William H. Seward once said that “Weed is Seward, and Seward is Weed, each approves what the other says or does.”1Weed’s grandson, Thurlow Weed Barnes, wrote: “There were never two men in politics who worked together or understood each other better than Mr.[William H.] Seward and Mr. Weed. Neither controlled the other in any objectionable sense. One did not always lead, and the other follow. They were friends, in the best, the rarest, and the highest sense. They were like two brothers with whom nearly all interest are common. Their names had become almost like synonymous terms, but each was so different from the other, and each was so much of a man himself, that it used to be said that some day they must clash and separate. That day never came. Mr. Weed’s hand directed all the movements of the canvass, and his advice was followed with unquestioning confidence.”2
Nevertheless, journalist Henry B. Stanton recalled a conversation in 1857-1858 in Washington in which Seward said: “Mr. Weed is a very peculiar man. He is a very secretive man. He is an unfathomable man. He thinks I am always driving everything to the devil. But throughout my public life he has told me to do this or that particular thing, and I have done it. He has told me not to do that and I have refrained from doing it. Whether in all this he was cheating me or cheating somebody else, (for I take it for granted he is always cheating somebody), I don’t know.”3
Thurlow Weed was a political legend in his own time. “The very thoroughness and frankness of Weed’s bossism produced dissension in New York. The name of Weed connoted tricky politics,” wrote historian James G. Randall. “In 1859-60 he had headed ‘a scheme to furnish, through the New York legislature, charters for city railroads, whose grantees were in turn to supply several hundred thousand dollars for the Republican campaign of 1860, in which Seward was expected to be the party candidate.’ As a result of such methods there had arisen an influential anti-Seward faction of the Republican party in New York, headed by powerful Greeley, and graced by the adherence of the highminded W[illiam].C. Bryant” of the New York Evening Post.4
“Thurlow Weed was a leader of nimble wit, genial, lovable personality, and utter unscrupulousness, so far as politics were concerned, in aim and method.” wrote historian Burton J. Hendrick. “The son of a shiftless farmer who occasionally spent periods in debtors’ prison, Weed grew up with almost no schooling, starting to earn his living as a child of eight as assistant to a blacksmith and rising, at eleven to an apprenticeship as printer’s devil; at thirty-three he was a full-fledged editor, proprietor of the Albany Evening Journal.”5 According to Albert Shaw, “Living in Albany, Mr. Weed’s relations with the legislature and the State government were close, and he was one of those ‘practical’ politicians always to be found in both leading parties, who have for more than a hundred years practised the peculiar arts of machine politics in the State of New York.”6
Weed had great political skills. “New York had known political bosses before Weed’s ascendancy, but hardly one who had constructed a machine so selfish in its purpose and so well oiled in its articulation. By all accounts he was the ablest spoilsman who had thus far appeared in the state whose politics, in the words of Seward’s other guardian angel, John Quincy Adams, were ‘the devil’s own incomprehensibles,” wrote Burton J. Hendrick.7 New York Republican politician Chauncey M. Depew recalled watching Weed work the convention delegates at the 1858 Republican State Convention. Depew “noticed, as each delegate was introduced, that Mr. Weed had some neighborhood recollections of the man which put a tag on him.”8 But those political skills were not the kind needed to win elections himself. “He was a man who never spoke in public, content to distribute the spoils without taking office for himself, a natural politician, evidently not overscrupulous, but of great magnetism in personal contact,” wrote historian Sidney David Brummer. “Weed’s genius for organization, which even an enemy had to admit, his usually sure judgment in regard to men and measures, and his ‘mystery and secretiveness that neither wine nor passion ever betrayed,’ all contributed to make him the greatest political strategist of his day.”9
Among Senator Seward’s backers at the 1860 Republican National Convention, noted Seward supporter Carl Schurz, “Weed moved as the great captain, with ceaseless activity and noiseless step, receiving their reports and giving new instructions in his peculiar whisper, now and then taking one into a corner of the room for secret talk, or disappearing with another through a side door for transactions still more secret.”10 Others like Gideon Welles were less attracted to Weed’s political skills. Welles later wrote that the “King of the Lobby…this unscrupulous man and his vicious adherents were obnoxious to sincere and genuine Republicans in all quarters.”11
“Weed’s smooth-shaven face had the unperturbed serenity of a Quaker patriarch,” wrote Jay Monaghan in Diplomat in Carpet Slippers. “His long nose resembled a plowshare and careful observers noted that his left eyebrow curled upward at the extremity. Thus one side of his face was pious, the other resembled Mephistopheles. Calm, even-tempered, always unruffled, Weed had backed Seward for the Presidency against Lincoln and had lost. It was said that the stone lions on Seward’s gateposts in Auburn wept salt tears when the news came. Weed did not flinch. His poker face remained as unmoved as by a hand at cards.”12
“Thurlow Weed was as strange as Seward was remarkable. Tall, slender, awkward, and solemn, in his ways, he had a stoop in his shoulders that did not come from study of books, but from bending over in a confidential way to hear to hear what others had to say. He was the most confidential man in manner I ever encountered,” wrote Ohio journalist-politician Donn Piatt. “He won men as a heartless belle wins lovers, through the use of his ears, and in this he had not only unwearied patience, but a confidential air that impressed his victim, as the belle does her admirer, with the belief that he was the only one in all the world in whom he thus confided. His manner, in this respect, was simply superb. He never spoke save in a subdued tone, as if he feared others might hear what he was very careful never to utter.”13
Rival editor Horace Greeley later wrote: “Thurlow Weed was of coarser mould and fibre, — tall, robust, dark-featured, shrewd, resolute, and not over-scrupulous, — keen-sighted, though not far-seeing. Writing slowly, and with difficulty, he was for twenty-years the most sententious and pungent writer of editorial paragraphs on the American press.”14Greeley added: “In pecuniary matters, he was generous to a fault while poor; he is said to be less so since he became rich; but I am no longer in a position to know. I can not doubt, however, that if he had never seen Wall Street or Washington, had never heard of the Stock Board, or had lived in some yet undiscovered country, where legislation is never bought and sold, his life would have been more blameless, useful and happy.”15
Journalist Donn Piatt attributed much of William H. Seward’s political success to Weed. “Thurlow Weed made up in cunning all he lacked in brains. His opinions were convictions so long as they harmonized with the majority, and on that majority depended his earnestness in their utterance. He realized at an early day that nothing so offends as unpopular views, and he made it a point never offend in that way. As he had no views of his own, this was easy.”16 But Weed did have loyalties, even his enemies admitted. After Seward’s defeat at the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago, the New York Senator wrote Weed: “You have my unbounded gratitude for this last as for a whole life of efforts in my behalf. I wish I were as sure that your sense of disappointment is as light as my own. It ought to be equally so, if we have been equally thoughtful and zealous for friends, party, and country. I know not what has been left undone that could have been done, or done that ought to be regretted.”17
“Weed made a great success of his cleverly organized machine in New York, and he secured Seward upon the pedestal at Washington, where his brilliant parts won him a national reputation. At Chicago, however, Weed’s management proved Seward’s defeat when the attempt was made to nominate New York’s favorite as the candidate of the newly-organized party,” wrote Donn Piatt who attended the convention. He contended that Seward would have been nominated “had not Weed, to overcome the outside pressure at Chicago, imported a body of roughs from New York City to roar down the Illinois crowd. These bully-grog bruisers were then new to conventions, and they frightened and offended the men they were intended to influence.”18
