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

Reply to Philadelphia Delegation [1]

January 24, 1865

REVEREND SIR, AND LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I accept, with emotions of profoundest gratitude, the beautiful gift you have been pleased to present to me. You will, of course, expect that I acknowledge it. So much has been said about Gettysburg, and so well said, that for me to attempt to say more may, perhaps, only serve to weaken the force of that which has already been said. A most graceful and eloquent tribute was paid to the patriotism and selfdenying labors of the American ladies, on the occasion of the consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, by our illustrious friend, Edward Everett, now, alas! departed from earth. [2] His life was a truly great one, and, I think, the greatest part of it was that which crowned its closing years. I wish you to read, if you have not already done so, the glowing, and eloquent, and truthful words which he then spoke of the women of America. Truly, the services they have rendered to the defenders of our country in this perilous time, and are yet rendering, can never be estimated as they ought to be. For your kind wishes to me, personally, I beg leave to render you, likewise, my sincerest thanks. I assure you they are reciprocated. And now, gentlemen and ladies, may God bless you all.

Annotation

[1]   Washington Daily Morning Chronicle, January 25, 1865. This speech is incorrectly dated January 25, 1865, in Hertz, II, 960. Lincoln replied to a speech of Reverend William Suddards, delivered on presenting ``a truly beautiful and superb vase of skeleton leaves, gathered from the battle-fields of Gettysburg.''

[2]   Edward Everett died on January 15, 1865.