In private conversation Lincoln manifested a singular reluctance to speak of himself as president, or to mention the office with any sort of personal reference to himself. He always used the phrase, “since I came into this place,” instead of saying, “since I became president.” The war he usually spoke of as “this great trouble,” and he seldom alluded to the enemy as “Confederates,” or “the Confederate government,” but he used the word “rebel” in his talk and in his letters.
Quoted in Noah Brooks, Washington, D.C., in Lincoln’s Time, ed. Herbert Mitgang (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1971; Athens, Ga., and London: University of Georgia Press, 1989), p. 304.
So long as I have been here I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom.