Gwin, in hopes of extricating himself, struck a bargain with the Administration. It was agreed that he was to obstruct the Colfax bill and to allow the session to expire without action; afterwards he was to be rewarded by an order from the Postmaster General improving the service on the South Pass route. Gwin fancied himself returning to California to boast that his personal influence had secured what the combined force of the Republicans in Congress had failed to effect. . . .
To his dismay, Postmaster General Holt, a determined enemy of overland mails, refused to spend another dollar on the route. Gwin then called upon the President. In the interview that followed, Buchanan found himself in an embarrassing position. Gwin was one of his chief supports in the Senate. Holt, who was indispensable to the Cabinet, threatened to resign if his policy in his Department were reversed at the bid of an outsider. Buchanan attempted to persuade Gwin to drop the matter. But the fate of the overland mail meant more to Gwin than the soothing words of the President.