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pathetically understand, the side of his opponent.
Lincoln was barely twentythree when, as a candidate for the legislature, he issued a formal address to the people of Sangamon County. It is the first paper preserved by Nicolay and Hay in their collection of his addresses and letters. Nicolay well says that “as a literary production no ordinary college graduate would need to be ashamed of it."
In this address we already find that honest purpose, that “sweet reasonableness” and persuasiveness of speech, which is characteristic of his later and more celebrated utterances. In his gathered writings and addresses we find, indeed, touches of the true Lincoln genius here and there from the age of twenty-three on. In the literary record of about his
thirty-third year occur some of the most surprising proofs of the delicacy of his nature-of that culture of the soul which had taken place in him in the midst of such harsh and unpromising environment. Reference is made to the letters written to his young friend Joshua F. Speed, a member of the Kentucky family associated by marriage with the family of the poet Keats.
In Lincoln's early serious verse the feeling is right, though the art is lacking; but the verses are interesting in that they show a good ear. Note has been made of a pleasing cadence in Lincoln's
and it is not strange that he should show a rhythmical sense in his verse. He showed a good deal of common sense in not going on with
this sort of thing, and in confining the publication of his inadequate rhymes to the sacred privacy of indulgent and sympathetic friendship We come
to Lincoln the accomplished orator. His speech in Congress on the 28th of January, 1848, on the Mexican War, strikes the note of solemn verity and of noble indignation which a little later rang through the country and, with other voices, aroused it to a sense of impending danger.
It was in 1851 that he wrote some family letters that not only show him in a charming light as the true and wise friend of his shiftless stepbrother, but the affectionate guardian of his stepmother, who had been such a good mother to him. There is something Greek in the clear
phrase and pure reason of thesc epistles.
· Dear BROTHER: When I came into Charleston day before yesterday, I learned that you are anxious to sell the land where you live and move to Missouri. I have been thinking of this ever since, and cannot but think such a notion is utterly foolish. What can you do in Missouri better than here? Is the land any richer? Can you there, any more than here, raise corn and wheat and oats without work? Will anybody there, any more than here, do your work for you? If you intend to go to work, there is no better place than right where you are; if you do not intend to go to work, you cannot get along anywhere. Squirming and crawling about from place to place can do no good. You have raised no crop this year; and what you really want is to sell the land, get the money, and spend it.
Part with the land you
have, and, my life upon it, you will never after own a spot big enough to bury you in.
We find in his Peoria speech of 1854 a statement of his long contention against the extension of slavery, and a proof of his ability to cope intellectually with the ablest debaters of the West. His Peoria speech was in answer to Judge Douglas, with whom four years afterward he held the farresounding debate. Lincoln was now forty-five years old, and his oratory contains that moral impetus which was to give it greater and greater power.
In 1856 occurred the Frémont and Dayton campaign, which came not so very far from being the Frémont and Lincoln campaign. In a speech in this campaign he used a memorable