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for the service which he had rendered to human- of War immediately issued orders for the supity by furnishing the medium through which a pression of the “World” and “ Journal of great number of human beings will obtain their Commerce,” and the arrest of their editors. freedom whom the desertion of the person referred The editors were never incarcerated; after a to would have reduced to slavery. His presence short detention, they were released. The pubalone in this island a very few hours has given liberty lication of the papers was resumed after two to eighty-six.
days of interruption. These prompt measures The grand jury of New York nevertheless and the announcement of the imposture sent indicted Marshal Murray for the arrest of over the country by telegraph soon quieted Arguelles on the charge of kidnapping. The the excitement, and the quick detection of the marshal pleaded the orders of the President guilty persons reduced the incident to its true as the authority for his action, and based upon rank in the annals of vulgar misdemeanors. this a petition that the case be transferred to But in the memories of the Democrats of the United States court; and although the New York the incident survived, and was vigjudges before whom he was taken, who hap- orously employed during the summer months pened to be Democrats, denied this petition, as a means of attack upon the Administrathe indictment was finally quashed, and the tion. Governor Seymour interested himself only result of the President's action was the in the matter and wrote a long and vehement denunciation which he received in the Demo- letter to the district attorney of New York, cratic newspapers, combined with the shrill denouncing the action of the Government. treble of the clamor from the Cleveland con- “ These things,” he said in his exclamatory vention.
style, “are more hurtful to the national honor The momentary suppression of the two New and strength than the loss of battles. The York newspapers, of which mention has been world will confound such acts with the prinmade, was a less defensible act, and arose from ciples of our Government, and the folly and an error which was, after all, sufficiently natural crimes of officials will be looked upon as the on the part of the Secretary of War. On the 19th natural results of the spirit of our institutions. of May the “ Journal of Commerce" and the Our State and local authorities must repel this “World,” two newspapers which had especially ruinous inference.” He predicted the most distinguished themselves by the violence of their dreadful consequences to the city of New opposition to the Administration, published a York if this were not done. The harbor would forged proclamation signed with the President's be sealed up, the commerce of New York parname calling in terms of exaggerated depres- alyzed, the world would withdraw from the sion not far from desperation for four hundred keeping of New York merchants its treasures thousand troops. It was a scheme devised by and its commerce if they did not unite in this two young Bohemians of the press, probably demand for the security of persons and of with no other purpose than that of making property. In obedience to these frantic orders money by stock-jobbing. In the tremulous Mr. Oakey Hall, the district attorney, did state of the public mind which then prevailed, his best, and was energetically seconded by in the midst of the terrible slaughter of Grant's Judge Russell, who charged the grand jury opening campaign, the country was painfully that the officers who took possession of these sensitive to such news, and the forged procla- newspaper establishments were “ liable as for mation, telegraphed far and wide, accomplished riot”; but the grand jury, who seem to have for the moment the purpose for which it was kept their heads more successfully than either doubtless intended. It excited everywhere a the governor or the judge, resolved that it feeling of consternation; the price of gold rose was "inexpedient to examine into the subject." rapidly during the morning hours, and the The governor could not rest quiet under this Stock Exchange was thrown into violent fever. contemptuous refusal of the grand jury to do The details of the mystification were managed his bidding. He wrote again to the district with some skill, the paper on which the docu- attorney, saying, “ As the grand jury have ment was written being that employed by the refused to do their duty, the subject of the Associated Press in delivering its news to the seizure of these journals should at once be journals, and it was left at all the newspaper brought before some proper magistrate." He offices in New York just before the moment promised him all the assistance he required in of going to press. If all the newspapers had the prosecution of the investigations. Thus printed it the guiltlessness of each would have egged on by the chief executive of the State, been equally evident; but unfortunately for Mr. Hall proceeded to do the work required the victims of the trick, the only two papers of him. Upon warrants issued at his instance which published the forgery were those whose by City Judge Russell, General Dix and sevprevious conduct had rendered them liable to eral officers of his staff were arrested. They the suspicion of bad faith. The fiery Secretary
1 July 1. VOL XXXVIII.— 38.
LINCOLN. submitted with perfect courtesy to the behest no balm in these circumstances except in the of the civil authorities, and appeared before preposterous fiction which he constructed for Judge Russell to answer for their acts. The himself, that through the systematic operations judge held them over on their own recogni- of the Postmaster-General and those holding zance to await the action of another grand office under him a preference for the reëlection jury, which, it was hoped, might be more sub- of Mr. Lincoln was created.” 2 Absurd as this servient to the wishes of the governor than fancy was, he appears firmly to have believed the last; but no further action was ever taken it; and the Blairs, whom he never liked, now in the matter.
appeared to him in the light of powerful eneDuring the same week which witnessed the mies. An incident which occurred in Conradical fiasco at Cleveland, an attempt was gress in April increased this impression to a made in New York to put General Grant be- degree which was almost maddening to the fore the country as a Presidential candidate. Secretary. The quarrel between General Frank The committee having the matter in charge Blair and the radicals in Missouri had been made no public avowal of their intentions; transferred to Washington; and one of the Misthey merely called a meeting to express the souri members having made charges against gratitude of the country to the general for his him of corrupt operations in trade permits, signal services. They even invited the President he demanded an investigation, which resulted, to take part in the proceedings, an invitation of course, in his complete exoneration from which he said it was impossible for him to such imputations. It was a striking instance accept.
of the bewildering power of factious hatred I approve she wrote), nevertheless, whatever may
that such charges should ever have been tend to strengthen and sustain General Grant and brought. Any one who knew Blair, however the noble armies now under his direction. My pre- slightly, should have known that personal vious high estimate of General Grant has been dishonesty could never have offered him the maintained and heightened by what has occurred least temptation. In defending himself on the in the remarkable campaign he is now conducting, floor of Congress the natural pugnacity of his while the magnitude and difficulty of the task before disposition led him to what soldiers call an him do not prove less than I expected. He and his offensive return, in fact, Frank Blair always brave soldiers are now in the midst of their great preferred to do his fighting within the enemy's trial, and I trust that at your meeting you will so shape your good words that they may turn to men lines,- and believing the Secretary of the and guns, moving to his and their support.1 Treasury to be in sympathy, at least, with the
assault which had been made upon his charWith such a gracious approval of the move- acter, he attacked him with equal vigor and ment, the meeting naturally fell into the hands injustice by way of retaliation. As we have seen of the Lincoln men. General Grant, neither in another chapter, before this investigation at this time nor at any other, gave the least was begun the President had promised when countenance to the efforts which were made to Blair should resign his seat in the House to array him in political opposition to the Presi- restore him to the command in the Western dent.
army which he had relinquished on coming
to Washington. Although he greatly disapTHE RESIGNATION OF MR. CHASE.
proved of General Blair's attack upon Mr. AFTER Mr. Chase's withdrawal from his Chase, the President did not think that he was hopeless contest for the Presidency, his senti- justified on this account in breaking his word; ments toward Mr. Lincoln, as exhibited in and doubtless reasoned that sending Blair his letters and his diary, took on a tinge of back to the army would not only enable him bitterness which gradually increased until their to do good service in the field, but would friendly association in the public service be- quiet an element of discord in Congress. The came no longer possible. There was something result, however, was most unfortunate in its almost comic in the sudden collapse of his effect on the feelings of Mr. Chase. He was candidacy; and the American people, who are stung to the bitterest resentment by the attack quick to detect the ludicrous in any event, of Blair; and he held that restoring Blair to could not help smiling when the States of his command made the President an accomRhode Island and Ohio ranged themselves plice in his offense. From that time he took a among the first on the side of the President. continually darkened view both of the PresiThis was intolerable to Mr. Chase, who, with dent's character and of his chances for reëlecall his great and noble qualities, was deficient tion. “No good could come,” he said, “ of the in humor. His wounded self-love could find probable identification of the next Administra1 Lincoln to F. A. Conkling, June 3, 1864.
tion with the Blair family." His first thought 2. Chase to General Blunt, May 4, 1864. "Warden, was to resign his place in the Cabinet; but on “ Life of S. P. Chase," p. 583.
consulting his friends and finding them unanimous against such a course, he gave it up.1 It has become quite apparent now [he said] But his letters during this month are full of ill- that the importunity of Mr. Lincoln's special friends will to the President. To his niece he wrote: for an early convention, in order to make his nomi“If Congress gives me the measures I want, and nation sure, was a mistake both for him and for the Uncle Abe will stop spending so fast,” he, Chase, country. The convention will not be regarded as a
Union convention, but simply as a Blair-Lincoln would bring about resumption within a year. convention, by a great body of citizens whose supTo another, he blamed the President for the port is essential to success. Few except those alslaughter at Fort Pillow.2 To Governor Buck- ready committed to Mr. Lincoln will consider themingham, who had written him a sympathetic selves bound by a predetermined nomination. Very note, he said: 3 “ My chief concern in the at- many who may ultimately vote for Mr. Lincoln tacks made on me springs from the conviction will wait the course of events hoping that some that the influence of the men who make them popular movement for Grant, or some other sucmust necessarily divide the friends of the Union the country. Others, and the number seems to be
cessful general, will offer a better hope of saving and freedom, unless the President shall cast it increasing, will not support his nomination in any off, of which I have little hope. I am willing event; believing that our ill-success thus far in the to be myself its victim, but grieve to think our suppression of the rebellion is due mainly 10 his country may be also"; and adds this compli- course of action and inaction, and that no change ment to his correspondent at the expense of
can be for the worse. But these are speculations his colleagues in the Government: “How merely from my standpoint.5 strikingly the economy and prudence shown The Secretary's relations with the President by the narration of your excellent message and his colleagues while he was in this frame contrasts with the extravagance and reckless- of mind were naturally subject to much friction, ness which mark the disbursement of national and this frame of mind had lasted with little treasure.” Writing to another friend, he in- variation for more than a year. It was imposdulges in this lumbering pleasantry : “ It seems sible to get on with him except by constant as if there were no limit to expense. . . The agreement to all his demands. He chose in his spigot in Uncle Abe's barrel is made twice as letters and his diaries to represent himself as big as the bung-hole. He may have been a the one just and patriotic man in the Governgood flatboatman and rail-splitter, but he cer- ment, who was striving with desperate energy, tainly never learned the true science of cooper- but with little hope, to preserve the Adminising." This was a dark month to him; his only tration from corrupt influences. It cannot be fortress of refuge was his self-esteem : secure in doubted that his motives were pure, his ability this, he lavished on every side his criticisms and and industry unusual, his integrity, of course, his animadversions upon his associates. “ Con- beyond question. He held, and justly held, gress," he said, " is unwilling to take the de- that, being responsible for the proper conduct cisive steps which are indispensable to the of affairs in his department, he should not be highest degree of public credit; and the Ex- compelled to make appointments contrary to ecutive does not, I fear, sufficiently realize the his convictions of duty. He was unquestionimportance of an energetic and comprehen- ably right in insisting that appointments should sive policy in all departments of administra- be made on public grounds, and that only men tion.” Smarting as he did under the attack of of ability and character should be chosen to the Blairs, he pretended to treat them with fill them; but he had an exasperating habit of contempt. “Do not trouble yourself about the assuming that nobody agreed with him in this Blairs," he wrote to an adherent. “ Dogs will view, and that all differences of opinion in bark at the moon, but I have never heard that regard to persons necessarily sprung from corthe moon stopped on that account.” By con- rupt or improper motives on the part of those stantly dwelling on the imaginary coalition of who differed with him. At the slightest word Lincoln with the Blairs against him, he began of disagreement he immediately put on his full at last to take heart again and to think that armor ofnoble sentiments and phrases, appealed against adversaries so weak and so wicked to Heaven for the rectitude of his intentions, there might still be a chance of victory. Only and threatened to resign his commission if a fortnight before the gathering of the Re- thwarted in his purpose. When he was not publican convention at Baltimore he began opposed he made his recommendations, as his to look beyond the already certain event of colleagues did, on grounds of political expedithat convention, and to contemplate the possi- ency as well as of personal fitness. One day, bility of defeating Mr. Lincoln after he should for instance, he recommended the appointment be nominated.
of Rheinhold Solger as Assistant Register of 1 Chase to Jay Cooke, May 5, 1864. Warden,“ Life 3 May 9, 1864. Ibid. of S. P. Chase," p. 584.
4 Chase to Hamilton, May 15, 1864. Ibid., p. 590. 2 Chase to D. T. Smith, May 9, 1864. Warden, 5 Chase to Brough, May 19, 1864. Warden, "Life "Life of S. P. Chase," p. 587.
of S. P. Chase," p. 593.
the Treasury on the ground that “the German dismissed, and in some cases punished. In supporters of the Administration have had no the month of February, while the conduct considerable appointment in the department." of the custom house was under investigation He frequently gave in support of his nominees in Congress, a special agent of the Treasury the recommendation of senators and represen- Department named Joshua F. Bailey came tatives of the States where the appointments to Washington, having been summoned as a were to be made. But he always sturdily witness to testify before the committee of the resented any suggestions from the President House of Representatives in charge of the that an appointment proposed by him would matter. He called on the chairman in advance, have a bad effect politically. He had the faculty and endeavored to smother the investigation of making himself believe that his obstinacy in by saying, among other things, that, whatever such matters arose purely from devotion to might be developed, the President would in principle. He would not only weary the Presi- no case take any action. The chairman of the dent with unending oral discussions, but, re- committee reported this impudent statement turning to the department, would write him to the President, who at once communicated letters filled with high and irrelevant moral- the fact to the Secretary of the Treasury, sayity, and at evening would enter in his diary ing, “ The public interest cannot fail to suffer in meditations upon his own purity and the per- the hands of this irresponsible and unscrupuversity of those he chose to call his enemies. lous man"; and he proposed at the same time It would hardly be wise for the ablest man of to send Mr. Barney as minister to Portugal.3 affairs to assume such an attitude. To justify it Mr. Chase defended Bailey, and resisted with at all one should be infallible in his judgment such energy the displacement of Mr. Barney of men. With the Secretary of the Treasury that midsummer came with matters in the this was far from being the case. He was not a custom house unchanged. Mr. Chase, in his good judge of character; he gave his confidence diary, gives a full account of a conversation freely to any one who came flattering him and between himself and the President 4 in recriticizing the President, and after having given gard to this matter, in which the Secretary it, it was almost impossible to make him be- reiterates his assurances of confidence in the lieve that the man who talked so judiciously conduct of the custom house, and gives could be a knave. His chosen biographer, especially warm expression to his regard for Judge Warden, says: "He was indeed sought Bailey, meeting the positive assertion of the less by strong men and by good men than by chairman of the committee of the House of weak men and by bad men."1 A much better Representatives by saying, “ I think Mr. Bailey authority, Mr. Whitelaw Reid, while giving him is not the fool to have made such a suggestion." unmeasured praise for other qualities calls him So long as he remained in office he gave this “profoundly ignorant of men," and says, “ The blind confidence to Bailey, who finally showed baldest charlatan might deceive him into trust- how ill he deserved it by the embezzlement of ing his personal worth.” 2
a large sum of public money, and by his flight Early in the year 1864 the Federal appoint- in ruin and disgrace from the country. ments in New York City began to be the sub- In February, 1863, the Senate rejected the ject of frequent conversation between the nomination of Mr. Mark Howard as collector President and the Secretary of the Treasury. of internal revenue for the district of ConSo many complaints of irregularity and inetti- necticut. Mr. Chase, hearing that this rejecciency in the conduct of affairs in the New tion was made at the instance of Senator Dixon, York custom house had reached Mr. Lincoln immediately wrote a letter demanding the rethat he began to think a change in the officers nomination of Howard; or, if the President there would be of advantage to the public ser- should not agree with him in this, of some one vice. Every suggestion of this sort, however, not recommended by Senator Dixon. A few was met by Mr. Chase with passionate opposi- days later the President wrote to Mr. Chase tion. Mr. Lincoln had not lost confidence in the that after much reflection and with a great deal integrity or the high character of Mr. Barney, of pain that it was adverse to his wish, he had the collector of customs; he was even willing to concluded that it was not best to renominate give him an important appointment abroad in Mr. Howard. He recognized the constitutional testimony of his continued esteem ; but he was right of the Senate to reject his nominations not satisfied with what he heard of the conduct without being called to account; and to take of his office. Several of his subordinates had the ground in advance that he would nombeen detected in improper and corrupt prac- inate no one for the vacant place who was tices, and after being defended by Mr. Chase favored by a senator so eminent in character until defense was impossible, they had been and ability as Mr. Dixon seemed to him pre1 Warden, “ Life of S. P. Chase,” p. 530.
