COMMENT ON TRENT AFFAIR, 1861
A sick man in Illinois, the hope of whose recovery was far from encouraging, was admonished by his friends present that as probably he had not many hours to live he should bear malice to none, and before closing his earthly account should make peace with all his enemies. Turning his face to the wall and drawing a long sign, the invalid was lost for a few moments in deep reflection. Giving utterance to a deep groan as he mentally enumerated the long catalogue of enmities incurred, which would render the exertion of peace-making a somewhat prolonged one, he admitted in a feeble voice that he undoubtedly believed this to be the best course, and added: “The man whom I hate most cordially of all is Bill Johnson, and so I guess I’ll begin with him.” Johnson was summoned, and at once repaired to the bedside of his repentant friend. The latter extended to him his hand, saying with a meekness that would have done honor to Moses, that he wanted to die at peace with all the world, and to bury all his past enmity. Bill, who was much inclined to the melting mood, here burst into tears, making free use of his bandanna, and warmly returning the pressure of the dying man’s hand, solemnly and impressively assured him of his forgiveness. As the now reconciled friends were about to separate, in the expectation of never again seeing each other on earth, “Stop,” exclaimed the penitent invalid to his departing visitor, who had now reached the door; “the account is now square between us, Bill Johnson; but, see here, if I should happen to get well, that old grudge stands!”
Ward Hill Lamon, Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, p. 229-230.