• Amasa McCoy: William Seward is a Traitor; Lincoln Would Yield To Treason

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    AMASA McCOY was a professor and a prolific writer during his day, writing to such people as William Lloyd Garrison with his opinions about temperance.  He also wrote a eulogy for Daniel Webster’s memorial service. He delivered a lecture to Congress on the Declaration of Independence in 1861. Some of his letters can be found in important institutional collections.

    JAMES BEDELL McKean (1821-1879) was colonel of the 144th Regiment, New York State Militia, in 1844. He was admitted to the bar in 1849 and became the first judge of Saratogo County Court in 1855. McKean was elected as a Republican to the 36th and 37th United States Congresses, serving as chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the State Department.

    In this superb 8 pp, 5” x 8 ¼”, written by McCoy to McKean, on January 24, 1863, he implores McKean to remove Lincoln’s Secretary of War William Seward, accusing him of implementing policies that support the Confederacy. In small part, he writes:

    "...You express some fears that Mr. Lincoln ‘would not gather any better men about him.' Even if they were not better naturally...yet if they came in as the result of this pressure of public opinion, they would certainly better execute that opinion. So far, public opinion, as declared by the acts of Congress, has been defeated by Mr. Seward. Congress, the Army, the navy, the people, are all defeated by this one man. Mr. Seward is the escape-valve through which the just rage, the righteous anger of all true patriots, has been whiffed off into the clouds, instead of being turned scalding hot upon the rebels. Talk of the right of a State to nullify- why all your solemn acts of legislation by which you aim to brand and punish this as treason, are all nullified, are all made contemptible, by the sleight-of-hand-tricks of this one performer

    “...A public no-confidence vote by the House...would have the force of law...As such the President would see that he must obey...

    “I can well understand how a Congressman may start back at such a demonstration. but let no one who refuses to make it complain of McClellan for not making a demonstration on Richmond.

    “Why has not the rebel Capital been taken by the national forces? Because the national Capital has been taken by the Rebel forces! The State Department, and through that department, the Executive Mansion, is under the control of the Rebels' best friend.

    “I am no alarmist...But this I say to you, as a private Citizen, to one in power, that the question before you patriots in Congress, is simply whether you will take this Government out of the hands of its enemies, and put it into the hands of its friends...

    “Why did Jefferson Davis give orders to hang Butler? Because Butler, treating treason as treason, was damaging the Rebel cause. Why did Mr. Seward remove Butler? Because Butler was damaging the Rebel cause. Who are the best friends of the Rebellion? Jefferson Davis and William H. Seward…Who communicated to Jefferson Davis the fact that Butler was to be removed? Who?

    “…No triumphs in the field can make good this monstrous treachery in the Cabinet. Crush the military power of the Rebellion tomorrow, and Mr. Seward will still sacrifice all the objects for which the war was waged….

    “My theory on Mr. Lincoln is, that if his whole Cabinet voted one way, always on the policy that treason is treason, and to be made infamous, Mr. Lincoln would yield…

    “It is the ambition of Mr. Seward to nullify the laws of Congress, to defeat the will of the Nation, and to surrender the authority of the Government.  And so far he has succeeded and if you adjourn and leave him in power, he will sell out the very soul of the Nation to Jefferson Davis and the Devil…

    “He [Seward] despises my views with regard to his duties in this crisis (he was not named or personally referred to when I spoke in your Hall, but Senator Pomeroy told me that he kept his eye constantly on Mr. Seward and that he turned white, red, purple, all sorts of colors) so I despise and abhor his views…He may think he is doing God’s service; but to me, his treachery is just James Buchanan’s treachery continued…

    “Stop this ‘fire from the rear’ and our brave soldiers will take care of the traitors in arms; but only Congress can crush out this cruel, this wicked, this infamous, this damnable treason in the Cabinet…”

    Toning and folds but in excellent condition.

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