February 20th, 1861

No. 6 Pine Street N. Y. Feby 20th, 1861 – 1:30 PM

Dear Brother

I have this moment returned from Mr Lincoln[’]s public reception at the City Hall. Thousands on thousands that went before me were not fortunate enough to get in. And I should not but for a little special figureing [sic] with one of the Police. I told him I had come a long way and asked him as a special favor to allow me to step over the chain. He said go ahead then. I soon got into line and in due time approached the President Elect. He did not shake hands with any body simply bowed saying “how do you do sir.”

The man next preceding me said to the President I hope you will do your duty Mr. Lincoln to which Mr L replied “I shall endeavor to it and you must see that you do your duty also.”

At precisely 1 Mr Lincoln appeared on the Balcony in front of the City Hall amidst tremendous cheering. When it ceased Mr L. said, “Friends I do not appear before you to make a speech and shall not make one. I came here to see you and to let you see me (cheers). I will repeat what I have heretofore said on my journey that in the light I have the best of the bargain (cheers) Assumeing [sic] that you are all for the Union the Constitution (tremendous cheering) and the perpetual Liberty of This people and nation. I bid you adieu.” Prolonged and enthusiastic cheering. Mr L. then returned to the Astor House.[1]

He is a tall Sinewey looking man with a very good head and Eye and is a much better looking man than I had supposed him to be. He is in appearance very much the same as Horace Garfield[2] was at the age 35 or 40 perhaps not quite as round shouldered. Those who recollect Mr Garfield 40 years ago will know just about what kind of appearing Man Old Abe is. He is as good a Man for the times perhaps as could be found in the United States North or South East or West. He will not be in the market to be Either bought or sold or [hand symbol] Traded for [hand symbol]. I think he has the firmness of Jackson[3] and the honesty of purpose of a Washington.[4] He is one of nature[’]s noble men. He is not like some of his predecessors calling on his party to sanction him. But he calls on the American people and the Great Jehovah to stand by him to succor help and sustain him appealing to the Almighty for his honesty of purpose. I did prefer Bell,[5] but to tell the truth I am now certain that Lincoln is the very man for the times. We shall see at all events before long and God grant that we shall not be disappointed in our hopes for the future.[6] Nothing new, times hard, nothing doing virtually, all well, kind regards to all. Accept renewed assurances of affection for yourself & believe me

Truly your brother

J Raymond

P. S. Sister Lucy is spending the winter at Peru Ohio with Sister Sarah

[1] The Astor House was the first luxury hotel in New York City and opened in 1836.

[2] An early settler of Potsdam, New York.

[3] Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.

[4] George Washington, the first president of the United States.

[5] John Bell, the presidential candidate on the Constitutional Union ticket in 1860 election.

[6] Raymond’s sentiments were echoed by the editorial writer in The Sun:  “Though a majority of our citizens voted against Mr. Lincoln, he has received a welcome in this commercial metropolis of the Union which must convince him that party differences sink into comparative nothingness before the grand, absorbing question of the preservation and maintenance of the National Government—a Government of which the purest of patriots and the wisest of statesmen were the founders….Mr. Lincoln has only to act out his own honest impulses—the impulses of a man who belongs to and is in full sympathy with the people—to silence the selfish clamors of faction on either hand, and secure to the Government the united and Union-loving support of the country.” See The Sun, 21 February 1861.

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