears no resemblance to the cuts of him, which have appeared in print. A judiciously cultivated beard and whiskers hides the hollowness of his jaws to some extent, and takes away that prominence of cheek bone given him in the various engravings of him before the public. He is a good humored, intelligent looking gentleman, and the impression which his appearance made on the audience was far from unfavorable. After the cheers which greeted Mr. L.'s appearance had somewhat subsided, Mayor Wilson addressed the President thus:

Honored Sir--It affords me sincere pleasure to extend to you on behalf of my fellow citizens the kind greeting and hospitality of the citizens of Pittsburgh. It rarely occurs that an opportunity is afforded the people for an exhibition of their devotion to the Union by a tribute of respect to the person of their chief magistrate. It is not singular, therefore, that the merchant, the mechanic and the laborer, laying aside their usual avocations, have come out in their strength to pay homage to the man whom the people, in their wisdom have called to preside over the destinies of the nation. We greet you, sir, on this occasion, not only as the Chief Magistrate of the nation, but as the harbinger of peace to our distracted country. The people of Allegheny county, relying on your wisdom and patriotism, trust that by your prudence and firmness the dangers which threaten the permanency of our Government may be speedily removed, and the glorious confederacy established by our fathers may find in you an able and patriotic defender.

Mr. Lincoln on the Crisis.
Mr. Lincoln responded in a well-timed address, the opening of which differed but little from that of his Columbus speech. There was no arrangement whatever made for the accommodation of the Press, so that our readers must be content with an abstract of his remarks. He commenced by returning thanks to the people of Pittsburgh for the kindness they had shown him, and expressed his regret that his arrangements did not permit him to remain some time longer in the city. He then referred to the state of the country, maintaining that the crisis about which so much was said, and which all felt so keenly, was an artificial crisis, and ought in reality to have no existence. He might go on and explain the causes which produced it, and why it was produced, but that would require an explanation which he had not then time to make. The people had only to stand by the Union and the Constitution and no apprehension for the safety of the country or its prospects need be entertained. (Great applause.)

He Is in Favor of a Tariff
The gentleman next alluded to the tariff question, presuming that it was a specialty with Pennsylvania, and they would like to hear from him on the subject. Assuming that direct taxation was to be avoided whenever possible, a tariff was necessary to the existence of the government. It was, after all, but a system of national housekeeping and controlled by the same influences that regulate this department of our domestic affairs. The [meat tub] should be replenished to meet the needs of the family, and so should the Treasury to meet those of the nation. The speaker then referred to the Chicago platform, and had the following plank from the same read to the meeting:

12. That, while providing revenue for the support of the general government by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these imports as to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country, and we commend that policy of national exchanges, which secures to the working men liberal wages, to agriculture remunerating prices, to mechanics and manufacturers an adequate reward for their skill, labor and enterprise, and to the nation commercial independence and prosperity.

The principles laid down here are those which govern an action of Congress on this subject. We should do nothing more nor less than that plank sets forth. It contained our professions of what we would do for the people, and they have a right to expect that we live up to them. The speaker then went on to show that labor being the true standard of value, it would be only proper if a bar of iron could be manufactured in England cheaper, by the cost of the carriage, than here, so that it could be sold for the same price in Pittsburgh as Pittsburgh manufactured iron, then the amount of this carriage was but so much lost labor. A system which permitted this he thought wrong in itself, and it ought neither suddenly or gradually to be remodelled so as to afford part protection to the home manufacturer.

The gentleman next alluded to the Morrill bill, and said if it should not become a law at this session of Congress, there is nothing that ought to be more pressing upon the people, and their Representatives and Senators in Congress, than to study the subject of a tariff in all its manifold phases--not in a narrow and contracted spirit, but in a broad and national one. (Cheers.) A tariff should be so arranged as to foster and protect the interests of all sections--the iron of Pennsylvania, the corn of Indiana, the reapers of Chicago. (Enthusiastic demonstrations, and cries of "that's the doctrine.") No portion of our common country should be overlooked, but equal and exact justice be meted out, to the end that we may be a happy, united and prosperous people. (Renewed cheering.) Fellow Citizens:--I have already over-staid my time, and am compelled to come to a close. ("Go on, go on." "We could listen to you all day.") I again thank you for the cordial reception you have given me to this great city and county; it has been a right western welcome, and I shall ever keep it green in my memory. ("God bless you; you deserve it.") I bid you farewell!

Mr. Lincoln bowed and retired from the balcony, amid the shouts of the delighted multitude, the waving of handkerchiefs, and a hundred different well wishes.

