I do not know any matter in the field of appointments that has given me more concern than the Attorneyship for the Middle District of Tennessee. While I was under a partial misapprehension as to your attitude about Mr. Lee Douglas I had gone so far with him that the matter now stands thus, that if I were to fail to appoint him, it would do him serious injustice and cause him, perhaps, lasting embarrassment in the practice of his profession, for it is known to him and to all his friends that I desire to appoint him to this office and to turn away from him now would seem to indicate that I was convinced that he was not fitted for it, whereas, my own judgment and the testimony of many who have been familiar with his practice and his abilities is that he is.
I write you this to explain why I feel bound to take a course which my sincere esteem for you and my genuine desire to act upon your advice would seem to preclude.
Hon. John K. Shields,
United States Senate.