Remarks to a Military Company, Washington, April 27, 1861

I have desired as sincerely as any man, and I sometimes think more than any other man, that our present difficulties might be settled without the shedding of blood. I will not say that all hope has yet gone; but if the alternative is presented whether the Union is to be broken in fragments and the liberties of the people lost, or blood be shed, you will probably make the choice with which I shall not be dissatisfied.