Here is an intriguing historical tidbit, Abraham Lincoln's "lost speech" from May 1856. Apparently never written down, knowledge of it only survived in contemporary accounts, and in notes on the speech by Lincoln's friend Henry C. Whitney, who reconstructed the speech as best he could in 1895 at the behest of McClure's Magazine. The speech was apparently an early example of anti-South, anti-slavery, pro Union rhetoric from Lincoln, and it so enraptured the listeners that even the reporters in the crowd neglected to take notes, they were so caught up in the moment.
“May 29, 1856
“Abraham Lincoln, of Sangamon, came upon the platform amid deafening applause. He enumerated the pressing reasons of the present movement. He was here ready to fuse with anyone who would unite with him to oppose slave power; spoke of the bugbear disunion which was so vaguely threatened. It was to be remembered that the Union must be preserved in the purity of its principles as well as in the integrity of its territorial parts. It must be “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.” The sentiment in favor of white slavery now prevailed in all the slave state papers, except those of Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri and Maryland. Such was the progress of the National Democracy. Douglas once claimed against him that Democracy favored more than his principles, the individual rights of man. Was it not strange that he must stand there now to defend those rights against their former eulogist? The Black Democracy were endeavoring to cite Henry Clay to reconcile old Whigs to their doctrine, and repaid them with the very cheap compliment of National Whigs.” (Emphasis in original) “Alton Weekly Courier“ of June 5, 1856 quoted from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Roy P. Basler, Editor, Marion Dolores Pratt and Lloyd Dunlap, Assistant Editors, Copyright 1953 by The Abraham Lincoln Association, History Book Club Edition, Vol. II, p. 341.
This mere paragraph is the only public mention of the speech. It is all the Collected Works editors could find. “This brief report is the only contemporary account of the so-called ‘Lost Speech’ delivered at the Bloomington convention. The lengthy reconstruction by Henry C. Whitney in 1896, which has appeared in other collections of Lincoln’s writings and speeches, is not, in the opinion of the editors, worthy of serious consideration.” Ibid. fn. p. 341. The editors refer to a reconstruction published in McClure’s Magazine in 1896 from notes made 40 years prior in 1856. No other contemporaneous notes in any form have ever come forward.