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LETTERS AND ADDRESSES OF
[From an address to the people of Sangamon county,
Illinois, at New Salem, 9 March 1832. Lincoln's first public speech.]
Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say,
that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow-men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition is yet to be developed. I am young, and unknown to many of you. I was born, and have ever remained, in the most humble walks of life. I have no wealthy or popular relations or friends to recommend me. My case is thrown exclusively upon the independent voters of the country; and, if elected, they will have conferred a favor upon me for which I shall be unremitting in my labors to compensate. But, if the good people in their wisdom shall see fit to keep me in the background, I have been too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined.
[Letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal. New Salem,
13 June 1836.] To the Editor of the “ Journal” : In
your paper of last Saturday I see a communication, over the signature of “Many Voters,” in which the candidates who are announced in the “Journal” are called upon to “show their hands.” Agreed. Here's mine. I go for all sharing the privileges of the government who
assist in bearing its burdens. Consequently, I go for admitting all whites to the right of suffrage who pay taxes or bear arms (by no means excluding females).
If elected, I shall consider the whole people of Sangamon my constituents, as well those that oppose as those that support me.
While acting as their representative, I shall be governed by their will on all subjects upon which I have the means of knowing what their will is; and upon all others I shall do what my own judgment teaches me will best advance their interests. Whether elected or not, I go for distributing the proceeds of the sales of the public lands to the several States, to enable our State, in common with others, to dig canals and construct railroads without borrowing money and paying the interest on it.
If alive on the first Monday in November, I shall vote for Hugh L. White for President.
[Letter to Colonel Robert Allen, 21 June 1836.]
Dear Colonel: I am told that during my absence last week you passed through this place, and stated publicly that
you were in possession of a fact or facts which, if known to the public, would entirely destroy the prospects of N. W. Edwards and myself at the ensuing election; but that, through favor to us, you should forbear to divulge them.
No one has needed favors more than I, and, generally, few have been less unwilling to accept them; but in this case favor to me would be injustice to the public, and therefore I must beg your pardon for declining it. That I once had the confidence of the people of Sangamon, is sufficiently evident; and if I have since done anything, either by design or misadventure, which if known would subject me to a forfeiture