Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Memoranda on Robert Burns [1]

[January 25, 1865]

I can not frame a toast to Burns. I can say nothing worthy of his generous heart, and transcendent genius A. LINCOLN

I can not frame a toast to Burns. I can say nothing worthy of his generous heart and transcending genius. Thinking of what he has said, I can not say anything which seems worth saying



[1]   ADS-P, ISLA. LINCOLN had been invited to attend the annual celebration of the Burns Club of Washington in 1864 (Robert Crawford to Lincoln, January 23, 1864, DLC-RTL). Alexander Williamson, a clerk in the Second Auditor's Office who had tutored ``Willie'' and ``Tad'' Lincoln, wrote again on January 24, 1865: ``The `Executive Committee of Management for the Celebration of the 106th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns' have instructed me as their Secretary to request the honor of your recognition of the genius of Scotland's bard, by either a toast, a sentiment, or in any other way you may deem proper. It takes place tomorrow.''(Ibid.).

The Washington Evening Star of January 26, 1865, reported the meeting of the Burns Club on the previous evening: ``Mr. Williamson, remarking that the President's pressing duties had prevented him writing a letter or a toast in response to the invitation to be present . . . read a hastily written memorandum which the President had sent him, in substance as follows

`` `I cannot now frame a toast to Burns or say to you aught worthy of his most generous heart and transcending genius.' ''