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President Lincoln's "Blind Memorandum"
06-25-2022, 11:56 AM (This post was last modified: 06-27-2022 11:26 AM by David Lockmiller.)
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RE: President Lincoln's "Blind Memorandum"
I checked out Vol. 2 of the Diary of Gideon Welles from the San Francisco Main Library Reference Desk to research for additional information on the August 23, 1864 "Blind Memorandum" meeting of President Lincoln's cabinet.

The lengthy entry (four and a half pages in the book) for August 23 [1864], Tuesday does not contain a single reference to this subject matter.

However, an entry in his diary by Secretary of the Navy Welles for August 25, Thursday provides a possible reference to the "Blind Memorandum." The reader must judge for oneself.

Calling on the President near eleven o'clock, I went in as usual unannounced, the waiter throwing open the door as I approached. I found Messrs. Seward, Fessenden, and Stanton with Raymond, Chairman of the Executive National Committee, in consultation with the President. The President was making some statement as to a document of his, and said he supposed his style was peculiar and had its earmarks, so that it could not be mistaken (emphasis added). He kept on talking as if there had been no addition to the company, and as if I had been expected and belonged there. But the topic was not pursued by the others when the President ceased."

I read additional entries from Secretary Welles' diary. And, I thought that I would share the entry made by Welles for Christmas Eve 1864, December 24, Saturday, because the it exemplifies President Abraham Lincoln's character and consideration for others:

"Called on the President to commute the punishment of a person condemned to be hung. He at once assented. Is always disposed to mitigate punishment, and grant favors. Sometimes this is a weakness. As a matter of duty and friendship I mentioned to him the case of Laura Jones, a young lady who was residing in Richmond and there engaged to be married but came up three years ago to attend her sick mother and had been unable to pass through the lines and return. I briefly stated her case and handed a letter from her to Mrs. Welles that he might read. It was a touching appeal from the poor girl, who says truly the years of her youth are passing away. I knew if the President read the letter, Laura would get the pass. I therefore only mentioned some of the general facts. He at once said he would give her a pass. I told him her sympathies were with the Secessionists, and it would be better he should read her own statement. But he declined and said he would let her go; the war had depopulated the country and prevented marriages enough, and if he could do a kindness of this sort he was disposed to, unless I advised otherwise. He wrote a pass and handed me."

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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RE: President Lincoln's "Blind Memorandum" - David Lockmiller - 06-25-2022 11:56 AM

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