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[107]

The Missouri legislature was in session and balloting for a United States senator. The legislature was divided into three parties—radicals, conservative Republicans, and Democrats, or ‘copperheads,’ neither strong enough to elect without a fusion with one of the others. A union of the radicals and the conservatives was, of course, most desired by the administration; but their bitterness had become so great that either would prefer a bargain with the Democrats rather than with the other. The Hon. E. B. Washburne, representative in Congress from Illinois, made an opportune visit to St. Louis about this time, procured an interview with me at the house of a common friend, and led me into a frank conversation relative to this political question. I told him candidly that in my opinion the desired union of radicals and conservatives was impossible, for they were more bitterly opposed to each other than either was to the Democrats. Mr. Washburne went to Washington, and reported to the President that I was opposed to the much-desired radical and conservative union in Missouri, and was using my influence to prevent it. So opposite was this to the truth that I had even written a letter to my friend Colonel J. O. Broadhead, the conservative candidate, asking him to withdraw in favor of the radical candidate, as a means of bringing about the harmony so much desired by the President. This letter was not sent, because the telegraphic reports from Jefferson City showed that it was too late to do any good; but it was handed to Colonel Broadhead on his return to show him my wishes in the matter.

Upon my first visit to the President, he repeated to me this Washburne story, without, however, intimating that he attached much weight to it. I at once replied by giving him the simple facts about my conversation with Washburne, and what my true position was on that question. Mr. Lincoln promptly dismissed the subject

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