Abraham Lincoln.

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Introductions and Special Articles by
Theodore Roosevelt William H. Taft

Charles E. Hughes Joseph H. Choate

Henry Watterson Robert G. Ingersoll

And Others

Managing Editors

Volume II



ftb 10 )i^ii


Copyright, 1907
By Current Literature Publishing Company

Copyright, 1908
By The University Society Inc.



Preface ix


Lincoln and National Unity., By Theodore
Roosevelt . . . . ' . [ . . . xi

Early Speeches, Political Papers, and Legal
Notes (March i. 1832, to ]\Iay 29, 1S56)
Announcement of Candidacy for the State
Legislature. About March i, 1832 . . . i

An Address Delivered in Candidacy for the
State Legislature. March 9, 1832 ... I

Announcement of Political Views in Candidacy
for the State Legislature. June 13, 1836 . . 8

Speech Before the Illinois Legislature upon a
Resolution to Inquire into the Management of
the State Bank. In January, 183^ ... 9

An Address Before the Young ]Men's Lyceum

of Springfield, 111. January 27, 1837 . . -14

Protest of Representatives Stone and Lincoln
in the Illinois Legislature Against Certain Pro-
Slavery Resolutions of that Body. March 3,
1837 26

Remarks in the Illinois Legislature. January
17, 1839 '28

Speech at a Political Discussion in the Hall of
Representatives at Springfield, 111. About De-
cember 20, 1839 . . . . . .29

Circular from Whig State Committee, of which
Lincoln was a Member. Sent to Leading Whigs
in each County. About January i, 1840 . . 60


Ballot-Reform Resolution. Offered in the Illi-
nois Legislature. November 28, 1840 . . 63

Remarks on an Election Contest. In the Illinois
Legislature. December 4, 1840 . . . .64

Remarks in Favor of Issue of "Interest Bonds."

In the Illinois Legislature. December 4, 1840. 65

Remarks in Favor of "Canal Scrip." In the
Illinois Legislature. January 23, 1841 . . 66

Against the Subordination of the Judiciary to
the Legislature. An Appeal to the People of
the State of Illinois. Issued by a Committee on
Behalf of the Whig Members of the Legislature,
A. Lincoln being one of the Committee. About
February 8, 1841 67

Against Reorganization of the Judiciary. Ex-
tract from a Protest in the Illinois Legislature
Signed by A. Lincoln and Others. February
26. 1841 72

Address Before the Washingtonian Temperance
Society of Springfield, 111. February 22, 1842 . y:^

In Favor of Whig Policies. Resolutions
Offered at a Whig Meeting in Springfield, 111.
March i, 1843 86

In Favor of Whig Policies. An Address to the
People of Illinois, Issued by A. Lincoln and
Two Other Members of a Committee Appointed
for the Purpose bv a Whig Meeting at Spring-
field. March 4, 1843 88

Advantages of a Protective Tariff. Notes Jotted
Down while Congressman Elect. About De-
cember I, 1847 ....... lOI

"Spot Resolutions" on Mexican War. Offered
in the United States House of Representatives.
December 22, 1847 113


On Railroad Mail Contracts, Remarks in the
United States House of Representatives. Janu-
ary 5, 1848 115

Arraignment of President Polk for War
Against Mexico. Speech in the United States
House of Representatives. January 12, 1848 . 119

On Bounty Lands for Soldiers. Remarks Made
in the United States House of Representatives.
March 29, 1848 133

On Land Grants to States to Aid Internal
Improvements. Remarks Made in the United
States House of Representatives. May 11,
1848 134

In Favor of Internal Improvements. Speech
in the United States House of Representatives.
June 20, 1848 138

Federal Judiciary Facilities. Remarks Made in
the United States House of Representatives.
June 28, 1848 155

Policies Jotted Down as Appropriate for Gen-
eral Taylor, Whig Candidate for President, to
Enunciate. About July i, 1848 . . . 156

Speech in Defence of the Whigs and Their
Presidential Candidate, General Taylor, and in
Ridicule of the Democrats and Their Presi-
dential Candidate, General Cass, Delivered in
the United States House of Representatives.
July 27, 1848 157

The Whigs the True "Free-Soilers." Report
of Speech of Abraham Lincoln, M. C, at Wor-
cester, Mass. September 12, 1848 . . .180

Bill to Abolish Slavery in the District of
Columbia. January 16, 1849 .... 186

On the Bill Granting Lands to the States to
Make Railroads and Canals. Remarks in the
United States House of Representatives. Feb-
ruary 13, 1849 189


Resolutions of Sympathy with Hungarian
Revolutionists. About September 12, 1849 . 192

Niagara Falls. Notes for a Popular Lecture.
About July I, 1850 192

Notes for a Law Lecture. About July i, 1850 . 194

Eulogy of Henry Clay. Delivered in the State
House at Springfield, 111. July 16, 1852 . . 197

The Nature and Object of Government, with
Special Reference to Slavery. Fragmentary
Notes. About July i, 1854 .... 214

The Missouri Compromise : the Iniquity of Its
Repeal, and the Propriety of Its Restoration.
Speech at Peoria, 111., in Reply to Senator
Douglas. October 16, 1854 .... 218

Speech Delivered at the First Republican State
Convention of Illinois, Held at Bloomington.
May 29, 1856 275


In the present volume are contained Lincoln's
public addresses ranging from his first recorded
speech, the modest announcement of his candi-
dacy for the Illinois State Legislature, about
March i, 1832, to the famous "Lost Speech" de-
livered at the first Republican State convention
at Bloomington, May 29, 1856. This speech
made him a figure in national politics, as indi-
cated by his receiving one hundred and ten votes,
the second largest number cast, for Vice-Presi-
dent in the Republican national convention of
that year. Here are to be found his speeches in
the State Legislature and in Congress. The vol-
ume also contains such resolutions as the protest
against certain slavery resolutions in the Illinois
House of Representatives — the first of such pro-
tests recorded in the minutes of any State Legis-
lature — and the unanswerable anti-Mexican War
resolutions, known as the "Spot Resolutions"
from the quaint phraseology used by Lincoln in
persistently pressing upon the weak and tender
"spot" in President Polk's justification of the un-
happy conflict. Besides speeches on slavery and
allied' subjects, the volume includes arguments
for internal improvements, a protective tariff,
and other policies of the Whig party, of which,
from the beginning of his public career, Lincoln
v^^as a leading figure in Illinois politics. He was
the only Whig Representative from his State in
the Twenty-ninth Congress.


As a sociologist, Lincoln is presented in
speeches dealing with capitalism ("Perils of
Mobocracy") ; rnob rnle ("The Perpetuation of
Our Political Institutions") ; and temperance
("Charity in Temperance Reform"). His style
as a popular lecturer is exhibited in his rather
commonplace notes for an address on "Niagara
Falls" ; and the legal habit of his mind is shown
in his sound and practical notes for a law lecture.
A eulogy of Henry Clay, delivered on the death
of that popular idol, is a rather perfunctory per-
formance, since the future emancipator had al-
ready divined the coming of a nobler order of
statesmanship than that represented by the author
of the compromises of 1850.

In Congress Lincoln served as a member of
the Committee on the Post-Oflice and Post-
Roads. In this capacity he made various re-
ports, some of which, as dealing with special
cases involving no principle, have been omitted
from the present collection.

Likewise, for similar reasons, formal calls for
Whig conventions, signed by Lincoln with
others, and an opinion on the Illinois election
law, signed by him as member of a committee,
have been omitted.


Lincoln and National Unity.
By Theodore Roosevelt.

In his second inaugural, in a speech which
will be read as long as the memory of
this nation endures, Abraham Lincoln closed by
saying :

"With malice toward none ; with charity for
all ; with firmness in the right, as God gives us
to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work
v^e are in ; . . . to do all which may achieve and
cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves,
and with all nations."

