Missouri Politics Irritates President Lincoln

January 5, 1863

Factionalism and complaints from Missouri leaders were a constant trial.  President Lincoln had received complaints from Congressman James Rollins about the forced exile of several religious leaders.  He was frustrated by continuing conflicts between civil and military officials.    “I am having a good deal of trouble with Missouri matters,” President Lincoln wrote General Samuel Curtis, army commander in Missouri, “and I now sit down to write you particularly about it. One class of friends believe in greater severity, and another in greater leniency, in regard to arrests, banishments, and assessments. As usual in such cases, each questions the other’s motives. On the one hand it is insisted that Gov. Gamble’s Unionism, at most, is not better than a secondary spring of action—that hunkerism, and a wish for political influence, stand before Unionism, with him. On the other hand, it is urged that arrests, banishments, and assessments are made more for private malice, revenge, and pecuniary interest, than for the public good. This morning I was told by a gentleman who, I have no doubt believes what he says, that in one case of assessments for ten thousand dollars, the different persons who paid, compared receipts, and found they had paid thirty thousand dollars. If this be true, the inference is that the collecting agents pocketed the odd twenty thousand. And true or not, in the instance, nothing but the sternest necessity can justify the making and maintaining of a system so liable to such abuses. Doubtless the necessity [2] for the making of the system in Missouri did exist, and whether it continues for the maintainance of it, is now a practical, and very important question. Some days ago Governor Gamble telegraphed me asking that the assessments, outside of St. Louis county, might be suspended, as they already have been within it; and this morning all the members of congress here from Missouri, but one, lay a paper before me asking the same thing. Now, my belief is that Gov. Gamble is an honest and true man, not less so than yourself; that you and he could confer together on this, and other Missouri questions with great advantage to the public; that each knows something which the other does not, and that, acting together, you could about double your stock of pertinent information. May I not hope that you and he will attempt this? I could at once safely do, (or you could safely do without me) whatever [3] you and he agree upon. There is absolutely no reason why you should not agree. Yours as ever

President Lincoln added: “P.S. I forgot to say that Hon. James S. Rollins, M.C. from one of the Missouri Districts wishes that, upon his personal responsibility, Rev. John M. Robinson, of Columbia, Mo. James L. Matthews of Boone county, Mo, and James L. Stephens, also of Boone county, Mo. may be allowed to return to their respective homes. Major Rollins leaves with me very strong papers from the neighbors of these men, whom he says he knows to be true men. He also says he has many constituents who he thinks are rightfully exiled; but that he thinks these three should be allowed to return. Please look into the case, and oblige Major Rollins if you consistently can. [4] Yours truly A. LINCOLN

President Lincoln writes General William S. Rosecrans: “Your despatch announcing retreat of enemy has just reached here. God bless you, and all with you! Please tender to all, and accept for yourself, the Nation’s gratitude for yours, and their, skill, endurance, and da[u]ntless courage.”

Massachusetts historian George Livermore wrote Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner regarding the pen that President Lincoln had used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.  Sumner had given Lincoln a copy of Livermore’s 1862 book, An Historical Research Respecting the Opinions of the Founders of the Republic, on Negroes as Slaves, as Citizens, and as Soldiers: “Verley’s dispatch to the Evening Journal of Saturday, announced the fact that you had secured The pen with which the President signed the immortal Proclamation which is to give freedom, I hope, to millions of slaves– this morning the precious relic has come to me, safely, by Mail– God-bless Abraham Lincoln, and God bless Charles Sumner! No trophy from a battlefield, no sword red with blood, no service of plate with an inscription, as complimentary as the greatest rhetorician could compose, would have been to me half as acceptable as this instrument which will forever be associated with the greatest event of our country and our age & with the honored names and services of the President of the United States and the Senator from Massachusetts

I know it is to your kindness — that I am in possession of this precious pen; whilst therefore I thank you most sincerely for your friendly act I leave entirely with you to make such an acknowledgement as you think proper to the President in my behalf I shall not address to him a note of thanks unless you think that courtesy & propriety require that I do so.

Published in: on January 5, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://abrahamlincolnandthecivilwar.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/missouri-politics-irritates-president-lincoln/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: