Sunday, February 19, 2017

Diary of John Hay: October 22, 1863

I spoke to the President to-day about Blair, his Rockville speech, and the action of the Union League of Philadelphia leaving out his name in Resolutions electing the Cabinet honorary members of the League. He says Blair is anxious to run Swann and beat Winter Davis. The President on the contrary says that as Davis is the nominee of the Union Convention, and as we have recognised him as our candidate, it would be mean to do anything against him now.

Things in Maryland are badly mixed. The unconditional Union people are not entirely acting in concert. Thomas seems acceptable to everyone. Crisswell is going to make a good run. But Schenck is complicating the canvass with an embarrassing element, that of forcible negro enlistments. The President is in favor of the voluntary enlistment of the negroes with the consent of their masters and on payment of the price. But Schenck's favorite way, (or rather Birney's, whom Schenck approves) is to take a squad of soldiers into a neighborhood and carry off into the army all the able-bodied darkies they can find, without asking master or slave to consent. Hence results like the case of White and Sothoron. “The fact is,” the Tycoon observes, “Schenck is wider across the head in the region of the ears, and loves fight for its own sake, better than I do.” . . .

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 111-2; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 105-6

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