of his loyal sentiments, however, and insisted that the Union
should be preserved at all hazards.”
Late in January Mr. Lincoln
informed me that he was ready to begin the preparation of his inaugural address.
He had, aside from his law books and the few gilded volumes that ornamented the centre-table in his parlor at home, comparatively no library.
He never seemed to care to own or collect books.
On the other hand I had a very respectable collection, and was adding to it every day. To my library Lincoln
very frequently had access.
When, therefore, he began on his inaugural speech he told me what works he intended to consult.
I looked for a long fist, but when he went over it I was greatly surprised.
He asked me to furnish him with Henry Clay
's great speech delivered in 1850; Andrew Jackson
's proclamation, against Nullification; and a copy of the Constitution
He afterwards called for Webster
's reply to Hayne
, a speech which he read when he lived at New Salem, and which he always regarded as the grandest specimen of American oratory.
With these few “volumes,” and no further sources of reference, he locked himself up in a room upstairs over a store across the street from the State House
, and there, cut off from all communication and intrusion, he prepared the address.
Though composed amid the unromantic surroundings of a dingy, dusty, and neglected back room, the speech has become a memorable document.
Posterity will assign to it a high rank among historical utterances; and it will ever bear comparison with the efforts of Washington