Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Annotation

[1]   ADS, MeHi. Nicolay and Hay date this item ``December 3, 1864'' (X, 279), while Tracy dates it ``Nov.---, 1864'' (pp. 248-49.) December 3 was on Saturday, which would seem from Lincoln's narrative to have been in the past at the time of writing. December 6 has been assigned because the item appeared in the Washington Daily Chronicle on December 7, 1864. Noah Brooks records the circumstances under which it was written:

``. . . Upon another occasion, hearing that I was in the parlor, he sent for me to come up into the library, where I found him writing on a piece of common stiff box-board with a pencil. Said he, after he had finished, `Here is one speech of mine which has never been printed, and I think it worth printing. Just see what you think.' He then read the following, which is copied verbatim from the familiar handwriting before me: [text as above]

``To this the President signed his name at my request, by way of joke, and added for a caption, `The President's Last, Shortest, and Best Speech,' under which title it was duly published in one of the Washington newspapers. . . .'' (``Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln,'' Harper's New Monthly Magazine, July, 1865, p. 230).