Saturday, January 7, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, February 10, 1863

Presented Colonel Hawley's name to the President for Brigadier-General with expressions of my regard. Was kindly received but no assurance given. Informed the President I should put Preble's case in his hands to be disposed of. The nomination of Mark Howard for Collector of the Hartford District has been suspended in the Senate. Howard is a very faithful, competent, and excellent man for the office, but he and Senator Dixon, neighbors and formerly intimate friends, have latterly had some differences. Dixon takes advantage of his position as Senator to stab Howard in secret session, where H. can have no opportunity for selfdefense. Senator Sumner, whom I met this evening, says Dixon came to him and asked, if a personal enemy, who abused, slandered, and defied him were before the Senate, would he vote for him. Sumner replied, No. Senator Doolittle admits he was in like manner approached; says it was embarrassing, for there is an implied understanding — a courtesy among Senators — that they will yield to the personal appeals of a Senator in appointments to office in his own town. I asked if it was possible that the Senate prostituted itself to gratify private animosities, — made itself a party to the personal quarrels of one of its members and gave him the means to wreak his vengeance on a worthy person without cause or justification? Doolittle attempted no defense; evidently did not like the attitude in which he was placed. Thurlow Weed is in town. He has been sent for, but my informant knows not for what purpose. It is, I learn, to consult in regard to a scheme of Seward to influence the New Hampshire and Connecticut elections. Some days since, Seward handed me a dispatch as I entered the President's office on Cabinet day, from Mr. Dayton at Paris, stating the French Government was pressing friendly mediation. I handed it back after reading, with the remark that it was wholly inadmissible. Seward made no reply, but handed the dispatch to others to read as they came in. There was, I think, a response similar to mine from each. When I heard that Seward's factotum, Weed, had been called here I thought at once of Dayton's dispatch and schemes of adjustment. Nous verrons. [In the lower House of Congress] after a violent attack by Calvert, Washburne, and a few others [on the subject of appointment of midshipmen], I was sustained by a vote of two to one, to the great chagrin of the clique, who, I am told, did not conceal their vexation.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 235-6

No comments: