American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Lincoln's Farewell

Farewell Address
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
[Farewell Address]
Springfield, IL
Manuscript, February 11, 1861
Manuscript Division

Deeply moved by the well-wishing of Springfield friends and neighbors of 25 years, president-elect Abraham Lincoln delivered this short, impromptu speech from the steps of his private railroad car as he began his trip to Washington. Its sad reminiscences and confident benediction so impressed the members of his entourage that he was asked to put his remarks in writing. The effects of a moving train and a hand bruised by countless handshakes, apparent here in the first few lines, forced Lincoln to ask his personal secretary, John Nicolay, to finish.

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