LINCOLN, Abraham. Speech of Hon. Abraham Lincoln, Delivered in Springfield, Saturday Evening, July 17, 1858. No place [Springfield?], [ca.17 July 1858]. 8pp., folded, unbound. Fine.
"MY DECLARATIONS UPON...NEGRO SLAVERY MAY BE MISREPRESENTED, BUT CANNOT BE MISUNDERSTOOD": PRELUDE TO THE LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES. After his nomination for an Illinois Senate seat, Lincoln began to make speaking appearances in the same venues as Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, beginning with an address on 17 June, one in Chicago on July 10, and this one, at Springfield on 17 July, the same day Douglass addressed a Democratic rally there.
His speech heralds the celebrated Debates, soon to begin, and is a veritable compendium of Lincoln's stands on key national issues. His wit is early in evidence, and he vividly contrasts Douglas and himself: "All the anxious politicians of his party...have been looking upon him...to be the President...They have seen in his round, jolly, fruitful face, postoffices, landoffices, marshalships, and cabinet appointments, chargeships and foreign missions, bursting and sprouting out in wonderful exuberance ready to be laid hold of by their greedy hands....On the contrary nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor, lean, lank, face, nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting out..." But he turns to more serious matters: the Dred Scott decision, the Lecompton Constitution, reiterates his dictum that "A house divided against itself can not stand" (p.5), avows that "slavery ought to be placed in the very attitude where the framers of this government placed it, and left it," and proclaims his adherence to the Declaration of Independence. See Collected Works, 2:504. Monaghan 12.