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man, the humble and the distinguished, - you have had them. Through suffering and death, by disease and in battle, they have endured and fought and fallen with you. Clay and Webster each gave a son, never to be returned. From the State of my own residence, besides other worthy but less known Whig names, we sent Marshall, Morrison, Baker, and Hardin : they all fought, and one fell, and in the fall of that one we lost our best Whig
Nor were the Whigs few in number, or laggard in the day of danger. In that fearful, bloody, breathless struggle at Buena Vista, where each man's hard task was to beat back five foes or die himself, of the five high officers who perished, four were Whigs.
In speaking of this, I mean no odious comparison between the lion-hearted Whigs and Democrats who fought there. On other occasions, and among the lower officers and privates on that occasion, I doubt not the proportion was different. I wish to do justice to all. I think of all those brave men as Americans, in whose proud fame, as an American, I, too, have a share. Many of them, Whigs and Democrats, are my constituents and personal friends; and I thank them, more than thank them, one and all, for the high, imperishable honor they have conferred on our common State.
But the distinction between the cause of the President in beginning the war, and the cause of the country after it was begun, is a distinction which you cannot perceive. To you, the President and the country seem to be all one. You are interested to see no distinction between them; and I venture to suggest that possibly your interest blinds you a little. We see the distinction, as we think, clearly enough; and our friends, who have fought in the war, have no difficulty in seeing it also. What those who have fallen would say, were they alive and here, of course we can never know ; but with those who have returned there is no difficulty. Col. Haskell and Major Gaines, members here, both fought in the war; and one of them underwent extraordinary perils and hardships ; still they, like all other Whigs here, vote on the record that the war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President. And even Gen. Taylor himself, the noblest Roman of them all, has declared that, as a citizen, and particularly as a soldier, it is sufficient for him to know that his country is at war with a foreign nation, to do all in bis power to bring it to a speedy and honorable termination, by the most vigorous and energetic operations, without inquiring about its justice, or any thing else connected with it.
Mr. Speaker, let our Democratic friends be comforted with the assurance that we are content with our position, content with our company, and content with our candidate; and that although they, in their generous sympathy, think we ought to be miserable, we really are not, and that they may dismiss the great anxiety they have on our account.1
1 The following passage has generally been omitted from this speech, as published in the “Lives of Lincoln." The reason for the omission is quite obvious.
“But the gentleman from Georgia further says, we have deserted all our principles, and
Congress adjourned on the 14th of August; but Mr. Lin- . coln went up to New England, and made various campaign
taken shelter under Gen. Taylor's military coat-tail; and he seems to think this is exceedingly degrading. Well, as his faith is, so be it unto him. But can he remember no other military coat-tail, under which a certain other party have been sheltering for near a quarter of a century? Has he no acquaintance with the ample military coat-tail of Gen. Jackson ? Does he not know that his own party have run the last five Presidential races under that coat-tail ? and that they are now running the sixth under the same cover? Yes, sir, that coat-tail was used, not only for Gen. Jackson himself, but has been clung to with the grip of death by every Democratic candidate since. You have never ventured, and dare not now venture, from under it. Your campaign papers have constantly been • Old Hickories,' with rude likenesses of the old general upon them; hickory poles and hickory brooms your never-ending emblems. Mr. Polk himself was 'Young Hickory,''Little Hickory,' or something so; and even now your campaign paper here is proclaiming that Cass and Butler are of the “Hickory stripe. No, sir, you dare not give it up. Like a horde of hungry ticks, you have stuck to the tail of the Hermitage lion to the end of his life; and you are still sticking to it, and drawing a loathsome sustenance from it, after he is dead. A fellow once advertised that he had made a discovery by which he could make a new man out of an old one, and have enough of the stuff left to make a little yellow dog. Just such a discovery has Gen. Jackson's popularity been to you. You not only twice made President of him out of it, but you have enough of the stuff left to make Presidents of several comparatively small men since; and it is your chief reliance now to make still another.
“Mr. Speaker, old horses and military coat-tails, or tails of any sort, are not figures of speech such as I would be the first to introduce into discussions here; but, as the gentleman from Georgia has thought fit to introduce them, he and you are welcome to all you have made, or can make, by them. If you have any more old horses, trot them out; any more tails, just cock them, and come at us.
“I repeat, I would not introduce this mode of discussion here; but I wish gentlemen on the other side to understand, that the use of degrading figures is a game at which they may find themselves unable to take all the winnings. [“We give it up.”] Ay, you give it up, and well you may; but for a very different reason from that which you would have us understand. The point--the power to hurt-of all figures, consists in the truthfulness of their application; and, understanding this, you may well give it up. They are weapons which hit you, but miss us.
“But, in my hurry, I was very near closing on this subject of military tails before I was done with it. There is one entire article of the sort I have not discussed yet; I mean the military tail you Democrats are now engaged in dovetailing on to the great Michigander. Yes, sir, all his biographers (and they are legion) have him in hand, tying him to a military tail, like so many mischievous boys tying a dog to a bladder of beans. True, the material is very limited, but they are at it might and main. He invaded Canada without resistance, and he outvaded it without pursuit. As he did both under orders, I suppose there was, to him, neither credit nor discredit; but they are made to constitute a large part of the tail. He was not at Hull's surrender, but he was close by; he was volunteer aid to Gen. Harri. son on the day of the battle of the Thames; and, as you said in 1840 Harrison was picking whortleberries two miles off while the battle was fought, I suppose it is a just conclusion, with you, to say Cass was aiding Harrison to pick whortleberries. This is about all, except the mooted question of the broken sword. Some authors say he broke it; some say he threw it away; and some others, who ought to know, say nothing about it. Perhaps it would be a fair historical compromise to say, if he did not break it, he did not do any thing else with it.
“ By the way, Mr. Speaker, did you know I am a military hero? Yes, sir: in the days of the Black-Hawk War, I fought, bled, and came away. Speaking of Gen. Cass's career reminds me of my own. I was not at Stillman's defeat, but I was about as near it as Cass was to Hull's surrender; and, like him, I saw the place very soon afterwards. It is quite certain I did not break my sword, for I had none to break; but I bent my musket pretty
speeches before he returned home. They were not preserved, and were probably of little importance.
Soon after his return to Washington, to take his seat at the second session of the Thirtieth Congress, he received a letter from his father, which astonished and perhaps amused him. His reply intimates grave doubts concerning the veracity of his correspondent.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 24, 1848. MY DEAR FATHER, — Your letter of the 7th was received night before last. I very cheerfully send you the twenty dollars, which sum you say is necessary to save your land from sale. It is singular that you should have forgotten a judgment against you; and it is more singular that the plaintiff should have let you forget it so long; particularly as I suppose you always had property enough to satisfy a judgment of that amount. Before you pay it, it would be well to be sure you have not paid, or at least that yon cannot prove you have paid it. Give my love to mother and all the connections.
Affectionately your son,
The second session was a quiet one. Mr. Lincoln did nothing to attract public attention in any marked degree. He attended diligently and unobtrusively to the ordinary duties of his office, and voted generally with the Whig majority. One Mr. Gott, however, of New York, offered a resolution looking to the abolition of the slave-trade in the District of Columbia, and Mr. Lincoln was one of only three or four Northern Whigs who voted to lay the resolution on the table. At another time, however, Mr. Lincoln proposed a substitute for the Gott resolution, providing for gradual and compensated emancipation, with the consent of the people of the District, to be ascertained at a general election. This meas
badly on one occasion. If Cass broke his sword, the idea is, he broke it in desperation: I bent the musket by accident. If Gen, Cass went in advance of me picking whortleberries, I guess I surpassed him in charges upon the wild onions. If he saw any live fighting Ind. ians, it was more than I did, but I had a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes; and, although I never fainted from loss of blood, I can truly say I was often very hungry.
“Mr. Speaker, if ever I should conclude to doff whatever our Democratic friends may suppose
there is of black-cockade Federalism about me, and, thereupon, they shall take me up as their candidate for the Presidency, I protest that they shall not make fun of me, as they have of Gen. Cass, by attempting to write me into a military hero."
ure he evidently abandoned, and it died a natural death among the rubbish of “unfinished business.” His record on the Wilmot Proviso has been thoroughly exposed, both by himself and Mr. Douglas, and in the Presidential campaign by his friends and foes. He said himself, that he had voted for it “about forty-two times.” It is not likely that he had counted the votes when he made this statement, but spoke according to the best of his “knowledge and belief.”
The following letters are printed, not because they illustrate the author's character more than a thousand others would, but because they exhibit one of the many perplexities of Congressional life.
SPRINGFIELD, April 25, 1849. DEAR THOMPSON, — A tirade is still kept up against me here for recommending T. R. King. This morning it is openly avowed that my supposed influence at Washington shall be broken down generally, and King's prospects defeated in particular. Now, what I have done in this matter, I have done at the request of you and some other friends in Tazewell; and I therefore ask you to either admit it is wrong, or come forward and sustain
If the truth will permit, I propose that you sustain me in the following manner: copy the enclosed scrap in your own handwriting, and get everybody (not three or four, but three or four hundred) to sign it, and then send it to me. Also, have six, eight, or ten of our best known Whig friends there to write me individual letters, stating the truth in this matter as they understand it. Don't neglect or delay in the matter. I understand information of an indictment having been found against him about three years ago for gaming, or keeping a gaming-house, has been sent to the Department. I shall try to take care of it at the Department till your action can be had and forwarded on.
Yours as ever,
WASHINGTON, June 5, 1849. DEAR WILLIAM, — Your two letters were received last night. I have a great many letters to write, and so cannot write very long ones. There must be some mistake about Walter Davis saying I promised him the Postoffice. I did not so promise him. I did tell him, that, if the distribution of the offices should fall into my hands, he should have something; and, if I shall be convinced he has said any more than this, I shall be disappointed.
I said this much to him, because, as I understand, he is of good character, is one of the young men, is of the mechanics, and always faithful, and never troublesome, a Whig and is poor, with the support of a widow-mother thrown almost exclusively on him by the death of his brother. If these are wrong reasons, then I have been wrong; but I have certainly not been selfish in it, because, in my greatest need of friends, he was against me and for Baker.