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

Reply to a Delegation from Wilmington, Delaware [1]

February 21, 1861

Mr. CHAIRMAN:---I feel highly flattered by the encomiums you have seen fit to bestow upon me. Soon after the nomination of Gen. TAYLOR I attended a political meeting in the city of Wilmington, and have since carried with me a fond remembrance of the hospitalities of the city on that occasion. [2] The programme established provides for my presence in Harrisburg in twenty-four hours from this time.

I expect to be in Washington on Saturday. It is, therefore, an impossibility that I should accept your kind invitation. There are no people whom I would more gladly accommodate than those of Delaware; but circumstances forbid, gentlemen. With many regrets for the character of the reply I am compelled to give you, I bid you adieu.

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[1]   Philadelphia Inquirer, February 22, 1861. Lincoln replied to a speech of invitation by William S. McCaulley, chairman of the delegation from Wilmington, in the reception parlor of the Continental Hotel. This speech has appeared in other editions (Lapsley) of Lincoln's works, incorrectly dated February 22.

[2]   See June 10, 1848, supra.