Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 4.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Remarks at the Monongahela House, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania [1]

February 14, 1861

Fellow Citizens: We had an accident upon the road to-day, and were delayed till this late hour. I am sorry for this, inasmuch as it was my desire and intention to address the citizens of Pennsylvania, briefly, this evening, on what is properly styled their peculiar interest. And I still hope that some arrangement may be made to-morrow morning which will afford me the pleasure of talking to a larger number of my friends than can assemble in this hall. [``Go on now; there's enough here.''] I have a great regard for Allegheny county. It is ``the banner county of the Union,'' [cheers,] and rolled up an immense majority for what I, at least, consider a good cause. By a mere accident, and not throughPage  209

any merit of mine, it happened that I was the representative of that cause, and I acknowledge with all sincerity the high honor you have conferred on me. [``Three cheers for Honest Abe,'' and a voice saying, ``It was no accident that elected you, but your own merits, and the worth of the cause.''] I thank you, my fellow citizen, for your kind remark, and trust that I feel a becoming sense of the responsibility resting upon me. [``We know you do.'']

I could not help thinking, my friends, as I traveled in the rain through your crowded streets, on my way here, that if all that people were in favor of the Union, it can certainly be in no great danger---it will be preserved. [A voice---``We are all Union men.'' Another voice---``That's so.'' A third voice---``No compromise.'' A fourth---``Three cheers for the Union.''] But I am talking too long, longer than I ought. [``Oh, no! go on; split another rail.'' Laughter.] You know that it has not been my custom, since I started on the route to Washington, to make long speeches; I am rather inclined to silence, [``That's right''] and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual now-a-days to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot. [Laughter, and a voice---``No railery Abe.''] I thank you, sincerely, for the warm reception I have received, and in the morning, if an arrangement can be made, of which I am not yet certain, I may have something to say to you of that ``peculiar interest of Pennsylvania'' before mentioned. [``Say it now, we are all attention.''] Well, my friends, as it is not much I have to say, and as there may be some uncertainty of another opportunity, I will utter it now, if you will permit me to procure a few notes that are in my overcoat pocket. [``Certainly we will,'' and cheers.] [2]

Annotation

[1]   Pittsburgh Dispatch, February 15, 1861. Lincoln spoke standing on a chair to the crowd assembled in the lobby.

[2]   According to the Dispatch, Lincoln retired to get his notes and later appeared on the balcony outside the hotel to make the brief remarks (infra) announcing postponement of the speech until the next morning.