It has been a fact of general remark for many monnths that the president has been surrounded by advisers who seek their own popularity rather than his. All push out boldly to take the lead away from him. He knows this, at last, and "seems" to be now endeavoring to gather the reins and drive ahead himself. His recent emancipation [unknown], directing congress to act immediately on his suggestion was devised without any outside help. The Sumners and Trumbulls were not consulted. He dare not ask his cabinet about it.
He sometime ago suddenly changed the usage in regard to military orders and sanctions. They formerly run in the name of the commander next to him in rank. He became not only in name but in fact [unknown]. He assumed this position after all the plans of the Kentucky and Tennessee and Atlantic coast movements had been matured and set a-going. This he believed to be necessary in consequence of the villainous machinations against Gen. McClellan. When he began to doubt McClellan he resolved to trust no one. The singular order issued by himself personally, directing a "simultaneous movement" by all the armies was the fruit of distrust. The issue will show that the new secretary of war had something to do with it.
Why not? He had as good a right to make a dash at the presidency, as Cameron and all the rest of the perfidious "advisers" who have counted on the supposed weakness and known good nature of the president. The fact has been too plain that no man can fairly stand against McClellan, the only sincere friend the president has, in high position. The military order was that all the generals and other high officers were to be at their posts for movement on a given day. The day came, and where were they? A large number of them congregated from different stations to celebrate Washington's birth-day, while the conduct of army affairs went on precisely as before. Mr. Lincoln doubtless knows by this time, that a change of advisers does not always improve the character of the advice. There is evidence now of a renewal of confidence in McClellan, but no one can wonder at the president's caution, after all the executive experience he has had in dealing with unprincipled men.
It has been visible from every stand point that the president has been beset for weeks past by a horde of malcontents demanding the displacement of McClellan. He has been charged with treason itself. The pressure brought to bear against him has been unequalled, and at one time it was feared that the president, in despair, had determined to substitute Fremont. This would surprise no one, since the proceedings of the president have of late been so sudden and mysterious. He is certainly an object of compassion. He means to do his duty, but in the confusion of incongruous and corrupt counsels, he may even make an erroneous step in an effort to extricate himself from their toils. Standing alone, he never feels independent, and acting by such interested advice as he gets, he seldom fails to be misled. All, except a few unscrupulous aspirants, have confidence in Gen. McClellan. The public voice will fully sanction his continuance in his present place.
Since writing the above, we have received the Chicago Times of yesterday, in which we find a Washington letter of the 17th instant, from which we extract the following:
Notwithstanding the statements put forth by those who color all facts to correspond with the howlings of the blood-thirsty politicians who are attempting to oppose the administration and destroy General McClellan, the fact is rendered in disputable by a number of corroborating witnesses that the rebel force in the vicinity of Centreville and Menassas, up to the commencement of the general retreat, was not less than 90,000, and that the evacuation was suddenly begun, upon the very same night that intelligence was received that General McClellan was at Charlestown, with General Banks, and advancing towards Winchester. This information demonstrates that the movement upon Winchester ordered by General McClellan effected all the purposes of a bloody battle in front of Centreville, without the loss of a single federal soldier.
The city has been rife to-day with the rumor set afloat by the Tribune, that the blood-thirsty politicians in congress were to make to-day their grand onslaught upon General McClellan, and to pass resolutions, to be offered by Mr. Covode, calling on the president to make a change in the command of the federal army of the Potomac. Such was unquestionably the wish of this faction; but no attempt was made to carry the scheme into execution. The firm stand of the president, manifested in an interview with the chief managers of this conspiracy, and the temper of public opinion exhibited towards some of them who were last night vaporing about the bar room at Willard's Hotel, have taught them that discretion would be the better part of valor, and their resolutions would be indignantly rejected by an overwhelming majority in congress, and condemned by a still greater majority of the people. The conspirators have gone growling to their lairs, to grieve over their disappointment, and concoct new schemes to afford aid and comfort to the rebels, by obstructing the speedy completion of the war.
The fire-eaters of the southern rebellion were never more desperate and restless and truth-defying than this ultra faction in the present congress. A visit to their constituents will perhaps open their eyes to the fact that the people of the loyal states regard the war as one for the Union, and not simply for the abolition of slavery.