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Mr. Lincoln refused to yield, and Mr. Seward was compelled to ac-
quiesce. The claims of Pennsylvania to a Cabinet position were so
great that they were acceded to, and the name of Mr. Cameron for
Secretary of War was substituted for that of Mr. Dayton. This
brought a protest from the anti-Cameron faction, and Colonel McClure
was sent to Springfield to prevent the appointment. Among the
Peunsylvanians who were opposed to Cameron were Thaddeus Ste-
vens, David Wilmot, and Governor Curtin. McClure succeeded so
well in his mission that the tender to Cameron was withdrawn. In
the mean time the appointment of Mr. Welles as Secretary of the
Navy was jeopardized also, Mr. Lincoln being anxious to have a loyal
member of the Cabinet from the South. Mr. Seward recommended
Colonel Fremont for Secretary of War, and Randall Hunt, of Louisi-
ana, and John A. Gilmer or Kennett Raynor, of North Carolina, for
other places. Other names suggested by him were those of Robert E.
Scott, of Virginia, and Meredith Gentry, of Tennessee. Mr. Gilmer
would have been appointed to either the War or Navy Department
had he consented. His declination resulted in the final selection of
both Cameron and Welles. An effort was made to secure the appoint-
ment of Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland, which would have resulted
in setting Montgomery Blair aside for Postmaster : General. In the
case of Blair, Mr. Lincoln also adhered to his original intention. As
the Cabinet was finally constituted, the only substitution, besides
that of Cameron for Dayton, was the appointment of Caleb B. Smith,
of Indiana, as Secretary of the Interior, instead of Norman B. Judd, of
Illinois. Why Mr. Smith was appointed instead of Mr. Judd is not
very clear, unless it w 7 as because Mr. Lincoln wished to retain
the political balance between the Republican Whigs and the Repub-
lican Democrats in his official family. Judd was a man of more ability
than Smith, his services to the party were greater, and to Mr. Lincoln
his personal friendship and political loyalty had been inestimable.



No one man had been more active or serviceable in securing Mr. Lin-
coln's nomination. The President told Secretary Welles that he had a
stronger desire that Judd should be associated with him in the ad-
ministration than any one else, and yet Judd was compelled to con-
tent himself with the Prussian Mission instead of a Cabinet position.
Judd's failure is only another illustration of the uncertainty of politi-
cal rewards, and the impotency of powerful friends.

The inauguration of Lincoln differed in one respect from other in-
augurations before and since there was a greater display of military
force than had ever been necessary, or than may ever be necessary
hereafter. The carriage of the retiring President and the President-
elect was drawn between two files of a squadron of District cavalry. A
company of sappers and miners marched in front of the Presidential
carriage, and the infantry and
riflemen of the District followed
it. Squads of riflemen were
placed on the roofs of command-
ing houses in Pennsylvania ave-
nue so as to command all the win-
dows on both sides of the way.
Kiflemen occupied the windows of
the wings of the Capitol, and a
battalion of District troops was
placed near the steps of the east
front. After the ceremony Presi-
dent Lincoln's journey to the
W T hite House was made with the
same military disposition as be-
fore. The usual ceremonial visit
was made to the Senate Chamber,

and the usual procession of dignitaries escorted the President-elect
to the east portico of the Capitol to be sworn. On the platform was a
distinguished throng James Buchanan, rejoicing, no doubt, that he
was about to escape from the great responsibility to which he had
proved unequal; General Scott, soon to be supplanted as the military
leader of the time; Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln's foeman in more
than one political battle, and the Justices of the Supreme Court, and
many of the Senators and Representatives in Congress whose work,
such as it was, completed the history of the epoch. The Inaugural
Address was delivered in a clear, resonant voice, and the oath of office
w r as administered by Chief Justice Taney. W T hile Lincoln was speak-
ing Douglas held his hat. and was one of the first to grasp the hand
of his old rival, now President of the United States. It was the last




time the venerable Chief Justice was to pronounce the solemn words
that make an American citizen the ruler of a great people, and which
then marked the beginning of a new era. It is unnecessary to at-
tempt any analysis of the Inaugural Address, for President Lincoln's
plea for the Union went unheeded, except by those w r hose duty it
became to enforce it by arms.

