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would have hesitated before repeating this identical proceeding; but, as we have said, Mr. Chase was deficient in this saving sense, and he apparently saw no reason why it should not be repeated indefinitely.
Mr. John J. Cisco, the assistant treasurer at New York, who had served the Government with remarkable ability and efficiency through three administrations, resigned his commission in May, to take effect at the close of the fiscal year, the 30th of June, 1864. It was a post of great importance in a financial point of view, and not insignificant in the way of political influence. Up to this time, Mr. Chase had made all the important appointments in New York from his own wing of the supporters of the Union-the men who had formerly been connected with the Democratic party, and who now belonged to what was called the radical wing of the Republican. This matter was the source of constant complaint from those who were sometimes called the Conservative Republicans of New York, or those who had in great part formerly belonged to the Whig party, and who in later years acknowledged the leadership of Mr. Seward. The President was anxious that in an appointment so important as that which was now about to be made both sections of the party in New York should, if possible, be satisfied; and especially that no nominations should be made which should be positively objectionable to Senator Morgan, who was considered to represent more especially the city of New York and its great commercial interests. To this Mr. Chase at first interposed no objection; and it was upon full and friendly consultation and conference between him and Senator Morgan that the appointment was offered successively to Mr. Denning Duer and to Mr. John A. Stewart, both of them gentlemen of the highest standing. But both declined the office tendered them; upon which Mr. Chase suddenly resolved to appoint Mr. Maunsell B. Field, who was at that time an assistant secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Field was a gentleman of excellent social position, of fine literary culture, to whom the Secretary was sincerely attached, but who was entirely destitute of such standing in either the political or the financial circles of New York as was required by so important a place. Senator Morgan at once protested vigorously against such an appointment, which only served to confirm the Secretary in his insistence upon it. Besides his objections to Mr. Field, whom he thought in no way competent to hold such a place, Mr. Morgan urged that the political result of his appointment would be extremely unfavorable to the Union party in New York. He became thoroughly alarmed, and begged the Secretary and the President successively to make their
choice among three of the most eminent citizens of New York whose names he presented; but the Secretary's mind was made up. Without further consultation with the President, he sent him the nomination for Mr. Field on the 27th of June. The next day the President replied:
I cannot, without much embarrassment, make this appointment; principally, because of Senator Morgan's very firm opposition to it. Senator Harris has not yet spoken to me on the subject, though I understand he is not averse to the appointment of Mr. Field, nor yet to any one of the three named by Senator Morgan. Governor Morgan tells me he has mentioned three names to you, to wit: RM. Blatchford, Dudley S. Gregory, and Thomas Hillhouse. It will really oblige me if you will make choice among those three, or any other man that Senators Morgan and Harris will be satisfied with, and send me a nomination for him.1
There have been few ministers who would have refused so reasonable and considerate a request as this, but it did not for a moment shake Mr. Chase's determination to have his own way in the matter. He sent a note to the President asking for an interview, and telegraphed to Mr. Cisco, begging him most earnestly to withdraw his resignation and give the country the benefit of his services at least one quarter longer. He was determined, in one way or another, that neither the President nor the senators of New York should have anything to say in regard to this appointment; and conscious of his own blamelessness in all the controversy, he went home and wrote in his diary: "Oh, for more faith and clearer sight! How stable is the city of God! How disordered is the city of man!" Later in the day the President wrote him :
When I received your note this forenoon suggesting a conversation-a verbal conversationin relation to the appointment of a successor to Mr. Cisco, I hesitated, because the difference does not, in the main part, lie within the range of a conversation between you and me. As the proverb goes, no man knows so well where the shoe pinches as he who wears it. I do not think Mr. Field a very proper man for the place, but I would trust your judgment and forego this were the greater difficulty Barney, it has been a great burden to me to retain out of the way. Much as I personally like Mr. him in his place when nearly all our friends in New York were directly or indirectly urging his removal. Then the appointment of Hogeboom to be general appraiser brought me to, and has ever since kept me at, the verge of open revolt. Now the appointment of Mr. Field would precipitate it, unless Senator Morgan, and those feeling as he does, could be brought to concur in it. Strained as ĺ