“Mr Weed was for a time, completely unnerved by the result at Chicago,” wrote Thurlow Weed Barnes. “He even shed tears over the defeat of his old friend — as who would not over the defeat of a friend…..With a few companions — his daughter Harriet, Mrs. Welles and daughter, Mr. Julius Wood, and others — he started for Iowa, to visit a tract of land which had stood in his name for several years, but upon which his yes had never rested. Returning east, after a few days, he accepted a cordial invitation to visit Mr. Lincoln, and a short stop was made at Springfield for that purpose.”19 Gideon Welles, who was in Chicago for the Convention and in Springfield for the formal announcement of Mr. Lincoln’s nomination, had a different interpretation on Weed’s behavior. Weed, wrote Welles, “deemed it polite to postpone his visit for a few days until after the first rush from Chicago was over and the members of the convention had dispersed. Without letting his intention be known, and in order to deceive and be free of suspicion, instead of returning to Albany, or going south to Springfield, he left Chicago for the great Northwest, under the pretence of visiting that interesting portion of the country.”20
Mr. Lincoln’s friend and fellow Illinois attorney, Leonard Swett, later wrote: “Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Weed, to use our rough phrase, naturally ‘took to each other’ from the very day they met, and their relations grew gradually more agreeable and friendly until the day of the former’s death. Often, when knotty questions arose, Mr. Lincoln would send for him for consultation, or, stating a case, ask him to arrange or suggest a way in which what he wanted to be done could be done most easily. More than a score of times, I believe, such messages have been sent through me; and while Mr. Weed was a man always wanting political positions for the army of friends who depended on him, and sometimes complained that he did not get his share, he never availed himself of a pinch or necessity to get what otherwise he found difficulty in obtaining. He did what was wanted to be done, or devised what was to be devised, with cheerfulness, never intermingling with such services any complaints or requests, and never demanding political rewards for them.”21
Weed’s and Seward’s defeat in Chicago was followed by success in the 1860 presidential, gubernatorial and legislative elections. But Weed’s power had peaked and his enemies were no longer afraid of the man many had called “The Dictator. “The opponents of Weed had two powerful organs in Greeley’sTribune and Bryant’s Post. But they lacked a general equal in political ability to Weed, and it was their misfortune to be led by so poor a politician as Greeley,” wrote historian Sidney David Brummer. “The existence of this faction, however, served to temper the sway of Weed. Up to 1860, he had kept firm control over his party. He was another Warwick, making senators, governors, and state officers; and in the three decades previous to that year, but three state conventions refused to follow his lead. Speakers of the assembly had been wont to consult him when forming their committees. Those who aspired to office sought his influence. But beginning about 1860, the anti-Weed men raised their heads.”22
Weed’s impact on President Lincoln’s administration was negative, according to historian Brummer. He wrote that “those who upheld the national administration in New York were not only weakened by the existence of a strong opposition party but also embittered by internal feuds. For the latter, Thurlow Weed was largely chargeable. Magnificent politician thought he was, genuine lover of his country, he — whether through Seward’s fault or his own — mistakenly reversed his former course to enter upon his border state policy; and in his hatred of abolitionists, he at time during the war approached quite close to Democratic ground. Weed in his worship of the god of expedience lost a rare chance of rising to the elevation of a statesman. Had his influence been removed, there is little or nothing to show that the administration supporters in this State would have split into radical and conservative wings. A least, his evil genius was responsible for the extent of the division.”23
Weed had many contemporary critics. An erstwhile newspaper editor, Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, wrote in mid-August 1864 that “Thurlow Weed has control of the Evening Journal of Albany and to a considerable extent of the press of the State of Whig antecedents. He is sagacious, unscrupulous, has ability and great courage, with little honest principle, is fertile in resources, a keen party tactician, but cannot win respect and confidence, for he does not deserve them. For some time past he has been ingratiating himself with the Copperhead journals and leaders, and by his skill has made fools of their editors, but I apprehend has not fooled their leading managers. He evidently believes, not without reason, he is using them; they know they are using him; to some extent each may deceive the other. There is a feigned difference between him and Seward, or there has been, but no one is misled by it. Weed is indispensable to Seward and the master mind of the two. This is as well known to the Copperhead leaders as to any persons. Recently Weed has been here and has had interviews with the President, to what purpose, whether of his own volition or by invitation, I have never inquired. I have noticed that Seward endeavors to impress on the President the value of Weed’s opinion, especially in party matters.”24
Brooklyn preacher Henry Ward Beecher said that “no man was shrewder. He as a great character, and he looked quite through the deeds of men. But he thought to be born with a burden of lazy shiftless, or of a mean cunning, was almost the heaviest curse of heaven, and that those of us who came into life better equipped, through no desert of our own, owed these incurables something in the way of help.”25
Weed’s headquarters in New York City was Room 11 in the old Astor Hotel near City Hall. “Mr. Weed was ever accessible, not only to politicians of every grade and complexion, but to mere strangers, land hunters, place seekers, and solicitors of charity,” wrote an acquaintance. “An extraordinarily good-hearted man he was, always willing to interest himself in the cause of any one, however humble, and to give time and money to whomsoever asked for both, or either. During the long period that he occupied Room 11, there was a ceaseless stream of humanity flowing in and out of the door, and it is believed that no one ever left him with a heavier heart than he carried into his presence.”26
“But sometimes he would deny himself to all, perhaps to take a nap, and great men might importune in vain,” wrote Weed’s grandson. “On one occasion, when several eminent gentlemen were thus waiting, they were surprised, and at first much vexed, by seeing a negro promptly admitted. The negro soon reappeared, and hastily left the house, when it was learned that he was a runaway slave, and had been aided in his flight for liberty by the man who was too busy to attend to cabinet officers, but had time to say words of encouragement and present means of support to a flying fugitive.”27
Historian Chester L. Barrows wrote: “First as Whig and then as Republican, he played the role of Warwick, making senators and governors, dictating to state conventions, distributing patronage, and directing legislation. Not that he was dishonest or selfish; he did not use politics for his own purse or advancement. But he loved power and had a way with men. Tall, with a slight stoop and a benevolent air, he could easily be taken for a scholarly man. He paid liberally for favors and was a friend of the unfortunate. From his headquarters at No. 11 Astor Hotel he exercised a political control that some presidents might envy; here the state patronage was dispensed, and slates of scheming politicians were smashed.”28
As tricky as Weed was reputed to be, Mr. Lincoln usually managed to maintain the upper hand in their relations. Historian James G. Randall wrote: “There were efforts to get him while President Elect, to go to Auburn and confer with Seward in his home. Had he gone it would have been a good deal like launching his administration with Seward and Weed in command. But, as Welles relates, Lincoln ‘knew too much of the proprieties of his position…to put himself in the keeping of any man or men.’ It was after Lincoln’s refusal to come to Auburn that Weed made his December  visit to Springfield with its disappointing results in terms of large control. The difference between Lincoln going to Auburn and Weed coming to Springfield was considerable. Under trying circumstances the new and untried leader had made a real decision. He had taken on Seward, though with more reluctance than is generally realized, but, in the matter of unofficial advisers, he had virtually refused to take on Weed.”29
Biographer Glyndon Van Deusen wrote: “Soon after the election Weed urged Lincoln to visit Seward at Auburn and there consult on the Cabinet, as Harrison had done with Clay at Lexington in 1841. The President-elect showing no disposition to imitate his illustrious predecessor, Weed suggested that Seward and Lincoln meet at Chicago. This also being declined, Weed intercepted [Hannibal] Hamlin, who was enroute to a Lincoln conference, and told him that the offer of the State Department was an honor due to Seward and to New York. Hamlin understood Weed to say that Seward would decline the post, if it were proffered.”30
