Lincoln Cabinet Meets on Military Positions of Grant and Sherman

August 2, 1864

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “Attorney-General Bates, who spent last evening with me, opened his heart freely as regards the cabinet. Of Blair he thought pretty well, but said he felt not intimacy with, or really friendly feelings for, any one but me; that I had his confidence and respect, and had from our first meeting. Mr. Seward had been constantly sinking in his estimation; that he had much cunning but little wisdom, was no lawyer and no statesman. Chase, he assures me, is not well versed in law principles even,–is not sound nor of good judgment. General [Henry W.] Halleck he had deliberately charged with intentional falsehood and put it in writing, that there should be no mistake or claim to have misapprehended him. He regretted that he President should have such a fellow near him.”

Attorney General Edward Bates writes: “There were but three of us at C.C. to day – Welles, Blair and I – The Pres: explained some particulars of G[r]ant’s and of Sherman’s positions, making affairs more favorable to us, than they seem on the outside.

The Prest. is incensed at, Gibson’s letter of resignation – and strikes back, I think, in blind impetuosity agst Welling as well as Gibson. I repeated to him my clear opinion that he had no chance of Mo. from the Radicals – Unless he backed his friends there, the state is inevitably lost.

Both former Surgeon General William A. Hammond, and his wife request interview – presumably to protest his dismissal. President Lincoln writes: “Under the circumstances, I should prefer not seeing Mrs. Hammond.”

Shakespearean actor James Hackett writes President Lincoln: “As ” Genl. Sanford” was lately on a mission to Secy. Stanton; and ” Ex. Judge Cowles” — formerly a supporter of is — now a backslider to your administration, and, as ” John K. Hackett” is my only son, (& aged 43,) — possibly the enclosed cut may afford information useful at some future time– ”

The late Davy Crockett contended with his fellow member of Congress, the late C. C. Cambrelling, — in palliation of the charge which he admitted he could not entirely deny — ” want of edication” — that — “some men were too high larnt — John Quincy Adams being one of such, — his superfluous larning sometimes confused his head & his purpose”– Crockett (according to Mr. Cambrelling, who told me the anecdote — which I think I once repeated to you) proceeded very ingeniously & humorously to instance a case, where ” a man knew too much ” & suffered for it”–

“In Tennessee, one John Jones was objected to, as a political candidate for an office; ‘because, he was so illiterate he could’nt spell his given name — John,’ & a wager of $10. was offered & taken that ‘he could not be larnt to spell it within 24 hours’– The taker of the bet did teach him, in less than one hour, to pronounce J — O — H — N –; & should have been satisfied, but must needs — as he thought — to win for sartin , & make use of all the time allowed, — larn him the whole alphabet — from A to Izzard– John, so crammed with unnecessary larnin’, after having pronounced, before the appointed judges of his ability, the letters ‘ J’ — ‘ O’ — ‘ H’ — fluently, was interrupted by him who had taken the wager, — “Well done, John! all right! now for the last letter!” — meaning the — N –: but, poor John, thinking he meant of the alphabet, which he had worked so hard to get into his head, cried out: — “Izzard by G–d!” and lost his friends’ bet.”

There is something said in Shakespeare about “a thrice told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.” I feel sure you never heard this from me but ” onest” before; & contend that if you had, ” twict,” you still have the advantage of any listener, who, if bored, cant throw his ears — as you can the enclosed — in the fire, unread– Yrs. always

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