LINCOLN, Abraham. March 4, 1865 [caption title]. N.p., n.d.
Single bifolium (211 x 137 mm). 4 pages, the last blank, each page of text printed within double-rule border. Bound second in a sammelband of ten works [see below], 19th-centuiry half calf, marbled boards, morocco spine-label titled “American Slaveholders’ Rebellion” (restoration to spine); half calf folding case.
VERY RARE FIRST EDITION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS "... WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE...": A RARE PRINTING OF LINCOLN'S CELEBRATED SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS. It is likely that this printing of Lincoln's historic address was issued in Washington, D.C. at about the time it was delivered by the President from the Capitol steps on 4 March 1865. The present copy is one of only two copies to have appeared at auction since 1970, according to American Book Prices Current (the other, the Streeter-Sonneborn-Engelhard copy, sold Christie’s New York, 26 January 1996, lot 159).
The Second Inaugural is justly regarded as a masterpiece. Taut, spare, bare of ornament or obvious rhetorical flourishes, it possesses "an emotional urgency entirely expressed in calm abstractions (fire in ice)" (G. Wills). Less than one-fifth the length of Lincoln's first Inaugural, it "ranks in its eloquence and its evocation of the meaning of this war with the Gettysburg Address" (James McPherson, Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, 1991, p.186). Gary Wills, in his searching exegesis of Lincoln's most famous address, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America (1992), devotes an entire epilogue (entitled "The Other Address") to a careful consideration of the Second Inaugural, noting that "the Gettysburg Address, weighty as it is with Lincoln's political philosophy, failed to express the whole of Lincoln's mind" and "must be supplemented with his other most famous address, the Second Inaugural." Wills contends that the Second Inaugural "complements and completes the Gettysburg Address"; of Lincoln's many well-known addresses, he writes, the Second Inaugural "is the only speech worthy to stand with" the Gettysburg Address."
In an age when Presidential inaugural addresses often lasted up to two hours, the extreme brevity of Lincoln's Second Inaugural must have been disconcerting to many, and initially, in spite of the crowd's applause, Lincoln had the impression that the address had not been well received. But in a letter dated 15 March to Thurlow Weed, who had praised the speech, Lincoln wrote that he expected it in time "to wear as well as--perhaps better than--anything I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately popular. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of opinion between the Almighty and them. To deny, it however, in this case, is to deny that there is a God governing the world. It is a truth which I thought needed to be told; and as whatever of humiliation there is in it, falls most directly on myself, I thought others might afford me to tell it." Daniel Fish, Lincoln Bibliography, 1906, 540; Jay Monaghan, Lincoln Bibliography, 1839-1939, 600.
BOUND IN A VOLUME CONTAINING THE FIRST BOOK PRINTING OF THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS AND EULOGIES OF LINCOLN BY BANCROFT, SUMNER AND EMERSON:
MOTLEY, John Lothrop. Historic Progress and American Democrady: An Address. London: Stevens Brothers, 1869. 8°. 39 pages. -- SEWARD, William H. Speech of… at Auburn, October 20, 1865. N.p., n.d. 8°. 16 pages. -- EVERETT, Edward. An Oration Delivered on the Battlefield of Gettysburg, (November 19, 1863). New York: Baker & Godwin, 1863. 8°. 48 pages. -- SUMNER, Charles. The Promises of the Declaration of Independence. Eulogy on Abraham Lincoln, Delivered Before the Municipal Authorities of the City of Boston. June 1, 1865. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1865. 8°. 61 pages. -- BEECHER, Henry Ward and Ralph Waldo EMERSON. The Adress of Henry Ward Beecher on the Raising of the Flag of the United States at Fort Sumpter, April 14th, 1865. Also, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Oration at the Funeral of Mr. Lincoln. [London:] William Wesley, n.d. 8°. 13 pages, and 3 pages advertisement. -- BANCROFT, George. Abraham Lincoln. A Memorial Address, Delivered by Invitation on Congress, in the House of Representatives, Washington, February 12th, 1866. London: Stevens Brothers, 1866. 8°. 32 pages. -- MOTLEY, John Lothrop. Causes of the Civil War in America. London: George Manwaring, 1861. 8°. Half-title. 30 pages. Second edition. -- STORY, William W. The American Question. London: George Manwaring, 1862. 8°. 68 pages. -- DUDLEY, Thomas H. Proceedings at the Dinner Given by the Bar of New Jersey. Newark: Daily Advertiser Office, 1868. 8°. 18 pages.