Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader

By Henry Luther Stoddard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
"The Prayer of Twenty Millions"

As 1862 OPENED, Greeley was not the only person seriously concerned about conditions. All the North seemed disturbed. The one bright spot in the Union war record was the capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson down on the Mississippi by the unknown Grant -- "Unconditional Surrender" Grant. Recognition of the Confederate States by Great Britain was hanging in the balance; blockade of the Atlantic ports was ineffective; McClellan was getting nowhere; reverses for the administration in the coming spring and fall elections were generally forecast. No one realized the situation and the needs more keenly than did the worried Lincoln, but no one knew better than he that if he heeded Greeley and other critics he would be forming a new cabinet almost every week end and pursuing a different policy as frequently. To the hurry-up-and-win-the-war demands, especially as to General McClellan -- "an auger that doesn't bore," commented Greeley -- Lincoln replied that he knew of no general who could promise quicker results. "Anybody will do!" the hasty ones contended. "No," replied Lincoln to Senator Ben Wade of Ohio, "anybody will not do! I must have Somebody!" Greeley went further than the recall of McClellan. He charged that many high officers were also "augers that do not bore" and that it would "require as many of that type to put down the rebellion as snow- balls to bring a tea kettle to boil."

By March, Lincoln had worked out his own plan for an approach to emancipation. On the seventh of that month he addressed a

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