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HOME > Biographical > The Life of Abraham Lincoln > CHAPTER VIII.
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One of the last things that A-bra-ham Lin-coln did ere he said good-bye to his Spring-field home was to go down to see the good old step-moth-er who did so much for him when he was a poor, sad boy. Proud in-deed, was she of the lad she had reared with so much care, but she felt that there were hard days to come to him. She told him that she feared she should not see him a-gain. She said “They will kill you; I know they will.”
Lin-coln tried to cheer her, and told her they would not do that. But she clung to him with tears, and a break-ing heart. “We must trust in the Lord, and all will be well,” said the good man as he bade his step-moth-er a ten-der fare-well and went a-way.
It was on Feb. 11, 1861, that Lin-coln left Spring-field for Wash-ing-ton. Snow was fall-ing fast as Lin-coln stood at the rear of his train to say his last words. A great crowd was at the rail-road sta-tion. Men stood si-lent with bare heads while he spoke.
Six firm friends of Mr. Lin-coln went with him to Wash-ing-ton. Mr. Lin-coln was ver-y much af-fect-ed when he went in-to the car af-ter say-ing good-bye to his old home folks. Tears were in his eyes.
Crowds were at each sta-tion a-long the route and Mr. Lin-coln oft-en spoke to those who had come there to see him. While talk-ing at West-field Mr. Lin-coln said that he had a young friend there who had sent a note to him, and that if Grace Be-dell were in the sta-tion he should like to meet the child. It seems she was there, and the word was passed on; “Grace, Grace, the Pres-i-dent is call-ing for you!” A friend led her through the crowd, and Mr. Lin-coln took her by the
 hand and kissed her. Then he said, with a smile, “You see, Grace, that I have let my whis-kers grow!”
The train then rushed off, but a smile was on Mr. Lin-coln’s face, and for a brief time the weight of of-fice had left him.
Threats of a sad sort were then a-broad in the land. Foes said Lin-coln should nev-er be made Pres-i-dent. Their hearts were full of hate. They felt that this man would be sure to en-force the laws, e-ven a-gainst those who were joined to-geth-er to try to break them.
Lin-coln was brave. He did not fear. He felt that the Lord was on his side and that He would give him strength to do all the work that he had planned for him. Though he did not doubt this, yet, both he and his friends felt that it would not be right to risk his life at that time, so they did not take the route at first thought of, but went by a way, and at a time, which would make all safe.
Thus the train from Phil-a-del-phi-a rolled in-to Wash-ing-ton ear-ly one morn-ing and Lin-coln was safe, and must, in-deed, have felt the truth of those Bi-ble words, “He shall give His an-gels charge o-ver thee to keep thee in all thy ways.”
On the Fourth of March, 1861, A-bra-ham Lin-coln stood on a plat-form, built for that day, on the east front of the cap-i-tol, and took the oath of of-fice. He laid his right hand on the Bi-ble. A hush fell up-on the vast throng as he said, af-ter Chief Jus-tice Ta-ney, these words: “I, A-bra-ham Lin-coln, do sol-emn-ly swear that I will faith-ful-ly ex-e-cute the of-fice of Pres-i-dent of the U-ni-ted States, and will, to the best of my a-bil-i-ty, pre-serve, pro-tect, and de-fend the Con-sti-tu-tion of the U-ni-ted States.”
Then came the can-non sa-lute while cheer on cheer rent the air.
Lin-coln read his in-au-gu-ral ad-dress as Pres-i-dent of the U-ni-ted States. His old ri-val, Doug-las was near him, and to show his friend-ly and loy-al heart, held Lin-coln’s hat.
Lin-coln’s speech was a grand one. He did not boast nor tell what great things he would do. He spoke as would a fa-ther to way-ward chil-dren, and told those who were try-ing to break up the Un-ion that their move would bring ru-in to the Na-tion. He asked them to stop, and turn back while there was time.
In sad-ness he told them that it was not right for
 an-y to try to des-troy the Un-ion; that it was his sworn du-ty to pre-serve it. This speech did much good, but most-ly where there were folks who had not known which side to take. These saw, then, that the Pres-i-dent was bound by his oath to do his dut-y.
No Chief of the U-ni-ted States, when he took his chair, had so hard a task be-fore him as Lin-coln had. Sev-en States had gone out of the Un-ion, made a start at a new gov-ern-ment, and found a pres-i-dent and a vice-pres-i-dent for them-selves. Some of the folks in oth-er states were mak-ing plans to leave the Un-ion. The peo-ple of the far South laid hold of Un-ion forts, ships, guns, and post-of-fi-ces. Some men who had held high posts in the ar-my and na-vy left the Un-ion and gave their help to the oth-er side. They had sent out the............
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