29 JANUARY 1910, Page 16


l'ro ma Emma OF TER "Smc-rAToa.") SIR,—In your article on "The Elections So Far" in last week's Spectator you refer to "Abraham Lincoln's great principle that though you may fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, you cannot fool all the people all the time." In the interests of accuracy it may be worth while to point out that there is no ground whatever for the popular attribution of this maxim to Lincoln. Its authorship was investigated a few years ago by Mr. Spofford, the assistant-librarian of Congress, who could find no trace of it in any of the great President's speeches, papers, letters, or recorded sayings. Neither Mr. Hay nor Mr. Nieolay. the joint authors of the standard biography of Lincoln, knew anything about it. Mr. Spofford's inquiries led him to the conclusion that the originator of this much-quoted sentence was Mr. Phineas T. Barnum, whose qualifications for generalising on such a subject every one must recognise.—.