Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On January 24, 1861

On this day, January 24th, 1861 (from the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln:)

Remarks to a Pennsylvania Delegation [1]
January 24, 1861

Dr. SMITH, Chairman of the Committee, [2] stated to Mr. LINCOLN the purpose of the resolutions intrusted to the care of the Committee, and had reached the point where it was stated that Pennsylvania desired to have in the Cabinet one who had ever been true to her interests, when Mr. LINCOLN interrupted him by saying:

"Yes, I know who you allude to---Gen. CAMERON. This subject has already engaged a large share of my attention, and I have every reason to hope that your wishes will be gratified. I feel a strong desire to do something for your big State, and I am determined she shall be satisfied, if I can do it."

The resolutions were read to him, when he continued, nearly in this language:

"Gentlemen, in the formation of my Cabinet, I shall aim as nearly as possible at perfection. Any man whom I may appoint to such a position, must be, as far as possible, like Caesar's wife, pure and above suspicion, of unblemished reputation, and undoubted integrity. I have already appointed Senator SEWARD and Mr. BATES, of Missouri, and they are men whose characters I think the breath of calumny cannot impeach. In regard to Gen. CAMERON, I have received assurances without limit from gentlemen whose word is entitled to credit, that he is eminently fitted for the position which his friends desire him to fill, and that his appointment would give great satisfaction to Pennsylvania. I have a great desire to appoint Gen. CAMERON, for the reason that he was formerly a Democrat, and I wish to give that element a fair representation in the distribution of the offices. Both Mr. SEWARD and Mr. BATES were formerly old line Whigs, and, for this reason, I feel a disposition to appoint Gen. CAMERON. But on the other hand, there is a strong opposition to him; not from his own State, it is true, for the opposition to him there is so slight that it is scarcely worth mentioning. The feeling against him appears to come from Ohio, and one or two of the other Western States. His opponents charge him with corruption in obtaining contracts, and contend that if he is appointed he will use the patronage of his office for his own private gain. I have no knowledge of the acts charged against him, but I intend to make an investigation of the whole matter, by allowing his opponents to submit their proof, and I shall give him an opportunity of explaining any part he may have had in the transactions alleged against him. For my own part, I can see no impropriety in his taking contracts, or making money out of them, as that is mere matter of business. There is nothing wrong in this, unless some unfairness or dishonesty is shown, which supposition I have no doubt Gen. CAMERON will be able to disprove. I shall deal fairly with him, but I say to you, gentlemen, frankly, that if the charges against him are proven, he cannot have a seat in my Cabinet, as I will not have any man associated with me whose character is impeached. I will say further, that if he vindicates himself, I have the strongest desire to place him in the position you wish him to fill, and which you think the interests of your State demand. If, after he has been appointed, I should be deceived by subsequent transactions of a disreputable character, the responsibility will rest upon you gentlemen of Pennsylvania who have so strongly presented his claims to my consideration. But this is supposing a state of things which may never occur."


[1] New York Times, February 7, 1861, copied from the Philadelphia Mercury.

[2] H. G. Smith, O. H. P. Parker, Peter Ford, and Charles Adams were the committee representing the Republican Club of Philadelphia.

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