The intra-cabinet feuding was beyond Lincoln's power to prevent, but he had let it go on much too long. Further, his willingness to let cabinet officers run their departments almost without supervision, except for the war office, had permitted vexatiously contradictory and independtent policies to go on at the same time. Though Stanton and Seward had learned better, Lincoln's slipshod ways encouraged Chase and Blair to assume viceregal attitudes when it pleased them and their ambitions to do so. As an administrator, Lincoln had a long way to go to excellence [in early 1863] and he never tried very hard to get there.From Thomas and Hyman, Stanton: the Life and Times of Lincoln's Secretary of War (Knopf, 1962). Nice antidote to the Goodwinian nonsense circulating just now.
My own candidate for the Lincoln Prize
If it's ever reprinted, I would enjoy seeing a certain book submitted to the Lincoln Prize committee. Their reaction to this passage, especially, would be delicious to observe: