better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since
a policy was initiated with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting
an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy that agitation has
not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented.
"In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and
" " A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government
cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to
be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be
divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.
"Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place
it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate
extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful
in all the States — old as well as new. North as well as South.
"Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by, its own undoubted
friends — those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work — who do care
for the result.
"The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail — if we stand firm, we shall not
fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but, sooner, or later, the
victory is sure to come."
As the summer and fall (1860) drew on toward Election Day he was to those who met
him the same friendly neighbor as always — but with more to think about. Millions of people
had by this time read his words of two years ago in the house-divided speech. They struck
the soft, wierd keynote of the hour — "If we could first know where we are, and whither we
are drifting, we could better judge what to do and how to do it."
— CARL SANDBURG, "The Prairie Years."
"THIS NATION CANNOT LIVE ON INJUSTICE."
(Remarks defending his speech, June 7 7, 1858: "A House Divided
Against Itself," etc.)
"Friends, I have thought about this matter a great deal, have weighed the
question well from all corners, and am thoroughly convinced the time has come
when it should be uttered; and if it must be that I must go down because of this
speech, then let me go down linked to truth. — die in the advocacy of what is right
"This nation cannot live on injustice. A house divided against itself cannot
stand,' I say again and again."
THE ELECTRIC CORD IN THE DECLARATION
(Reply to Senator Douglas, Chicago, III., July 10, 1838.)
" "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal;
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among
these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, gov-
ernments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent
of the governed.' There is the origin of Popular Sovereignty. Who, then, shall
come in at this day and claim that he invented it.''
"I am not master of language; I have not a fine education; I am not capable
of entering into disquisition upon dialectics, as I believe you call it; but I do not
believe the language I employed bears any such construction as Judge Douglas puts
upon it. I have said a hundred times, and I have now no inclination to take it
back, that I believe there is no right, and ought to be no inclination, in the people
of the free States to enter into the slave States and interfere with the question of
slavery at all.
"We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and
grandfathers; they were iron men; they fought for the principle that they were
contending for; and we understood that by what they then did it has followed that
the degree of prosperity which we now enjoy has come to us.
"We have besides these, men — descended by blood from our ancestors —
among us, perhaps half our people, who are not descendants at all of these men;
they are men who have come from Europe — German, Irish, French, and Scandi-
navian — men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have
come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things.
"If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those
days by blood, they find they have none — they cannot carry themselves back into
A thousand years hence, no story, no tragedy, no epic poem will be filled with greater
wonder or be read with deeper feeling than that which tells of his life and death.
that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are a part of us. But when
they look through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that those old
men say that 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences
their relation to those men; that it is the father of all moral principal in them, and
that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh
of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration; and so they are.
"That is the electric cord in the Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic
and liberty-loving men together; that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the
love of freedom exists in the mind of men throughout the world.
"My friend has said to me that I am a poor hand to quote Scripture; I will
try it again, however. It is said in one of the admonitions of our Lord, "As your
Father in heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect.' The Saviour, I suppose, did not
expect that any human creature could be perfect as the Father in heaven; but he
said, 'As your Father in heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect.' He set that up as a
standard, and he who did most toward reaching that standard, attained the highest
degree of moral perfection.
"So I say in relation to the principle that all men are created equal, let it be
as nearly reached as we can. If we cannot give freedom to every creature, let us do
nothing that will impose slavery upon any other creature.
"I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until
there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal."
DISADVANTAGES THE REPUBLICANS LABOR UNDER.
(Speech at Springfield, III., July 17, 1838.)
"Senator Douglas is of world-wide renown. All the anxious politicians of his
party for years past, have been looking upon him as certainly, at no distant day, to
be the President of the United States. They have seen in his round, jolly, fruitful
face, post offices, land offices, marshalships, and cabinet appointments, chargeships,
and foreign missions, bursting and sprouting out in wonderful exuberance, ready
to be laid hold of by their greedy hands.
"And as they have been gazing upon this attractive picture so long, they can-
not, in the little distraction that has taken place in the party, bring themselves to
give up the charming hope; but with greedier anxiety they rush about him, sustain
him, and give him marches, triumphal entries, and receptions beyond what, even
in the days of his highest prosperity, they could have brought about in his favor.
