The Rockport Democrat, July 10, 1936

Article was typed as it was worded in the newspaper.



The following address was delivered on the afternoon of July 4, by Hon. M. Clifford Townsend, lieutenant-governor of Indiana, and Democratic candidate for governor, at the big celebration held in Rockport:

"Liberty and Lincoln—two magic words. Today we meet to once again dedicate ourselves to the cause. Today we gather once more to pay tribute to the memory of the man. But they are inseparable in our thoughts as in our hearts. To think of liberty brings a vision of the great emancipator. The name of Lincoln fills the hearts with a new devotion to freedom.

"We of Indiana, and particularly those who live in this vicinity, have inherited a great legacy. For while a neighboring state claimed those years of his life while spent in advocating great principles of government, spent in drawing to himself the trust of a people bewildered by conflict which threatened chaos, the youth of Lincoln was spent with us.

"As a boy, he entered the log cabins which you have reproduced. As a youth, he wondered along this stream and climbed these hills. It was here that the direction was given to his whole future. It was here that early ambition, inspiration, faith, were so firmly implanted as the very foundation of his character that in later years he never faltered from the path which led to justice. Courage and bravery he found where we now stand. Here it was that fear was driven from his soul.

"Would he have been the same Lincoln had his parents changed their path of immigration and journeyed into the great plantations of the south of the rocky coasts or the bleakness of the east? Would he have been the same Lincoln had those earlier days been under the tallow lights of a city instead of the pine knots of a cabin?

"To those of us who believe that there is a Providence that guides mankind in its journey to the heights, there comes the thought that there was a purpose unknown to them but imperative in its commands, which led the parents of Lincoln to choose this place. For here it was that the boy Lincoln learned to reverence human rights and revolt against any form of tyranny. Here it was that he grew to worship that liberty and freedom which we commemorate today. Here it was that he came to understand the true meaning of freedom and fulfilled that destiny that links his memory with that of the nation through the immortal ages.

"The youth of our nation are more important that the mature and aged. The thoughts of youth become the principles of tomorrow.

"Whatsoever ye do to the least of these" is an inescapable law for nations, it is a warning to man. The youth who lives in the surroundings of justice, of kindness, of human brotherhood, grows to manhood and womanhood with no snarling fangs of hate and cruelty to attack their fellows. The youth who early learns the true meaning of liberty never bows to tyranny.

"All that age can offer is experience and ideals. Perhaps I speak with more ferver because many of my working years were spent with youth, endeavoring to instil high aims and ambitions, to preserve in their minds the principles upon which our very civilization is founded.

"The surface of society changes, its foundation remains the same.

"We repeat today the story of our foundation as a nation, when brave men declared that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were the inalienable rights of free men. They assert, more that men had the right to rule themselves. It was a different world and yet the same world. None of our modern conveniences then existed. Our people were confined to the states bordering along the Atlantic. The winds alone moved ships upon the seas. The horses was the fastest means of transportation. Acquirement of foods, clothing and shelter were the chief occupations, obtained only by the most arduous of labor. But in those primitive surroundings, the souls of men mounted to the skies. They dared to brave any danger and face even death, to obtain the stature of free men. Progress is possible only in the air of freedom. There had been great progress before the Lincoln family journeyed to this place.

"Men had learned to use steam to replace the wind and the horse. He had learned to use machines to turn cotton and flax and wool into cloth. Cities had taken form and dotted the new states which had been added to the thirteen.

"The miracle of the telegraph had brought the people closer together in information, even as in the growth of a nation, the hour had struck for a broader and deeper interpertation of the meaning of liberty and freedom. A Lincoln appeared. Today his name is worshipped not only in this land but in every nation where men love liberty or hope for liberty.

"Like every treasure, liberty can be lost as well as gained. It can be lost as other precious things are lost—when those who possess it value it too little to guard and protect it. It can be lost only if we fail to understand its meaning and resent any invasion upon the most helpless of out fellow citizens as bitterly as we would resent an invasion upon our own rights.

"It is the dike which ever guards against the threatening torrents of tyranny and oppression. It is as strong as the Rock of Ages and as frail as the paper upon which you write your ballots. It is as bright with hope as the midday sun or can disappear in the darkness of endless night. Liberty lives only with those who love and cherish freedom. It flees from the indifferent and the neglectful. It is not a heritage, but a trust.

"Liberty and Lincoln—two magic words. They summon us to new reverence and new devotion, not merely for today but for all the days."