Best Lincoln Stories Tersely Told
by J. E. Gallaher
Pub. in 1898


Lincoln's First Political Speech.

A citizen of Buffalo has found among his papers an account of the circumstances under which Abraham Lincoln made his maiden speech. It was originally printed in the Springfield (Ill.) Republican, and is as follows:

"The President of the United States made his maiden speech in Sangamon County, at Pappsville (or Richland), in the year 1832. He was then a Whig and a candidate for the Legislature of this State. The speech is sharp and sensible. To understand why it was so short the following facts will show: 1. Mr. Lincoln was a young man of 23 years of age and timid. 2. His friends and opponents in the joint discussion had rolled the sun nearly down. Lincoln saw it was not the proper time then to discuss the question fully, and hence

he cut his remarks short. Probably the other candidates had exhausted the subjects under discussion. The time, according to W. H. Herndon’s informant—who had kindly furnished this valuable reminiscence for us—was 1832; it may have been 1831. The President lived at the 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 my 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 international improvement system and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles. If elected, I will be thankful. If defeated, it will be all the same.’"

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