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Patriotic Sentiments of President
In December, 1839, a political discussion took place between Mr. Lincoln, who was then a Whig leader, and Messrs. Douglas and Sanborn, who were Democrats. It will be remembered that that was the commencement of the enthusiastic campaign of 1840, and which resulted in the defeat of Martin Van Buren for the presidency. We copy from the concluding part of Mr. Lincoln's speech, the following eloquent outburst of patriotism and devotion to principle. Said he :
“Many free countries have lost their liberties, and ours may lose hers; but if she shall, may it be my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert her, but that I never deserted her. I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political corruption, in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave unscathed no green spot or living thing; while on its bosom are riding, like demons on the waves of hell, the imps of the evil spirit, and fiend
ishly torturing and taunting all those who dare resist its destroying course with the hopelessness of their efforts; and knowing this, I cannot deny that all may be swept away. Broken by it, I too may be; bow to it, I never will. The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause which we deem to be just. It shall not deter me. If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy the Almighty Architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country deserted by all the world besides, and I, standing alone, hurling defiance at her victorious oppressors. And here, without contemplating consequences, before High Heaven and in the face of the whole world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty, and my love. And who that thinks with me, will not adopt the oath that I take? Let none falter who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if, after all, we shall fall, be it so. We shall have the proud consolation of saying to our conscience, and to the departed shade of our country's freedom, that the course approved by our judgments and adored by our hearts in disaster, in chains, in torture, and in death, we never faltered in defending."
To his Springfield Friends on setting out for Washington.
No one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To this people I owe all I am. Here I have lived more than a quarter of a century; here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. A duty devolves upon me which is, perhaps, greater than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon whom he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which sustained him, ard on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance and support; and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance, without which I cannot succeed, but with which success is certain. Again I bid you all an affectionate farewell.