When President Lincoln announced his Cabinet after his inau-
guration it was assailed by men like Wade and Lovejoy as a dis-
graceful surrender to the South. Thaddeus Stevens described it as

an assortment of rivals for the Presidency, one stump speaker from
Indiana, and two representatives of the Blair family. The assortment

of rivals was made up of Seward
in the State Department, Chase in
the Treasury, Cameron as Secre-
tary of War, and Bates as Attor-
ney-General. The " stump speak-
er " from Indiana was Caleb B.
Smith, Secretary of the Interior,
and the two representatives of the
Blair family were Montgomery
Blair and Edward Bates, of Mis-
souri, whose appointment was
generally attributed to the influ-
ence of Francis P. Blair, Jr. Gid-
eon Welles, of Connecticut, seems
to have owed his appointment as
Secretary of the Navy to Vice-
President Hamlin. It was a com-
mon saying among radical Repub-
licans at the time, that Mr. Lin-
coln's Cabinet did not contain

three such unswerving friends of the Union as Dix, Holt, and Stanton,
who had just retired with Mr. Buchanan.

The appointment of Mr. Seward to the first place under the new
government was in accordance with precedent. For twenty years
the post had been given to the President's most powerful competitor
in his own party for the Presidency. President Harrison had offered
the ^tate Department to Mr. Clay, and when he declined it, it was
given to Mr. Webster; President Polk appointed Mr. Buchanan;
President Pierce gave the place to Mr. Marcy, and President Bu-
chanan accorded it to General Cass, his successful rival in 1848, be-
cause it was impossible to offer it to his predecessor, General Pierce.
The only exception was President Taylor, whose two powerful op-



ponents, Clay and Webster, would have disdained to accept office
under him. As Secretary of State under President Lincoln, Mr.
Seward readily assumed that he was to be the mouthpiece of the ad-
ministration. The tone of his letter to the President-elect, criticising
the draft of Lincoln's Inaugural Address, reveals his easy assump-
tion of mastery in guiding the new government. The attitude he ad-
vised was far from becoming the policy that Mr. Lincoln adopted.
He did not fear the displeasure of the triumphant party that had pre-
ferred Mr. Lincoln to himself for the Presidency, but he was for " con-
cessions " to " the defeated, irritated, angered, frenzied party."
" Your case," he told Lincoln, " is like that of Jefferson," whose ex-
ample he thought it wise to follow. Although Mr. Lincoln adopted
nearly all of Mr. Seward's suggestions in the address, he never for a
moment yielded his independence of judgment to his great Secretary,
nor ceased to be the master mind of his administration. It was some
weeks after the inauguration that Mr. Seward discovered that in
reality he was not " to direct affairs for the benefit of the nation
through the name of another." Of the two men Lincoln was the
stronger in will, the sounder in judgment, the safer in administration,
and the better grounded in the true principles of a wise statesman-
ship. He was shrewd, but not crafty, and, unlike Seward, he was Hot
a managing politician. Not only were the President's character mis-
understood, his abilities underrated, and his fitness for his high office
impugned, but Mr. Seward shared in the erroneous judgment of what
Mr. Adams calls " the deficiencies of his chief." At the beginning of
the administration the Secretary of State acted as if he was President
de facto; he formulated a policy of his own, which he made a secret
of the State Department, and of which the Cabinet had no knowledge,
and the President was only partly informed; he assumed the right to
call Cabinet meetings at his own pleasure, without the President's
direction; he prepared and sent an irregular military expedition for
the relief of Fort Pickens, without consulting the Secretary of War
and the General-in-Chief, or informing any of his associates in the
government of his extraordinary assumption of authority; in many
ways he acted as a virtual dictator, ignoring the heads of the other
departments, directing the expenditure of military and naval appro-
priations of which he had no control, assigning officers of the army
and navy to services of his own devising without regard to their
assigned duties; and making promises and giving assurances in re-
gard to Fort Sumter that were unauthorized by the President. He
even submitted a proposition to the President to change the national
issue from slavery to a foreign war. With the suggestion of a war
with France and Spain, was another more remarkable still. It was



that the enforcement of the new policy should devolve upon some
member of the Cabinet. " I neither seek to evade or assume the re-
sponsibility," Mr. Seward said, with the smirking complacency of
self-sufficiency. The erratic course of the Secretary of State was the
cause of much mischief, but the President ignored Mr. Seward's
recommendations, and had the will and the courage to bring his inter-
meddling to an end. When Seward learned that he could not be the
master he became as amenable to his chief as the other members of
Lincoln's Cabinet.

