June 30, Thursday. All were surprised to-day with the resignation of Secretary Chase and the nomination of Governor David Tod as his successor. I knew nothing of it till the fact was told me by Senator Doolittle, who came to see and advise with me, supposing I knew something of the circumstances. But I was wholly ignorant. Chase had not thought proper to consult me as to his resignation, nor had the President as to his action upon it, or the selection. My first impression was that he had consulted Seward and perhaps Blair. I learn, however, he advised with none of his Cabinet, but acted from his own impulses. I have doubts of Tod’s ability for this position, though he has good common sense and was trained in the right school, being a hard-money man. Not having seen the President since this movement took place, I do not comprehend his policy. It can hardly be his intention to reverse the action of Chase entirely without consulting those who are associated with him in the Government. And yet the selection of Tod indicates that, if there be any system in the movement. The President has given but little attention to finance and the currency, but yet he can hardly be ignorant of the fact that Chase and Tod are opposites. The selection of Tod is a move in the right direction if he has made the subject a sufficient study to wield the vast machine. On this point I have my doubts. His nomination will disturb the “Bubbles,” – the paper-money men, – and the question was not acted upon but referred to the Finance Committee, who have been with the Senate. I have no doubt their astonishment at the obtrusion of a hard-money man upon them was made manifest.
Blair and Bates both called at my house this evening and gave me to understand they were as much taken by surprise as myself. Mr. Bates says he knows nothing of T. Blair expresses more apprehensions even than myself, who have my doubts.
The retirement of Chase, so far as I hear opinions expressed, – and they are generally freely given, – appears to give relief rather than otherwise, which surprises me. I had thought it might create a shock for a brief period, though I did not fear that it would be lasting. I look upon it as a blessing. The country could not go on a great while longer under his management, which has been one of expedients and of no fixed principles, or profound and correct financial knowledge.
It is given out that a disagreement between himself and the President in relation to the appointment of Assistant Treasurer at New York was the cause of his leaving. I think likely that was the occasion of his tendering his resignation, and I have little doubt he was greatly surprised that it was accepted. He may not admit this, but it is none the less true, I apprehend. Yet there were some circumstances to favor his going, – there is a financial gulf ahead.