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LINCOLN, ABRAHAM, President. Autograph letter signed ("A. Lincoln") as Republican nominee for President, to Charles C. Nott, a board member of the Young Men's Republican Union; Springfield, Illinois,
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LINCOLN, ABRAHAM, President. Autograph letter signed ("A. Lincoln") as Republican nominee for President, to Charles C. Nott, a board member of the Young Men's Republican Union; Springfield, Illinois, 31 May 1860. 3 pages, 4to, 249 x 198 mm. (9 7/8 x 7 3/4 in.). Fine condition.\n\nTWO WEEKS AFTER HE BECOMES THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT, LINCOLN PREPARES THE COOPER INSTITUTE ADDRESS FOR PUBLICATION: "I DO NOT WISH TO HAVE THE SENSE CHANGED, OR MODIFIED, TO A HAIR'S BREADTH"\n\nA very significant letter to Nott, of the New York Young Men's Republican Union, who had been instrumental in inviting Lincoln to New York to deliver the Cooper Institute address, a pivotal speech which introduced Eastern Republicans to the previously obscure Illinois lawyer and helped propel him to the forefront of the Republican contenders for the presidential nomination. The letter is noteworthy for portraying Lincoln's meticulous concern with the apparently minor details of the text of this highly significant address.\n\nCharles Nott had written Lincoln on May 23: "I enclose a copy of your address...We (the Young Mens Rep[ublican] Union) design to publish a new edition in larger type & better form, with such notes & references as will best attract readers...Have you any memoranda of your investigations which you would approve of inserting? You & your Western friends, I think underrate this speech. It has produced a greater effect here than any other single speech. It is the real platform in the Eastern States, and must carry the conservative element in New York, New Jersey & Penn. Therefore I desire that it should be as nearly perfect as may be. Many of the emendations are trivial & do not affect the substance--all are merely suggested....I cannot help adding that this speech is an extraordinary example of condensed English. After some experience in criticising for Reviews, I find hardly anything to touch & nothing to omit. It is the only one I know of, which I cannot shorten and--like a good arch--moving one word tumbles a whole sentence down..."\n\nIn reply, Lincoln writes: "Yours of the 23rd, accompanied by a copy of the speech delivered by me at the Cooper Institute, and upon which you have made some notes for emendations, was received some days ago. Of course I would not object to, but would be pleased rather, with a more perfect edition of that speech.\n\n"I did not preserve memoranda of my investigations; and I could not now re-examine, and make notes, without an expenditure of time which I can not bestow upon it. Some of your notes I do not understand.\n\n"So far as it is intended merely to improve in grammar, and elegance of composition, I am quite agreed; but I do not wish the sense changed, or modified, to a hair's breadth. And you, not having studied the particular points so closely as I have, can not be quite sure that you do not change the sense when you do not intend it. For instance, in a note at bottom of first page, you propose to substitue "Democrats" for "Douglas." But what I am saying there is true of Douglas, and is not true of "Democrats" generally; so that the proposed substitution would be a very considerable blunder. Your proposed insertion of "residences" though it would do little or no harm, is not at all necessary to the sense I was trying to convey. On page 5 your proposed grammatical change would certainly do no harm. The "impudently absurd" I stick to. The striking out "he" and inserting "we" turns the sense exactly wrong. The striking out "upon it" leaves the sense too general and incomplete. The sense is "act as they acted upon that question"--not as they acted generally.\n\n"After considering your proposed changes on page 7, I do not think them material, but I am willing to defer to you in relation to them.\n\n"On page 9, striking out "to us" is probably right. The word "lawyer's" I wish retained. The word "Courts" struck out twice, I wish reduced to "Court" and retained. "Court" as a collection more properly governs the plural "have" as I understand. "The" preceding "Court," in the latter case, must also be retained. The words "quite," "as," and "or" on the same page, I wish retained. The italicising, and quotation marking, I have no objection to.\n\n"As to the note at bottom, I do not think any too much is admitted. What you propose on page 1 is right. I return you copy of the speech, together with one printed here, under my own hasty supervising. That a New York was printed without any supervision by me. If you conclude to publish a new edition, allow me to see the proof-sheets. And now thanking you for your very complimentary letter, and your interest for me generally, I subscribe myself."\n\nBasler observes that "For the student interested in Lincoln's writings this letter is of particular note. Herndon's statement that Lincoln would take no corrections which involved a change in meaning or sentiment is fully borne out, though he is ready to acquiesce in so far as corrections of grammar are concerned. In the matter of grammar, however, Lincoln was able to set his editors straight on a point or two!" (Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings, 1946, pp. 544-545).