New York Tribune, Times, and Herald, November 20, 1863. Except for minor differences in punctuation and capitalization, the text is the same in all three papers and is the Associated Press version prepared by Joseph L. Gilbert. According to Gilbert's later account, his text was prepared partly from his shorthand notes and partly from Lincoln's manuscript (see Barton, op. cit., pp. 189-92). Since this version follows closely the second draft prior to its having been emended, down to the final sentence, we have to account chiefly for the variants between the newspaper text and the second draft in this final sentence. All of these variants may be explained by the hypothesis that Lincoln did not read his manuscript verbatim, and hence Gilbert's shorthand followed the spoken word. Some of them may be accounted for as errors, which in spite of having access to the manuscript Gilbert did not correct, or which occurred in transcription. In any event Gilbert seems not to have relied on the manuscript for Lincoln's last sentence.
Aside from Gilbert's text there are several independent newspaper texts, of varying degrees of reliability, such as those in the Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer. Inferior in general, they are important chiefly in establishing one word, ``poor,'' omitted by Gilbert, which Lincoln assuredly must have spoken and which appears in both first and second drafts. ``Our poor power,'' rather than Gilbert's ``our power,'' appears in the Chicago Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer has ``our poor attempts,'' in texts prepared independently of each other, and also independently of the Associated Press text. These papers corroborate Gilbert's version, however, in having the phrase ``under God,'' which Lincoln must have used for the first time as he spoke.
Barton (op. cit., pp. 80-83) credits the text taken down in shorthand by Charles Hale of the Boston Advertiser as being ``what Lincoln actually said,'' and gives it preference over Gilbert's text chiefly on the ground that Gilbert consulted Lincoln's manuscript, whereas Hale relied solely on his shorthand notes. The few particulars in which Hale's version differs from Gilbert's have been indicated in footnotes. In one particular, however, it may be questioned whether Hale was accurate---along with Gilbert he omits ``poor'' from ``our poor power.'' It is difficult to comprehend how ``poor'' found its way into other newspaper reports unless Lincoln spoke the word, and yet both Gilbert and Hale omitted it.
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