Anecdote of President Lincoln
's practical shrewdness is exemplified in the following anecdote, which is sufficiently characteristic:
In the purlieus of the Capitol
, the story goes that, after the death of Chief-Justice Taney
, and before the appointment of Mr. Chase
in his stead, a committee of citizens from the Philadelphia
Union League, with a distinguished journalist at their head as chairman, proceeded to Washington
, for the purpose of laying before the President
the reason why, in their opinion, Mr. Chase
should be appointed to the vacancy on the bench.
They took with them a memorial addressed to the President
, which was read to him by one of the committee.
After listening to the memorial, the President
said to them, in a very deliberate manner: “Will you do me the favor to leave that paper with me?
I want it in order that, if I appoint Mr. Chase
, I may show the friends of the other persons for whom the office is solicited, by how powerful an influence and by what strong personal recommendations the claims of Mr. Chase
The committee listened with great satisfaction, and
were about to depart, thinking that Mr. Chase
was sure of the appointment, when they perceived that Mr. Lincoln
had not finished what he intended to say. “And, I want the paper also,” continued he, after a pause, “in order that, if I should appoint any other person, I may show his friends how powerful an influence and what strong recommendations I was obliged to disregard in appointing him.”
The committee departed as wise as they came.