In his handling of Stanton, he exhibits his true tolerance, because he shows in his rela-
tion to his secretary that he could be tolerant even with intolerance, and that is where the
most tolerant of us fail. Stanton might call him a "damn fool" but the fool was wise to his
folly, and his foolishness confounded the wisdom of the wise.
— DR. STEWART W. MCCLELLAND.
"On the contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor,
lean, lank face, nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting out. These
are disadvantages, all taken together, that the Republicans labor under. We have
to fight that battle upon principle, and upon principle alone.
"I am, in a certain sense, made the standard-bearer in behalf of the Republi-
cans. I was made so merely because they had to be someone so placed, I being no
wise preferable to any other one of the twenty-five — perhaps a hundred — we have
in the Republican ranks.
"Then, I say I wish it to be distinctly understood and borne in mind that we
have to fight this battle without many — perhaps without any — of the external aids
which are brought to bear against us. So I hope those with whom I am surrounded
have principle enough to nerve themselves for the task, and leave nothing undone
that can be fairly done, to bring about the right result."
LINCOLN AND DOUGLAS JOINT DEBATES.
(Fourth joint debate, Charleston, III., September 18, 1838.)
"I have always wanted to deal with everyone I meet candidly and honestly.
If I have made any assertion not warranted by facts, and it is pointed out to me,
I will withdraw it cheerfully.
"The Nebraska-Kansas bill was introduced four years and a half ago, and if
the agitation is ever to come to an end, we may say we are four years and a half
nearer the end. So, too, we can say we are four years and a half nearer the end of
the world; and we can just as clearly see the end of the world as we can see the
end of this agitation.
"If Kansas should sink today, and leave a great vacant space in the earth's
surface, this vexed question would still be among us. I say, then, there is no way
of putting an end to the slavery agitation amongst us but to put it back upon the
basis where our fathers placed it, no way but to keep it out of our new Territories
— to restrict it forever to the old States where it now exists. Then the public mind
will rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction."
(Seventh and last joint debate, Alton, III., October 13, 1838.)
"It may be argued that there are certain conditions that make necessities and
impose them upon us, and to the extent that a necessity is imposed upon a man he
must submit to it. I think that was the condition in which we found ourselves when
we established this government.
When victory hung out her glorious banner, he extended kindness, sympathy, forgive-
ness for the suffering. Not a word of reproach, not a single taunt. Not a whisper of revenge.
Not a desire for one degree of unnecessary sorrow. — mason noble.
"We had slaves among us; we could not get our constitution unless we per-
nnitted them to remain in slavery; we could not secure the good we did secure if we
grasped for more; and having by necessity submitted to that much, it does not
destroy the principle that is the charter of our liberties. Let the charter remain as
"I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men,
but they did not mean to declare all men equal in all respects.
"They defined with tolerable distinctness in what they did consider all men
created equal: equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness. This they said, and this they meant. They did not mean
to assert the obvious untruth, that all men were then actually enjoying that quality,
or yet that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact, they had
no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that
the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit.
"They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be
familiar to all, constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never
perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and
deepening its influence and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all
people, of all colors, every'where.
"There, again, are the sentiments I have expressed in regard to the Declara-
tion of Independence upon a former occasion — sentiments which have been put
in print and read wherever anybody cared to know what so humble an individual
as myself chose to say in regard to it."
KINDLY FEELING FOR HIS OPPONENTS.
(Speech at Cincinnati, O., September, 1839, addressed particularly
"I will tell you, so far as I am authorized to speak for the opposition, what
we mean to do with you. We mean to treat you, as near as we possibly can, as
Washington, JeflFerson, and Madison treated you.
"We mean to remember that you are as good as we; that there is no difference
between us other than the difl^erence of circumstances. We mean to recognize and
bear in mind always that you have as good hearts in your bosoms as other people,
or as we claim to have, and treat you accordingly."
The four years of his administration life have put upon American annals a record of
events wrought out under his supervision, which are unrivaled in the brilliancy of their char-
acter and results by any that have appeared upon the historic page. — james m. ludlow.
"LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT. "
(Speech at Cooper Institute, February 27, 1860.)
"It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great confederacy shall be at
peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have
it so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill-
"Even though the Southern people will not do so much as listen to us, let us
calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our
duty, we possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and
nature of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy
"Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is,
because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the
nation. But can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the
national Territories, and to overrun us here in these free States ?
"If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and
effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith
we are so industriously plied and belabored — contrivances such as groping for some
middle ground between the right and wrong, vain as the search for a man who
should be neither a living man nor a dead man; such as a policy of 'don't care' on
a question about which all true men do care; such as Union appeals beseeching true
Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the
sinners, but the righteous to repentance; such as invocations to Washington im-
ploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.
"Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end,
dare to do our duty, as we understand it."
"WE SHALL TRY TO DO OUR DUTY."
(Speech at Leavenworth, Kans., spring of 1860.)
"If we shall constitutionally elect a President, it will be our duty to see that
you also submit. Old John Brown has been executed for treason against a State.
We cannot object, even though he agreed with us in thinking slavery wrong. That
cannot excuse violence, bloodshed, and treason. It could avail him nothing that he
might think himself right. So, if we constitutionally elect a president, and, there-
fore, you undertake to destroy the Union, it will be our duty to deal with you as
old John Brown has been dealt with. We shall try to do our duty. We hope and
believe that in no section will a majority so act as to render such extreme measure
. Never before did man raise himself from utter obscurity to a place of such honorable
and lasting fame, where he shall stand as long as men keep the record of the great and good.
HENRY E. BADGER.
FIRST NEWS OF HIS NOMINATION FOR THE
While seated in the journal office, Springfield, 111., May 8, 1860, he was
handed a telegram which gave him the first news of his nomination for presidency.
His first words were:
"There's a little woman down at our house would like to hear this — I'll go
down and tell her."
FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF HIS NOMINATION
FOR THE PRESIDENCY.
(Reply to the President of the Convention, at the Homestead,
Springfield, May 19, 1860.)
"I tender to you, and through you to the Republican National Convention,
and all the people represented in it, my profoundest thanks for the high honor
done me, which you now formally announce.
"Deeply, and even painfully, sensible of the great responsibility which is in-
separable from this high honor, — a responsibility which I could almost wish had
fallen upon some one of the far more eminent men and experienced statesmen
whose distinguished names were before the convention, — I shall, by your leave,
consider more fully the resolutions of the convention, denominated the platform,
and, without any unnecessary or unreasonable delay, respond to you, Mr. Chair-
man, in writing, not doubting that the platform will be found satisfactory, and
the nomination gratefully accepted."
"ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS ARE BROTHERS."
(Rejoicing over the November election, Springfield, III.,
November 20, 1860, at a political meeting.)
"I rejoice with you in the success which has so far attended the Republican
cause, yet in all our rejoicing let us neither express nor cherish any hard feelings
toward any citizen who by his vote differed with us. Let us at all times remember
that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell
together in the bonds of fraternal feeling."
As he lay in state in Washington, Edwin Stanton said: "There lies the most perfect
ruler of men that ever lived."
LETTER TO ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS,
DECEMBER 22, I860.
"My Dear Sir:
"Your obliging answer to my short note is just received, and for which please
accept my thanks. I fully appreciate the present peril the country is in, and the
weight of responsibility on me. Do the people of the South really entertain fears
that a Republican administration would, directly or indirectly, interfere with the
slaves, or with them about the slaves .'* If they do, I wish to assure you, as once a
friend, and still, I hope, not an enemy, that there is no cause for such fears. The
South would be in no more danger in this respect than it was in the days of Wash-
ington. I suppose, however, this does not meet the case. You think slavery is right
and ought to be extended, while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted.
That, I suppose, is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us."
FAREWELL ADDRESS TO HIS NEIGHBORS.
(When leaving Springfield for Washington, February 11, 1861.)
"My friends, no one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel at
this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived more than a
quarter of a century. Here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried.
