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Page:Samuel Scoville -Abraham Lincoln, His Story.djvu/61

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49
THE SPEAKER


Anything that argues me into social and political equality with the negro is but a specious and fantastic arrangement of words, as if a man could prove a horse-chestnut to be a chestnut horse.

Again he would crystallize his whole argument into a single sentence:

Among free men there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet.

We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called upon to perform what we cannot.

We will say to the Southern disunionist, "We won't go out of the Union and you shan't!"

I protest against the counterfeit logic which concludes that because I do not want a black woman for a slave, I must necessarily want her for a wife.

On the platform as in court Lincoln could retort severely if the occasion demanded it. When only twenty-six years of age he was once bitterly attacked at a political meeting by a sarcastic speaker of great local reputation, who had changed his politics and by so doing had been appointed Register of the Land Office. Moreover, he had the distinction of owning the only lightning-rod in the county. When Lincoln came to reply he said:

I am young in years but younger in the tricks and trade of a politician. Live long or die young, however, I would rather die now than like the last speaker change my politics in order to receive three thousand a year and then have to erect a lightning-rod over my house to protect my guilty conscience from an offended God.