Page images
PDF
EPUB

vice-presidency. Seward and Weed were both taken early into the movement for Johnson's nomination. McClure says that Lincoln's friends Swett and Lamon knew nothing of the selection until within a day or two of the convention. Then Swett said to the President that if it were known in New England that he was in favor of leaving Hamlin off the ticket, "it would raise the devil among the Yankees." He urged that New England politicians were rankling over what they deemed Lincoln's tardiness about slavery and haste about reconstruction, and that it would be dangerous to offend them further. Swett was persuaded by Lincoln, however, to go to the convention, prepared to support Johnson if necessary, though he was to avoid suspicion by having another candidate as his first choice, and he was not to reveal the President's preference for Johnson. According to Lamon, Lincoln said: "I will address a letter to Lamon here, embodying my views, which you, McClure, and other friends. may use if it be found absolutely necessary. Otherwise it may be better that I should not appear on the stage of this theatre." Lamon took the letter to Baltimore, but found no need of it, and it was then returned at the President's request. Another point in Johnson's favor, in Lincoln's mind, according to McClure, was that he believed the election of a Southern man to the vice

presidency would have a good effect in England and France. Johnson had 200 on the first ballot, to 150 for Hamlin and 108 for D. S. Dickinson, and his nomination was promptly made unani

mous.

The Democrats did not meet until the end of August, when they nominated General McClellan on a platform calling the war policy a failure and demanding peace. Before that they devoted themselves to attacking the Republicans, who were badly divided among themselves. The attitude of Senator Wade was described by Lincoln himself to Lamon, at the same time that he showed his way of treating him. Wade had come in to demand the dismissal of Grant. In reply to one of his remarks Lincoln said, "Senator, that reminds me of a story." "Yes, yes, Wade replied, "it is with you, sir, all story, story! You are the father of every military blunder that has been made during the war. You are on your road to hell, sir, with this government, by your obstinacy; and you are not a mile off this min⚫ute." Lincoln answered, “Senator, that is just about the distance from here to the Capitol, is it not?" Wade, as Lincoln put it, “grabbed up his

hat and cane and went away.'

The President's moods about the outcome probably varied greatly. According to one report he said early in the campaign:

[ocr errors]

you

"I am glad you have come in. Lamon, do know that we have met the enemy, and they are ourn?' I think the cabal of obstructionists 'am busted!' I feel certain that if I live, I am going to be reëlected. Whether I deserve to be or not, it is not for me to say; but on the score even of remunerative chances for speculative service, I now am inspired with the hope that our disturbed country further requires the valuable services of your humble servant. 'Jordan has been a hard road to travel,' but I feel now that, notwithstanding the enemies I have made and the faults I have committed, I'll be dumped on the right side of that stream. I hope, however, that I may never have another four years of such anxiety, tribulation, and abuse. My only ambition is and has been to put down the rebellion and restore peace; after which I want to resign my office, go abroad, take some rest, study foreign governments, see something of foreign life, and old age, die in peace with all of the good of God's creatures."

in my

On the other hand, on August 23 he prepared this memorandum:

"This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this administration will not be reëlected. Then it will be my duty to so coöperate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the

election and the inauguration, as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward.”

Nicolay and Hay, who publish the memorandum, also report the following later remarks on this subject at a cabinet meeting:

"The President said: 'You will remember that this was written at the time, six days before the Chicago nominating convention, when as yet we had no adversary, and seemed to have no friends. I then solemnly resolved on the course of action indicated in this paper. I resolved, in case of the election of General McClellan, being certain that he would be the candidate, that I would see him, and talk matters over with him. I would say: “General, the election has demonstrated that you are stronger, have more influence with the American people, than I. Now let us together, you with your influence and I with all the executive power of the government, try to save the country. You raise as many troops as you possibly can for this final trial, and I will devote all my energies to assist and finish the war."'

"Seward said, 'And the general would have answered you, "Yes, yes," and the next day when you saw him again and pressed these views upon him he would have said, "Yes, yes;" and so on forever, and would have done nothing at all.'

"At least,' said Lincoln, 'I should have done my duty, and have stood clear before my own conscience.'"

Before McClellan's nomination and after, Lincoln pushed constantly the argument that a vote

for union was in all reasonableness a vote for him, and he tried constantly to bring the meaning of union home to his hearers. To one regiment he said:

"I happen, temporarily, to occupy this White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has. It is in order that each one of you may have, through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise, and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations."

To another regiment:

"But this government must be preserved in spite of the acts of any man or set of men. It is worthy of your every effort. Nowhere in the world is presented a government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest amongst us are held out the highest privileges and positions. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father's."

The soldiers' vote was an element on which Lincoln put a good deal of his effort. To General Sherman he wrote, September 19:

"The state election of Indiana occurs on the 11th of October, and the loss of it, to the friends of the government, would go far toward losing the whole Union cause.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »