Friday, August 21, 2020

A Humorous Speech — Lincoln in the Black Hawk War.

The friends of General Lewis Cass, when that gentleman was a candidate for the presidency[1], endeavored to endow him with a military reputation. Mr. Lincoln, at that time a representative in Congress (1847-1849), delivered a speech before the House, which, in its allusions to General Cass, was exquisitely sarcastic and irresistibly humorous:

"By the way, Mr. Speaker," said Mr. Lincoln, "do you know I am a military hero? Yes, sir, in the days of the Black Hawk War [1832], I fought, bled, and came away. Speaking of General Cass's career reminds me of my own. I was not at Stillman's Defeat, but I was about as near it as Cass to Hull's surrender, and like him, I saw the place very soon afterward. It is quite certain I did not break my sword, for I had none to break; but I bent my musket pretty badly on one occasion. If General Cass went in advance of me in picking whortleberries, I guess I surpassed him in charges upon the wild onions. If he saw any live, fighting Indians, it was more than I did, but I had a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes; and although I never fainted from loss of blood, I can truly say I was often very hungry."

23 Year Old, Illinois Militia,
Captain Abraham Lincoln,
Black Hawk War, 1832.
Mr. Lincoln concluded by saying if he ever turned democrat and should run for the Presidency, he hoped they would not make fun of him by attempting to make him a military hero! 


[1] In the 1848 presidential campaign, Lewis Cass was the Democratic nominee but was defeated by the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor.

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