In December 1861, Weed met with President-elect Lincoln, David Davis and Leonard Swett about the composition of his cabinet. “Mr. Lincoln remarked, smiling, ‘that he supposed I had had some experience in cabinet-making; that he had a job on hand, and as he had never learned that trade he was disposed to avail himself of the suggestions of friends.'” Weed replied “that though never a boss cabinet maker, I had, as a journeyman, been occasionally consulted about State Cabinets; and that, although President Taylor once talked with me about re-forming his Cabinet, I had never been concerned in, or presumed to meddle with, the formation of an original Federal Cabinet, and that he was the first President-elect I had ever seen.”31 Lincoln chronicler Francis Fisher Browne wrote: “In this way, the conversation being alternately earnest and playful, two days passed very pleasantly, I wish it were possible to give, in Mr. Lincoln’s amusing but quaint manner, the many stories, anecdotes and witticisms with which he interlarded and enlivened what with almost any of his predecessors in the high office of President would have been a grave, dry consultation. The great merit of Mr. Lincoln’s stories, like Captain Bunsby’s opinion, ‘lays in the application on it.’ They always and exactly suited the occasion and the object, and none to which I ever listened were far-fetched or pointless.”32
Mr. Lincoln sought to make an ally of Weed. “Despite Weed’s reputation, Lincoln chose to be frank and open on Cabinet matters as well as on the secession of South Carolina, news of which had just been received in Springfield,” wrote historian John Niven.33 Their discussions were very cordial — but the mere fact of the discussions was alarming to those who knew of Weed’s reputation and recent editorials urging concessions to the South. Connecticut’s Gideon Welles claimed to have talked to President Lincoln about the Cabinet-making process. Welles maintained that Weed’s account in his memoirs of the Springfield discussions had “something of fact but much more of fiction in his narrative, with a good deal of suppression of truth. He was intrusive to impertinence in presenting and pressing his schemes.”34
Weed returned from his December meeting in Springfield impressed with Mr. Lincoln’s presidential potential: “His mind is at once philosophical and practical. He sees all who go there, hears all they have to say, talks freely with everybody, reads whatever is written to him; but thinks and acts by himself and for himself. Our only regret is that Mr. Lincoln could not have taken the helm of state as successor to Mr. Buchanan on the first Monday of December,” wrote Thurlow Weed in his Albany Evening Journal.35
In addition to a Cabinet post for Seward, Weed had a more complex agenda. In late 1860 and early 1861, he maneuvered to keep former Democrats like Salmon P. Chase out of the Cabinet, but he made an exception for Pennsylvania Senator Simon Cameron. Historian John Niven wrote: “Weed and Cameron for once overplayed their hands. They grossly underestimated Lincoln, whom they wrote off as a local and purely accidental phenomenon, at best a second-rate-Zachary Taylor. They seem not to have anticipated the furious opposition their campaign would arose among the radical Democrats of the party. Connecticut-born Henry B. Stanton, lawyer, wit and reformer, spoke for the Republican Barnburners of New York when he flatly stated that the administration would be a failure if Seward, Weed, and Cameron prevailed. “For you,’ he wrote Welles, ‘to occupy a place in the counsel of Mr. Lincoln will give confidence to the radical democracy of New York now in the Republican party, the men who adopt our principles because they are Jeffersonian….'”36
Key Republican editors backed away from confrontation with the South in the days after the 1860 election. Horace Greeley privately and publicly suggested that secession was preferable to confrontation. Thurlow Weed of the Albany Evening Journal did not approve of secession but did ask for compromise with the South. “They who are conscious of least wrong can best afford to manifest a spirit of conciliation. In the present controversy the North is nearest right, though not wholly blameless. There are motes, at least, in ours, if there are beams in our neighbors’ eyes. Too many of us forget that when this Union was formed, slavery was the rule, freedom was the exception.”37
The Weed articles brought an uproar among Republican members of Congress — especially some who stopped in New York City and were told by New York Tribune managing editor Charles A. Dana that Weed’s articles had been written by Senator William H. Seward. On December 3, 1860, Senator Seward wrote Weed: “On the very first day of the session, when I had been preaching quiet, moderation, cheerfulness, and graciousness to all, we were summoned to a Republican caucus of Senators in the antechamber of the Senate, in view of everybody. I asked for the object of the meeting. Hale said he had wanted it called because he proposed to make a speech. I had little difficulty about getting a decision against that. Then a debate arose about the enacting of a force bill. I, with more difficulty, got them to drop that subject, at this immature time. Then came the avowal of the real object of the caucus, namely to find whether I authorized the ‘Evening Journal,’ ‘Times,’ and ‘Courier articles, and to combine the whole influence of the Senate to bring these papers to better judgement. I kept my temper. I told them they would know what I think and what I propose when I do myself; and as for influencing those three editors, or any one of them, they would find them as independent as the Senate itself, and more potential.38
Weed was Seward’s emissary in bringing President-elect Lincoln the Crittenden Compromise, which Lincoln rejected. Noted Thurlow Weed Barnes: “But Republican Congressmen were not disposed to concede ‘the fruits of the presidential victory.’ The press of his party opposed Mr. Weed’s policy as equivalent to ‘political suicide.’ While he was at Washington, representatives of the Border States met in caucus and agreed upon the Crittenden proposition. This Republican members parried successfully week after week, in the mean time assuming no affirmative position. Border state members submitted a basis upon which they could hold together in defense of the government. The suggestion was laid on the table, in caucus, by an overwhelming vote, ‘although,’ Mr. Weed declared, ‘several of its features were entirely acceptable, and returning them in the form of a counterproposition might easily have constituted the basis of an ultimate agreement.’ ‘But,’ said Republicans to Mr. Weed, ‘we have wronged nobody. Lincoln has been elected in a constitutional manner. There is no sufficient excuse for secession. If the South thinks there is, we propose to let her try it and take the consequences.'”39
Weed did not easily give up the cause of compromise: “I have not said, nor thought, nor dreamed anything inconsistent with Republican duty. But, in view of what I think is coming, — though you do not seem to realize its approach, — I want to secure the most advantageous position. I want to occupy practical and efficient, instead of absurd and useless ground. Some of the Slave States can be saved. Let us set ourselves right in the judgment of the world,” wrote Thurlow Weed to Senator Preston King on December 10. He concluded the letter: “My dear old friend, the sooner you put on your thinking-cap and impress your colleagues with a sense of our dangers, the more you will rejoice all the remainder of your life.”40
In late February, Weed wrote in the Albany Evening Journal: “Mr. Lincoln goes to Washington with a dark cloud hanging like a pall over the country. All that remains to us, if conciliation is not to be obtained, is to prepare for a test of the strength of our government. We must vindicate its power by the firmness of its laws, or we no longer preserve the respect of other nations, or of our own people. We shall need the concentrated influence, physical and moral, of all the friends of the Union. Shades of difference between those who love their country should be forgotten, until the vantage ground is reached.”41
In February 1861, Weed had to deal with another Seward-related problem. The appointment of William H. Seward as Secretary of State opened up his Senate seat. Thurlow Weed Barnes wrote:
At the beginning of the year 1861, when the New York legislature met, there was interjected into the progress of events a canvass for a successor to Mr. Seward in the Senate. The Republicans had made heavy gains in the State Senate in the elections of 1859, and it had been anticipated that they would hold a majority when the time arrived to fill this vacancy. With even greater confidence it had been expected that Mr. Seward would be nominated for President in 1860, and for that reason he had been regarded as out of the list of candidates. Just after his defeat at Chicago there was a disposition to return Mr. Seward to the Senate, but it was soon believed that he would become a member of the Cabinet, and his name was then dropped.
