September 11, 2008

something to do with raising a flag

Lincoln.gif
Speech at Independence Hall, Philadelphia Pennslyvania, February 22, 1861:

Mr. Kyler, I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing here in the place where were collected together the wisdom, the patriotism, the devotion to principle from which sprang the institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested to me that in my hands is the task of restoring the peace to our distracted country. I can say in return sir that all the political sentiments I entertained have been drawn so far as I have been able to draw them from the sentiments which originated and were given to the world from this hall in which we stand. I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.


I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here and adopted the Declaration of Independence. I have wondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army that achieved that independence. I have often inquired of myself what great principle or ideal it was that kept this confederacy so long together? It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the motherland. But something in that declaration is given liberty not alone to the people of this country but hope to the world for all future time. It was that that gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment that is embodied in the Declaration of Independence.

Now my friends, can our country be saved upon that basis? If it can I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. If it can't be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle... I was about to say that I would rather be assassinated on this spot and to surrender it. Now in my view of the present aspect of affairs, there is no need of bloodshed and war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course, and I may say in advance there will be no blood shed unless it be forced upon the government. The government will not use force unless force is used against it.

My friends, this is a wholly unprepared speech. I did not expect to be called upon to say a word when I came here, I suppose that was towards something to do with raising a flag. I may therefore have said something indiscrete. But I have said nothing but what I am willing to live by. And in the pleasure of Almighty God, die by.

Posted by Dennis at September 11, 2008 4:16 AM

Leave a comment