by the result. Howe's first mistake was that he did not follow the example of Agassiz, who refused to be seduced into any co-operation against a friend.The vacancy in the office of chief-justice was filled at this session. The President first offered the place to Mr. Conkling, among whose qualifications, whatever they were, the judicial temper was not one. Fortunately, he declined it; then George H. Williams of Oregon was nominated, whose name was withdrawn when it was found impossible to secure a confirmation. A greater surprise was then in store,—the immediate nomination of Caleb Cushing, who, having been appointed and confirmed as minister to Spain, was about to set sail. This third name struck the Senate and the country with amazement, and a confirmation was at once found to be impossible. Mr. Conkling alone appeared to approve it, and not more than half-a-dozen Republican senators seemed disposed to listen to his persuasions. The senators were at a loss to understand upon what principle the President proceeded in making the several nominations, and he in his turn was quite unable to understand what kind of a man they thought suited to the office. He yielded, however, to the request of a Republican caucus for the withdrawal of Mr. Cushing's name, recalling it five days after it had been sent in. The nominee had run a most eccentric political career,—first a Whig and then a Democrat; a partisan of pro-slavery doctrines; president of the Democratic convention at Charleston in 1860; a supporter of Breckinridge's candidacy the same year, and the author of an inflammatory speech after Mr. Lincoln's election, which was calculated to encourage Southern resistance.1 He addressed, March 21, 1861, a letter to Jefferson Davis in favor of a clerk about to join the rebellion,2 similar in purport to the one given by Jesse D. Bright which caused his expulsion from the Senate. His personal as well as political relations with the secessionists ended, however, with the breaking out of the rebellion, and from that time he was not obstructive to the government. He sought at the outset a place in the military service, but found an impediment in Governor Andrew, who thought his record stood in the way of an appointment. Later, his ability as a publicist was brought to the aid of the government at Washington in important matters, and before the arbitrators at Geneva. He acted
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