Preparing to Depart.
A passage was cleared as soon as possible in the hall, and after a few moments the party were ready to leave the hotel. The appearance of the President in the hall was the instant signal for the most uproarious demonstrations. Men seemed perfectly wild, and it was only by the utmost exertions of the military and police that a narrow passage was kept open for him to pass through. Mayor Wilson held one arm, and Colonel Hunter the other, and it was amusing to observe the attempts of Mr. Lincoln to conceal his hands, which were seized every second by some ardent citizen, and squeezed very vigorously.

The Scene on the Street.
[The scene on the street] At this time, baffles description. For a full square above, and down to the suspension bridge, there was the densest crowd of human beings we ever saw, and round about the door, in front of which the carriage for the President was drawn up, the pushing and crowding was painful to experience. But every one kept his temper, although buttons and umbrellas suffered badly.

Emerging from the Door.
When Mr. Lincoln emerged from the door of the Monongahela, a shout went up that rent the heavens, and Coal Hill gave back the joyful sound. Once seated in the carriage, he was instantly besieged for a shake of the hand by those whose superior strength and dexterity had enabled them to obtain so coveted a position.

An Amusing Incident.
One stalwart Republican, with blue shirt and sooty face, determined purpose and courageous bearing, who had evidently left his toil to be present, rapped the President gently on the shoulder, and stretched out his hard honest hand for a grasp. The "Rail Splitter" turned round, and seized the extended hand, giving it a hearty shake. The expression of the artisan's face at that instant was the most perfect reflection of unalloyed pleasure that it has ever been our fortune to behold, and it is certainly a pity and a loss that a skilled artist could not have limned it, the picture would have found plenty of purchasers. That man would defend Lincoln with his life.

The Procession Moves.
Some two minutes of necessary delay expired before the driver in charge of the President could safely move his horses. The act was attended with great danger, and it is fortunate that no one was injured. Several were, however, knocked down by the horses, but managed to extricate themselves before being trampled on. The procession began to move about nine o'clock, General Negley and two of his staff at the head, followed by the Jackson Independent Blues and the Washington Infantry, the Citizens' Band discoursing music. Then came the carriage containing the President, followed by Young's Band, the suite of Mr. Lincoln, the Pittsburgh and Allegheny Councils, a Committee of the Legislature, and a number of private citizens, in carriages.

Along the Route.
[Along the route] which covered the principal streets of this city and Allegheny, the windows were lined with "fair women," and the streets with ["...] men," while the stars and stripes, and streamers with various patriotic mottoes, were flying in all directions. The following motto was stretched across Smithfield street: "We are for the Union as it is, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws." In some places along the route, where the crowd was unusually great, and the decorations betokened more than ordinary care and labor, Mr. Lincoln rose to his feet, and received ovations that cannot have failed to move him. Owing to the rain, and the delay in starting, the cortege did not have time to proceed over the entire route, as published, it being necessary to be at the depot of the Cleveland Railroad at a quarter to ten o'clock.

The Departure
At the depot in Allegheny there was another repetition of the crowding and surging that took place at the Monongahela House, and it was only with considerable patience and perseverance that Mr. Lincoln was enabled to reach the car designed for himself and suite. He bowed his farewell from the platform, and shortly afterward the train started, bearing away our Chief Magistrate, amid the cheers of assembled thousands.

Dismission of the Military.
The military companies, accompanied by their bands, halted on Fifth street, and having formed into line, were dismissed by General Negley with the following remarks:--On behalf of the Committee of Arrangements and the citizens, I thank you for your services. While the storms of disunion cloud our happiness, it comes as a fit tribute of patriotism for you to disregard the stormy elements in the service of your country. Jackson Independent Blues: The name you bear is sacred on the pages of history. You will always honor it if ever found in the path of duty. Washington Infantry: Cherish your title--he was the first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen. Mr. Lincoln desired me to express to you his personal regard. I assured him that you considered no fatigue or danger too great when devotion to your country was the reward. You are now dismissed.

The President's Visit to the Capital.
The committee appointed by the Legislature to wait on the President elect and invite him to the Capital, discharged their mission while riding up from Rochester with him yesterday. The invitation was made through Mr. [Shidle], of Lehigh, and cheerfully accepted by the President. He stated that he intended going there on the 21st, but at the solicitation of the committee, the 22d, which will be a gala day at Harrisburg, was named for the visit.

The Presidential Party.
The Presidential party consists of the following persons: Mr. Lincoln and family, viz: Mrs. Lincoln, and two splendid specimens of Western boyhood, one aged thirteen and the other seven; Mr. Robert T. Lincoln, Dr. Wallace and two servants; and the suite proper were John G. Nickols, Esq., Private Secretary, John Hay, Esq., Assistant Secretary, Hons. N. B. Judd, and David Davis; Col. E. V. Sumner, Major Hunter and Captain Hazard of the U. S. Army; Colonel Ellsworth, Colonel Lamon, G. M. Burgess, George C. Latham, and Mr. Todd.

Photonote


People. Narrative. Outline. Neighborhoods. Main Menu.