The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 by Abraham Lincoln
Reply to the Pennsylvania Delegation, Washington, March 5, 1861
Mr. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE PENNSYLVANIAN DELEGATION:--As I have so frequently said heretofore, when I have had occasion to address the people of the Keystone, in my visits to that State, I can now but repeat the assurance of my gratification at the support you gave me at the election, and at the promise of a continuation of that support which is now tendered to me.
Allusion has been made to the hope that you entertain that you have a President and a government. In respect to that I wish to say to you that in the position I have assumed I wish to do more than I have ever given reason to believe I would do. I do not wish you to believe that I assume to be any better than others who have gone before me. I prefer rather to have it understood that if we ever have a government on the principles we profess, we should remember, while we exercise our opinion, that others have also rights to the exercise of their opinions, and that we should endeavor to allow these rights, and act in such a manner as to create no bad feeling. I hope we have a government and a President. I hope, and wish it to be understood, that there may be no allusion to unpleasant differences.
We must remember that the people of all the States are entitled to all the privileges and immunities of the citizens of the several States. We should bear this in mind, and act in such a way as to say nothing insulting or irritating. I would inculcate this idea, so that we may not, like Pharisees, set ourselves up to be better than other people.
Now, my friends, my public duties are pressing to-day, and will prevent my giving more time to you. Indeed, I should not have left them now, but I could not well deny myself to so large and respectable a body.