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Full text of "Biography of James G. Blaine"

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BIOGRAPHY 



OF 



JAMES G. BLAINE 



BY 



GAIL HAMILTON 



NORWICH, CONN. 
THE HENRY BILL PUBLISHING COMPANY 

1895 



Copyright, 1895 

BY 

THE HENRY BILL PUBLISHING COMPANY 



All rights reserved 



PRESS OF 

ROCKWELL AND CHURCHILL 
BOSTON 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I 

I. Galbraith ........ 1 

IL Blaine . 13 

III. Colonel Blaine's Peaceful Years ... 34 

IV. James Blaine 49 

V. Early Education . . . . . . 63 

VI. Finding the Road ...... 84 

VII. Maine 98 

VIII. In Congress . . . . . . . . 136 

IX. The Conkling— Fry Incident .... 157 

X. Vacation in Europe and Work at Home . 182 

XI. The Speaker 222 

XII. Credit Mobilier 268 



IV CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XIII. From the Speakership to the Senate . . 310 

XIV. The Work of the Republican Convention . 394 
XV. In the Senate 432 

XVI. Secretary of State ...... 479 

XVII. Years from 1882 to 1888 .... 569 

XVIII. Again Secretary of State, 1889 . . . . 651 

At Last ..... 720 



NOTE. — The reader is indebted to Mrs. Harriet Preseott Spofford, 

who, at the request of Mrs. Blaine, and with the approval of Gail 

Hamilton , completed Chapter XVlll., and wrote the concluding 

pages of this Biography. 

THE PUBLISHERS. 



TO DISCOVER AN UNKNOWN LAW OF HUMAN 

LIFE. 

Intellectual energy, like every other of which we have knowledge, 
is the product of antecedents. A great genius never comes by 
chance. It always bursts upon the world, as the new star in 
Auriga burst upon us, unexpectedly, but only because we have not 
explored the depths out of which it has come. Every man at birth 
is an epitome of his progenitors. He starts out with the elements 
of his character draivnfrom the widest sources, but so mixed in him 
that he differs necessarily from every other individual of his race. 
Here is the problem of life. Not the dome of St. Peter's, but 
how the hand that rounded it acquired its skill; not the play of 
" Hamlet,'" but how the mind that gave it its wondrous birth was 
developed, — these are our chief concern. — Edwin Reed. 



I. 

GALBRAITH. 

^HH ROUGH the mists of that yesterday which we call 
-*- antiquity loom up the stalwart forms of the Galbraiths 
moving resolutely, if to us vaguely, around the foot of Ben 
Lomond and along the shores of the storied lake. A fragment 
of Gaelic verse epitomizes their honorable history : 

" Galbraiths from the Red Tower, 
Noblest of Scotch surnames." 

Loyally adhering to Lord James Stuart, they had brought their 
noble surname to Baldernoch — whence it was but a step to the 
Clyde — whence their continued share in the world's movement 
took them to the Isle of Gigha. Here they held with the later 
McNeills an otherwise undivided sway till the nearness of 
Ireland tempted them over the easy stretch of blue water 
to become the Galbraiths of Donegal. 

The world movement in which they were involved was a 
wider one than the Galbraiths knew. So long ago as Julius 
Caesar was winning fame in Great Britain, the Scotch, under 
the name of Picts, and the Irish, Scots, were surging back and 
forth into each others' lands till on the crest of the human 
wave Ireland rode triumphant as Scotia Major, and Scotland 
followed meekly content to be Scotia Minor. 

By intellectual prowess Ireland justified her right to the 
lordly name. Converted to Christianity by St. Patrick and 
St. Columba, she battled for religion as warmly as she had 
battled for booty in her good old pirate-pagan days, and won. 
Religion brought in schools, learning, literature, and sent out 
missionaries to all the world — the world of England, France, 



2 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Switzerland, Italy, Germany. Even Iceland warmed herself in 
that new sun. When Europe awakened from her long sleep 
and began to crave colleges, Scotia Major was ready to man 
them with her professors. 

But another wave of barbarism churned down from the North 
and swept all before it — colleges, houses, churches. Then 
William with his Normans stormed up from the South and 
ground the people between the upper and nether millstones — 
to a finer standard, but to diminished sway ; for Scotia Minor 
ceased to be minor and became Scotland the only, and Scotia 
Major was fain to fall back upon her pet name and become 
green Erin. 

But this was not all the movement. Crowding also from the 
East came the Saxons, Jutes, and Angles, pushing Britons to 
the wall ; who, in their turn, with the eagerness of self-preser- 
vation, were as sedulously pressing westward and crowding out 
as they could the Scots from Wales and Cornwall, and crowding 
up with Saxon Lowlanders against the Celtic Highlanders, and 
then with the Northmen crowding even into north Ireland till 
the human caldron boiled like a pot, out of which seething 
came presently the sturdiest race on earth — the Scotch-Irish. 

Whereabouts on their journeyings the wand of Elizabeth 
touched the Galbraiths, history does not say, but more generous 
tradition supplies them with knighthood and a coat of arms 
from her royal hand in 1560 — three wolf heads and a dagger to 
Archibald Galbraith for having killed more wolves than any 
man in his shire and thus become to the afflicted farmers a 
public benefactor. 

By her protracted wars Elizabeth had been harder than the 
wolves upon the north of Ireland, which was reduced to abject 
misery. On account of the great rebellion of O'Neill and 
O'Donnell, their estates had been confiscated and reverted to 
the Crown. James, upon his accession, found the land a " devas- 
tated waste." He determined to reclaim it by filling it with a 
peaceful, thrifty, industrious population. He knew his Scots. 
By offering " allotments " under certain conditions of improve- 
ment, he induced thousands of the better classes, many be- 
longing to the nobility and gentry, to emigrate to Ulster, 
carrying with them their Presbyterianism of John Knox and the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 3 

Westminster Catechism, for the free enjoyment thereof. Then 
Charles I. succeeded to the throne, and would by all sorts of 
silly persecution, oaths, fines, imprisonments, confiscations, 
break down their prosperity, which his father had fostered, for 
the sake of breaking down their Presbyterianism, which was 
not his ism. Recourse was even had to butchery. Pastors 
were forbidden to preach and to baptize. Churches were 
closed. Rents on lands leased from the Crown were raised so 
that multitudes were reduced to poverty ; raised still further 
under Charles II., under James II. The Scotch-Irish did not 
like it. They would not submit like Irish Catholics. They 
were not enough to resist successfully. They were only one- 
tenth of the entire population. Had they been the nine-tenths 
there would have been no Home Rule Question to vex the 
Parliament of Man to-day. But, being only one-tenth, they 
sought and found a more excellent way. Ireland was not the 
home of their ancestors. America beckoned and they came — 
first, a few bold experimenters, then a great army in many suc- 
cessive regiments. In 1729 it is estimated that 6,000 of the 
Scotch-Irish had come over. Before 1750 nearly 12,000 had 
arrived annually for several years. Some went one way and some 
another, but the greater number made their home in Pennsyl- 
vania. They took to the frontiers by natural attraction. 
Their fighting qualities made them a desirable buffer between 
the peaceable Quakers and Germans and the wilderness Indians. 
They were splendid men to settle a new country ; fighting men 
who feared no foe : splendid men to found a new State ; Bible 
men to whom God was a living King, and themselves his 
responsible subjects. 

Among these malcontents were the Galbraiths. Upon the 
death of John Galbraith in Ireland, his two sons James and 
John closed connection with the old and threw in their lot witli 
the new. John tarried in Philadelphia, and his descendants 
went their way and out of our way westward, while James 
lifted up his eyes and beheld all the plains and hills of Cones- 
toga that they were well watered and fertile everywhere, and 
chose him all that land to dwell in. Fires had destroyed the 
timber, but the scrub oak prophesied the great forests which 
afterwards justified his faith. He was a man in the full 



4 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

maturity of vigorous life, and he came as an emigrant should, 
with his wife, Rebecca Chambers, his sons and daughters and 
grandchildren, and all his household goods. Himself fifty-two 
years of age, his eldest son, John, twenty-eight, brought his 
Scotch lassie of twenty-five, Janet, .and their three-year-old 
Robert. There was Andrew, twenty-six, and his wife and their 
year-old baby John. There was James of fifteen, and Eleanor, 
and Isabel, and Rebecca named for her mother, names still re- 
tained among their proud descendants. The family in this vast, 
rich, strange land clung together. The father had no sooner 
settled his sons around him than he bestirred himself at once 
to found a church in the wilderness. Within a year after his 
arrival the church was organized. In less than two years his 
religious home stood firm fixed upon the sweetest spot in Penn- 
sylvania, a pleasant wooded hill with a perennial spring bub- 
bling up its cool waters for man and beast and forming the 
beautiful " run " which follows its own sweet will through 
fertile meadows, winding a thousand turns till it joins the Chic- 
quesalunga, — compressed by modern haste and waste into the 
feeble " Chickies " ! 

The meeting-house of their faith and hope and aspiration was 
built of logs and loose stones gathered from the surrounding 
woods, and there for ten years they worshipped God and re- 
joiced in their new freedom. So strong was their influence, 
so sweet their memory of green Erin in spite of all they had 
suffered there, and so vigorous and well-assured their hope, 
that Conestoga was fain to yield up her name to their wooing 
and permit them to become in the New World what they had 
been in the Old, the Galbraiths of Donegal. 

This little Donegal church became the famous nursery of 
Presbyterianism in middle and western Pennsylvania, Vir- 
ginia, and North Carolina. Andrew Galbraith was elected its 
first ruling elder. As early as 1721 we find him making 
application to Newcastle, Del., for " supplies " for his church. 
This young ruling elder, as was meet, his father located 
next to the church he was to serve and rule, and honors 
and responsibilities canie swift upon him. Along the beau- 
tiful Donegal run, next to the glebe land, under patent 
from the Penns, his farm grew green on hill and meadow, 











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BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 5 

and Andrew prospered with it and attested his right to the 
"noble surname." Upon the organization of Lancaster county 
he was appointed first coroner, and afterwards became a jus- 
tice of the Court of Common Pleas, remaining such as long as 
he lived in Lancaster. In 1732 he was elected to the General 
Assembly. 

In the early history of the province the Quakers held the 
political power. Pennsylvania was ruled by governors ap- 
pointed by Penn and approved by the king, and it was a 
pleasant little family arrangement which had worked smoothly 
hitherto ; but these new colonists threatened to displace 
the old order. Invited they had come, but in such numbers 
that their Quaker hosts feared lest themselves should be sup- 
planted and the strangers turn proprietors. They swarmed all 
along the beautiful Susquehanna, and when challenged for their 
title said " it was against the laws of God and nature that so 
much land should lie idle while so many Christians wanted it 
to labor on," and that they had as good a right to enter and 
occupy as the Penns ! 

As early as 1729, James Logan, in a letter to the Proprietaries, 
wrote : " The Indians themselves are alarmed at the swarms of 
strangers (Scotch-Irish), and we are afraid of a breach with 
them. The Irish are very rough to them." In 1730, he 
complained of the Scotch-Irish, " in a disorderly manner pos- 
sessing themselves, about that time, of the whole of Conestoga 
manor, of 15,000 acres." 

The argument is not without logic. Logic or no logic, it 
seems that with the Quakers on one side fighting them at the 
ballot-box, and the Indians on the other with powder and 
shot, it was a substantial victory for the Scotch-Irish that 
they " rested chiefly in Donegal, as a frontier people at an 
exemption from rent." 

This struggle was still on when AndreAV Galbraith sat 
down by the gentle welling of Donegal spring. The township 
being settled entirely by Scotch-Irish, — Presbyterians, — they 
naturally challenged the supremacy of the Quakers in the 
organization of the new Lancaster county. Andrew Galbraith 
was brought out by the Donegalians for the Legislature on the 
eve of the election. The Quakers became very active to defeat 



6 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

him. The election was held at the courthouse at the county 
seat, the only voting-place. Believing that the office should 
seek the man and not the man the office, Mr. Galbraith made 
but little effort in his own behalf. His wife seems to have 
been of a different mind. Her motto was, She serves her 
country best who serves her husband best, and she mounted 
her fleet and favorite mare, Nelly, and galloped through the 
settlement, persuading her neighbors to go down to Lancaster 
and vote for her Andrew. Thus it came that she rode gal- 
lantly at the head of an enthusiastic procession of mounted 
men down to Lancaster courthouse, where she halted, drew 
up her men in line and harangued them manfully, and of 
course they brought her candidate in, elected by three votes over 
one of the most popular Quakers in the county, throwing out, 
it must be admitted, some Quaker votes for a slight informality. 
But certainly the Quakers were awed or persuaded into har- 
mony thenceforth, and reelected Mr. Galbraith many times 
without contest. When the roving spirit took him from 
Donegal, we hear of him at Pennsborough on a perambulating 
committee, pacing between the Pennsborough meeting-house 
and the Great Spring to establish just boundaries, and wher- 
ever and whenever he appears, he is always the discreet and 
public-spirited citizen. 

The third son, James, stood by his father and brothers in 
noble character, patriotic service, and public record. He was 
twice elected sheriff of the county, he was a justice of com- 
mon pleas of the county, he was an officer in the Indian wars. 
Up in Swatara they followed hard upon the feet of Donegal, 
organized a congregation, and were " supplied " by the friendly 
Donegalians with the stated preaching of the gospel according 
to John Knox. 

Presently came over the sea a most unhappy father and 
mother, seeking a lost son. During one of the many polit- 
ical excitements in the British Isles the boy had disappeared, 
and his parents, under the impression that he had gone to 
America, came to search for him about 1730. The father could 
not find his son, but he- was too valuable a colonist to be let go. 
A clergyman of the Presbytery of Bangor in Ireland, educated in 
Edinburgh, he was hospitably and unanimously received by the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 7 

Donegal Presbytery, and was installed at the meeting-house in 
Swatara, which then took the name of Deny. Little Derry bore 
herself handsomely to him, and appointed representatives who, 
on his settlement, executed to him the right and title to the 
" Indian town tract," on the north side of the Swatara, of three 
hundred and fifty acres. 

Young James Galbraith, who had been deeply interested 
in the Deny church, became still more interested in the new 
clergyman's pretty daughter, who to her beauty added rare 
accomplishments, great excellence, and it may not be invidious 
to say the hope of a fortune through her mother, Elizabeth 
Gillespie, who was heiress to a handsome estate in Edinburgh. 
This daughter, Elizabeth Bertram, presently became his wife, 
and for her he bought the farm on Spring creek, next to 
her father's, close to the church and including the inevitable 
grist-mill, and moved thence, taking his own father with him, 
who had then reached the goodly age of seventy -seven. 

But the peaceful glebe-life had warlike interruptions. He 
and his brother John were elected captains in companies of 
" associators." Then he rose to be lieutenant-colonel, and fought 
a good fight in the French and Indian wars of eight stormy and 
terrible years. A letter to Governor Hamilton gives in a few 
bold lines a vivid picture of life in that early time. The post- 
script tells the spirit in which it was met : 

Derry, the 10th August, 1756. 
Honored Sir, There is nothing heare allmost evry day but murder com- 
mitted by the Indians in som part or oather, about five miles above me, at 
Monaday Gape, there was two of the provance solders kild, one wounded; 
there wase but three Indians, and they came in amongst ten of our men 
and committed the murder, and went off' safe, the name or sight of an 
Indian maks allmost all mankind in these parts to trimble, there Barbarity 
is so Cruel where they are masters, for by all appearance the Devall 
commitans, God j:>ermits, and the French pays, and by this the Back parts 
by all appearance, will be Laid waste by flight with what is gon and 
agoing, more espesaly Cumberland County, Pardon my freedom in this 
where I have don amiss. 

Sir, your most Humble Servant to Command, 

Jas. Galbreath. 
P.S. — Sir I am in want of the Pistols. 



8 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

The next year he was appointed one of the commissioners to 
build a fort at Wyoming ; and when he had stayed long enough 
at Spring run, over he also went to Pennsborough, and was 
appointed commissioner for Cumberland county by Governor 
Penn, and in course of time became owner of land enough to 
constitute a German principality. April 10, 1777, he was 
appointed " Lieutenant of Militia in room of Col. Ephraim 
Blaine, who declined ; " but owing to his great age, which 
prevented him from performing active duty, the Council ap- 
pointed John Wilkins and James Blaine his assistants. And 
having given all his sons to officer the war of the Revolution, 
he died at the good old age of eighty-three, directing his bones 
to be carried over to the old Deny churchyard, where for 
forty years the dust of his father had lain. 

John, the eldest brother, more closely though not more really 
to our purpose, seems to have been as quiet and as shrewd as 
Andrew. He bestowed himself promptly along the Donegal 
meeting-house run, next neighbor to Andrew, and at a point 
where the present turnpike, following the lead of Peter Bizal- 
lion's Indian trail, crosses the run. That old Indian trader 
had located a path for his pack-horses, and the Irish emigrants 
had followed this trail, which at about the time of the Gal- 
braiths' advent rose to the dignity of a public road, leading to 
the settlement at Chicquesalunga. The Indian trail, become a 
public road, did what railroads have done since — opened up 
the country to settlers. 

