offer any suggestions.
After he had finished the final draft of the speech, he locked the office door, drew the curtain across the glass panel in the door, and read it to me. At the end of each paragraph he would halt and wait for my comments.
I remember what I said after hearing the first paragraph, wherein occurs the celebrated, figure of the house divided against itself: “It is true, but is it wise or politic to say so?”
He responded: “That expression is a truth of all human experience, ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand,’ and ‘he that runs may read.’
The proposition also is true, and has been for six thousand years. I want to use some universally known figure expressed in simple language as universally well-known, that may strike home to the minds of men in order to raise them up to the peril of the times.
I do not believe I would be right in changing or omitting it. I would rather be defeated with this expression in the speech, and uphold and discuss it before the people, than be victorious without it.”
This was not the first time Lincoln
had endorsed the dogma that our Government could not long endure part slave and part free.
He had incorporated it in a speech at Bloomington
in 1856, but in obedience to the emphatic protest of Judge T. Lyle Dickey
and others, who conceived the idea that its “delivery would make abolitionists of all the North
and slavery propagandists of all the South
, and thereby precipitate a struggle which might end in disunion” , he consented to suspend its repetition, but