Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
August 16, 1858

In commencing his speech today, in a grove adjoining Bath, where a large and most respectable audience greeted him, Mr. Lincoln said he had many things since coming into Mason County to remind him that he had ceased to be a young man. Among the old men, he had met more than half a dozen who were in the same company with him 27 years ago in the Black Hawk war---a war which truly was not a very extensive one, or calculated to make great heroes of men engaged in it. But here are these old men now, some of them on the stand with him; and on this very spot, 22 years ago, he (Mr. L.) had with his own hands staked out the first plat of this town of Bath, then a wooded wilderness. But what more reminded him of his advancing age, was the number of young men around him, now, and for years past, voters, who were the sons of his friends of early years, and who are now of the age he was when he first knew their fathers. Here at least he expected to be heard with can[dor] and respectful attention---and he was so heard, throughout an address of more than two hours' duration.

The Republicans at their Springfield Convention of June 16th, said he, had chosen to put him forward as candidate for U.S. Senator---as their standard bearer in the campaign. He appreciated the honor, but felt the responsibility of the task. Recurring to the great disturbing question of the day, Slavery, he stated his belief that Douglas had never in his life once intimated that there was any wrong in slavery; and that if that gentleman were here, he would not, even to secure every voter present, make this admission. And yet, he was trying to wrap himself up in the cloak of Henry Clay, a statesman in defence of whose principles Lincoln had battled all his life. Not a shred of that cloak would he allow to Lincoln. But this old son of Kentucky, a son of whom all the Western States may be proud, read extracts from Mr. Clay's speech of 1847, andPage  544 from another of 20 years before, 1827, delivered before the Colonization Society, in which that statesman spoke in favor of the ultimate emancipation of slavery, and pronouncing the institution the greatest of evils. Mr. L. contrasted these remarks of the old patriot, with the sentiments and political course of Douglas on this question, and showed clearly that nothing but the most brazen impudence would dare to take the name of Clay on his lips, by a man so destitute of his principles.