1 Lincoln to Chase, June 28, 1864. Warden, "Life of S. P. Chase," p. 611.
2 Schuckers, "Life of S. P. Chase," p. 506.
already am at this point, I do not think that I can make this appointment in the direction of still greater strain.1
In the evening the extremely tense situation was relieved by a telegram from Mr. Cisco complying with the request of the Secretary to remain another quarter. But it was not in the nature of Mr. Chase to accept this simple dénouement. He felt that the President had acted badly, and must be subjected to some discipline; and he naturally resorted to those measures which had hitherto proved so effective. He wrote to him:
David Tod was by no means an unknown man. He had gained an honorable position at the bar; had been the Democratic candidate for governor in 1843; had served with credit as minister to Brazil; was first vicepresident of the Charleston convention and became its president at Baltimore on the secession of Caleb Cushing; was one of the most prominent men in Ohio in railroad and mining enterprises; had been the most eminent and efficient of the war Democrats of the State; and as governor had shown executive capacity of high order. There were some Chase and Governor Tod that doubtless caught superficial points of resemblance between Mr. the attention of the President in choosing a successor to the former in such haste. Tod was a citizen of the same State with Chase, of which both had been governor; he had come into the Union party from the Democrats; he was a man of unusually dignified and impressive presence; but it is safe to say that no one had ever thought of him for the place now vacant. The nomination was presented to the Senate at its opening and was received with amazement. Not the least surprised of the statesmen in the Capitol was Mr. Chase himself, who was busy at the moment in one of the committee rooms of the Senate arranging some legislation which he needed for his department. There are many indications which go to show that his resignation of the evening before was intended, like those which had preceded it, as a means of discipline for the President. After sending it he wrote to Mr. Cisco expressing his thanks for the withdrawal of his resignation, and saying:
The withdrawal of Mr. Cisco's resignation, which I inclose, relieves the present difficulty; but I cannot help feeling that my position here is not altogether agreeable to you, and it is certainly too full of embarrassment and difficulty and painful responsibility to allow in me the least desire to retain it. I think it my duty, therefore, to inclose to you my resignation. I shall regard it as a real relief if you think proper to accept it, and will most cheerfully render to my successor any aid he may find useful in entering upon his duties. 2
In this letter Mr. Chase inclosed his formal resignation. The President received this note while very much occupied with other affairs. The first paper which met his eye was the telegram from Mr. Cisco withdrawing his resignation. Glad that the affair was so happily terminated, he laid the packet aside for some hours, without looking at the other papers contained in it. The next morning, wishing to write a congratulatory note to Mr. Chase upon this welcome termination of the crisis, he found, to his bitter chagrin and disappointment, that the Secretary had once more tendered his resignation. He took it to mean precisely what the Secretary had intended that if he were to retain Mr. Chase as Secretary of the Treasury, it should not be hereafter as a subordinate; to refuse this resignation, to go once more to the Secretary and urge him to remain, would amount to an abdication of his constitutional powers. He therefore, without hesitation, sent him this letter:
It relieves me from a very painful embarrassment. . . I could not remain here and see your office made parcel of the machinery of party, or even feel serious apprehension that it might be.
Even on the morning of the 30th of June, Mr. Chase wrote to the President recommending a considerable increase of taxation, saying that there would be a deficit by existing laws of about eighty millions.
On the other hand, there is nothing to show, up to the instant that he was informed of the nomination of Tod, that he expected his official career to end on that day. The news for that moment created something like consternation in political circles at the capital. Mr. Washburne hurried to the White House, saying the change was disastrous; that at this time of military unsuccess, financial weakness, congressional hesitation on questions of conscription, and imminent famine in the West, it was
1 Lincoln to Chase, June 28, 1864. Warden, "Life of S. P. Chase," p. 613.
2 Chase to Lincoln, June 29, 1864.
3 Lincoln to Chase, June 30, 1864. Warden, "Life of S. P. Chase," p. 614.
4 Reid, "Ohio in the War."
ruinous. The Senate Committee on Finance, to which the nomination of Tod had been referred, came down in a body to talk with the President about it. The President gave this account of the interview: "Fessenden was frightened, Conness was angry, Sherman thought we could not have gotten on together much longer anyhow, Cowan and Van Winkle were indifferent." They not only objected to any change, but specially protested against the nomination of Tod as too little known and too inexperienced for the place. The President replied that he had little personal acquaintance with Tod, that he had nominated him on account of the high opinion he had formed of him as governor of Ohio; but that the Senate had the duty and responsibility of passing upon the question of fitness, in which it must be entirely untrammeled; he could not, in justice to himself or to Tod, withdraw the nomination. The impression of the undesirability of the change rather deepened during the day. Mr. Hooper of Massachusetts, an intimate friend of both the President and Mr. Chase, and the man upon whom both principally relied for the conduct of financial legislation in the House, spoke of the crisis in deep depression. He said he had been for some time of the opinion that Mr. Chase did not see his way entirely clear to raising the funds which were necessary; that his supplementary demand for money sent in at the close of the session after everything had been granted which he asked, looked like an intention to throw an anchor to windward in case he was refused. Mr. Hooper said he had waked this morning feeling a little vexed that Chase had done this, that he thought it was an attempt to throw an unfair responsibility upon Congress; but now this resignation came to relieve him of all responsibility; his successor would have an enormous work to do; the future was troubled; there remained the great practical problem, regularly recurring, to raise one hundred millions a month.
