Abraham Lincoln leaves Illinois
Lincoln's Farewell Address in Springfield
by Abraham Lincoln
February 11, 1861
This speech, given by Abraham Lincoln as he departed
Springfield, Illinois, to go to Washington to become
president of the United States. A thousand citizens
gathered to see Lincoln and his family depart.
Lincoln, of course, never returned. Two versions of
the speech follow, one purporting to be partly from
the original manuscript in Lincoln's handwriting and
partly from Lincoln's secretary as dictated by
Lincoln. The second version was printed in 1861 in a
Springfield newspaper. Read the two versions.
How are they different?
Here are the two versions:
"Friends, no one who has never been placed in a like
position can understand my feelings at this hour,
nor the oppressive sadness I feel at this parting.
For more than a quarter of a century I hve lived
among you, and during all that time I have received
nothing but kindness at your hands. Here I have
lived from my youth until now I am an old man. Here
the most cherished ties of earth were assumed. Here
all my children were born and here one of them lies
buried. To you, dear friends, I owe all that I have,
all that I am. All the strange checkered past seems
to crowd now upon my mind.
To-day I leave you. I go to assume a task more
difficult than that which devolved upon Washington.
Unless the great God who assisted him shall be with
andaid me I must fail; but if the same omniscient
mind and mighty arm that directed and protected him
shall guide and support me I shall not fail -- I
shall succeed. Let us all pray that the God of our
fathers may not forsake us now. To Him I commend you
all. Permit me to ask that with equal sincerity and
faith you will invoke His wisdom and guidance for
me. With these words I must leave you -- for how
long I know not. Friends, one and all, I must now
bid you an affectionate farewell."
"My friends, no one, not in my situation, can
appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To
this place and the kindness of this people I owe
everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century
and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my
children have been born and one is buried.
I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may
return, with a task before me greater than that
which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance
of that Divine Being who ever attended him I can not
succeed. With that assistance I can not fail.
Trusting in Him who can go with me and remain with
you and be everywhere for good, let us confidently
hope that all will yet be well. To His care
commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will
commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell."