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Readings and Recitations
Copyright, 1910, by EDGAR S. WEBNER.
LINCOLN CELEBRATIONS-PART II
Pourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon
this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty. and dedicated
to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war. testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who bere gave their lives that the nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense. we cannot dedicate. we cannot consecrate. we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead. who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the living. rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus so far nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us.- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in.vain.--that this nation. under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.-- and that government of the people. by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
TO A MOTHER OF FIVE SONS KILLED IN BATTLE.
Washington, Nor 21.1864 to Mrs Bisly, Boston, Mass, Dear Madam.
I have been shown in the files of the than Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of
five sons who have died glariously on the field of battle I I feel how weak and fruitless must be any
word of mine which should attempt to bequile you from the grief of a loss to overwhelming
But I cannot refrain
the consolation that be from tendering you
found in the thanks of the republic they died to save
in Heavenly Father may assuage of your
bereavement, and leave memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn finde that must be yours to have hard to costly a sinfice upon the altar of freedom Yours very sincerely and respectfully
pray that an
you only the cherished
WAS born February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Ky. My
parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families second families, perhaps I should say. My mother who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now reside in Adams, and others in Macon County, Ill. My parental grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County, Va., to Kentucky about 1781 or 1782, where, a year or two later, he was killed by Indians, not in battle, but by stealth, when he was laboring to open a farm in the forest. His ancestors, who were Quakers, went to Virginia from Berks County, Pa. An effort to identify them with the New England family of the same name ended in nothing more definite than a similarity of Christian names in both families, such as Enoch, Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the like.
My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age, and he grew up literally without education. He removed from Kentucky to what is now Spencer County, Ind., in my eighth year. We reached our new home about the time the State came into the Union. It was a wild region, with many bears and other game animals still in the woods. There I grew up. There were some schools, so-called, but no qualification was ever required for a teacher beyond readin', writin' and cipherin' to the rule of three. If a straggler, supposed to understand Latin, happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a wizard. There was absolutely nothing to excite ambition for education.
Of course, when I came of age, I did not know much. Still, somehow, I could read, write and cipher to the rule of three, but that was all. I have not been to school since. The little advance I now have upon this store of education I have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.
I was raised to farm work, which I continued till I was twenty
two. At twenty-one I came to Illinois and passed the first year in Macon County. Then I got to New Salemn, at that time in
, Sangamon, now Menard County, where I remained a year as a sort of clerk in a store. Then came the Black Hawk War, and I was selected a captain of volunteers, a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have had since. I went through the campaign, was elated, ran for the Legislature the same year (1832), and was beaten-the only time I have ever been beaten by the people. The next and three succeeding biennial clections I was elected to the Legislature. I was not a candidate afterward. During this legislative period I had studied law, and removed to Springfield to practise it.
In 1846 I was once elected to the Lower House of Congress. Was not a candidate for re-election. From 1849 to 1854, both inclusive, practised law more assiduously than ever before. Always a Whig in politics, and generally on the Whig electoral ticket, making active canvasses. I was losing interest in politics when the repeal of the Missouri compromise aroused me again. What I have done since then is pretty well known.
If any personal description of me is thought desirable it may be said I am in height 6 feet 4 inches nearly, lean in flesh, weighing on an average 180 pounds, dark complexion, with coarse black hair and gray eyes. No other marks or brand recollected.
(Lincoln announced his first candidacy for Illinois State Legislature about March
1, 1832, as follows:]
FELLOWICHT ZEbrahim Liresume Yohawl krew whitecamy
I you know I . am humble Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate for the Legislature. My politics are short and sweet. I am in favor of a national bank. I am ' in favor of the internal improvement system, and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles. If elected, I shall be thankful; if not it will be all the same.
DANGERS OF MOB LAW.
(From address before Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Ill., January 27, 1837.)
am not over-wary; but, if I am not, there is even now something of ill omen amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country—the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions in lieu of the sober judgment of courts, and the worse than savage mobs for the executive ministers of justice. Outrages committed by mobs have pervaded the country from New England to Louisiana. Whatever their cause, it is common to the whole country.
When men take it into their heads to-day to hang gamblers or burn murderers, they should recollect that in the confusion usually attending such transactions they will be as likely to hang or burn some one who is neither a gambler nor a murderer as one who is, and that, acting upon the example they set, the mob of tomorrow may, and probably will, hang some of them by the very same mistake. And not only so; the innocent, those who have ever set their faces against violations of law in every shape, alike with the guilty fall victims to the ravages of mob law. But all this, even, is not the full extent of the evil.
By such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint but dread of punishment, they thus become absolutely unrestrained. Having ever regarded government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations, and pray for nothing so much as its total annihilation. While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country, seeing their property destroyed, their families insulted, and their lives endangered, their persons injured,