Being by trade a miller, John Galbraith built himself straight- 
way a grist and saw mill, and having also cannily settled along 
the " great road," handy to the Scotch-Irish settlement, and to 
the Conoy Indian town, and connecting with the Paxtang and 
Conestoga road (now nearly covered by the Lancaster and 
Harrisburg turnpike), he also bethought himself to set up an 
" ordinary ; " wherefore : 

To the Honourable bench the humble petition of John Galbreath of 
Donnegall in the County of Chester 

Humbly Sheweth 

That your humble petitioner dwelling on a great road and many travel- 
lers passing thereby has great encouragement for their reliefe and accom- 
odation to take up ordinary to which your petitioner is likewise requested 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 9 

by the neighborhood for their publick and common advantage in as much 
as great quantity of barly is raised and malted which by reason of the 
great distance from a market without publick houses here will turn to no 
account to their great loss for which valuable considerations your petitioner 
humbly craves that this hon. bench may be pleased to grant him license to 
brew and Sell beer and ale 

And your humble petitioner as in duty bound Shall ever pray 
We whose names are Subscribed inhabitants of Donnegall and Connos- 
togoe do hereby certitie and confirm the truth of the above petition and also 
most humbly with Submission to the hon. bench recommend the above 
petitioner John Galbreath as a fitt person to keep ordinary dated at Don- 
negall this vi day of Aug 1726. 

Among the names of those who thus became surety for his 
good conduct of the ordinary were his father's, — spelled as it 
is pronounced, James Galbreth, — his brother Andrew, who sup- 
plied an a after the e in the "noblest of Scotch surnames," James 
Alison, and Richard, whose land, six hundred and thirty-six 
acres, ran along the old road and up to Andrew Galbraith's land 
near the Donegal meeting-house, till in the second generation 
the family sold it all and went West, to be represented in our 
day by Senator Allison ; Robert Buchanan and William, who 
may have stayed in Pennsylvania to give her a president of the 
United States ; James Brownlow, who stirred the spirit of '76 
in Parson Brownlow; Moffats and McFarlands, Hays and 
Howards and Cochrans, were all on hand thus early to stand 
sponsors for the quality and quantity of the beer and ale which 
their thirsty souls longed for. This ordinary still stands, — a 
stone house with straight lines erect and firm, — though the 
present turnpike has risen five feet higher along its front than 
was the old roadbed, and has thus turned the front of the 
ordinary into a one-story house, while the rear remains as of 
yore, in two stories. The doorway facing the road has been 
built in, and the old mill has disappeared ; but Donegal run, 
narrow and deep and blue and clear, winds between its clean 
green banks and sparkles to the bending boughs above it, as 
blithe as in John Galbraith's day, singing its eternal song. 

And here John Galbraith bore himself steadfastly for law 
and order. He was a member of the first jury drawn in Lancas- 
ter county, and was twice elected sheriff. In " Cressap's war," 
between the Marylanders and Pennsylvanians, he demeaned 



10 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

himself like a true member of iie Church Militant, and 
when Captain Cressap ordered a glass of rum and drank 
damnation to himself and his men if they ever surrendered, 
John Galbraith was one of the men who forced him to the 
alternative. 

The Galbraith farm, and the Galbraith tavern, and the Gal- 
braith mill show how untiring was his personal and peaceful 
activity ; and if the " great roads " did not bring men enough 
to his " ordinary," what should hinder the making of branch 
roads so that Vinegae's ferry and Anderson's ferry and Ran- 
kin's ferry and Conewago falls and all the ends of the earth 
— their earth — should have easy right of way to Galbraith's 
mill and Galbraith's well-brewed beer and ale ? 

But to all his prosperity came a blight. His first-born 
son, the Robert who had sailed from Ireland with his 
father and mother, died in his early prime. By will he left 
his little son John a sacred charge to his father, and afterwards 
the young widow, by her own will became, with her little 
daughter, Rebecca, a sacred charge to her prosperous young 
neighbor, Capt. John Byers, — which scarcely brought separa- 
tion, for his smiling acres lay close by, and all the orchards 
and meadows were broad and pleasant — a delectable land for 
the two grandchildren, John and Rebecca. The stone house, 
thrown open to them, was ample and comfortable, and in the 
wide dooryard the flowers still bloom and the shade of lofty 
trees invites to quiet and hospitality. But the restless 
spirit returned upon these Scotch-Irish rovers and bore them 
away from all these fertile valleys to the even then ever- 
receding West, and little John and Rebecca were seen no more 
under the bending boughs of Donegal run. 

Upon the grandfather fell the bitterness and the sweetness 
of death while yet he was hardly more than sixty years of age. 
To his Scotch lass Janet and his brother James he left the 
settlement of all his earthly affairs, since they alone remained 
in the neighborhood of dear Donegal. 

Then all the fair lands went this way and that — a farm and 
mill to John Bayley, the farm on the east of Donegal run to 
Hiestands, andr of all the Galbraith and Byers estates no rem- 
nant owns to the name, or blood, or race. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 11 

But little Rebecca fared well at the hands of her stepfather 
in her new home, until on a June evening she gave her noble 
Scotch surname, the vigor of her Galbraith blood, and the 
courage of her eighteen years to Ephraim Blaine. 



Not only do our character and talents lie upon the anvil and 
receive their temper during generations, but the very plot of our 
lifers story unfolds itself on a scale of centuries, and the biography 
of the man is only an episode in the epic of the family. 

Robert Louis Stevenson. 




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BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 13 



II. 

BLAINE. 

AS dimly as the noble Galbraiths, through the wavering, 
lifting, lowering mists of nigh three hundred years 
may be discerned another heroic figure : a brave soldier, a 
sturdy Protestant, from whose strength of mind and body 
alone gleams the spark that lights him down the generations 
to recognition and the faint remembrance of a name. Out 
from Scotland, also, he went to Ireland, and his children, 
having had emigration in their blood, thought another the 
easier, and found it but a natural remedy for the evils that 
still surrounded them in Ireland — high taxes, manufactures 
prohibited, trade lessened, industry vexed with repeated insur- 
rections ; and ever voices coming to them from friends and 
neighbors, across the great tides calling, who had found a rich, 
free, generous land, where they could enter into their own and 
govern themselves. 

Thus it was that at about the middle of the eighteenth 
century, near 1745, James Blaine and Isabella his wife took 
their little son, Ephraim, scarce out of babyhood, and jour- 
neyed from Londonderry into the Western World. 

Donegal claims him, and to Donegal he must have come first, 
for in the year 1767 Temple Thompson, of Donegal, died, leav- 
ing two hundred acres of land and other property to three minor 
children, of whom he appointed James Blaine guardian ; indi- 
cating that he had tarried in Donegal and was probably a 
relative of the family. He at any rate took charge of the 
children and educated them, fulfilling the trust of the dying 
father; but he made his abiding-place in Toboyne township, 
extending his interests in many directions ; for he lived long 
and prospered. Tradition locates one of his homes in Phila- 
delphia, though he may have shared it with his eldest son. 



14 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

An old-fashioned two-story brick house on the north side of 
Arch, in the neighborhood of Fourth or Fifth street, was many 
years ago pointed out as the Blaine house. He was in Carlisle 
long enough to make warm friendships, to mature the slow- 
growing plant, confidence, and to lend his Scotch-Presbyterian 
sympathy and assistance in building the old stone church which, 
with improvements and enlargements, still stands on the pub- 
lic square in Carlisle. 

In Toboyne township, then on the frontiers, he took up a 
large tract of land on the south side of the blue Juniata, 
and immediately assumed a leading part in the affairs of the 
province so long as it continued a province, an active interest 
in the state when it became a state, in the nation when a 
nation was born. 

While Pennsylvania was still English, and the French were 
putting the Indians on their track of blood and fire and torture 
that themselves might gain control of the New World, James 
Blaine, for all his Scotch-Irish blood, was sturdily on the Eng- 
lish side, though in the stubborn and brutal Braddock he saw 
repeated in the wilderness the same British policy which had 
driven him from Donegal to the wilderness. Just as sturdily, 
when Pennsylvania would throw off her leading-strings and 
become American, James Blaine gave all the wisdom and sym- 
pathy of his declining years, as well as the sons of his strength, 
to the struggle for independence, nor laid down the torch of 
life till he had seen that struggle end in victory. 

As his family grew to maturity each took up a tract of land 
around him on the sunny side of the same Juniata. As late as 
March 24, 1777, a deed from James Blaine and Isabella Blaine 
his wife, residents of Toboyne township, Cumberland county, 
conveys to William Blaine, " one of their sons," four hundred 
acres in Toboyne. . 

So they took root and extended themselves in the new 
country, carrying with them wherever they went, and upbuild- 
ing wherever they stopped, the church and the school-house ; at 
peace with all the world, so long as the world would ordain 
the things that make for peace, but desiring only peace under 
liberty. 

Successful in all his business activities, happy in all his 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 15 

domestic relations, the father of nine children who survived him, 
the first recorded grief of James Blaine was the death of his 
wife Isabella — a loss in some degree repaired by his subsequent 
marriage with Elizabeth Carskaden, daughter of George Cars- 
kaden, of Toboyne, his friend and neighbor. That she was a 
practical rather than a pretentious woman appears in the suc- 
cessful compression she put or permitted upon her own rather 
impressive name when bestowing it upon her son James 
" Scadden." But the second marriage did not apparently 
disturb the family harmony, for by will his executors were 
" my beloved son Ephraim and my beloved wife Elizabeth," 
who long survived him. Their honorable exactitude appears 
in an inventory which shows accounts of debt and credit, 
carefully estimated and duly balanced, to the smallest detail. 

Of the nine children, Ephraim, the little Irishman, was the 
eldest. He received a classical education at the school of 
Rev. Dr. Alison, a school famous in its time. No better proof 
is needed of the principle that it is the teacher, and not boards, 
buildings, or machinery, that accomplishes education than the 
number of distinguished men of that day whose biography 
records their education by Rev. Dr. Alison. There was a com- 
manding reason why the north of Ireland young gentleman 
should be sent to Dr. Alison's school, inasmuch as he had come 
himself from the Irish Donegal, and had settled in Toboyne 
township, neighboring the Blaine home. He was moreover 
pronounced the greatest classical scholar in America, especially 
in Greek, and " a great literary character; " and he not only wore 
in their season all the honors thereunto appertaining in his own 
State, but had the distinction of being the first of his pres- 
bytery who received the honorary degree of D.D. from the 
University of Glasgow. 

On the recommendation of Franklin he had been early 
made a tutor to the son of John Dickinson, author of the 
famous "Letters of a Pennsylvania Farmer," which did no small 
work in arousing the people to recognize and resist the tyranny 
of the British ministry. Having permission to take a few other 
pupils, he at length opened an academy to which it was con- 
sidered a great advantage and privilege to be admitted. He 
had a taste of the field, and as chaplain saw varied and active 



16 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

service. He was a statesman, and opposed the throwing off 
of the proprietary government, a compliment which Richard 
Penn returned with a tract of one thousand acres of well- 
watered, fertile Susquehanna land. And even in that early 
day, his humane and just mind developed the emancipation 
of his slaves by will, as logically as it wrought the evolution 
of subjects into citizens. 

It is little that " his failing was a proneness to anger," since 
he was "placable and affable;" and a quick and generous anger 
may be but an intellectual stimulus to the bright, but discur- 
sive minds with which the school-master deals. 

When young Ephraim left the patriotic and stimulating train- 
ing of this school he went armed with a recommendation from Dr. 
Alison for an ensigncy in the provincial service, and indorsed 
as " a young gentleman of good family." Nearly all his short 
life had been passed within sound of the rifle-shot, and it is not 
strange that he should have turned to military service. Dr. 
Aliso'n's recommendation was honored, and young Blaine was 
appointed commissary sergeant. There and then began the 
apprenticeship which subsequently availed himself and his 
country so greatly in the acquisition of Independence. The 
wars between the provincials and the Indians were flagrant, 
and with many varying fortunes were steadily tending towards 
Indian subjugation and provincial supremacy. But the strug- 
gle was bitter and long. Dr. McGill has said, " The rich and 
beautiful Cumberland valley became the bloodiest battle-ground 
we have ever had since the beginning of our American civil- 
ization. There the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians had been suf- 
fered to pour their stream of immigration, in order that the}^ 
might stand guardsmen for the nation through nearly the whole 
of a century." 

Colonel Burd, of Carlisle, was sent to open a road from Brad- 
dock's road on Laurel hill to the Monongahela, and thence to 
Fort Pitt, now Pittsburg. Opening a road in that time meant 
the construction of forts at various points for defence. On a 
hill overlooking the Monongahela, on the site of the present 
town of Brownsville, Colonel Burd built a fort, and on Sunday, 
the 4th of November, 1759, his chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Alison, 
preached a sermon in the fort, and on the same day left for 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 17 

Philadelphia, having no objection, it would appear, to travelling 
on Sunday. It is pleasant to think that his late pupil, the 
young ensign of good family, then just eighteen, may have 
joined his teacher and preacher after the sermon was over, 
and strolled along the heights, gathering into his youthful 
vision all the majestic sweep of river, the smiling intervale 
beyond, and the wall of hills rising abruptly behind it, brilliant, 
glowing, quivering in the autumn sunshine, — sheltering hills, 
kindly river, happy valley, to which a most dear life of his life 
was one day to be intrusted. 

In 1763 Ephraim Blaine was connected with the Second 
Provincial Regiment, was in the Bouquet expedition, and shared 
in the dangers and triumphs of the savage "Pontiac war." 
In the performance of his duties he traversed the State, largely 
then a wilderness, from Carlisle to Pittsburg, and gained a 
familiarity with its topography, its wealth of resources, its 
picturesqueness, and its promise, which in the subsequent Rev- 
olutionary struggle was of the greatest service to the nascent 
nation and to his own fortunes. 

Attracted no doubt by his Carlisle comrades and by the 
vicinage of Rebecca Galbraith, he seems early to have chosen 
Carlisle for his permanent home. One month after he had com- 
pleted his twenty-third year, the prudent young officer purchased 
from James Fleming and wife, for one hundred and fifty pounds 
Pennsylvania currency, a house-lot in Carlisle — judging accu- 
rately that peaceful tides were flowing in. 

The young soldier's valet, by the way, had but an unwilling 
mind for the tame duties of peace, and his master was forced 
to offer in Franklin's " Gazette " : 

THREE POUNDS REWARD. 

Run away from the Subscriber in Carlisle an Irish Servant Man named 
Michael Futrill, aged about twenty-six Years, about 5 feet 8 inches high, 
dark Complexion, short black curled Hair, pitted with the Small Pox ; had 
on when he went away a blanket Coat, Buckskin Breeches, white Shirt, 
Thread Stockings and Pumps; he served his time with Col. James 
Gillespie in Lancaster County ; he has been in the Army and it is sup- 
posed he will go towards New York. Whoever takes up and secures said 
Servant so that his Master may get him again shall have the above Reward 
from the subscriber 

Emit aim Blaine. 



18 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Even Dr. Alison's slaves were only to be free when the 
doctor had no further use for them ! 

Whether the thread stockings and pumps ever found their 
way back to their master, history does not inform us ; but on 
May 8, 1765, the treaty of peace was signed ; on the fifth of 
June Governor Penn's proclamation opened Indian trade, and 
on the twenty-sixth, just one month after he had completed 
his twenty-fourth year, Ephraim Blaine celebrated the new 
peace by taking to himself as wife Rebecca Galbraith. 

Before the honey-moon was over he appeared in court in answer 
to a summons as a grand juror, was sworn, and served as a good 
citizen. On October twenty-second he was summoned again, but 
evidently thought this was more than his share of public duty 
and failed to appear. At various times thereafter he was sum- 
moned, and served until, on the 22d October, 1771, he made his 
first return as sheriff of the grand jurors he had summoned. 

He had, however, been doing something beside serving on 
the grand jury ; for at this time, though only about thirty, 
he owned, besides the corner lot in Carlisle which he had bought 
before his marriage, four hundred acres of land on the beautiful 
Conodoguinet creek, and all the indications are that he must 
have been in easy circumstances. 

In the bond given by him when he was made sheriff his 
father was one of the sureties ; aud as five good men and true, 
composing the Executive Council, attested to the recorder for 
the county of Cumberland that they did approve of Robert 
Calleuder and James Blaine as sufficient sureties for Ephraim 
Blaine, his due execution for the office of sheriff of the county 
of Cumberland, it follows that both were known for men of 
substance. Robert Calleuder was a very rich man. He was an 
old Indian trader, and had had much trouble from friend and 
foe in the Indian fightings. In a single en counter when he was 
convoying a train of eighty-one pack-horse loads of goods, sixty- 
three were destroyed, valued at three thousand pounds. In 
vain lie protested that they were not destined for the hostile 
Indians, but were fo-r the Illinois, and to be stored at Fort Pitt. 
He was charged with intending " to steal up the goods " before 
the trade was legally opened, which was, no doubt, the aspect 
that his superior shrewdness and sagacity assumed to the more 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 19 

laggard traders. Certainly he stood on a good footing both with 
young Ephraim and his father, since the three combined to be 
" held and firmly bound unto our Sovereign Lord George the 
Third by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and 
Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith &c. in the sum of two 
thousand pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania; to be paid to 
our Sovereign Lord the King his heirs and successors to which 
payment well and truly to be made we bind ourselves our heirs 
executors and administrators and every of them jointly and 
severally firmly by these presents sealed witli our seals and 
dated the fourteenth day of October in the eleventh year of 
his Majesty's reign," before John Agnew, Esq., one of His 
Majesty's justices of the peace for the county of Cumberland 
aforesaid. 

