Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
Speech of Hon. Abraham Lincoln
(At Cincinnati, Ohio, September, 1859)
MY FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF OHIO: This is the first time in my life that I have appeared before an audience in so great a city as this. I thereforethough I am no longer a young manmake this appearance under some degree of embarrassment. But I have found that when one is embarrassed, usually the shortest way to get through with it is to quit talking or thinking about it, and go at something else.
I understand that you have had recently with you my very distinguished friend, Judge Douglas, of Illinois, and I understand, without having had an opportunity (not greatly sought, to be sure) of seeing a report of the speech that he made here, that he did me the honor to mention my humble name. I suppose that he did so for the purpose of making some objection to some sentiment at some time expressed by me. I should expect, it is true, that Judge Douglas had reminded you, or informed you, if you had never before heard it, that I had once in my life declared it as my opinion that this Government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free; that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and, as I expressed it, I did not expect the house to fall, that I did not expect the Union to be dissolved; but that I did expect that it would cease to be divided, that it would become all one thing, or all the other, that either the opposition of slavery would arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind would rest in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction, or the friends of slavery will push it forward until it becomes alike lawful in all the States, old or new, free as well as slave. I did, fifteen months ago, express that opinion, and upon many occasions Judge Douglas has denounced it, and has greatly, intentionally or unintentionally,