Political Campaign Begins as President Lincoln Reviews Pardons

January 7, 1864

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “The case of R. [L.] Law tried by court martial, which has been in my hands for a month nearly, was disposed of to-day.  The court found him guilty on both charges and sentenced him to be dismissed from the Navy, but recommended him to clemency.  Proposed to the President three years’s suspension, the first six months without pay.  This to be the general order, but if, at the expiration of six or eight months, it was thought best to remit the remainder of the punishment, it could be done.

‘Look over the subject carefully,’ said the President, ‘and make the case as light as possible on his father’s account, who is an old friend of mine, and I shall be glad to remit all that you can recommend.’

As part of his review of pardon cases, President Lincoln writes regarding Henry Andrews: “The case of Andrews is really a very bad one, as appears by the record already before me.  Yet before receiving this I had ordered his punishment commuted to imprisonment for during the war at hard labor, and had so telegraphed.  I did this, not on any merit in the case, but because I am trying to evade the butchering business lately.”

An important development in President Lincoln’s reelection campaign occurs in Concord, New Hampshire, where the New Hampshire Republican Convention passes a resolution: “We, therefore, declare Abraham Lincoln to be the people’s choice for reelection to the Presidency in 1864.”

President Lincoln writes three would-be cotton traders: “You have presented me a plan for getting cotton and other products, from within the rebel lines, from which you think the United States will derive some advantage.

Please, carefully and considerately answer me the following questions.

1. If now, without any new order or rule, a rebel should come into our lines with cotton, and offer to take the oath of Dec. 8th what do you understand would be done with him and his cotton?

2. How will the physical difficulty, and danger of getting cotton from within the rebel lines be lessened by your plan? or how will the owner’s motive to surmount that difficulty and danger, be heightened by it?

3. If your plan be adopted, where do you propose putting the cotton &c, into market? how assure the government of your good faith in the business? and how be compensated for your services?

President Lincoln writes his wife in Philadelphia: “We are all well, and have not been otherwise.”

At night, Secretary of State William H. Seward “gave a party to the scientific men of the Academy now here. The Cabinet, heads of the foreign missions, the learned gentlemen and the committees on foreign relations of the two houses were present, with a goodly number of ladies. Agassiz, Silliman, Professors Story and Caswell, etc., etc., were present,” writes Gideon Welles in his diary.

Published in: on January 7, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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