The One Thing Needful

January 8, 1864

“In this period of ‘The Great Transition’ – and especially in that trying portion of it which is yet to come — the great necessity of or our country is a leader….It is true that we might easily find a worse President than Abraham Lincoln.  Nevertheless, it is highly desirable for the crisis through which we are now passing to find a better….The man still feels what the unreasoning  boy felt,  that the respectable , courteous, friendly slaveholding neighbors of his father’s family had a sort of right to hold slaves. He still holds that sympathetic fellow-feeling with them..,….He has said to the Supreme Court, by the very terms of this carefully prepared oath of allegiance  –‘You may break the Proclamation if you will, and I hereby signify my assent to your action.’ (Reference is to an Oath of Allegiance, in the Proclamation of Amnesty.) What we need is a President who in such as crisis as this, shall not recognize even the possibility of the reversal of a righteous act which he has done in the legitimate exercise of his official function.  If Abraham is afraid of the Supreme Court, he is not the man for this place, nor for this hour.  If he cares more for the wishes and interests of slaveholders than of slaves, he is not the man for the next four years of Presidential office….”  C.K.W.”

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