After Seward, Mr. Chase was the most discordant element of the
new Cabinet. As a member of the Peace Conference he was prop-
erly averse to the concessions that were demanded on behalf of the
South, and voted against the proposed Thirteenth Amendment, but in

Mr. Lincoln's councils he believed
in disunion as preferable to civil
war, and urged surrender to the
Confederacy upon the President.
He was a pure man, of unques-
tioned ability and overmastering
ambition, but, a supposed extrem-
ist, he was in fact a conservative,
prejudiced, petulant, and intract-
able. He was not amenable like
Seward. Unlike Seward, he was
not eager to rule in the name of
another, but from the day that he
entered the Cabinet until he left it
his heart was set on becoming-
Lincoln's successor. Although he
earned enduring fame as the finan-
cier of the civil war, he was never satisfied with his position, and
tendered his resignation so often that he was at last surprised at its

Cameron's Cabinet relations with Lincoln were more agreeable
than were to be expected when the circumstances of his appointment
and the concentrated opposition to his management of the War De-
partment are considered. According to the theory on which the
Cabinet was formed, Cameron was as clearly entitled to a place in it
as Seward. When justice is done him it will be conceded that in the
early months of Lincoln's administration he evinced a clearer idea
of the scope and meaning of the impending struggle than any of Lin-
coln's advisers, and if he had not been a politician he might have
become the great War Minister instead of Stanton. As it was, he was





destined to become the victim of the feuds in the party in his own
State, and of the bitter hostility of the commonplace men who were
making war upon the administration,
while the administration was making
war upon the South. Welles, Bates,
Smith, and Blair were all mediocri-
ties, but their loyalty to Lincoln
entitles them to grateful remem-
brance. Gideon \Velles was not
prominent even in New England.
Owing his appointment of Secretary
of the Navy to the Vice-President,
he receded from his friendship for
Hamlin when Hamlin passively
withdrew his sympathy from the ad-
ministration. Lincoln's memory had
no more earnest conservator than
Gideon Welles. Bates made a re-
spectable Attorney-General, but,
with Smith and Blair, was overshadowed by the more brilliant lumi-
naries of the war time.

When the attack on Fort Sumter precipitated the call for troops,

and made a called session of tin 1
37th Congress necessary, the Re-
publican leaders of 1801, outside
of the Cabinet, took their places
in the line and staff under the
President, or the powerful chiefs
who soon began to contend for su-
premacy in the party. As the pre-
vious Congress had been a Con-
gress of secession and concilia-
tion, it was found when its suc-
cessor assembled on the Fourth
of July, 1801, that it was to be
a Congress of distrust. In the
Senate, Sumner, Trumbull, Chan-
dler, Wade, and others assumed an
attitude of doubt toward the
LYMAN TRUMBULL. President that pained and humili-

ated him, and would have serious-
ly embarrassed his administration had not the younger men in both
Houses, who were more confident and more generous, come to his



support. Douglas had reached the end of his long career in the
Senate only a month before, dying in Chicago, June 3, 1861, but not
until after he had been to the White House, where he had proffered
his counsel and his services to Abraham Lincoln, when he heard of
the forced surrender of Fort Sumter. His Republican colleague from
Illinois, Lyman Trumbull, in whose behalf Lincoln had waived his
claims to the Senatorship six years before, was less impulsive and
less hearty. TrumbulPs distrust was inexcusable, because he not
only knew Lincoln, but had profited from his generosity. The dis-
trust of Sumner, Chandler, and Wade was inherent in the men.
Charles Sumner could not look with confidence upon Lincoln in 1801,
for the same reason that James M. Mason contemned Sumner in 1856.
He believed himself sprung from a different order from that of the