Unquestionably both father and son had profited by Robert 
Callender's experience, for Ephraim was in his turn a skilful 
and successful Indian trader and established headquarters at 
Carlisle. Whether he had himself threaded on horseback the 
wilderness with which he had first become familiar as a soldier, 
armed with a rifle as bright, and appurtenances as various, and 
followed by a retinue almost as large, of horses with packs and 
men with the luggage, or whether he confined himself to pre- 
siding over the collection and distribution of his stores at 
Carlisle, we are not told. On his appointment as sheriff of 
Cumberland county he seems to have given up Indian trade. 

He never made trade subservient to patriotism, never 
encroached on what might be due to the country, being con- 
stitutionally on the side of law and order, even against some 
of his own friends; for through the piping times of peace, the 
bugle blast of war was ever sounding. Turbulence was the 
natural after-swell and roar of past storms. The Scotch-Irish 
Presbyterians were fain to enjoy the liberty which they valued 
so highly and had bought so dearly, and sometimes they verily 
thought they did God service by resisting the powers that be. 

During the prevalence of Indian war an act of assembly 
prohibited the selling of guns, powder, and other warlike 
stores to Indians, but a company of traders, tempted of the 
devil, risked the safety of the community by selling their wares, 
irrespective of law, to the Indians. The ruling Quakers, 



20 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

supposed to be friendly to the Indians and hostile to the Pres- 
byterians, did not interpose. Wherefore the law-and-orderly 
Cumberland men took the enforcement of law into their 
own hands by seizing the goods, blankets, lead, tomahawks, 
scalping-knives, gunpowder. Two Germans, who had murdered 
ten peaceable Indians, were arrested and lodged in Carlisle 
jail, but a warrant was issued for their removal to Philadelphia 
for trial. The Carlisle folk counted this an encroachment on 
the right of a citizen to be tried by a jury of his countrymen 
in the county where the crime was committed. Some seventy 
men well armed appeared at !? ,the door of Carlisle jail early 
one morning, surprised the keeper, effected entrance, and bore 
away the murderers. Colonel Armstrong the sheriff, William 
Lyon, the Presbyterian clergyman-soldier John Steel, then a 
youngster of twenty-three and all the more likely for that to 
be on hand, Col. Ephraim Blaine, and others, gathered to the 
assistance of Sheriff Armstrong in pursuing the rioters ; but 
they escaped to Virginia. One is fain to believe that the 
chase for such law-breakers was not over-hot. 

Colonel Blaine's peaceful pursuits were remarkably successful. 
He became one of the wealthiest men of interior Pennsylvania 
at that day. In his purchases of land he had an eye for the 
picturesque and beautiful as well as for the fertile and pro- 
ductive. In 1772 he built the mill on his Cave farm, so 
called from a cave in the rock that has never been thoroughly 
explored unless by a dog that is said to have gone in at the 
farm and come out in Carlisle ! We can still drive along the 
peaceful country road that Colonel Blaine built for the farmers 
to come to his mill ; and a mill then was an immediate vital in- 
dustry. The mill is not there, but the Conodoguinet goes down, 
as of old, past the place where the mill-wheel went turning 
round and round, and curves into a broad, tranquil stream, 
spreading smoothly under the willow ; and beyond water and 
willow we see the pleasant country house to which its owner 
came for summer rest, and whither his friends drove out from 
the city for many a gala feast. 

Across the water, half hidden by trees and vines, can still be 
discerned the black mouth of the mysterious cave which gives 
its name to the place. On a high wooded knoll behind the 

r 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 21 

house, but easily accessible by a safe road, is a far fair view of 
the goodly land into which he entered and took possession, 
amply wooded and watered, framed in with purple hills, fruit- 
ful under a caressing sun. 

Joining his father, or perhaps joined by his father, in erecting 
and supporting the First Presbyterian Church in Carlisle, his 
pew in the church was steadily occupied, and his "stipend" was 
as regularly found on the treasurer's list — among the highest 
contributors, along with the familiar Byers and Galbraiths. His 
children were reared in the habit of attending church, and of 
paying their share of money and of moral influence in sustain- 
ing the institutions of the gospel. His voice was wanting in no 
good word, his hand in no good work. 

But another war-cloud was rising in which the red-coats 
were to be vanquished as the red-skins had already been. 
Into this war Ephraim Blaine, still a young officer, entered 
with the energy of youth, with the enthusiasm of conviction, 
with the advantage of experience. He joined at once in raising 
and officering a battalion of associators, of which he was com- 
missioned lieutenant. On July 12, 1774, a meeting of the cit- 
izens of Cumberland county was held to take action upon the 
act of Parliament closing the port of Boston. At that meeting 
Colonel Blaine, together with his old teacher and friend Francis 
Alison, John Armstrong, Robert Callender, Jonathan Hoge, and 
others, was appointed a member of the committee " to corre- 
spond with the committee of this province or of the other prov- 
inces upon the great objects of the public attention, and to 
cooperate in every measure conducing to the general welfare 
of British America." 

One week after, he made his last return as sheriff of grand 
jurors, and gave himself wholly to the greater work. In De- 
cember, 1775, the Committee of Correspondence for Cumber- 
land County reported to the Committee of Safety that they had 
expectation of raising an entire battalion in the county in addi- 
tion to the twelve companies already sent to the front, and 
among the officers therefor recommended Ephraim Blaine as 
lieutenant-colonel. The next month Col. Ephraim Blaine, of 
the First Battalion of Cumberland County Militia, was directed 
to hold an election for held officers of the battalion. But his 



22 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

remarkable executive ability had brought him to the notice of 
the Supreme Executive Council, and on April first, by a resolu- 
tion of Congress, Ephraim Blaine was appointed commissary of 
provisions. He thereupon resigned his commission and entered 
the Commissary Department. 

For this department he was specially fitted by his superior 
business qualifications, his large personal credit, his intimate 
knowledge of the resources of the Middle States, attested by 
his success in managing his own private affairs. 

August sixth, of the same year, he was elected deputy com- 
missary general of purchases, " in the room of Mr. Buchanan." 
On the transfer of Gen. Nathaniel Greene to field service, at 
the personal request and recommendation of General Wash- 
ington he was made commissary general of purchases of the 
Northern Department, a difficult position, demanding not only 
integrity, but infinite patience, prudence, and worldly wisdom. 
To this position lie continued to be elected and reelected by 
Congress. 

Colonel Blaine's life thenceforth, till independence was at- 
tained, lay in furnishing the soldiers with food, sometimes to 
the point of keeping the army from starving. His highest 
promotion came during the memorable and critical winter 
of Valley Forge. With a bankrupt and listless Congress, 
with an army perishing of hunger and cold, and saved only by 
the gayety of the British officers and the blandishments of the 
Tory ladies of Philadelphia, who served their country by keep- 
ing the Howes, and Andres, and Burgoynes writing verses and 
dancing Meschianzas instead of going out in the snow and sleet 
to destroy Washington and his remnant at Valley Forge, — the 
terrible winter was softened and made tolerable by Colonel 
Blaine's strenuous exertions in the service of his country and 
of his revered chief and friend, General Washington. 

Every school-child remembers Valley Forge, for the sufferings 
of the soldiers and the footsteps tracked in blood ; but every 
child does not know that all the while "hogsheads of shoes, 
stockings, and clothing were lying at different places on the 
roads and in the woods, perishing for want of teams, or of 
money to pay the teamsters ; " that when ordered to be ready 
to march against the British, the army answered that fighting 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 23 

would be preferable to starving. Three days, reported a 
commander, we " have been destitute of bread. Two days 
we have been entirely without meat." Washington reported, 
an "alarming deficiency, or rather total failure, of supplies." 
On the 23d December, 1777, he reported : " Since the month 
of July, we have had no assistance from the quartermaster- 
general ; and to want of assistance from this department, the 
commissary-general charges great part of his deficiency." 
" We have, by a field return this day made, no less than two 
thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight men now in camp unfit 
for duty, because they are barefoot, and otherwise naked." 

And — alas ! that we must say it — in this bitter time 
critics arose to carp and sting, to attribute to Washington the 
misery of the soldiers and the low estate of the war. Many 
men in the region round about preferred to send their grain 
to the British dancing in Philadelphia rather than to the 
patriots dying at Valley Forge. What wonder that Wash- 
ington cherished forever a tender friendship for the man who 
stood at his side faithful among many faithless ; eager, active, 
loyal, helpful, untiring, self-suppressing, through that season of 
stress and test? Back and forth from Carlisle to Valley Forge, 
from Valley Forge to Carlisle, went Colonel Blaine, consult- 
ing friends and neighbors, urging the laggard traders and 
farmers. Then it was seen why he had been foreordained a 
miller, a farmer, a tradesman. Night and day, every mill that 
he owned, every mill that he could control or influence, was 
kept running to feed the soldiers. He ordered, pleaded, urged, 
remonstrated, impelled. I have heard that insistent and irre- 
sistible voice bearing down all opposition. The sore need of 
money may be inferred from such simple facts as that with 
an estimate of $8,000,000 voted for a year, the whole sum 
actually raised by the States during the first five months was 
$20,000. Out of his own means, and by his influence over his 
neighbors, and by all his business reputation with men of 
means and affairs, Colonel Blaine advanced a saving fund, 
for the distressed and apparently abandoned army. 

At one time (January, 1780) the Supreme Executive Council 
of Pennsylvania drew a single warrant in his favor for one 
million of dollars, to reimburse him for advances which his own 



24 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

means and exertions had provided ; and at another time a war- 
rant for seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars was credited 
to him by the same authority, in payment of similar obligations. 
And while he was gathering in provisions and pouring out 
money he was also hammering away at Congress, whose jour- 
nals are fretted with his name. April 5, 1777, the day before 
his promotion to the generalship, Congress " Ordered that 
there should be advanced to Ephraim Blaine Esqr. in part 
payment of the balance due to him for provisions furnished the 
troops, and in advance towards his furnishing provisions in 
consequence of his late appointment $15,000." Another time 
it is resolved that a copy of the letter from Ephraim Blaine 
and its enclosures be transmitted without delay to the several 
States, who are hereby requested to take into their serious con- 
sideration the present want and distress of the army, and that 
they furnish and forward, by means the most efficacious, the 
supplies requested from them. Even as early as 1775 the 
Committee reported that there is due to Ephraim Blaine for 
expenses incurred by the treaty with the western Indians, and 
paid by him, the sum of " 533 odd " dollars. There is a "Mem 
of money paid sundry persons in 1776 when out with the 
Militia." By 1780 at least, Congress opened its heart to 
Colonel Blaine, and " Resolved him a salary at the rate of 
#40,000 by the year until the further order of Congress, also 
six rations a day, and forage for four horses," — not too high 
a salary if we look at some of his accounts : 

Feb. 14 1779 Col. Blaine bo 1 t at vendue 
1 chafing dish 
1 roasting jack 

1 mahy [mahogany] china table 
1 chest of drawers 
1 mahy tea table 
1 china bowl 
6 cups & saucers 

at the extraordinary, if one may not say extravagant, price of 
X365 5s. 3d. 1 The " 1 mahy tea table," at least, is still in good 
preservation, and i«s held in affectionate reverence by his kin. 

J The pound in Pennsylvania currency was of the value of $2.66 2-3. The value of pounds, 
shillings, pence, Pennsylvania currency, was expressed in dollars and ninetieth parts of a dollar. 
The penny was 1-90, the shilling 12-90, and the pound 240-90 of a dollar. The latter was 
therefore $2 60-90, or $2.66 2-3. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 25 

Mrs. Irwin's bill for sugar and coffee is : 
274 lbs. of sugar and 112 lbs. of coffee £702-5-0, at $2.66| per £. 

1779, John Cox's bill for a night's lodging and boarding of 
Colonel Blaine, his servant and two horses, is X64. 

Decem b 17. 1779. Colo Blain D r 

To a Mug of Toddy ...... £8 

Rum To Sert 15 

Dinner & Club 400 

Quarts of Corn 1 10 

Supper 3 

Club 976 

2 Bottles of Clarrett 22 10 

Lodging 7 6 

Rum To Serv* 1 10 

Breakfast 3 

Ditto for Ser fc 250 

Hay ■ . 5 

55 5 

One account is not so surprising as the receipt: 

Ephraim Blaine Esq. bought 

1 Cag old spirits 10 gallons . . . . £5 10 
Cag 3 6 

£5 13 6 

Reed at same time the contents in full for Michael Gratz 

Alexk. Abrahams. 

Rec d . 18 th Oct— 1779 from Eph ra . Blaine fifty seven thousand Dollars 
which 1 promise to replace in two Day 

57,000 Doll s Robert Alison 

The first item of an account with Mr. Nichols, but well after 
the war, is for " Mhcle [merchandise] delivered Gen. Wash- 
ington," <£78. 

X31 14s. 2d. Pennsylvania currency he paid to Alexander 
Blaine and John Holmes, Esq., for keeping General Morris's gray 
horse Ajax through the winter, by order of Col. George Morgan, 
who sent him down from Pittsburg. 

An account made out for him in March, 1780, by George 
Morton, who was an assistant in Colonel Blaine's office, is 



26 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

supplemented with a note in Colonel Blaine's own handwriting, 
whose severity scorches still through the century : 

Sir : Annexed you have a statement of your acct. nearly as it will be 
settled in the Creditors 1 office for which there will be a considerable bal- 
ance against you, for which I am accountable — if there appears any error 
you can have it altered. Mr. Morton knows more of the amt. than I do. 
I knew nothing of Mrs. Blaine's being indebted to you untill the other Day 
and I am astonished to see the note you have written her upon that subject. 
Mr. Morton will regulate the charges between us if any error and Mr. 
Russell will fix the Exchange agreeable to rule. If money due to you, it 
shall be paid and if the balance is against you, I shall expect it. I am Sir 

Your hble Servt. 

Eph. Blaine. 

Colonel Blaine could not only say sharp words on occasion, 
but take decisive and incisive action, as the records show, even 
against Alexander Hamilton ! But he was equally prompt to 
suppress all underhand scheming. Parts of an interesting little 
correspondence between Blaine and Harrison attest his vigi- 
lance and his loyalty. 

TO COLONEL HARRISON. 

Camp 1st Jan. 1778. 
Sir: What I mentioned to you yesterday, thought it my duty. The 
person who gave me my information is John Jones, Inn Keeper, near the 
Windsor Forge ; he told me a Captain Reese belonging to one of the 
Penna. Regiments, his brother and another man were present ; he seemed 
a little guarded in mentioning the matter to me and said he was astonished 
to hear the gentleman express himself so publicly ; part of his conversation 
was to the effect, that the General was not the man people imagined, nor 
yet the General ; and that he was unpardonable for missing the many 
opportunities he had over the Enemy ; — the whole conversation can be had 
from that gentleman. ... A very little time will discover some of 
those ill-natured malicious men ; he assured there are but very few and are 
preparing weapons to break their own heads. 

Note by R. B. N. Harrison. 

Colonel Blaine in a conversation the day preceding the date of this letter 
told me General Conway had said G. W. — he is the gentleman alluded to. 

General Conway's little unpleasantness at that time made it 
imperative to know who was on the Lord's side, and what they 
were doing who were on the other side ! In his intentness Col. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 27 

Blaine is sometimes brusque ; and both he and his correspondents 
are often too eager to be elegant. While orthography and punc- 
tuation are little to the purpose, I have supplied both when 
necessary to the sense. Homely their details and plain their 
words, but the place whereon they wrought is holy ground : 

Philadelphia, March 16, 1779. 
Busy collecting food — will go as far as Winchester in Virginia. My 
doubt about being able to procure a plentiful supply of Flour for our 
coming is very great — there are near seven months before we can have 
any relief from the Crops now in the Ground, and indeed sorry I am to 
inform you that the scarcity of grain is not so real as artificial. Extortion 
seems generally to prevail with mankind — some from a desire of obtaining 
large prices hold back from sale — others from disaffection and dislike to 
our currency. 

TO ROBERT L. HOOPER, JUN., ESQ., 

A.C. of Purchases at Easton. 

