The Lost Speech

by Ezra M. Prince

At the convention of 1856, enthused by the sympathy of the audience and feeling perhaps a prophetic insight into the future, Mr. Lincoln made one of his great speeches, great even for him in which he showed the sinfulness of slavery and the need of a new party to curb the aggressions of the slave power, and so preserve the Union from impending destruction.

His audience spell-bound by his eloquence and earnestness listened only to applaud. The reporters, affected the same as the other hearers, made no notes of the speech. This has been called the "Lost Speech" of Mr. Lincoln. Since then portions of this speech have lingered in men's minds like some half forgotten music which one thinks he can recall, but regretfully finds it an elusive dream. Lately there has been published a "Lost Speech" made up from alleged notes.

The McLean County Historical Society does not think it proper to send out a report of this re-union without stating that in this community, where many now living heard the great speech and where Mr. Lincoln was so well known and loved, all of his friends consider the speech still lost.

The Historical Society had hoped to recover from the memory of the still living hearers some portions of that speech but found their efforts in vain.


Transactions of the McLean County Historical Society
Pantagraph Printing and Stationery Company, Bloomington Illinois, 1900