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

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On April 1, 1854

On this day in 1854, Lincoln wrote a long response to an apparent relative in Tennessee, Jesse Lincoln. In his letter, Lincoln went into great detail about his own family history as he knew it; and seems to have had quite an interest in genealogy.

Springfield, Illinois, April, 1, 1854.

My Dear Sir: On yesterday I had the pleasure of receiving your letter of the 16th of March. From what you say there can be no doubt that you and I are of the same family. The history of your family, as you give it, is precisely what I have always heard, and partly know, of my own. As you have supposed, I am the grandson of your uncle Abraham; and the story of his death by the Indians, and of Uncle Mordecai, then fourteen years old, killing one of the Indians, is the legend more strongly than [most prominent of] all others imprinted upon my mind and memory. I am the son of grandfather's youngest son, Thomas. I have often heard my father speak of his uncle Isaac residing at [on the] Watauga (I think), near where the then States of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee join,---you seem now to be some hundred miles or so west of that [there]. I often saw Uncle Mordecai, and Uncle Josiah but once in my life; but I never resided near either of them. Uncle Mordecai died in 1831 or 2, in Hancock County, Illinois [Ill.], where he had then recently removed from Kentucky, and where his children had also removed, and still reside [live], as I understand. Whether Uncle Josiah is dead or living, I cannot tell, not having heard from him for more than twenty years. When I last heard of [from] him he was living on Big Blue River, in [Hancock County] Indiana (Harrison Co., I think), and where he had [has] resided ever since before [``before'' not in sentence] the beginning of my recollection. My father (Thomas) died the 17th of January, 1851, in Coles County, Illinois [Ill.], where he had resided twenty [20] years. I am his only child. I have resided here, and here-abouts, twenty-three [23] years. I am forty-five [45] years of age, and have a wife and three children, the oldest eleven [11] years. My wife was born and raised at Lexington, Kentucky [Ky.]; and my connection with her has sometimes taken me there, where I have heard the older [old] people of her relations [relatives] speak of your uncle Thomas and his family. He is dead long ago, and his descendants have gone to some part of Missouri, as I recollect what I was told. When I was at Washington in 1848, I got up a correspondence with David Lincoln, residing at Sparta, Rockingham County, Virginia [V], who, like yourself, was a first cousin of my father; but I forget, if he informed me, which of my grandfather's brothers was his father. With Col. [Colonel] Crozier, [2] of whom you speak, I formed quite an intimate acquaintance, for a short one, while at Washington [``while at Washington'' not in sentence]; and when you meet him again I will thank you to present him my respects. Your present governor, Andrew Johnson, was also at Washington while I was; and he told me of there being people of the name of Lincoln in Carter County, I think [``I think'' not in sentence]. I can no longer claim to be a young man myself; but I infer that, as you are of the same generation as my father, you are some older. I shall be very glad to hear from you again. Very truly your relative, A. LINCOLN.


[1] NH, 180-82, and Illinois State Journal, October 30, 1883, copying the Chattanooga Times. The newspaper text is not identical with that in the Works. Major variations in the Journal are inserted in brackets in the Works text. The original letter has not been located.

[2] John H. Crozier, congressman from Tennessee.

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