12 th . I am afraid of Our Salted Provisions Spoiling. See that yours 
is in proper Order and the pickle Sound. — One Weeks Neglect may occa- 
sion considerable loss in that Article — 

16 th . " Am exceeding sorry to find that there is the least Appearance of 
any of your Beef spoiling, it will be a great loss, and give the malicious 
Room to charge us with Neglect. Let every Measure be adopted to pre- 
serve it — believe Severe smoking will be the best but first have it clear 
drained from the Old pickle — and make a Strong fresh Pickle, which let 
it lay in, twelve Hours before you liang it 

24 th — The Acco* I have received of Your Salt Provisions being Spoiled 
distresses me exceedingly. It will oblige us to buy fresh Beef before it is 
fit to Use ; and at a most extravagant Price, and exclusive of the great Loss 
the publick will Sustain it will occasion great Clamour with many people — 

July 1 st — I have had Letters from the Commissary Gen 1 of Purchases 
and Issues, and from General Sullivan — who has also wrote the Board of 
War — that all the Salt Provisions are Spoiled — beg to hear from you by 
very first Express — 

Prince Toun 29 th Jan'., 1780 — 
Sir: I have done all in my Power to Obtain Money from the Treasury 
board for the use of my Department but have been disappointed — The 
Treasury being exhausted of the Monies limited and the taxes coining in 
very slow — have Obliged Congress to delay payment of Large sums 
want d , for the Commissary and Quarter Master's Department — I have not 
been able to Obtain a sum Necessary for the present Demands of my 
assistants in the vicinity of Camp for the daily supplies of onr Army at 
Head Quarters — You must therefore wait till Congress have it in their 



28 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

power to Obtain money by tax and dispose of bill of Exchange which they 
are now about selling, — without the Immediate wants of the Garrison at 
Fort Pitt, call your attention. In that case you will make Immediate 
application to the Treasury Board for a sum of money sufficient to make 
the Necessary Purchases in your District, for the above purpose, and I 
make no doubt they will furnish you with it. I am now on my way to 
New England ; when I return shall give you every Assistance in my 
Power, and am with much regard Sir 

Your most Obd\ 
and most 

Hble Serv\ 

Eph Blaine C.G.P 

Petarabah I s *. of May 1780 
Sir 

I received yours of the 16 th . of April and have noted the contents — 

about that time I will be with you and have been as ready some time past 

as I now am. — Wou'd request you to use your influence to send M r . Darah 

down to Elk as it will require a few days yet, to compleat my Acc ts — 

Some acc ts . I believe I never shall get settled as people are not disposed to 

receive such money as I have to pay them, and we have no tender law for 

any species but hard Stuff — Do tell Monsieur the French Agent if he 

wants any Supplies of the Victual kind fo his fleets or Armies, I am his 

man, provided he will furnish plenty of Gold — God knows I have made 

a pretty hard time past, the whole of my Commission not worth one 

Damn. ■ — 

I am with Esteem S r 

Your Obed\ Serv*. 

Patrick Ewing— - 
Col . Ephraim Blaine — 

Philadelphia, 25th May, 1780, records : 

Executive and Legislative objection to his plans for supplies. He 
insists, they give in. 

Philadelphia, 27th May, 1780, he reports that he will send 
one thousand barrels of flour soon : 

Be assured of my utmost exertions in adopting ways and means to 
procure supplies tho 1 1 am loaded with debt and have not had a shilling 
this two months. 

TO COL. BLAINE. 

Spring Field 10 August 1780 
Sir 

I receved yours of 9 today. I should long er now have Settled but 
having a Suit out ditermoned that T brought against a Miller for what you 







Q. 



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BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 29 

are pleased to call froud I could not Settle my accounts before it was done 
I purpose to be with you in a few days 

Answer. 
Sir 

Admitting the causes above stated, it was your indispensable duty to 
have acquainted me with the circumstance of the Miller, which you urge 
as an apology for your neglect, and by such information you would have 
saved me the trouble of writing upon such a disagreeable subject as that 
of embezzlement, — 

The performance of Colonel Blaine's duties carried him 
throughout Pennsylvania, and from New England to the Caro- 
linas, and it is pleasant sometimes to find him at old Donegal 
with his intimate stanch friend Colonel Lowrey, whose 
home, "Locust Grove," stood on the sunniest slope of the 
Susquehanna, a half mile from its bank. He had come from 
the north of Ireland when about six years old. He had been 
Colonel Blame's companion on the Bouquet expedition, he had 
marched with General Forbes to Duquesne, and had escaped 
with his life from the massacre of Bloody run; more happy 
than his brother John, who had been killed by the Indians at 
the " Forks of the Ohio," in 1750. Both land-lovers and land- 
owners, both Indian traders of many years' standing, with Indian 
trading-stores in Carlisle, Colonel Lowrey and Colonel Blaine 
were not only sentimental friends in Donegal, with fresh 
Scotch-Irish reminiscences, but hard-headed business friends in 
the world of money-making, co-patriots in the great cause of 
independence, and intimate and sympathetic in all. Colonel 
Lowrey, too, had become an officer in the Revolutionary war, 
and distinguished himself by his bravery, his fidelity, and his 
sagacity. His home on the river nearly opposite Anderson's 
ferry was on the great line of travel, and during the war shel- 
tered many officers despatched on important business to and 
from headquarters. When Congress was in session at York, 
many distinguished people who had dealings there stopped 
over at Colonel Lowrey's. Sometimes when the ice prevented 
the boats from passing, the travellers were detained for days, 
and the hospitable owner drew liberally upon his large flocks 
of turkeys for the sustenance and good cheer of his friends. 
ft is pleasant to think of neighborly festivities relieving the 



30 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

stern tension of war, and the ample rooms of the hospitable 
Lowrey house echoing between the roar and rush of battle the 
inextinguishable laughter of the gods. 

They had need to hearten each other in Donegal, for 
the Pennsylvania Quakers, if patriotic, were non-combatant. 
While Howe and Cornwallis could get no forage in the country 
around New York, because it was so closely watched by that 
arch-rebel George Washington 'and his handful of starveling 
soldiers, the hills and valleys of Pennsylvania mocked them with 
rich granaries. Bertram Galbraith, son of James, therefore 
cousin to Rebecca Galbraith Blaine, brought the battalions 
of Donegal and the country to arms; but the non-combatants 
resisted arms, and kept Colonel Galbraith and Colonel Lowrey 
in the saddle day and night, arresting the rebellious, encourag- 
ing the loyal, throwing the ring-leaders into jail by way of in- 
timidation, bailing them out again by way of conciliation, and 
giving their own personal obligation to the farmers for payment 
of forage and cattle taken for the use of the army. 

On a Sunday morning, Colonel Galbraith sent an express to 
Donegal to Colonel Lowrey to call out his Donegalians against 
the advancing British. The express arrived at the meeting- 
house during service. The congregation immediately adjourned 
to the grove, and the men joined hands in a circle around one 
of the big trees, since called " The Witness Tree," and pledged 
themselves anew to the sacred cause of freedom. 

Their beloved Scotch minister, Colin McFarquhar, had not 
been in the country quite long enough to establish a clear 
record, so they sweetly forced him inside the circle and made 
him take off his hat and hurrah for the Continental cause, 
which he did with as good grace as possible, whatever may 
have been his predilections, and lived among them in love for 
many years thereafter ; while Colonel Lowrey inarched on with 
his men to the front, and when they could find no red-coats 
for a target, amused themselves by firing at tavern-signs which 
bore any relation to the tyrant George, till they reached the 
Brandywine, where the joking ceased. 

Washington lost at Brandywine, and Gates won at Saratoga. 
And when, forgetting Schuyler, he came down from Saratoga 
to persuade Congress that he alone had won the battle from 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 31 

Burgoyne, and deserved to be put over the head of Washington, 
Colonel Lowrey met him on the river-banks, as a loyal brother- 
officer needs must, and having, manlike, bidden him to his 
house, hurried up apace to inquire too late of Mistress Lowrey, 
" My dear, can you entertain company to-day ? " " No, my 
dear," emphatically protested the good housewife, "there is 
nothing — " " 'Sh ! don't say a word ! " interrupted the colonel, 
in no stage whisper. " They are right at my heels ! " Mrs. Gates 
was among them, and the little girl who nestled shyly in a 
corner and absorbed everything with eager eyes, to transmit it to 
this generation, remembered even the ribbons the lady wore ; 
but, alas ! she transmitted them to a male child, and, for all he 
can tell of their color or texture or fashioning, they might as 
well have been torn to tatters in Burgoyne's defeat ! 

Gates had good cheer at the Lowrey house, but Washington 
remained at the head of the army. 

Ah ! what eager ambitions, what high hopes, what bitter 
rivalries, what splendid determination and heroism, have trav- 
elled up and down that beautiful slope to the Susquehanna, in 
the old days when the slope was unvexed with houses, and 
nothing lay between the home and the majestic river but the 
green turf or the unbroken snow ! 

The lady of the manor was as heroic as there was any call 
for ; witness the courtesy with which she perforce opened her 
house to her Gates guests and made them welcome ; but she 
also loved ornamentation and beauty, and Colonel Lowrey 
being away when she was ordering the trappings of her new 
carriage, she innocently enough bespoke a coat-of-arms to be 
thereon emblazoned, meaning no treason, only decoration ; but 
when the colonel came home and saw the accursed thing, thun- 
der gathered on his brows. " Bring me a hatchet," he com- 
manded a waiting servant. The hatchet was brought, and the 
pretty bauble was hacked off the carriage and buried by his 
own hands, and no man knoweth of its sepulchre to this day. 

Colonel Blaine's children were too young to serve him ex- 
cept through their bright spirits, their fresh interest, and the 
inspiration of their free future beckoning. He was but thirty- 
four. To his little boys of seven and nine the war was but 
a wide playground ; but his brothers Alexander and William 



32 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

were his loyal and able assistants, both active officers, the 
former in his own department, Assistant Commissary of Issues. 
Alexander is represented through his daughters in our genera- 
tion by his descendant, Judge Shiras, of the Supreme Court, by 
the Hon. Robert J. Walker, and until within a few years by 
his daughter, Mrs. Anderson, who, nearing her one hundredth 
birthday, carried into our time her tall figure, her striking 
presence, and traces of the great reputed beauty which had 
made her young days brilliant. 

An account of provisions issued to the Seventh Pennsylvania 
Regiment, detachments, artificers, wagoners, etc., at Carlisle, 
from January to September, 1777, by Alexander Blaine, Assist- 
ant Commissary of Issues, beautifully ruled and written by his 
own hand, has escaped destruction, to show that our patriot 
army disposed of 109,403J lbs. of bread to 116,552 « Jills " of 
" Rum or Whiskey." 

Alexander Blaine had also been fitted for the work by an 
excellent education, and by long experience in business affairs. 
So early as 1768, when he could have been hardly more than 
twenty-five years old, he received from the Hon. John Penn, 
Esq., his certificate of character and license to trade with the 
Indian nations and tribes. 

To the wonderful triumphant end of the war, Ephraim 
Blaine held his even course, strong, sustained, effective, 
untouched by envy, unmoved by calumny, unswerving under 
opposition, loyal to his chief, loyal to his cause, marshalling 
his inglorious flour and whiskey for the preservation of life 
as strenuously as if he had been intrusted with the glory of 
battle. And presently even the dates of his severe business 
letters and the dry terms of his orders and despatches are 
musical with the notes, fragrant with the blossoms, of approach- 
ing peace. 

Public Service. 
York Town 30 th . May 1781, 
Colonel James Wood 

Commanding the Convention troops, Lancaster. 
Dear Sir 

I am ordered by the board of War to make Provisions for the Convention 
troops and their guards amounting to near three thousand men, and have 
it laid in at convenient places upon the route in which the are Ordered to 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 33 

march — I have already given the necessary Orders and the places of de- 
posit between Frederick Town and North river is this place, Reading 
Easton, Sussex Court House, and Fishkill Landing — Flour and Whiskey 
will be procured but have reason to doubt a difficulty in Obtaining meat — 
I shall Employ some person, who will meet you at this places, and give 
attention to the supply of those troops until! they reach Rutland in Massa- 
chusetts Bay — I am now upon my way to Carlisle where I shall remain a 
few days. If you cou'd inform me the time you expect to reach this place 
will do my self the honor of waiting upon you — 

Col. Wood. 

Commanding the Convention Prisoners : 

Reading 17 ,h June 1781, 

Dear Sir 

I expected to have had the pleasure of seeing you at this place but am 
disappointed. Captain Alexander, the person whom I have appointed to 
attend the Convention Troops upon their March to the Eastward and use 
every endeavour in his power to procure supplies at the sundry ports upon 
the route, and attend to your Orders and Instructions, upon meeting the 
Hessians troops in Marsh Creek, and thinking you would be up Immedi- 
ately did not proceed but return'd with them to this place, where he will 
remain untill he hears from you. He is a Gentleman on whom you may 
rely, and will closely attend to your Instructions and put every part of 
them into execution 



That his even course was sustained only by loyalty r to his 
chief and his cause is occasionally seen. " Please your Excel- 
lency," he wrote from Philadelphia the year before, " it has not 
been in my power to obtain a single shilling of money from the 
Treasury Board : My people are so much indebted that their 
credit is quite exhausted with the Country. . . . The treasury 
being exhausted, my Agents greatly involved, the delay of our 
public finances and the general change in the system of the 
Quartermaster and Commissary-General departments has made 
my office one of the most disagreeable man ever experienced. 
Indeed nothing would induce me to continue under present 
appearances but the duty I owe my country and regard to your 
Excellency, which ever shall be motives to command my best 
services and surmount every other difficulty." 



34 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



III. 

COLONEL BLAINE'S PEACEFUL YEARS. 

/COLONEL BLAINE came out of the war still a young man, 
^-^ his eye not dim, nor his natural force abated. Instantly he 
took up again with undiminished ardor, promptitude, and effect- 
iveness all the old business of life ■ — trade, lands, exchange ; all 
the old pleasures of life, social and domestic. The establishment 
of Congress in Philadelphia, with his revered friend General 
Washington, at the head of the government, made that city 
the social centre of the new nation, and Colonel Blaine 
availed himself of its advantages as far as possible by making 
Philadelphia his winter home, and taking his full share in 
its duties and festivities. His fortune had been impaired, or 
at least diminished, by his generous contributions to the 
patriot cause, but it was still ample for a gentle and wide 
hospitality, for the best rearing of his children, and for the 
demands, small or great, of an extensive business. 

From Colonel Blaine, Fort Pitt 25 th . Nov r . 1783 
To Mr. William Bell, Merchant, Philadelphia : 
Dear Sir 
I have this moment returned from being up the Monongahala River in 
pursuit of One of the Deputy Surveyors — and fortunately met with Col . 
Marshall who has Fayette County which Extends from the Mouth of Sandy 
River to Kaintuck, and back to the Mountains. I have Obtaind a depu- 
tation for M r Lyon who goes with me as a Surveyor — M r Marshall has 
given me bad Encouragement Respecting Vacant lands — however I shall 
proceed on Friday Morning and adopt every possible measure to accom- 
plish my business. I shall have excessive fituage and do not Expect it 
will be in my Power to return before the last of February — After I reach 
the Mouth of sandy River and Explore that Country and locate my lands 
I will have to ride One hundred & fifty Miles to M r Marshalls Office to 
Enter them. This will take considerable time, then after the surveys are 
made I must return them and have the drafts signed and Certified. M r 
Elliot has been gone some days. When he has his business a little settled 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 35 

at the falls he will proceed to Green River and endeavour to lay the 
warrants I have sent with him. You will be so kind as to hury up the 
goods which I wrote for by M r Tate and Rather add to the list as many of 
the articles are much wanted. Speak to M r Ludhom M r A & Co and 
tell them to keep my note untill I return at which time they shall be punctu- 
ally paid with Interest — You will much Oblige me in paying M r . Gren 
the Waggoner who Brought up part of my goods the sum of fifty pounds, 
and I forgot to settle with M r . Galaugher in record that for some delph 
ware which I bought from him. Pray will you pay him. Pray endeavour 
to have our Indian cargo early in the Summer there will be a great demand. 
I shall have a very Considerable Remmittanee to carry down with me upon 
my Return in money' and piltry — 

You will please to pay attention to my family, and should my son 
Return from France before I come home, I shall take it a very particular 
favour if you will make it your business to See him often and give him 
your friendly advice. He is an unweildy boy and will stand in much need 
of it, please to present my Compliments to M rs . Bell and believe me with 
much Reguard Dear Sir 
M R Bell. 

And being at Fort Pitt he improved the occasion to turn an 
honest penny, for we find a conveyance to him of three lots in 
the city of Pittsburg, by John Penn, Esq., and John Penn, Jr., 
— grandson and great-grandson of William Penn, late proprie- 
taries of Pennsylvania. 

Philad a . 26 th Ap 1 . 1785 
Gentlemen 

we find by information you have not been able to dispose of the goods 
you had from us neither have you paid us the money agreable to Contract. 
We have therefore sent M\ Alexander Blaine to act for us with full power 
to receive from you the debt due to us — We think from the best Informa- 
tion you cannot proceed to Canada without the greatest danger of losing 
your property, and therefore deprive you of your good intentions (paying 
what you owe) by losing verry Considerably on your adventure and put- 
ing it out of your power to pay at a future day. M r . Blaine has full power 
and authority to dispose off John Lauman One third of the Cargo for cash 
or piltry upon such terms as he may think prudent; shoud he fail in this, 
he has special instructions to Bring the goods back to this City, we there- 
fore advise you to put the property into his hands to sell what he can at 
Skenactady for Cash or peltry, and what he can not sell to bring back to 
this City where they ma} T be sold with Little or no loss and the neat pro- 
ceeds thereof go to your Credit. We again Repeat to you the danger in 
attempting to proceed from where you now are, as we have undoubted 
information of the Risque and the property is too Valuable to be triffled 
with, and we must also expect punctuality of payment in a very short time 



36 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

— We also think your Own prudence will Immediately Acquiese with the 
plan we have proposed, therefore have not a Doubt of your Complying in 
Opinion and doing every thing for your own advantage, as also for Gen- 
tleman 

your Obd'. Hble Serv\ 
P Post 
To Gen l . Irvine. 

