Monday, July 31, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, August 18, 1863

Blair denounces the practice of dismissing officers without trial as oppressive and wrong. Mentions the case of Lieutenant Kelly, a Pennsylvanian, who, he says, has been unjustly treated. I know not the facts in this particular case, and am aware that a bad President or Secretary might abuse this authority, but a peremptory dismissal without trial is sometimes not only justifiable but necessary. If the authority is abused, let the one who abuses it, whatever his station, be held accountable and, if necessary, impeached.

Stanton wishes me to go with him to Fortress Monroe. Says he has a boat; wants, himself, to go down, etc.

Governor Buckingham was at my house this evening. Has come to Washington to consult in relation to the draft.

In a conversation with General Spinner, the Treasurer, a radical, yet a Democrat of the old school, he condemns the error into which we have fallen of electing too many officers by the people, especially judicial and accounting officers, who should be selected and appointed by an accountable and responsible executive. Admits his mind has undergone a revolution on this subject.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 406-7

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