man that all the world now
recognizes as belonging to the
highest type of manhood.
Chandler and Wade were men
of coarse fiber, and were quick
to condemn when their own
ideas of fitness were disre-
garded. In the House, Grow was
made Speaker, because of his
activity in the anti - slavery
struggle, and his alertness and
fitness. The leadership on the
floor was accorded to Thaddeus
Stevens by common consent.
He was the ablest lawyer in Con-
gress and, after Judge Black, in
the country. This explains the
doubtful passage attributed to the two men in court. " Do you w r ish
to show contempt for the court? " the Judge asked. " On the contrary,
I am trying to conceal it," Stevens answered. His wit and sarcasm
were biting, but he was without humor. Whoever put his handle to
the plow and turned backward he regarded as an enemy. Mr. Stevens
had not supported Mr. Lincoln for the nomination at Chicago, prefer-
ring Judge McLean, and his relations at the White House, if not polit-
ically hostile, were never cordial. Personally Stevens cherished an in-
tense dislike for Lincoln, and some of his bitterest gibes were aimed at
the sorely tried man in the White House. But while Mr. Lincoln failed
to obtain the confidence of the men who had made the bitterest as-
saults upon slavery, he was never without a powerful following, even
in the hours that were darkest for his own administration and for the

' ,\



The 37th Congress was prolific of inen who were to make a profound
impression upon the country and become the leaders of the party.
In the Senate were Henry 8. Lane, of Indiana, who had played such
a conspicuous part in the nomination of Lincoln at Chicago; James
Harlan, of Iowa; John Sherman, of Ohio, who had been transferred
from the House when Chase entered the Cabinet; David Wilmot, the
successor of Cameron from Pennsylvania; Ira Harris, of New York,
who took the seat vacated by Seward; Henry B. Anthony, beginning
a life-long service from Khode Island; and James H. Lane and Samuel
C. Pomeroy, representing the new Free State of Kansas, after the
complete success of the conflict for freedom. Among the older Sen-
ators, who were not found wanting in the hour of trial, were William
Pitt Fessenden, of Maine; Hale and Clark, of New Hampshire:
Baker, of Oregon; Foot and Collamer, of Vermont, and Doolittle, of
Wisconsin. In the House there was a long array of new names, after-
ward distinguished Aaron A. Sargent, of California; Isaac N.Arnold,
of Illinois; George W. Julian and John C. P. Shanks, of Indiana; Sam-
uel Hooper, of Massachusetts; Francis P. Blair, Jr., of Missouri; Ed-
ward H. Rollins, of New Hampshire; William A. Wheeler, of New
York; Samuel Shellabarger, of Ohio; William D. Kelley, of Pennsyl-
vania, and William P. Sheffield, of Rhode Island. The most conspicu-
ous of the Republican Congressmen, who overlapped the ante-bell urn and
poxt-bellum periods, were Schuyler Colfax, Roscoe Conkling, R. E. Fen-
ton, Galusha A. Grow, Owen Lovejoy, Horace Maynard, E. G. Spauld-
ing, and E. B. Washburne. It needs to be said, however, that the Con-
gresses of the war period afforded a less favorable field for political
distinction than was presented in the Congresses of the period of

It was one of the conditions of the civil war that much of the politi-
cal power of the period was in the hands of the Governors of the Re-
publican States. The hearty co-operation of the War Governors of
1801 with the President served as an incitement to the friends of the
administration in Congress, and neutralized the spirit of distrust
evinced by such men as Sumner and Wade in the Senate, and Stevens
and Lovejoy in the House. The three most commanding figures
among the War Governors of 1861 were Andrew G. Curtin, of Penn-
sylvania; Oliver P. Morton, of Indiana, and John A. Andrew, of
Massachusetts. Among these Governor Curtin was easily first be-
cause of the peculiar relations of his State to the conflict, the fervor
of his patriotism, and the sincerity of his attachment to the Presi-
dent. Curtin was the first to marshal his State for the defense of the
Union, and the leader in preparing the North for the impending war.
In this service the geographical position of Pennsylvania counted


for much, but Curtin's foresight, earnestness, and enthusiasm, and
his devotion to the man he had helped to nominate and elect, were
factors of even greater influence. Next to the magnetic personality
and generous exertions of Curtin came the untiring energy and un-
conquerable will of Morton. The fervor of Andrew's patriotism was
not less noble and unselfish, and the bayonets of Massachusetts
proved more than a match for the distrust of Sumner. In New York,
Morgan, in spite of his conservative temper, became especially useful
in the support he brought to the financial policy of the administra-
tion. In line with these chiefs of command-
ing influence were, for New England, Israel
Washburn, of Maine; Ichabod Goodwin, of
New Hampshire; Erastus Fairbanks, of Ver-
mont; William Sprague, of Rhode Island,
and William A. Buckingham, of Connecti-
cut; with Charles Ogden for New Jersey,
and for the W T est and Northwest William
Dennison, of Ohio; Austin Blair, of Michi-
gan; Kichard Yates, of Illinois; Samuel J.
Kirkwood, of Iowa; Alexander W. Randall,
of Wisconsin, and Alexander Ramsey, of
JOHN A. ANDREW. Minnesota. It was feared that the two Pacific

