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

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On March 24, 1848

On this day in 1848, Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln apparently took some time to inquire about his genealogy.

He responded to a letter from Solomon Lincoln (Solomon Lincoln of Massachusetts had apparently written more than one letter inquiring into his family history.) In 1865, after Lincoln's assassination, Solomon Lincoln published his findings on the history of the Lincoln family in Massachusetts.

March 24 1848

Mr. Solomon Lincoln,

Dear Sir:

Yours of the 21st. is received. I shall not be able to answer your interrogatories very fully; I will, however, do the best I can. I have mentioned that my grandfather's name was Abraham. He had, as I think I have heard, four brothers, Isaac, Jacob, Thomas, and John. He had three sons, Mordecai, Josiah, and Thomas, the last, my father. My uncle Mordecai, had three sons, Abraham, James, and Mordecai. Uncle Josiah had several daughters, and an only son, Thomas. My father has an only child, myself, of course.

This is all I know certainly on the subject of names; it is, however, my father's understanding that, Abraham [,] Mordecai, and Thomas are old family names of ours. The reason I did not mention Thomas as a family name in my other letter was because it is so very common a name, as to prove but little, if any thing, in the way of identification.

Since I wrote you, it occurred to me to enquire of Gov. McDowell, who represents the district in Virginia, including Rockingham, whether he knew persons of our name there. He informs he does; though none very intimately except one, an old man by the christian name of David. That he is of our family I have no doubt. I now address him a letter, making such enquiries as suggest themselves; and, when I shall receive an answer, I will communicate to you, any thing that may seem pertinent to your object.

Very truly yours


Lincoln also wrote to David Lincoln in Virginia at the suggestion of the same Governor McDowell mentioned in the letter above, who wondered if the two man might be related. Lincoln knew enough of his family history to realize that they likely were relatives; his grandfather Abraham Lincoln had moved west to Kentucky from the family's original home in Virginia, and Lincoln wasn't a common surname at the time.

March 24th. 1848.

Mr. David Lincoln

Dear Sir:

Your very worthy representative, Gov. McDowell [2] has given me your name and address, and, as my my [sic] father was born in Rockingham, from whence his father, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated to Kentucky, about the year 1782, I have concluded to address you to ascertain whether we are not of the same family. I shall be much obliged, if you will write me, telling me, whether you, in any way, know any thing of my grandfather, what relation you are to him, and so on. Also, if you know, where your family came from, when they settled in Virginia, tracing them back as far as your knowledge extends. Very respectfully



[1] ALS, original owned by Abraham Lucius Lincoln, Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

[2] James McDowell.

You can view President Abraham Lincoln's entire (known) family tree on genealogy.com.

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