President Lincoln Reviews Upcoming Presidential Election

February 13, 1864

President Lincoln declines to interferes with the administration of Methodist churches.  He writes Methodist minister John Hogan: “As you see within, the Secretary of War modifies his order so as to exempt Missouri from it. Kentucky was never within it; nor, as I learn from the Secretary, was it ever intended for any more than a means of rallying the Methodist people in favor of the Union, in localities where the rebellion had disorganized and scattered them. Even in that view, I fear it is liable to some abuses, but it is not quite easy to withdraw it entirely, and at once.”

“AL interviews Gen. Judson Kilpatrick from Army of Potomac.

Attorney General Edward Bates writes: “Called on the President and had a private conversation, of some ½ hour, chiefly about the presidential election.  He is fully apprehensive of the schemes of the Radical leaders.  When I suggested some of their plots, he said they were almost fiendish.  He is also some of their plots, he said they were almost fiendish.  He is also some of their plots, he said they were almost fiendish.  He is also aware that they would strike him at once, if they durst; but they fear that the blow would be ineffectual, and so, they would fall under his power, as beaten enemies; and, for that only reason the hypocrit[e]s try to occupy equivocal ground – so that, when they fail, as enemies, they may still pretend to be friends.

He told me (what I partly knew before) that the extremists (Chase men?) Had called several caucuses in the hope of finding it safe to take open ground agst L’s re-nomination, but had never found one in three of the M.Cs that would go against him – <I tried to impress upon him the important fact, that they need him quite as much as he does them – that they are cunning and unscrupulous, and when they find that they dare not openly oppose him, their effort will then be to commit him to as many as possible, of their extreme measures, so as to drive off his other friends, until he is weakened down to their level, and it becomes safe to cast him off – I think he sees it plainly[.]

He told me also, that the Editor of the Mo. Democrat sometime ago, wrote a letter to Jim Lane, sharlpy censuring him for voting for the confirmation of Gen Schofield – and declaring that Lincoln must be defeat, at all hazards – But, that it is not prudent yet, to declare openly against him!!  This letter, Lane himself shewed to the President – Such is the faith that those knaves keep with each other!!

I remarked to him [Lincoln] that if he stood out manfully against the unprincipled designs of the Radicals, I thought it would be easy to bring all the old Whigs to his support – He answered– I suppose so, and added that many of the better sort of Democrats were in the brother, Judge Hall, M. [ember of] C.[ongress] that the Dem[ocrat]s of Mo. Would go for L.[incoln] of necessity, and that he, the Judge, wd. Have to take the pill, however bitter.

Upon the whole, the President seems very hopeful that the machinations of the Radicals will fail, and that, in the matter of the nomination, his friends will be able to counteract them effectually.

I rather think so myself.  My chief fear is that the President’s easy good nature will enable them to commit him to too many of will be too thin to stop the fire of their bad principles, and save the constitution and laws, from the universal conflagration, which their measures plainly portend.

After the afternoon reception, President Lincoln writes Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase: “On coming up from the reception, I found your note of to-day. I am unwell, even now, and shall be worse this afternoon. If you please, we will have an interview Monday.”

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes home to Joseph Holt: “In answer to your note of this morning the President requests me to say that he will again take up the Court Martial Cases on Monday morning at nine A.M. if you will be so kind as to come at that hour.”

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