Philad\ Sept. 1787 
Dear Sir 

You will be much surprised to find I have been in Philadelphia ever 
since you left it. My friend Stewart & self have differed and have been 
in equal distress for want of money, indeed he has been very diffident. I 
could say a great deal but shall Omit it respecting him. I would have 
wrote you long ere this but the perplexity I have been under owing to this 
Virginia affair has given me much trouble and distress — M r . Pollock has 
agreed with M r . Hamilton for Bird's place and goes up in a day or two. 
He has taken it at the Stiff Price. I had a good deal of trouble before I got 
them to a Compromise — the Convention are still siting and perhaps will 
not break up this month yet, various are the Conjectures Respecting their 
deliberations. Some people take upon them to say that the Legislative 
branches of the Respective States will not be trusted with the final deter- 
mination, but that a Convention of the people at large will take place and 
that their delegates will have the finishing; of the business — and I am of 
Opinion it will answer best, as the prejudices of party will not prevail so 
powerfully as in the different assemblys — 

Pray how does your new Government come on, and are your Officers of 
Gover* yet appointed ? The sale you have made is a Large One. I know 
all the Boundaries Except the town North of Siota, within those Lines the 
Eastern Gentry have secured a very Valuable tract of Country, as I sup- 
pose they will have all the Valuable Lands upon Muskingum, Hackhack- 
ing, and the North side of Siota — I hope they have given a Dollar per lot. 
I wish I had One Township which I could Locate at that price (within their 
claim) indeed I might say fifty. Pray favour me with a Line upon that 
Subject & who are supposed to be the Officers. I have been inform'd the 
Candidates who are in Nomination for Governor, are Gen S*. Clair, Gen 1 
Parsons, and your self. I should suppose the appointment of Gen. Parsons 
would be impolotick as he is one of the Principle Proprietors concearned 
in the purchase, and it would be giving him an undue influence which 
might be attended with evil Consequences. This is an idea which has 
struck me in thinking on the matter, therefore suppose Congress will have 
the same Opinion and that the appointment will rest between you and the 
President. 

I find you are disposed to sell some ranges of Lots in the Course of this 
month. Pray can you lay your hands upon a few thousand Acres, if they 
are sold in tracts of 640 lots, for Instance the Mingo Bottom. There is a 
Valuable tract of Land upon the Ohio River about fourteen Miles beldw 
Wheeling, at the Mouth of a Creek Called Captina I wish you could 




ELEANOR BLAINE, 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 87 

purchase five or Six Lots at this place to include the Mouth of said Creek 
and Extend an Equal distance up & down the river. The Land is Valua- 
ble and would command a price in a short time. I will Join you in the 
purchase, I shall leave the City in a day or two, and you will not see me 
untill I return from Kentuckey 

My Son has been home above two weeks ; he knew nothing of your 
being in New York altho he was two days in that place, and called at M r . 
Elsworths to get Lodging. He promises to be a Cleaver Likely fellow, 
and I hope will do well. Tf you have any thing to do in that New Coun- 
try, I wou'd wish to get him an Apointment, such as his Capacity might be 
equal to, say Secretary, or what Else you please, 



His children were indeed growing into maturity, companion- 
ship, and support. His two sons had received a liberal educa- 
tion, and had become handsome and accomplished gentlemen, 
known in life and to be remembered long after they had left it 
for their distinguished bearing and social graces. Both followed 
their father into mercantile pursuits, including also traffic in 
lands. James, the eldest, named for his father's father, had been 
sent abroad for special professional training to Bordeaux, and 
for further travel and wider acquaintance with the world. Sou- 
venirs of his tour yet remain to his great-great-grandchildren. 
There is a tradition that the young gentleman developed abroad 
a greater fondness for society than for business, which is not 
improbable considering his age, for he was not seventeen when 
he returned from his first trip, and a very young man when he 
returned from his second. John Bannister Gibson, the illus- 
trious Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 
wrote that "James Blaine, at the time of his return from Europe, 
was considered to be among the most accomplished and finest- 
looking gentlemen in Philadelphia, then the centre of fashion, 
elegance, and learning on this continent. His reputation as a 
model gentleman was honorably sustained throughout life." He 
and his brother Robert entered upon business together in Car- 
lisle, and gradually came into the management of their father's 
affairs as well as their own. John Adams, President of the 
United States, willing to do Colonel Blaine a service, nomi- 
nated his son James as captain in the United States Infantry. 
Domestic joys came to crown their success. Both married 
young and married happily in their own sphere of life. The 



38 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES a. BLAINE. 

wife of the eldest was Jane Hoge, daughter of David Hoge, Esq., 
a public-spirited citizen, whose name is closely identified with 
the upbuilding of civilization in both eastern and western 
Pennsylvania. He had relinquished the sheriff's office to 
Colonel Blaine the year after his daughter's birth, and threw 
in his interests, though not his residence, to the formation of 
Washington. 

December 22, 1791, Robert married Susanna, daughter of 
Paul Metzer, of McAllister's town, now Hanover. Their happy 
home in Carlisle, and on the Cave farm, is still represented not 
only in tradition, but in living charm and force. 

It was no doubt in view of these marriages that Colonel 
Blaine bought the Middlesex estate which became so dear to 
him. 

It had happened, in the order of events, that his old friend 
Robert Callender, who had been his surety when he assumed 
the office of sheriff, died in 1776, leaving by will his Middlesex 
estate to his son Robert Callender, then a minor. Fifteen years 
afterwards the property was sold from this son at sheriff's sale, 
Robert Buchanan being the sheriff, and Ephraim Blaine was 
minded to buy it. In the deed which conveyed it to him, 
Oct. 12, 1791, it is described as containing " 563 as 139 prs." 
called " Middlesex,'' with fifty acres adjoining. At an earlier 
date it had belonged to the Chambers family, and as James 
Galbraith's wife, Mrs. Ephraim Blaine's great^grandmother, was 
a Chambers, it is not improbable that in reverting to her the 
estate had come to its own again. 

In 1792 the father, James Blaine, passed away from earth, 
well stricken in years. He had lived through the storm 
and stress of Indian and civil war, supporting his sons with 
his patriotism, and rejoicing with them in the triumph of 
the cause which all upheld with all their strength, the one 
giving to it the blessing and approval of his patriarchal years, 
the others their prime and power. He had lived to see that 
his experiment of. a change of home had not been a mistake. 
For the petty restrictions of the British government and the 
consequent exasperations and hardships, he had come into a 
land where freedom was limited only by the laws which he 
and his wise compeers had made in their wisdom, and where 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 39 

possessions were limited only by the ability of brain and hand 
and honor. He had been able to rear his children in com- 
fort to intelligence and self-respect, and he saw them, all but 
the one who had gone before him, clothed in the sovereign 
power of self-governing citizens, held in esteem by the republic 
which they had served. Surely he could wrap the drapery of 
his couch about him and lie down, not to pleasant dreams, for 
dreams were no part of the faith of Scotch Presbyterians. Their 
creed was no such stuff as dreams are made of. They died 
under contract with God, in full expectation that he would, and 
moral demand that he should, grant them immortal life in Jesus 
Christ our Lord. 

James Blaine's will made no bequest to his eldest son, to whom 
he had already given great gifts, but commended his family and 
his estate to the care of that beloved and trusted son. 

A deeper sorrow came to the family the next year — deeper, 
because not in line with nature's intent. A large business at 
that time was carried on between Carlisle and New Orleans 
and other points south. A common mode was to load flat- 
boats with provisions, float down to New Orleans, and remain 
until the cargo was sold at what profit the times permitted, 
sometimes only after a three months' waiting in the use of 
means. 

From one of these long absences James Blaine returned to 
find only a grave instead of his young wife and the child 
whom he had never seen. 

A letter from Carlisle, April 18, 1793, says with quaint 
pathos : 

" We lost a very worthy female inhabitant of Carlisle a few 
days ago (the wife of M r . James Blaine) who died & was 
buried in the absence of her husband. He arrived the day 
after the Funeral ; & upon hearing of the sad disaster, ran to 
the graveyard, almost distracted, & there remained a good 
while fixed in the deepest sorrow." 

In the deepest sorrow he looked again upon her face and ob- 
tained some locks of her hair, from which ten rings were made 
for remembrance — - five with her hair and his own entwined, 
five with such mourning emblems as love could command from 
the art of that period. 



40 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Two, at least, of these rings remain to-day in the ownership 
of a granddaughter of the young wife's sister. 

In the old graveyard at Carlisle her brief story is told : 
" In Memory of Jane Blane, Wife of James Blaine, who died 
the 15th of April, 1T93, in the 24th year of her age. 

" Reader behold and drop a tear 
Beauty's remains lie bury'd here ; 
But Heav'n which lent the transient boon 
Hath bid her sun go down at noon. 
Ye fair since hers may be your case 
Forget the beauties of the face. - 
Go first in virtues paths and tread, 
Then safely mingle with the dead, 
And you'll with Sister Seraphs join 
Where Heaven's refulgent glories shine." 

In June, of the same year, Colonel Blame's life was touched 
by another tragedy, as far as possible from the dignity of his 
father's composed farewell, or the pathos of his daughter's early 
death. John Duncan, a brother of Judge Duncan, had some 
political dispute with James Lamberton, the grandfather of the 
late Hon. Robert A. Lamberton, LL.D., President of Lehigh 
University of Pennsylvania, — a dispute which presently be- 
came an altercation, so violent and personal as seemed in the 
judgment of those days to demand blood. A challenge was 
sent and accepted, and Col. Ephraim Blaine was chosen second. 
The duel was fought, and Duncan was killed at the only ex- 
change of shots between them ; departing " this life June 22nd 
1793 aged thirty-one years." 

But for all grief, disappointment, or death, the world 
goes on. In May, of the next year, the bereft husband was in 
New Orleans again on his three months' business trip, and in 
October he was back in Carlisle helping his father to entertain 
the President of the United States. 

The whiskey insurrection was testing the new government. 
Like most insurrections, it had a reasonable side. The 
Scotch-Irish had emigrated for liberty, which for them in- 
cluded freedom from restrictions in trade. They had hardly 
fought through their last fight with the old home tyrant, 
when here was their own chosen government putting an enor- 
mous tax on whiskey. But in the extreme West, whiskey was 





ROBERT BLAINE. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 41 

the chief currency ! Rye was the chief product. As rye it 
could not be taken to market. A horse could carry only four 
bushels. Of rye changed into whiskey, he could carry twenty- 
four bushels. Freight in wagons to Philadelphia was from $5 
to $10 a hundred pounds, and such freight ate up both profits 
and rye. There was no trade down the Ohio, and lower 
Mississippi was held by Spaniards. Whiskey was the only 
high road to salt, which was $5 a bushel ; to iron and steel, 
which were $15 and $20 the hundred weight. Consequently 
distilleries were everywhere, but few of them paid cash for 
grain. The men of the interior saw the men on the coast 
drinking their imported wines which transportation by land 
would make too costly ; and they said among themselves, If we 
cannot import, why shall we not make ? Why should we be 
called upon to pay duty for drinking our grain, any more than 
for eating it ? And it is hard to see that the question was ever 
more logically answered than with Light Horse Harry's fifteen 
thousand troops. But that logic carried the day. President 
Washington, Colonel Blaine, and the others drank their 
" cags " of wine, and decided that law, whether good or bad, 
must be enforced. The nation was not seated firmly enough 
in the saddle to permit the horse to take the bits in his mouth 
for a moment. 

" September 30, 1794," says Jacob Holtzheimer, " that great 
and good man General Washington, President of the United 
States, set out from his house on Market street, with Secretary 
Hamilton on his left and his private secretary on his right, to 
head the Militia to quell the Western Insurrection." His 
arrival in Carlisle gave a great week to the stirring little town. 
The President's body-guard was composed of New Jersey 
cavalry, handsomely uniformed, and himself had no superior 
for personal dignity and imposing presence. But public sen- 
timent in Pennsylvania was republicanism flavored with 
whiskey, and the soldiers and the citizens were often at odds 
— once at so great odds that Governor Mifflin found it neces- 
sary to soothe the excited crowd from the balcony of the 
hotel on South Hanover street. Mr. Paul Metzger, father of 
Mrs. Robert Blaine, and his twelve-year-old son, George, were 
then on a visit to Carlisle, dividing their time between Mrs. 



42 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Robert's house and that of Dr. McCoskrey, father of the late 
Bishop McCoskrey. General Washington had visited at Mr. 
Metzger's home in Hanover, and of course little went on which 
the lively lad did not see. When his host gave a dinner-party 
to the President, Governor Mifflin, Colonel Blaine, and other 
distinguished men, George, being his guest, was, though but a 
lad, invited, or be it said permitted, to appear at the table. 
This honor he was too shy to accept, but in the prospect of a 
street fight the small boy's shyness vanished, and through the 
whole commotion he stood at the Governor's elbow, and so was 
able to tell us all about it. 

The President's headquarters were on the opposite side of 
the street, where both Colonel Blaine's houses were devoted 
to his accommodation and entertainment. In the one which 
Colonel Blaine himself occupied on the corner just south of 
the public square, the President and staff were guests at his 
table. In the one adjoining they were lodged. Mrs. Blaine 
was at this time an invalid, attended and cheered by her young 
niece, Margaret Lyon, who had been almost reared in her 
uncle's house ; and the young daughter-in-law mounted her 
horse every day, and, leaving her little brood at home, rode 
in through the green fields, from the Cave Farm, and as- 
sumed supervision of the President's entertainment and chap- 
eronage of the young maiden. The sons, Captain James and 
Robert, took charge of the outdoor arrangements, seeing that 
"the President's horses" and accoutrements were properly 
cared for, and all expenses promptly met ; as witness many 
a bill, order, and account : 

Sir, Deliver four bushels of Oats for the President's Horses. 

Jas Blaine 
7th. Octr. 1794 
Mr. Robt. Blaine. 

Receiv'd of John Logan, one Load of Hay for the President's Horses — 

Jas. Blaine. 
f th . October 1794 
Pay him three pounds 
E. Blaine. 

Thus the father had only to devote his time to his distin- 
guished guest, who, in turn, made himself thoroughly agreeable, 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 43 

especially delighting young Margaret, by praising her "flannel 
cakes," and begging her to give him her receipt for them that 
he might carry it home to his Patty! Yes, " My Patty." Cum- 
berland county and Washington county join hands on that ! 

History says that while the President was at Carlisle he 
heard that the insurrection had been quelled. A private theory, 
firmly held, is that he enjoyed his visit there so much that he 
was willing to believe the insurrection had never arisen ! This 
theory all must adopt who know what that Blaine home-circle 
was — the host dignified, courteous, hospitable, brilliant, the 
centre of all life and love and gayety ; the children young, 
bright, strong, devoted, — an harmonious family circle ; the 
guests pleased, stimulated, happy, and giving happiness ; every 
comfort, convenience, and entertainment that money and gen- 
erosity and native elegance could supply — all, hosts and 
guests, at their best in mind, body, and estate. 

And the next January James and Margaret were married ; 
but when he bought the engagement ring, Mistress Peggy 
used to tell her grandchildren, the French jeweller, Pierre 
Lorette, asked him what initials were to be engraved on it. 
" Oh, your own," replied the light-hearted lover. "And I was 
so vexed ! " laughed the grandmother. For "Peggy " was just 
entering one of its periodical obscurations as a fashionable 
appellative, and its owner aspired to the dignity of " Mar- 
garet," — but she wore the ring on her faithful hand to her 
life's end. 

Margaret Lyon brought to the family not only her win- 
ning personality and her Blaine inheritance, but the strength 
of another stock. When Ephraim Blaine went his way from his 
father's house to wealth, credit, and renown, his sister Eleanor 
went her way and found them all in Samuel Lyon, who had 
also come over from that fruitful north of Ireland, with his 
father John Lyon and his mother Margaret Armstrong. Now 
the father, John, was a strong, true man, and having chosen for 
himself two hundred seventy-three acres and sixty-three perches 
of fine, fertile, romantic country, besides the proprietary grant 
to John Lyon et ah, of twenty acres of land for the use of the 
Presbyterian church of Tuscarora, he worshipped God, and 
there he lies buried. But Margaret Armstrong, whom he 



44 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

took to wife in Ireland, lias come down to us through the 
one hundred and fifty years all a-sparkle with brilliant in- 
tellect, with wise and wide intelligence; fit to adorn any 
society, but better employed in the upbuilding of a State; — 
sister of that Homeric hero who never found his Homer, 
John Armstrong, the fearless warrior who, with two hundred 
and eighty farmer-soldiers, marched two hundred miles up the 
west branch of the Susquehanna, across an ambushed moun- 
tain wilderness, to the great encampment of the Indians at 
the Great island, quietly surrounded them in their midnight 
revelry in that stronghold of Kittanning, at daybreak fell upon 
them, — and Pennsylvania had rest from slaughter for a while. 

