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, October 09, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On this day, 1861

On this day in 1861, London Times reporter William Russell wrote this account in his diary after an encounter with President Abraham Lincoln at the residence of General George McClellan:

"October 9

Calling on the General (McClellan - commander of the Army of the Potomac) the other night at his usual time of return, I was told by the orderly, who was closing the door, 'The General's gone to bed tired, and can see no one. He sent the same message to the President, who came inquiring after him ten minutes ago.'

This poor President! He is to be pitied; surrounded by such scenes, and trying with all his might to understand strategy, naval warfare, big guns, the movements of troops, military maps, reconnaissances, occupations, interior and exterior lines, and all the technical details of the art of slaying. He runs from one house to another, armed with plans, papers, reports, recommendations, sometimes good humoured, never angry, occasionally dejected, and always a little fussy. The other night, as I was sitting in the parlour at headquarters, with an English friend who had come to see his old acquaintance the General, walked in a tall man with a navy's cap, and an ill-made shooting suit, from the pockets of which protruded paper and bundles. 'Well,' said he to Brigadier Van Vliet, who rose to receive him, 'is George in?'

'Yes, sir. He's come back, but is lying down, very much fatigued. I'll send up, sir, and inform him you wish to see him.'

'Oh, no; I can wait. I think I'll take supper with him. Well, and what are you now, - I forget your name - are you a major, or a colonel, or a general?' 'Whatever you like to make me, sir.'

Seeing that General McClellan would be occupied, I walked out with my friend, who asked me when I got into the street why I stood up when that tall fellow came into the room.

'Because it was the President.'

'The President of what?'

'Of the United States.'

'Oh! come, now you're humbugging me. Let me have another look at him.'

He came back more incredulous than ever, but when I assured him I was quite serious, he exclaimed, 'I give up the United States after this.'

But for all that, there have been many more courtly presidents who, in a similar crisis, would have displayed less capacity, honesty, and plain dealing than Abraham Lincoln."

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On this day, 1818

On this day in 1818, Abraham Lincoln's beloved mother Sarah Hanks died of the milk sickness in Spencer County Indiana (what was then the town of Little Pigeon Creek.) The milk sickness was caused by drinking the milk of a cow that has eaten the poisonous white snakeroot. Abraham Lincoln was 9 years old when his mother died. She was 34.

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