Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.

[45] But, says Swinton, there was less disproportion than usual; for the great army which Hooker had had before Chancellorsville had been greatly reduced, both by casualties and by the expiration of terms of service.  On May 13 he reported that his “marching force of infantry” was “about 80,000 men.”  A little later the cavalry was reported at 4677. Army of Potomac, 310.

[46] Swinton says that whether Meade should have attacked or not, “will probably always remain one of those questions about which men will differ.”  He inclines to think that Meade was right. Army of Potomac, 369, 370.

[47] Grant disliked Rosecrans, and is said to have asked for this change.



It has been pleasant to emerge from the dismal winter of 1862-63 into the sun-gleam of the Fourth of July of the latter year.  But it is necessary to return for a while into that dusky gloom, for the career of a “war president” is by no means wholly a series of campaigns.  Domestic politics, foreign relations, finance, make their several demands.

Concerning one of these topics, at least, there is little to be said.  One day, in a period of financial stress, Mr. Chase expressed a wish to introduce to the President a delegation of bankers, who had come to Washington to discuss the existing condition with regard to money.  “Money!” exclaimed Mr. Lincoln, “I don’t know anything about ‘money’!  I never had enough of my own to fret me, and I have no opinion about it any way.”  Accordingly, throughout his administration he left the whole subject in the hands of the secretary of the treasury.  The tariffs and internal revenue bills, the legal tender notes, the “five-twenties,” the “ten-forties,” and the “seven-thirties,” all the loans, the national banking system, in short, all the financial schemes of the administration were adopted by Mr. Lincoln upon the recommendation of Mr. Chase, with little apparent study upon his own part.  Satisfied of the ability of his secretary, he gave to all the Treasury measures his loyal support.  In return, he expected the necessary funds to be forthcoming; for he had implicit confidence in the willingness of the people to pay the bills of the Union; and he expected the secretary to arrange methods by which they could do so with reasonable convenience.  Mr. Chase was cast for the role of magician, familiar with those incantations which could keep the Treasury ever full.  It was well thus, for in fact no word or incident in Mr. Lincoln’s life indicates that he had any capacity whatsoever in financiering.  To live within his income and pay his dues with a minute and careful punctuality made the limit of his dealings and his interest in money matters.

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