Abraham Lincoln’s original, handwritten 1864 presidential victory speech – considered one of the most important addresses of his presidency -- will be auctioned this week at Christie’s, the auction house said Monday.
The speech will be on view to the public through Wednesday, with a sale set for Feb. 12 at the famed New York City auction house. The four-page speech is expected to fetch between $3 and $4million.
The address was delivered at the White House on the evening of November 10, 1864, immediately after Lincoln won a surprising re-election to a second term as the nation was divided by civil war.
Lincoln appeared in the window over the north portico, where a secretary held a candle to illuminate the pages as he read the speech.
As the Civil War raged, Lincoln maintained the importance of holding the 1864 vote.
"A people's government can sustain a national election, in the midst of a great civil war."
The election," he said, "was a necessity," for "we cannot have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us, he said."
The auction comes a week ahead of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.