December 31, Thursday. The year closes more satisfactorily than it commenced. The wretched faction in the Free States which makes country secondary to party had then an apparent ascendency. They were dissatisfied with the way in which the War was conducted, — with what they called the imbecility of the Administration, — and, uniting with another faction which is opposed to the War, they swept the States. The country understands them better than it did. The War has been waged with success, although there have been in some instances errors and misfortunes. But the heart of the nation is sounder and its hopes brighter. The national faith was always strong, and grows firmer. The Rebels show discontent, distrust, and feebleness. They evidently begin to despair, and the loud declarations that they do not and will not yield confirm it.
The President has well maintained his position, and under trying circumstances acquitted himself in a manner that will be better appreciated in the future than now. It is not strange that he is sometimes deceived and fails to discriminate rightly between true and false friends, and has, though rarely, been the victim of the prejudices and duplicity of others.
The Cabinet, if a little discordant in some of its elements, has been united as regards him. Chase has doubtless some aspirations for the place of Chief Executive, which are conflicting. Seward has, I think, surrendered any expectation for the present, and shows wisdom in giving the President a fair support. Blair and Bates are earnest friends of the President, and so, I think, is Usher. Stanton is insincere, but will, I have no doubt, act with Seward under present circumstances.