James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
for those who could not in the winter of 186263 see with the eyes of to-day. Had his other qualities been enhanced by Washingtons dignity of manner, not so many had been deceived; but as it was we cannot wonder that his contemporaries failed to appreciate his greatness. Since his early environment in fostering his essential capabilities had not bestowed on him the external characteristics usually attributed to transcendent leaders of men, it was not suspected that, despite his lowly beginning, he had developed into a man of extraordinary mental power.
Seward, with his amiable and genial manners, was an agreeable man in council. Fertile in suggestion, he must, in spite of his personal failings, have been exceedingly helpful to Lincoln, whose slow-working mind was undoubtedly often assisted to a decision by the various expedients which his Secretary of State put before him; for it is frequently easier for an executive to choose one out of several courses than to invent a policy. The members of the Cabinet who filled the public eye were Seward, Chase and Stanton and they demand a proportionate attention from the historian. It was either on Seward or Stanton that the President leaned the most; and the weight of evidence, confirmed by the fact of his urbanity, points to the Secretary of State as his favorite counsellor.
Though Lincoln made up his mind slowly, once he had come to a decision, he was thenceforth inflexible. By gradual steps he had evolved the policy of emancipation and he was determined to stick to it in spite of the defeat of his party at the ballot-box and of his principal army in the field during the hundred days that intervened between the preliminary proclamation of September 22 and the necessary complement of January 1, 1863. Although the form of the preliminary proclamation implied that some of