President Lincoln Tries to Quiet Unrest in Missouri

December 10, 1862

President Lincoln writes General Samuel R. Curtis, commander of Union forces in Missouri: “Please suspend, until further order, all proceedings on the order made by Gen. [John] Schofield on the 28 th day of August last, for assessing and collecting from Secessionists and Southern sympathizers the sum of Five hundred thousand dollars &c and, in the meantime make out and send me a statement of facts pertinent to the question, together with your opinion upon it.”  Curtis responds: “Proceedings suspended.”

President Lincoln sends to Congress a brief memo: “In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 17th of July last, requesting the communication of correspondence relating to the arrest of a part of the crew of the brig Sumter, at Tangier, Morocco, I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of State.”  Two southern crew members of the Sumter had been arrested by James DeLong, the U.S. consul at Tangier.  They had subsequently bee sent to the U.S. to be confined at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor.   During the Civil War, the island fort served as a prison for many Confederate officials and army officers.

The president also deals with a number of other issues including the xxx of General Egbert Viele.   Lincoln writes a brief memo concerning the son of a Pennsylvania congressman: “To-day Hon. David Wilmot calls and asks that his son Thomas M. Wilmot be appointed a cadet at West-Point. Will be, 18. years of age Aug. 4, 1863. Not particular whether appointed this year or next. I wish to appoint him before I leave here.”

Lincoln writes a cryptic to his old friend and neighbor, Illinois State Auditor Jesse K. Dubois: “In the summer of 1859 when Mr. Freeman visited Springfield, Illinois, in relation to the McCallister & Stebbins bonds I promised him that, upon certain conditions, I would ask the members of the Legislature to give him a full and fair hearing of his case. I do not now remember, nor have I time to recall exactly what the conditions were, nor whether they were completely performed; but there can be, in no case, any harm his having a full and fair hearing, and I sincerely wish it may be given him.”

After visiting with President Lincoln at the White House Wisconsin Senator Timothy O. Howe sends him a detailed letter of complaints and slights concerning patronage and favors: “As a faithful Representative of a loyal State I can’t well avoid calling upon you occasionally.”

Being a republican — representing a State which gave you more than 20000 Majority — & having steadily defended your administration, even when others refused to defend it — my constituents can see no good reason why I should not call upon you whenever their interests require it–

But it is almost two years since our Official intercourse commenced & I am compelled to remind you that, down to this time, you have wholly failed to recognize me either as a Representative or as a Republican–

Never once have I applied to you for an appointment & obtained it. Never but twice have you extended to me the courtesy which is due not only from a President to a Senator but from one Gentleman to another–

In the commencement of your administration two men were presented to you for Register of a Land Office in my own vicinity.

One was my friend. The other had rendered himself very obnoxious to me– You promised to appoint the one whom the Secy. of the Interior should recommend– The case was presented to him & fully debated

After I had left the City you took the case out of his hands &, never having heared a word from me upon the subject, you appointed the man most obnoxious to me. You assigned as a reason for doing it that Judge Sloan1 demanded it.

The Land Office in that District had always been located in Green Bay until a Citizen of Menasha was chosen a Representative in Congress. At his instance it was removed to Menasha 30 miles South of Green Bay. The unsold domain lies North of that town. Very few men visit Menosha to buy lands who do not pass through Green Bay

I applied to the Secretary of the Int’r, to restore the Office to Green Bay. He heared both sides of the question fully argued & made an order for its restoration– That order he presented to you himself & you signed it– After I had left the City & while the Secretary your own Minister was absent; at the instance of my colleague Judge Potter,2 with out hearing a word from me, or from the Secretary (as he says) you revoked that order–

When a District Attorney & Marshall were to be appointed for Wisconsin I earnestly desired that one of those appointments should be given to the 3d Congressional District. I lived in that District. It comprised nearly one half the population of the State. In the next Congress it will have three Representatives here– It had not then received a single appointment which was not local– You selected both from the other Districts–

I asked you to appoint Col Cobb a B[r]igadier. From the beginning of the war he has commanded the 5th Rgt of Wisconsin Vols– He has been Speaker of the Assembly of Wisconsin– He served in the Mexican War– He has just been elected to Congress. He was complimented by Genl McClellan upon the field at Williamsburg

You declined to appoint him–

I asked you to appoint Ex Governor Randall4 a Brigadier. You declined it– Judge Doolittle asked you to send him to Rome & you did it. When he returned Judge Doolittle asked you to place him at the head of a Bureau & you did it– He asked you to promote General Hamilton to a Major General & I am told you have done it–

Mr Hanchett asked you to appoint his Br-in-law from Ohio a Brigadier & you did it. Mr Washburne asked you to appoint his Brother from our State a Brigadier & you did it –when he had not been sixty days in the field. Mr Schurtz asked you to appoint himself a Brigadier & you did it when he had never seen a “field”

I asked you to appoint a Nephew of mine to be a Lieutenant in the Army.

