“If I Cannot Find some Excuse”

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I remember one day being in his room when he was sitting at his table with a large pile of papers before him, and after a pleasant talk he turned quite abruptly and said, ‘Get out of the way, Swett; to-morrow is butcher-day, and I must go through these papers and see if I cannot find some excuse to let these poor fellows off.’ The pile of papers he had were the records of courts martial of men who on the following day were to be shot. He was not examining the records to see whether the evidence sustained the findings; he was purposely in search of occasions to evade the law, in favor of life.

By William H. Herndon,Jesse W. Weik “Herndon’s Lincoln: A True Story of a Great Life” ,Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, editor, Herndon’s Informants, p. 165 (Leonard Swett’s 1877 revision of a January 17, 1866 letter to William H. Herndon).

One thought on ““If I Cannot Find some Excuse”

    Words : Statesman « Abraham Lincoln said:
    April 6, 2016 at 10:22

    […] “I Must Go Through These Papers” […]

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