Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 309 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.
and predictions of inimical friends, the foolish advice of genuine supporters.  It is now plain that all the counsel which was given to him was bad, from whatsoever quarter it came.  It shows the powerfulness of his nature that he retained his cool and accurate judgment, although the crisis was such that even he also had to admit that the danger of defeat was imminent.  To Mr. Raymond’s panic-stricken suggestions he made a very shrewd response by drafting some instructions for the purpose of sending that gentleman himself on the mission to Mr. Davis.  It was the same tactics which he had pursued in dispatching Mr. Greeley to meet the Southerners in Canada.  The result was that the fruitlessness of the suggestion was admitted by its author.

As if all hurtful influences were to be concentrated against the President, it became necessary just at this inopportune time to make good the terrible waste in the armies caused by expiration of terms of service and by the bloody campaigns of Grant and Sherman.  Volunteering was substantially at an end, and a call for troops would have to be enforced by a draft.  Inevitably this would stir afresh the hostility of those who dreaded that the conscription might sweep into military service themselves or those dear to them.  It was Mr. Lincoln’s duty, however, to make the demand, and to make it at once.  He did so; regardless of personal consequences, he called for 500,000 more men.

Thus in July and August the surface was covered with straws, and every one of them indicated a current setting strongly against Mr. Lincoln.  Unexpectedly the Democratic Convention made a small counter-eddy; for the peace Democrats, led by Vallandigham, were ill advised enough to force a peace plank into the platform.  This was at once repudiated by McClellan in his letter of acceptance, and then again was reiterated by Vallandigham as the true policy of the party.  Thus war Democrats were alarmed, and a split was opened.  Yet it was by no means such a chasm as that which, upon the opposite side, divided the radicals and politicians from the mass of their Republican comrades.  It might affect ratios, but did not seem likely to change results.  In a word, all political observers now believed that military success was the only medicine which could help the Republican prostration, and whether this medicine could be procured was very doubtful.

FOOTNOTES: 

[64] Arnold, Lincoln, 384, 385.  Nicolay and Hay seem to me to go too far in belittling the opposition to Mr. Lincoln within the Republican party.

[65] See Arnold, Lincoln, 385.  But the fact is notorious among all who remember those times.

[66] Polit.  Recoll. 243 et seq. Mr. Julian here gives a vivid sketch of the opposition to Mr. Lincoln.

[67] In the National Intelligencer, February 22, 1864.

[68] Lovejoy had generally stood faithfully by the President.

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