lyceum address

The District: Chapter 6

“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”- Abraham Lincoln, Lyceum Address, January 27, 1838.

The clouds hung low and heavy in the late morning, hiding the sun so that it did little to light up the day, but instead made them glow despite the fact that they were bursting and dripping at their seams with a waiting storm that wanted to sprint across the city, holding onto itself until it made it to the bay. Outside, on the ledge of the fire escape, the occasional fat drop patted a flower or leaf, and the wind coughed, making the leaves flail before bouncing back into their spots while the first victims of autumn were swept through the street. The day was destined to be the kind that felt like a wooly sweater, blustery and rainswept just outside the windows.

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At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.
—  Abraham Lincoln, 1838 Lyceum Address