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[558] The general order issued by the latter regarding the proclamation of September 22d was dated one month back; his correspondence on the subject of army supplies had closed a fortnight since. His delay in taking the field, notwithstanding the order of the President, could no longer be alleged against him now that the army was in motion, and that he had been congratulated thereupon. He had, moreover, adopted the plan of campaign which had been sent to him from Washington.

It was impossible, therefore, to find any plausible pretext for his dismissal, and the attempt was not made. The real causes were, on the one hand, the hostility of General Halleck and the Secretary of War, and, on the other, that of the Republican party, which some political friends of McClellan had irritated and alarmed by their imprudent language. What finally determined this step, it is said, was the result of certain partial elections which turned out in favor of the Democratic party. Mr. Lincoln was made to believe that this result was the beginning of a political movement of which General McClellan would be the leader; it is even possible that, in order to control his action, they may have placed before him the danger of a military revolution, which the enemies of republican institutions in America were always predicting, and the measures taken for carrying out the order of the President in an army so foreign to all ideas of pronunciamientos justify this supposition. Mr. Lincoln, well acquainted with political intrigues, could no longer resist the evil influences by which he was beset. As it frequently happens, unfortunately, with honest people who have been guilty of some weakness, he made up his mind, after much hesitation, at a time when such an act was most unaccountable, and when it might have been productive of most disastrous consequences.


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