Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 309 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.
in the true sense of the word;” by which he understood, “a president conferring with his cabinet and taking their united judgments.”  The existence of that strange moat which seems to isolate the capital and the political coteries therein gathered, and to shut out all knowledge of the feelings of the constituent people, is notorious, and certainly was never made more conspicuous than in this business of selecting the Republican candidate for the campaign of 1864.  When Congress came together the political scheming received a strong impetus.  Everybody seemed to be opposed to Mr. Lincoln.  Thaddeus Stevens, the impetuous leader of the House of Representatives, declared that, in that body, Arnold of Illinois was the only member who was a political friend of the President; and the story goes that the President himself sadly admitted the fact.  Visitors at Washington, who got their impressions from the talk there, concluded that Mr. Lincoln’s chance of a second term was small.

This opposition, which had the capital for its headquarters and the politicians for its constituents, found a candidate ready for use.  Secretary Chase was a victim to the dread disease of presidential ambition.  With the usual conventional expressions of modesty he admitted the fact.  Thereupon general talk soon developed into political organization; and in January, 1864, a “Committee of prominent Senators, Representatives, and Citizens,” having formally obtained his approval, set about promoting his interests in business-like fashion.

The President soon knew what was going forward; but he gave no sign of disquietude; on the contrary, he only remarked that he hoped the country would never have a worse president than Mr. Chase would be.  Not that he was indifferent to renomination and reelection.  That would have been against nature.  His mind, his soul, all that there was of force and feeling in him had been expended to the uttermost in the cause and the war which were still pending.  At the end of that desperate road, along which he had dared stubbornly and against so much advice to lead the nation, he seemed now to discern the goal.  That he should be permitted to guide to the end in that journey, and that his judgment and leadership should receive the crown of success and approval, was a reward, almost a right, which he must intensely desire and which he could not lose without a disappointment that outruns expression.  Yet he was so self-contained that, if he had cared not at all about the issue, his conduct would have been much the same that it was.

[Illustration:  Isaac N. Arnold]

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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