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This moral indignation applied equally to reconstruction; but in the one case as in the other indignation was of a quality which to Lincoln's character was entirely foreign. Whatever he believed about the Christian religion, he practised as few others did some of the extreme Christian virtues. He very genuinely believed that the way to establish the new order of things without bitterness was to treat the vanquished rebel as if he were a beloved and trustworthy brother who had just been convinced in an argument. This state of mind, looked upon as impractical, did a good deal to add to the considerable opposition which existed, especially among politicians, to Lincoln's renomination in the following spring. The leader of the House of Representatives said that the President had but one political friend in that body. Lincoln, however, had his convictions fully ripened. Sometimes he felt sure of renomination, sometimes he saw little hope of it, but in either case his way lay clear before him. He could do the right, as it seemed clearly marked out before him, and silently endure whatever he could not remedy; but in the meantime he would "saw some wood." He would trust the great engine of sane public opinion, but he also knew when to put a little oil in it, and how to touch a spring here or tighten. a screw there to make it work better. The his
tory of the next presidential campaign will be the story of destiny and justice grandly vindicating the work of the servant who, according to Emerson, had "been permitted to do more for America than any other American man "; but if correctly read it will also show that American statesman astutely and subterraneously guiding destiny to its just conclusion.
RENOMINATION AND REËLECTION
AMONG the obstacles to Lincoln's renomination Secretary Chase reckoned himself a large one. He used his position as Secretary of the Treasury in every way he could to strengthen his own chances against those of the President. General Butler tells us that a friend of Chase offered him the nomination for vice-presidency on condition that Chase should win at the convention. The criticisms of the Secretary of the Treasury on the administration were unceasing and severe. His letters contain frank admissions that if the country shall look upon him as the ablest standard-bearer he will not dispute the choice. Senator Pomeroy brought matters to a head by issuing a circular calling for efforts by the friends of the Union who disapproved of the administration, to counteract the work being done for Lincoln's renomination. The President's reelection was stated to be practically impossible as well as undesirable, among other reasons on account of Lincoln's "tendency toward compro ́mises and temporary expedients of policy." The
document also stated that the friends of Chase had already established conventions in all the states. The circular soon got into the press, and Chase saw that his only course was to resign, which he did. Lincoln replied that he would not allow himself to consider the question from any standpoint other than his judgment of the public service, and in that view he saw no occasion for a change. To his friend Raymond, whose omission. of Chase's name hardly creates a doubt, he gave a rather more racy estimate of the situation:
'Raymond, you were brought up on a farm, were you not? Then you know what a chin-fly is. My brother and I were once ploughing corn on a farm, I driving the horse, and he holding plough. The horse was lazy, but on one occasion rushed across the fields so that I, with my long legs, could scarcely keep pace with him. On reaching the end of the furrow, I found an enormous chin-fly fastened upon him, and knocked him off. My brother asked me what I did that for. I told him I didn't want the old horse bitten in that way. 'Why,' said my brother, 'that's all that made him go.' Now, if Mr. has a presidential chin-fly biting him I am not going to knock him off, if it will only make his department go."
Chase's hopes came to an end in February, when his own state, Ohio, renominated Lincoln. That statesman's view of the result he has stated himself:
"Your views of policy coincide with my own, and had it seemed to be the will of the people that I should take the responsibilities of government I should not have refused, though I could not seek such a place. But, through the natural partialities of the people for the President, and the systematic operation of the Postmaster-General, and those holding office under him, a preference for the reëlection of Mr. Lincoln was created, to which I thought it my duty to bow cheerfully and unhesitatingly. It did not cost me a regret to do so. That, since then, I have been so maliciously pursued by the Blair family, is what was wholly unexpected. That their slanders have the apparent, though I am. sure not the real, indorsement of the President, is a new source of pain to me. No good can, I think, come of the probable identification of the next administration with the family. The political future, in consequence of it, has already become clouded and doubtful.”
The reference to the Blair family meant merely that Lincoln would not join in a feud between General Blair and Chase. The bad blood continued, especially as each wished to control the patronage connected with, the Treasury Department. Finally, in June, Chase resigned, for the fourth time, it is said, and Lincoln accepted, frankly on the ground that their relations had become too strained for further work together. The President made a bad nomination, David Todd of Ohio, who declined, and then Senator Fessenden of Maine, chairman of the Committee