ONE BULLET AND A HATFUL
“One day at a meeting of the Cabinet, it being at the time when it seemed as though war with England and France could not be avoided, Secretary of State Seward and Secretary of War Stanton warmly advocated that the United States maintain an attitude, the result of which would have been a declaration of hostilities by the European Powers mentioned.”
“Why take any more chances than are absolutely necessary?” asked the President.
“We must maintain our honor at any costs,” insisted Secretary Seward.
“We would be branded as cowards before the entire world,” Secretary Stanton said.
“But why run the greater risk when we can take a smaller one?” queried the President calmly. “The less risk we run the better for us. That reminds me of a story I heard a day or two ago, the hero of which was on the firing line during a recent battle, where the bullets were flying thick. Finally his courage gave way entirely, and throwing down his gun, he ran for dear life.”
“As he was flying along at top speed he came across an officer who drew his revolver and shouted, ‘Go back to your regiment at once or I will shoot you!”
“Shoot and be hanged,” the racer exclaimed. “What’s one bullet to a whole hatful?”
Alexander McClure, Lincoln’s Own Yarns and Stories, p. 32-33.