LINCOLN'S CABINET,--AND JOHNSON'S
LET us look in upon that Cabinet, meeting as it was with Abraham Lincoln for the last time. The chair of the Secretary of State was empty, for William Seward nine days before had been thrown from his carriage and had been badly injured,1--an injury which by a strange irony of fate was presently to preserve his life.
Seward was then sixty-four. He had graduated from Union College in 1820 and was admitted to the bar two years later.2 Carriage accidents, it seems, came to him as blessings in disguise. In 1824 he journeyed to Niagara and while driving through Rochester a wheel came off his coach and most of the passengers were thrown out. One of the passersby who noted the traveler's plight was the editor of an obscure newspaper. He was one of the worst-dressed and poorest men in the town, but already a force in Western New York politics. His name was Thurlow Weed. The acquaintance thus achieved proved one of the most important influences in Seward's life. It ripened as Weed later wrote, "into a very close friendship. . . . Our views in relation to public affairs and our estimate of public men rarely differed. I saw in him in a remarkable degree rapidly developing elements of character which could not fail to render him eminently useful in public life. I discerned also unmistakable evidences of stern integrity, earnest patriotism and unswerving fidelity."3
With such a mentor, and a natural predilection for politics, the young graduate early manifested for this field of endeavor, a preference over his chosen profession of the law. His public career was notable. He was elected to the New York Senate at 29,4 governor at 37, and United States Senator at 48.5 In his first prepared speech delivered in the National Senate on March 11th, 1850, concerning the compromise measures then pending, he
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Publication information: Book title: Andrew Johnson:A Study in Courage. Contributors: Lloyd Paul Stryker - Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1929. Page number: 181.
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