Cameron’s visit brings results, for Lincoln writes: “I think fit to notify you now, that by your permission, I shall, at the proper time, nominate you to the U.S. Senate, for confirmation as Secretary of the Treasury, or as Secretary of War—which of the two, I have not yet definitely decided.” Lincoln also writes to Chase of Ohio, asking him to come to Springfield at once. CW, IV, 168.
Simon Cameron, cabinet candidate from Pennsylvania, arrives in Springfield. He proceeds to Lincoln’s residence, where he is received with Lincoln’s “customary artless Western heartiness.” N.Y. Herald, Jan. 7. Later they talk at Cameron’s hotel, and are accidentally joined by Edward Bates. Edward Bates, Diary.
Lincoln is convinced that Gulf states will secede, and is watching border states “with daily increasing interest.” N.Y. Herald, Jan. 3, 1861. Lincoln and Nicolay move out of governor’s office at state house. Lincoln plans to spend most of his time at home, and Nicolay takes room in Johnson’s Building, across from Chenery House. Lincoln expects to come in occasionally. ISLA—Nicolay Memo. Lincoln replies to William Cullen Bryant, who warned him about compromises of “well-known politician.” Lincoln says he did not press any compromise. “As to the matter of the cabinet, … I shall have a great deal of trouble, do the best I can.” He writes Seward his reaction to four names Seward proposed for cabinet. Lincoln also answers letter from James Watson Webb, New York Editor, Forts must be held or retaken. CW, IV, 163–65.
Lincoln writes Trumbull: “Gen. Duff Green is out here endeavoring to draw a letter out of me. I have written one, which herewith I inclose to you, and which I believe could not be used to our disadvantage. Still, if, on consultation with our discreet friends, you conclude that it may do us harm, do not deliver it.” [Enclosure, which states that Lincoln would not oppose constitutional amendment, and that he would uphold right of each state to control its domestic institutions, is not delivered.] CW, IV, 162–63.
“That popular mania—the collection of autographs of distinguished men.” “Herald” correspondent writes, “—has proved of late a source of considerable annoyance to Mr. Lincoln also, and hardly a mail reaches here without bringing him numerous requests.” N.Y. Herald, Jan. 5, 1861. Lincoln begins daily morning sittings for Thomas D. Jones, Cincinnati sculptor, at improvised studios at St. Nicholas Hotel. This hour enables Lincoln to escape visitors, relax, and think. Among the matters on his mind is struggle for and against Cameron. Lincoln writes memorandum of charges that Cameron bought his election to Senate in 1857, listing witnesses for and against him. He concludes that weight of evidence is for Cameron. Thomas D. Jones, Memories of Lincoln, 5–8; CW, IV, 165–67.
Two notables arrive in Springfield, Lincoln’s old friend E. D. Baker and David Wilmot of Pennsylvania. Lincoln calls on Wilmot at his hotel and spends most of day. N.Y. Tribune, Dec. 25. Lincoln writes to Trumbull. Lincoln has heard that South Carolina forts are to be surrendered. If true, he intends to announce publicly that they are to be retaken, to give Union men “a rallying cry.” He thanks Isaac N. Morris, Quincy, for introducing Union resolution in Congress, and asks Hamlin to find New Englander of Democratic antecedents for cabinet. “Or shall I decide for myself?” CW, IV, 161–62. Lincoln buys yard goods for his wife, and 11 handkerchiefs for Christmas presents. H.E. Pratt, 150.
Informed of rumor that Buchanan has instructed Major Anderson to surrender Fort Sumter if attacked, Lincoln exclaims, “If that is true they ought to hang him!” He adds that he has just written to Washburne “to tell General Scott confidentially that I wished him to be prepared, immediately after my inauguration, to make arrangements at once to hold the forts, or, if they had been taken, to take them back again.” ISLA—Nicolay Memo., Ms. Lincoln writes Major David Hunter that he thinks forts must be retaken, if they fall. Lincoln acknowledges letter from Peter H. Silvester of Coxsackie, N.Y., former colleague in Congress, but has time to write no more than that, and: “If Mr. B. surrenders the forts, I think they must be retaken.” He replies to letter from Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia, another former congressional colleague, assuring him that South will not be harmed by Republican rule. CW, IV, 159–61.
Lincoln informs Trumbull of Weed’s visit, and says he gave him three resolutions which might do much good “if introduced, and unanimously supported by our friends.” He advises Gov. Curtin on Curtin’s inaugural remarks: “I think you would do well to express, without passion, threat, or appearance of boasting, but nevertheless, with firmness, the purpose of yourself, and your state to maintain the Union at all hazzards.” He thanks Francis P. Blair Sr. of Washington for his account of Blair’s interview with Gen. Scott. “If the forts shall be given up before the inauguration, the General must retake them afterwards.” Washburne has also talked to Scott, and reported. Lincoln writes Washburne to tell commanding general forts must be held or retaken. CW, IV, 157–59.
Thurlow Weed arrives and calls on Lincoln at home, where they confer until mid-afternoon. It is rumored that Weed has received little encouragement for his proposed compromise. Lincoln draws up three short resolutions for presentation to Republicans of Senate Committee of Thirteen. News of secession of South Carolina reaches Springfield and produces sensation. Lincoln, however, receives it calmly. CW, IV, 156–57; N.Y. Tribune, Dec. 21; N.Y. Herald, Dec. 25. Mrs. Lincoln buys more yard goods and edging. H.E. Pratt, 150.
Mississippian, “a live disunionist, wearing the emblem of secession.” calls on Lincoln. When conversation turns to secession, Southerner makes sullen remarks. Lincoln defines stand of his party and presents copy of Lincoln-Douglas debates, autographed. Visitor is visibly chastened. N.Y. Herald, Dec. 24.
Lincoln writes announcement of appointment of Edward Bates to cabinet for insertion in “Missouri Democrat.” To John D. Defrees he comments: “I am sorry any republican inclines to dally with Pop. Sov. of any sort. It acknowledges that slavery has equal rights with liberty, and surrenders all we have contended for.” He writes Montgomery Blair of Maryland that he is corresponding with Gilmer. Trumbull can show Blair copy of Lincoln’s letter. He complains to Henry J. Raymond of New York “Times” about misrepresentations of Mississippian, William Smedes, whose writing “Times” has published. “A very mad-man,” says Lincoln. CW, IV, 154–56.
Lincoln writes Trumbull and Weed: let there be no compromise on slavery extension. To weed he defines his position on secession: “My opinion is that no state can, in any way lawfully, get out of the Union, without the consent of the others; and that it is the duty of the President, and other government functionaries to run the machine as it is.” CW, IV, 153–54. Mrs. Lincoln buys and charges yard goods and edging. H.E. Pratt, 150.
On invitation of Lincoln, Bates of Missouri is in Springfield. He spends most of day with Lincoln, and it is rumored he has been offered cabinet post. N.Y. Tribune, Dec. 17. Lincoln writes confidential letter to John A. Gilmer, North Carolina congressman. Declining to write for publication, Lincoln emphasizes conservative nature of his views. CW, IV, 151–53.
“The appearance of Mr. Lincoln has somewhat changed for the worse within the last week.” “Herald” reporter writes. “He … looks more pale and careworn. … But … the vigor of his mind and steadiness of his humorous disposition are obviously unimpaired.” N.Y. Herald, Dec. 20.
Lincoln stiffens another Illinois congressman, Washburne. “Prevent, as far as possible, any of our friends from demoralizing themselves, and our cause, by entertaining propositions for compromise of any sort, on ‘slavery extension.’ ”CW, IV, 151. Lincoln buys yard goods and 75¢ pocket handkerchief at John Williams’ store. H.E. Pratt, 150. At night Lincoln attends wedding “of his friend … Hon. O. M. Hatch, the Secretary of State, to Miss Enos, of this city.” N.Y. Herald, Dec. 20.
Blair spends most of day with Lincoln. He denounces compromise and concession. N.Y. Herald, Dec. 17. Lincoln replies to demands that he place in his cabinet two or three Southerners from opposition parties by publishing short editorial in “Illinois State Journal.” Who knows whether they would accept? If so, who surrenders, they or Lincoln? Or do they commence “in open opposition?” CW, IV, 150. Mrs. Lincoln buys and charges $8 shawl and 14 yards of “Moreno” ($15.40). H.E.Pratt, 150.
Lincoln writes William Kellogg, congressman from Illinois, letter similar to one just sent Trumbull. CW, IV, 150. In Springfield secession is now considered certain. “The President elect is prepared for the inevitable calamity, and his plans of action, it is said, are being adapted to it.” N.Y. Herald, Dec. 15. Francis P. Blair Jr. of St. Louis confers with Lincoln. Ibid., Dec. 17.
Lincoln writes Trumbull again: “Let there be no compromise on the question of extending slavery. If there be, all our labor is lost, and, ere long, must be done again. The dangerous ground—that into which some of our friends have a hankering to run—is Pop. Sov. Have none of it. Stand firm. The tug has to come, & better now, than any time hereafter.” CW, IV, 149–150.
Lincoln writes William H. Seward: “With your permission, I shall, at the proper time, nominate you to the Senate, for confirmation, as Secretary of State, for the United States.” He encloses this note in letter to Hamlin, asking him to consult with Trumbull, “and if you and he see no reason to the contrary, deliver the letter to Governor Seward at once. If you see reason to the contrary, write me at once.” He writes explanatory letter to Seward, and letter to Trumbull asking him to confer with Hamlin about Seward, sending copies of both letters to Seward. CW, IV, 147–49.
After reading text of Buchanan’s message, Lincoln is considerably mollified. N.Y. Herald, Dec. 11. Lincoln turns back “Illinois Staats-Anzeiger” to Theodore Canisius. Across back of May 30, 1859 contract he certifies that Canisius has fulfilled obligations, and therefore, for consideration, he conveys to him type, paper and good will. Barton, I, 423.
Illinois electoral college meets and casts its vote for Lincoln and Hamlin. Lincoln and electors dine at home of James C. Conkling. N.Y. Tribune, Dec. 6. He reads synopsis of Buchanan’s message, and is irritated at what he considers President’s desire to place responsibility for secession crisis on free states. N.Y. Herald, Dec. 10. Mrs. Lincoln buys and charges “3 yds. Cashmere @ 1.40.” H.E. Pratt, 150.
“Mr. Lincoln’s room was crowded all day during reception hours,” reporter writes, “and there was no end of introductions, salutations, congratulations, compliments, etc. etc. The attention of the President-elect is now fixed on Congress. He awaits the appearance of his predecessor’s Message with the greatest anxiety.” George Fogg is again in town, spending much time with Lincoln. N.Y. Herald, Dec. 9.
Joshua R. Giddings, Ohio abolitionist, has long interview with Lincoln. “Mr. Lincoln keeps himself fully posted as to the conditions of the money market. Mr. Dubois, the State Auditor … furnishes him constantly such information as enables him to understand the strange capers of your bulls and bears.” N.Y. Herald, Dec. 9.