3 Lincoln to Chase, Feb. 12, 1864. 2 Reid, “ Ohio in the War," Vol. I.,
4 June 6.
posterous. The only person from Connecticut A few months later Mr. Lincoln was subrecommended for the vacancy was Mr. Good- jected to great trouble and inconvenience by man, in favor of whom Senator Dixon and Mr. the constant complaints which came to him by Loomis, the Representative in the House, cor- every mail from Puget Sound against the coldially united. The President therefore asked lector for that district, one Victor Smith, from Mr. Chase to send him a nomination for Good- Ohio, a friend and appointee of Mr. Chase. man. Immediately on the receipt of this letter This Smith is described by Schuckers 5 as Mr. Chase wrote out his resignation as Secre- a man not very likely to become popular on the tary of the Treasury in these words:
Pacific coast - or anywhere else. He believed in Finding myself unable to approve the manner in spirit rappings and was an avowed abolitionist; which selections for appointment to important trusts he whined a great deal about“ progress"; was somein this department have been recently made, and what arrogant in manner and intolerant in speech, being unwilling to remain responsible for its ad- and speedily made himself thoroughly unpopular ministration, under existing circumstances, I respect- in his office. fully resign the office of Secretary of the Treasury.2
No attention was paid by the Secretary to This letter, however, never reached the these complaints, which were from time to time President, as Senator Dixon came in before it referred to him by the President; but at last was dispatched and discussed the matter in the clamor by letter and by deputations from a spirit so entirely different from that of the across the continent became intolerable, and Secretary that no quarrel was possible with the President, during a somewhat protracted him; and after he left, Mr. Chase wrote a letter absence of the Secretary from Washington, orto the President, in which he said :
dered a change to be made in the office. In a
private note to Mr. Chase, wishing to avoid I do not insist on the renomination of Mr. Howard; giving him personal offense, he said : and Mr. Dixon and Mr. Loomis, as I understand, do not claim the nomination of his successor.
My mind is made up to remove Victor Smith as My only object and I think you so understand collector of the customs at the Puget Sound district. it-is to secure fit men for responsible places, with. Yet in doing this I do not decide that the charges out admitting the rights of senators or representa- against him are true. I only decide that the degree tives to control appointments, for which the Presi- of dissatisfaction with him there is too great for him dent, and the Secretary, as his presumed adviser, to be retained. But I believe he is your personal must be responsible. Unless this principle can be acquaintance and friend, and if you desire it, I will practically established, I feel that I cannot be useful try to find some other place for him.6 to you or the country in my present position.3
Three days later the Secretary, having reIt is possible that the Secretary may have turned to Washington, answered in his usual thought that this implied threat to resign manner, protesting once more his ardent desire brought both the President and the senator to to serve the country faithfully, and claiming that reason, for the matter ended at this time by he had a right to be consulted in matters of their allowing him to have absolutely his own appointment. He sent a blank commission for way. Mr. Dixon wrote to the President,4 say- the person whom the President had concluded ing that he “preferred to leave the whole mat- to appoint, but protested against the preceter to the Secretary of the Treasury, believing dent, and tendered his resignation. This time his choice would be such as to advance the again the President gave way. He drove to interests of the country and the Administra- the Secretary's house, handed his petulant lettion"; and the President, who heartily detested ter back to him, and begged him to think no these squabbles over office, was glad of this more of the matter.? Two days afterward, arrangement. There was not a shade of differ- in a letter assenting to other recommendations ence between him and Mr. Chase as to the for office which had come to him from the duty of the Administration to appoint only fit Treasury Department, he said, “ Please send men to office, but the President always pre- me over the commission for Louis C. Gunn, ferred to effect this object without needlessly as you recommend, for collector of customs offending the men upon whom the Govern- at Puget Sound.”8 ment depended for its support in the war. Any statesman possessing a sense of humor
1 March 2, 1863. Warden,“ Life of S. P. Chase,” p. 7 Mr. Maunsell B. Field, in his “ Memories of Many 524.
Men and Some Women," p. 303, quotes Mr. Lincoln as 2 Ibid., pp. 524, 525.
saying: “I went directly up to him with the resigna3 March 3, 1863. Warden, “ Life of S. P. Chase," p. tion in my hand, and, putting my arm around his neck, 525.
said to him, ' Chase, here is a paper with which I wish Dixon to Lincoln, March 5, 1863. MS.
to have nothing to do; take it back and be reasonable.' 5 Mr. Schuckers was private secretary to Mr. Chase It was difficult to bring him to terms. I had to plead and author of a biography of him, q. v., p. 423;
with him a long time; but I finally succeeded, and heard 6 Lincoln to Chase, May 8, 1863; MS. Warden, nothing more of that resignation.” - Life of S. P. Chase," p. 527.
8 Warden, “ Life of S. P. Chase," p. 528.