612. James Miles (William H. Herndon Interview).
July 16th '88
James Miles tells me this — Mr Lincoln made a Speech in Petersburg during the Douglas & Lincoln Campaign in 1858. Lincoln did his best near his old home — New Salem in Menard County. Lincon Spoke for about two hours in his very best way. The speech was a fine one and claimed the attention of Every one Democrat as well as the Republicans, but what thrilled the audience was his apostroph to Liberty, Concluding with the Expression "God gave me these hands (holding them up to the vast audience) to feed this mouth (putting his hands to his mouth). This expression contained in the apostroph was more than Convincing: it literally Electrified them and Carried the Crowd with him as if the people were Caught up in a Cyclone. This Expression was used by the Republicans as a Convincer during the Canvass of '58. Others have told me this substantially, though with more immagination &c &c.
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3462
1. Possibly a speech delivered on October 29. CW 3:333.
2. Marginal note: L's hands were Eloquent raised up high above his head: they spoke.