“Mr. Lincoln had his joke and his ‘little story’ over the disruption of the Democracy. He once knew, he said, a sound churchman, of the name of Brown, who was the member of a very sober and pious committee, having in charge the erection of a ridge over a dangerous and rapid river. Several architects failed, and at last Brown said he had a friend named Jones who had built several bridges, and could undoubtedly build that one. So Mr. Jones was called in.’Can you build this bridge? inquired the committee. “”Yes,”” replied Jones,””or any other. I could build a bridge to h___l, if necessary.”” The committee were shocked, and Brown felt called upon to defend his friend. “I know Joe so well,” said he,” and he is so honest a man, and so good an architect that if he states soberly and positively that he can build a bridge to—to— the infernal regions, why, I believe it, but I feel bound to say that I have my doubts about the abutment on the other side.”
So, said Mr. Lincoln, “when politicians told me that the northern and southern wings of the Democracy could be harmonized, why I believed them, of course, but I always had my doubts about the abutment on the other side.”
Francis Fisher Browne, Everyday Life of Abraham Lincoln, p. 454.