Abraham Lincoln and Men of War-Times: Some Personal Recollections of War and Politics during the Lincoln Administration

By A. K. McClure; James A. Rawley | Go to book overview
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LINCOLN AND CHASE.

SALMON P. CHASE was the most irritating fly in the Lincoln ointment from the inauguration of the new administration in 1861 until the 29th of June, 1864, when his resignation as Secretary of the Treasury was finally accepted. He was an annual resigner in the Cabinet, having petulantly tendered his resignation in 1862, again in 1863, and again in 1864, when he was probably surprised by Mr. Lincoln's acceptance of it. It was soon after Lincoln's unanimous renomination, and when Chase's dream of succeeding Lincoln as President had perished, at least for the time. He was one of the strongest intellectual forces of the entire administration, but in politics he was a theorist and a dreamer and was unbalanced by overmastering ambition. He never forgave Lincoln for the crime of having been preferred for President over him, and while he was a pure and conscientious man, his prejudices and disappointments were vastly stronger than himself, and there never was a day during his continuance in the Cabinet when he was able to approach justice to Lincoln. Like Sumner, he entered public life ten years before the war by election to the Senate through a combination of Democrats and Free- Soilers, and it is worthy of note that these two most brilliant and tireless of the great anti-slavery leaders cast their last votes for Democratic candidates for President.

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