11.26.2020 – seems fit and proper

seems fit and proper
gratefully, one heart, one voice
in thanksgiving, praise

My wife asked me if any other election in United States History was so contentious as the one we just experienced in 2020.

I would point out the election in 1860 led to one third of the States trying to leave and start their own confederation of States.

But it wasn’t the same type of tension.

Sure there was an election.

An election that somehow Abraham Lincoln learned that he had been elected that night.

No computers or nothing and they had a tally that night.

Go figure.

Also the incumbent President, Mr. James Buchanan, who had a frozen neck and had to stand sideways to look you in the eye, could not wait to get out of office.

But history records that pretty much everyone knew Mr. Lincoln would win the night HE WAS NOMINATED.

The election was pretty much a formality.

Back then Blue State Voters outnumbered Red State Voters 2 to 1.

But half the Blue States were in the South.

When the Democratic Party nominated Stephen Douglas, a known compromiser on the election issue of the day, the Blue Staters in the South bolted the party and formed their own non-compromise party.

The non-compromisers nominated non-comprise candidate, John Breckinridge.

This is were is gets really weird.

Miss Mary Todd dated the young Stephen Douglas.

Miss Mary Todd’s cousin was John Breckinridge.

Miss Mary Todd married Abraham Lincoln.

That is just weird, but I digress.

When the Red States nominated Mr. Lincoln as their candidate for President, the math said it was all over.

Sixty percent of the voters were Blue Staters, true.

But thirty percent were for comprimise.

Thirty percent were for non-comprise.

And forty percent were for the Red State.

Stephen Douglas knew it was all over.

The guy he had debated and beaten in the 1858 Illinois Senate election would be elected President and the country was going to split in half.

What did Judge Douglas do about it?

He took his campaign and went . . . South.

He traveled around speaking on the dangers of splitting the country.

He pointed out what was going to happen if the Southern Blue States followed through and voted their non-compromise ticket.

He might as well have argued with the stump as stand on it to deliver his speeches.

Mr. Lincoln was elected.

As Mr. Lincoln said four years later, “Both parties deprecated war but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.”

And the war came.

Boy Howdy but that feller Lincoln had a way with words.

And what was the issue of the day?

Again as Mr. Lincoln put it. “One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves not distributed generally over the union but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen perpetuate and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.”

I have to say all the discussion, ink, paper, time and effort that goes into the question, “What caused the Civil War” kind of drives me batty as Mr. Lincoln it explained so very simply.

He said, ” … slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war.”

Helloooooo.

ALL KNEW.

Gee whiz.

Mr. Lincoln noted that, “In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.”

And why did all this happen?

Mr. Lincoln said, “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. “

Where then?

Mr. Lincoln said, “They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

And because of this, Mr. Lincoln said “It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.”

Mr. Lincoln then said, “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Which leads us to where we are today.

A Day of Thanks.

Mr. Lincoln asked that thanks be given, “. . . with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.”

Mr. Lincoln closed it all up and said, “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

Restore full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

Alistair Cooke wrote about Mr. Lincoln, “Lincoln had a gangling gait, a disturbing fondness for rough stories, and a maddening habit of being, in kind of a tooth-sucking way, wiser and sharper than you, (To make matters worse, most of the time, he was.)”

I am thankful for Mr. Lincoln.

I am thankful for so much else as well.

I am perverse and disobedient.

And God forgives.

And for that, you can bet your life, LITERALLY, I am very thankful.

Here is the full text of President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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