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The deliberate and successfully country by the stupidity and folly of executed plot of the conspirators to their so-called "peace propositions." defeat Mr. Douglas for President in When the future historian comes to 1860 gave ample proof of their con summarize the facts of which I have solidated power, and indicated un spoken, he will write: "Politically, mistakably their ultimate purpose. from 1843 to 1861, this was the rotTheir last and crowning political
tenest so-called civilized government move was the one in which they had on earth; morally, it was a lazarconvened in Washington, what they house full of dead men's bones; financalled a “ Peace Congress."
cially, it was bankrupt in 1861, and When I tell you that ex-President the conspirators borrowing money at John Tyler, the mere creature of the 12 per cent.” And he will add, to the Texas annexation conspirators of glory of our volunteer army of which 1845, was selected for its president, you formed a part, that “the madness you can without much effort get at of secession and the baseness of slave the intellectual and political status of conspiracies at home and slave piracy nine out of ten of the men who under our flag on the high seas was fussed and fumed and amazed the then stamped out and made impossi
ble forever." * The above address, the first half of which
In the midst of this moral and was given in the October issue, was delivered political abasement and national deby Hon. J. M. Ashley, at Memorial Hall, To gradation of which I have spoken, ledo, Ohio, on June 2, 1890. Gov. Ashley is an
Abraham Lincoln was called by his intelligent observer of events, and his story of what he personally saw, in the great
countrymen to the office of Presidrama of the rebellion, will be read with
dent. deep interest,
Congress convened in extra session
on his proclamation. All the laws my objections. I answered that it necessary for the organization of an was too late now to talk about it, but army were enacted. Full power was that my objections were the same as given him in his discretion to order those I had against Mr. Seward's and direct the army; and for four nomination at Chicago, and that the years, which I need not undertake to unsatisfactory speech which he had summarize to-night, he so adminis- just made in the Senate was an additered the government as at every step tional objection. to command the profound admira I suggested but one name for his tion, not only of the great men of cabinet, and that Edwin M. this country, but of the great men of Stanton, of Ohio, for Secretary of the world.
War (then a member of Mr. BuI did not want Mr. Lincoln to in chanan's cabinet). I had known Mr. vite either Mr. Seward or Mr. Chase Stanton quite intimately from my to seats in his cabinet. I was anxious
I was anxious boyhood, and recognized his great to have them both in the Senate, as I ability and tireless energy. In addilooked on them as great Senators. tion to this, I had repeatedly called And then, I did not feel certain that at Mr. Stanton's house to confer with Mr. Chase (who up to that time had him after he became a member of Mr. given no evidence of financial ability) Buchanan's cabinet, and found him would make a successful Secretary of to be heart and soul against the conthe Treasury; while as a Senator I spirators, that he fully understood was certain that he would stand with their movements, and was ready and the foremost, as he had done during anxious to defeat their plots. his first term in that body. The leg One night, after a protracted interislature of Ohio had just elected him view, he walked to the door with me, for six years, and in view of the ap and he bade me good-night, proaching storm I felt confident he grasped my hand and said: “Stand would make no personal or party firm; you men have committed no mistake in the Senate, while he might blunder yet.” When I repeated these fail as Secretary of the Treasury. It words to Mr. Lincoln, and related in was generally rumored, early in Jan- substance other interviews of a like uary, that Mr. Seward was to be Sec- character, and told him something retary of State, and when I met Mr. of Mr. Stanton's early life in Ohio, I Lincoln soon after he reached Wash saw that I made an impression on ington, and this announcement was Mr. Lincoln quite favorable to him. confirmed by him, I simply said: But when the cabinet “Mr. President, I cannot tell you how nounced I was about as disappointed much I regret it." He expressed as any man in Washington, because some surprise, and wanted to know there was but one man in it for whom
I would have voted, as a first choice, than one friend of ability and posiand for him only because he was from tion, and every word or line that a border slave State, and that man made it mean anything was stricken was Mr. Bates, of Missouri, for Attor out, and every word or suggestion ney-General.
was deliberately added that could Of course, I was delighted when possibly make it more foggy or later on Mr. Lincoln made Mr. Stan nebulous. ton Secretary of War.
The day of its delivery in the SenAll the objections I then had to ate was a solemn and memorable one, Mr. Seward as Secretary of State, not only in Washington, but throughand many more, soon became patent to out the country. The great heart of the ordinary observer.
the nation was still and heavy with I had never regarded Mr. Seward apprehension. Every loyal citizen as a practical man, nor a safe party expected and longed to have pointed leader, except for a party in the out to him the way to preserve the minority. His speech of January national unity and national life with12th, 1861, in the Senate, after it was out dishonor. Never in our history known he had been selected by Mr. has there been such an occasion for a Lincoln for Secretary of State, and statesman, and never before his official blunders after he became there such a failure. Secretary, tell the story of his utter Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, then inability to safely and successfully an old man (and by far the ablest lead a great party charged with the man with whom I served in Conadministration of a government such gress), walked over with me from the
ours during the dark days from House to the Senate Chamber. We 1861 to 1865.
both had seats in the aisle, a little in He who now reads that speech of front of Mr. Seward's desk, and could Mr. Seward, in the light of history, hear him distinctly. I need not say will fully comprehend that his lead- that we listened, as did every one in ership was like the blind leading the that vast audience and in the entire blind.
nation, for one word or thought that That speech was prepared by Mr. would stir our hearts or give us hope. Seward with more than his usual But no such word or suggestion came .care, as it should have been, before in that speech from the man who was its delivery in the Senate by the man so soon to be charged with the most soon to become Prime Minister, delicate and responsible office in Mr.
After it had been written and put Lincoln's cabinet, in type, it was reviewed, and recast, I have more than once seen both and conned over and over again, not the Senate and House in mourning, only by Mr. Seward, but by more but never did I see so sad an audi
ence quit the Senate Chamber as on of words and metaphors, and there that day.
While walking back with Stevens I was anxious from the day of the towards the House I said: “Mr. delivery of that speech until the ReStevens, what do you say to all that?" publican Senators, with but one disHis answer was short, sharp and char- senting vote, requested Mr. Lincoln acteristic. He said: "I have listened to dismiss Mr. Seward from his cabito every word, and by the living God, net. And though the President did I have heard nothing." After going not comply with that request of the with Mr. Stevens to his committee Republican Senators, I then room, I immediately returned to the
thought and now think he should Senate, to get the opinions of the have done, I felt confident that we Senators with whom I was intimate. should from that time on have less of Taking Mr. Wade by the hand, I Mr. Seward's amazing assumption, said: “Well, Mr. Senator, what have that (when in his hand) “the pen you to say?" And he answered: “If
was mightier than the sword.” Mr. we follow such leadership, we will be Lincoln's position and leadership was in the wilderness longer than the unquestioned from this date. children of Israel under Moses.” Mr. Sumner said: “I knew what was coming, but confess that I am sad." Immediately after entering upon Zac. Chandler did not wait for my his duties as Secretary of State, Mr. question, but as I approached him Seward assumed to direct all departraised his hands and exclaimed : ments of the government, substan“Great God! how are the mighty
how are the mighty tially as if he were a British prime fallen !”
minister and Mr. Lincoln but the And this was the judgment of a nominal executive. majority of our friends, in both the Without consulting either the Senate and House, with whom at that President, the Secretary of War, or time I exchanged opinions about the the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Sewspeech. It was reluctantly admitted ard undertook, secretly and on his that it meant a backdown to the con own responsibility, to direct the movespirators.
ments of military and naval officers And this, alas ! was the best, and as if he were, in fact, President.
He all, the new prime minister had to caused the rebel authorities in offer us.
Instead of pointing out the Charleston to be notified by telepath of duty and safety as a states graph that the “administration had man should have done, he led us into given a confidential order to reinforce the wilderness, enveloped in a cloud Fort Sumter,” to whịch Mr. Seward