Presidential aide John Hay Writes About his Meeting with former Ohio Governor William Dennison

October 18, 1863

Republican presidential politics is getting nasty.  Presidential aide John Hay writes about his meeting with former Ohio Governor William Dennison and his report to President Lincoln: “I gave him my impression of the unmanly conduct of Mr. C[hase]. in trying to cut under in the way he is doing, instancing what Denison of N.Y. had related.  He said it was very bad taste, but that he had determined to shut his eyes to all these performances: that Chase made a good secretary and that he would keep him where is.  “If he becomes Prest all right.  I hope we may never had a worse man.  I have all along clearly seen his plan of strengthening himself.  Whenever he sees that an important matter is troubling me, if I am compelled to decide it in a way to give offense to a man of some influence he always ranges himself in opposition to me and persuades the victim that he has been hardly dealt by and that he (C.) would have arranged it very differently.  It was so with Gen. Fremont–with Genl Hunter when I annulled his hasty proclamation — with Gen. Butler when he was recalled from New Orleans–with these Missouri people when they called the other day.  I am entirely indifferent as to his success or failure in these schemes, so long as he does his duty as the head of the Treasury Department.”

He talked of the Missouri matter and read to me the letter he had written Drake for the committee.  As it will probably be published I forbear synopsis.  His attitude is perfectly just and frank, courteous but immoveable.  He will not be bullied even by his friends.  He tries to reason with those infuriated people.  The world will hear him if they do not .  He read to me a letter which he has today written to Governor Gamble, who it seems, is anxious to have the Presdt. Espouse his side of the quarrel and to recognize him as the State Government and use the Federal authority to crush out the Radicals, who, he says, meditate Revolution and civil war in Missouri.  The President answering says he will be at all times ready to extend to Missouri the protection guaranteed by the Constitution against domestic domestic violence, whenever he (the Pres.) Shall see cause to suspect such violence as imminent.  He does not so regard it at present.  He thinks the instructions given to Genl Schofield cover the case.

We got into this vein of talk through my telling him what Joe Gillespie says and what I myself observed, of the tendency of public opinion in the West, almost universally in favor of the Radicals as against the Conservatives in Missouri.

Talking of the military Situation he says Lee probably came up the other day thinking our army weaker than it is and finding his mistake from the fight at Bristow is holding off at present. Rosecrans is all right though somewhat bothered about his supplies.

Tonight as I came from Dinner President said a despatch had just come in from Meade, in which he says that the enemy has disappeared from in front of him but that he does not know where is – that he has probably gone in the direction of the Rappahannock.”

Published in: on October 18, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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: