Patronage Concerns President and Divides Connecticut

August 7, 1862

Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase wrote President Lincoln with his list of appointees for new revenue collection positions: “The persons recommended for Collector in the First Congressional District of Connecticut are, Mark Howard, Alphonso C. Crosby, Ellsworth H. Phelps, and John B. Mix. The two Senators, and Representative Loomis, recommend Mr. Crosby. The Governor, State Officers, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Secretary of the Navy, recommend Mark Howard. I know Mr. Howard to be a man of great reputation for integrity and business ability, and think the public interests will be best promoted by his appointment. I therefore recommend it.”  As was sometimes the case in Connecticut, patronage divided leaders and Senator James Dixon prevailed in his opposition to Howard.  President Lincoln had to walk a difficult path to make appointments without losing key support in Congress.   A few days later, Dixon would write Lincoln:

I left Washington on Friday, anxious to attend our grand war meeting this evening. Our new Regt. for this County (the 16th) is full & will be ready this week. Last evening a delegation of our friends met me in this City to hear my report from Washington. There were present some of our best men, your warm friends and the upholders of your administration. Among them were the Editor of the Courant, –  the Chairman of our Rep. State Committee & other leading men. They expressed the most intense interest in the success of the list of candidates presented to you by me. They represent nearly all the working force of our party. The little knot of ultras who desire the other list appointed are insignificant in numbers & influence. They are I assure you bitterly & openly abusive of your policy & your course. Must they be strengthened by being made recipient of your confidence.

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Published in: on August 7, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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