At this juncture Mr. Weed was urged by his friends, for at least the third time, to become himself a candidate for this position. Had he consented, he could have been elected without doubt. Indeed, it was conceded by the politicians of that day that he could not be defeated, if he chose to enter the lists. ‘It is a curious fact,’ wrote one who was active in the canvass, and who knew its temper perfectly, ‘that Mr. Weed might have been chosen Senator even when known to vary in judgment on questions vital in importance from the party making the appointment. This could have been true of no other man, and long after the fires even of this vivid day shall have died out, it will be remembered as one of the most honorable incidents in his remarkable life. 42
Instead Weed backed New York attorney William A. Evarts for the seat and when Evarts proved unable to win sufficient support in the Republican legislative caucus, Weed switched his support to Ira Harris — rather than risk humiliation by the election of rival Horace Greeley, editor of the New YorkTribune.
Although often accused of operating in his own self-interest, Weed also operated in the national interest. After two unsuccessful attempts in the spring of 1861 to advise President Lincoln about the danger to the Gosport naval base in Virginia, Weed went to the White House: “Early the next morning, however, I found him, and informed him what I had heard of the danger that threatened Gosport, and how, as I feared, I had failed to impress the Secretary of the Navy with the accuracy of my information or the necessity of immediate action. ‘Well,’ said Mr. Lincoln, ‘we can’t afford to lose all those cannon; I’ll go and see Father Welles myself.’ And he did immediately. The result was that Admiral Paulding, who was then despatched to Norfolk, arrived just in time to enjoy an illumination occasioned by the burning of government property, and witness the capture of Gosport.”43
Even Weed had limits to his patronage avarice. Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg wrote: “Weed got from Seward an order appointing one of his organization workers to a consulate at Falmouth, England. The chief clerk of the State Department protested to Weed that it would mean the removal of an able official whose father had been appointed to the same post by President George Washington. Weed, who had a finer side to him, tore up the order of appointment for his own man.”44
By early 1863, Weed’s policy differences with the Lincoln Administration in Washington and his declining power to control the Republican Party in Albany contributed to his decision to withdraw — albeit very temporarily — from management and ownership of the Albany Evening Journal. But Weed was too practiced a combatant to withdraw from the political wars and he continued to exchange invective with fellow Republican editor Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune.
Weed by then was a favorite punching bag for Radical Republicans, who impugned his integrity, his patriotism and his judgement. “It was rather unfair to Weed to accuse him of being without patriotism and of putting party above country,” wrote historian Sidney David Brummer. “One can scarcely doubt that Weed was a genuine lover of his country and on various occasions labored sincerely for it. No wonder that Weed replied in the Albany Journal by declaring that ‘No man’s zeal, in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war, exceeds my own; nor has solicitude for the welfare of my country occasioned in others more anxious days or more sleepless nights;…’ To which the Tribune rejoined: Mr. Weed’s troubles ‘are understood to have been not without their compensations. While most of us have grown poor during its [the war’s] progress, he is understood to have become rich…’ Greeley also spoke of ‘Certain active, unprincipled speculators in politics, who choose to be regarded as ‘Seward men,’ but whose card and rule is to take care of No. 1, and who, to that end, act under the personal guidance of Mr. Thurlow Weed.’ Under such castigation, Weed grew more bitter.”45
Unquestionably, Weed had used his political influence to advance his business interests in war supplies. Biographer Glyndon Van Deusen wrote that one “source of Weed’s wealth…may be classified as the perquisites of influence and friendship.”46 But he also had his hands in many commercial ventures during the period — some of them related to government contracts. In one of his more controversial deals involving the construction and sale of theFusijama, a navy gun ship built to the Japanese government. Although the deal had been brokered by Weed’s friend Robert H. Pruyn, the U.S. Minister to Japan, Navy Secretary Gideon Welles blocked the ship from leaving its American birth until after the war. Probably no one was happy with the deal except Weed — whose profit on the deal was estimated to be over $238,000 by biographer Van Deusen.47
According to Gideon Welles biographer John Niven, Welles “suspected, and with some reason, that a ring of New Yorkers closely associated with Thurlow Weed were more interested in catching unarmed blockade-runners than they were in fighting Confederate cruisers. Their real intention, he thought, was to wrest a share of the valuable prize captures from the Navy, knowing that they would run little risk and stood to reap large profits. The more vehemently New York shippers insisted that they were only interested in sinking the Alabama and the Florida, the more certain Welles became that they had other motives. Despite the Navy’s opposition, the commercial community, backed up by Seward, had its way. Congress, on March 3, 1863, authorized the President to issue letters of marque and reprisal.”48
Weed’s distemper sometimes extended to President Lincoln — usually over patronage but sometimes over policy. The President wrote Weed in mid-October 1863: “I have been brought to fear recently that somehow, by commission or omission, I have caused you some degree of pain. I have never entertained an unkind feeling or a disparaging thought towards you; and if I have said or done anything which has been construed into such unkindness or disparagement, it has been misconstrued. I am sure if we could meet we would not part with any unpleasant impression on either side.49 The Albany editor replied on October 18:
‘Amid your great and constant responsibilities I regret that you should have been annoyed by an small grief of mine.
