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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1270
AUTHOR: Abraham Lincoln (1809–65)
QUOTATION: We cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it. Therefore we must take a man whose opinions are known.
ATTRIBUTION: President ABRAHAM LINCOLN, in conversation with George Sewall Boutwell concerning the nomination of Salmon P. Chase to the U.S. Supreme Court, reported by Boutwell in his Reminiscences of Sixty Years in Public Affairs, vol. 2, p. 29 (1902).
SUBJECTS: Opinions