Senators Visit the White House

May 13, 1864

Presidential aide John Hay writes in his diary: “Early this morning [Oregon Senator James W.] Nesmith came in with Ingalls spread eagle despatch [in New York Tribune] – which ‘Nez’ in the worst possible taste published in the papers – Seward and the President in the room together reading telegrams. Nesmith on hearing that Grant had said ‘I will fight it out on this line if it takes all summer’ told an awful backwoods story which is a miracle of pertinency.”

Hay adds that Kansas Senator “Jim Lane came into my room this morning and said the President must chiefly guard against assassination. I poohpoohed him& said that while every prominent man was more or less exposed to the attacks of maniacs, no foresight could guard against them. He replied by saying that he had by his caution & vigilance prevented his own assassination when a reward of one hundred thousand dollars had been offered for his head. Bruce, who was sitting near, who has lost his contest in the House & who consequently is disposed to take rather cynical views of things, observed, when Lane had left, that he was probably anxious to convince the President that his life was very precious to him.’”

President Lincoln writes a memorandum regarding the shifting control of Second Presbyterian Church of Memphis, Tennessee among anti-Union and pro-Union forces: “I believe it is true with reference to the church within named I wrote as follows;

“If the Military have Military need of the Church building, let them keep it; otherwise let them get out of it, and leave it and it’s owners alone, except for cases causes that justify the arrest of any one”

March 4. 1864

A. Lincoln”

I am now told that the Military were not in possession of the building; and yet that in pretended execution of the above, they, the Military put one set of men out of and another set into the building– This, if true, is most extraordinary. I say again, if there be no military need for the building, let leave it alone, neither putting any one in or out of it, except you finding him on finding some one preaching or practicing treason, in which case lay hands upon him just as if he were doing the same thing in any other building, or in the open air streets or highways.

Published in: on May 13, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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