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received. General Canby was also included in the same reproof - a pointed letter.
(“Few things since I have been here have impressed me more painfully than what, for four or five months past, has appeared a bitter military opposition to the new State government of Louisiana. I still indulged some hope that I was mistaken in the fact; but copies of a correspondence on the subject between General Canby and yourself, and shown me to-day, dispel that hope.. Every Unionist ought to wish the new government to succeed; and every Disunionist must desire it to fail. . . . Every advocate of slavery naturally desires to see blasted and crushed the liberty promised the black man by the new Constitution. But why General Canby and General Hurlbut should join on the same side is to me incomprehensible.")
The question of filling the vacant District Judgeship in Indiana coming up, he intimated that the candidates were becoming numerous, and the “influences for one and another multiplying ; Julian very earnestly pressing for his brother; Dick Thompson a prominent candidate; Secretary Usher would like the place; Howland seemed to have the fairest showing at present; and McDonald, having been twice before disappointed in a similar aspiration, this circumstance of itself would count in his favor — in view of the strong case made for him. “A man whose disappointment has troubled me — wishing to appoint him, yet feeling it impossible to do so — has an additional advantage with me for that reason.” To the suggestion that there had been some talk of McDonald's rather “circuitous” record, politically speaking, the President replied that he supposed some of the friends of other candidates might have tried to “bespatter him.” (McDonald got the place.)
Reference was then made to a higher appointment that of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The conversation turned solely upon Mr. Chase, so far as any person was named. There was a preponderance of expression in the ex-Secretary's favor, so far. That, he added, was naturally to be expected. He mentioned it as a fact, not as an indication of his purpose. He said, however, that the wing of his (Lincoln's) supporters having this appointment at heart was too large to be altogether disregarded. “My old friend Dave Davis, on the Supreme Bench, would be displeased with Chase's appointment. He talked this matter over with me once last winter, and thought
it not best to put a man on the Bench who would still be aspiring to the Presidency.” He (Lincoln) expressed his belief that on the more vital questions hereafter to come before the Supreme Court, Mr. Chase might be relied upon to decide aright - meaning particularly, no doubt, on all questions relating to slavery and the rights of those heretofore enslaved. The President evidently inclines to the appointment of Mr. Chase.
On another occasion, in the second year of the war, he spoke of certain highly-colored reports of a victory just gained at the West, and of the fight of the panicstricken enemy-reminding him of a story. “There was an Eastern chap," he said, “who came out to Illinois on a speculating trip, bringing with him a lot of notions to sell, which didn't go off as well as he expected. About all he could do while his stock lasted was to pay his expenses from day to day. Finally getting strapped, he had some handbills posted up in one of the larger towns, announcing that on a certain evening would be exhibited a living specimen of that wonder of animated nature, the great Guyasticutus. Curiosity was so excited that at the appointed time enough money was collected at the entrance to handsomely fill his pockets. The next thing was to get rid of the crowd and off with the spoils. After a little speech about his wonderful beast, he retired behind the curtain. Pretty soon there was the rattling of a heavy chain, then a terrible crash, and the job was done when the showman stuck out his head, shouting: ‘Run, run for life! The great Guyasticutus is loose!'”
One further illustration of both the matter and the manner of his stories is here given from memory, apropos to what or whom being left to conjecture: "A
young lawyer in one of the newer counties of Indiana, who had set his heart on going to the Legislature, thought he had things pretty well arranged for his nomination at the county convention, which was to meet twenty miles away from where he lived. Hiring a livery rig, he took an early start on the eventful day, and drove along dreaming over his acceptance speech and the cheerful prospect in life opening before him, while his nag settled down into the gait that never gets there. At last a free use of the whip improved the pace a little, but when he arrived at the courthouse he found the convention just adjourned and the other man nominated. “That is a very nice horse of yours,' he said to the owner, after getting home again. 'I could recommend him especially to pull a hearse, only I'm afraid he wouldn't get to the graveyard until after the general resurrection.'"
A quivering of the lip announced the coming climax of his stories, at which he always laughed as freely as any hearer. His laugh was genuine and thorough — quite his own hearty, breezy, unrestrained. There was brevity and no dawdling in his narrative. The ludicrous objective point was to be reached by the shortest cut. The subject-matter was often “ordinary” enoug and the language always more “colloquial,” of course, than he would use in writing or public speech. His story-telling celebrity might be easily turned to his disadvantage by perversion or fabrication. * It rested solely upon his superior skill in an art commonly used
* Examining one rather extensive collection of "Old Abe's Jokes,” he found about half a dozen only for which he had any responsibility.
among companionable men of every class and profession. Nor was there any respect in which his stories or jokes were less commendable than those of worthy people in general.
Writing of the Trent affair, the Comte de Paris (in his history of the war) said:
To those who represented to him (President Lincoln) the danger which would be incurred in allowing the public to become exasperated, and the impossibility for America to support at once a civil war and a foreign war, he replied with one of those anecdotes he excelled in telling. My father," he said, "had a neighbor from whom he was only separated by a fence. On each side of that fence there were two savage dogs, which kept running backward and forward along the barrier all day, barking and snapping at each other. One day they came to a large opening recently made in the fence. Perhaps you think they took advantage of this to devour each other? Not at all. Scarcely had they seen the gap when they both ran back, each on his own side, with their tails between their legs. Those two dogs are fair representatives of America and England."
An evasive pleasantry sometimes served his purpose well. To such things Secretary Chase could never take very kindly; yet a characteristic instance occurred at a grave moment when that officer called on the President with a delegation of bankers, saying they wished to have a talk about money matters. “I know little or nothing about money,” said Lincoln. “ It is considered rather necessary,” suggested the Secretary, “in carrying on war." “Well, I don't know about that," was the reply;
we don't hear that Hannibal had any.” The interview resulted favorably, perhaps none the less so because the President was not eager to discourse about finance.
Nor could the Secretary fail to appreciate the delicate recognition of his own importance in the administration.
Early in February, 1865. General John M. Palmer, of Illinois (a Kentuckian by birth), afterwards Governor and United States Senator,— one of the five AntiNebraska Democrats who, in the Senatorial election of 1855, had stood out for Judge Trumbull, and who gallantly served in the war as Major-General and Corps Commander, had his last interview with Lincoln. The General had come to Washington on a mission from Governor Oglesby in regard to the pending draft. According to population, it was contended, the State of Illinois had already furnished for the military service eighteen thousand more men than the just quota. Bringing the matter first to the notice of Provost Marshal General Fry, he was informed that the President had "reviewed these figures and directed the call for the men from Illinois."
I immediately went to the White House (said Palmer in relating this incident), saw Mr. Lincoln, and explained to him that my errand was from Governor Oglesby to get our quota corrected, when he stopped me by saying: “Palmer, I can get men more easily in Illinois than some other places. I directed the quota of Illinois myself, and I must have the men, and neither you nor ‘Dick'can make a fuss about it!” I said no more, for I knew he meant what he said.
I then said to him: “Mr. Lincoln, I wrote you a letter last September, saying that I did not wish to be one of your unemployed Generals,' and you answered me on a card, saying: “When I want your resignation, I will tell you.' He said: “I have a job for you now, the command of the Department of Kentucky.” I replied: “I have commanded troops in the field during my military service, but I don't want to go to Kentucky and spend my time quarreling with the politicians." He said: “Go to Stanton and get your