Russian Minister to Washington, Edouard de Stoeckl, was a close observer of the Lincoln administration and reliable judge of political events. He saw Lincoln as weak and vacillating, with the radical Republicans as the true “masters of the situation,” and had ”been told on good authority that a [radical] deputation demanded the President’s resignation.”
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Radical Republican Reign of Terror:
“The fighting Italian patriot, Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had expressed a desire for a federal army command – providing the war would be fought for emancipating the slaves – rejoiced over the [emancipation] Proclamation. Garibaldi’s followers, the republican liberals of Italy whose red shirts had become symbols of freedom, added their lavish praise….
But in Washington, Stoeckl expressed deep regret that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued. In a conference with [William] Seward, the Russian Minister told Lincoln’s Secretary of State that he regards the Proclamation “as but a futile menace,” because “it set up a further barrier to the reconciliation of the North and South – always the hope of Russia.
In a lengthy report to St. Petersburg shortly after Lincoln issued the preliminary Proclamation, Stoeckl charged that radical Republican leaders had forced Lincoln into this extreme measure in a desperate effort to maintain their waning political powers. “Their program calls for immediate and unconditional emancipation, the arming of the slaves against their masters; the confiscation of all property belonging to the insurgents; and finally the inauguration in the North of a reign of terror to silence the protests of the timid conservatives.”
Stoeckl described Lincoln as vacillating and resorting to half measures because “he does not dare to go along” with the radicals, nor does he possess the courage to break with them:
“[Lincoln] signed the confiscation bill. He authorized wholesale arrests in the North and even suspended the writ of habeas corpus. [Radicals demanded] that Lincoln give to Governor Morton of Illinois, and ultra-radical, the chief command of affairs of war in the West, and delegate to him all the powers which the Constitution invested in the Chief Executive of the Republic.
The President, intimidated by [the] intrigues and violent attacks, decided to publish the Proclamation…[but] settles the question only halfway; slavery will continue to exist in the States which recognize the Union….Slavery would not be abolished….where the decrees of the President could not be executed. A new proclamation issued by the President suspends the writ of habeas corpus and establishes martial law in the entire United States. It is a new concession wrung from Mr. Lincoln by the radicals.”
(Lincoln and the Radicals, Albert A. Woldman, World Publishing Company, 1952, pp. 182-185)