In 1758 Colonel Armstrong and Colonel Washington, march- 
ing ahead with the Provincials under Colonel Bouquet, in 
General Forbes's expedition against Fort Duquesne, formed an 
acquaintance which ripened into a warm personal friendship. 
When the French, taking alarm, fired their fort and fled, it was 
Colonel Armstrong's own hand which raised the British flag 
over the ruins of Fort Duquesne, and it became Pittsburg. 

In the Revolutionary war, as brigadier and major-general, 
he took as active a part, and fought the battle of the 
Brandy wine as earnestly as that of Kittanning. When, in 
1779, Col. Stephen Bayard wished to name the fort he had built 
at Kittanning for Colonel Brodhead — or himself, that sturdy 
soldier disdained the compliment, and disdained to return it to 
Colonel Bayard. He replied frankly, not to saj^ bluntly, " I 
think it a compliment due to General Armstrong to call that 
fort after him ; therefore, it is my pleasure from this time for- 
ward it be called Fort Armstrong, and I doubt not we shall 
soon be in the neighborhood of a place where greater regard is 
paid to saints than at Kittanning, where your sainthood may 
not be forgotten." And this answer not being considered final, 
he wrote again nine days after : " I have said that I thought it 
a compliment due to General Armstrong to name the fort now 
erecting at Kittanning after him ; and I should be very sorry to 
have the first fort erected by my direction in the department 
named after me. Besides, I should consider it will be more 
proper to have our names at a greater distance from our 
metropolis. I never denied the sainthood of Stephen or John 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 45 

but some regard to priority must be necessary even among 
saints." The fort has sunk into the past, but grateful Penn- 
sylvania erected a monument more durable than brass to the 
hero of Kittanning ; for she not only presented him with a 
piece of plate and a silver medal, but gave the name of 
Armstrong to the county which included the battlefield. 

A year after this more than Homeric hero had led his host 
to Kittanning he was writing, " To-morrow we begin to haul 
stones for the building of a meeting-house on the north side of 
the square." When the Indians had been subdued and the 
stone church reared, the next project of these lofty State- 
builders was a college, and Dickinson College arose ; the 
witness on the spot is that " nothing of that kind could have 
gone forward at this period without the ardent sympathy and 
cooperation, if not the controlling influence, of Gen. John 
Armstrong." His education, his wealth, his political and 
social position made him the first man to be consulted, and gave 
his opinions the highest influence in all questions of general 
interest in Church or State. 

It was natural that such a man should work out the Pauline 
faith, and think him worse than an infidel who provideth not. 
for his own house. With the aid of his nephews, Margaret 
Armstrong's sons, and by order of the Proprietaries, he had 
laid out the town of Carlisle, and marked the corner lots 
that Ephraim Blaine afterwards bought. As fast as his 
nephews became available he availed himself of them and 
swept them into places of honor and profit and hard labor — • 
surveyors, justices of the peace, assessors, holders of all the 
honorable offices through which a free people governs itself. 
And when he could command no more offices he created new 
ones, all tending to the grace and glory of the blossoming 
wilderness. Like himself, mighty men of war these boys 
became, fighting the foe wherever he appeared, Indian or 
Quaker or British, or even their own too liberty-loving Scotch- 
Irish, if it came to revolt against the established order ; for 
though, they loved liberty, it was liberty under law. 

Samuel Lyon, father of Margaret Lyon, son of Margaret Arm- 
strong, settled on land adjoining his father's, and presently 
inherited one-half his father's farm. In addition to his state 



46 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

and town offices he was, in 1780, made commissary general 
of purchases for the Revolutionary army, doubtless through 
the representations of his brother-in-law ; for nepotism in that 
serious time seems to have been the guide-post to appoint- 
ment and promotion, men taking for vitally important work 
the men they knew best. Establishing himself in Carlisle, he 
was brought into close official relations with his brother-in- 
law, until in due time the family tie was further established 
by the union of Margaret Lyon with James Blaine. 

In less than one month after his son's second marriage, Feb. 
5, 1795, Colonel Blaine lost the wife of his youth — Rebecca, 
daughter of the Galbraiths. A second month, and the bride's 
great-uncle, John Armstrong, " eminently distinguished for 
patriotism, valor, and piety," joined her in the unseen world ; 
the stern and strenuous life, the sweet and cherishing life, 
going out alike in the odor of sanctity. The last years of 
the mother had. been spent in comparative seclusion, on account 
of illness and increasing infirmities which banished her from 
the activities of society, and from all but the ministrations of 
the family. The household niece, Margaret, could no longer 
make her uncle her first thought, because her cousin had appro- 
priated it. It is not then strange that the beautiful young 
widow, with whom Colonel Blaine had been thrown into pecul- 
iarly close and pathetic relations four years before, should 
come into his mind and into his heart. He was fifty-six years 
old and she was thirty-eight — no forbidding disparity where 
the man was courtly and commanding, rich and distinguished, 
handsome and cultivated, in the prime of a successful life, 
enlarged and softened by experience, in charity with all the 
world, a man of quick as well as wide views, of prompt 
decision, unflinching resolution, successful execution, eminent 
unselfishness, sought by the humblest, valued by the highest. 

Some years before, Colonel Blaine, among other transactions, 
had bought a lot of land on the west side of North Hanover 
street, on the public square at Carlisle, not far from his own 
houses, which Were on the east side of South Hanover street, 
just south of the public square. On this lot he built two 
houses, whose every line speaks the lavishment of love and the 
love of beauty. In his sheriffs receipt-book is a receipt for 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. 11LAINE. 47 

brick, whose date indicates that its destination was to these 
houses. Their fine and stately architecture is still a pleasure 
to the eye and a repose to the soul. No modern. Eastlake sen- 
timent can draw more heavily on " sincerity " than these doors, 
with their massive colonial bulk, their hinges reaching nearly 
across the door, and showing to the most careless their easy 
ability to sustain the swing. The arched windows, the ornate 
yet elegant mantels, the ample and cheerful rooms, are given 
over to business, but speak yet of the home courtesies and com- 
forts of the past. These houses, complete in every detail, the 
loving father — wise man — - conveyed to his proud and devoted 
sons, Sept. 18, 1797; to James Blaine the one on the south- 
erly part of the lot, together with three hundred acres of land ; 
to Robert Blaine the one on the northerly lot, together with the 
Cave mill and farm of two hundred and fifty acres, and four 
hundred acres of mountain land. 

Two days afterwards, September 20, he married Sarah Eliza- 
beth Postlethwaite Duncan, the granddaughter of Joseph Rose, 
a distinguished Irish barrister from Dublin who had died in 
Pennsylvania, and widow of him who had fallen in the fatuous 
duel; and thus he gained for the solitude of a saddened hearth 
seven years' companionship with a woman whose Irish wit and 
beauty, whose elegance and social accomplishments brought 
down to the middle of the ' present century, living witness of 
the charm which had been confessed by three generations. 

One son was born to them, whom they named for his 
father Ephraim, and to whom the happy father gave the Mid- 
dlesex home which he seems to have loved best of all, from 
which he could never stay long away, and in which he spent the 
greater part of his closing years. But his beloved wife, Sarah 
Elizabeth, besides personal devises, was to enjoy the whole 
estate at Middlesex during her life, " if she continues unmarried " 
(with ample provision, however, even if she should not continue 
unmarried), paying out of the same "all that may be necessary 
for the proper support and education of my son Ephraim Blaine 
until he shall arrive at the age of twenty-one years." When 
Ephraim was twenty-one lie was to enter into possession of 
the estate, but was to pay one-half the profits to his mother 
during her life and widowhood ; " and if my said son Ephraim 



48 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES <l. BLAINE, 

should die before he would arrive at the age of twenty-one 
years and without having lawful issue to inherit the same 
estate, then I give and devise to my grandson Ephraim Blaine 
son to my son James Blaine, all the mills and water powers 
erected on my said estate at Middlesex with two hundred and 
fifty acres of land adjoining to the said mills to be laid off at the 
discretion of such of my Executors as shall be void of all in- 
terest in the said division and the remainder of my said lands at 
Middlesex I give to my Grandson Ephraim Blaine son of my 
Son Robert Blaine ; " and after various other and ample devises 
to wife and son Ephraim, "all the residue of my estate real and 
personal I do give and devise to be equally divided between my 
two sons James and Robert, and I do hereby appoint my two 
sons James Blaine and Robert Blaine and my Friend David 
Watts Executors of this my last will and Testament." The 
will of a just man mindful of his obligations and acquainted 
with human nature. 

The three young Ephraims were not far apart in years — 
the nephews a little older than the uncle ; but he was not 
destined to enter into his inheritance. Of the many children 
who played around the water-brooks of Cave farm and the 
Letort mill-race, it was the infant heir of those broad lands, the 
beautiful, curled darling of his father's old age, whose little feet 
stumbled on the brink. Margaret Lyon, Mrs. James Blaine, 
was spending the day at Middlesex. The little boy, dressed in 
his pretty white suit, with his long, fair curls freshly brushed, 
was brought in to be duly admired and petted by the guest, his 
cousin and sister-in-law, then dismissed to run about at his 
liking. Shortly afterwards, not hearing him at play, they 
called and sought him — in vain. He had wandered down to 
death in the swift-rushing mill-race. 

The father did not long survive him, but died in his bereaved 
home on Feb. 16, 1804, in the sixty-third year of his age. 

His beloved wife, Sarah Elizabeth, was loath to remain in the 
house of her repeated sorrow, and withdrew to Philadelphia, 
where she " continued unmarried," leading such a life of dignity 
and distinction as beseemed her blood and name, till, in 1850, 
she passed away at the ripe old age of ninety. 

















JAMES BLAINE. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 49 



IV. 

JAMES BLAINE. 

TZTIS father gone, the old Scotch-Irish rover reappeared in the 
J — *- son with renewed vigor. The large business in new, 
rich lands, which to the hereditary Blaine vision that saw clearly 
into the future, were big with promise, had a tendency to keep 
the land-hunger ever alive. With all his graces and amenities, 
James Blaine had a watchful outlook for business, and could 
be short, sharp, and decisive upon occasion. The records of 
the court at April sessions in 1798 present a true bill of 
indictment against James Blaine for assault and battery, and 
defendant being charged submits to the court with protestations 
of innocence, whereupon the judgment of the court is that the 
defendant pay a fine of four dollars towards the support of the 
government, pay the costs of prosecution, and stand committed 
until this judgment be complied with. But though the court 
pronounced this stern decree, it is to be noted in a marginal 
"aside " that clerk and attorney forgave their fees ; whence we 
may infer that the weight even of the court opinion was on 
the side of the defendant, whose most accomplished kinsman, 
worthily wearing and transmitting the family honor, affirms 
that whipping the other fellow is often worth more than four 
dollars, and only hopes he was well whipped ! 

To James Potter, Esq., lie writes : 

Carlisle 12th April 1802 

By your agreement with my Father you engage to Patent the Land you 
exchanged with him in Woods's district, when you were called upon for 
that purpose; I now request you will perform your part of said agreement 
as soon as you conveniently can, as I have an opportunity of selling to 
advantage 

Please to answer this Letter by some one of your Gentlemen & oblige 

Sir 

Yours &c 

Blaine 

for 
Eph. Blaine. 



50 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

As an executor of his father's estate he writes from Carlisle 
in 1804 : 

Sir 

I am much surprised that I have not heard from you respect 8 , the 
Patent for the tract in Armstrong County. You certainly ought to have 
procured it for us before this. My Father left my Brother & me Executors, 
I now write as such and must urge you to take out the Deed and transmit 
it to us between first of May next as by that time we mean to proceed to 
that Country & make sale of some of our Lands. 

At the first and second session of the Ninth Congress (1805) 
James and Robert Blaine, executors of their father's estate, 
presented a petition for compensation for Revolutionary services 
in the Commissary Department ; but I find no record and no 
tradition that such petition was ever granted. 

From time to time they kept alive before an unheeding 
Congress the indebtedness of the country to their father, for 
services rendered and money advanced. 

So late as 1818 the journal of Congress calmly records that 
" Mr. Baldwin also presented a petition of James and Robert 
Blaine, executors of the last will and testament of their father, 
Ephraim Blaine, deceased, a deputy commissary general and 
commissary general of purchases in the Revolutionary army, 
praying compensation for the services of their said father, and 
for a reimbursement of the moneys advanced by him for the 
purchase of various supplies for the said army ; " but I find no 
record that Mr. Baldwin got any reply to his petition. 

Boys and girls grew up around them, and the two homes 
were filled with young life. It is pleasant to remember that 
when a little daughter was laid in Margaret's arms, the divinity 
in her remembered that other young mother lying out in the 
churchyard with her dead child on her heart, whom the young 
father had never seen, and she gave to her own warm living 
baby the dead mother's name, Jane Hoge. " How did you like 
to call her that?" used her grandchildren to ask, with infantile 
mercilessness. "J did not care, my dear," was the reply of 
gentleness from which experience had banished all pain. 

An infant child who lived barely long enough to receive the 
seal of baptism on his forehead bore to the grave the name of 
George Washington. "Why did you give him that name?" 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 51 

prattled another grandchild. " Oh ! my dear, we knew he would 
not live ! '* In the hour of sudden grief and danger and pain, 
his was the first name they thought of, whose renown was 
not then a cold and remote splendor but a living household 
fame. 

Ephraim, named for his grandfather, with his mother's Lyon 
name incorporated, bright, handsome, debonair, was early sent 
to school and college — which was then probably hardly more 
than a school, but in its moderate and modest bills was a full- 
fledged college. 

15 th . August 1807 
Rec d : from James Blaine eiHit dollars beino; the tuition due to Wash- 
ington College up to the first day of this month for Ephraim Blaine — 
D : 8 :00 

Parker Campbell 

Treas*-. W. C. 

At one time there were four Ephraim Blaines in Washington 
College. Their distinguishing sobriquets were " big Eph," 
"little Eph," "red Eph," "devil Eph," and "gentleman 
Eph," scattered somewhat promiscuously among the group. 
The big and devil Eph seem mostly to have been confined to 
the son of James, and little Eph and gentleman Eph to the 
son of Robert. That these sobriquets were not distributed 
from mere caprice may be inferred from many anecdotes still 
current, perhaps the earliest being that when devil Eph's mamma 
called attention one day to the swift ruin attending his trousers' 
knees the very young gentleman retorted, " That is because Dr. 
Brown [the President] keeps us at prayers so much." 

Leaving college, Ephraim Lyon studied law in the office of 
Mr. Watts, son of David Watts, an intimate friend of his 
father, and father of H. M. Watts, late District Attorney of the 
United States, and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Pleni- 
potentiary to Austria in 1868, who presently became an intimate 
friend of Ephraim's son. Ephraim also, like his father, was sent 
to travel in Europe, as a matter of mental and social finishing. 
But there is no tradition that he or his father ever visited the 
land from which they came — that north of Ireland, that Lon- 
donderry and Donegal, which had done so much more for them 
than all the splendors of the grand tour. Mr. Watts had the 



52 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

pleasure of seeing his pupil admitted to the bar before he 
removed from Carlisle ; and the younger Watts, who as a boy 
knew him well in Carlisle, renewed the acquaintance after his 
removal to Pittsburg to practise law. 

All the going back and forth, the inspection, survey, ex- 
change of lands, and the other traffic, only increased the rest- 
lessness of these land-lovers; and presently they left — never 
to return — the heritage of Middlesex, their beautiful finished 
Carlisle home, and all the fair hill-country round about, the 
waterbrooks of the Conodoguinet and the Letort, just as their 
forebears had left Donegal run and the Chicquesalunga, — and 
pitched their tents on Muddy creek in Greene county, in what 
was then the far West ; but Margaret found it too far and 
lonely, and even James missed his good Carlisle society. So 
back they fared to Brownsville, where he owned lands in and 
about the town, thence to Sewickley, an outpost of Pittsburg, 
on the Ohio river. 

In his various wanderings he tarried long enough to acquire 
local interest and influence, and everywhere he carried on his 
mercantile business in connection with his investments and other 
transactions in land. In Brownsville he was commissioned as 
justice of the peace, and entered into the social and business 
life of the place with zeal and sympathy. Indeed, all the 
Blaines seem to have considered all Pennsylvania as their 
natural home and heritage, and wherever James Blaine went 
he could feel that the feet of his father had trodden the path 
before him, and all the landed property had been his father's 
choice, prevision, and judgment as well. Gordon, one of the 
earliest travellers, braved the contempt of the Old World by 
testifying that " This country may, from a proper knowledge, 
be affirmed to be the most healthy, the most pleasant, the 
most commodious, and the most fertile spot of earth known 
to European people/' 

At Sewickley, not ill chosen for beauty or for business, 
James Blaine established himself in a comfortable and even 
imposing house, with the river that seemed necessary to 
Blaine contentment, and the plateau commanding a lovely 
view and allied with a historic past. In the centre of an 
orchard of twenty-five acres is a large mound where tradition 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 53 

fought a fierce battle between French and Indians, and after 
the fight buried braves and valuables. This mound has never 
been disturbed, and the ghosts of the fallen wander at will, 
harming nobody. 

