Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, January 16, 1863

Little of interest in the Cabinet. Chase, who has been absent a week, was present; Stanton did not attend. No navy or army matters discussed. Chase says the New-Yorkers are generally coming into his financial views, that all in Philadelphia approve them; thinks they should be made a party test. No one responded to this, — an indication that they were not prepared to have him set up a standard of financial, political, or party orthodoxy for them.

A flurry in the Senate to-day over a letter from General Meigs, who had been coarsely assailed a day or two since by Wilkinson of Minnesota. The Senatorial dignity was ruffled by the manly rebuke of the soldier. There is an impotent and ridiculous attempt at self-sufficient and presuming airs, an exhibition of lame and insolent arrogance, on the part of many Senators towards men who are, to say the least, their equals in every good quality. Not long since J. P. Hale undertook to vent his personal spite in the Senate on Admiral Smith, who regards the public interest more than the wordy, personal, and selfish schemes of the New Hampshire Senator. The dignity of the Senator was bruised by the old sailor's blunt honesty, who demanded a committee with power and an investigation to whitewash the Senator or blackwash the Admiral.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 223-4

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