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with dicae word
Jonkh H. Barett Euro
From Letter Dated Columbus, May 13, 1859.
sible. To Lincoln the great river never ceased to be of prime concern if not of paramount care, and by that way approached the train of conclusive victories.
Some additional incidents, personalities, and noteworthy words of Lincoln will better fulfill the purpose of this work than any attempt to analyze a character like his, and to catalogue its elements under psychological names. There were evenings at the White House of which the writer made contemporary notes; and there were other occasions in which interviews with the President are recalled by a card of invitation or other memorial still remaining. One is specially interesting on account of this peculiar note, sent to the writer by Secretary Chase (its date belonging to the first week in May, 1862):
MONDAY MORNING. My Dear Sir: Please come to my room immediately. The President wishes to see you. Yours, MR. BARRETT.
S. P. CHASE. A comparison of the fac-simile of this note with that of the passage from the same hand in regard to John Brown, in Chapter XV., or with another referred to here, seems to indicate that the former was written under some degree of excitement — as was undoubtedly the fact. Under date of May 2, 1862, Secretary Seward gave official notice abroad that the Government having now possession of New Orleans, a Collector had been appointed, and the blockade would be modified as affecting that port. Mr. L., the person so promptly decided upon for Collector, who had long been in prosperous
* Signature and address of letter of May 13, 1859.
business at New Orleans, happened to have been introduced to Secretary Chase by the writer, with the favorable indorsement which an acquaintance of some years seemed to justify. A bitter warfare followed, in behalf of another applicant, a little belated, who nevertheless so far prevailed with the President that he withheld Mr. Li's commission. The interview thus invited through the Secretary had no effect, of course, in changing the President's determination, already firm. He wished, however, to explain the motive for recalling his consent to the appointment. He did this candidly, in the kindest manner.
The following card, received by the hand of “Edward” just before the time for going to church, on the Sunday of its date, has a serenity and steadiness about its chirography quite in contrast with that of the foregoing note:
J. H. Barrett, Commissioner of Pensions:
Please call and see me.
He was found in his office with scattered pieces of manuscript before him, out of which he was making up his noted letter to Mr. Hodges, which bears the date of April 4, 1864. That, however, had little to do with the special object of his note, which related to the attempted movement to postpone the Baltimore convention, called to meet in June. He wanted this scheme defeated, and, in fact, it never gained much headway.
Among “ Evenings at the White House," the writer
has preserved these memoranda, under date of October 2, 1864:
Found the President alone, with business papers before him - correspondence mainly, it would seem, asking him, "the merciful, the compassionate," to grant relief for some one in military duress or doomed to a sterner fate. He had in hand at the moment the letter of a lady begging for the release of her son from Fort Warren (at Boston), to which he had been sentenced " during the war" for writing a treasonable letter to his father in the rebel army, which was intercepted. He had found no reason to doubt the conviction was just and the sentence a mild one, but undoubtedly this appeal to his clemency was effective.
Conversation soon turned, as usual on such occasions, upon the military situation. [The war, it cannot be too strongly stated, was his chief concern from the beginning. He had at hand the needed maps for keeping trace of all his armies, and by well organized telegraphic communication through the War Department he kept informed to a late hour every night when there was any important movement in the field.] Grant had a force within six miles of Richmond, a movement north of the James by part of Butler's command having taken place two or three days before, as well as another advance of Meade's lines southwest of Petersburg. Stanton had a dispatch from Grant at 10 o'clock this morning concerning arrangements for soldiers' voting, but giving no military news. This was in answer to Stanton, the two co-operating in the preparations making on that subject. Maps of the seat of war at the East were referred to with explanations of operations past and in progress.
Coming to speak of the political campaign, as to which the late Republican divisions were no longer a serious disturbance, he related with hearty laughter an incident in connection with Fremont's withdrawal. Recalling the part which opposition to “arbitrary arrests” had played in the Fremont platform, and the violence displayed by the newspaper organ of that faction, which was the last to surrender, Lincoln said: “Fremont has sent me a verbal message that
if I would shut up his refractory ' New Nation' man in Fort Lafayette, he would balance accounts. (A few days before D. S. Dickinson had written to a friend: “General Fremont's letter reminds me, as Mr. Lincoln would say, of a story: A deacon, churched for fishing on Sunday, confessed that he did fish that he caught none
- and was very sorry.")
There was also talk of Wade and Henry Winter Davis, with no word or sign of resentment against either, though it could not be doubted that he had felt their temporary defection at one of the most trying moments of his administration as a party wrong, if not a personal one. He spoke very kindly of Governor Dennison, who had just taken the place of Montgomery Blair as Postmaster-General.
His son Robert, now at Cambridge Law School, wrote that he had finished the first volume of Blackstone, and wondered that his father should have mastered it without knowledge of Latin. This, Lincoln said, he picked up to some extent as he went along.
Notes of November 14 (1864) relate to an evening interview with the President directly after the writer's return from a visit to Ohio for the special purpose of voting at the Presidential election. There were some personal details to communicate concerning the vote in Cincinnati, where Lincoln had the open support of Archbishop Purcell and other prominent Catholics, and his majority was unexpectedly large. There had been interviews with Governor Chase, who was also there to vote, and with Governor Brough at Columbus — in whose election the President had felt so anxious an interest the previous year — interviews not to be detailed here.
The President was engaged in writing a letter to General S. A. Hurlbut, at New Orleans, taking him to task for his interference against the new (anti-slavery) constitution and its friends in Louisiana, of which positive evidence had been