James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
the English, with Lincoln Prime Minister, Congress would probably have voted a want of confidence in him and he would then have resigned or appealed to the country. But as Lincoln had said on September 22, and might now have reiterated with equal force: If I was satisfied that the public confidence was more fully possessed by anyone else than by me, and knew of any constitutional way in which he might be put in my place, he should have it. I would gladly yield it to him. But though I believe that I have not so much of the confidence of the people as I had some time since, I do not know that all things considered, any other person has more; and, however that may be, there is no way in which I can have any other man put where I am. I am here. I must do the best I can and bear the responsibility of taking the course which I feel I ought to take.1 In view of this constitutional limitation, the Republican senators in two successive caucuses, assuming to speak for a majority of their party and the nation, reverted unconsciously to earlier English precedents, and by word and deed plainly indicated their belief that the failure to prosecute the war with vigor and success arose from the President being badly advised and dominated by his Secretary of State. A committee of nine was appointed to present their view to the President, who arranged the meeting for the evening of December 18, and who was prepared for the attack, having received Sewards resignation on the previous day: this the Secretary had sent him immediately on learning of the proceedings of the Senate caucus.
The conversation between the President and the senators was animated and free. Wade said that the conduct of the war was left mainly in the hands of men who had no sympathy with the cause, and that the Republicans of the