Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: Lincoln Saw Stanton About It

Mr. Lovejoy, heading a committee of Western men, discussed an important scheme with the President, and the gentlemen were then directed to explain it to Secretary of War Stanton.

Upon presenting themselves to the Secretary, and showing the President’s order, the Secretary said: “Did Lincoln give you an order of that kind?”

“He did, sir.”

“Then he is a d—d fool,” said the angry Secretary.

“Do you mean to say that the President is a d—d fool?” asked Lovejoy, in amazement.

“Yes, sir, if he gave you such an order as that.”

The bewildered Illinoisan betook himself at once to the President and related the result of the conference.

“Did Stanton say I was a d—d fool?” asked Lincoln at the close of the recital.

“He did, sir, and repeated it.”

After a moment’s pause, and looking up, the President said: “If Stanton said I was a d—d fool, then I must be one, for he is nearly always right, and generally says what he means. I will slip over and see him.”