Simon Cameron and Skunks, January 1862
Story told to whole cabinet after Simon Cameron’s resignation: “Gentlemen, your request for a change of the whole Cabinet because I have made one change, reminds me of a story I once heard in Illinois of a farmer who was much troubled by skunks. They annoyed his household at night, and his wife insisted that he should take measures to get rid of them. One moonlight night he loaded his old shot-gun and stationed himself in the yard to watch for the intruders, his wife remaining in the house, anxiously awaiting the result. After some time she heard the shotgun go off, and in a few minutes, the farmer entered the house. ‘What luck had you?’ said she. ‘I hid myself behind the woodpile,’ said the old man, ‘with the shot-gun pointed toward the hen-roost’, and before long there appeared, not one skunk, but seven. I took aim, blazed away, killed one — and he raise such a fearful smell, I concluded it was best to let the other six alone.”
Browne, Everyday Life of Abraham Lincoln, p. 479-80.