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Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865) Speech fragment concerning the abolition of slavery [from 1858 Senate race?]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05302 Author/Creator: Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph manuscript Date: ca. July 1858 Pagination: 2 p. ; 32 x 20.4 cm

Summary of Content: Manuscript, probably the concluding portion of speech, possibly from the 1858 Senate campaign, concerning his expectation that slavery would eventually be abolished. Lincoln acknowledge his ambition for higher office but continues, "[i]n the Republican cause there is a higher aim than that of mere office. I have not allowed myself to forget that the abolition of the Slave-trade by Great Brittain [sic], was agitated a hundred years before it was a final success;... School-boys know that Wilbe[r]force, and Granville Sharp helped that cause forward; but who can now name a single man who labored to retard it? Remembering these things I can not regard it as possible that the higher object of this contest may not be completely attained within the term of my natural life. But I can not doubt either that it will come in due time. Even in this view, I am proud, in my passing speck of time, to contribute an humble mite to that glorious consummation, which my own poor eyes may not last to see." Basler, Roy P. The Collected Works Of Abraham Lincoln. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), Vol. II 1848 - 1858, p. 482

Background Information: Notes: Basler 2: 482. Robert Todd Lincoln, in 1892, presented this speech fragment to the Duchess of St. Alban with an explanatory note: "The MS. is a note made in preparing for one ...of the speeches in the joint-debate Campaign between Mr. Douglas & my father in 1858." (482n).See More

Full Transcript: I have never professed an indifference to the honors of official station; and were I to do so now, I should only make myself ridiculous. Yet I have never failed ...- do not now fail - to remember that in the republican cause there is a higher aim than that of mere office - I have not allowed myself to forget that the abolition of the Slave-trade by Great Brittain [sic], was agitated a hundred years before it was a final success; that the measure had it's open fire-eating opponents; it's stealthy "don't care" opponents; it's dollars and cent opponents; it's inferior race opponents; it's negro equality opponents; and it's religion and good order opponents; that all these opponents got offices, and their adversaries got none - But I have also remembered that [inserted: though] they blazed, like tallow-candles for a century, at last they flickered in the socket, died out, stank in the dark for a brief season, and were remembered no more, even by the smell - School-boys know that Wilbe[r]force, and Granville Sharpe, helped that cause forward; but who can now name a single man who labored to retard it? Remembering these things I can not but regard it as possible that the higher object of this contest may not be completely attained within [2] the term of my [inserted: natural] life. But I can not doubt either that it will come in due time. Even in this view, I am proud, in my passing speck of time, to contribute an humble mite to that glorious consummation, which my own poor eyes may [struck: never] [inserted: not] last to see -See More

People: Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: PoliticsElectionGovernment and CivicsCongressAbolitionSlaveryAfrican American HistoryPresidentRepublican PartySlave TradeGlobal History and CivicsForeign Affairs

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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