To-day I received a letter from Wm. N. Grover saying certain of his friends had agreed to press his name for Judge of the District Court, Western Missouri, in place of Judge Welles. He adds, however, that, in case Judge Bates, Attorney-General, should desire the appointment, he would not stand in his way, believing that Bate’s appointment would be very advantageous and satisfactory to the Union people of the State. He requested me to make this known both to Mr. Bates and the President. I read his letter to the President, and, at the same time referred to the recent indiscreet announcement made by Cameron, that in the event of a reelection the President would call around him fresh and earnest men. He said: “They need not be especially savage about a change. There are now only three left of the original Cabinet with the Government.” He added that he rather thought he would appoint Mr. Bates to the vacant judgeship if he desired it. He said he would be troubled to fill his place in the Cabinet from Missouri, especially from among the radicals. I thought it would not be necessary to confine himself to Missouri; that he might do better farther South by taking Mr. Holt from Kentucky.
He did not seem to have thought of that before. But said at once: “That would do very well; that would be an excellent appointment. I question if I could do better than that. . . . I had always thought, though I had never mentioned it to anyone, that if a vacancy should occur in the Supreme Bench in any Southern District, I would appoint him, . . . but giving him a place in the Cabinet would not hinder that.”
I told him I should show Grover’s letter to Judge Bates, to which he assented.
SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 230-2; Michael Burlingame and John R. Turner Ettlinger, Editors, Inside Lincoln’s White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 234-5.