Thursday, March 30, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, May 19, 1863

The case of Vallandigham, recently arrested by General Burnside, tried by court martial, convicted of something, and sentenced to Fort Warren, was before the Cabinet. It was an error on the part of Burnside. All regretted the arrest, but, having been made, every one wished he had been sent over the lines to the Rebels with whom he sympathizes. Until the subject is legitimately before us, and there is a necessity to act, there is no disposition to meddle with the case.

The New York Tribune of to-day has a communication on the Peterhoff mail question. It is neither so good nor so bad as it might have been. Am sorry to see it just at this time, and uncertain as to the author. Faxon names one of the correspondents of the Tribune, but while he may have forwarded the article he could not have written it.

Governor Sprague and Miss Kate Chase called this evening. I have been skeptical as to a match, but this means something. She is beautiful, or, more properly perhaps, interesting and impressive. He is rich and holds the position of Senator. Few young men have such advantages as he, and Miss Kate has talents and ambition sufficient for both.

I wrote and sent to Senator Sumner a denial of John Laird's statement in the British House of Commons. When he asserted that the Secretary of the American Navy, or the agent of the Secretary, applied to him to build vessels, or a vessel, he asserted what is not true, what he knows to be untrue. He is, in my opinion, a mercenary hypocrite without principle or honesty, as his words and works both show.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 306

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