President Lincoln Considers Appointments Before Reception

March 2, 1863

President Lincoln writes a series of notes regarding appointments to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase: “After much reflection, and with a good deal of pain that it is adverse to your wish, I have concluded that it is not best to renominate Mr. Howard, for collector of internal revenue, at Hartford, Connecticut. Senator Dixon, residing at Hartford, and Mr. Loomis, representative of the district, join in recommending Edward Goodman for the place, and, so far, no one has presented a different name. I will thank you, therefore, to send me a nomination, at once, for Mr. Goodman,” Lincoln writes in one.

In another, Lincoln writes: “I see an act under which an assistant collector of the port of New York is to be appointed. Nobody has applied to me for it. Have you any applications or any particular wishes upon the subject?”  In another note to Chase, the president writes: “Your note in relation to the collectorship at Hartford is just received. It is a little difficult for me to read; but as I make it out, the matter is now temporarily suspended by agreement of yourself and Senator Dixon; and with which, of course, I am satisfied.”

President Lincoln transmits “to Congress a copy of a Preamble and Joint Resolutions of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of New Mexico, accepting the benefits of the Act of Congress approved the 2d of July, last, entitled ‘An Act donating public Lands to the several States and Territories, which may provide colleges for the benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.’”

Chase writes the president: “It was on Friday, I think, that you directed me to send you a letter embodying the views, concerning the appointment of collectors (with especial reference to the vacancy created by the rejection of your nomination for the Hartford District, in Connecticut)1 which I had expressed in conversation.

The letter was prepared; but before it could be sent, I received a note from Senator Dixon expressed in terms of past personal respect & kindness, to which I replied in the same spirit. This circumstance induced me to withhold the letter I had written to you, under the expectation that matters would take a turn, which would relieve you from all embarrassments.

This morning I received your note2 directing me to send the nomination proposed by Mr. Dixon & Mr. Loomis & was about replying to it, when the Senator called & we talked the matter over. The result of our Conversation was an agreement to call on you as soon as practicable and submit the matter to your further consideration. I do not insist on the renomination of Mr. Howard and Mr. Dixon & Mr. Loomis, as I understand, do not claim the nomination of his successer.

I shall be glad if this shall prove agreeable to you. My only object — and I think you do understand it — is to secure fit men for responsible places, without admitting the right of Senators or Representatives to control appointments for which the President & the Secretary as his presumed adviser must be responsible. Unless this principle can be practically established I feel that I cannot be useful to you or the Country in my present position.

With Congress preparing to adjourn, the Lincoln host the final White House reception of the 1862-1863 social season.  The Washington Chronicle reports that it was “the best attended and most brilliant one of the many given this winter.”  Benjamin Brown French, commissioner of buildings, recalls: “ I dressed and was up there at 8.  Mary Ellen, Ariana, Nathan & Ben from this house, and Abbie Thomas, were there.  They came up between 9 & 10.  The reception was exceedingly crowded.  I think I never saw such a crowd in the White House in my life, and it was a steady stream of humanity for 2 ½ hours of all sorts and kinds of people. Ladies in magnificent toilets and in the plainest imaginable garb.   The Major coat, and boots covered with mud halfway up the leg.  Every grade of every arm of the service seemed to be there, from Gen. Halleck Com. In Chief down to the private.  Epaulettes & shoulder straps, cheverons, &scales were as thick as leaves in valambrosa.  Citizens in all sorts of dress, from the finished & perfumed dandy down to the shabbiest of the shabby passed along & oh……as I stod at the side of ‘The Queen’ of all this show — she, herself habited as it became her in rich black satin and jewels of the richest kind.  The President, too, ‘honest old Abraham,’ looked better than I ever saw him before at a reception.  The whole thing passed of admirably, and by midnight I was at home and in bed.

The President told me, prior to the reception, of the capture of our Steam ram Indianola by the rebels, which made me feel sad.  It does sem as if we were meeting with too many reverses, considering our resources and strength.  But when it is considered that no only the Rebels but the monied men of England are against us.  I do not know as it is to be wondered at that there is now and then a triumph over our arms….

Published in: on March 2, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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