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From our archives: Editor gives grumbler a scolding

What we thought: 150 years ago

Published: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
John G. Nicolay 1832-1901 Nicolay, a former Illinois newspaper editor, was President Abraham Lincoln's private secretary from 1861 to 1865. Nicolay helped answer Lincoln's mail and managed the president's office schedule, with assistance from John Hay, who more than 30 years later became secretary of state.
Caption
Capt. James Galt 1826-1869 Galt, held prisoner by the Confederates and exchanged in 1864, suffered from pneumonia and apparently never recovered his health, dying in 1869.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Gazette on Feb. 6, 1864.

A grumbler answered

We have received the following note through the post office.

• • •

Sterling, Jany. 30, 1864

Editor, Sterling Gazette:

Can you inform me what disposition has been made of the proceeds of the late entertainment at Wallace Hall? I paid my money understanding that the proceeds were to be given to the needy families – and not to be put into a fire- and burglar-proof safe and merchandise dealt out in its place.

The money is the public money, and the public do not approve of such a monopoly. It is time they should know how such funds are disposed of, and why it is not right that we should know whether honest hands are made the recipient of such funds, or not.

Let us have a statement, and I presume all will be satisfied.

Yours, A Subscriber

• • •

We are not in the habit of noticing anonymous letters, but as the above is slightly personal, we reply to it.

In the first place, then, part of the money has been given to those in need of it, and the balance is in “honest hands” (and no doubt will continue so, so long as “A Subscriber” has nothing to do with it), and will be distributed justly and fairly wherever it is most needed.

As is generally the case, the grumbling “Subscriber” is no doubt actuated by jealousy, and knows nothing about what he writes, as is evidenced by his writing another anonymous letter, similar to the above, to a lady in Sterling who has had nothing to do with the money, in any way, shape or manner, but who has assisted the poor this winter more, we venture to say, than “A Subscriber” ever did in his life.

Again, the grumbler shows his weakness by writing anonymously. He had not the manliness to sign his name to the insulting letters he has written; and we are not surprised at it either, as grumblers are proverbially ashamed of their own acts.

If “A Subscriber” had called upon any of those who were instrumental in getting up the entertainment, he would have received all the information he desired with regard to the money, and any person desiring such information can obtain it at any time.

We will again assure “A Subscriber” that the money is safe, out of his reach, and will remain so unless fortune should bring him to want, and then his twenty-five cents will be returned to him with interest.

Mr. Lincoln’s daily life

Mr. Lincoln is an early riser, and he thus is able to devote two or three hours each morning to his voluminous private correspondence, besides glancing at a city paper.

At nine he breakfasts – then walks over to the War Office to read such war telegrams as may be given him – occasionally some are withheld – and to have a chat with Gen. Halleck on the military situation, in which he takes a great interest. Returning to the White House, he goes through with his morning’s mail, in company with a private secretary.

Some letters are endorsed and sent to the departments, others are entrusted to the secretary, who makes a [note] of the reply which he is to make, and others the president retains, that he may answer them himself. Every letter receives attention, and all which are entitled to a reply receive one, no matter how they are worded, or how inelegant the chirography may be.

Tuesdays and Fridays are Cabinet days, but on other days, visitors are requested to wait in the antechamber, and send in their cards. Sometimes, before the president has finished reading his mail, Mr. Lincoln has visitors ushered in, giving precedence to acquaintances. Three or four hours do they pour in, in rapid succession, nine out of ten asking offices, and patiently does the president listen to their applications.

Care and anxiety have furrowed his rather homely features, yet occasionally he is “reminded of an anecdote,” and good humored glances beam from his clear, gray eyes, while his ringing laughter shows that he is not “used up” yet.

The simple and natural manner in which he delivers his thoughts makes him appear to those visiting him like an earnest, affectionate friend. ...

The president dines at six, and it is rare that some personal friends do not grace the round dining-table. ... From the dinner table the party retire to the crimson drawing room where coffee is served, and where the president passes the evening, unless some dignitary has a special interview. – Boston Journal

Exchanged

A telegram was received in Sterling a few days since, stating that Capt. James Galt was in Baltimore, and would be home soon. The captain has been sojourning in Richmond for a few months past, and we are happy to be able to announce his return to America.

Not dead yet

The Missouri Legislature on Friday passed eulogistic resolutions over the supposed death of one of their own members and then adjourned out of respect to his memory.

The next day, however, they learned that their fellow member was not dead, but alive and kicking, having been prevented from making his appearance by the late snow storms.

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