I do not clearly see [he said] how it is to be done; the talent of finance in its national aspect is something entirely different from banking. Most bankers criticize Mr. Chase, but he has a faculty of using the knowledge and experience of others to the best advantage; that has sufficed him hitherto; a point has been reached where he does not clearly see what comes next, and at this point the President allows him to step from under his load.1
This view of the case has a color of confirmation in a passage of the diary of Mr. Chase of the 30th of June, which goes to show at least a mixed motive in his resignation. After his resignation had been accepted, Mr. Hooper
1 J. H., Diary.
2 Chase, Diary. Warden, "Life of S. P. Chase," p. 618.
had called upon him and, evidently hoping that some reconciliation was still possible, told him that, several days before, the President had spoken to him in terms of high esteem, indicating his purpose of making him ChiefJustice in the event of a vacancy, a post which Mr. Chase had long before told the President was the one he most desired. Mr. Chase answered that had such expression of good-will reached him in time it might have prevented the present misunderstanding, but that now he could not change his position. "Besides," he adds, "I did not see how I could carry on the department without more means than Congress was likely to supply, and amid the embarrassment created by factious hostility within, and both factious and party hostility without the department.” 2
At night the President received a dispatch from Mr. Tod declining the appointment on the ground of ill-health. The President's secretary went immediately to the Capitol to communicate this information to the senators, so that no vote might be taken on the nomination. Early the next morning the President sent to the Senate the nomination of William Pitt Fessenden, senator from Maine. When he gave the nomination to his secretary, the latter informed him that Mr. Fessenden was then in the ante-room waiting to see him. He answered, "Start at once for the Senate, and then let Fessenden come in." The senator, who was chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, began immediately to discuss the question of the vacant place in the Treasury, suggesting the name of Mr. McCulloch. The President listened to him for a moment with a smile of amusement, and then told him that he had already sent his nomination to the Senate. Fessenden leaped to his feet, exclaiming, "You must withdraw it. I cannot accept." If you decline," said the President, "you must do it in open day, for I shall not recall the nomination." "We talked about it for some time," decided in his refusal.” said the President, " and he went away less
The nomination was instantly confirmed, the executive session lasting no more than a minute. It gave immediate and widespread satisfaction. There seemed to be no difference of opinion in regard to Mr. Fessenden; the only fear was that he would not accept. His first impulse was to decline; but being besieged all day by the flattering solicitations of his friends, it was impossible for him to persist in refusing. The President was equally surprised and gratified at the enthusiastic and general approval the nomination had met with. He said: 1
It is very singular, considering that this appointment is so popular when made, that no one ever
WILLIAM PITT FESSENDEN.
(AFTER A PHOTOGRAPH BY BRADY.)
mentioned his name to me for that place. Thinking over the matter, two or three points occurred to me: first, his thorough acquaintance with the business; as chairman of the Senate Committee of Finance he knows as much of this special subject as Mr. Chase; he possesses a national reputation and the confidence of the country; he is a radical without the petulant and vicious fretfulness of many radicals. There are reasons why this appointment ought to be very agreeable to him. For some time past he has been running in rather a pocket of bad luck; the failure to renominate Mr. Hamlin makes possible a contest between him and the Vice-President, the most popular man in Maine, for the election which is now imminent. A little while ago in the Senate you know Trumbull told him his illtemper had left him no friends, but this sudden and most gratifying manifestation of good feeling over his appointment, his instantaneous confirmation, the earnest entreaties of everybody that he should accept, cannot but be very grateful to his feelings.
