This never appeared in Lincoln’s public speeches, but it is possible that he composed it while writing his First Inaugural Address. It draws upon the King James translation of Proverbs 25:11–”A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver”–to describe the relationship between the principles of the Declaration and the purpose of the Constitution.

January 1861

All this is not the result of accident. It has a philosophical cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of “Liberty to all”– Read more