21 MARCH 1931, Page 40

Some Books of the Week

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ABRAHAM 'Ascots's character gains in interest as it is more closely studied, especially in relation to the politicians with whom he had to work. There is much detail in Dr. C. E. Macartney's Lincoln and his Cabinet (Scribners. 12s. 6d.) that may be difficult for English readerk who are unfamiliar with the methods of American politics, but his accounts of the eight Ministers, especially Seward and Stanton, are well worth reading for the light that they throw on the great President. Hay and Nicolai's official biography, good as it is, minimizes the endless quarrels and intrigues which hampered Lincoln throughout the Civil War. Dr. Macartney, on the other band, has much to say about them. For example, Mont- gomery Blair, Postmaster-General from 1861 to 1864, had to be dismissed because General Fremont,"Blair's enemy, threat- ened to stand as a Radical Republican and imperil Lincoln's re-election by splitting the party if Blair were retained. Even in that year of crisis the much enduring Lincoln had not a loyal party behind him. The author takes an unexpectedly favourable view of Seward, Secretary of State, and Stanton, Secretary for War. Stanton was notorious for his bad man- ners : he had snubbed Lincoln when they were both engaged in a case at Cincinnati. But Dr. Macartney thinks that he was a faithful supporter of the President, and that his adminis- tration of the War Office was efficient—a view which is not widely shared.