President James Buchanan Trusts Providence to Help Him Choose a Cabinet

November 25, 1856

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President James Buchanan Trusts Providence to Help Him Choose a Cabinet
Autograph Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 986

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      Scarcely having time to even say his prayers, Buchanan tells a well-known Washington minister that he will “make haste slowly” in appointing his Cabinet. “I shall wait for a full view of the whole ground before I select my Cabinet,” he declares, adding that he trusts “that a kind Providence will bestow upon me wisdom from on high to enable to choose the proper men for the proper places.”

      If “kind Provence” gave Buchanan wisdom in choosing his Cabinet, however, it would appear that was a one-time gift. Buchanan is routinely rated by historians as among the very worst presidents. His astonishing obtuseness, passivity, and  wrongheadedness, all agree, turned a sectional crisis into Civil War.


      Autograph Letter Signed, as President-Elect, 1 page, quarto, Wheatland, near Lancaster, November 25, 1856. To the Reverend Henry Slicer.
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      Wheatland, near Lancaster
      25 November 56

      My dear & Rev: Sir,

      Your favor of the 8th Inst. ought to have been long since acknowledged; but in truth, I have now scarcely time to say my prayers. I appreciate your long, faithful & efficient friendship as highly as you could desire & as it deserves, & I shall be always happy to receive & profit by your advice.  Your advice to "make haste slowly" is excellent.  I shall wait for a full view of the whole ground before I select my Cabinet; & I trust that a kind Providence will bestow upon me wisdom from on high to enable to choose the proper men for the proper places.

      In haste, I remain always very respectfully,

      Your friend

      JAMES BUCHANAN

      Rev: Henry Slicer.

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