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[198] Grant, however, desired no change, and declared that the President could hardly find a more efficient war minister; certainly none more earnest, or more ready to hold up the hands of the commander of the army. Lincoln was glad to find that he entertained these views, for the attempts to overthrow the Secretary were persistent and numerous.

Stanton indeed had many enemies, among them every rebel and traitor in the land. He, however, was indifferent to the animosity that he provoked, and seemed rather to enjoy the hatred of his adversaries. It was not his custom to propitiate those by whom he was opposed; he seldom sought to mollify their temper or avert their rage. He believed in terrifying those who were half inclined to take sides against him; in crushing out rebellion; in punishing treason. The time for concession and conciliation, he considered, was past; the plan of recalling the rebels by kindness or compromise had been tried and failed; every weapon in his hands was now to be employed, every avowed or secret enemy was to be subdued. With these general views Grant was, at this stage of the war, in complete accord, but the measures that Stanton resorted to were sometimes harsher than he approved. The minister, however, had treacherous civilians to deal with at the rear; the soldier only open enemies in the field. Grant would have been perhaps more lenient to those who had no weapons in their hands, but Stanton felt that these were as determined in their hostility as armies, and that it was quite as important to destroy them as Lee.

Overpowering in will, masterful in passion, bending men and means and circumstances to his own

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Edwin M. Stanton (3)
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