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, March 14, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On March 14, 1865

On this day in 1865, Lincoln was sick in bed (as he had been on the day before.) According to an entry in the diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, the cabinet met in his bedroom - so he was apparently too ill to get out of bed.

There is an interesting physical study of Lincoln (the book is The Physical Lincoln Complete, by John G. Sotos) that suggests that President Lincoln may have been suffering from cancer in his final months in office. The study of his physique and health history puts forward the prognosis that Lincoln and his sons, excepting Robert Todd, suffered from a rare genetic disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 2B (MEN2B.) Similar to Marfan's Syndrom, MEN2B would have caused many of the physical affects for which Lincoln is known; his height and strange appearance, as well as his appearance of sadness.

I don't completely buy the author's 'all or nothing' premise that Lincoln was not depressed simply because he may have suffered from a disease that made him appear depressed, and was not worn down by the war simply because he may have appeared tired from advanced cancer. Lincoln's own words and the words of those around him testify that he agonized over the war. That he may also have suffered from a physical genetic disorder which may have caused him to develop cancer - a cancer that might have killed him within months even had he not been shot - is an interesting suggestion.

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