The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 by Abraham Lincoln
Address at Poughkeepsie, New York, February 19, 1861
FELLOW-CITIZENS:--It is altogether impossible I should make myself heard by any considerable portion of this vast assemblage; but, although I appear before you mainly for the purpose of seeing you, and to let you see rather than hear me, I cannot refrain from saying that I am highly gratified--as much here, indeed, under the circumstances, as I have been anywhere on my route--to witness this noble demonstration--made, not in honor of an individual, but of the man who at this time humbly, but earnestly, represents the majesty of the nation.
This reception, like all the others that have been tendered to me, doubtless emanates from all the political parties, and not from one alone. As such I accept it the more gratefully, since it indicates an earnest desire on the part of the whole people, with out regard to political differences, to save--not the country, because the country will save itself but to save the institutions of the country, those institutions under which, in the last three quarters of a century, we have grown to a great, and intelligent, and a happy people--the greatest, the most intelligent, and the happiest people in the world. These noble manifestations indicate, with unerring certainty, that the whole people are willing to make common cause for this object; that if, as it ever must be, some have been successful in the recent election and some have been beaten, if some are satisfied and some are dissatisfied, the defeated party are not in favor of sinking the ship, but are desirous of running it through the tempest in safety, and willing, if they think the people have committed an error in their verdict now, to wait in the hope of reversing it and setting it right next time. I do not say that in the recent election the people did the wisest thing, that could have been done--indeed, I do not think they did; but I do say that in accepting the great trust committed to me, which I do with a determination to endeavor to prove worthy of it, I must rely upon you, upon the people of the whole country, for support; and with their sustaining aid, even I, humble as I am, cannot fail to carry the ship of state safely through the storm.
I have now only to thank you warmly for your kind attendance, and bid you all an affectionate farewell.