Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: They Didn’t Build It

In 1862 a delegation of New York millionaires waited upon President Lincoln to request that he furnish a gunboat for the protection of New York harbor.

Mr. Lincoln, after listening patiently, said: “Gentlemen, the credit of the Government is at a very low ebb; greenbacks are not worth more than forty or fifty cents on the dollar; it is impossible for me, in the present condition of things, to furnish you a gunboat, and, in this condition of things, if I was worth half as much as you, gentlemen, are represented to be, and as badly frightened as you seem to be, I would build a gunboat and give it to the Government.”