President Lincoln Considers Replacement for Attorney General Edward Bates

November 30, 1864

Attorney General Edward Bates writes: “I resigned my office of Atty Genl. [of the] U.S. to take effect No 30, 1864, having served just 3 years and 3/4. Some months before[,] I made known to the President my wish to retire as soon as he should be reelected and thus, out of doubt and danger, endorsed by the nation. I remained about the office for two days longer – closing up my private affairs and in pleasant intercourse with the subordinates – all of whom seem to regret my departure, as all of them have done their best to oblige me. I part with them all with regret, and in great kindness.”

Judge Advocate Joseph Holt writes President Lincoln: “I have, with your permission, held under consideration until this moment, the offer of the office of Attorney General of the U. States, so kindly made to me a few days since.1 The result is that after the most careful reflection, I have not been able to overcome the embarrassments referred to in our last interview, & which then disinclined me to accept, as they must now determine me respectfully to decline the appointment, tendered in terms, at once so generous & so full of encouragement– In view of all the circumstances, I am satisfied that I can serve you better in the position which I now hold at your hands, than in the more elevated one to which I have been invited. I have reached this conclusion with extreme reluctance & regret, but having reached it, & with decided convictions, no other course is open to me than that which has been taken.”

I beg you to be assured that I am & shall ever be most grateful for this distinguished token of your confidence & good will. In it I cannot fail to find renewed incentives to the faithful & zealous performance of the duties of the public duties with which you have already charged me.

After convalescence from illness, presidential secretary John G. Nicolay returns to work at the White House.

Published in: on November 30, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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