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Abraham Lincoln
Address to the New Jersey State Senate
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Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Senate of the State of New-Jersey:

I am very grateful to you for the honorable reception of which I
have been the object. I cannot but remember the place that
New-Jersey holds in our early history. In the early Revolutionary
struggle, few of the States among the old Thirteen had more of
the battle-fields of the country within their limits than old
New-Jersey. May I be pardoned if, upon this occasion, I mention
that away back in my childhood, the earliest days of my being able
to read, I got hold of a small book, such a one as few of the
younger members have ever seen, "Weem's Life of Washington."
I remember all the accounts there given of the battle fields and
struggles for the liberties of the country, and none fixed themselves
upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at Trenton,
New-Jersey. The crossing of the river; the contest with the Hessians;
the great hardships endured at that time, all fixed themselves on
my memory more than any single revolutionary event; and you all
know, for you have all been boys, how these early impressions
last longer than any others. I recollect thinking then, boy even
though I was, that there must have been something more than
common that those men struggled for; that something even
more than National Independence; that something that held
out a great promise to all the people of the world to all time to
come; I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution,
and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance
with the original idea for which that struggle was made, and I
shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument
in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen
people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.
You give me this reception, as I understand, without distinction
of party. I learn that this body is composed of a majority of
gentlemen who, in the exercise of their best judgment in the
choice of a Chief Magistrate, did not think I was the man. I
understand, nevertheless, that they came forward here to
greet me as the constitutional President of the United States--
as citizens of the United States, to meet the man who, for
the time being, is the representative man of the nation, united
by a purpose to perpetuate the Union and liberties of the people.
As such, I accept this reception more gratefully than I could do
did I believe it was tendered to me as an individual.

(Trenton, New Jersey, February 21, 1861)

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