I did it without his knowledge. I know now he would not have accepted it, for I know that after this War is over he would not hold a Commission in the Army. He was on Frazier River when he heared of the War– He was doing a business worth One thousand dollars per Annum.– I know it for he sent the money to me. I tell you so. He sold out the next day after he heared of the War– He walked 400 miles to Port Townsend– He shipped on a sail vessel to San Francisco.

He came over land to St Louis in 19 Days. The next day he enlisted as a private in a Cavalry Company — The Governor of Wisconsin sent him a Commission to come home & raise a Company. He sent it back saying “he had no time to raise a Company”– He followed Fremont to Springfield– He can tell you facts of that expedition which your official reports do not record– Subsequently he was appointed a Major in the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, & he is the same Major Torrey9 who a few days since, as your despatches announced, captured the “rebel Colonel Phelan, with two Captains & ten privates” He does not drink– He does not Smoke– He works

He weighed 210 lbs when he entered the service– He weighs 140 now– I wrote you to appoint him a Lieutenant.

you declined– Judge Doolittle asked to appoint his Son a Lieut of Cavalry & you did it– He asked you to appoint another — Son — upon the staff of Genl Hamilton & you did that.

Remember Sir! I make no complaint of what you do for others– But I affirm you have no reason for bestowing your patronage upon others more than upon myself. If they are republicans, so am I

If they are Representatives so am I–

If they are “your friends,” so have I been, steadily, uniformly; when & where you needed friends the most. If they offer you “good men”, — I offer you sometimes the same individuals & sometimes men as Good as God makes, & He makes the best of men.

The occasions on which I have thought you wanting in that courtesy which I should expect & should demand from a private gentleman in his own house I shall not recount. Except the last. That was the most recent but not the most exceptionable. It was this morning– I called upon you with two of my colleagues. I handed you a letter which I told you contained the testimony of a gentleman upon the merits of General [Egbert] Vieles administration at Norfolk. I told you who the author was & what he was.– You did not say there was no question before you upon General Vieles merits, but you did intimate very distinctly that you would have no time to read what was said upon that question by a witness who is perfectly disinterested & a man too who is your peer or mine in all but place–

Two days ago Judge Doolittle asked to read you a portion of Genl Hamiltons defense of himself & you told him politely to read as much as he chose

Before we left I asked if you would take a memorandum of some names we wished to present for Brigadiers.– I have seen you do it often in other cases.– You assented; but with an impatience which was quite manifest in spite of your manifest effort to restrain the exhibition of it.I must add that twice last Winter I called upon you to introduce Constituents of mine to the Chief Magistrate– I remember they were among the most distinguished Citizens of our State– It is my conviction that one of them spent more money in 1860 to aid your election than you did yourself.In both instances I had to apologize for you after we left– I have not repeated such visits since–

And now Sir! Why this all is I do not know– I have persistently believed your most distinguishing characteristic was a strong love of justice & fair dealing– But in that large volume of names placed in Commission by you within the last two years there is not one whom you have commissioned because I asked you to. Your Secretary’s have been more kind to me– If any one has labored to prejudice you against me, they ought not to have been successful. I still hold the credentials of a Senator — and they are my vouchers.

I know the pressure upon your time & your patience– But the pressure has not [come?] from me– Besides there are no more hours in your day than in mine– And I venture to tell you you dont spend more of your hours in the public service than I do– You receive 25000. Dolls for your services & I receive three thousand for mine– Your public labors & mine are supposed to be directed to the same ends– You have a right to my co-operation in securing those ends & you have had it– I have an equal right to yours & I have not had it–

You may think this letter long. But you have only to read it– I think it brief & I had to write it– Had I written earlier the story would have been shorter– It is now the story of two years. & I trust the last of it–

Published in: on December 10, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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