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William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant
New York Evening Post
William Cullen Bryant was a very serious man. In addition to being the editor of New York Evening Post, he was one of America’s most distinguished poets. “The thinking of few men of the nineteenth century has been proved by the inexorable unfolding of historical events to have been so sound, so fundamentally right as that of William Cullen Bryant over the fifty-two years in which he contributed to the columns of the New York Evening Post,” wrote biographer Curtiss S. Johnson.1 William Cullen Bryant “was a scholarly man who believed his main duty as an editor was to give his considered judgment on the events of the day in his editorial leader,” wrote biographer Charles H. Brown. “He knew, of course, that a paper must have readers and that to get readers it must print the news, before other papers if possible, but he was willing to leave to others the task of gathering the trivia and sensations of the hour that attracted readers by the scores of thousands.”2
“William Cullen Bryant was the leading voice of liberalism,” wrote the authors of A History of New York State. “Bryant preached the liberal cause for over fifty years. He attacked monopolies such as the Second United States Bank, defended the right of workingmen to form unions, and spearheaded the antislavery faction of the Democratic party. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 caused him to swing over to the new radical group, the Republicans.”3
One of Bryant’s chief aides at the Evening Post was his daughter’s husband. “Even in their physical appearance there was a striking difference between Mr. Bryant and his son-in-law, Mr. Parke Godwin; Mr. Bryant small, rather tin, reserved, solitary, looking the poet; Mr. Godwin large, finely built, with a lion-like head, a companionable man and lover of society. Mr. Bryant was a poet, Mr. Godwin a philosopher of a very high type,” wrote fellow journalist Charles Nordhoff. “Both were Democrats in the broad and best sense of that much abused word; and Mr. Bryant, with the tenacity of opinion which was one of his characteristics, always required that in prospectus and other advertisements the Evening Post should be described as a ‘Democratic-Republican newspaper.’ Both were ‘strict constructionists’ in constitutional questions, and in this their course was I think, of important use during the years of the war and later, when many wild schemes were afloat, by presenting in forciable [sic] editorials the Constitutional objections to such schemes. Of course their advice was often overruled, but it was important nevertheless, because they appealed to and kept alive the political conscience of thoughtful men.”4
Once he took up the editorship of the Post in 1826, observed colleague John Bigelow, Bryant “never engaged in any other business enterprise; he never embarked in any financial speculations; he was never an officer of any other financial or industrial corporation; nor did he ever accept any political office or trust. He had found an employment at last that was entirely congenial to him, and one, as Dr. [Henry W.] Bellows has wisely said, which ‘most fully economized his temperament and faculties for public service’…”5
Although journalism was his livelihood and poetry his love, politics was his passion. “No man ever entered upon a career with less illusion — with less ambition to become a full-time journalist — than did Bryant take up his labors in the newspaper field, yet his journalistic achievement has been duplicated by few,” wrote biographer Curtiss S. Johnson.6 “Mr. Bryant, whose reputation as a poet may have caused the present generation to overlook the fact that he was also a great editor and a patriotic and unselfish leader of public opinion, brought together early in February, 1860, in his office a group of citizens, of whom my father was one,” wrote George Haven Putnam, whose father founded the Putnam’s publishing house. “Bryant was anxious in regard to the action of the coming [Republican] convention. He emphasized the fact that it was essential to secure as a leader in the campaign and to carry out the grave responsibilities of the Presidency a man who should not only possess the necessary individual qualifications, but who would be in a position to secure acceptance as a candidate and support as a President of all groups of loyal citizens throughout the country. Bryant was troubled lest the delegates from the Western States might not be prepared to accept an Eastern candidate. There was, as he pointed out, the risk, if the nomination did not come to Seward, that it might, as a result of some ill-considered phase of opinion or rush of suggestions, select some candidate who would not meet the very exceptional requirements.”7
Putnam wrote: “It was Bryant’s recommendation that the New York delegation should receive instructions not only for a first but for a second choice. It was his further opinion that if Seward could not be nominated it would be necessary to accept some candidate from the West, and he suggested that this young lawyer in Illinois, who had in his debates with Douglas shown an exceptional grasp of the grave issues pending and a power to influence public opinion, might very possibly prove to be the best man for the purpose if Seward could not be secured. Bryant reminded his friends that he had printed in the Evening Post a full report of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, and he said that these debates had given him a very high opinion of the clear-sightedness, patriotism, and effective force of the young lawyer. He suggested that they had better send an invitation to Lincoln to give an address in New York in order that they might secure a personal impression of the man and of his methods. The men whom Bryant called together were fully in accord with him, first, as to the desirability of nominating Seward if possible and, second, as to the importance of instructing the delegation for a second choice. They were quite prepared to meet Mr. Bryant’s suggestion that the invitation should be accompanied by a check for expenses. ‘Young lawyers in Illinois were not likely,’ suggested a lawyer who was present, ‘to have surplus funds available.”8
As the emcee for Mr. Lincoln’s speech at Cooper Union later that month, Bryant gave Mr. Lincoln more than money; he gave him respectability. “On a crisp February evening in 1860, Cullen Bryant stood before a the large mirror in his bedroom that looked out upon Carmine Street into Greenwich Village. It was the twenty-seventh of the month, and although the air outside was sharp and the streets were blanketed with white, there were more than a few hints of coming spring,” wrote biographer Harry Houston Peckham.
As Cullen stood before his mirror, however, his chief thoughts were not of approaching spring. They were not even of his own immaculate image in the glass, his perfectly tailored black evening suit, his spotless white frilled linen. Still less were they of his clean, shining bald head, his keen, lustrous gray eyes, or his luxuriant but well-groomed gray beard, which, ever since his trip to the Holy Land seven years earlier, had covered his chin as well as his cheeks.
No, the question that Cullen was asking at the moment was not,’Will I do?’ but, ‘Will he do?’ That very afternoon he had asked Fanny and Julia Bryant and Parke and Fanny Godwin the same question, and they had been no more able to answer the question than had he.”9
The answer came a few hours later. By the time Mr. Lincoln had finished speaking, he had found an audience and Bryant had found a candidate. “The Sewardites might sulk; and Henry J. Raymond, in the Times, might try to belittle both speaker and speech. But tonight New York knew as Cullen Bryant knew, that the Republican party had an admirable candidate for election in the coming autumn,” wrote Peckham.10
Returning to New York after trip through New England, Mr. Lincoln told trip sponsor James A. Briggs: “I have seen what all the New York papers said about that thing of mine in the Cooper Institute with the exception of the New York Evening Post and I would like to know what Mr. Bryant thought of it….It is worth a visit from Springfield, Illinois, to New York to make the acquaintance of such a man as William Cullen Bryant.”11 Actually, according to biographer Peckham, the first meeting between Bryant and Mr. Lincoln had come nearly three decades earlier when Bryant had visited Illinois during the Black Hawk War in 1832. Among his acquaintances was “a tall, lank, ungainly young militia captain who, at that very time, was serving valiantly in the Black Hawk War. Cullen met him and was much impressed with the captain’s good sense, well-chosen diction, and keen wit, to say nothing of the fact that the fellow’s numerous earthy anecdotes were never pointless.”12 Bryant’s colleague, John Bigelow, later wrote that Mr. Lincoln’s “conversation delighted him by its breeziness and originality.”13
After Mr. Lincoln received the Republican presidential nomination in May 1860, Bryant exchanged correspondence with Mr. Lincoln. He recommended against taking public positions during the campaign:
I was about to begin this letter by saying that I congratulate you on your nomination, but when I consider the importunities which will beset you as a candidate and the cares, responsibilit[i]es and vexations which your success will throw upon you, I do not congratualte you. It is the country that is to be congratulated. I was not without apprehensions that the nomination might fall upon some person encumbered with bad associates, and it was with a sense of relief and infinite satisfaction that I with thousands of others in this quarter heard that it was conferred upon you.
It is fortunate that you have never gathered about you a knot of political confederates who have their own interests to look after. You will excuse the frankness of an old campaigner who has been engaged in political controversies for more than a third of a century, if I say that I hope you will allow none to be formed around you while you are before the country as a candidate for the Presidency. I have observed that those candidates who are most cautious of making pledges, stating opinions or entering into arrangements of any sort for the future save themselves and their friends a great deal of trouble and have the best chance of success. The people have nominated you without any pledges or engagements of any sort; they are satisfied with you as you are, and they want you to do nothing at present but allow yourself to be elected. I am sure that I but express the wish of the vast majority of your friends when I say that they want you to make no speeches write no letters as a candidate, enter into no pledges, make no promises, nor even give any of those kind words which men are apt to interpret into promises. Several of our Presidents have had a great deal of trouble from this cause, and I suspect that Fremont if he had been elected would have had quite as much as any of them.
I hope that what I have said is no impertinence. I feel the strongest interest in your success, but it is only the interest of a citizen of our common country. What you do and say, concerns not yourself alone, but the people of the United States. I think you will be elected and I am anxious that you should go into the Executive Chair with every advantage for making the most judicious and worthy appointments and lending your aid to the wise[est] and most beneficial measures.14
On June 28, Bryant wrote Mr. Lincoln: “Please accept my thanks for the honor done me by your kind letter of the 16th. I appreciate the danger against which you would guard me; nor am I wanting in the purpose to avoid it. I thank you for the additional strength your words give me to maintain that purpose.”15
In due course, Mr. Lincoln was elected and Bryant sought to give advice and arrange patronage. Bryant’s break with Mr. Lincoln actually began in the pre-inaugural period when Bryant and his friends fought the appointment of William H. Seward and Pennsylvania’s Simon Cameron to the Cabinet. Bryant deputized a group of New York politicians including Hiram Barney, Judge J.T. Hogeboom and George Opdyke. He sent them of with a letter of introduction to the President-elect.16 Businessman Hiram Barney wrote to William Cullen Bryant after visiting Springfield in early January:
Mr. Lincoln has invited to his Cabinet only three persons to wit — Mr. Bates, Mr. Seward & Mr. Cameron. All these have accepted. In regard to the latter named however Mr. Lincoln became satisfied that he had made a mistake and wrote him requesting him to withdraw his acceptance or decline. Mr. C. refused to answer the letter and was greatly offended by it. He however authorized a mutual friend to telegraph and he did so — that Mr. C. would not on any account occupy a seat in his Cabinet. Mr. Lincoln has thus a quarrel on his hands which he is anxious to adjust satisfactorily before he proceeds further in the formation of his Cabinet. He is advised from Washington not to conclude further upon the members of his Cabinet until he reaches Washington…We tried to change this purpose but I fear in vain. He has not offered a place to Mr. Chase. He wants and expects to invite him to the treasury department. But he fears this will offend Pennsylvania & he wants to reconcile the republicans of that state to it before it is settled. He thinks Mr. Chase should be willing to let the matter stand so and leave the option with him (Mr. L.) of taking him when he can do so without embarrassment….
He wants to take Judd; but this selection will offend some of his friends and he does not decide upon it. Wel[e]ls of Connecticut is his preference for New England — Blair of Maryland is favorably considered….Caleb B. Smith of Indiana is urged upon him and he may have to take him instead of Judd. Caleb is almost as objectionable as Cameron, & for similar reasons……What he [Lincoln] will ultimately do after reaching Washington no one not even himself can tell. He wants to please & satisfy all his friends.17
Historians Harry J. Carman and Reinhard H. Luthin wrote: “This report from Barney inspired Bryant to send an urgent appeal to Lincoln in an endeavor to cause the President-elect to act at once: ‘The only occasion for delaying is the hope of satisfying Mr. Cameron and his friends….One thing, however, is perfectly clear — that, by losing the chance of securing the services of Mr. Chase in the Treasury department, both the country and the Republican party will lose infinitely more than the administration could possibly suffer from the enmity of Mr. Cameron and his adherents.'”18
Bryant had both complaints and praise. Historian James G. Randall wrote that “even Bryant was grieved because he received no office.”19 While Bryant might have reason to complain about patronage, his newspaper partners did not. Bryant son-in-law Parke Godwin sought a patronage position and accepted the portion of the paper owned by John Bigelow instead. Bigelow himself accepted an appointment as consul to Paris in August 1861. Bryant’s interest in patronage appointments extended beyond New York. He wrote Mr. Lincoln to urge the appointment of Kentuckian Cassius M. Clay as Secretary of War: “The manly bearing of Mr. Clay in his visits to our city has prepossessed the people greatly in his favor…and throughout our part of the country his courage, disinterestedness, and generous, unquenchable enthusiasm in the cause of liberty and humanity have given birth to a feeling of admiration that amounts almost to personal attachment. Whatever politicians may say, his appointment would be exceedingly popular with the mass of the people, who think that his energy and spirit fit him in these perilous times in a peculiar manner for that place.”20
Shortly after President Lincoln took office, Bryant visited Washington and reported to a friend, “I saw the President, and had a long conversation with him on the affairs of the country, in which I expressed myself plainly and without reserve. He bore it well, and I must say that I left him with a perfect conviction of the excellence of his intentions and the singleness of his purpose.”21 Initially, Bryant was more patient with President Lincoln than some of his journalist colleagues in New York. “Although Bryant advocated carrying on the war vigorously, urging no dely in raising men and money, he did not join in the strident demands for an immediate onslaught against the South. He was confident that the North could put down the rebels in a short war but he counseled against hasty action with unprepared troops,” wrote biographer Charles H. Brown.22 Bryant showed more discretion in his attitude toward the Lincoln Administration than other New York editors. Biographer Curtiss S. Johnson wrote: “The Times and the Tribune simultaneously attacked Lincoln for indecision and delay, and Bennett in the Herald, completely in character, called the administration ‘cowardly, mean and vicious’ and Lincoln himself ‘incompetent and ignorant.’ Bryant defended Lincoln by asking for patience, because a period of thirty days was altogether too short a time to pass judgment upon the administration. ‘A little delay and no publicity are the offenses alleged against the Administration. And we have seen there may be reasons for the delay, and nobody in his senses will dispute the wisdom of avoiding publicity,’ argued Bryant,” wrote biographer Curtiss S. Johnson.23
Bryant’s patience didn’t last long. “During the next two years Bryant’s enthusiasm for Lincoln waned considerably. After wielding his editorial pen to get Lincoln nominated and elected, Bryant began to wonder, more and more, whether he had done the wise thing,” wrote biographer Peckham. “Bryant began to move away from Lincoln early in the war when he refused to accept the President’s patience on the question of emancipation,” wrote Robert S. Harper in Lincoln and the Press.24 Historian Allan Nevins wrote that “Bryant’s Evening Post, voice of radical Republicanism, indicted the Administration for shameful inefficiency, asking why enlistments had been stopped that spring, why the militia had not been armed, drilled and, organized for instant service, why depots had not been filled with munitions.”25 Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, who had once been associated with Bryant in journalism and politics, wrote in his diary: “The Evening Post…still retains some of its former character for ability and sense. Bryant, I am inclined to believe, means well, and of himself would do well. But he is getting on in years, and his son-in-law Godwin attempts to wield the political bludgeon. In this the mercenary and unscrupulous partisan is apparent.”26
Bryant grew impatient in 1862 with President Lincoln’s policy on emancipation. “Though never giving up his belief that the first goal of the war was to put down the rebellion and restore the Union, Bryant continued to urge immediate emancipation not only in editorials but also in speeches given at Abolitionist rallies. In editorials he repeatedly pleaded with the President not to delay in declaring the slaves free and condemned him when he failed to act,” wrote biographer Charles Brown. “On March 7, 1862, Bryant was one of the vice-presidents elected at a mass meeting assembled at Cooper Union to hear Carl Schurz, the Wisconsin lawyer who had supported Lincoln’s nomination for President and was now a brigadier general of volunteers in the army, on the undesirability of any longer tolerating slavery. Lincoln’s message to Congress proposing graduated and compensated emancipation was read to the throng. ‘Nobly did that message crown the proceedings of the meeting,’ Bryant wrote, ‘and those who attended it went home with the assurance in their hearts that in listening to its plain and direct words they had heard the death knell of slavery.'”27 The New York Herald headlined this event: “Mammoth War Demonstration. Immense Meeting at the Cooper Institute. Unity and Victory the battle Cry.”28 What Bryant may not have understood was that Schurz had checked with President Lincoln before delivering the speech. Schurz recalled that he brought his draft speech “to Mr. Lincoln, and he asked me to read it to him. When I had finished he said: ‘Now, you go and deliver that speech at your meeting on the 6th of March. And maybe you will hear something from me on the same day.”29
Bryant’s emancipation principles compelled him to become President of the Emancipation League, which was formed in New York City in the spring of 1862. In March 1863, he also helped found the Loyal Union League and the Loyal National League to support the war effort. On July 7, 1862, the Evening Post published an editorial by Bryant: “The people, we believe, have still confidence in Mr. Lincoln; they are persuaded of his entire honesty; and they know that he means to do right in respect to the honor as well as the interests of the country. But they suspect him, at the same time, of a great deal of indecision. He has trusted too much to his subordinates; he has not been sufficiently peremptory with them, either with his generals or his secretaries; and his whole administration had been marked by a certain tone of languor and want of earnestness which has not corresponded with the wishes of the people. He has taken the advice of politicians rather than listen to the beatings of the great heart of the people. As a consequence, his administration has from the beginning lagged behind the popular impulse. It has not to this moment realized the depth, the intensity and malignity of the rebellion, and its efforts to put it down have been for that reason a comparative failure. The Rebels themselves are fearfully in earnest, they are despotically united, they make war as war should be made, as a military art, and not as a political scheme, and under a thousand disadvantages manage to get the best of us in the great critical moments of the struggle.”30
Bryant again rejoiced on July 12 when Congress passed the Confiscation Act liberating slaves of all persons who committed treason or supported the rebellion, an earlier one extending only to slaves employed in arms or labor against the nation. But two days later he had become disillusioned with the President. ‘Mr. Lincoln should be informed that the people are becoming impatient for the execution of the important laws just passed by Congress,’ he wrote. ‘The legislature has put a sword into the hands of the President, with the general approbation of the country, and everybody is wondering why he delays to strike.'”According to biographer Brown: “Although Bryant learned of it only later, on the day that his editorial appeared Lincoln had submitted to his cabinet a tentative draft of an emancipation proclamation.”31
Biographer Charles Brown wrote that Bryant “hailed the action of Congress in April in barring slavery from the District of Columbia as being a declaration of the United States that ‘wherever its jurisdiction rightly extends the subjects of its shall be freemen.’ Bryant could still applaud Lincoln on June 12 in introducing Owen Lovejoy as the speaker before the Emancipation League at a meeting in Cooper Union. The blood shed by Elijah P. Lovejoy in Illinois had not been shed in vain, for that state had given the nation a ‘chief magistrate who urges upon the slave states the policy of emancipation.'”32
In August 1862, the 68-year-old Bryant made a rare visit to Washington to press the case for immediate emancipation. “If the administration and the Congress and the generals were indisposed to act vigorously, then the citizenry must speak out in no uncertain terms. Caustic editorials appeared in the New York papers, especially Bryant’s Evening Post and Greeley’s Tribune.,” wrote biographer Peckham.33 Now, it was Bryant’s turn. The Peninsula campaign had stalled; the disastrous Second Battle of Bull Run would occur before the end of the month. Impatience with General George B. McClellan and President Lincoln was rising. “In August of 1862, the feeling in New York had become almost one of panic, Mayor [George] Opdyke and President [Charles] King of Columbia went to Washington to urge President Lincoln to prosecute the war with greater intensity and suggested various changes in the cabinet and in the military which they felt would help stem the tide,” wrote Bryant biographer Curtiss S. Johnson. Son-in-law Parke “Godwin, and even some of his rival editors, urged Bryant also to call upon Lincoln and express the sentiments the Northern newspapers had been reiterating. Bryant reluctantly agreed to go to Washington, but go he did…”34 Biographer Peckham wrote: “The President received the distinguished editor courteously, even cordially, and after a few pleasantries and a bad pun or two, assumed a properly serious air. Oh, yes, indeed, Mr. Lincoln remembered that Mr. Bryant was the Post man and was therefore well ‘posted’ on the affairs of the nation. He also recalled Secretary Stanton’s peevish remark that the New York papers must be reliable. For did they not keep on lying and relying?”35
Although Bryant pressed the case for Emancipation as a war aim, Mr. Lincoln did not show his hand — any more than Mr. Lincoln showed his hand to Tribune editor Horace Greeley when he printed his “Prayer of Twenty Millions” in August. Peckham wrote: “Back in the sanctum of the Evening Post, a few weeks later, Bryant was again inveighing editorially against ‘the weakness and vacillation of the Administration.”36 Robert S. Harper wrote: “Almost all criticism of Lincoln by the Evening Post until September of 1862 was based on his failure to free the slaves by governmental decree. From that time on, he was criticized on almost any excuse.”37 Civil liberties was one major area of concern for Bryant — one that he shared with many New York Democrats.
Biographer Curtiss S. Johnson noted: “It troubled Bryant, even though he continually urged that the war be prosecuted with greater zeal and that there be no compromise nor appeasement of the rebels, that in the name of military necessity the rights which are inherent in a free society would have to be abridged and usurped by the government.”38 After Governor Horatio Seymour’s messages in January 1863, Bryant wrote: “What Governor Seymour says of arbitrary arrests and martial law has a great deal of truth in it and will commend itself to the approval of a majority of all parties.”39 But Seymour’s gubernatorial victory also concerned Bryant. Historian Allan Nevins wrote: “Bryant had written Lincoln just before the [1862] election that Seymour’s election, ‘a public calamity,’ might be averted if the armies would only win a timely battle, but that continued military inactivity would lose New York and other States.'”40 In the letter Bryant stated:
Allow me to say a very few words on a subject in which the friends of the administration and the country in this quarter feel a profound interest.
We are distressed and alarmed at the inactivity of our armies in putting down the rebellion. I have been pained to hear lately from persons zealously loyal, the expression of a doubt as to whether the administration sincerely desires the speedy annihilation of the rebel forces. We who are better informed acquit the administration of the intention to prolong the war though we cannot relieve it of the responsibility These inopportune pauses, this strange sluggishness in military operations seem to us little short of absolute madness.
Besides their disastrous influence on the final event of the war they will have a most unhappy effect upon the elections here, as we fear they have had in other states. The election of Mr. Seymour as Governor of New York would be a public calamity. A victory or two would almost annihilate his party and carry General Wadsworth triumphantly into office.
If what is apparently the present military policy of those who conduct the war be persisted in, the Union in our view is lost, and we shall resign ourselves to the melancholy conviction that the ruin of our republic is written down in the decrees of God.41
Interspersed with criticism, Bryant occasionally had glimpses of insight into Mr. Lincoln’s character. Bryant wrote in 1863 after President Lincoln had issued a draft Amnesty Proclamation: “Mr. Lincoln has seen that to move faster than public sentiment would provoke useless hostility; and he has chosen to go with the people; to let his acts advance parallel with their convictions and thus to secure for every measure the sympathy of the great mass of loyal Americans. If we glance back at the conspicuous events of the last two and a half years we shall see that in every instance he has conducted public affairs upon this theory; and we shall recognize in most of his delays, often unaccountable at the time and vexatious to our more eager spirits, he was but waiting to discern the real sense of the public mind. The Amnesty Proclamation is another evidence of the care with which the President studies the wishes of the people. His Proclamation is framed to meet the interests and opinions of the Union men of the States affected by it.”42
Bryant remained unalterably opposed to compromise with Rebel leaders in the South and compromise with Republican rival Thurlow Weed in the North. “All administration war measures, such as the draft, war financing, increased taxation, and all steps toward emancipation, received full commendation,” wrote Robert S. Harper in Lincoln and the Press. “Bryant spoke violently to protest the efforts of Greeley and others for a negotiated peace. When the Tribune editor went to Niagara Falls in July 1864, the Evening Post scoffed: ‘The most effective peace meetings yet held are those which Grant assembled in front of Vicksburg, which [George] Meade conducted on the Pennsylvania plains, which [William S.] Rosecrans now presides over near Tullahoma; their thundering cannons are the most eloquent orators, and the bullet which wings its way to the enemy ranks the true olive branch.”43 Biographer Brown wrote: “Bryant’s long editorial on the subject, ‘No Negotiations with the Rebel Government,’ appeared on September 6. His argument, which anticipated Lincoln’s message to Congress in December opposing any conferences, was that the government could not without ‘deserting the cause of the people both at the North and the South’ deal with the leaders of the rebellion.”44
Meanwhile, Bryant was once more incensed by patronage problems. In 1861, Bryant had supported the desire of his partner Isaac Henderson to be appointed navy agent. Henderson was aggressive in his pursuit of the post — even sending Mary Lincoln a diamond brooch as a bribe after the 1860 election; her husband insisted on its return. Historian Charles Brown wrote: “Secretary of the Treasury Chase wrote [John] Bigelow on March 11 [1861] that his wishes, for Bigelow also supported Henderson’s request, would be gratified ‘unless Mr. B[r]yant presents some other gentleman as he choice. Bryant’s own name figured frequently in the press as a seeker for office, usually as United States minister abroad. Chase perhaps had this in mind when he wrote Bigelow: ‘If Mr. Bryant wd. Go to Europe (say Paris) & take Mr. Godwin as Private Secretary he should have my voice.’ So persistent were the report’s of Bryant’s seeking an office that he had a denial published on April 1: ‘Those who are acquainted with Mr. Bryant know that there is no public office from that of the President of the United States downwards which he would not regard it as a mistake to be obliged to take. They know that not only has he asked for no office, but that he has not allowed others to ask for him — that he has expected no offer of any post under the government, and would take none if offered. He has not visited Washington to influence any of the appointments which have been made, though he has cheerfully borne his testimony in writing to the merits and qualifications of others.’ The notice went on to say that requests for his aid had become so numerous and importunate that he had been obliged to go out of town to avoid them.”45
Like several of President Lincoln’s New York patronage appointees, Henderson became the subject of allegations of corruption. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles was a stickler for ethics and regulations. He was also a longtime friend of William Cullen Bryant and frequent contributor to the New York Evening Post. In 1864, when allegations of corruption arose, Welles “took prompt and vigorous action to prosecute the malefactors, even though most were prominent businessmen with political influence,” wrote biographer John Niven. “Those who felt the heavy hand of the department were the Smith brothers, Franklin and Edward of Boston, who were on cordial terms with Representative Samuel Hooper and Senators Sumner and Hale; Isaac Henderson, the Navy agent in New York, who was co-publisher with William Cullen Bryant of the Evening Post; and H.D. Stover of Philadelphia, an associate of George Opdyke, the radical politician and ex-Mayor of New York, Thurlow Weed, and Charles B. Sedgewick, former chief of the House naval affairs committee.”46
The Henderson case was a complicated mix of ethics, political payback, and election politics. “The man responsible for the charges against Henderson was Thurlow Weed,” wrote Robert S. Harper in Lincoln and the Press. “He made a private investigation and took his information to Secretary Welles.”47 Bryant biographer Charles Brown wrote: “The newspaper reports of the investigations and a speech in Congress by Senator James W. Grimes of Iowa detailing them in an attack on corruption provided the opportunity for an ancient political foe, Thurlow Weed, to attack the Evening Post. He did so in vitriolic editorials in his newspaper, the Albany Journal, in one of which he spoke of Henderson’s having his ‘arms shoulder deep in the federal treasury.’ It was no worse than what the Evening Post had been saying for years about Weed’s corrupt finaglings in Albany, but Bryant, incensed, met the abuse with abuse in editorials on June 13 and June 20.”48
“The first hint that [Brooklyn Navy Agent Isaac] Henderson was implicated in any wrong-doing reached Welles on February 1 in a report from Provost from Provost Marshal L.C. Baker of the arrest of one H.D. Stover for fraud,” wrote Bryant biographer Brown. Welles “was disinclined at first to believe that Henderson was involved in any illegal dealings with Stover, he wrote in his diary, but when the publisher’s name turned up again in the investigations being conducted he was not so sure.”49 On March 15, Welles confided in his diary:
Henderson, the Navy Agent at New York and Parke Godwin called this evening. He was disturbed by the Olcott investigations, wanted to consult and advise with me, hoped I would be frank. Thought himself injured by newspaper articles and by Olcott’s proceeding. Wished to know what charges or specifications there were against him. I told him I was in no condition to impart information or give advice, or sufficiently informed as to what had taken place to make any statement, even if it was proper, to him; that, if he had done right or nothing wrong, he need be under no apprehension; that his name was much mixed up with certain corruptionists and contractors who were under arrest, and against whom appearances were bad; that he, better than I, or any one, knew how much there was in all this and whether there was any cause for censure or complaint. He averred there was no cause of complaint against him, — that he was guilty of no wrong. Made inquiries about Olcott, and told of improper and insinuating interrogations put to witnesses, that were unjust to him (H.). I told him I knew nothing of those matters; that I had heard of a most impolitic and reprehensible conversation in the sleeping-car between Olcott and others with him, as to his business and as to persons implicated. Told him O. was an attache of the War Department, loaned to us for the occasion.”50
Biographer Brown wrote: “But the situation involving Henderson was more serious than just a war of words between two political opponents. On June 20 Welles decided to remove Henderson and to file criminal charges against him, reluctant though he was ‘to break with old friends.’ Before doing so, however, however, he laid the case before Lincoln, who asked Welles if he were satisfied that Henderson was guilty and when told he was agreed that a dismissal letter should be sent. Henderson was arrested on June 22 upon evidence given in an affidavit by a Brooklyn hardware merchant, Joseph L. Savage. Savage deposed that in submitting vouchers to Henderson for payment for supplies he received less than the full amount of his bill, deductions being made and pocketed by the navy agent. Both in the news story reporting the arrest and in an editorial the next day the Evening Post maintained that Henderson was innocent and the action taken against him was part of a political plot. The paper gave no credence to Savage’s allegations since he himself was ‘under grave charges of corrupt dealing.'”51
“Preliminary measures for the arrest and trial of Henderson, Navy Agent at New York, have been taken,” wrote Gideon Welles in his diary on June 20. “From the statements of Savage, Stover, and others he has been guilty of malfeasance, although standing high in the community as a man of piety and purity. It has been with reluctance that I have come to the conclusion that it was my duty to ask his removal and take measures against him. But I am left no alternative. That he, like all the Navy Agents, was getting rich at the public expense I have not doubted, — that there were wrong proceedings in this matter I fully believed…My own impression is that Henderson has kept more accurate accounts than his predecessors, and I expect his books will square up faithfully, — accurate in dollars and cents, — but the wrong has been in another way. His representative, and friend, and fellow church-member Odell has looked into the subject and says he has committed great frauds.”52
Harper “Henderson was ousted with the full approval of President Lincoln and despite Bryant’s personal intervention at the White House in defense of his business manager. Instead of going to Washington, as he had in times past to see the President, Bryant wrote a letter and received in reply a stinging rebuke.”53 On June 25, Bryant sent a letter of protest to the Lincoln Administration: “Mr. Isaac Henderson, who acts as publisher of the Evening Post, has been summarily dismissed from the office of Navy Agent, which he has held for the last three years, and at the same time, arrested by the officials of your administration, on a charge…of infamous frauds on the government…I am satisfied that Mr. Henderson will establish his entire innocence at the examination, and you will allow me frankly but respectfully to say, that I should not bear towards you the esteem that I do, did not feel equally confident, that, in that event, your sense of justice will lead you to reinstate in office without delay….I cannot bear that the least shadow of the suspicion of corrupt or even questionable practices should rest upon any person, in any way connected with the Evening Post.”54 Continued Bryant: “What makes these severe proceedings still more unkind is, that Mr. Henderson has always zealously supported your administration, that he has used all his influence in its favor, and that he desired and has approved your second nomination. Of course no astonishment that he ever felt could equal his, at being so roughly treated by a government which in his mind had always been associated with the idea of fairness and equity.”55
On June 27, 1864, President Lincoln replied Bryant: “Yours of the 25th has just been handed me by the Secretary of the Navy. The tone of the letter, rather than any direct statement in it, impresses me as a complaint that Mr. Henderson should have been removed from office, and arrested; coupled with the single suggestion that he be restored, if shall establish his innocence. I know absolutely nothing of the case except as follows — Monday last Mr. Welles came to me with the letter of dismissal already written, saying he thought proper to show it to me before sending it. I asked him the charges, which he stated in a general way. With as much emphasis as I could I said ‘Are you entirely certain of his guilt[?]’ He answered that he was, to which I replied ‘Then send the letter.’ Whether Mr. Henderson was a supporter of my second nomination I neither knew or enquired, or even thought of, I shall be very glad indeed if he shall, as you anticipate, establish his innocence; or, to state it more strongly and properly, ‘if the government shall fail to establish his guilt.’ I believe however, the man who made the affidavit was of as spotless reputation as Mr. Henderson, until he was arrested on what his friends insist was outrageously insufficient evidence. I knew the entire city government of Washington, with many other respectable citizens, appealed to me in his behalf, as a greatly injured gentleman.”56
Mr. Lincoln concluded: “While the subject is up may I ask whether the Evening Post has not assailed me for supposed too lenient dealing with persons charged with fraud and crime? And that in cases of which the Post could know but little of the facts? I shall certainly deal as leniently with Mr. Henderson as I have felt it my duty to deal with others, notwithstanding any newspaper assaults.”57 That night, Welles wrote in his diary:
I have a very earnest letter to-day from William C. Bryant in behalf of his partner and publisher, Henderson. It was handed to me by Mr. [Moses] Odell, Representative from Brooklyn, and inclosed was also an open letter to the President, which he wished me to deliver. Mr. O. Is, like H., a prominent member of the Methodist Church. They are of opposite politics. Of course Mr. H. stimulated Mr. B. to write these letters, and, having got them, sends them through his religious associate. Mr. B. Evidently believes H. Innocent and injured. This is natural. Odell knows he is not. Morgan believes that both Bryant and Godwin are participants in the plunder of Henderson. I have doubts as regards B., who is feeling very badly, and thinks there is a conspiracy in which Seward and Thurlow Weed are chiefs. I am supposed to be an instrument in their hands, and so is the President. But it so happens that neither of them knew any of the facts until the arrest of Henderson and his removal were ordered.
It grieves me that the Evening Post and Mr. Bryant should suffer by reason of the malfeasance of Henderson. As regards Godwin, I cannot say that my faith in him is much greater than in Henderson, and yet I know but little of him. The Evening Post does not sustain the character which it had under Bigelow and Leggett. Bryant is a good general editor in many respects, but the political character of the paper has been derived in a great degree from others. Of late there have been some bad surroundings. Opdyke, J.G. C. Gray, D. D. Field, and others of like complexion have been the regents and advisers of Godwin, until the paper is losing some of its former character, — perhaps more than any of us are aware.
I dined to-day with Attorney-General [Edward]Bates, and after my return this evening wrote a reply to Bryant’s letter, disabusing his mind of some of its errors, provided his convictions are open to the truth.”58

On June 30, Bryant thanked the President for his letter. “It confirms my convictions of your equity and love of justice,” wrote Bryant. “You speak of having been assailed in the Evening Post. I greatly regret that any thing said of your public conduct in that journal should seem to you like an assault, or in any way the indication of hostility. It was not intended to proceed beyond the bounds of respectful criticism, such as the Evening Post, ever since I have had any thing to do with it, has always permitted itself to use tow[ard] every successive administration of the government. Nor have I done you the wrong of supposing that any freedom of remark would make you forget what was due to justice and right. In regard to another point mentioned in your letter, allow me to say that I do not know what the standing of Mr. Henderson’s accuser may be in Washington, but here it is bad enough.”59

On July 15, 1864, Welles wrote in his diary: “The arrest of Henderson, Navy Agent, and his removal from office have seriously disturbed the editors of the Evening Post, who seem to make his cause their own. This subject coming up to-day, I told the President of the conduct of his District Attorney, Delafield Smith, who, when the case was laid before him by Mr. Wilson, attorney for the Department, remarked that it was not worth while to prosecute, that the same thing was done by others, at Washington as well as New York, and no notice was taken of it. Wilson asked him if he, the prosecuting law officer of the Government, meant to be understood as saying it was not worth while to notice embezzlement, etc. I related this to the President, who thereupon brought out a correspondence that had taken place between himself and W. C. Bryant. The latter averred that H. was innocent, and denounced Savage, the principal witness against him, because arrested and under bonds. To this President replied that the character of Savage before his arrest was as good as Henderson’s before he was arrested. He stated that he knew nothing of H.’s alleged malfeasance until brought to his notice by me, in a letter, already written, for his removal; that he inquired of me if I was satisfied he was guilty; that I said I was; and that he then directed, or said to me, ‘Go ahead, let him be removed.'”60
According to Welles: “The Evening Post manifests a belligerent spirit, and evidently intends to make war upon the Navy Department because I will not connive at the malfeasance of its publisher. In a cautious and timid manner they had supported the policy of the Navy Department hitherto, though fearful of being taunted for so doing. Because their publisher was Navy Agent they had done this gently. But they now, since Henderson’s arrest and trial, assail the monitors and the monitor system, which they have hitherto supported, and insidiously and unfairly misrepresent them and the Department.”61
“The Henderson case, however, was not entirely out of Bryant’s mind,” wrote Bryant biographer Charles Brown. “With some malice, he had written Lincoln on August 30 of matter relating to the Navy Department. The secretary, Mr. Welles, was a man of strict honesty but there was a question about the assistant secretary, Mr. [Gustavus] Fox. Distrust of the man’s capacity and integrity was widespread and there were complaints about him of not only extreme wastefulness but gross corruption. ‘It is not the object of this letter to express any opinion in regard to these complaints,’ Bryant ended his letter. ‘It is enough for me to state the existence of that impatience and dissatisfaction which universally prevails in regard to the class of transactions of which I have spoken. The remedy, if there be any, and whatever it be, remains with the Executive.'”62
Six months later, Welles wrote in his diary that the “acrimony” with the Evening Post had not dissipated. “Henderson’s guilt is known to them, yet I am sorry to perceive that even Mr. Bryant wishes to rescue H. from exposure and punishment, and, worse than that, is vindictive and maliciously revengeful, because I will not condone crime. No word of kindness or friendship has come to me or been uttered for me in the columns of the Post since Henderson’s arrest, and the Navy is defamed and its officers abused and belied on this account. In this business I try to persuade myself that Godwin and Henderson are the chief actors; but Mr. Bryant himself is not wholly ignorant of what is done.”63
Historian John Niven wrote: “The Navy secured convictions against all these fraudulent contractors, though not without Welles being subjected to fierce attack from the Boston Journal and the New York Evening Post. The politicians were active, too, in condemning Welles for what they charged were the harsh and arbitrary actions of Fox and his detective, Colonel H. L. Olcott. After all the investigations, the lengthy trials, the unfavorable publicity, Lincoln set aside the convictions, giving the unfortunate appearance that the Navy Department had acted wrongly, that Welles, like all weak men, gloried in displaying his power by persecuting defenseless citizens.”64
Although Henderson was eventually acquitted by a New York jury, at least one person close to Bryant disagreed with the verdict. Robert S. Harper wrote: “The Post was owned by Bryant, Parke Godwin, his son-in-law, and Isaac Henderson. Bryant and Godwin were the literary talent while Henderson, the business manager, chased the dollars. Godwin disliked Henderson for sufficient reasons; the Bryant and the Henderson families fought for possession of the newspaper, with the business office trying to wrest editorial direction from the news room.”65 Son-in-law Goodwin wrote a memo to Bryant in which Godwin “cited chapter and verse in his accusation of Henderson, saying he was grossly guilty of graft in connection with the Navy contracts. He claimed that before and during his trial Henderson had attempted to tamper with the grant jury, buy up the district attorney, and bribe witnesses. Moreover, he claimed that Henderson was a constant source of ‘mortification and embarrassment’ to the Evening Post and that the paper could not in good conscience point to graft and malfeasance in others when a member of its own organization was by no means above suspicion,” wrote Bryant biographer Curtiss S. Johnson.66
“Bryant’s September 7 [1864] letter to [wife] Frances, as well as one to the Boston financier John Murray Forbes, revealed him at about his angriest with Lincoln. His anger was not, so much due to Lincoln’s attitude toward the Henderson affair as it was to Thurlow Weed’s influence in dispensing patronage in New York. The immediate provocation was the removal of Bryant’s friend and ally in the Free-Soil movement, Hiram Barney, as collector of the port of New York, the most important federal political job in the state, and his replacement by Simeon Draper, a henchman of Weed. Bryant wrote Frances that after hearing of the appointment of Draper, the ‘pipe layer,’ a reference to a scandal in which he had been involved, he refused to address Lincoln. He was little more explicit in his letter to [John M.] Forbes. Mentioning that the Seward and Weed faction was ‘filling all the offices with its creatures,’ he declared: ‘I am so utterly disgusted with Lincoln’s behavior that I cannot muster respectful terms in which to write him.'”67
Bryant editorialized after President Lincoln’s renomination: “In their conviction of his complete integrity, of his homely good sense and honesty of purpose, they overlook his defects, they pardon his mistakes, they are prone to forgive even his occasional lapses into serious and dangerous abuses of power.”68
Bryant biographer Charles Brown wrote: “Whatever Bryant’s personal feelings may have been toward Lincoln, he did not let them stand in the way of supporting the Republican ticket in the election….”69 Friend Forbes evidently tried to pacify Bryant. A Lincoln colleague wrote in mid-September: “I telegraphed Mr Wm Cullen Bryant from Washington on Friday but he was not in the city either that day or yesterday and so I missed him, but I have no sort of doubt he will be with us and I give you enclosed a cutting from his Fridays paper which accords entirely with our views-“70
After President Lincoln’s death, Bryant editorialized: “The whole nation mourns the death of its President, but no part of it ought to mourn that death more keenly than our brothers of the South, who had more to expect from his clemency and sense of justice than from any other man who could succeed to his position. The insanity of the assassination, indeed, if it was instigated by the rebels, appears in the stronger light when we reflect on the generosity and the tenderness with which he as disposed to close out the war, to bury its feuds, to heal over its wounds, and to restore to all parts of the nation that good feeling which once prevailed, and which ought to prevail again. Let us pray God that those who come after him may imitate his virtues and imbibe the spirit of his goodness.”71 Poet William Cullen Bryant composed a hymn for President’s Lincoln’s funeral in New York:
O, slow to smite and swift to spare
Gentle and merciful and just!
Who, in the fear of God, didst bear
The sword of power — a nation’s trust
In sorrow by the bier we stand,
Amid the awe that hushes all,
And speak the anguish of a land
That shook with horror at thy fall.
Thy task is done; the bond are free;
We bear thee to an honored grave
Whose proudest monument shall be
The broken fetters of the slave.
Pure was thy life; its blood close
Has placed thee with the sons of light,
Among the noble host of those
Who perished in the cause of Right.72


  1. Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and A Belly-full: The Journalist Career of William Cullen Bryant, p. 187.
  2. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 431.
  3. David M. Ellis, Jams A. Frost, Harold C. Syrett, and Harry J. Carman, A History of New York State, p. 327.
  4. Charles Nordhoff, Reminiscences of Some Editors I Have Known, p. 8 (Speech before the Tuesday Club of San Diego, California, March 6, 1900).
  5. Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and A Belly-full: The Journalist Career of William Cullen Bryant, p. 176.
  6. Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and A Belly-full: The Journalist Career of William Cullen Bryant, p. 14.
  7. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p. 256-257 (George Haven Putnam, Outlook of New York, February 8, 1922).
  8. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p. 257 (George Haven Putnam, Outlook of New York, February 8, 1922).
  9. Harry Houston Peckham, Gotham Yankee: A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, p. 143.
  10. Harry Houston Peckham, Gotham Yankee: A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, p. 146.
  11. Andrew A. Freeman, Abraham Lincoln Goes to New York, p. 96.
  12. Harry Houston Peckham, Gotham Yankee: A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, p. 105.
  13. John Bigelow, William Cullen Bryant, p. 177.
  14. Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois. (Letter frrom William Cullen Bryant to Abraham Lincoln1, June 16, 1860).
  15. Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume IV, p. 81 (Letter to William C. Bryant, June 28, 1860).
  16. Noah Brooks, Washington in Lincoln’s Time: A Memoir of the Civil War Era by the Newspaperman Who Knew Lincoln Best, p. 64.
  17. Harry J. Carman and Reinhard H. Luthin, Lincoln and the Patronage, p. 36.
  18. Harry J. Carman and Reinhard H. Luthin, Lincoln and the Patronage, p. 37.
  19. James G. Randall, Lincoln the President, Springfield to Gettysburg, Volume I, p. 370.
  20. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 425.
  21. Francis Fisher Browne, The Every-Day Life of Abraham Lincoln, p. 421 (Letter from William Cullen Bryant to Dr. H. N. Powers).
  22. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 435.
  23. Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and A Belly-full: The Journalist Career of William Cullen Bryant, p. 113.
  24. Robert S. Harper, Lincoln and the Press, p. 317.
  25. Allan Nevins, The War for the Union: War Becomes Revolution, 1862-1863, p. 169 (July 1862).
  26. Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume II, p. 104 (August 13, 1864).
  27. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 439.
  28. Allan Nevins, The War for the Union: War Becomes Revolution, 1862-1863, p. 397.
  29. Carl Schurz, The Autobiography of Carl Schurz, p. 192 (Abridgment by Wayne Andrews).
  30. Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and A Belly-full: The Journalist Career of William Cullen Bryant, p. 115 (New York Evening Post, July 7, 1862).
  31. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 438-439.
  32. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 438.
  33. Harry Houston Peckham, Gotham Yankee: A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, p. 148.
  34. Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and A Belly-full: The Journalist Career of William Cullen Bryant, p. 116.
  35. Harry Houston Peckham, Gotham Yankee: A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, p. 151-152.
  36. Harry Houston Peckham, Gotham Yankee: A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, p. 152.
  37. Robert S. Harper, Lincoln and the Press, .
  38. Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and A Belly-full: The Journalist Career of William Cullen Bryant, p. 121.
  39. Stewart Mitchell, Horatio Seymour of New York, p. 268.
  40. Allan Nevins, The War for the Union: War Becomes Revolution, 1862-1863, p. 320.
  41. Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois. (Letter from William Cullen Bryant to Abraham Lincoln, October 22, 1862).
  42. Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, Volume II, p. 494-495.
  43. Robert S. Harper, Lincoln and the Press, p. 317.
  44. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 465.
  45. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 429.
  46. John Niven, Gideon Welles: Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, p. 465.
  47. Robert S. Harper, Lincoln and the Press, p. 281.
  48. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 460-461.
  49. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 460-461.
  50. Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume I, p. 542 (March 15, 1864).
  51. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 460-461.
  52. Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume II, p. 54 (June 20, 1864).
  53. Robert S. Harper, Lincoln and the Press, p. 281.
  54. Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VII, p. 410 (Letter from William Cullen Bryant, June 25, 1864).
  55. Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VII, p. 410 (Letter from William Cullen Bryant, June 25, 1864).
  56. Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VII, p. 409-410 (Letter to William Cullen Bryant, June 27, 1864).
  57. Roy P. Basler, editor, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VII, p. 410 (Letter to William Cullen Bryant, June 27, 1864).
  58. Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume II, p. 60` (June 27, 1864).
  59. Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois. (Letter from William Cullen Bryant to Abraham Lincoln, June 30, 1864).
  60. Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume II, p. 78-79 (July 15, 1864).
  61. Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume II, p. 79 (July 15, 1864).
  62. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 465-466.
  63. Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Volume II, p. 228 (January 21, 1865).
  64. John Niven, Gideon Welles: Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, p. 465.
  65. Robert S. Harper, Lincoln and the Press, p. 281.
  66. Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and A Belly-full: The Journalist Career of William Cullen Bryant, p. 157.
  67. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 465-466.
  68. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 458-459.
  69. Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant, p. 465-466.
  70. Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois. (Letter from John M. Forbes to Francis P. Blair Sr., September 18, 1864).
  71. Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and A Belly-full: The Journalist Career of William Cullen Bryant, p. 127.
  72. Francis Fisher Browne, The Every-Day Life of Abraham Lincoln, p. 722.