To John Phillips
November 21, 2014 Leave a comment
My dear Sir 21st. November, 1864
I have heard of the incident at the polls in your town, in which you bore so honored a part, and I take the liberty of writing to you to express my personal gratitude for the compliment paid me by the suffrage of a citizen so venerable.
The example of such devotion to civic duties in one whose days have already extended an average life time beyond the Psalmist’s limit, cannot but be valuable and fruitful. It is not for myself only, but for the country which you have in your sphere served so long and so well, that I thank you. Your friend and Servant
On November 9, 1864, F. W. Emmons of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, wrote Lincoln:
“I send you with this, a pamphlet of ‘The Centenarian Deacon John Phillips [‘]—of the celebration of his one Hundreth birth day and am happy to inform you that he still lives, now in his 105th year.
“He is a Democrat, of the Jeffersonian School: voted for Washington, as President of the United States; and, yesterday, voted for your re-election to this honorable and responsible place.
“He rode from home, two miles, to our Town Hall, with his son, Col. Edwd Phillips, aged 79 yrs, to cast this vote. He entered it between two unfurled flags of his country, bearing on them the Stars and Stripes; all within, at the time rising, with uncovered heads, to do him homage. And when offered two votes, to take his choice, he said: ‘I vote for Abraham Lincoln.’
“He has been, for several years, the oldest citizen of this town; and is now, probably, the oldest man in the commonwealth. . . .”
On January 16, 1865, Phillips replied to Lincoln’s letter:
“I trust you will pardon me in trying to answer the kind letter you sent me for which I would return my thanks.
“It was an honor I never expected to receive and feel that your goodness of heart with respect for my extreme age alone prompted the act—while your mind and time must be occupied by so many national cares and anxieties.
“I feel that I have no desire to live but to see the conclusion of this wicked rebellion, and the power of God displayed in the conversion of the nation.
“I beleive by the help of God you will accomplish the first—and also be the means of establishing universal freedom and restoring peace to the Union.
“That the God of mercy will bless you in this great work and through life is the prayer of your unworthy servant.”