The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 6 by Abraham Lincoln
Hold My Hand Whilst the Enemy Stabs Me
TO REVERDY JOHNSON.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, July 26, 1862.
HON. REVERDY JOHNSON.
MY DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 16th is received...........
You are ready to say I apply to friends what is due only to enemies. I distrust the wisdom if not the sincerity of friends who would hold my hands while my enemies stab me. This appeal of professed friends has paralyzed me more in this struggle than any other one thing. You remember telling me, the day after the Baltimore mob in April, 1861, that it would crush all Union feeling in Maryland for me to attempt bringing troops over Maryland soil to Washington. I brought the troops notwithstanding, and yet there was Union feeling enough left to elect a Legislature the next autumn, which in turn elected a very excellent Union United States senator! I am a patient man--always willing to forgive on the Christian terms of repentance, and also to give ample time for repentance. Still, I must save this government, if possible. What I cannot do, of course, I will not do; but it may as well be understood, once for all, that I shall not surrender this game leaving any available card unplayed.