Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pages of Lincoln State of Union Address Sold

Yesterday, Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Texas sold handwritten pages of President Lincoln's December 4, 1864 State of the Union address. These were pages that he wrote and then submitted to the printer. The pre-sale estimate was $90,000-$120,000.

When you read the address, you feel sorry for the President. The State of the Union address was a true report to Congress. It was not the campaign speech that it is today. Lincoln truly had to tell Congress about practically everything that happened in the Executive Branch.

An amusing portion of the speech comes when he writes, "The new liberal constitution of Venezuala having gone into effect..." I thought of Hugo Chavez and began to chuckle.

He does not even mention the war until three-fourths of the way into the speech.

At the end, the Lincolnian prose begins to appear. He says, "...[T]he war will cease on the part of the Government whenever it shall have ceased on the part of those who began it."

I would have started the bidding at $130,000.

I think it is always better for these documents to go into public hands. However, if it should go to a private collector, all efforts should be made to encourage collectors to loan the documents to museums. Perhaps Congress should pass a tax deduction encouraging such lending.

What does everyone think on this issue? Should it be in public or private hands?

As for me, I would love to own the Gettysburg address or the Second Inaugural Address. What would be your favorite?

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