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The following is one of Mr. Lincoln's stories. These he tells 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 the infernal regions, if necessary.’ The sober committee were horrified; but 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 believed them. But I had my doubts about the abutment on the Southern side.’

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J. Wesley Jones (5)
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