Newspaper from Feb. 16, 1866

"Danger from a Broken Spine!"

  • Full Title

    "Danger from a Broken Spine!"

  • Description

    This editorial argues for a reinstitution of the writ of habeas corpus by drawing on a colorful statement made by President Lincoln in a message sent to General Joe Hooker: “I wouldn’t take any risk of being entangled up the river, like an ox half jumped over a fence and liable to be torn by dogs, front and rear, without a fair chance to gore one way or kick the other.” The editorial describes the United States as the metaphorical ox, “stuck fast on the reconstruction thorns.” Published in the Montgomery Daily Mail on February 16, 1866.

  • Transcription

    Danger from a Broken Spine!

    We are apt to gather inspiration from words of wisdom. Congress has just published a volume of nearly a thousand pages from a Committee on the war. In it we find the following striking dispatch from the late lamented Mr. Lincoln to “Fighting Joe” Hooker, just before the latter was hooked by Lee at Chancellorsville:
    “I wouldn’t,” writes the President, “take any risk of being entangled up the river, like an ox jumped half over a fence and liable to be torn by dogs, front and rear, without a fair chance to gore one way or kick the other.”
    This striking metaphorical language of Mr. Lincoln will live in history alongside of the figure of Corked-up Butler. As it was then applied to Hooker’s army so it may be now applied to the United States. It is like a huge ox, half-jumped over a bois d’arc hedge and stuck fast on the reconstruction thorns. There sticks the old ox, with tongue hanging out and eyes rolling in agony, unable to gore forwards at John Bull or kick backward at Mexico! If the President will only twist its tail a little or build a fire under its nose, by restoring the write of habeas corpus, we think the old ox will get over.




    [Transcription by: Dr. Susan Corbesero, Ellis School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]

  • Source

    Excerpt from the Montgomery Daily Mail, item number ADVCOL42. Catalog record for this title is available here.

  • Rights

    Use of this item for research, teaching and private study is permitted with proper citation and attribution, as defined here. Reproduction of this item for publication, broadcast or commercial use requires written permission. For permission, please contact the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

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  • Cite this Item

    Montgomery Daily Mail. ""Danger from a Broken Spine!"". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed February 23, 2020. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/231