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Local Editorials

From our archives: Lincoln’s hallowed words at Gettysburg

What we thought: 150 years ago

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Gazette on Nov. 28, 1863.

A president’s

indelible words

Remarks of President Lincoln at the dedication of Gettysburg Cemetery:

“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers established upon this continent a Government subscribed in liberty and dedicated to the fundamental principle that all mankind are created equal by a good God, and (applause) now we are engaged in a great contest. We are contesting the question whether this nation, or any nation so conceived, so dedicated, can longer remain.

“We are met on a great battlefield of the war. We are met here to dedicate a portion of that field as the final resting place of those who have given their lives to that nation that it might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But in a large sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men lying dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or to detract. The world will little heed, or long remember, what we say here; but it will not forget what they did here.

“It is for us rather, the living, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried forward. It is rather for us here to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us; for us to renew our devotion to that cause for which they gave the full measure of their devotion.

“Here let us resolve that what they have done shall not have been done in vain. That the nation shall, under God, have a new birth. That the Government the people founded, by the people shall not perish.”

Note to readers: This version of the Gettysburg Address was jotted down by a newspaper reporter at the scene in Pennsylvania. As such, it does not match, word for word, Lincoln’s famous speech.

Day of thanks

Thanksgiving Day was very generally observed by all our citizens; the business houses all being closed, and religious services held in different churches. The Dinner and Fair of the Congregational Society passed off in a very pleasant and profitable manner, all in attendance – and there were several, perhaps more – being well satisfied with the bountiful repast to which they paid their “devours,” and which was gotten up in the most creditable manner by the ladies.

In the evening, the Fair was equally successful, and many hearts were made glad by the “little fancy fixins,” which fell to their lot in the course of human events. The gross proceeds of the day amounted to about $300, which will aid considerably in furnishing the new church, and will repay the ladies for their untiring efforts. Want of time alone prevents us from elucidating the “side show,” night watch, that “dorg,” etc. Excuse us, gentlemen.

A wise policy

Our neighbors in Lee County seem determined to fill their quota without a draft, and in order to do so, have offered a bounty of $100 to each volunteer in addition to the government bounty. – Thus making the bounty of veterans, who re-enlist, $502, and all others, $402. This policy will doubtless produce all the men they require, and that, too, speedily, and to the detriment of adjacent counties which do not offer similar liberal inducements for enlistments.

We think the same policy should be adopted by Whiteside, and would suggest to the board of supervisors the propriety of taking the matter under serious consideration. But five weeks’ time now intervenes between this and the 5th of January – on which day the draft is to be enforced – and what action is taken in the matter must be done speedily, or we’ll be behind all our neighboring counties, and be obliged to take back seats when the “roll of honor” on the last call is made out. Who will initiate the movement?

To those who

write to soldiers

We are requested to call the attention of the friends of the soldiers to the importance of pre-paying in full every description of mail matter sent [to] them. If you are not certain about the weight of a package, it is but little trouble to ask your postmaster to test it on his scales. This will save both time and money to the soldier, and relieve the postal officers of a great source of annoyance.

To illustrate: At present the mails for Gen. Grant’s army center at Nashville, Tenn. – Thence they are taken by military conveyance to the different corps. The postal law forbids postmasters suffering any mail upon which postage is due leaving their custody before that postage be paid. A package or letter for a soldier at Chattanooga is received at Nashville “due six cents.” It is there detained until a notice can be sent to the front, the soldier found, and the six cents forwarded to the postmaster; and all this delay is occasioned by some careless friend at home who neglects to pay the proper postage. – Louisville Journal


Digby V. Bell, special mail agent, has called the attention of the public to the fact that business men and others are liable to heavy penalties for sending letters and other mail matter outside the mails, and that the law will be enforced to the fullest extent if the practice is not stopped.

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