Saturday, February 16, 2008

"He has evidently got the bowel complaint"

I'm about one-third of the way through Russell McClintock's Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession. I may try to write something a little more informative about it, but the bottom line is that it's a fine, carefully-researched, well-written book -- sort of the equivalent, from the Northern perspective, of Daniel Crofts' highly praised Reluctant Confederates.

For now, I'll content myself with passing on this mind-blowing quote, taken from a mid-December 1860 letter written by a Massachusetts Douglas supporter complaining about President Buchanan's timid response:
[T]he best thing that could now be done for the Country would be to Send down to Washington a delegation of Old Women, armed with Six pieces of . . . diaper to clout Mr. Buchannan, double and triplicate and to pin them on his posteriors with a wooden skure [skewer?] instead of a diaper pin for he has evidently got the bowel complaint.

I'm not sure exactly what the correspondent is proposing to do with or to poor Mr. Buchanan, but I suspect it's not good.

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