James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
mainly, it is true, political followers, on whose help he counted for obtaining the much-desired Presidency. This ambition, or rather the unseemly manifestations of it, became the greatest hindrance to his usefulness. His opinion of Lincolns parts was not high, and could hardly have remained unperceived by the President, who in return made no attempt to conceal his judgment that Chase was a very able man.
At this time the Secretary was by no means alone in his estimate of the President. In the minds of many senators and representatives existed a distrust of his ability and force of character, which had been created in those who met him frequently by his lack of dignity, his grotesque expression and manner and his jocular utterances when others were depressed. These eccentricities, when viewed in the damning light of military failure, could not but produce in certain quarters a painful impression. Of the interview between Lincoln, the Cabinet and the senators during the Cabinet crisis, Fessenden wrote sarcastically, The President related several anecdotes, most of which I had heard before.1 While his popularity was waning, he was stronger with the country than with the men at Washington. The people did not come in personal contact with him, and judged him by his formal state papers and his acts. Posterity, having seen his ultimate success, judges him on the same ground and looks with admiration on the patience and determination with which he bore his burden during this gloomy winter. The hand that draws the grotesque traits of Lincoln may disappoint the hero-worshipper, but veracity in the narrative demands the inclusion of this touch which helps to explain the words of disparagement so freely applied to him, and serves as a justification