[1]   AD, ORB. This fragment may have been written earlier than January, 1861. The only clue in the context as to a date is Lincoln's allusion to the metaphor in Proverbs 25:11, which Alexander Stephens had used in his letter to Lincoln of December 30, 1860 (vide supra), Lincoln to Stephens, December 22, note). No speech which employs the language of the fragment has been found, but it seems probable that Lincoln wrote the passage some time prior to or during the preparation of his First Inaugural Address.

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