Here lived and prospered James Blaine, and here his son 
Ephraim Lyon brought his bride. A letter of 1820, from one 
of their friends, says playfully, if somewhat incoherently, 
" The Duke of Sewickley, late Middlesex, it is said, will take 
a wife from the backwoods, and has selected Maria Gillespie 
as the object." 

Maria Gillespie, thus summoned from the " backwoods " to 
the suburbs of lofty Pittsburg, was from the same radiating 
north of Ireland, but of another clan and religion. Neal Gil- 
lespie, senior, according to family tradition, came from Scotland 
to Donegal county, barony of Inisowen, Ireland, famous for its 
whiskey-smuggling. There he made a runaway match with 
Eleanor Dougherty, was married by some wandering priest, 
and came immediately to this country. Under the penal laws, 
unless it were by a registered priest the marriage was counted 
invalid. To ensure the legality of the tie, and prevent question 
of the legitimacy of their children, a subsequent marriage cere- 
mony was performed by a Protestant Episcopal rector in this 
country, in lieu of a priest willing to assume the risk of such 
a service. Neal Gillespie was a man distinguished for force 
of character, for penetration and executive power. He saw 
the possibilities of the West, and, leaving wife and children 
behind him, went out and selected a location full of promise 
and richer in fulfilment. 

During the middle of the last century a friendly Indian, 
named William Peters, yet more generally known as " Indian 
Peter," lived on lands in the Youghiogheny valley, adjoining a 
German, with whom he could not agree. Thereupon Indian 
Peter wrote the Proprietaries' agent, saying that he could not 

get along with, the " d d Dutchman," and wished to give up 

his land for another tract. His request was promptly complied 
with. On the 5th day of April, 1769, but two days after the 
land-office was opened, a warrant was granted him for a tract 
containing three hundred and thirty-nine acres situated on the 
west side of the Monongahela river. This land was surveyed 



54 BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Oct. 7, 1769, by James Hendricks, Deputy Surveyor-general, 
who gave it the name of " Indian Hill." 

Indian Peter at once left his " d d Dutchman " and 

took up his abode on Indian hill. On the 22d day of February, 
1775, the Virginia court licensed Michael Cresap " to keep a 
ferry over the Monongahela from his house at Redstone Old 
Fort to the land of Indian Peter." 

On this ferry Neal Gillespie, pushing westward, fixed his 
eyes, and oh Indian Peter's hill he laid his hand. Washington 
county was rapidly filling up, and Redstone Old Fort was 
becoming a business centre, by land and water. The first 
flatboat that ever descended the Mississippi went from Red- 
stone Old Fort in 1782. The tide of emigration from East to 
West broke at Brownsville. After long and toilsome journeys 
over mountain roads and by Indian trails the emigrant could 
embark peacefully on Kentucky or New Orleans boats, and 
float pleasantly towards the desired haven ; or if his destina- 
tion was nearer at hand, he crossed the ferry and made his 
way to the delectable mountains of Washington and Greene. 

Indian Peter was gone, but Marey Petters and William 
Petters remained, and they did " bargain and seal to said Neal 
Gillespie the Tract of land which we now poses and all the 
tenements and boundries of said Land at forty five Shillings pr. 
Acker the tearm of Peaments the 15th of next October fower 
hundred Pouuds to be Paid in money or moneys worth for this 
Peament two ton of Iron at teen pence Pr pound and one 
Negro at Preasment of two men, one hundred pound more to 
be pead at the same time of this Preasment or Else to Draw 
In Trust for one Year, the Remainder of the Purches money to 
be Pead in two Peaments ■ — First in the [year] 1786, the Next 
the year 1788, Each of these Peaments to be mead in October 
15th the above Bound marey Petters and william Petters asserts 
to meak the said Neal Gillespee a proper Right for said land for 
which we have seat our hands and Seals." 

Signed with the mark of Marey Petters and William Petters, 
and in consideration of the sum of £56 15s. 9d. was granted by 
the Commonwealth unto Neal Gillespie " a certain tract of land 
called ' Indian Hill,' excepting and reserving only the fifth part 
of all Gold and Silver ore for the use of this Commonwealth, 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 55 

to be delivered at the Pit's mouth clear of all charges, whereof 
the Hon. Charles Biddle, Vice-President of Supreme Executive 
Council, hath hereto set his hand in the year of our Lord 
Jan. 31, 1787, and of the Commonwealth the eleventh." 

Thus Neal Gillespie obtained full title and control of Indian 
hill and of the ferry on the great thoroughfare from Cumber- 
land to Wheeling, — a route as important in that day as the 
great Pennsylvania system of railroads in the present ; and 
there he built up a fortune with strong hand, and there he 
brought his family and lived " in his palace " on Indian hill ; 
and when his wife Eleanor died he buried her beside his 
" palace," and married Anna Brown, the sister of Thomas and 
Basil Brown, the founders of Brownsville. His son Neal 
succeeded to the business and the estate ; and, possessing the 
energy and the force of his father, added to both business and 
wealth through the rapid growth of the country. 

The other son, John, was equally vigorous and brilliant. 
Both had the true rollicking Irish temperament, and were 
impetuous, impatient, outspoken. This temperament, in John 
especially, sometimes burst forth in a way that astonished even 
the strong, racy individualities that surrounded him ; as when 
once, conducting a lawsuit in court, across the river at 
Brownsville, it suddenly dawned upon him that he was on the 
wrong side of the case. The evidence was not turning out 
satisfactory. He instantly rose in his wrath, kicked over the 
table, spilling ink and scattering books and papers in all direc- 
tions, picked up his hat, strode from the courtroom, and never 
touched the case again. 

Susan, a daughter, married Philemon Beecher, an able 
and distinguished lawyer, long a member of Congress from 
Lancaster, Ohio, and became a strong Scriptural Presbyterian. 
Another sister, Eleanor, married Hugh Boyle, also of Lancaster, 
Ohio. 

Young Neal Gillespie led a busy life, always taking heed to 
mingle pleasure with business. Every year he loaded his 
flatboats with all the corn and wheat and other produce he 
could raise or buy in the region round about, and sent it down 
to New Orleans, while lie and his brother went by land, — by 
stage or horseback, — at least part of the way, through all the 



56 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

cousinable and otherwise social part of the route. Coming back 
with his pocket full of money and his mind free from care, he 
would, as a certain descendant said of him, make the wilder- 
ness blossom. The home of his intellectual and religious sister 
Susan lay in the way of his journeying, and he never failed to 
pay her a visit of duty and affection. The sister would wel- 
come her brother, but, having a reputation to sustain as a 
member of the Presbyterian church and of the best society in 
Ohio, would take the sisterly liberty of locking herself into her 
own room, not having the heart to lock her brother out of the 
house, while the young lawyers and other rising young men of 
Lancaster held high festival with the brothers in her house, 
or, if too jovially inclined, adjourned to the Swan tavern to drain 
the last drop of festivity. Thus they celebrated the memory of 
Inisowen. 

The home of Mr. Purcell in Virginia was another rendezvous 
of young Neal Gillespie. " Sit just there," said a descendant 
of Mr. Purcell not long since, to a descendant of Neal Gillespie, 
whom he had invited to dinner ; and directing the old lion- 
footed table to be moved a little further forward, " There, now 
you are at the very table and in the very place where your 
grandfather, Neal Gillespie, used to sit. He would come here 
bringing eighteen or twenty of the very best horses from Ken- 
tucky. There were a lot of pretty girls around, and when he 
came we would have a party, and oh ! how he would dance ! r 

But the prettiest girl of all to him was a daughter of the 
house, Tamar Elizabeth Purcell, who became his wife and suc- 
ceeded the Irish Eleanor and the Indian "Marey" as mistress 
of Indian hill. 

Of their children, John, the eldest, known for his fine Greek 
and Latin scholarship, died before his father, at the age of thirty- 
eight, leaving a daughter, to become Mother Angela, the first 
superior of the Sisters of The Holy Cross in America. William 
Louis was educated for a priest, but fell in love with a girl and 
resumed the world with its natural cares, joys, and responsi- 
bilities. Maria Louise, said by her admirers to have been the 
most beautiful woman in Pennsylvania, and who was indeed 
fair to look upon, even in her old age, and as gentle and loving 
as she was beautiful, was the young woman of whom Ephraim 




MR. BLAINE'S FATHER 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 57 

Lyon bethought himself on the heights of Sewickley, and her 
he went into the " backwoods " to bring. From the Roman 
Catholic church at Pittsburg, the Rev. Father Maguire came 
clown to marry them, at the old Indian-hill farm ; and Ephraim 
Blaine bore her home on a characteristic wedding-journey, 
handling his horses himself, loving with an ardent if not equal 
love both bride and steed. I do not know whether it was on 
this or a later or an earlier journey that he began to indoctrinate 
her into horsemanship with his daring feats. " Maria, do you 
see those two trees yonder ?" " Oh ! my dear, don't — don't try 
to go between them ! " cried her prophetic soul. " Oh, no 
danger! '" And away they would whirl and never hit a tree! 
" 1 don't know how many years,'* gasped the poor lady, with 
smiling, pathetic pride, " I was in terror of my life when 
your father asked me to drive." ' 

But they reached Sewickley in safet}* and shared also the 
social and business life of Pittsburg. 

There children were born to them, and there, alas ! they died. 
The first little boy bore the name of his grandfather and his 
great-great-grandfather scarce one swift year, and then was 
laid in the old Roman Catholic burying-ground at Pittsburg. 
Twenty-one, twenty-three, twenty-five, twenty-seven, through 
the decade of 1820, came little Blaines in regular succession, 
and the declining health of the Brownsville father drew the 
mother to her old home on the Monongahela. The Sewickley 
father also was falling into decline. The same year that 
brought him a daughter-in-law had taken away from him a 
daughter — Eleanor, by her marriage with John Hoge Ewing. 

When David Hoge delivered up his sheriff's staff to Ephraim 
Blaine, in Cumberland county in 1771, he went straightway 
West and bought up a large portion of the Chartiers valley, 
and upon it he laid out the town of Washington to be the 
capital of the new Washington county. In the log house of 
David Hoge the first court of the county was held, Oct. 2, 1781. 
Having thus secured the capital, he followed up his advantage 
by giving four lots for a courthouse and prison, two lots to His 
Excellency George Washington, who dearly loved land, and who 
especially had an abiding faith in corner lots, and who accepted 
them without a qualm of bribery. Seventy or eighty acres 



58 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

wise David Hoge laid aside for a common, and then speedily 
sold the whole enterprise to his sons John and William, who 
took up residence there, while he preserved for himself his 
own homestead in Cumberland county. 

The son William married Isabella Lyon, Margaret's sister, 
which may have made it easier for her to call her own little 
daughter for Jane Hoge, who had been William's sister. It 
had also established a special personal interest and family 
centre for the Blaines in Washington. William Hoge was 
elected and reelected member of Congress, and was afterwards 
made associate judge. After his death, his wife married Alex- 
ander Reed, from Donegal, son of Robert Reed, who was called 
to Ireland from Scotland to preach against the Arian heresy, and 
preached it so successfully that his church at one time had 
one thousand communicants, and his children and great-grand- 
children became sole occupants of its pulpit for one hundred 
and fifty years. His first wife had been daughter of that Colin 
McFarquhar who preached in Donegal church for thirty years, 
and who had been fain to attest to his loving, but doubting, 
parishioners his hyyalty, by going inside the circle around The 
Witness Tree and swinging his hat with a hurrah for the 
Continental cause ! 

Mr. Reed was a public-spirited citizen whom all the world 
delighted to honor, and Isabella's house had thus been a pleas- 
ant and wholesome home to her kinsfolk, and there her young 
niece, Eleanor, had met an extremely clever and promising 
young man, by the name of Ewing. His father, coming down 
from that inexhaustible Scotch-Irish hive through York, had 
received his education under the direction of his kinsman, Dr. 
John Ewing, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Phila- 
delphia, and provost of the University of Pennsylvania, who 
had served his country on weighty public and political commis- 
sions, and braver still, had breasted Dr. Johnson with the soft 
answer that not only turned away his wrath, but turned it 
into complacency for the ignorant Americans who " never read 
anything." " We have all read ' The Rambler,' sir," returned — 
it is so bland one cannot say retorted — the suave Ewing. An 
intimate friend of John Hoge, Mr. Ewing had given the name 
to his son, and when the boy came to Washington to attend 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 59 

the college, John Hoge took him into his own family. After 
his graduation the young man remained in Washington study- 
ing and practising law, practising the gospel also by every 
good word and work. It was this young man whom Eleanor 
Blaine had met on her visits to her aunt Isabella in Washing- 
ton. On the footing of a cousin, though in fact no relation, 
a classmate of her brother Ephraim and born the same year, 
it befell that one week after Ephraim Blaine married Maria 
Gillespie, Eleanor Blaine married John Hoge Ewing — in her 
Aunt Isabella's house, — because, if married in Sewickley, the 
way thence was so rough, and the steamers so uncertain, that 
they ran the risk of having to take their wedding journey in a 
flatboat, with all and sundry of its inconveniences and dis- 
comforts. 

Another daughter of James Blaine had also married in Wash- 
ington, — ■ the little Jane Hoge, —whose husband was the founder 
of the first newspaper established in Washington. Thus when 
age was drawing on and Sewickley grew too remote from 
kindred for the repose of the evening of life, the elder Blaines 
could but be attracted to the place where so many of their 
family had gathered. Moreover, a house awaited them, not 
too far for neighborhood or too near for independence, to which 
John Hoge Ewing and his wife Eleanor besought and brought 
her parents. Here James Blaine — a tall and handsome man 
still, with figure scarcely bowed and only a becoming portli- 
ness, with head whitened by years and bright eyes undimmed 
— came with Margaret Lyon to the society and vicinity of 
their own people, and there on the green hillside that might 
well suggest the Cave farm of his youthful years, he passed 
the serene evening of his life among his children and his 
grandchildren. 

v The Sewickley homestead went to strangers — a sect or com- 
munity called the Economites, who gladly bought the Blaine 
lands and added thereto. The old Blaine dwelling-house 
still stands, but was moved to 'a different site and used for 
a school-house, though still some personal belongings remain 
to speak of the refined and cultured family that once occu- 
pied it. The earth yields her increase as of old, and the 
breezes sing as freshly, but the factories of the Economites 



60 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

are as deserted as the drawing-rooms of James Blaine, and 
the life of the place is garnered in the wine-cellars where the 
fifty-year-old wine . and the year-old cider, drunk instead of 
water, mock the Prohibitionists * with their witness that the 
Economites know no drunkenness or peevishness, but are rich, 
charitable, musical, and happy ! 

It has often been said that if James Blaine and Ephraim his 
son had kept this farm instead of selling it, the heirs would 
have been worth millions. Yes ; and if Lord Donegal's prede- 
cessors had retained their property and managed prudently, 
his income would, have been $1,250,000, whereas his whole 
Irish property is $205,000. And as James Blaine's grandson 
was wont to quote, — what we may adopt, as Virgil did his 
Homer, with variations, — if Columbus had sold the feather 
in his cap and put the money out at compound interest, the 
Duke of Veragua would have been richer than all the United 
States of America, to which he is holding out his hat ; but 
nobody desired to pay interest on Columbus's feather, and 
Columbus needed the feather to wear; and James Blaine and 
his son wanted the 825,000 more than they wanted to live in 
Sewickley and compound interest for their descendants — not 
to suggest that it was better for the descendants to compound 
their own interest. So there is no discredit to be visited either 
upon heart or head ; for how could James Blaine or Ephraim 
his son see that the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad 
and all the Panhandle lines were coming around by Sewickley, 
and that the angel of the bottomless pit would turn the key at 
the forks of the Ohio, and its smoke and fire should be belched 
through a thousand chimneys as the smoke of a great furnace, 
and the sun and the air be darkened by reason of the smoke of 
the pit ? 

So Ephraim and Maria went to Brownsville — first in the 
grand old house which their father built, the first stone house 
erected west of the Monongahela; afterwards colonizing in a 
house of their own building close at hand. And there on Sun- 
day, the 31st of January, A.D. 1830, from all the sturdy 
strength, the unconquerable will, the joyous vigor, the civic 
virtues, the patriotic passion, the home sanctities of all the 
Galbraiths and Blaines and Armstrongs and Lyons and Gilles- 




. #§i 



WkM 



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. ■ ■ . .■■ ■ ■ . ...■ ; ■ . 

liliitr'" "" 



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MR. BLAINE'S MOTHER. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G, BLAINE, 61 

pies, a boy was born, whom for his grandfathers on the one side 
they named James, and for his grandfathers on the other side 
they named Gillespie, to whom it was given to serve his 
country on the heights, and to uplift in her name the stand- 
ard of peace on earth, goodwill to men — James Gillespie 
Blaine. 



Here, but for the one little unknown quantity, this biography 
would be finished. But for the one fact of differentiation, the man 
is accounted for. The mental soil from which he sprang turns up 
rich in all the qualities that nurture statesmen ; yet proof need 
not be furnished that, without the mysterious germ of genius, all 
the fruitful soil is no more fruitful than the arid sand-bank. 
Therefore the quest goes on. Man, by searching, cannot find out 
God, but the search is the noblest effort and occupation of human- 
ity. We may not solve the mystery of the Divine germ, but having 
studied its habitat ive may further seek its actual environment 
— ivhat sun fed it, what dews refreshed it, of what rains it drank 
vigor, what rocking winds nerved its tender roots and shoots to 
sinewy strength and steadfastness, till it brought forth boughs 
and bore fruit and became a goodly cedar. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 63 



V. 

