Mr. Hunter, you ought to know a great deal more about this matter than I do, for you have always lived under the slave system. But the way you state the case reminds me of an Illinois farmer who was not over-fond of work, but was an adept in shirking. To this end he conceived a brilliant scheme of hog culture. Having a good farm, he bought a large herd of swine. He planted an immense field in potatoes, with the view of turning the whole herd into it late in the fall, supposing they would be able to provide for themselves during the winter. One day his scheme was discussed between himself and a neighbor, who asked him how the thing would work when the ground was frozen one or two feet deep. He had not thought of that contingency, and seemed perplexed over it. At length he answered: “Well, it will be a leetle hard on their snouts, I reckon; but them shoats will have to root, hog, or die.” And so, concluded Mr. Lincoln, “in the dire contingency you name, whites and black alike will have to look out for themselves; and I have an abiding faith that they will go about it in a fashion that will undeceive you in a very agreeable way.”
Ward Hill Lamon, Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, p. 127-128.