‘It is not, however, pleasant to be misunderstood. I certainly was pained to learn that you regarded my controversy with the N.Y. Tribune as apersonal quarrel with Mr. Greeley, in which both were damaging our cause.
‘If, a year or more since, when ultra Abolition was rampant, I had not throttled it, rescuing Republican organizations from its Incendiary influences, the North would have been fatally divided, and your power to serve the Country as fatally paralized [sic]. But if, by this time, your experience of the ‘Horse Leech’ exactions of that spirit is either profitable or pleasant, I must have erred in endeavoring to ‘cut its claws, and draw its teeth.’
‘My ‘quarrels’ are in no sense personal. I am without personal objects or interests. I have done something in my day towards Electing Presidents and Governors, none of whom have found me an expensive Partizan. Possible some Gentlemen in Power may have derived advantage and found relief in a Friend, without ‘Axes’ of any kind to ‘Grind.’
‘I have confided unwaveringly, in your Integrity and Patriotism, from the begining [sic] of this Rebellion, the certainty and magnitude of which I foresaw; and I have earnestly and faithfully laboured to uphold your Administration.
‘But I am consuming too much of your time. Dismiss me from your thoughts, or if you remember me at all, remember that I do not desert those in power who are faithful to their Country, or permit personal griefs, real or imaginary, to interfere with the discharge of any duty. If you will carry our Country safely through its great Trial—and I know you will if you can—I will serve, honor and bless you—with all my strength and whole heart, as long as Life is given to me.’50
In January 1863, when Weed officially stepped down as editor of the Albany Evening Journal, President Lincoln anxiously wrote Weed: “Your valedictory to the patrons of the Albany Evening Journal brings me a good deal of uneasiness What does it mean?”51 Weed responded:
I retired from an apprehension that I was doing more harm than good. I could not remain without remonstrance against a Spirit by which you are persecuted, and which I know will end our Union and Government. It is impossible, just now, to resist Fanaticism a Fanaticism which divides the North and deprives you of the support essential, vital indeed, to the Life of the Republic. It constant cry is: “Give! Give!” and the more you give the more it demands.
They accuse me of “opposing the Administration.” I answered that falsehood yesterday, and sent Mr [John G.] Nicolay a Paper. I have labored to shield the Administration from their persecution.
There is crazy “method” in Greeley’s Abolitionism. He has the Presidency on his Brain. He ran “Maine Law” into the ground” expecting to make himself Governor. His Ambition is mere Lunacy, but, unfortunately, I fear he possesses the power to ruin our Country. If I could be heard by the same, and the same number, of readers, I should hope to open their eyes.
This State was ours, in November, by 25,000 majority, with Morgan, and 50,000 with Dix, but he, and his like, would have an Abolition issue for Governor, that they might secure a Legislature in favor of [Horace] Greeley or [David Dudley] Field, for U. S. Senator.
I may not be able to do much good, but all I am belongs to my Country, and to yourself, as its President.52
Navy Secretary Gideon Welles wrote in his diary: “Thurlow Weed retires from the Evening Journal. Is this an actual or pretended retirement always distrust him. He is strong and cunning; has a vigorous but not an ingenuous mind. Being a lifelong partisan, the cannot abandon party even for the country’s welfare, though he may strive to have them assimilate. It grieved him that so many of his old party opponents should have been invited to the Cabinet and identified with the Administration. The President quietly laughs at Weed’s intrigues to exclude Chase and myself. This was in the interest of Seward, his alter ego.” I remember that Seward on one occasion remarked in Cabinet, ‘Weed is Seward, and Seward is Weed; each approves what the other says and does.'”53According to Welles, Weed’s “ostensible reason for abandoning the field of active politics at this time and leaving the Journal is because he cannot act with his friends and support the Administration. There is intrigue, insincerity, and scheming in all this.”54
Weed’s motives were again in question. “I find every where consternation at the idea that the Proclamation can be forgotten or abandoned. Of course, Mr. Seward’s speech has had a tendency to excite distrust, which has been increased by reports that some of the Cabinet wished the Govt. to turn from the Proclamation,” Senator Charles Sumner wrote President Lincoln in early August 1863. “Mr. Thurlow Weed has increased these anxieties by the overtures which he has made in the Evening Journal. For myself, I have seen but one way from the beginning, & that way becomes brighter as we proceeded. It is by doing justice to the black man. Then shall we deserve success.55 Mr. Lincoln himself asked Thurlow Weed: “Is there any man in the Democratic party, who can push this war one day faster and one day further than I can?” When Weed asked why Mr. Lincoln asked the question, Mr. Lincoln replied: “Because if there is such a man I want him to take my place.”56
The President’s relationship with Weed was perennially controversial. Three months later in November 1863, Weed presented a plan to President Lincoln for “A More Vigorous Prosecution of the War” in November 1863. Never an enthusiast for the Emancipation Proclamation, Weed’s plan substituted leniency to the South for freedom for Slaves. Word of this proposal apparently leaked out. President Lincoln had to reply to a strong complaint from Michigan Senator Zachariah Chandler: “Thurlow Weed and Gov Morgan & other distinguished Republicans are here [Washington] urging the President to take bold conservative ground in his message.’ I have been upon the stump more than two months this fall & have certainly talked to more than 200,000 people…& have yet to meet the first Republican or real War Democrat who stands by Thurlough [sic] Weed or Mr [Montgomery] Blair. All denounce them….”57 The President wrote to Chandler:
Your letter of the 15th. marked “private” was received to-day. I have seen Gov. Morgan and Thurlow Weed, separately, but not together, within the last ten days; but neither of them mentioned the forthcoming message, or said anything, so far as I can remember, which brought the thought of the Message to my mind.
I am very glad the elections this autumn have gone favorably, and that I have not, by native depravity, or under evil influences, done anything bad enough to prevent the good result.
