President Lincoln Confers with Kentucky Leaders

November 22, 1864

Kentucky editor A.G. Hodges and General Samuel G. Suddarth confer with President Lincoln about politics in Kentucky. After the meeting, President Lincoln writes Kentucky Governor Thomas Bramlette: “Yours of to-day received. It seems that Lt. Gov. Jacobs & Col. Wolford are stationary now. Gen. Sudarth & Mr. Hodges are here & the Secretary of War, and myself are trying to devise means of pacification and harmony for Kentucky, which we hope to effect soon, now that the passion-exciting subject of the election is past.”

Suddarth recalled: “On yesterday we went to Gen Adams’ office — found him, got him to go with us to the ‘White House.’ We got there and after being announced as Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary from the State and Commonwealth of Ky. To his Excellency the President of the U.S. ‘Some gentlemen from Ky. Who desire to see Mr. President on business.’ We Stopped in the ‘East Room.’ And in a few minutes were conducted up to the Presidents Sanctorm, or business room, where to our surprise and gratification all further formality was laid aside. Mr. Lincoln shook us cordially by the hand and received us in so natural and unostentatious a manner, and with that kind of unaffected, plain, and unostentatious a manner, and with that kind of unaffected, plain and native urbanity, as to dispel all embarrassment, and cause us to feel entirely easy.“His conversational powers are fine — and his custom of interspersing his conversations with incidents, anecdotes and witticisms are well calculated to impress his hearers with the kind heartedness of the man. And they are adroitly and delicately mingled in the thread of his discourse that one hardly notices the digression. His language is good though not select, yet very strong pointed and forcible, though never harsh. His sentences exceedingly short though full and complete. Whatever may be said of some of his political notions, history will record him as one of the most remarkable men of modern times. He is dignified in his manners and address, without austerity. Self poysed and clear in his perceptions.”

We had rather a long chat with him (from a half to three quarters of an hour) on various matters connected with his administration and the position of Ky. &c &c &c In speaking of a certain politician (not a Kentuckian) he said ‘Mr. —- is a d—d rascal’ and then added ‘God knows I do not know when I have sworn before.’ On the subject of our claims he referred us to the War Deptmt. And added that if we get tangled with the officers there, to come back to him & he would untangle the matter. He then gave us a card of introduction to the Sec. Of War. We went then and had an audience with Sec. Stanton. And though we expected to meet with that crusty, harsh, military sort of reception, that is usual in approaching the head quarters of some of our upstart brigadiers, were agreeably surprised to find him pleasant, courteous & communicative — taking pains to give us all necessary information how to proceed with our business…”

Mary Lincoln’s cousin, Elizabeth Todd Grimsley writes President Lincoln about the job of postmaster of Springfield – a job for which she had applied nearly four years earlier: “It is generally supposed there is to be a change in the Post-Office here, and again I am an applicant for it, and write thus early to you, hoping you have not committed yourself to any one before you hear my arrangements. I write unreservedly to you, feeling and believing you will be willing to give me the office if you can consistently, and feeling also, that arrangements can be made which will be satisfactory not only to yourself but to the Republican friends.

Your objection before was, that a Post-Mistress in a place the size of Springfield would produce dis-satisfaction, whereupon I immediately gave up all effort as you will remember. Perhaps your views on the subject have changed, and if so I should be very glad if you would so assist me, but if not, I could make an arrangement with some one of our good, reliable Republican friends, whereby I could receive benefit, and yet the office be given to him. I could get the names of hundreds of warm friends who would be happy to help me in either way, if you should think necessary so to do. I feel secure in saying, most of the leading Republicans would give me their countenance and names.

I thought of suggesting Father’s name, but know that would again raise the cry about the Todd family and therefore rather prefer not embarrassing you in that way.

Dear Mr Lincoln, you know my necessities, and I think, I know your disposition to assist me, so will not press the subject further upon you,

With much love to Mary and the boys, and in full hope of a favorable answer to my application I am truly

Much as President Lincoln loved “Cousin Lizzie,” he did not respond favorably to her request.

Carlos Pierce writes to Abraham Lincoln regarding “General Grant,” an ox that had been donated to the National Sailors’ Fair in Mr Lincoln’s name: “I have disposed of your contribution for the national Sailors fair realizing over thirty-three hundred dollars which sum stands accredited your name & should be invested in the Cornerstone of the new building which I trust will be laid by your hands.”

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