previous next


Not posted on history.

Mr. Hunter in illustrating the propriety of the Executive entering into agreements with persons in arms against the rightful public authority referred to instances of that character between Charles I, of England, and the people in arms against him. Mr. Lincoln said he did net profess to be posted in history, and would turn Mr. Hunter over to Mr. Seward on all such matters. ‘All I distinctly recollect,’ said he, ‘about the case of Charles I, is that he lost his head in the end.’ Mr. Lincoln subsequently discussed fully his emancipation proclamation. He said it was not his intention in the beginning to interfere with slavery in the States; that he never would have done it if he had not been compelled by necessity to do it, to maintain the Union; that the subject presented many difficult and perplexing questions; that he had hesitated for some time, and had resorted to that measure only when driven to it by public necessity; that he had been in favor of the prohibition by the general government of the extension of slavery into the Territories, but did not think the government possessed power over the subject in the States except as a war measure, and that he had always been in favor of gradual emancipation. Mr. Seward also spoke at length upon the progress of the anti-slavery sentiment of the country, and said that what he had thought would require forty or fifty years of agitation to accomplish would certainly be attained in a much shorter time. Other matters relating to the evils of immediate emancipation, especially the sufferings which would necessarily attend the old and infirm, as well as the women and children, were then referred to. These were fully admitted by Mr. Lincoln, but as to them he illustrated his position with an anecdote about the Illinois farmer and his hogs. An Illinois farmer was congratulating himself with a neighbor upon a great discovery he had made, by which he would economize much time and labor in gathering and taking care of the food crop for his hogs, as well as trouble in looking after and feeding them during the winter. ‘What is it?’ said the neighbor. ‘Why it is,’ said the farmer, ‘to plant plenty of potatoes, and when they are mature, without either digging or housing them, turn the hogs in the field and let them get their own food as they want it.’ [191]

“But,” said the neighbor, ‘how will they do when the winter comes and the ground is hard frozen?’ ‘Well,’ said the farmer, ‘let 'em root.’



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Illinois (Illinois, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. Lincoln (6)
William H. Seward (4)
R. M. T. Hunter (3)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: