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HOME > Short Stories > The Soul of Abraham Lincoln > APPENDIX I
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FEBRUARY 11, 1861.
Both for its own value as an incident in the life of Mr. Lincoln and because it affords us opportunity of understanding the accuracy of Newton Bateman's verbal memory, the following is quoted from his lecture on Abraham Lincoln, a lecture delivered many times in the later years of his life and printed by his family in 1899 after his death:
"On the eleventh of February, 1861, on the day preceding his fifty-second birthday, Mr. Lincoln set out for Washington. He had sent special invitations to a few of his old friends to accompany him as far as Indianapolis. That I was included in the number, I shall be pardoned for remembering with peculiar pleasure. That note of invitation is preserved among my most cherished memorabilia of Abraham Lincoln. I shall ever regret that imperative official duties would not allow me to join the party.
"But I accompanied him to the railroad station, and stood by his side on the platform of the car, when he delivered that memorable farewell to his friends and neighbors. Of those, an immense concourse had assembled to bid him good-by. The day was dark and chill, and a drizzling rain had set in. The signal bell had rung, and all was in readiness for the departure, when Mr. Lincoln appeared on the front platform of the special car—removed his hat, looked out for a moment upon the sea of silent, upturned faces, and heads bared in loving reverence and sympathy, regardless of the rain; and, in a voice broken and tremulous with emotion and a most unutterable sadness, yet slow and measured and distinct and with a certain prophetic far-off look which no one who saw can ever forget, began:
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"'My friends, no one, not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived more than a quarter of a century. Here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. A duty devolves upon me which is greater, perhaps, than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded, except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same divine aid which sustained him; and upon the same Almighty Being I place my reliance and support. And I hope you, my friends, will pray that I may receive that divine assistance, without which I cannot succeed, and with which success is certain. Again, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.'
"His pale face was literally wet with tears as he re-entered the car, and the train rolled out of the city, which Abraham Lincoln was to enter no more—till, his great work finished he would come back from the war, a victor and a conqueror though with the seal of death upon his visage. Some politicians derided the solemn words of that farewell—but I knew they were the utterances of his inmost soul—never did speech of man move me as that did. Seeing every mournful tremor of those lips—noting every shadow that flitted over that face—catching every inflection of that voice—the words seemed to drop, every one, into my heart, and to be crystallized in my memory. I hurried back to my office, locked the door (for I felt that I must be alone), wrote out the address from memory and had it published in the city papers in advance of the reporters. And when the reports of the stenographers were published, they differed from mine in only two or three words, and as to even those, I have always believed that mine were right for the speech was engraved on my heart and my memory, and I had but to copy the engraving."—Abraham Lincoln, an address by Hon. Newton Bateman, LL.D., publi............
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