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to their notice, is it not reasonable to expect that they will withdraw the mistaken statement, and reconsider the conclusion based upon
it? And then it is to be remembered that our fathers who framed the government under which we live ” —the men who made the Constitution-decided this same constitutional question in our favor long ago: decided it without division among themselves when making the decision ; without division among themselves about the meaning of it after it was made, and, so far as any evidence is left, without basing it upon any mistaken statement of facts.
Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this government unless such a court decision as yours is shall
be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a Republican President! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us!
That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”
To be sure, what the robber demanded of me—my money
- was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it : but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.
FAREWELL ADDRESS AT
FEBRUARY 11, 1861
My Friends : No one not in my situation can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here
children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested
Washington. Without the assistance of that
Divine Being who ever attended him I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in him, who can go with me and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To his care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
FROM HIS REPLY TO THE ADDRESS OF WELCOME AT INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA,
FEBRUARY II, 1861
In all trying positions in which I shall be placed, and doubtless I shall be placed in many such, my reliance will be upon you and the people of the United States; and I wish you to remember, now and forever, that it is your business, and not mine; that if the union of these States and the liberties of this people shall be lost, it is but little to any one man of fiftytwo years of age, but a great deal to the thirty millions of people who inhabit these United