Russian Fleet Officers Visit the White House

December 19, 1863

Presidential aide John Hay writes: “There was a reception this morning to the Officers of Russian fleet at the Executive Mansion[.]  There were present by invitation: Supreme Court, Cabinet, Diplomatic body, Congress, Officers of the Army & Navy.  Congressman John T. Stuart, a former law partner of Abraham Lincoln, writes his wife that “cousin John & Sue called at Eleven and sent in their cards for Mrs. Lincoln. The messenger brought back that Mrs. Lincoln was dressing — that a card had been sent to Mrs. Craig to the reception that evening at from One to Two.  I had also a card — and at One O’clock I called at Willards for Cousin Sue and Charley and we went to the White House. We went into the Blue Room bowed to Mr. Lincoln who held out his hand & said How are you Stuart!  I introduced Cousin Sue & Charley and passed over to Cousin Mary.  Her salutations were how are you Mrs. Craig!!  How do you do Cousin John!!! and afer a few common place words of ceremony & form we passed into the East Room.   It was very select reception confined to Members of Congress, the Cabinet, Foreign legations and a few distinguished strangers.  The dressing of the ladies was very elegant.  The reception was give mainly to the Russian Navy who were present in full dress with their ladies who were magnificently dressed.  Sue was in ecstacies and would exclaim that is real Tibet!!  That is the genuine Cashmere!  What magnificent cloth of Gold!  We walked around and saw and heard all that was to be seen and heard.  It was a scene for many reasons well worth being seen and remembered.  After we had been some time in the East Room we received a message from Cousin Mary that she wished us to remain awhile after the reception was over. We did so and after the reception was over Charley [Craig], Cousins Sue [Craig} and myself were invited in Mary’s private Room.  After a very pleasant chat of several minutes I made my bow.  Cousin John and Charley staid awhile longer who left Sue & Cousin Mary alone.  Sue remained about one hour & left with an invitation to accompany Mary to Church to day,she promising to send her carriage to Willards for Sue & Charley and I believe also an invitation for them to dine at the White House to day.”

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes: “Mr. [Joseph R.] Flannigan, editor of th3e Phila. News, which sometime since hoisted the named of Lincoln for the Presidency came in this afternoon, and not being able to see the President, sat down and talked politics with me.  From what he says Chase is actively at work through his friend in Phila.  F. Says that he has been applied to, to do the press-work for two papers to be published in Chase’s interest; one formerly an organ of the Union League, and a new one to be started by one of the Hardings of the Inquirer – both bought by Jay Cooke & Co.”   Cooke was the government’s chief bond salesman and a key friend and supporter of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase.

Attorney General Edward Bates writes in his diary:“Today [Bate’]s son] Dick left us, to begin a new experiment for his reformation and redemption.  I had urged his resignation of his place.  (Deputy Solicitor of the Court of Claims) A few days ago he sent in his resignation.  The President declined to accept it, until he had consulted me.  I told him that it was done by my advice, and informed him, in general terms, the reason why.”

John Hay notes: “Secretary Seward has just received another idiotic despatch from [Cassius] Clay abusing the Emperor Napoleon like a pickpocket.”

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Published in: on December 19, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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