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Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Edward Everett, 20 November 1863

Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Edward Everett, 20 November 1863
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[ This description is from the project: Witness to America's Past ]

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave brief remarks - lasting just two-minutes - at the consecration of the Soldier's National Cemetery at Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania. Edward Everett, by comparion, gave a two-hour oration, which would be considered excruciatingly long by present-day standards. While the crowning moment of Everett's career, Lincoln's eloquent remarks have completely eclipsed those of Everett's.

The next day, however, Everett wrote to the President praising his speech: "I should be glad, if I could flatter myself, that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours, as you did in two minutes." The same day Lincoln replied in the letter presented here, "In our respective parts yesterday, you could not have been excused to make a short address, nor I a long one. I am pleased to know that, in your judgment, the little I did say was not entirely a failure."

This letter is part of a much larger collection of Edward Everett papers at the Historical Society which include the correspondence, letterbooks, and diaries of Edward Everett.