Immediately after his reelection he had al-
ready spoken thus :

**The strife of the election is but human na-
ture practically applied to the facts of the case.
What has occurred in this case must ever recur
in similar cases. Human nature will not change.
In any future great national trial, compared with
the men of this, we shall have as weak and as
strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good.
Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this as
philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of
them as wrongs to be revenged. . . . May not
all having a common interest reunite in a com-
mon efifort to save our common country? For
my own part, I have striven and shall strive
to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So


long as I have been here I have not willingly
planted a thorn in any man's bosom. While I
am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a
reelection, and duly grateful, as I trust, to Al-
mighty God for having directed my countrymen
to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own
good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any
other man may be disappointed or pained by the

**May I ask those who have not differed with
me to join with me in this same spirit toward
those wdio have ?"


This is the spirit in which mighty Lincoln
sought to bind up the nation's wounds when its
soul was yet seething with fierce hatreds, with
wTath, with rancor, with all the evil and dread-
ful passions provoked by civil war. Surely this
is the spirit which all Americans should show
now, when there is so little excuse for malice
or rancor or hatred, when there is so little of
vital consequence to divide brother from

Lincoln, himself a man of Southern birth, did
not hesitate to appeal to the sword when he be-
came satisfied that in no other way could the
Union be saved, for high though he put peace he
put righteousness still higher. He warred for the
Union ; he w^arred to free the slave and when he
warred he warred in earnest, for it is a sign of
weakness to be half-hearted when blows must be
struck. But he felt only love, a love as deep as
the tenderness of his great and sad heart, for
all his countrvmen alike in the North and in the


South, and he longed above everything for
the day when they should once more be knit to-
gether in the unbreakable bonds of eternal friend-

We of to-day, in dealing with all our fellow-
citizens, white or colored, North or South, should
strive to show just the qualities that Lincoln
showed — his steadfastness in striving after the
right, and his infinite patience and forbearance
with those who saw that right less clearly than
he did ; his earnest endeavor to do what was best,
and yet his readiness to accept the best that was
practicable when the ideal best was unattainable ;
his unceasing effort to cure what was evil,
coupled with his refusal to make a bad situation
worse by any ill-judged or ill-timed effort to
make it better.


The great Civil War, in which Lincoln tow-
ered as the loftiest figure, left us not only a re-
united country, but a country which has the
proud right to claim as its own the glory won
alike by those who wore the blue and by those
who wore the gray, by those who followed Grant
and by those who followed Lee ; for both fought
v/ith equal bravery and with equal sincerity of
conviction, each striving for the light as it was
given him to see the light ; though it is now clear
to all that the triumph of the cause of freedom
and of the Union was essential to the welfare
of mankind. We are now one people, a people
with failings which we must not blink, but a
people with great qualities in which we have the
right to feel just pride.



All good Americans who dwell in the North
must, because they are good Americans, feel the
most earnest friendship for their fellow-country-
men who dwell in the South, a friendship all the
greater because it is in the South that we find in
its most acute phase one of the gravest problems
before our people : the problem of so dealing with
the man of one color as to secure him the rights
that no one would grudge him if he were of an-
other color. To solve this problem it is, of
course, necessary to educate him to perform
the duties, a failure to perform which will
render him a curse to himself and to all around

Most certainly all clear-sighted and generous
men in the North appreciate the difficulty and
perplexity of this problem, sympathize with the
South in the embarrassment of conditions for
which she is not alone responsible, feel an honest
wish to help her where help is practicable, and
have the heartiest respect for those brave and
earnest men of the South who, in the face of fear-
ful difficulties, are doing all that men can do for
the betterment alike of white and of black. The
attitude of the North toward the negro is far
from what it should be, and there is need that the
North also should act in good faith upon the
principle of giving to each man what is justly due
him, of treating him on his worth as a man,
granting him no special favors, but denying him
no proper opportunity for labor and the reward
of labor. But the peculiar circumstances of the
South render the problem there far greater and
far more acute.


Neither I nor any other man can say that any
given way of approaching that problem will
present in our times even an approximately per-
fect solution, but we can safely say that there can
never be such solution at all unless we approach
it with the effort to do fair and equal justice
among all men; and to demand from them in
return just and fair treatment for others. Our
effort should be to secure to each man, whatever
his color, equality of opportunity, equality of
treatment before the law. As a people striving
to shape our actions in accordance with the great
law of righteousness we cannot afford to take
part in or be indifferent to the oppression or mal-
treatment of any man who, against crushing dis-
advantages, has by his own industry, energy, self-
respect, and perseverance struggled upward to a
position which would entitle him to the respect
of his fellows, if only his skin were of a different

''all men up"

Every generous impulse in us revolts at the
thought of thrusting down instead of helping up
such a man. To deny any man the fair treatment
granted to others no better than he is to commit
a wrong upon him — a wrong sure to react in the
long run upon those guilty of such denial. The
only safe principle upon which Americans can
act is that of "all men up," not that of "some
men down." If in any community the level of
intelligence, morality, and thrift among the col-
ored men can be raised, it is, humanly speaking,
sure that the same level among the whites will
be raised to an even higher degree ; and it is no
less sure that the debasement of the blacks will in


the end carry with it an attendant debasement of
the whites.

The problem is so to adjust the relations be-
tween two races of dififerent ethnic type that the
rights of neither be abridged nor jeoparded; that
the backward race be trained so that it may enter
into the possession of true freedom while the for-
ward race is enabled to preserve unharmed the
high civilization wrought out by its forefathers.
The working out of this problem must necessarily
be slow ; it is not possible in offhand fashion to
obtain or to confer the priceless boons of free-
dom, industrial efficiency, political capacity, and
domestic morality. Nor is it only necessary to
train the colored man ; it is quite as necessary to
train the white man, for on his shoulders rests
a well-nigh unparalleled sociological responsi-
bility. It is a problem demanding the best
thought, the utmost patience, the most earnest
effort, the broadest charity, of the statesman, the
student, the philanthropist ; of the leaders of
thought in every department of our national life.
The Church can be a most important factor in
solving it aright. But above all else we need fnr
its successful solution the sober, kindly, steadfast,
tuiselfish performance of duty by the average
plain citizen in his every-day dealings with his
fellows. . . .


We can pay most fitting homage to Lincoln's
memory by doing the tasks allotted to us in the
spirit in which he did the infinitely greater and
more terrible tasks allotted to him.

Let us be steadfast for the right ; but let us err
on the side of generosity rather than on the side


of vindictiveness toward those who differ from
us as to the method of attaining the right. Let
us never forget our duty to help in uphfting the
lowly, to shield from wrong the humble ; and let
us likewise act in a spirit of the broadest and
frankest generosity toward all our brothers, all
our fellow-countrymen; in a spirit proceeding
not from weakness but from strength; a spirit
which takes no more account of locality than it
does of class or of creed; a spirit which is reso-
lutely bent on seeing that the Union which
Washington founded and which Lincoln saved
from destruction shall grow nobler and greater
throughout the ages.


I believe in this country with all my heart and
soul. I believe that our people will in the end
rise level to every need, will in the end triumph
over every difficulty that arises before them. I
could not have such confident faith in the destiny
of this mighty people if I had it merely as re-
gards one portion of that people. Throughout
our land things on the whole have grown better
and not worse, and this is as true of one part of
the country as it is of another. I believe in the
Southerner as I believe in the Northerner. I
claim the right to feel pride in his great qualities
and in his great deeds exactly as I feel pride in
the great qualities and deeds of every other
American. For weal or for woe we are knit
together, and we shall go up or go down to-
gether ; and I believe that we shall go up and not
down, that w^e shall go forward instead of halt-
ing and falling back, because I have an abiding


faith in the generosity, the courage, the resolu-
l.on, and the common sense of all nfy countr'm n.
The Southern States face difficult problems-
and so do the Northern States. Son^e o The
problems are the same for the entire cotmtry
Others exist m greater intensity in one section
and yet others exist in greater intensity L an-
other section But in the end they will all be
solved; for fundamentally our people are the
same throughout this land; the same in the qulh-
t.es of heart and brain and hand which have
made tins Republic what it is in the grea to-dav

?eater"lo "''' '' ""^f '' '^ '° ""' '"^^e mfinfte ^
greater to-morrow. I admire and respect and

o Ihrsonn"' ^T/""^ '" "^^ "^-^ and' women
of the South as I adm.re and respect and believe

Nort"h Tn of"' '"/'' - en and' women of the
INorth. All of us alike, Northerners and South-
erners, Easterners and Westerners, can best
prove our fealty to the nation's past by the way

for o Iv T ^° *''' "='^"'= ^^""-k i" the present!
for only thus can we be sure that our children's
children shall inherit Abraham Lincoln's sinX!

h.." l7°"°" '° '^^ ^'■'=^' unchanging cried
that righteousness exalteth a nation "



"I Am Humble Abraham Lincoln."

