I am working away on my biography of Edwin Stanton, writing today the chapter that deals with 1861, the first few months of the Civil War.
As I write I do bits of research, to “fill in the gaps” and to answer questions. This morning, for example, I was looking at letters between Stanton and former president Buchanan from May 1861. Buchanan complained to Stanton on May 6 about what he viewed as an attack on his administration by Frederick Seward, son of my prior subject William Henry Seward. Stanton counseled Buchanan on May 13 that there was no point responding to the “fling” by young Seward. Other authors have found these letters, they are after all in the published works of Buchanan. But no author has found the “fling” by Frederick Seward. What, I wondered, did Frederick say?