James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
is not. I trust his fidelity but I cannot understand him.1 Carl Schurz sympathized with Sumner and criticized the President for not adopting the policy of immediate emancipation, but afterwards frankly confessed that Lincoln was wiser than he.2 Greeley, in his Prayer of Twenty Millions, printed in the New York Tribune, said to the President, We complain that the Union cause has suffered and is now suffering immensely from your mistaken deference to rebel slavery. This gave the President an opportunity for a public reply [August 22]. My paramount object in this struggle, he wrote, is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
Lincoln and Greeley may be looked upon as representative exponents of the two policies. There was in their personal relations a fundamental lack of sympathy; they could not see things alike. Lincoln knew men, Greeley did not; Lincoln had a keen sense of humor, Greeley had none; indeed, in all their intercourse of many years, Lincoln never told the serious-minded editor an anecdote or joke, for he knew it would be thrown away. Greeley and the Tribune, though not so powerful at this time in forming public opinion as they had been from 1854 to 1860, exerted still a far-reaching influence and gave expression to thoughts rising in the minds of many earnest men. No one knew this better than the President, who, in stating his policy in a public despatch to Greeley, complimented the editor and those for whom the Tribune spoke. Lincolns words received the widest publication and were undoubtedly read