Saturday, July 23, 2016

John M. Forbes to Senator William P. Fessenden, November 15, 1862

Boston, November 15, 1862.

My Dear Sir, — Your note received. I must differ from you about the President. He has been in the hands of a vacillating, undecided man like Seward!

With your decided opinions, if you were once in the cabinet, he and all the political aspirants there would form into line and march to your music. Even Chase would be glad to see some one else put at the head to take the responsibility. His opinions are firm enough, but he lacks your uncompromising directness of will. The only possible doubt is your health, and you may as well die at the head of the nation a few months hence, after saving it, as at the head of the Senate a few years hence, fighting the compromisers and rebels combined.

A prominent New York man ascribes, in a private letter, the late failure there1 to Seward and his friends, and says the President ought to know and act upon it. He adds, “The accession of Mr.W. P. F. would delight me.” He [my correspondent] is a man who, perhaps, next to you, ought to be there himself, though known at the bar rather than in public life.

1 Referring to the defeat of the Republican party in New York, and the election of Seymour, the Democratic candidate for governor. — ED.

SOURCE: Sarah Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, Volume 1, p. 338

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