Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 194
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 194
 
 
man at the council board. Moreover, his temperament differed so essentially from the President’s that sympathetic relations between the two men were impossible. Chase was handsome, of commanding presence, careful in dress, courtly in manner. A graduate of Dartmouth, he had a fair knowledge of Latin and Greek and the reverence for them of an educated lawyer. He was widely read, and even in his busy life as member of the Cabinet, found his recreation in improving his acquaintance with good English and French literature. He cared neither for cards nor for the theatre. A serious, thoughtful man in every walk of life, he brought to the business of his Department a well thought-out method.  27
  Lincoln, plain and ungainly, gave no thought to the graces of life and lacked the accomplishments of a gentleman, as no one knew better than himself. He had no system in the disposition of his time or in the preparation of his work. During his term of office he confined his reading of books mainly to military treatises and to works which guided him in the solution of questions of constitutional and international law, although he occasionally snatched an hour to devote to his beloved Shakespeare and revealed in his state papers an undiminished knowledge of the Bible. He found recreation in the theatre and has left on record his pleasure at Hackett’s impersonation of Falstaff. As Hamlet had a peculiar charm for him, Edwin Booth’s presentation of the rôle must have afforded him a rare delight. Possessed of a keen sense of humor he was a capital storyteller and in this capacity must often have grated on the serious temper of his finance minister who had no humor in him and but little knowledge of men.  28
  Chase’s private correspondence reveals him to our surprise in friendly communication with many cheap persons,
 

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