"I know not how soon I shall see you again. A duty devolves upon me which
is greater, perhaps, than that which has devolved upon any other man since the
days of Washington. He never would have succeeded except for the aid of divine
Providence, upon which he at all time relied.
"I feel that I cannot succeed without the same divine aid which sustained him;
and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support, and I hope you,
my friends, will pray that I may receive the divine assistance, without which I
cannot succeed, but with which success is certain. Again, I bid you all an affection-
"PRESERVE THE UNION AND LIBERTY."
(In response to an address of welcome by Governor O. P. Morton,
Indianapolis, February 11, 1861.)
"In all trying positions in which I shall be placed, and, doubtless, I shall be
placed in many such, my reliance will be placed upon you and the people of the
United States; and I wish you to remember, now and forever, that it is your busi-
No American president had ever spoken words like these to the American people.
America never had a president who found such words in the depth of his heart.
ness, and not mine; that if the union of these States, and the hberties of this people,
shall be lost, it is but little to any one man of fifty-two years of age, but a great
deal to the thirty millions of people who inhabit these United States, and to their
posterity in all coming time.
"It is your business to rise up and preserve the Union and liberty for your-
selves, and not for me."
"A JUST AND EQUITABLE TARIFF."
(Address at Pittsburgh, Pa., February 13, 1861.)
"According to my political education, I am inclined to believe that the people
in the various portions of the country should have their own views carried out
through their representatives in Congress; that consideration of the tariff should
not be postponed until the next session of the National Legislature.
"No subject should engage your representatives more closely than that of the
tariff. If I have any recommendation to make, it will be that every man who is
called upon to serve the people, in a representative capacity, should study the whole
subject thoroughly, as I intend to do myself, looking to all the varied interests of
the common country, so that, when the time for action arrives, adequate protection
shall be extended to the coal and iron of Pennsylvania and the corn of Illinois.
"Permit me to express the hope that the important subject may receive such
consideration at the hands of your representatives that the interests of no part of
the country may be overlooked, but that all sections may share in the common
benefit of a just and equitable tariff."
THE HUMBLEST OF ALL THE PRESIDENTS.
(Speech to the Legislature, Albany. S. Y., February 18, 1861.)
"It is true that, while I hold myself, without mock modesty, the humblest of
all the individuals who have ever been elected President of the United States, I yet
have a more difficult task to perform than any of them has ever encountered.
"You have here generously tendered me the support, the united support, of
the great Empire State. For this, in behalf of the nation; in behalf of the present
and future of the nation; in behalf of the cause of civil liberty in all time to come,
I most gratefully thank you.
"I do not propose to enter upon any expression as to the particular line of
policy to be adopted with reference to the difficulties that stand before us in the
opening of the incoming administration.
As we review his words and various state papers which came from his hand, they are
stamped with a maturity of judgment which the annals of the future will inscribe. Few have
equaled, and none excelled. — c. c. Wallace.
"I deem that it is just to the country, to myself, to you, that I should see
everything, hear everything, and have every light than can possibly be brought
within my reach to aid me before I shall speak officially, in order that, when I do
speak, I may have the best possible means of taking correct and true grounds."
HIS "EARLY HISTORY."
(Reply to a s^enlleman ii'ho asked for a sketch of his life.)
"My early history is perfectly characterized by a single line of Gray's 'Elegy':
" 'The short and simple annals of the poor.' "
LIBERTY FOR ALL FUTURE TIME.
Reply to an Address of Welcome, Independence Hall,
Philadelphia, February 22, 1861.)
"I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing here, in this place,
where were collected the wisdom, the patriotism, the devotion to principle, from
which we live. You have kindly suggested to me that in my hands is the task of
restoring peace to the present distracted condition of the country. I can say in
return, sir, that all the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn, so far as
I have been able to draw them, from the sentiments which originated and were
given to the world from this hall.
"I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring from the senti-
ments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over
the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here, and framed and
adopted that Declaration of Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were
endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that Independence.
"I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept
this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of
the colonies from the motherland, but that sentiment in the Declaration of Inde-
pendence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope,
to the world for all future time.
"It was that which you promise, that in due time the weight would be lifted
from the shoulders of all men. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration