President Lincoln made his maiden speech in Sangamon county, at Pappysville (or Richland) in the year 1832. He was then a Whig, and was a candidate for the legislature of this State. The speech was sharp and sensible. To understand why it was so short, the following facts will show: First, Mr. Lincoln was a young man, say twenty-two years of age, and timid. Secondly, his friends and opponents, in the joint discussion had rolled the sun nearly down. Mr. Lincoln saw that it was not a proper time to discuss the questions fully, and hence he cut his remarks short. Probably the other candidate had wholly exhausted the subjects under discussion. The time, according to W. H. Herndon’s informant–who has kindly furnished this valuable reminiscence for us–was 1832, it may have been 1834. The President lived at that time with James A Herndon, at Salem, Sangamon county, who heard the speech, talked about it, and knows the report to be correct. The speech which was characteristic of the man, was as follows:
“GENTLEMEN, FELLOW-CITIZENS: I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate for the legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like an old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a National Bank. I am in favor of the internal improvement system, and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles. If elected, I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same.
Originally posted 2009-03-15 18:23:21.