Diplomatic Assignments & General Burnside Concern Ailing President

November 22, 1863

Still sick with variloid, President Lincoln meets with longtime Illinois Republican ally Norman B. Judd, minister to Prussia.  Judd wants to resign.

In evening Secretary of State William H. Seward reads to President dispatch from Gen. Cassius M. Clay (resigned), minister to Russia, on American politics, European diplomacy, and naval improvements of century.  Seward tells presidential aide John Hay: “One half the world are continually busying themselves for the purpose of accomplishing Proclamations & Declarations of War &c which they leave to the other half to carry on out.  Purposes can usually better be accomplished without proclamations.  And failures are less signal when not preceded by sounding promises.  The slave states seem inclined to save us any further trouble in that.”  Seward added: “The slave states seem inclined to save us any further trouble in that way.  Their best men are making up their minds that the thing is dead.  Bramlette has written an admirable letter in answer to some slave holders who ask him how he a proslavery man can support a war whose result will be the abolition of slavery.  He tells them the war must be prosecuted no matter what the result: that it will probably be the destruction of slavery & he will not fight against it nor greatly care to see the institution ended.”

The Presided added, as another cheering incident from Kentucky, that Jerry Boyle had asked for permission to enlist three thousand negroes for teamsters paying them wages and promising them freedom.

The President is very anxious about Burnside.

President Lincoln writes Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “The within is in behalf of the family of [J. H.] Southern, who killed the Lieutenant and fled. It is represented that the family are substantially imprisoned in their house by our soldiers, & are on starvation. I submit that perhaps some attention better be given to the case.”

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