\n\nThe background to this remarkable letter is as follows. On 9 February Nott, the head of the Committee on Speakers of the Young Men's Republican Union, had written Lincoln (misspelling his given name "Abram"), asking whether he could deliver "a political lecture" in New York. As Nott explained, the New York Republicans sponsored these lectures "to call out our better, but busier citizens, who never attend political meetings. A large part of the audience would also consist of ladies...You are, I believe, an entire stranger to your Republican brethren here; but they have, for you, the highest esteem, and your celebrated contest with Judge [Stephen A.] Douglas awoke their warmest sympathy and admiration." Lincoln's letter in reply to Nott's initial letter is lost, but as Nott later recorded, Lincoln "replied that he would come but that he was poor & must charge $300." In the end, it was arranged that the lecture would be given at the Cooper Institute on the evening of 27 February 1860. According to Herndon, Lincoln "spent the intervening time in careful preparation. He searched through the dusty volumes of congressional proceedings in the State library, and dug deeply into political history. He was painstaking and thorough in the study of his subject.... His speech was devoid of all rhetorical imagery, with a marked suppression of the pyrothechnics of stump oratory. It was constructed with a view to accuracy of statement, simplicity of language, and unity of thought.....No former effort in the line of speech-making had cost Lincoln so much time and thought as this one" (W.H. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, ed. H.S. Commager, 1983, p.367). A recent historian has noted that Lincoln researched "the records of the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787, early printings of U.S. statutes, and the journals of the early Congresses, and sought to prove that the founders of the government initiated the policy to restrict slavery's growth" (Mark E. Neely, The Last Best\nHope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America, 1993, p.56).\n\nIn a 1909 pamphlet which accompanies the Lincoln letter, Nott recalls the snowy night of the celebrated lecture: "Mr. William Cullen Bryant presided at the meeting; and a number of the first and ablest citizens of New York were present, among them Mr. Horace Greeley. Mr. Greeley was pronounced in his appreciation of the address...it would reassure the conservative Northerner it was just what was wanted to conciliate the excited Southerner, it was conclusive in its argument, and would assure the overthrow of Douglas" (p.iii). An imperfect text of the lecture was published in Greeley's Tribune the next day and the same version was later reissued as Tribune Tracts, no.4 (see Monaghan 50). Nott and Brainerd were evidently struck by the imperfections of the Tribune text and the absence of the usual footnotes and source notes which seemed appropriate for a published text, prompting them to undertake the preparation of their annotated edition.\n\nAs Basler explains: "The manuscript of the address is not extant, but of the several texts available, the Nott and Brainerd pamphlet...has strong claim as a definitive text. Lincoln supervised its preparation, as he did not the printing of the speech from his manuscript in the New York Tribune...or the issues of the Tribune Tracts which followed....His letters to Nott...are concerned with its preparation and indicate that Lincoln carefully corrected the copy of Tribune Tracts which Nott had revised, and that he later corrected the proof sheets of the new pamphlet." (Nott's papers, though, indicate that although it was intended to have Lincoln correct the proof sheets of the new edition, in the end this proved impossible.)\n\nNott and Brainerd's "definitive" edition of the Cooper Institute Speech was published in Sepember 1860 as a 32-page pamphlet in glazed paper wrappers entitled: The Address of the Hon. Abraham Lincoln, in Vindication of the Policy of the Framers of the Constitution and the Principles of the Republican Party...Issued by the Young Men's Republican Union...With Notes by Charles C. Nott and Cephas Brainerd (New York: George F. Nesbitt & Co. 1860). In their preface, Nott and Brainerd write that "This edition of Mr. Lincoln's address has been prepared and published by the Young Men's Republican Union of New York, to exemplify its wisdom, truthfulness, and learning. No one who has not actually attempted to verify its details can understand the patient research and historical labor which it embodies. The history of our earlier politics is scattered through numerous journals, statutes, pamphlets, and letters...Neither can any one who has not travelled over this precise ground appreciate the accuracy of every trivial detail, or the self-denying impartiality with which Mr. Lincoln has turned from the testimony of 'the Fathers,' on the general question of slavery, to present the single question which he discusses...Commencing with this address as a political pamphlet, the reader will leave it as an historical work--brief, complete, profound, impartial, truthful--which will survive the time and occasion that called it forth, and be esteemed hereafter, no less for its intrinsic worth than its unpretending modesty." A copy of the pamphlet accompanies Lincoln's letter. The entire preface, the text of the Cooper Institute Address, and Lincoln's letter to Nott of 31 May 1860 are reprinted in Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings, ed. R.P. Basler, pp.517-539 & 545; the address with Nott's and Brainerd's notes, is in Collected Works, 3:522-550.\n\nIn an 1887 letter to Brainerd (a transcript of which is extant), Nott gives his own account of Lincoln's New York visit, recalling details of Lincoln's convsersation on politics over dinner at the Athenaeum Club after the Cooper Institute Address. Afterwards, he writes, he accompanied Lincoln downtown, in the direction of Lincoln's hotel, the Astor House. "[I] bade him, good-bye; and the future President went on alone. The next time he went to the Astor Housem he was standing erect in an open barouche, and Broadway was thronged, and hats were off and cheers going up and loyal men of all parties waving toward him as the lawful President of the whole United States."\n\nPublished in Collected Works, 4:58-59 (Basler took the text of the letter from a 1909 biography and apparently did not consult the original letter).\n\nProvenance: Charles C. Nott (1827-1915) -- Charles C. Nott, Jr., (1869-1958), son of the above -- The present owner, by descent. (3)
US
NY, US
US

