Wednesday 14 January 2009

A literary recommendation before the Inauguration

"Then you refuse, sir, to wait for the Supreme Court to rule?" Morgan was now very tense. Seward looked at Lincoln, who, for no perceptible reason, was smiling.
"Sir, I will not wait upon anyone. The time for argument is past. If this is not agreeable to you, then we shall just have to see who is the stronger."
Seward felt an involuntary shudder in his limbs. He was also ravished by the irony of the moment. For nearly three years, a thousand voices, including his own, had called for a Cromwell, a dictator, a despot; and in all that time, no one had suspected that there had been, from the beginning, a single-minded dictator in the White House, a Lord Protector of the Union by whose will alone the war had been prosecuted. For the first time, Seward understood the nature of Lincoln's political genius. He had been able to make himself absolute dictator without ever letting anyone suspect that he was anything more than a joking, timid backwoods lawyer, given to fits of humilty in the presence of all the strutting military and political peacocks that flocked about him."

Gore Vidal: Lincoln, page 458f

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