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the slightest effect in quieting the political agitation, or softening the personal feeling which accompanied it. The department was subsequently placed under the command of General Rosecrans; and the quarrel itself died out, or ceased to attract public and presidential attention. In the President's letter to General Schofield, at the time of his appointment, he said to him: “If both factions or neither abuse you, you will probably be about right. Beware of being assailed by one and praised by the other.” Judged by his own rule in this case, the President was as nearly right as he could be, for both sides abused him thoroughly. Let it be said, however, to their credit, that, at the succeeding presidential election, both supported him, and contributed to his triumph.
The pen has been so busy with the record of the great national events with which Mr. Lincoln was directly concerned, that no space has been found for entering the White House, and witnessing the kind of life that was lived there. The closing paragraphs of the last chapter will give an intimation of some of the perplexities that attended Mr. Lincoln's daily experience. More than any of his predecessors was he regarded as the father of his people. He was so accessible that they came to him with all their troubles, from the representatives of the factions in Missouri, to the old woman who applied to him to have a sum of money reserved from the wages clerk in one of the departments, that he might pay her bill for board. Every man seemed to think that Mr. Lincoln could settle his little difficulty, or provide for his little want, whatever it might be. It was the story of his younger life re-enacted. He had always been a reconciler of difficulties between men; and he remarked, while in the presidential chair, that it seemed as if he was regarded as a police justice, before whom all the petty troubles of men were brought for adjustment.
In one matter—and that an important one-he differed from all who had preceded him in his office. Such an affair as a genuine cabinet consultation hardly occurred during his administration. His heads of departments were heads of der partments indeed. He intended that they should do the work of their special office, and that they should be held responsible
for it. The affairs of state were managed by Mr. Seward, and not by Mr. Lincoln. The Treasury was almost as much in the hands of Mr. Chase, during his occupation of office, as if he were irresponsible to the head of the government. The same fact held concerning all the other secretaries. more intimate with the Secretary of War, probably, than with any other member of the cabinet, because operations in the field were the leading affairs of interest and importance; and it is probable, also, that his influence was more felt in the war office than in any other of the departments. Mr. Chase has said that he never attended a meeting of the cabinet without taking with him the figures that showed the exact condition of the Treasury at the time, and that, during the whole of his official life, he was not once called upon to show these figures. Mr. Lincoln contented himself with such knowledge as he gained in a general way concerning the affairs entrusted to him. The tenacity with which he clung to his chosen advisers and official family, throughout all the attempts of politicians and the public to unseat them, was remarkable; and illustrated not only the faithfulness of his friendship but the inflexibleness of his will.
If any action was ever taken by one of his secretaries that seemed to him ill-advised, he did not hesitate to interfere; but, sitting in his place, and performing what seemed to him to be his special duties, he intended that his associates in the gorernment should sit in their places, and perform their duties; and he left them free to win such honor as they could, by the administration of the affairs of their respective departments.
The first three years of the war, with all their excitements, responsibilities and anxieties, produced a powerful effect upon his physical constitution. He entered the White House, a healthy man, with a frame of iron; and, without indulgence in a single debilitating vice, he became a feeble man, weary and worn beyond the reach of rest. The tired feeling very rarely left him. His relief was in story-telling, in books of humor, in theatrical representations, and in music. A lady who was, for a time, a member of his family, related to the
writer an incident touching his love of music and its effect upon him. One evening he was prevailed upon to attend the opera. He was very tired, and quite inclined to remain at home; but, at the close of the evening's entertainment, he declared himself so much rested that he felt as if he could go home and work a month. Simple heart-songs pleased him, however, much more than the elaborate music of the opera. The poetry of Burns, and the class of verse to which it belonged, were subjects of his special admiration; and the music that was their fitting expression was to him the most delightful of all.
With the soldiers who were fighting the battles of the country, he had the deepest sympathy. Whenever he was congratulated upon a success in the field, he never failed to allude gratefully to the noble men who had won it. The trials of these men-their sacrifices of comfort and health, of limb and life-touched him with a sympathy that really sapped the foundations of his constitution. They were constantly in his thoughts; and not a battle was fought to whose sacrifices his own vitality did not contribute. He admired the fighting man, and looked upon him as, in one sense, his superior. Although he did not plead guilty to the weakness of moral cowardice, he felt that the battle-field was a fearful place, from which, unaided by its special inspirations, he should run. Indeed, Mr. Lincoln did not give himself credit for the physical courage which he really possessed, though he had probably grown timid with his failing strength.
This sympathy with the soldiers he manifested in many ways, and in none more than in his treatment of their offenses against military law. In a letter to the author, a personal friend of the President says: “I called on him one day in the early part of the war. He had just written a pardon for a young man who had been sentenced to be shot, for sleeping at his post, as a sentinel. He remarked as he read it to me: 'I could not think of going into eternity with the blood of the poor young man on my skirts.' Then he added: 'It is not to be wondered at that a boy, raised on a farm, probably in the habit of going to bed at dark, should, when required to watch, fall asleep; and I cannot consent to shoot him for such an act.?” This story, with its moral, is made complete by Rev. Newman Hall of London, who, in a sermon preached after and upon Mr. Lincoln's death, says that the dead body of this youth was found among the slain on the field of Fredericksburg, wearing next his heart a photograph of his preserver, beneath which the grateful fellow had written, “God bless President Lincoln!” From the same sermon, another anecdote is gleaned, of a similar character, which is evidently authentic. An officer of the army, in conversation with the preacher, said: “The first week of my command, there were twenty-four deserters sentenced by court martial to be shot, and the warrants for their execution were sent to the President to be signed. He refused. I went to Washington, and had an interview. I said: Mr. President, unless these men are made an example of, the army itself is in danger. Mercy to the few is cruelty to the many.' He replied: “Mr. General, there are already too many weeping widows in the United States. For God's sake, do n't ask me to add to the number, for I won't do it.'”
Whole chapters might be occupied by the record of such incidents as these. The woe that the war brought upon the people kept his sympathetic heart always bleeding. One of the last acts of his official life was the granting of a pardon for a military offense. A friend from Illinois called to plead for the life of a neighbor—a soldier who was on his way with his regiment through Washington, and, falling out of the ranks, entered a drinking saloon, was overcome with liquor, and failed to join his regiment before it left the city. He was arrested for desertion, and sentenced to be shot. The soldier's friend found Mr. Lincoln with a table before him literally covered with documents, which were all to be signed by him. There was not room enough on the table to hold the paper for a pardon. Mr. Lincoln heard the explanation of the case, and remarked: “Well, I think the boy can do us more good above ground than under ground;" and then he proceeded to