Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Diary of John Hay: Tuesday, December 24, 1863

I dined to-day with S. S. Cox. He spoke of Greeley’s foolish  Chase explosion the other night at Wendell Phillip’s Cooper Institute meeting, and said Chase was working night and day. He has gotten nearly the whole strength of the New England States. If there is any effort made in Ohio he can be beaten there.  He has little strength in his own State.

I asked him whom his party would nominate.

C. “Gen'l McClellan! We will run McClellan. He is our best ticket. He lost some prestige by his Woodward letter. But it was necessary. He never would have gotten the nomination without it.”

“You don't agree with the Herald on Grant?”

C. “Grant belongs to the Republicans. We can't take him after his letter to Washburne. But for that, we might have taken him. The Republicans won't take him either. They have got his influence, and have no further use for him.”

“If I were a soldier I should much prefer commanding the U. S. Army for life, to four years in the Executive Mansion. I think Grant would.”

“So would McClellan, I know."

I met him again to-night in the Theatre. He says he is getting tired of Washington. He wants to spend a few years in Europe. He will go, if McClellan is next President; — thinks he will anyhow. Says it is delightful to be in the minority; you are not bored by your people for office. — “Glad you like it!” quoth I. “We will try to keep you so.”

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 143-4; for the entire diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letter of John Hay, p. 143-4

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