|James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.|
|conference of the previous evening, although somewhat surprised at having to treat with the members of the Cabinet (except Seward) as well as with the President. He opened the meeting with a defence of the Cabinet and the Administration. Secretary Chase endorsed the Presidents statement fully and entirely. 1 This was a surprise to the Radical senators who regarded Chase as their leader and had been influenced by his strictures of the President and the Secretary of State. But Chase when thus brought to bay found himself swayed by esprit de corps and by the thought that he and Seward had for many years wrought together in the anti-slavery cause; he therefore stood up manfully for the Secretary of State and for the rest of his associates. Grimes, Sumner and Trumbull were pointed, emphatic and unequivocal in their opposition to Seward, whose zeal and sincerity in this conflict they doubted; each was unrelenting and unforgiving.
The President managed his own case, speaking freely and showed great tact, shrewdness and ability.
He considered it most desirous to conciliate the senators with respectful deference whatever may have been his opinion of their interference. 2 Fessenden objected to discussing the merits or demerits of a member of the Cabinet in the presence of his associates, whereupon the members of the Cabinet withdrew; though it was nearly midnight, Fessenden and some of the senators remained. Fessenden said to the President: You have asked my opinion upon Mr. Sewards removal. There is a current rumor that he has already resigned. If so, our opinions are of no consequence on that point. The President admitted that Seward had tendered his resignation, but added that he had not yet accepted it. Then, sir, said Fessenden, the question seems to be whether Mr. Seward |