One of the newspaper men1
who heard this majestic oration wrote me as follows: “The apostrophe to the Declaration of Independence
to which you refer was written by myself from a vivid recollection of Mr. Lincoln
's speech at Beardstown
, August 12, 1858.
On the day following the delivery of the speech, as Mr. Lincoln
and I were proceeding by steamer from Beardstown
, I said to him that I had been greatly impressed by his concluding remarks of the day previous, and that if he would write them out for me I felt confident their publication would be highly beneficial to our cause as well as honorable to his own fame.
He replied that he had but a faint recollection of any portion of the speech; that, like all his campaign speeches, it was necessarily extemporaneous; and that its good or bad effect depended upon the inspiration of the moment.
He added that I had probably over-estimated the value of the remarks referred to. In reply to my question whether he had any objection to my writing them out from memory and putting them in the form of a verbatim report, he said, ‘None at all.’
I accordingly did so. I felt confident then and I feel equally assured now that I transcribed the peroration with absolute fidelity as to ideas and commendable fidelity as to language.
I certainly aimed to reproduce his exact words, and my recollection of the passage as spoken was very clear.
After I had finished writing I read it to Mr. Lincoln
When I had finished the reading he said, ”