States, which had Democratic Governors,

would cast their lot with the South, but the patriotism of the people
withstood the treasonable pledges and projects of the politicians. The
relations of the States to the Federal Government in the conduct of
the war brought the War Governors in closer touch with the adminis
tration than a Congress swayed by political considerations was able
to feel until after it was brought under the influence of the loyal peo-
ple at home and the army in the field.

War created new conditions, and the new conditions brought out
new leaders. The leaders of 1861, both in Congress and in command
of the armies, found themselves superseded through the force of
events, and the statesmen who distrusted Lincoln were relegated to
the opposition, or lost their hold upon the country, just as the galaxy
of Union generals of 1861 was a different and feeble constellation
when contrasted w T ith the Union heroes of 1865.



Lincoln without a Policy Seward's Dominating Ideas Forts Suin-
ter and Pickens Lincoln Assumes Full Responsibility Phases
of the Slavery Question The Peace Advocates Elections of
18G2 Emancipation Greeley's Embarrassing Course The Cab-
inet Divided McClure's Comments on the Proclamation Demo-
cratic Hostility to the War Compensated Emancipation Re-
fused Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Democrats Want an
Armistice The Conscription Act Vallandigharn The Draft
Kiots Elections of 18(53.

HEN President Lincoln entered upon the duties of his high
office he was without any settled policy except the one
purpose that was always uppermost with him his inflex-
ible resolve to save the Union. He was not a man to at-
tempt to do the right thing in the wrong way, or at the wrong time.
All his utterances on his historic journey from Springfield to Wash-
ington were vitalized by one dominating aim the desire to win the
seceding States back to their duty. He had no thought of instituting
a crusade against slavery if they returned. " We mean to treat you,
as near as we possibly can, as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison
treated you," he said at Cincinnati, addressing his words to the slave-
holders. " We mean to leave you alone, and in no way interfere with
your institutions; to abide by all and every compromise of the Con-
stitution. . . . We mean to remember that you are as good as
we that there is no difference between us other than the difference
of circumstances. We mean to recognize, and bear in mind always,
that you have as good hearts in your bosoms as other people, or as
we claim to have, and to treat you accordingly." He still hoped that
the ebullitions of secession might not be as serious as they seemed.
" There is really no crisis, except an artificial one," he said at Pitts-
burg; " such a one as may be gotten up at any time by turbulent men,
aided by designing politicians." The Inaugural Address contained
no threats against the South, unless his avowal of his purpose to
keep his oath to maintain the Constitution was a threat. When Mr.
Lincoln assumed the Presidency the war on the part of the South
was already begun. He waited for the successful assault upon Fort
Sumter on the part of the United States. The interval was one of un-


certainty and doubt. The weight of opinion in the Cabinet was in
favor of the abandonment of Sumter. To provision or to strengthen
it was impracticable.

Meanwhile there w r as a rebel " embassy " in Washington vainly
seeking to open negotiations with the administration. It had two
purposes to demand the evacuation of Forts Sumter and Pickens
and to indulge the Secretary of State with " dreams which we know
are not to be realized." While Seward could not receive the com-
missioners, either officially or informally, he permitted Justice Camp-
bell, of the Supreme Court, to become an intermediary. Secretary
Seward was in favor of the evacuation of Sumter, and he told Justice
Campbell that it would be evacuated within five days. Sumter was
not evacuated, and the interviews with Justice Campbell were con-
tinued. It was determined to supply Sumter, and Seward promptly
informed Campbell of the intention. Justice Campbell was severely
criticised for using his official position to carry on this intrigue, but
Seward could not have been aware that it was an intrigue. It was
an intrigue on the part of both the parties to it. Each believed he
was engaged in the performance of a patriotic duty. Seward had an
abiding faith in the Unionism of the border States, especially Vir-
ginia, and he was coquetting with the Virginia Convention, through

Online LibraryGeorge Oberkirsh SeilhamerHistory of the Republican party (Volume 1) → online text (page 12 of 61)