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lant and self-reliant; and, pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any constraints or restraints upon you. While I am very anxious that any great disaster or capture of our men in great numbers shall be avoided, I know these points are less likely to escape your attention than they would be mine. If there is anything wanting which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me know it. And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you."
It is not likely that the man who, accustomed to exercise authority on generals who needed it, could treat in this manner the first commander who had an equally firm character of his own, would feel any real resentment if that general's distrust of political machinery made him give less assistance in the election than the President thought due to the cause. to treat each man. He let Grant alone but he put the screws on to many others. The Secretary of State of New York during this campaign gives this account of what befell him in one of his functions:
Lincoln knew how
"A law was passed by the legislature, which was Republican, to take the soldier's vote. Well, ordinarily this duty would have devolved upon the governor. Because the legislature in this instance imposed it upon me, I spent much time in Washington endeavoring to get the data to send out the necessary papers enabling the New
York soldiers to vote. Under the act each soldier was to make out his ballot, and it was to be certified by the commanding officer of his company or regiment, and then sent to some friend at his last voting place to be deposited on election day. It was therefore necessary for me to ascertain the location of every New York company and regiment. They were scattered all over the South, and in all the armies. Secretary Stanton refused to give me any information whatever, and, finally, with a great deal of temper, informed me one day that information of that character given to politicians would reach the newspapers, and through them the enemy, and in that way the Confederates would know by the location of the New York troops precisely the condition and situation of every army, corps, brigade, and battery. As I was leaving the War Department I met Mr. Washburne and the marshal of the district coming in. Mr. Washburne said, 'Depew, you seem to be in a state of considerable excitement.' I told him of my interview with Mr. Stanton, and that I was going home to New York, and would publish in the morning papers a card that the soldiers' votes could not be taken, owing to the action of Secretary Stanton. And I added, ‘I can inform you that a failure to get them will lose Mr. Lincoln the electoral vote of New York.'
Mr. Washburne said: 'You don't
know Lincoln; he is as good a politician as he is a President, and if there was no other way to get those votes he would go round with a carpet-bag and collect them himself.' He then asked me to wait until the President could be informed as to the facts. I stood in the corridor leading to Mr. Stanton's room, and in about fifteen minutes an orderly came out and said the Secretary wanted to see Mr. Depew. I went in, and Secretary Stanton met me with the most cordial politeness; inquired when I arrived in Washington, if I had any business with his department, and whether he could do anything for me. I restated to him what I had already stated at least half a dozen times before. He sent me with an order so peremptory to the head of one of the bureaus, that I left Washington that night with a list and location of every organization of New York troops."
Another example of Lincoln's political dexterity in this fight for reëlection is shown by his offer of the French mission to James Gordon Bennett. The Herald had favored McClellan's nomination by the Democrats. After McClellan was nominated, Lincoln wrote in his own hand to Bennett making this offer, just the kind of attention to flatter the well-known nature of the powerful editor. Bennett responded in a roundabout, but obvious manner. First he suggested an entirely new nomination. "Lincoln has proved
a failure," he said in one editorial. "Fremont has proved a failure. Let us have a new candidate." The Herald, not obtaining its new man, as it had not expected to, came out squarely for Lincoln. Bennett declined the office, but there is little doubt that this famous offer, which is here told in the form given by Colonel McClure, was made by the President for the direct purpose of securing the Herald's support. There is also little doubt that when Charles A. Dana says that the whole power of the War Department was used to secure Lincoln's reëlection he calmly states the facts exactly as they were. Purists may turn pale at these things and try to pull the blankets over any exhibition of them, but the world loves and admires the great War President as he was and desires no prettified portrait of him. That his jesuitical ability to use the fox's skin when the lion's proved too short was one part of his enormous value to the land, no competent thinker can doubt.
Opposite this brilliant ability in political manipulation stands another picture, not the contradiction of it but the complement. During those same long and dubious months in which Lincoln pulled every wire pointing to success, we see him giving some of his most unmistakable proofs of moral independence, trust in the right, and political courage.
He let the draft go on in spite of
all the howls. What use to him, he asked, was a second term if he had no country? When General Grant asked for 300,000 soldiers Lincoln was able to reply that he had already called for 500,000. How he treated some protests against this call is well shown in an account which Joseph Medill, the editor of the Chicago Tribune, gave to Miss Tarbell shortly before his death: —
"In 1864, when the call for extra troops came, Chicago revolted. She had already sent 22,000 men up to that time, and was drained. When the new call came, there were no young men to go, no aliens except what were bought. The citizens held a mass-meeting, and appointed three persons, of whom I was one, to go to Washington and ask Stanton to give Cook County a new enrolment. I begged off, but the committee insisted, so I went. On reaching Washington, we went to Stanton with our statement. He refused entirely to give us the desired aid. Then we went to Lincoln. 'I cannot do it,' he said, 'but I will go with you to Stanton and hear the arguments of both sides.' So we all went over to the War Department together. Stanton and General Fry were there, and they, of course, contended that the quota should not be changed. The argument went on for some time, and finally was referred to Lincoln, who had been sitting silently listening. I shall never forget how he suddenly lifted his head and turned on us a black and frowning face.
"Gentlemen,' he said, in a voice full of bitterness, 'after Boston, Chicago has been the chief instrument in bringing this war on the country. The Northwest has