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

Monday, February 02, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On February 2, 1863

On February 2, 1863, Lincoln's letter (below) was forwarded to British Minister Charles F. Adams by Secretary Seward, in response to the following letter from the 'Workingmen' that was printed in the London Daily News of January 1, 1863.

The Workingmen's letter was forwarded by British Minister Adams to Seward on January 8:

"We who offer to you this address are Englishmen and workingmen. We prize as our dearest inheritance . . . the liberty we enjoy---the liberty of free labor upon a free soil. We have . . . been acustomed to regard with veneration and gratitude the founders of the great republic in which the liberties of the Anglo-Saxon race have been widened beyond all the precedents of the old world, and in which there was nothing to condemn or to lament but the slavery and degradation of men guilty only of a colored skin or an African parentage. . . . We have watched with the warmest interest the steady advance of your policy along the path of emancipation; and on the eve of the day on which your proclamation of freedom takes effect, we pray God to strengthen your hands, to confirm your noble purpose, and to hasten the restoration of that lawful authority which engages, in peace or war, by compensation or by force of arms, to realize the glorious principle on which your Constitution is founded---the brotherhood, freedom, and equality of all men."

Lincoln send his response with instructions to "submit it informally to the notice of Earl Russell and if he offers no objection, then to deliver it to the parties to whom it is addressed."

Executive Mansion, Washington,
To the workingmen of London: February 2, 1863.

I have received the new year's address which you have sent me with a sincere appreciation of the exalted and humane sentiments by which it was inspired.

As those sentiments are manifestly the enduring support of the free institutions of England, so I am sure also that they constitute the only reliable basis for free institutions throughout the world.

The resources, advantages, and powers of the American people are very great, and they have, consequently, succeeded to equally great responsibilities. It seems to have devolved upon them to test whether a government, established on the principles of human freedom, can be maintained against an effort to build one upon the exclusive foundation of human bondage.

They will rejoice with me in the new evidences which your proceedings furnish, that the magnanimity they are exhibiting is justly estimated by the true friends of freedom and humanity in foreign countries.

Accept my best wishes for your individual welfare, and for the welfare and happiness of the whole British people.


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