Abe Lincoln History

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- Letter to Mrs. Bixby

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- Farewell to Springfield
- Address at Independence Hall
- First Inaugural Address
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- The Gettysburg Address

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Farewell to Springfield Speech

Farewell Address
Springfield, Illinois February 11, 1861
Farewell to Springfield, February 11, 1861
A touching good-bye message to his hometown friends.

One of Abraham Lincoln's most beloved short speeches, the extemporaneous Farewell Address was given on February 11, 1861, the day he left his hometown for Washington. The scene was the Springfield, Illinois Great Western railroad depot, now a restored private office with a public exhibit area.
Farewell to Springfield Speech quote
Abraham Lincoln and his family moved out of their home on 8th and Jackson on February 8, 1861. They stayed a few days in the Chenery House Hotel. On February 11, 1861, a day before his 52nd birthday, President-elect Lincoln boarded a specially arranged Inaugural Train at the Great Western Depot. Before the train pulled out Lincoln made a few remarks to the crowd in which he summed up his years in Springfield and spoke about the task before him.

When Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois, to start his inaugural journey for Washington, D.C., he paid an unforgettable tribute to his friends and neighbors in what is known today as the Farewell Address. Lincoln spoke these famous, emotion-charged words as he boarded a special presidential train at the Great Western Railroad station, now a restored private office with a public exhibit area.

The day Lincoln saw this depot for the last time he recognized most of the people in the huge crowd gathered outside. Ahead of him was war, death, and enduring fame; behind him were the warm-hearted people who elicited the following remarks.

lincoln's farewell to springfield
This speech, given by Abraham Lincoln as he departed Springfield, Illinois, to go to Washington to become president of the United States. A thousand citizens gathered to see Lincoln and his family depart. Lincoln, of course, never returned. Two versions of the speech follow, one purporting to be partly from the original manuscript in Lincoln's handwriting and partly from Lincoln's secretary as dictated by Lincoln. The second version was printed in 1861 in a Springfield newspaper.

Lincoln's Farewell Address in Springfield Version 1

"Friends, no one who has never been placed in a like position can understand my feelings at this hour, nor the oppressive sadness I feel at this parting. For more than a quarter of a century I hve lived among you, and during all that time I have received nothing but kindness at your hands. Here I have lived from my youth until now I am an old man. Here the most cherished ties of earth were assumed. Here all my children were born and here one of them lies buried. To you, dear friends, I owe all that I have, all that I am. All the strange checkered past seems to crowd now upon my mind.

To-day I leave you. I go to assume a task more difficult than that which devolved upon Washington. Unless the great God who assisted him shall be with andaid me I must fail; but if the same omniscient mind and mighty arm that directed and protected him shall guide and support me I shall not fail -- I shall succeed. Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake us now. To Him I commend you all. Permit me to ask that with equal sincerity and faith you will invoke His wisdom and guidance for me. With these words I must leave you -- for how long I know not. Friends, one and all, I must now bid you an affectionate farewell."

Lincoln's Farewell Address in Springfield Version 2

"My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place and the kindness of this people I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born and one is buried.

I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him I can not succeed. With that assistance I can not fail.

Trusting in Him who can go with me and remain with you and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell."

Abe Lincoln History