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

Friday, April 10, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On April 10, 1865

On this day in 1865, Washington erupted in celebration with the news that Lee's army had surrendered in Appomattox Court House, Virginia on the previous day. The war was over; and Lincoln was a national hero.

Throughout the day Lincoln was called upon to make brief speeches to joyful crowds (and he was apparently serenaded all day long!) In the morning he visited the Navy Yard and made a brief speech. Later in the day, he and his son Tad sat for photographs with the now famous Andrew Gardner. The photo above is one of the last, if not the last ever taken of Lincoln; it was shot by Gardner on April 10, 1865. Lincoln appears to have aged incredibly since he was last photographed, and looks very tired... but he also appears to be happy and at peace.

At around five o'clock in the evening, a crowd started gathering at the White House - along with a band - and the president was once again serenaded by the people of Washington. According to the Washington Daily National Republican, April 11, 1865, Lincoln gave the following impromptu speech:

MY FRIENDS: I am informed that you have assembled here this afternoon under the impression that I had made an appointment to speak at this time. This is a mistake. I have made no such appointment. More or less persons have been gathering here at different times during the day, and in the exuberance of their feeling, and for all of which they are greatly justified, calling upon me to say something; and I have, from time to time, been sending out what I supposed was proper to disperse them for the present. [Laughter and applause.]

I said to a larger audience this morning what I desire now to repeat. It is this: That I supposed in consequence of the glorious news we have been receiving lately, there is to be some general demonstration, either on this or to-morrow evening, when I will be expected, I presume, to say something. Just here I will remark that I would much prefer having this demonstration take place to-morrow evening, as I would then be much better prepared to say what I have to say than I am now or can be this evening. [A voice---``And we will then have heard from Johnston.'']

I therefore say to you that I shall be quite willing, and I hope ready, to say something then; whereas just now I am not ready to say anything that one in my position ought to say. Everything I say, you know, goes into print. [Laughter and applause.] If I make a mistake it doesn't merely affect me nor you but the country. I, therefore, ought at least try not to make mistakes. [Voices---``You have made no mistakes yet.'']

If, then, a general demonstration be made to-morrow evening, and it is agreeable, I will endeavor to say something, and not make a mistake, without at least trying carefully to avoid it. [Laughter and applause.] Thanking you for the compliment of this call, I bid you good evening.

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