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could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
“What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
“I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I believe doing more will help the
“I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
“I have here stated my purpose according to my views of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.
A. LINCOLN." Mr. Lincoln was anxious to take no steps which he should be obliged to retrace through the lack of popular support, and at this time he was carefully measuring the public opinion on the subject of emancipation. A part of the preliminary work he had accomplished. He had performed with the tenderest and most assiduous fidelity all his duty toward the border slave states. He had warned them, besought them, advised them, to get out of the way of an event which he felt certain would come. He knew that the institution of slavery would not be worth a straw, in any state, after it should be destroyed in the rebel states. But they turned a deaf ear to his warnings and entreaties; and in this manner, if not in the manner desired, took themselves out of his way.
His letter to Horace Greeley was, without doubt, intended to prepare the mind of the country for emancipation, and to exhibit the principles and exigencies by which he should be controlled in proclaiming it. He was clearing away obstacles, and preparing his ground; and, in connection with events which wait for record, the time for action came at last.
Mr. Cameron was not very successful in the administration of the affairs of his bureau. It is no derogation to his ability as a statesman to say that, for the discharge of the duties of the war office, at the time he occupied it, he had no eminent fit
It was not the office he would have chosen for himself. He had immense and almost countless contracts at his disposal, and could give to them but little personal care. That
he was overreached, under the circumstances, was almost a matter of course,
of his contracts were very bad Congress, after his resignation, censured him for his loose way of doing business, in intrusting Alexander Cummings of New York with the expenditure of large sums of money without restriction; but Mr. Lincoln, by a special message, assumed all the responsibility of Mr. Cummings' appointment to this duty and responsibility. Mr. Cameron resigned his position on the 11th of January, 1862; and Mr. Lincoln showed what he thought of the charges of fraud against him, by appointing him minister to Russia. Nevertheless, it was to be said of him that Mr. Chase found it difficult to raise money while he remained to make contracts. signed while the House was busy with overhauling his affairs; and it occurred that he sent in his resignation on the same day on which Mr. Dawes of Massachusetts was making a powerful speech against him, and on which the special committee on government contracts made a report severely condemning his operations.
Mr. Lincoln appointed Edwin M. Stanton of Ohio to the office thus vacated. Mr. Stanton was a democrat, and had been a member of Mr. Buchanan's cabinet-was, indeed, the first one in that cabinet to protest against the downright treason into which it was drifting. He was a man of indomitable energy, devoted loyalty and thorough honesty. Contractors could not manipulate him, and traitors could not deceive him. Impulsive, perhaps, but true; willful, it is possible, but placable; impatient, but persistent and efficient,—he became, at once, one of the most marked and important of the members of the cabinet. Mr. Lincoln loved him and believed in him from first to last. When inquired of concerning the reasons for his appointment, Mr. Lincoln said he rather wished, at first, to appoint a man from one of the border states, but he knew the New England people would object; and then, again, it would have given him great satisfaction to appoint a man from New England, but that would displease the border states. On the whole, he thought he had better take a man from some intervening territory; "and, to tell you the truth, gentlemen,"
said he, “I don't believe Stanton knows where he belongs himself.” The gentlemen proceeding to discuss Mr. Stanton's impulsiveness, Mr. Lincoln said: “Well, we may have to treat him as they are sometimes obliged to treat a Methodist minister I know of out west. He gets wrought up to so high a pitch of excitement in his prayers and exhortations, that they are obliged to put bricks into his pockets to keep him down. We may be obliged to serve Stanton the same way, but I guess we 'll let him jump awhile first.”
The country has sometimes thought the time for bricks had come; but, on the whole, the leaders of the rebellion have had greatest cause of complaint. Mr. Stanton's place in history will be a proud one.
Malcontents, who felt that everything went wrong because there was something wrong in the cabinet, were much encouraged by the change that had been made, and personally and by letter urged Mr. Lincoln to make further changes. A number of them called upon him to insist on changes that they considered absolutely necessary. Mr. Lincoln heard them through, and then, with his peculiar smile, said, “Gentlemen, the case reminds me of a story of an old friend of mine out in Illinois. His homestead was very much infested with those little black and white animals that we needn't call by name; and, after losing his patience with them, he determined to sally out and inflict upon them a general slaughter. He took gun, clubs and dogs, and at it he went, but stopped after killing one, and returned home. When his neighbors asked him why he had not fulfilled his threat of killing all there were on his place, he replied that his experience with the one he had killed was such that he thought he had better stop where he was."
This story was told with no disrespect to Mr. Cameron, or to the other members of his cabinet, for he honored them all; but it was told to get rid of his troublesome advisers. They went away forgetting that they had failed to make any impression on the President-forgetting that they had failed in their errand utterly—and laughing over the story by which the President had dismissed them.
A CIVILIAN, ignorant of the art of war, can only judge a military man by what he accomplishes in the long run by his policy and action; and it is difficult for such a judge to perceive what General McClellan accomplished, with his magnificent army of a hundred and sixty thousand as good soldiers as ever the sun shone upon-well drilled, well fed, well clothed and well armed-but to scatter and wear out that unteer general advice to a government that was presumed to be competent to the management of its own affairs, and win the doubtful honor of becoming the favorite of men who, from the first, opposed the war, and threw all possible obstacles in the way of its successful prosecution. The whole history of McClellan's operations is a history of magnificent preparations and promises, of fatal hesitations and procrastinations, of clamoring for more preparations, and justifications of hesitations and procrastinations, of government indulgence and forbearance, of military intrigues within the camp, of popular impatience and alarms, and of the waste of great means and golden opportunities. Even the opportunity of becoming “ the hero of Antietam” came to General McClellan through his culpable remissness in permitting the enemy to cross the Potomac; and this victory lost all its value by his failure to gather its fruits.
When General McClellan assumed command, he found waiting for him fifty thousand men, more or less, in and around Washington. He assumed command during the last days of July; and, within a period of less than three months, that army was raised to a force of more than a hundred and fifty thousand men, with five hundred pieces of artillery. The people gave him more men than any one commander was ever known to handle effectively in the field; and the government lavishly bestowed upon his army all the material of war. The unfortunate matter of Ball's Bluff, which occurred on the twenty-second of October, has already found record. This was the first return for the fresh means that the government had placed at the commanding General's disposal. The Potomac was blockaded by a small force of rebels, and both the President and Secretary of War felt that there was no necessity for permitting this vexatious and humiliating blockade to continue. They tried to induce McClellan to aid in this business; and, at one time in October, he agreed to send four thousand men to co-operate with a naval force for this purpose; but he falsified his promise, on the ground that his engineers told him that so large a force could not be landed. It did not matter that the department assumed the responsibility of landing the troops. It did not matter, even, that he made another promise to send the troops. They were never sent, the second refusal being based upon his fear of bringing on a general engagement, which was exactly what ought to have been brought on.
on. Captain Craven of the navy, with whom these troops were to co-operate, threw up his command in disgust, and the rebels never were driven away from the Potomac. They kept this grand highway closed until the following spring, and then retired of their own accord, and at leisure.
The confidence in General McClellan on the part of the government and the country generally was at this time unbounded; and he could not appear among his soldiers without such demonstrations of enthusiastic affection as few commanders have ever received. On the first of November he succeeded General Scott in the command of all the armies of the Union, still retaining personal command of the Army of the Potomac; but he seemed to be unable to move. Cautious, hesitating, always finding fresh obstacles to a movement, he permitted