The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 by Abraham Lincoln
Offer to Cooperate and Give Special Line of Information to Horace Greeley
TO GOVERNOR WALKER.
WASHINGTON, November 21, 1861
DEAR GOVERNOR:--I have thought over the interview which Mr. Gilmore has had with Mr. Greeley, and the proposal that Greeley has made to Gilmore, namely, that he [Gilmore] shall communicate to him [Greeley] all that he learns from you of the inner workings of the administration, in return for his [Greeley's] giving such aid as he can to the new magazine, and allowing you [Walker] from time to time the use of his [Greeley's] columns when it is desirable to feel of, or forestall, public opinion on important subjects. The arrangement meets my unqualified approval, and I shall further it to the extent of my ability, by opening to you--as I do now--fully the policy of the Government,--its present views and future intentions when formed, giving you permission to communicate them to Gilmore for Greeley; and in case you go to Europe I will give these things direct to Gilmore. But all this must be on the express and explicit understanding that the fact of these communications coming from me shall be absolutely confidential,--not to be disclosed by Greeley to his nearest friend, or any of his subordinates. He will be, in effect, my mouthpiece, but I must not be known to be the speaker.
I need not tell you that I have the highest confidence in Mr. Greeley. He is a great power. Having him firmly behind me will be as helpful to me as an army of one hundred thousand men.
This was to be most severely regretted, when Greeley became a traitor to the cause, editorialized for compromise and separation--and promoted McClellan as Democratic candidate for the Presidency.
That he has ever kicked the traces has been owing to his not being fully informed. Tell Gilmore to say to him that, if he ever objects to my policy, I shall be glad to have him state to me his views frankly and fully. I shall adopt his if I can. If I cannot, I will at least tell him why. He and I should stand together, and let no minor differences come between us; for we both seek one end, which is the saving of our country. Now, Governor, this is a longer letter than I have written in a month,--longer than I would have written for any other man than Horace Greeley.
Your friend, truly,
P. S.--The sooner Gilmore sees Greeley the better, as you may before long think it wise to ventilate our policy on the Trent affair.