Lincoln’s quarrel with Shields was his last personal encounter. In later years it became his duty to give an official reprimand to a young officer who had been court-martialed for a quarrel with one of his associates. The reprimand is probably the gentlest on record:
“Quarrel not at all. No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford to take all the consequences, including the vitiating of his temper and the loss of self-control. Yield larger things to which you can show no more than equal right; and yield lesser ones, though clearly your own.
“Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite.”