February 29, Monday. A strong effort is on foot by naval officers who have been retired and their friends to set aside the law and the action under which they were retired. Working to an end persistently, without organized opposition, they may, with a weak Congress, effect their object, though to the public detriment. It would be easy for me to yield to my sympathies for these men and their families, who are in many cases most deserving of sympathy, could I disregard my duty and the public interest. To oppose them is to incur unforgiving resentment; to yield will be a disregard of my obligations. I shall not be sustained in standing firm by my friends; nevertheless my course is plain. I have prepared a letter that gives my views, which I will send to the two houses. A call is made for all correspondence that has taken place, as well as the meagre records of the Retiring Board. The correspondence cannot be collected without time, but the argument and record can go in at once.
Have received the prize law by Dana and Judge Sprague and made suggestions and corrections. On scrutinizing, it appears to need more emendations than I at first supposed.