“It would be a very fitting occasion to make a response at length to the very appropriate address which you have just made. I would do so if I were prepared. I would promise you to make a response in writing had not experience taught me that business will not allow me to do so. I can only say now, as I have often said before, it has always been a sentiment with me that all mankind should be free.
So far as I have been able, so far as came within my sphere, I have always acted as I believed was right and just, and done all I could for the good of mankind. I have in letters and documents sent forth from this office, expressed myself better than I can now. In regard to the great book. I have only to say it is the best gift which God has ever given man.
All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. But for that book we could not know right from wrong. All those things desirable to man are contained in it. I return you my sincere thanks for this very elegant copy of this great book of God which you present.”
– Abraham Lincoln
(Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible September 7th, 1864 – Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume VIII)