I hope to ‘stand firm’ enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country’s cause.58
It wasn’t just Radical Republicans who objected to Weed. Mrs. Lincoln did not like the Albany editor, but she wrote a curious letter to Weed supporter Abram Wakeman in September 1864: “With the exception of what I have said to you as regards our friend, Mr. W[eed]. It is the first thought or conversation I have ever had on the subject of contract. In his case and because he has exerted a friendly influence without any reward, you, I am sure, will make your word good in his case. He is truly a disinterested friend. I have not received the letter. I presume you have handed it to him. I will be pleased to receive a line from you when you have any news.”59
By early 1864, Thurlow Weed was once again upset about national policy and local patronage — evidently discouraged because a plan for conciliating the South which he presented to President Lincoln the previous fall had not been implemented.. Historian Sidney David Brummer wrote that “Weed contemplated opposing a second term for Lincoln. The old man evidently was getting ready to commit the same sort of treachery against the President that he once attempted against [Millard] Fillmore. Weed wrote a letter to David Davis, who showed it to Lincoln, wherein was expressed the writer’s dissatisfaction with Lincoln’s course. Weed was evidently urgent for prompt action upon some matter — probably the patronage thus far possessed by his opponents.”60 President Lincoln wrote Weed in late March: “I have been both pained and surprised recently at learning that you are wounded because a suggestion of yours as to the mode of conducting our national difficulty, has not been followed—pained, because I very much wish you to have no unpleasant feeling proceeding from me, and surprised, because my impression is that I have seen you, since the last Message issued, apparantly [sic] feeling very cheerful and happy.61 Historian William Frank Zornow wrote:
But though Weed growled about Lincoln’s shortcomings, he was astute enough never to complain publicly. He realized that Lincoln was too popular to be denied the renomination, and he had no intention of straying to far from the patronage fount. In the capital he spent countless hours closeted with the President, and they were joined by Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, John Forney, and other ‘wire pulling politicians.’ Probably as a result of some promise concerning more patronage, Lincoln induced Weed ‘to [roll] up his sleeves and [to go] to work making his combinations.’ It is interesting to note that shortly after this quadrumvirate began holding their meetings. Weed’s Albany Evening Journal, Cameron’s Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and Forney’s three papers declared for Lincoln. Chase was completely dumbfounded by these unexpected developments.”62
The bloody military campaigns in the spring of 1864 were “a good time to head off McClellan,” according to historian Ernest A. McKay. Weed “wrote the general’s close friend Samuel Barlow urging that McClellan write a letter to the president so that Lincoln might restore him to command or even look with favor on McClellan’s nomination for president. The two kingmakers had ulterior motives. Weed certainly knew that restoration of McClellan to a military career might eliminate him as a presidential contender. Barlow replied to Weed somewhat disingenuously that McClellan had no political aspirations had had never been influenced by political considerations when he was in command. Barlow insisted that although McClellan avoided politics, he regarded the Radical Republicans, his prime opponents, bitterly and Democrats, who befriended him, kindly. That was undoubtedly true, but while Barlow denied McClellan’s political interests, he inconsistently reemphasized the general’s political beliefs.”63
Weed was also active in protecting his friend Seward from enemies who sought to oust him from the Cabinet by placing a New Yorker on the Republican ticket for Vice President. “The anti-Weed elements wanted Daniel S. Dickinson (Scripture Dick), a War Democrat, whose honorable reputation and long record of public service gave him a formidable following behind the boundaries of his native state. ‘Dickinson in, Seward out’ was the cry, the argument being that New York could not have both the Vice-President and the State Department.”64
Weed’s zigzag course through presidential politics took a strange zag in mid-August 1864 when he wrote an editorial in which he pledged to support any presidential candidate who supported the 1861 Crittenden compromise — which Mr. Lincoln had opposed at the time. Friends of Weed like Abram Wakeman had already warned Prsident Lincoln that Weed’s support was slipping. Senator Ira Harris wrote President Lincoln: “I enclose Mr Weeds last as it appeared in the “Journal ” of Saturday You will see that we have not much to expect from him His object seems to be to induce the Chicago Convention to nominate a man who would prosecute the war upon the principles of the Crittenden resolution Such a candidate would rejoice in his “voice and vote ” But thank God, Mr Weed’s “voice and vote” have not the power they once had in New York I think, other things being propitious, we can succeed without them- “65
Such letters may have prompted President Lincoln deal with the long-delayed reorganization of the New York Customs House — sending aide John G. Nicolay to order the changes personally. Although these changes were designed to strengthen Weed’s support, his political machinations continued throughout the fall election. On September 22, presidential aide John G. Nicolay wrote Mr. Lincoln from New York: “”I found Mr. Weed absent when I arrived here, and although he was expected this morning, he has not yet returned. A friend of his telegraphed him today that I was here, and wished to see him, and he thinks he will be here tomorrow.”66
The same day, Navy Secretary Gideon Welles wrote in his diary with his customary self-righteousness: “[Montgomery] Blair tells me that Weed is manoeuvring for a change of Cabinet and [Edwin D.] Morgan so writes me. He has for that reason, B. Says, set his curs and hounds barking at my heels and is trying to prejudice the President against me. Not unlikely, but I can go into no counter-intrigues. If the President were to surrender himself into such hands,—which I do not believe,—he would be unworthy his position. He has yielded more than his own good sense would have prompted him already. For several months there has been a pretended difference between Seward and Weed; for a much longer period there has been an ostensible hostility between Weed and Sim[eon] Draper. I have never for a moment believed in the reality of these differences; but I am apprehensive the President is in a measure, or to some extent, deceived by them. He gives himself—too much, I sometimes think—into the keeping of Seward, who is not always truthful, not sensitively scrupulous, but a schemer, while Weed, his second part, and of vastly more vigor of mind, is reckless and direct, persistent and tortuous, avaricious of late, and always corrupt. We have never been intimate. I do not respect him, and he well knows it. Yet I have never treated him with disrespect, nor given him cause of enmity, except by avoiding intimacy and by declining to yield to improper schemes of himself and his friends. On one occasion, at early period of the Administration, Mr. Seward volunteered to say that he always acted in concert with Weed, —that ‘Seward’s Weed and Weed’s Seward.’ If, as Blair supposes, Weed is operating against me, Seward, Seward probably is also, and yet I have seen no evidence of it,—certainly none recently.”67
Despite their recurring policy and patronage differences, Weed undertook several special assignments for President Lincoln during the Civil War. One of his first was an attempt at the pacification of New York Herald editor James Gordon Bennett in the spring of 1861. In his memoirs, Weed wrote: “It was deemed important, if possible, to change the course of the Herald upon the question of secession and rebellion; but how this was to be accomplished was a question of much difficulty. It was agreed that an earnest appeal must be made to Mr. Bennett. Several gentlemen were named (myself among the number) for this delicate mission. The Secretary of State [William H. Seward] remarked that my relations with Mr. Bennett were such as to insure the failure of the object contemplated, but it was finally determined that I should be summoned to Washington by telegraphy. On my arrival, while at breakfast with Secretary Seward I was informed of the business in hand. Calling after breakfast upon President Lincoln, he remarked, in his peculiar way, that he understood I had had ‘considerable experience in belling cats,’ and with this introduction proceeded to say that, in view especially of the influence the ‘Herald‘ was exerting in Europe, he deemed it of the greatest importance that Mr. Bennett should be satisfied that the course of the ‘Herald‘ was endangering the government and Union, adding his belief that if Mr. Bennett could be brought to see things in that light he would change his course. While appreciating the importance of the mission, I assured Mr. Lincoln that I was the last person in the country to be selected for such a duty, but he insisted that I should make the trial, and I departed on the first train for New York.”68
At the time, Weed was not even on speaking terms with Bennett although they had known each other for more than three decades. They had a political conflict over the presidential aspirations of Henry Clay, whom Weed supported and Bennett opposed. Weed later wrote of their 1861 meeting: “Upon my arrival in New York I called upon my friend Richard Schell, between whom and Mr. Bennett I knew intimate relations existed. Mr. Schell readily undertook to arrange an interview, and in a couple of hours afterward called at the Astor House with a message from Mr. Bennett, inviting me to dinner that afternoon. In stepping out of the cars at the Washington Heights Station I met Mr. Bennett, who had gone out in the same train. After a cordial greeting we were driven in his carriage to his mansion on the Heights. We then walked for half an hour about the grounds, when a servant came and announced dinner. The dinner was a quiet one, during which, until the fruit was served, we held a general conversation. I then frankly informed him of the object of my visit, closing with the remark that Mr. Lincoln deemed it more important to secure the Herald‘s support than to obtain a victory in the field. Mr. Bennett replied that the abolitionists, aided by the Whig members of Congress, had provoked a war, of the danger of which he had been warning the country for years, and that now, when they were reaping what they had sown, they had no right to call upon him to help them out of a difficulty they had deliberately brought upon themselves. I listened without interruption for ten minutes to a better denunciation of Greeley, [William Lloyd] Garrison, Seward, [Charles] Sumner, [Joshua] Giddings, [Wendell] Phillips, and myself, as having, by irritating and exasperating the South, brought the war upon the country. I then, in reply, without denying or attempting to explain any of his positions, stated the whole question from our standpoint. I informed him of facts and circumstances within my knowledge, showing conclusively the deliberate design of severing the Union to prevent California from coming into it as a free State.”69
After discussing the history of Whig and Democratic positions for the past 12 years, Weed “then reverted to the Democratic National convention of 1860, startling Mr. Bennett with the assumption that that convention was deliberately demoralized by its leaders for the purpose of throwing the government into our hands, and thus furnishing the pretext desired for secession. I claimed that the harmonious nomination of an available candidate would have insured the success of the Democratic ticket, but that the convention was broken up by leading Southern men, into whose hands General [Benjamin] Butler and Caleb Cushing played. Two Democratic candidates for president were placed in the field, with the knowledge and for the purpose of giving the election to Mr. Lincoln, and then before a word was spoken, or an act performed by the incoming Administration, a predetermined course of secession and rebellion was entered upon.” According to Weed, “No one knew better than Mr. Bennett the truth, the force, and the effect of the facts I presented, but his mind had been so absorbed in his idea of the pernicious character of abolition that he had entirely lost sight of the real causes of the rebellion.”70
Another Weed assignment was visiting Europe with Roman Catholic Archbishop John Hughes of New York, Episcopalian Bishop Charles P. McIlvaine of Ohio, and General Winfield Scott in late 1861 and early 1862. In October 1861, Weed attended a meeting at Seward’s Washington home at which Archbishop Hughes first declined to go on the mission and then accepted — contingent on Weed’s accompanying him. After the editor saw the Archbishop to his carriage, Weed “found Secretary Seward, as I anticipated, embarrassed and depressed. No explanation was needed. His position in the cabinet and with Congress was giving him and his friends much annoyance. He was charged by radical members of both, and by the radical press, with a want of energy and courage, although in point of fact he had been steadily and zealously in favor of the largest army and the largest appropriations of money for war purposes from the beginning. The country was rife with personal slanders against him; leading senators were determined to drive him out of the cabinet. For wisdom and firmness in counsel and hard mental and physical labor day and night, he was all but literally stoned and scourged. Altogether, his position was one of extreme embarrassment. I was much more obnoxious to the same class of Republicans.”71 According to historian Glyndon Van Deusen, “There can be no doubt that Seward sent his old partner abroad with considerable reluctance, knowing the storm that would be raised by their enemies if he gave Weed such a mission, but his belief in Weed’s power of diplomacy outweighed his fears.”72
Weed later recalled that at a meeting with Seward and Hughes shortly before their ship sailed, businessman Robert B. Minturn congratulated Seward on Weed’s inclusion in the mission. Seward rejoined: “Mr. Weed goes abroad as a volunteer, and at his own expense.”73 Minturn was astounded and pledged to fund Weed’s expenses himself.
Businessman Richard M. Blatchford was also present and he was so shocked he advised Weed not to go. “I realized painfully the perplexities of my position. Between my promise to the Archbishop, the rebuff of the Secretary, and a reasonable degree of self-respect, it was difficult to determine what I ought to do. I did not doubt that when the fact that I was to go abroad in a highly important and confidential capacity became known at Washington, a storm would be raised which would constrain the Secretary to disavow the appointment, as he might do with justice and truth, for, as I have already stated, it was demanded by Archbishop Hughes as the condition upon which he himself consented to go.”74 Weed explained the situation to Blatchford who wrote Seward a strong letter — which produced official credentials for Weed before his ship left to France.
Historian Allan Nevins wrote that Weed “did really admirable work for the United States as an informal agent in Britain and France, impressing everybody by his geniality, tact, and statesmanlike vision.”75 While Archbishop Hughes was making the Union case in Catholic countries, Weed went on to England where he made his case plainly — in words and fashion. “For Weed fine clothes had no appeal. He dressed like a farmer or, as he liked to phrase it, with the simplicity of Franklin and Jay. Eighteen years before, when he had visited Europe, Weed complained about the undemocratic court dress affected ministers,” wrote Jay Monaghan, Diplomat in Carpet Slippers.76 On that previous trip, he has also been accompanied by Archbishop Hughes.
Among the other missions which Weed claimed to have undertaken was the resignation of Simon Cameron as Secretary of War. “The first suggestion of the change was made to General Cameron by Mr. Weed, at Mr. Lincoln’s request, in a conversation at the General’s breakfast-table, in which the ladies of the household participated. ‘Repairing from the breakfast-room to the library,’ writes Mr. Weed, ‘I presented considerations which seemed likely, in my judgment, to induce General Cameron to go abroad. I informed him that the Secretary of State had received a letter from Cassius M. Clay, offering to resign the Russian Mission. Mr. Cameron finally remarked that his wife and daughter, thinking he was working too hard, had urged him to retire, and that they would be much pleased with a visit to Europe. All things considered, he allowed me to ascertain from the President whether the suggested change could be made. I did not, for obvious reasons, inform General Cameron that I had called on him that morning in pursuance of an understanding with the President the previous evening.”77 The difficulty with this story is that Cameron got into trouble with President Lincoln in December 1861 and resigned in January 1862 — at a time when Weed was already in Europe.
In November 1862 Weed also acted as an emissary to newly elected Democratic New York Governor Horatio Seymour. President Lincoln allegedly told Weed, “that, as the governor of the empire state and the representative man of the Democratic party, Governor Seymour had the power to render great public service; and that if he exerted that power against the rebellion and for his country, he would be our next president.” Thurlow Weed said he repeated the conversation to Governor Seymour.78
Weed was also called upon for a peculiar financial service by President Lincoln. In February 1863, John G. Nicolay telegraphed Weed to come to Washington to see the President. When Weed arrived, he was asked by President Lincoln to raise $15,000 for an unspecified purpose: “Mr. Weed, we are in a tight place. Money for legitimate purposes is needed immediately; but there is no appropriation from which it can be lawfully taken. I didn’t know how to raise it, and so I sent for you,” the President told him. Mr. Lincoln wrote out a statement of vague fundraising authority which the New York editor requested: “Mr. Weed — The matters I spoke to you about are important. I hope you will not neglect them — Truly yours, A. Lincoln.” Weed promised to raise the money and have to Washington by the next morning. The money — raised in $1,000 increments — was at the White House the next day.79
The Weed-Lincoln relationship ended on a friendly note. Weed wrote President Lincoln on the day of his Second Inaugural. That letter makes no specific reference to the President’s speech. Nevertheless, President Lincoln replied “Every one likes a compliment. Thank you for yours on my little notification speech, and on the recent Inaugeral [sic] Address. I expect the latter to wear as well as — perhaps better than—any thing I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately popular. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it, however, in this case, is to deny that there is a God governing the world. It is a truth which I thought needed to be told; and as whatever of humiliation there is in it, falls most directly on myself, I thought others might afford for me to tell it.”80
- Sidney David Brummer, Political History of New York State During the Period of the Civil War, p. 18 (from Diary of Gideon Welles, Atlantic Monthly, April, 1909, p. 482).
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 262.
- Henry B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 62.
- James G. Randall, Lincoln the President, Springfield to Gettysburg, Volume I, p. 147-148.
- Burton J. Hendrick, Lincoln’s War Cabinet, p. 15-16.
- Albert Shaw, Abraham Lincoln: The Year of His Election, Volume II, p. 52.
- Burton J. Hendrick, Lincoln’s War Cabinet, p. 16.
- Chauncey M. Depew, My Memories of Eighty Years, p. 19.
- Sidney David Brummer, Political History of New York State During the Period of the Civil War, p. 20.
- Carl Schurz, The Autobiography of Carl Schurz (Abridged), p. 158.
- Gideon Welles, “Letters of Gideon Welles”, The Magazine of History, Vol. 27, No. 1, .
- Jay Monaghan, Diplomat in Carpet Slippers, p. 18.
- Donn Piatt, Memories of the Men Who Saved the Union, p. 152.
- Horace Greeley, Recollections of a Busy Life, p. 312.
- Horace Greeley, Recollections of a Busy Life, p. 312.
- Donn Piatt, Memories of the Men Who Saved the Union, p. 150-151.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 270 (Letter from William H. Seward to Thurlow Weed, May 18, 1860).
- Donn Piatt, Memories of the Men Who Saved the Union, p. 153-154.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 271.
- Gideon Welles, “Letters of Gideon Welles”, The Magazine of History, Vol. 27, No. 1, p. 27.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 295 (Leonard Swett’s comments originally in letter to the editor of theChicago Tribune, July 13, 1880).
- Sidney David Brummer, Political History of New York State During the Period of the Civil War, p. 22.
- Sidney David Brummer, Political History of New York State During the Period of the Civil War, p. 443.
- Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume II, p. 105 (August 13, 1864).
- Don C. Seitz, Horace Greeley: Founder of the New York Tribune, p. 27.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 237.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 238.
- Chester L. Barrows, William M. Evarts: Lawyer, Diplomat, Statesman, p. 89.
- James G. Randall, Lincoln the President, Springfield to Gettysburg, Volume I, p. 260.
- Glyndon Van Deusen, Thurlow Weed: Wizard of the Lobby, p. 259.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 605.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 611-612.
- John Niven, Gideon Welles: Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, p. 315.
- Gideon Welles, “Letters of Gideon Welles”, The Magazine of History, Vol. 27, No. 1, p. 26.
- Glyndon Van Deusen, Thurlow Weed: Wizard of the Lobby, p. 261 (Albany Evening Journal, December 24, 1860).
- John Niven, Gideon Welles: Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, p. 316.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 308.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 309 (Letter of William H. Seward to Thurlow Weed, December 3, 1860).
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 316-317.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 307 (Letter of Thurlow Weed to Preston King, December 10, 1860).
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 320.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 322.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 338.
- Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, Volume II, p. 32.
- Sidney David Brummer, Political History of New York State During the Period of the Civil War, p. 293-294.
- Glyndon Van Deusen, Thurlow Weed: Wizard of the Lobby, p. 283.
- Glyndon Van Deusen, Thurlow Weed: Wizard of the Lobby, p. 287.
- John Niven, Gideon Welles: Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, p. 449.
- Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VI, p. 513-514 (Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Thurlow Weed, October 14, 1863).
- Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VI, p. 513-514 (Letter from Thurlow Weed to Abraham Lincoln, October 14, 1863).
- Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume I, p. 230 (January 28, 1863).
- Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume I, p. 231 (January 28, 1863).
- Charles Sumner, The Selected Letters of Charles Sumner, Volume II, p. 186 (Letter from Charles Sumner to Abraham Lincoln, August 7, 1863).
- William Hesseltine, Lincoln’s War Cabinet, .
- Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VII, p. 24 (Letter from Zachariah Chandler to Abraham Lincoln, November 15. 1863).
- Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VII, p. 23-24 (Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Zachariah Chandler, November 20. 1863).
- Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois. (Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Thurlow Weed, January 29, 1863).
- Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois. (Letter from Thurlow Weed to Abraham Lincoln, February 1, 1863).
- Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner, editor, Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters, p. 181 (Letter from Mary Todd Lincoln to Abram Wakeman, September 23, 1864).
- Sidney David Brummer, Political History of New York State During the Period of the Civil War, p. 390-391.
- Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VII, p. 268 (March 25, 1864).
- William Frank Zornow, Lincoln & the Party Divided, p. 41-42.
- Ernest A. McKay, The Civil War and New York City, p. 247.
- Glyndon Van Deusen, Thurlow Weed: Wizard of the Lobby, p. 307.
- Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois. (Letter from Ira Harris to Abraham Lincoln, August 15, 1864).
- Michael Burlingame, editor, With Lincoln in the White House: Letters, Memoranda, and Other Writings of John G. Nicolay, 1860-1865, p. 160 (Letter to President Lincoln, Sept. 22, 1864).
- Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume II, p. 155 (September 22, 1864).
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 615-616.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 616-617.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 618.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 636.
- Glyndon Van Deusen, William Henry Seward, p. 307.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 638.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume I, p. 638.
- Allan Nevins, The War for the Union: War Becomes Revolution, 1862-1863, p. 262.
- Jay Monaghan, Diplomat in Carpet Slippers, p. 157-158.
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 330-331.
- Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia E. Fehrenbacher, editor, The Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln, p. 463 (from Albany Atlas and Argus, April 16, 1864).
- Thurlow Weed Barnes, editor, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, Volume II, p. 484-485.
- Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VIII, p. 356 (Letter to Thurlow Weed, March 15, 1865).