title

LINCOLN, ABRAHAM, President. Autograph letter signed ("A. Lincoln") as Republican nominee for President, to Charles C. Nott, a board member of the Young Men's Republican Union; Springfield, Illinois, 31 May 1860. 3 pages, 4to, 249 x 198 mm. (9 7/8 x 7 3/4 in.). Fine condition.

medium

Nott and Brainerd's "definitive" edition of the Cooper Institute Speech was published in Sepember 1860 as a 32-page pamphlet in glazed paper wrappers entitled: The Address of the Hon. Abraham Lincoln, in Vindication of the Policy of the Framers of the Constitution and the Principles of the Republican Party...Issued by the Young Men's Republican Union...With Notes by Charles C. Nott and Cephas Brainerd (New York: George F. Nesbitt & Co. 1860). In their preface, Nott and Brainerd write that "This edition of Mr. Lincoln's address has been prepared and published by the Young Men's Republican Union of New York, to exemplify its wisdom, truthfulness, and learning. No one who has not actually attempted to verify its details can understand the patient research and historical labor which it embodies. The history of our earlier politics is scattered through numerous journals, statutes, pamphlets, and letters...Neither can any one who has not travelled over this precise ground appreciate the accuracy of every trivial detail, or the self-denying impartiality with which Mr. Lincoln has turned from the testimony of 'the Fathers,' on the general question of slavery, to present the single question which he discusses...Commencing with this address as a political pamphlet, the reader will leave it as an historical work--brief, complete, profound, impartial, truthful--which will survive the time and occasion that called it forth, and be esteemed hereafter, no less for its intrinsic worth than its unpretending modesty." A copy of the pamphlet accompanies Lincoln's letter. The entire preface, the text of the Cooper Institute Address, and Lincoln's letter to Nott of 31 May 1860 are reprinted in Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings, ed. R.P. Basler, pp.517-539 & 545; the address with Nott's and Brainerd's notes, is in Collected Works, 3:522-550.

prelot

The Property of

A Descendant of CHARLES C. NOTT (1827-1915)

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The background to this remarkable letter is as follows. On 9 February Nott, the head of the Committee on Speakers of the Young Men's Republican Union, had written Lincoln (misspelling his given name "Abram"), asking whether he could deliver "a political lecture" in New York. As Nott explained, the New York Republicans sponsored these lectures "to call out our better, but busier citizens, who never attend political meetings. A large part of the audience would also consist of ladies...You are, I believe, an entire stranger to your Republican brethren here; but they have, for you, the highest esteem, and your celebrated contest with Judge [Stephen A.] Douglas awoke their warmest sympathy and admiration." Lincoln's letter in reply to Nott's initial letter is lost, but as Nott later recorded, Lincoln "replied that he would come but that he was poor & must charge $300." In the end, it was arranged that the lecture would be given at the Cooper Institute on the evening of 27 February 1860. According to Herndon, Lincoln "spent the intervening time in careful preparation. He searched through the dusty volumes of congressional proceedings in the State library, and dug deeply into political history. He was painstaking and thorough in the study of his subject.... His speech was devoid of all rhetorical imagery, with a marked suppression of the pyrothechnics of stump oratory. It was constructed with a view to accuracy of statement, simplicity of language, and unity of thought.....No former effort in the line of speech-making had cost Lincoln so much time and thought as this one" (W.H. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, ed. H.S. Commager, 1983, p.367). A recent historian has noted that Lincoln researched "the records of the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787, early printings of U.S. statutes, and the journals of the early Congresses, and sought to prove that the founders of the government initiated the policy to restrict slavery's growth" (Mark E. Neely, The Last Best Nott and Brainerd's "definitive" edition of the Cooper Institute Speech was published in Sepember 1860 as a 32-page pamphlet in glazed paper wrappers entitled: The Address of the Hon. Abraham Lincoln, in Vindication of the Policy of the Framers of the Constitution and the Principles of the Republican Party...Issued by the Young Men's Republican Union...With Notes by Charles C. Nott and Cephas Brainerd (New York: George F. Nesbitt & Co. 1860). In their preface, Nott and Brainerd write that "This edition of Mr. Lincoln's address has been prepared and published by the Young Men's Republican Union of New York, to exemplify its wisdom, truthfulness, and learning. No one who has not actually attempted to verify its details can understand the patient research and historical labor which it embodies. The history of our earlier politics is scattered through numerous journals, statutes, pamphlets, and letters...Neither can any one who has not travelled over this precise ground appreciate the accuracy of every trivial detail, or the self-denying impartiality with which Mr. Lincoln has turned from the testimony of 'the Fathers,' on the general question of slavery, to present the single question which he discusses...Commencing with this address as a political pamphlet, the reader will leave it as an historical work--brief, complete, profound, impartial, truthful--which will survive the time and occasion that called it forth, and be esteemed hereafter, no less for its intrinsic worth than its unpretending modesty." A copy of the pamphlet accompanies Lincoln's letter. The entire preface, the text of the Cooper Institute Address, and Lincoln's letter to Nott of 31 May 1860 are reprinted in Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings, ed. R.P. Basler, pp.517-539 & 545; the address with Nott's and Brainerd's notes, is in Collected Works, 3:522-550.


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