Abraham Lincoln eBook

George Haven Putnam
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 191 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln.
“I have been unable to escape this toil.  If I had foreseen it, I think I would not have come East at all.  The speech at New York, being within my calculation before I started, went off passably well and gave me no trouble whatever.  The difficulty was to make nine others, before reading audiences who had already seen all my ideas in print."[1]

An edition of Mr. Lincoln’s address was brought into print in September, 1860, by the Young Men’s Republican Union of New York, with notes by Charles C. Nott (later Colonel, and after the war Judge of the Court of Claims in Washington) and Cephas Brainerd.  The publication of this pamphlet shows that as early as September, 1860, the historic importance and permanent value of this speech were fairly realised by the national leaders of the day.  In the preface to the reprint, the editors say: 

“The address is characterised by wisdom, truthfulness and learning ...From the first line to the last—­from his premises to his conclusion, the speaker travels with a swift, unerring directness that no logician has ever excelled.  His argument is complete and is presented without the affectation of learning, and without the stiffness which usually accompanies dates and details ...A single simple sentence contains a chapter of history that has taken days of labour to verify, and that must have cost the author months of investigation to acquire.  The reader may take up this address as a political pamphlet, but he will leave it as an historical treatise—­brief, complete, perfect, sound, impartial truth—­which will serve the time and the occasion that called it forth, and which will be esteemed hereafter no less for its unpretending modesty than for its intrinsic worth."[2]

Horace White, who was himself present at the Chicago Convention, writes (in 1909) as follows: 

    “To anybody looking back at the Republican National Convention of
    1860, it must be plain that there were only two men who had any
    chance of being nominated for President.

“These were Lincoln and Seward.  I was present at the Convention as a spectator and I knew this fact at the time, but it seemed to me at the beginning that Seward’s chances were the better.  One third of the delegates of Illinois preferred Seward and expected to vote for him after a few complimentary ballots for Lincoln.  If there had been no Lincoln in the field, Seward would certainly have been nominated and then the course of history would have been very different from what it was, for if Seward had been nominated and elected there would have been no forcible opposition to the withdrawal of such States as then desired to secede.  And as a consequence the Republican party would have been rent in twain and disabled from making effectual resistance to other demands of the South.
“It was Seward’s conviction that the policy of non-coercion would have quieted
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Abraham Lincoln from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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