DOING THE JOB; COMPLAINTS
[Quoting General James B. Fry about complaints respecting the draft sent by a Northern governor:] They did not disturb Mr. Lincoln in the least. In fact, they rather amused him. After reading all the papers, he said in a cheerful and reassuring tone: ‘Never mind, those dispatches don’t mean anything. Just go right ahead [drafting from his sate]. The governor is like the boy I saw once at the launching of a ship. When everything was ready, they picked out a boy and sent him under the ship to knock away the trigger and let her go. At the critical moment everything depended on the boy. He had to do the job well by a direct, vigorous blow, and then lie flat and keep still while the ship slid over him. The boy did everything right; but he yelled as if he were being murdered, from the time he got under the keel until he got out. I thought the skin was all scraped off his back; but he wasn’t hurt at all. The master of the yard told me that this boy was always chosen for that job, that he did his work well, that he never had been hurt, but that he always squealed in that way. That’s just the way with Governor—….He only wants to make you understand how hard his task is, and that he is on hand performing it.
James B. Fry, Rice, Reminiscences of Lincoln, p. 401.
Ward Hill Lamon, Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, p. 139-40.
Alexander McClure, Abe Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories, p. 52.