Simon Cameron Resigns as Minister to Russia

February 23, 1863

President Lincoln deals with the replacement of former Secretary of War Simon Cameron as U.S. minister to Court of St. Petersburg.   Cameron has been in the job for only a year.  He was appointed in a face-saving move after Lincoln forced him out of the War Department.   Kentucky firebrand Cassius Clay, who preceded Cameron in the Russian post, now wants his old job back.  Cameron biographer Erwin S. Bradley writes: “Although a candidate for the Senate in January, 1863, the minister to Russia could see no impropriety in retaining his post.  In Washington, enemies of Cassius Clay, fearful of his entrance into the Lincoln Cabinet, were pressing for Cameron’s resignation in order to rid themselves of Clay.  At Lincoln’s request he visited the White House on December 14 and had two Presidential interviews during January, 1863, but the matter dragged on for two months until Lincoln peremptorily demanded a decision.  On February 23, 1863, in the midst of the embarrassing inquiry of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives into the methods of his Senatorial candidacy, Cameron tendered his resignation to Lincoln.  Not only was concern for his family’s health a compelling factor in his decision; he was also ‘activated by a strong desire once more to mingle with his countrymen,’ and to use all his energy ‘in every measure essential to the overthrow of a conspiracy.’  He gave assurances of continued support for the Lincoln administration.  If given the power to do so, he would not recall one recommendation offered during his cabinet tenure.  This last remark, clearly a slap at the President, referred to his altered report on arming of the slaves.”

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Published in: on February 23, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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