Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Abraham Lincoln on gamblers

A political blog post I was reading today (here, in case anyone is interested) quoted something by Honest Abe about gamblers. It interested me enough to track down the original, which, thanks to Google, is almost ridiculously easy these days.

It comes from his speech to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838, which can be found here. Lincoln is warning of the dangers of the increasing arbitrariness of mob violence in retribution for alleged crimes.
In the Mississippi case they first commenced by hanging the regular gamblers — a set of men certainly not following for a livelihood a very useful or very honest occupation, but one which, so far from being forbidden by the laws, was actually licensed by an act of the Legislature passed but a single year before.... Abstractly considered, the hanging of the gamblers at Vicksburg was of but little consequence. They constitute a portion of population that is worse than useless in any community; and their never matter of reasonable regret with any one. If they were annually swept from the stage of existence by the plague or smallpox, honest men would perhaps be much profited by the operation.
Gee, thanks, Abe! Appreciate the compliment! Care to know what I think of members of your professions, i.e., lawyers and politicians?


Abe said...

Lincoln was a young lawyer/politician on the make in 1838 Springfield.

Plus - he was probably talking about the Omaha players.

165 years later, another young politician in the State Legislature played a very good game of poker in Springfield. He's now the POTUS.

Steve said...

Are you a glutton for punishment? First a little blog post about another blogger that erupted into a firestorm of criticism. Now you're gonna get on "Honest Abe?"

Good luck (you're gonna need it.)


PS. I actually agree with you on both.

Anonymous said...

Then I guess Lincoln would be happy that so far the possibility of a casino in Gettysburg near the battlefield has been defeated at every turn!

Paboo said...

Why do I think 'gamblers' in the 1800's would cheat every opportunity they could?

What I really wonder is if politicians were actually a bit more honest than they are today. ...Nah.