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ent" was merely a misprint for "Harvard Independent." Moreover, Mr. Lewis, through correspondence with the present editor of the Harvard Independent, has learned from him that a search in his files brought to light, in the issue of the date stated, June 9, 1894, the identical phrase. It is there, and the American Economist copied it in good faith and with due credit. It is not surprising that the editor of the American Economist, after the lapse of twenty years, should have quite forgotten just how he happened on the phrase, and should now find it as difficult to trace as the rest of us. Any suspicion of fabrication on his part was quite without foundation.
But all this only serves to push the inquiry one step further back. Where did the Harvard Independent get the phrase?
In the works of Robert G. Ingersoll there is an oration upon Lincoln, which bears the date 1894. In it there is a passage which says that Lincoln was "nominated for the legislature and made a speech," and that this speech was in favor of a protective tariff. Ingersoll refers to it shortly after as Lincoln's first speech. After some remarks about the influence of manufactures in "developing the brain" and "giving wings to the imagination," Ingersoll goes on thus: "It is better for Americans to purchase from Americans, even if the things purchased cost more.
"If we purchase a ton of steel rails from England for twenty dollars, then we have the rails and England the money. But if we buy a ton of steel rails from an American for twenty-five dollars, then America has the rails and the money both."
It will be observed that this differs in one significant particular from the phrase attributed to Lincoln. The purchase from the American is supposed to be at a higher price than that from the Englishman, -twenty-five dollars instead of twenty dollars; the allegation is that it is more advantageous to buy at home, even at the higher price.
1 See vol. III, pp. 127-128 of the "Dresden Edition" of the Works of Robert G. Ingersoll (New York, 1900). The oration, or lecture, is also reprinted as an introduction to the seventh volume of Lincoln's Collected Writings, edited by Nicolay and Hay (New York, 1905).
There are other grounds for questioning whether this passage, as it appears in print, was the source of our myth. It is not put by Ingersoll in quotation marks, nor is there any intimation or implication that it is taken from Lincoln. Ingersoll mentions steel rails; if he had wished to imply that the language was Lincoln's, he would hardly have selected an article not known in Lincoln's day. A careless reader might possibly infer this to be a paraphrase or quotation from Lincoln; but only a careless one. More important is the circumstance that internal evidence points to its having been published at a later date than that of the passage in the Harvard Independent (June, 1894). Immediately following the two paragraphs just quoted Ingersoll goes on: 'Judging from the present universal depression and the recent elections, Lincoln, in his first speech, stood on solid rock and was absolutely right." "Recent elections must refer to the elections of the autumn of 1894. The elections of 1892 were not favorable for the Republicans, but those of 1894 were. It is the latter only to which Ingersoll could have alluded. The date of the oration in its printed form is clearly later than that of the appearance of the phrase in the Harvard Independent.
Nevertheless, I am disposed to believe that Ingersoll's oration is the fons et origo of the myth. Ingersoll was much in demand as a lecturer and political speaker. For years he orated on the lyceum platform and spoke at political rallies. The oration on Lincoln doubtless was delivered many and many a time before it was put into cold print. The tariff phrase doubtless figured in it, and was likely to stick in the memory of hearers; and it is in this way that the editor of the Harvard Independent probably got hold of it. Hearing it as delivered, with the dramatic emphasis of which Ingersoll was a master, he would not fail to remember it, and at the same time would naturally suppose it to be a quotation from Lincoln, not an epigram of the orator's. The circumstance that the difference in price between English and American rails, which is an important part of Ingersoll's version, does not appear in the Harvard Independent or in other places, is
entirely consistent with its having been derived from a vaguely memorized report of spoken words.
In sum, the indications now seem to be that Ingersoll's oration, notwithstanding its having appeared in print at a later date than the first published version of the phrase, is nevertheless its source. It is precisely such as Ingersoll might have invented, — epigramatic and fetching. yet still further search may show that it was derived by Ingersoll himself from some source still more remote. No evidence has been adduced, or is likely to be, that it originated with Lincoln or was ever used by him.
F. W. TAUSSIG.
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