President Lincoln Concerned About Thurlow Weed

January 29, 1863

President Lincoln writes New York Republican boss Thurlow Weed: “Your valedictory to the patrons of the Albany Evening Journal brings me a good deal of uneasiness. What does it mean?”  A few days later, Weed responds: ““I retired from an apprehension that I was doing more harm than good. I could not remain without remonstrance against a Spirit by which you are persecuted, and which I know will end our Union and Government. It is impossible, just now, to resist Fanaticism — a Fanaticism which divides the North and deprives you of the support essential, vital in-deed, to the Life of the Republic. Its constant cry is: `Give! Give!’ and the more you give the more it demands.”

They accuse me of `opposing the Administration.’ I answered that falsehood yesterday, and sent Mr. Nicolay a Paper. I have labored to shield the Administration from their persecution.

The New York Republican Party was often fractured.  Weed’s resignation was seen as a political ploy by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles who had written in his diary the previous night: “I always distrust him. He is strong and cunning; has a vigorous but not an ingenuous mind. Being a lifelong partisan, he cannot abandon party even for the country’s welfare, though he may strive to have them assimilate. It grieved him that so many of his old party opponents should have been invited to the Cabinet and identified with the Administration. The President quietly laughs at Weed’s intrigues to exclude Chase and myself. This was in the interest of Seward, his alter ego.”

I remember that Seward on one occasion remarked in Cabinet, “Weed is Seward, and Seward is Weed; each approves what the other says and does.” It was not a pleasant remark to some of us, and Chase said he did not recognize the identity; while he would yield a point as a matter of favor to Mr. Seward, he would not to Weed. His ostensible reason for abandoning the field of active politics at this time and leaving the Journal is because he cannot act with his friends and support the Administration. There is intrigue, insincerity, and scheming in all this. I have no confidence in him, and he doubtless knows it. The organization of the New York Legislature has been finally accomplished. If Weed does not go for Seward for the Senate,—which is at the bottom of this movement,—he will prop Morgan. King, their best man, is to be sacrificed. I do not think Weed is moving for the Senatorship for himself, yet it is so charged. He has professedly left his old friends, but it is to carry as many as possible with him into a new combination, where he and Seward will have Dix, whom they have captured and whom they are using while D. supposes they are earnest for him.

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Published in: on January 29, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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