“I Know Meaner Things about Governor Chase”
If Mr. Chase departed from the Cabinet with any unfriendness towards the President, we may be sure that Lincoln did not hold any such feeling towards Chase. When Roger B. Taney, Chief-Justice of the United States, died in 1864, the friends of Mr. Chase clamorously demanded that the ex-Secretary of the Treasury should take the place thus made vacant on the bench of the Supreme Court. Indeed, there was a very general public feeling that this appointment would be a wise one, although Mr. Lincoln’s immediate friends, mindful of Chase’s conduct in the Cabinet, remonstrated against his elevation to the lofty post of Chief-Justice. While this discussion was going on, the writer of these lines had occasion to visit the President in his private office. The President, who was in a happy frame of mind, jocularly asked, “What are people talking about now?” His caller replied that they were discussing the probability of Chase’s being appointed Chief-Justice. The smile on the President’s face faded, and he said with gravity and sadness: “My friends all over the country are trying to put up the bars between me and Governor Chase. I have a vast number of messages and letters, from men who think they are my friends, imploring and warning me not to appoint him.” He paused for a moment, and then, pointing to a pile of telegrams and letters on the table, said: “Now, I know meaner things about Governor Chase than any of those men can tell me; but I am going to nominate him.” Three days after that the appointment was made public.
Abraham Lincoln: the nation’s leader in the great struggle through which was maintained the existence of the United States,by Noah Brooks Noah Brooks, “Personal Reminiscences of Lincoln,” Scribner’s Monthly 15 (March 1878), p. 677.
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April 11, 2020 at 14:33
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