James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
entirely peaceful; to use Sewards own words less than three months before, there is not a nation on earth that is not an interested, admiring friend.1 Seward had got it into his head that, if our nation should provoke a foreign war, the cotton States would unite in amity with the North and like brothers fight the common foe under the old flag. Lincoln of course saw that the foreign policy proposed was wild and foolish but ignored it in his considerate reply to Some Thoughts for the Presidents Consideration; he kept the existence of the paper rigidly a secret;2 he did not demand the Secretarys resignation; he had for him no word of sarcasm or reproach.
The President submitted to another drain on his time and strength in the persistent scramble for office. The grounds, halls, stairways, closets of the White House, wrote Seward, are filled with office seekers; and Lincoln said, I seem like one sitting in a palace assigning apartments to importunate applicants, while the structure is on fire and likely soon to perish in ashes.3 When he ought to have been able to concentrate his mind on the proper attitude to the seceding States, he was hampered by the ceaseless demands for a lucrative recognition from his supporters and by the irrational proposals of the chief of his Cabinet.
The great problem now was Sumter. What should be done about it? On the day after his inauguration, the President was informed that Anderson believed a reënforcement of 20,000 men necessary for the defence of the post;4