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weeks to anxious watchers. Manifold were the rumors and predictions. The President was charged with weakness, when, in fact, it was only his strength and firmness, with a little judicious waiting, that averted a fatal beginning. He was sensitively aware of the adverse currents of criticism and conjecture, which as yet he could do little to check. A curious reminder of this time was found among the papers left by Senator Collamer in two unexplained notes of Spartan brevity namely:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, March 12, 1861. Hon. Jacob Collamer:
My DEAR SIR:—God help me. It is said I have offended you. I hope you will tell me how. Yours very truly,
MARCH 14, 1861. Dear Sir:- I am entirely unconscious that you have any way offended me. I cherish no sentiment toward you but that of kindness and confidence. Your humble servant,
[Returned with indorsement.)
Like Senator Fessenden, Judge Collamer had earlier lost confidence in Mr. Seward, and now thought him too much in control; while, with their genuine conservatism, neither could closely fellowship the radical wing represented by Chase and Sumner. It was Collamer, as his papers prove, who drafted the anti-Seward resolutions adopted by the Senatorial caucus in December, 1862, and who took the lead in urging the Secretary's displacement.
There is also among the same papers a letter of Secretary Chase to Collamer (May 18, 1861), in which occurs this anti-Seward touch: “When the question of blockade came under discussion, I doubted the propriety of the term. It seemed to me descriptive of a condition arising between belligerent powers, and not between a government and rebels." Like Secretary Welles, he preferred to “close the ports."
Senator Wade — who, like Collamer, had received support in the Chicago convention, and was more distinctly recognized as a dark-horse" possibility another strong man whom Lincoln, without perfect success, sought to conciliate. One incident in this connection is recalled which was the talk of Ohio Congressmen who, with Wade, “messed ” at a boarding-house on Pennsylvania Avenue, where the writer happened to be present at the time. On the evening after his inauguration, President Lincoln and Senator Andrew Johnson called together on Wade, and there was a conference between the three men, whose subsequent relations to each other make the event curious enough to interest a student of the occult.
Senator Sumner, who visited Lincoln at Willard's while yet only President-elect, and seemed to him "very much like a bishop," was urgent that the Administration from the start should be "pronounced for freedom.” Secretary Chase, less a peace man than Sumner, lamented the lack of an Andrew Jackson as the “forty days " languidly lapsed; and Horace Greeley, not always warlike or always pacific, was just now, with his ardent followers, saying: “So slow - so slow!"
so slow!" At length
war was forced upon the Government by the assault on Fort Sumter, and for a long time there were battles and defeats, without much victory. , As the months wore on, two wings of the party became more positively defined, one of which was represented in the Cabinet by Secretary Seward, and the other by Secretary Chase. The latter was in close fellowship with Senator Sumner, whose noble friend, Lord Morpeth (afterwards Earl of Carlisle), discovered and revealed Chase to him away back in the old “Liberty party” days.* Thereafter the two were more or less associated, especially from the time of their joint Anti-Nebraska onslaught upon Douglas in the Senate, until the urgency of the one helped to place the other on the Federal Supreme Bench as Chief Justice. To the same wing, of course, belonged Thaddeus Stevens, chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means — “holding the purse strings," and thus the recognized Republican leader on the floor of the House. By his sharp thrusts and sarcastic humor, Mr. Stevens maintained there a certain terrorism, not always personally helpful to the President. On that side, too, was Vice-President Hamlin.
Mr. Sumner, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Senate, was so assiduous in advising the President, and was so listened to by him on matters coming before that committee as well as pertaining to the State Department, that Mr. Seward said playfully, if not also a little jealously, “ Lincoln has two Secre
* In May, 1842, Lord Morpeth wrote to Sumner : "I left Cincinnati with regret. I liked its aspect, picturesque and natural, and I liked much a Mr. Chase I met there."
taries of State.” * Seward wished to ignore slavery and fight for the Union. Sumner declared in a letter to the Duchess of Argyll that to him the Union was comparatively unimportant — he had never put our cause on that ground. Seward was for the blockade; Sumner wanted a closing of the ports. And so on to the end of the list. One was needed to balance the other, according to Lincoln's way of stating things. Besides these two forces to balance, there were the Democratic party in general and the Border-State Union men to be dealt with and made co-efficients in the national work.
He was not a trimmer or deceiver, whatever some dissatisfied people hastily said. In principle there was no trimming, and there was no duplicity in regard to his purposes and promises. What the sturdy youth practiced in piloting a flatboat on the Mississippi River,
keeping in the channel, which now approached one bank and now the other; looking out for snags, sawyers, and shoals; sweeping around bends that were sometimes so abrupt that he found himself for the moment faced about from south to north or from east to west, yet always steadily pursuing his way to the Delta,- such was the statecraft of the President. And what had not the grand “internal sea” been to him, sleeping or waking, from his first voyage to New Orleans to his last premonitory dream of drifting - drifting on a great, broad, rolling river”? The Mississippi represented the Union itself. It made Separation impos
* Welles wrote that the President was in the habit of consulting Sumner“
on conflicting or troublesome subjects with foreign