Historical Quotes Corrected

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Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania served as secretary of war in the first year of Lincoln's administration. There has always been some serious question of his integrity. Indeed, Thaddeus Stevens, a Pennsylvania Congressman, is reported to have given his opinion that Cameron would steal anything but a red-hot stove.

This quote has been repeated over the years, recently by no less an authority than Shelby Foote, one of the major contributors to the epic PBS series on the Civil War a few years ago. However, that's not exactly how it happened.

When the statement came to Cameron's ears he, in great dudgeon, complained to President Lincoln. There was not much that Lincoln could do except suggest to Stevens that he might care to say he had been misquoted.

Stevens, a harsh curmudgeon of a man, promptly stated that to keep peace within the party he would be pleased to state that he had indeed been misquoted.

What really had been said, he explained, was that Cameron would steal anything, including a red-hot stove ...