A war widow was passed over in the appointment of a Post Master in Penn Yan, New York. A Democrat paper showed that even a Republican paper disagreed with the decision.
From a Seneca County, New York newspaper in July 1865:
The War against returned Soldiers by the Republican Politicians.
Muskets for the Soldiers – Offices for the Loyal Leaguers.
THE PENN-YAN POST OFFICE.
The struggle in regard to the Penn Yan Post Office is over, and Mr. Samuel H. Wells has received the commission as Post Master. Mr. Wells is competent to make a good Post Master, and we have no doubt, will strive to make a good one. He is appointed against the wishes of a very large majority of the people interested, and there will therefore, be the more need of his doing his best to give satisfaction.
Col. Sherer is rudely kicked out of the office by the same parties who moved heaven and earth, and resorted to all sorts of strategy, four years ago to get him appointed. While they endeavor to retain others, they prosecute the Colonel, and yet do not dare to make ant open complaint against him.Col. Sherer has been strictly upright in his management of the office, and no man could be more zealous than he has been to give complete satisfaction to the public. As long as these removals do not extend to other places, and he is removed to give place to a civilian, the Colonel can but deem himself basely and shabbily treated.
Mr. Wells, the new Post Master belongs to a lucky line. His father has been Justice of the Supreme Court for nearly twenty years, and has received about $50,000 for his services. By far the best office in the county is now conferred upon the son. This would seem to be paying off one family pretty well, for whatever they may be worth in either a public or partizan sense.
Our candidate for this appointment was Mrs. Mary Sloan, the Soldier’s widow, and we did what we could, honorably, to secure her the position. She had a very strong, and respectable popular support, and ought to have been appointed. Had Mr. Lincoln lived, she probably would have been. – President Johnson was very favorably disposed, but let the matter to the Post Master General, who felt himself bound by the rule so much abused, of permitting Members of Congress to control appointments within their Districts. The rule is a bad one and should be set aside, unless the department quits the ridiculous pretension of making appointments at Washington, and remits the power directly to the Members of their respective districts. Why should people be encouraged to trot to Washington, to be heard in regard to these things, if after all they are of no account? Besides, it is a rule, which we see as in this instance, gives to the Congressman to give all the offices to his immediate personal favorites, without regard to the public wishes.
What chance had Mrs. Sloan under such circumstances? with the determined hostility of the M.C., of what avail was the public sympathy and support? or the petition of the regiment of officers and men, to which her husband belonged, when he fell fighting for the Republic? She is poor, and cannot command official favor so long as the little clique, of which Mr. Morris is the industrious factotum decided otherwise. She must toil on, and support herself and little ones, as best she can, while all the official positions they can grasp, go to swell the luxuries and emoluments of the close corporation of small politicians constituting the clique aforesaid.
How sad the selfishness of these voracious politicians subverts the good wishes of the people. When we asked the young men to go to the war, what generous promises we made of protection and support to their wives and children if they fell in the bloody strife. When these promises were made the people said, Amen! The people are true to those promises now, with the exception of a few flunkies, who always bend the knee with the hope that thrift may follow fawning.
We have but another word to offer on the subject now. During the progress of the war much has been patiently borne which cannot be quietly tolerated any longer. National perils, of course, dominate merely local interests, and rather than weaken the Union cause by political squabbles, those who feel that the country is dishonored by the selfish and one sided action of the managing clique who at present exercise political control among us, have quietly acquiesed [sic]. Their self respect will permit them to do so no longer. We cannot believe that fidelity to Union principles require us to applaud political cheating, lobby peculation, and unmeasured corruptions for the aggrandizement of a few men unworthy of special respect, morally or socially. The time has come to speak plainly, and we shall do so, regardless of merely personal consequences. – Yates Co. Chronicle.
The above article from the Yates Co. Chronicle, the organ of the disinterested and purely patriotic Republican party, is one single illustration of their “superior love” for their country’s defenders, and is a glorious fulfillment of their respected pledges and promises to “take care of the families of soldiers.” This is the “exclusively loyal and patriotic party” which now so nobly exhibit their self-sacrificing devotion to their country by giving up to the unquestionably competent, most worthy and deserving widows of brave men fallen in battle, the offices which they are well adapted to fill with entire satisfaction. All honor to the republican party, which has acted so nobly in fulfilling its pledges to the widows of the gallant soldiers who gave their lives in the cause of Freedom! Oh! excuse us! We are writing as if we were living when pledges and plighted faith meant something, – when Congressmen and statesmen regarded honor as something sacred.
But, apologizing for our stupidity, we find, after reading the above article from the Chronicle again, that the Post Office in this place has been secured for – who? The widow of the brave Major Sloan, whose husband, after having served his full term for which he enlisted, being wounded several times, and narrowly escaping with his life, recruited a regiment, was promoted to Major, and with his raw recruits sent directly to the front, where he fell in the very first engagement, leaving a widow and two little children? Was it to his wife, whose application was sent to Washington and received with favor by the President, that the Post Office at Penn Yan was given? No! But it was snatched from her hands by wire-pullers at home and bestowed upon a lawyer of ample means. – Penn Yan Dem.