On Jan. 21, 1862, Democratic Banner Editor Lecky Harper was no doubt happy to report that Pennsylvania Republican boss Simon Cameron was out as Secretary of War.
Cameron had received the prestigious post because of his political importance, but showed that he was either incompetent or corrupt and President Lincoln finally moved him out of the cabinet.
Lincoln sent him about as far away as he could, shipping him to St. Petersburg as ambassador to Russia, but that wasn’t in the initial reports.
“Cameron Overboard,” the Banner crowed. “The county will rejoice to learn that the most corrupt and dishonest scoundrel, Simon Cameron, who has done more to injure the Union cause than Jeff Davis and all his rebel crew, has at length been compelled to give way to public opinion, and resign his position as Secretary of War. He is succeeded by Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, who was attorney general during the latter part of Mr. Buchanan’s administration. Cameron evidently resigned to prevent himself from being expelled from the Cabinet. No doubt he feathered his nest well while in office, and also took good care of his friends. Old Abe was terribly imposed upon in taking this man into his Cabinet, and he may be thankful that he is now rid of him. The Pittsburgh Post reports that Cameron will return to that state and organize the extreme abolitionists in opposition to the Administration.”
Immediately below that announcement, the Banner gave a profile of Stanton, noting that he “is a gentleman with whom we have been long and intimately acquainted. He is well-known in Ohio as one of the ablest and most successful lawyers that ever practiced in our state.”