The Lost Speech

by George Schneider

During the absence of the committees many speeches were made. Lovejoy (and by the way Owen Lovejoy was the greatest stump speaker I ever listened to), Browning, Cook, Williams, Arnold and among them one Emory, a free state refugee from Kansas, all made speeches. Owing to the inflamed condition of public sentiment, the audience had become much wrought up in feeling when it came the turn of Mr. Lincoln to make his speech, the so-called "Lost Speech." I thought it then a great speech and I now think it a great speech, one of the greatest and certainly one of the wisest ever delivered by him.

Instead of adding, as he might have done, and as most speakers would have done, to the bitterness and exasperation his audience felt, as a manner of gaining control of the audience, he mildly and kindly reproved the appeal to warlike measures invoked by some who had spoken before him, and before entering upon the delivery of his great arraignment of the slavery question and of the opposing party, he said: "I'll tell you what we will do, we'll wait until November and then shoot paper ballots at them." This expression, with his conciliatory and wise declarations greatly quieted the convention and prepared the members for the well considered platform which was afterwards presented and adopted.


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