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Lincoln on Washington

Most lists of great American presidents have two names at the top:  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  There is some debate as to which should be first.  If it were possible to ask Lincoln his opinion, I have little doubt how he would respond based upon the closing of a speech that he gave to the Washington Temperance Society in Springfield, Illinois on February 22, 1842:

This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birth-day of Washington. We are met to celebrate this day. Washington is the mightiest name of earth — long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation. On that name, an eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

4 Comments

  1. What I mean is that in that last paragraph you have the same structure as the Gettysburg Address.

    This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birth-day of Washington. (four score and seven) We are met to celebrate this day. (we are met on a great battlefield) Washington is the mightiest name of earth — long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation. On that name, an eulogy is expected. (fitting and proper) It cannot be. (but in a larger sense) To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. (far above our poor power to add or detract) Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on. (it is for us rather to be dedicated)

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