Jefferson Davis and End of the War
“Well, Josh,” replied Mr. Lincoln, when I was a boy in Indiana, I went to a neighbor’s house one morning and found a boy of my own size holding a coon by a string. I asked him what he had what he was doing. He says, “It’s a coon. Dad cotched six last night, and killed all but this poor little cuss. Dad told me to hold him until he came back, and I’m afraid he’s ogin to kill this one too; and oh, Abe, I do wish he would get away!” “Well, why don’t you let him loose?” “That wouldn’t be right; and if I let him go, Dad would give me hell. But if he would get away himself, it would be all right.” “Now,” said Mr. Lincoln, if Jeff Davis and those other fellows will only get away, it will be all right. But if we should catch them, and I should let them go, “Dad would give me hell.”
Ward Hill Lamon, Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, p. 248-249.