Mr. Chase left a full record in his diaries and letters of the sense of injury and wrong done him by the President. He especially resented the President's reference to the "embarrassment in our official relations." "I had found a good deal of embarrassment from him," he said; "but what he had found from me I could not imagine, unless it has been caused by my unwillingness to have offices distributed as spoils or benefits. . . . He has never given me the active and earnest support I was entitled to." After Mr. Fessenden was appointed, the ex-Secretary entered in his diary his approval of the selection:
He has the confidence of the country, and many who have become inimical to me will give their VOL. XXXVIII.-39.
confidence to him and their support. Perhaps they will do more than they otherwise would to sustain him, in order to show how much better a Secretary he is than I was.
Before Mr. Fessenden accepted his appointment he called on Mr. Chase and conversed fully with him on the subject. Mr. Chase frankly and cordially advised him to accept, telling him that all the great work of the Department was now fairly blocked out and in progress, that the organization was all planned and in many ways complete, and all in a state which admitted of completion. His most difficult task would be to provide money. "But he would have advantages," said Mr. Chase," which I had not. Those to whom I had given offense would have no cause of ill-will against my successor, and would very probably come to his support with zeal increased by their ill-will to me; so that my damage would be to his advantage, especially with a certain class of capitalists and bankers."
The entries in Mr. Chase's diary continue for several days in the same strain. He congratulates himself on his own integrity; he speaks with severity of the machinations of imaginary enemies. On the 2d of July he remarks the passage of the bill giving the Secretary of the Treasury control over trade in the rebel States and authority to lease abandoned property and to care for the freedmen, and adds: "How much good I expected to accomplish under this bill! Will my successor do this work? I fear not. He had not the same heart for this measure that I had." On the Fourth of July the ringing of bells, the firing of cannon, and the snapping of crackers awoke him to the reflection that "if the Government had been willing to do justice, and had used its vast powers with equal energy and wisdom, the struggle might have been happily terminated long ago." Later in the same day Mr. Fessenden came to see him, and informed him that he had been discussing with the President the subject of appointments in the Treasury Department, and that Mr. Lincoln had requested him not to remove any friends of Governor Chase unless there should be a real necessity for it. Mr. Chase persuaded himself that if the President had spoken to him in that tone he would have withdrawn his resignation.
Why did he not? [he mused.] I can see but one reason that I am too earnest, too antislavery, and say too radical, to make him willing to have me connected with the Administration: just as my opinion that he is not earnest enough, not antislavery enough, not radical enough, but goes naturally with those hostile to me, rather than with me, makes me willing and glad to be disconnected from it.
How far his animosity against the President had misled this able, honest, pure, and otherwise sagacious man may be seen in one single phrase. Referring to the President's refusal to sign the reconstruction bill, he put down his deliberate opinion that neither the President nor his chief advisers had abandoned the idea of possible reconstruction with slavery; and this in spite of the President's categorical statement, "While I remain in my present position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation, nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation or by any of the acts of Congress," and of his declaration that such action
HO makes a road through regions rough and lone, Who plants and rears a tree where shade is none,
would be "a cruel and an astounding breach of faith.' But after all these expressions of that petulant injustice which was only a foible in a noble character, the greatest financial Secretary which the country had known since Hamilton had a perfect right, in laying down the high office he had borne with such integrity and such signal success, to indulge in the meditation which we find in his diary of June 30:
dations. Nothing but wise legislation and especially So my official life closes. I have laid broad founbold yet judicious provision of taxes, with fair economy in administration, and energetic yet prudent military action, seems necessary to insure complete success.
Who scores the furrow in a soil untamed,
Is fit in song heroic to be named.
Nor scanter praise be his whose patient force
Gradual, but grateful as the jet that broke
From forth the ledge that felt the prophet's stroke.
Behold a toiler in far Idaho,
'Mid foothills where, in summer's steady glow,
As day by day his toil the stream extends,
Edith M. Thomas.
THE IRRIGATING DITCH.
West of the Missouri there are immense, sad provinces devoted to drought. They lie beneath skies that are pitilessly clear. The great snow-fields, the treasury of waters, are far away, and the streams which should convey the treasure are often many days' journeys apart. These wild water-courses are
Nature's commissaries sent from the mountains to the relief of the plains; but they scamper like pickpockets. They make away with the stores they were charged to distribute. They hurry along, making the only sound to be heard for miles in those vacant lands which they have defrauded. Year by year, or century by century, they plow out their barren channels: gradually they sink, beyond any possibility of fulfilling their mission. Now and then one will dig for itself a grave in the desert, bury its mouth in the sand, and be known as a "lost" river.