Wednesday, January 30, 1861
Future Attorney General Edward Bates “had a protracted interview with Mr. Lincoln, who left the city this morning on a visit to an aged relative in Coles county. He will return in two or three days,” reported John Hay. The “aged relative” was Lincoln’s stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, whom he visited for the last time. Lincoln took a train to Charleston, made one change in Matoon and then stayed over night with friends in Charleston.
Hay also reported that Norman B. “Judd, and a phalanx of his Chicago friends, are here. The indications at present in political circles seem to be that Illinois must waive, for the present, her claim to a seat in the Cabinet. The conflicting interests of distant sections will probably result in the sacrifice of a man, that whom none is more worthy.”
Lincoln received a letter from Illinois Congressman Elihu B. Washburne:
“There is a great deal said in the newspapers and a great deal said outside the newspapers about an attempt to seize this city, and a great many people are very much alarmed. I do not suppose you will be alarmed by all the talk. I think I am in a position to know as much as anybody about this whole matter. I am in consultation with Genl. [Winfield] Scott and with Col. Stone, who is organizing the militia of the district. Our friends from N.Y. three of the best and most skilful men ever in that service are still here, and I am posted every day in regard to their information. I am satisfied there does not NOW exist any organization to amount to anything, anywhere, the object of which is either to prevent your inauguration. I say now — what may take place I will not say, but I do not believe any attempt at all will be made at any time. I have just left Scott — he is very vigilant and active and will make every preparation he can to meet any emergency. I am sorry to say, however, old Buck is hanging back, though the Secretary of War is up to ‘high water mark’ (to use Scott’s own language) at the time. Scott has this day sent a paper to the President saying unless he is permitted to bring more troops here, he will not hold himself responsible for the peace of the District. I presume the President will now permit the troops to be brought here. The N.Y. friends are entirely certain there is no nucleus of a conspiracy in this city. The Mayor, although suspected of being a secessionist, was up before the special committee to-day and swore there was nothing of the kind going on.”
He adds a note about the increasing concerns about public order in Washington: When in Scott’s room, Genl. [John] Dix the next Sec’y of the Treasury came in to consult about certain matters. He is clear up to the handle for the enforcement of the laws and the protection of the public property. The old General was hugely pleased at his firmness and the high ground he took. The only trouble now in the cabinet is Yancey, who is believed to sympathize with the traitors.”
At the end of January, Lincoln receives a letter from a “Capt Hazzard” advising that trouble should be expected going through Baltimore and suggesting that either Baltimore be avoided or he pass through Baltimore “incognito.”