Abraham Lincoln to William H. Herndon, 2 February 18481Washington, Feb: 2. 1848Dear William:
I just take up my pen to say, that Mr Stephens of Georgia, a little slim, pale-faced, consumptive man, with a voice like Logan's has just concluded the very best speech, of an hour's length, I ever heard–
My old, withered, dry eyes, are full of tears yet–
If he writes it out any thing like he delivered it, our people shall see a good many copies of it–2Yours trulyA. Lincoln
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To W H Herndon
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter. The original letter, which was in the Oliver R. Barrett Collection in 1953, has not been located.
2Delivered during debate in the House of Representatives over submitting President James K. Polk’s annual message to the appropriate committees, Alexander H. Stephens excoriated the Polk administration for the Mexican War, calling the conflict “a wanton outrage upon the Constitution” began by the president’s “most miserable subterfuges,” an act of aggression “against a neighboring people to compel them to sell their country.” Polk was “the greatest enemy the people of this country have at this time,” for he was “waging a war against the Constitution of the country.”
J. & G. S. Gideon issued Stephen’s speech in pamphlet form sometime in 1848.
Cong. Globe, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 159-63 (1848); Thomas E. Schott, Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia: A Biography (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1988), 81; Speech of Mr. Stephens, of Georgia, on the War and Taxation. Delivered in the House of Representatives of the U.S., February 2, 1848 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, ), 1-16.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).