Thursday, January 17, 1861
President-elect Lincoln announces the selection of Secretary of State William H. Seward and Attorney General Edward Bates.
Mary Todd Lincoln writes Illinois Judge David Davis, long a Lincoln intimate to oppose the nomination of Chicago attorney Norman B. Judd to the Cabinet. “Doubtless you will be surprised, to receive a note from me, when I explain the cause, of my writing, I believe your honest, noble heart, will sympathise with me, otherwise I am assured, you will not mention it. Perhaps you will think it is no affair of mine, yet I see it, almost daily mentioned in the Herald, that Judd & some few Northern friends, are urging the former’s claims to a cabinet appointment. Judd would cause trouble & dissatisfaction, & if Wall Street testifies correctly, his business transactions, have not always borne inspection. I heard the report, discussed at the table this morning, by persons who did not know, who was near, a party of gentlemen, evidently strong Republicans, they were laughing at the idea of Judd, being any way, connected with the Cabinet in these times, when honesty in high places is so important. Mr. Lincoln’s great attachment for you, is my present reason for writing. I know, a word from you, will have much effect, for the good of the country, and Mr Lincoln’s future reputation, I believe you will speak to him on this subject & urge him not to give him so responsible a place. It is strange, how little delicacy those Chicago men have. I know, I can rely on what I have written to you, to be kept private. If you consider me intrusive, please excuse me, our country, just now, is above all.”
Chicago Tribune editor Charles H. Ray writes to Massachusetts Gov. John A. Andrew that the nomination of Simon Cameron has been “arrested” but he admits little other knowledge: “I have told you all I know about what is in the line of Mr. Lincoln’s intentions, but let me say that this little does not come directly from Mr. Lincoln himself. I have hardly changed a dozen words with him about his appointments; and I am sure that no friend in Illinois was consulted about the invitation to Cameron. Of late, he is most communicative; and now that his eyes are opened to the fatal character of the mistake that he was about to make, I hope that he will more frequently call to his aid the men who have not his responsibilities and anxieties.
Ray continued: “Every day the man’s purity of intention shines out with new lustre. He has only one desire; and that to so govern the country that its prosperity and happiness may be secured which our great cause is advancing. If he fails, his dislike to say no to friends upon whose judgment he would like to rely and of whose affection, he feels sure will be chargeable with the misfortune. That he is patriotic and honest, and that he will bravely carry forward our flag, I cannot doubt; but more now would do him no harm.”