The following is one of Mr. Lincoln’s stories. These he told often in private conversation, rarely in his speeches.
“I once knew a good, sound churchman, whom we’ll call Brown, who was on a committee to erect a bridge over a very dangerous and rapid river. Architect after architect failed, and at last Brown said he had a friend named Jones, who had built several bridges, and could build this. ‘Let’s have him in,’ said the committee. In came Jones. ‘Can you build this bridge, sir?’ ‘Yes,’ replied Jones; ‘I could build a bridge to infernal regions, if necessary.’ The sober committee were horrified; butr when Jones retired, Brown thought it but fair to defend his friend. ‘I know Jones so well,’ said he, ‘and he is so honest a man, and so good an architect, that, if he states soberly and positively that he can build a bridge to Hades–why, I believe it. But I have my doubts about the abutment on the infernal side.’ “So,” Lincoln added, “when politicians said they could harmonize the Northern and Southern wings of the Democracy, why, I believe them. But I had my doubts about the abutment on the Southern side.”
Originally posted 2008-03-03 16:26:54.