Announcement of His Candidacy for the
State Legislature. About March i,

Fellow-Cithens: I presume you all know who
I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have
been solicited by many friends to become a can-
didate for the Legislature. My politics are short
and sweet, like the old woman's dance. I am in
favor of a national bank. I am in favor of the
internal improvement system, and a high pro-
tective tariff. These are my sentiments and po-
litical principles. If elected, I shall be thankful ;
if not it will be all the same.

The Improvement of Sangamon River.

An Address Delivered in Candidacy for the
State Legislature. About March i,

F-ellow-Citizens: Having become a candidate
for the honorable office of one of your represent-
atives in the next General Assembly of this State,

* This address was printed and distributed as a hand-
bill. It excited much interest among Lincoln's pro-


in accordance with an established custom and the
principles of true Republicanism it becomes my
duty to make known to you, the people whom I
propose to represent, my sentiments with regard
to local affairs.

Time and experience have verified to a demon-
stration the public utility of internal improve-
ments. That the poorest and most thinly popu-
lated countries would be greatly benefited by the
opening of good roads, and in the clearing of
navigable streams within their limits, is what no
person will deny. Yet it is folly to undertake
works of this or any other kind without first
knowing that we are able to finish them, — as
half-finished work generally proves to be labor
lost. There cannot justly be any objection to
having railroads and canals, any more than to
other good things, provided they cost nothing.
The only objection is to paying for them ; and
the objection arises from the want of ability to

With respect to the County of Sangamon,
some more easy means of communication than
it now possesses, for the purpose of facilitating
the task of exporting the surplus products of its
fertile soil, and importing necessary articles from
abroad, are indispensably necessary. A meeting
has been held of the citizens of Jacksonville and
the adjacent country, for the purpose of deliber-
ating and inquiring into the expediency of con-
structing a railroad from some eligible point on
the Illinois River, through the town of Jackson-
ville, in Morgan County, to the town of Spring-

spective constituents, but not enough to induce them
to elect so young a man (he had entered his twenty-
third year a month before) to the Legislature.


field, in Sangamon County. This is, indeed, a
very desirable object. No other improvement
that reason will justify us in hoping for can equal
in utility the railroad. It is a never-failing
source of communication between places of busi-
ness remotely situated from each other. Upon
the railroad the regular progress of commercial
intercourse is not interrupted by either high or
low water, or freezing weather, which are the
principal difficulties that render our future hopes
of water communication precarious and uncer-

Yet, however desirable an object the con-
struction of a railroad through our country may
be ; however high our imaginations may be
heated at thoughts of it, — there is always a heart-
appalling shock accompanying the amount of its
cost, which forces us to shrink from our pleasing
anticipations. The probable cost of this contem-
plated railroad is estimated at $290,000 ; the bare
statement of which, in my opinion, is sufficient to
justify the belief that the improvement of the
Sangamon River is an object much better suited
to our infant resources.

Respecting this view, I think I may say, with-
out the fear of being contradicted, that its navi-
gation may be rendered completely practicable
as high as the mouth of the South Fork, or prob-
ably higher, to vessels of from twenty-five to
thirty tons burden, for at least one half of all
common years, and to vessels of much greater
burden a part of the time. From my peculiar
circumstances, it is probable that for the last
twelve months I have given as particular attention
to the stage of the water in this river as any other
person in the country. In the month of March,


183 1, in company with others, I commenced the
building of a flatboat on the Sangamon, and fin-
ished and took her out in the course of the spring.
Since that time I have been concerned in the mill
at New Salem. These circumstances are suffi-
cient evidence that I have not been very inatten-
tive to the stages of the water. The time at

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