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, May 13, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On May 13, 1864

On this day in 1864, Lincoln came to the rescue of a church in Memphis, Tennessee -- apparently for the second time-- from Union Army occupation.

May 13, 1864

I believe it is true that with reference to the church within named I wrote as follows:

"If [2] the Military have Military need of the church building, let them keep it; otherwise let them get out of it, and leave it and it's owners alone, except for causes that justify the arrest of any one.''

March 4. 1864. A. LINCOLN"

I am now told that the Military were not in possession of the building; and yet that in pretended execution of the above they, the Military put one set of men out of and another set into the building. This, if true, is most extraordinary. I say again, if there be no military need for the building, leave it alone, neither putting any one in or out, of it, except on finding some one preaching or practicing treason, in which case lay hands upon him just as if he were doing the same thing in any other building, or in the streets or highways. A. LINCOLN

May 13 1864


[1] ADfS, DLC-RTL. The envelope containing this draft is endorsed by Lincoln "Church at Memphis.'' See the memorandum of March 4, supra. Apparently the endorsement of May 13, of which Lincoln retained his first draft, was written on a statement or petition of the loyal church members who had been turned out by the secessionist trustees (see note to Lincoln's communication to Cadwallader C. Washburn, July 5, infra). A portion of the endorsement has been preserved as noted below, but the remainder, as well as the document on which it was written, has not been located.

[2] An autograph fragment comprising the quoted portion of the endorsement, which appears to have been cut out of Lincoln's original endorsement written on the petition from the loyal church members, is in the Illinois State Historical Library.

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