Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 6.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Montgomery Blair [1]

Hon. Montgomery Blair: Executive Mansion,
My dear Sir. Washington, Nov. 2. 1863.

Some days ago I understood you to say that your brother, Gen. Frank Blair, desires to be guided by my wishes as to whether he will occupy his seat in congress or remain in the field. My wish,Page  555 then, is compounded of what I believe will be best for the country, and best for him. And it is, that he will come here, put his military commission in my hands, take his seat, go into caucus with our friends, abide the nominations, help elect the nominees, and thus aid to organize a House of Representatives which will really support the government in the war. If the result shall be the election of himself as Speaker, let him serve in that position; if not, let him re-take his commission, and return to the Army. For the country this will heal a dangerous schism; for him, it will relieve from a dangerous position. By a misunderstanding, as I think, he is in danger of being permanently separated from those with whom only he can ever have a real sympathy---the sincere opponents of slavery. It will be a mistake if he shall allow the provocations offered him by insincere time-servers, to drive him out of the house of his own building. He is young yet. He has abundant talent---quite enough to occupy all his time, without devoting any to temper. He is rising in military skill and usefulness. His recent appointment to the command of a corps, by one so competent to judge as Gen. Sherman, proves this. In that line he can serve both the country and himself more profitably than he could as a member of congress on the floor. The foregoing is what I would say, if Frank Blair were my brother instead of yours. Yours very truly

A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   ALS, PHi; LS copy, DLC-RTL. Francis P. Blair, Jr., presented his credentials as congressman and served from March 4 to June 10, 1864, when his seat was successfully contested by Samuel Knox. On April 23, 1864, however, he resumed his commission and was assigned to command of the Seventeenth Army Corps. Draft ALS $$$