Lincolns Hold Saturday Reception at White House

February 20, 1864

President Lincoln writes Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase:” Herewith I return the affidavit you handed me. In glancing over it I do not perceive anything necessarily inconsistent with the practice of detectives, and others, engaged in the business of “rascal-catching;” but a closer consideration might show it. It seems to me that August, the month within which the affiant fixes his first interview with Hanscomb, was really before Hanscomb left Boston and came to New York.”  Chase had written the President in regard to problems with the Customs office in New York: The Solicitor informs me that Hanscomb went to New York before August: but, also, shows me a letter from Mr. Bailey in which he says he does not put much confidence in its statements. You were kind enough to say you would see Mr. Bailey: but he will not be here till the latter part of this week or the first of next.

Nearby at the War Department, there was controversy over the commanders appointed in the Army of the Potomac.   Historian Freedman Cleaves wrote in Meade of Gettysburg,:   “In Washington again on the twentieth, Meade so strongly objected to Sedgwick’s removal that Stanton allowed him a concession.  Sedgwick, he suggested could be transferred to military operations in the Shenandoah Valley, an independent command.  In that case, Meade preferred John Gibbon to succeed him with the Sixth Corps.  But Lincoln interposed with an order directly that General Franz Sigel be assigned to the Shenandoah.  Although he never proved much of a general, Sigel had organized the Third Missouri Volunteers and had son some early success in his state.  Brought east, he had fought in the Shenandoah and at Second Bull Run.  His command was later given the dignity of an Eleventh Corps, as designated, but he could never get along with Halleck and therefore asked to be relieved.  After several radical German delegations pressed for his reappointment, Lincoln acted.  As a result, Meade was able to retain an officer whom army men considered on of his best soldiers.  Otherwise, only Hancock, among his former corps leaders, would have been left.”

The Washington Constitutional Union publishes the “Pomeroy Circular” pushing the presidential candidacy of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase.  The Pomeroy Circular stated in part: “Those in behalf of whom this communication is made have thoroughly surveyed the political field, and have arrived at the following conclusions:

“First, that even were the reelection of Mr. Lincoln desirable, it is prctically impossible against the union of influences which will oppose him.

Second, that should he be reelected, his manifest tendency towards compromises and temporary expedients of policy will become stronger during a second term than it has been in the first, and the cause of human liberty, and the dignity and honor of the nation, suffer proportionately, while the war may continue to languish during his whole Administration, till the public debt shall become a burden too great to be borne.

Third, that the patronage of the Government through the necessities of the war has been so rapidly increased, and to such an enormous extent, and so loosely placed, as to render the ‘one-term principle’ absolutely essential to the certain safety of our republican institutions.”

“Fourth, that we find united in Hon. Salmon P. Chase more of the qualities needed in a President during the next four years than are combined in any other available candidate; his record, clear and unimpeachable, showing him to be a statesman of rare ability and an administrator of the very highest order, while his private character furnishes the surest obtainable guarantee of economy and purity in the management of public affairs.

“Fifth, that the discussion of the Presidential question, already commenced by the friends of Mr. Lincoln, has developed a popularity and strength in Mr. Chase unexpected even to his warmest admirers and while we are aware that this strength is at present unorganized, and in no condition to manifest its real magnitude, we are satisfied that it only needs systematic and faithful effort to develop it to an extent sufficient to overcome all opposing obstacles.  For these reasons the friends of Mr. Chase have determined on measures which shall present his claims fairly and at once to the country…”

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Published in: on February 20, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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