the culture and talent of the place.
Unlike the other one its meetings were public, and reflected great credit on the community.
We called it the “Young men's Lyceum.”
Late in 1837, Lincoln
delivered before the society a carefully prepared address on the “Perpetuation of our free Institutions.”
The inspiration and burthen of it was law and order.
It has been printed in full so often, and is always to be found in the list of Lincoln
's public speeches, that I presume I need not reproduce it here.
It was highly sophomoric in character and abounded in striking and lofty metaphor.
In point of rhetorical effort it excels anything he ever afterward attempted.
Probably it was the thing people expect from a young man of twenty-eight.
The address was published in the Sangamon Journal
and created for the young orator a reputation which soon extended beyond the limits of the locality in which he lived.
As illustrative of his style of oratory, I beg to introduce the concluding paragraph of the address.
Having characterized the surviving soldiers of the Revolution as “living histories,” he closes with this thrilling flourish: “But these histories are gone.
They can be read no more forever.
They were a fortress of strength; but what invading foeman never could do, the silent artillery of time has — the levelling of its ”