EARLY EDUCATION. 

n^HUS the new little life placed itself ; in the open, hills climb- 
-*- ing to the sky, the broad eternal river, and along and 
across its eternal current the eternal ebb and flow of human 
life and human interests ; parental tenderness and parental 
culture to cherish growth ; a large and varied family circle 
to represent the great human family outside. 

It was a happy life, and the memory of it never faded — 
unless memory itself fades in the grave. Development was 
healthy, natural, simple. There was no precocity. The man's 
own theory of his boyhood was that he was uncommonly slow 
and dull, so that some of his elders believed him deficient. He 
did not learn to read till he was seven years old. He lived out- 
doors with his magnificent playthings, the river, the woods, the 
hills, the farms ; with his , sympathetic and agile play-fellows, 
the birds and squirrels and horses, the farmers and the gardeners. 
All the seed sown, all the harvests gathered, all the bloom of 
spring, all the ripening autumn, was his interest and his sport. 
If he learned no books, he had the culture of obedience to 
parental law, and of intimacy with his father and mother. 

He had also the liberal education of the National Road on 
which the Blaine and Gillespie homes were located, and which 
brought Brownsville to the forefront of the world, while Pitts- 
burg was considered and called by Brownsville " the back door." 

Washington had made it his first duty after his retirement 
from the command of the army to arrange for easy communica- 
tion between East and West, either by land or water, and thus 
make a community of interests and prevent the new nation 
from falling to pieces. The country had had glory enough. 
What it now needed was stability. Just as Rome built her 
Appian Way, just as Egypt bordered the Nile with her 



04 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

National Roads to all points whithersoever the tide of travel 
could flow, so Washington projected for the young nation its 
channels of life. As a surveyor and a soldier he had marched 
through the wilderness, and he knew where to go. It is 
said that he first made the acquaintance of Albert Gallatin sit- 
ting on a log on the Monongahela, surrounded by frontiersmen 
talking about the best route for a new road. To one of them 
with a foreign look who had volunteered an opinion, George 
Washington vouchsafed a surprised glance and no reply till he 
had completed his examination, when he announced, " Young 
man, you are right. Your route is the true one." The young 
foreigner came to be his secretary of the treasury and right- 
hand man, Albert Gallatin. 

During his administrations and the succeeding ones to 
1811 the road was before Congress, and in the summer of 1820 
it was open for travel from Cumberland in Maryland, to Wheel- 
ing in Virginia, contiguous on the East to Braddock's line of 
march from Cumberland to Fort Duquesne. It had cost the 
government nearly $1, 700,000, and of it at the beginning of the 
century, just as truly as of the Central and Pacific roads in its 
later years, might Edward Pierrepont say, " It matters little 
what the government advanced to build them. This great 
highway is of priceless value to the nation. Had it cost the 
Federal treasury ten times more than it did, it were money 
well invested." 

All the expectations which had been cherished of the travel 
and trade that would pour through it fell far short of the 
reality. The stories of its glories are innumerable. Twenty- 
five stage-coaches, with every seat occupied, would pull out at 
the same time from Wheeling on the west, from Cumberland on 
the east. Thirty stages, fully loaded, stopped at one hotel in a 
single day; sixteen coaches, crammed with passengers, in close 
procession crossed the bridge at West Brownsville. If one is 
to believe the reports, an unbroken line of presidents, presidents- 
elect and ex-presidents, senators and representatives and secre- 
taries, were passing through Brownsville on their way to and 
from Washington the great. Little Washington, as the county 
seat of Washington is affectionately called, was for a while left 
aside, but by vigorous urging of her claims she had induced 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 65 

the great road to come her way. Over this road the world 
rolled past the Blaine house, and the little ones became a 
part of it. There were long lines of wagons going east with 
produce of the fields, going west with the produce of the mines 
and manufactories. There were men on horseback and in pri- 
vate carriages, and foot passengers and four-foot passengers innu- 
merable. This made an army of men to feed and lodge, which 
caused public houses to spring up, one for every two miles along 
the road. Drovers with their teams stopped anywhere upon 
the route ; but passengers were lodged chiefly at the large 
towns, like Brownsville and Washington ; stations precisely as 
far apart as were the stations on Egypt's national roads — with 
the difference only that the Coptic drivers rested their camels 
by day and the Pennsylvania drivers rested their horses by 
night. Forty great Conestoga six-horse teams, carrying from 
five to six tons each, would be picketed around the yard and 
on the commons of a single tavern, and a continuous procession 
of these huge caravansaries passed daily over the great road. 

In all this stirring world the accomplished father, still in his 
early prime, took an active and leading part, and the eager 
sympathetic mind of the boy was in full touch with affairs, and 
quickened by the contact. The Monkey-box mail and the 
Oyster express had as many charms for a boy as had the states- 
men and merchants, the Monroes and Jacksons, the Polks and 
Bells and Clays, who stopped to rest. The National Koad was 
turned over to the State, but without loss of importance. Of 
the times and seasons of the stage lines, the National, the 
Good Intent, the June Bug, and the Pioneer, the boy knew the 
arrivals and departures and prowess, as well as the drivers. 
He knew which drivers could harness four horses in four 
minutes and change teams before the stage ceased rocking, and 
he shared their ambitions and their successes. The drivers' 
orders were to make time on the ten or twelve mile relays even 
if they killed horses, — ten miles at full run if they were a little 
behind ; and if a poor horse fell disabled he was unharnessed 
and dragged aside. Even so late as President Polk's day such 
trouble came, and the President-elect, on his way to his inau- 
guration, alighted and lent his helping hand to the poor oil' 
wheel-horse that had failed. Henry Clay, arriving from the 



66 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

South at Cincinnati, and finding the Ohio river frozen, came 
by stage to Lancaster ; thence the roads were impassable till a 
young German was induced to drive him to Wheeling, won by 
the fifty dollars offered, which fifty dollars became the basis of 
the largest farm in the county. In 1841, driver Noble was driv- 
ing Henry Clay down the hill at Brownsville to the bridge, when 
the wheels encountered a rut and Clay was thrown through the 
window and left standing upon his. head in the mud, and the 
historian would bate not one jot or tittle of that perpendic- 
ular, out of regard to the proprieties or even necessities of 
the story. The Monkey-box mail and other mails brought to 
the Blaine doors the earliest and widest news of the world's 
doings. One of the lad's first literary recollections was of the 
arrival of the English illustrated newspapers, and his father 
reading them aloud and exhibiting their pictures to such as 
gathered to listen, of family and neighbors. Thus he grew 
familiar with much that was interesting the people long be- 
fore he could read it himself, and as his retentive memory 
served him for a somewhat intelligent judgment he became 
actively concerned for the girl-queen of England, and a violent 
Whig partisan at the early age of seven. Perhaps his first 
lesson in French History was given him by his father's French 
gardener, who was setting out strawberry plants, and said to 
the little lad who was watching him : " That is the way the 
king's strawberries are set." "What king?" asked the boy. 
" Louis Philippe." And thus the story became a personal 
association. 

His happy, careless, busy life at Indian hill continued till he 
was nearly ten years of age — - varied by occasional attendance at 
neighboring schools. His first sally into the great world was in 
the winter of 1839 — when, nothing loth, he visited a houseful of 
Gillespie-Ewing cousins in Lancaster, Ohio. Hugh Ewing, who 
was three years his senior, and Thomas, who was about his age, 
grandsons of Eleanor Gillespie, who had married Hugh Boyle, 
were his most intimate friends and companions. They attended 
a private school on Wheeling street at the top of the hill, kept 
by William Lyons, an Englishman, a younger brother of Lord 
Alfred Edward Lyons, who won fame in the Crimean war, 
and an uncle of Lord Lyons, who was British minister at 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 67 

Washington soon after our war of the Rebellion. Mr. Lyon 
numbered among his accomplishments portrait-painting, and, 
after the fashion of England, offered a prize to the most merito- 
rious scholar, which in this case was the portrait of the winner 
painted by Mr. Lyon. Thomas was so inconsiderate of his 
guest as to win the prize from him, and even rejoice over the 
success. His cousin James, however, came in as a handsome 
second. We may afford, perhaps, to turn aside long enough to 
drop a tear over the ignoble fate of the prize. The portrait was 
hung in the proud father's office. When the elder Mr. Ewing 
went to Washington to enter President Harrison's cabinet, the 
office was rented to two dress-makers, and they, heedless of its 
high emprise, used the canvas for a pin-cushion, to its utter ruin 
as a work of art. 

When school was over and summer came on, the boys made 
many visits about the beautiful country surrounding Lancaster 
— - going forty miles south to the home of Mrs. E wing's sister, 
Mrs. Samuel Denraan, a hrst cousin of Mrs. Blaine. Mr. 
Denman was a salt manufacturer on Sunday creek, two miles 
above its mouth. Here the boys 1 club was increased by the ad- 
dition of the two Denman boys, " Hamp " and Matthias, of about 
the same age, and the five had " royal fun " for several weeks 
that summer, blackberrying, swimming in the Hocking river and 
Sunday creek, building salt furnaces and boiling salt, collecting 
from the coal mines impressions of sigillaria and lepidodendra, 
club mosses and tree ferns, in which the roofs of the coal mine 
abounded. 

As the visit in Lancaster drew toward a close in the early fall 
of 1840, it was crowned with a trip to Columbus, thirty miles 
from Lancaster. The father, willing to do the boys a pleasure 
and give them a taste of independence, provided them with his 
carriage and horses and a proper supply of money for a holiday 
excursion. Hugh, being the older and more masterful, was 
given the purse and the reins, with implied general command. 
It was a fresh, cool September morning ; the country was lovely 
and bountiful with ripening harvests, and they set out in higli 
glee. 

At Greencastle, a village eight miles from Lancaster, they 
drove by a street-corner where the Democrats — the Loco 



08 BIOGliAPlir OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Focos, as they were then called — had just erected a pole with 
the Van Buren and Johnson flag floating from it, its top sur- 
mounted by a hickory bush, or brush, signifying that the 
Democrats of the Old Hickory type would prove to the Whigs 
the besom of destruction and sweep them all away. This 
aroused in the small West Brownsville politician a resentment 
which his high spirits and independent position at that moment 
would not allow him to suppress. Several " loafers " were 
standing by. As Hugh drove past, young Blaine stood up, put 
his ringer to his nose, and shook his hand in derision. At 
this Hugh was greatly offended. He told Blaine that every- 
body knew that this was his father's carriage, and that they 
were of his family, and would regard this conduct as person- 
ally insulting. The youngster was in too high spirits to be 
snubbed, and felt that Hugh was taking on airs of superiority 
over a free and independent State. He stoutly maintained his 
right to make the unseemly gesture. Hugh said he must not 
do it again, or he would get into trouble. " I will do it again. 
I will do it when we come back." " If you do, I will put you 
out of the buggy," declared the commander resolutely; and 
they rode on full of fight, but as the danger-point vanished in 
the lengthening distance, full of fun. 

They had a letter of introduction to Col. John Noble, father 
of Hon. John W. Noble, recently Mr. Ewing's successor as 
Secretary of the Interior. Colonel Noble owned the principal 
hotel in Columbus, and he and Mr. Ewing Were .warm friends. 
They were cordially welcomed by Colonel Noble, and informed 
as to all that a party of boys would wish to see and do at 
the capital. They ate the fat and drank the sweets. The}'' 
fished in Alum creek, they swam in ,the Scioto and under- 
went a distressing experience in having their clothing stolen 
and hidden in the bushes while they were in swimming, by a 
couple of young ruffians who made great sport of their trouble, 
but who relented at last and told them where to find the 
clothes. They visited the penitentiary and the asylum, and 
as a special favor were admitted to the yard inclosing the 
State capitol, then being built by convicts. 

They had been in Columbus a week or more, but had not 
exhausted the novelty when their money began to run low 




C^l^L 




BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 69 

and after calculating as well as they could what their hotel 
bill would be, found it very plain that they would have no 
more to spend for ice cream, ginger beer, and other luxuries 
so necessary to an outing. Wherefore, they believed that the 
hand of prudence on the clock of time pointed to the hour for 
departure. Hence, after breakfast one morning, Hugh stepped 
up to Colonel Noble, who sat in the shade in front of his 
hotel, and asked to have the carriage and horses brought. The 
Colonel rang the stable bell and ordered the carriage. Hugh 
then — a little shyly, but proudly, as becomes a man — asked 
for the bill. " Oh, boys," was the unexpected answer, " I won't 
charge you anything, not a cent." This sudden change in 
the situation nearly wrought a panic. A council of war was 
hurriedly summoned in the corner of the piazza, and a unani- 
mous agreement was reached that it would be the height of 
folly and flying in the face of Providence to go home with all 
that money in their pockets, and they accordingly went back 
to Colonel Noble, thanked him, and said they would stay a 
while longer ! This was too much for the polite Colonel's 
gravity, and lie sank back in his chair with unaccountable 
laughter. u Here, John, take back those horses — the young 
gentlemen don't want them ! " And another week of independ- 
ence flew by, till the money was satisfactorily disposed of and 
there was no question of further stay. They therefore bade 
their genial and generous host good-by, and set out for home. 
They were merry, jocose, and noisy till they drove up a hill 
and saw Greencastle and the hickory pole floating the Van 
Buren flag. Then old memories returned. An ominous silence 
fell simultaneously upon the trio. Not a word was said till 
they came to the pole. The hickory brush still swept the sky. 
There was no escape. Three hearts beat high with suspense, 
two with resolution. The horse's head was on line with the 
pole, when a small scapegrace in a flash was on his feet and the 
offensive gesture was in full swing. But in an instant he was 
off his feet, for the equally resolute driver reined in his horse 
so quickly that the offender was nearly thrown over the dash- 
board. He did not wait to be ordered out, but sprang lightly 
and defiantly from the carriage, jumped over a fence into a 
field, and struck out towards Lancaster without a Avord, with- 



70 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

out even so much as looking back. Little Tom, who lived to 
be the historian of the occasion, like most historians was not 
in the fight, held indeed a divided sympathy, but well knew 
that wherever his sympathies might be, his big brother would 
make short work of him if he attempted to put in a word, 
and so wrapped his valor in discretion and silence. They 
watched the withdrawing rebel a moment, till Hugh felt 
assured from the direction taken that he was making for the 
farm of a near relative, Aunt Gillespie, widow of the brilliant 
Uncle John, whose house, though not on the direct road, 
was two miles nearer across lots than Mr. Ewing's. Fearing 
that he might poison Aunt Gillespie's mind arriving thus 
alone and footsore, Hugh, like the wise general he was, deter- 
mined to leave the Lancaster road, and get there first. So 
the small villain was left to his lonely way, poor lamb, with 
his load of guilt, for he must have known he was wholly 
wrong ; and, doubtless, Hugh was not altogether light-hearted, 
though knowing he was wholly right in defending his father's 
dignity, — for the courage of our convictions sometimes fails 
us. 

Of course Hugh made the desired connection. They paid 
their respects to Aunt Gillespie, who bade them be of good 
cheer, while a bountiful luncheon was prepared for boy and 
beast. They had eaten and were full, when, peering about the 
grounds, they soon discerned, to their great joy, a little figure 
striding sturdily across the fields ; whereupon the happy pair 
went out to meet the prodigal, and instantly and amicably 
joined forces, attended him through his belated luncheon, 
visited the cows and pigs and ducks and chickens, the young 
mules and jackasses and calves and colts, in unbroken harmony, 
bade their aunt good-by with the innocence of infancy and 
clear conscience, and made safe port at home in the most 
cordial good-fellowship, without any awkward reference to the 
past, either in conversation with Aunt Gillespie, with the home- 
stayers or each other ! 

The next year Master Thomas returned the visit with his 
father, who was going over the National Road to Washington to 
be Secretary of the Treasury under Harrison. Another happy 
season of study followed, though under a teacher of far less 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 71 

education and culture than Mr. Lyon. The cousins organized 
a debating society among the pupils and other young men of 
the village, and got a good deal of useful practice in debate. 
Two of Mr. Blaine's horses were devoted to their use out of 
school hours, — "dappled-gray and splendid," — -on which they 
scoured the country far and wide. Their longest ride was to 
Washington springs in Virginia. " Uncle Will " was often 
with them, and to their memory no man was ever so adapted 
to going about with boys — escort, comrade, teacher — -as the 
gentle, home and child loving, yet somewhat sad-hearted man, 
while the loving mother, beautiful and kind, found time in the 
midst of all her social, domestic, and religious duties to minister 
to the pleasure of the boys and leave a memory scarcely less 
dear and bright in the heart of her guest than of her son. 

In 1842 the father was elected prothonotary of Washington 
county, an office for which, perhaps, his legal education better 
fitted him than for the business in which he was often tempted 
to engage. Of this office Timothy Pickering, of Washington's 
and Adams's cabinets, when contemplating it in his own inter- 
ests, said: "The Register's and Prothonotary's offices, more 
especially in Pennsylvania, require much law-knowledge and 
the more the incumbent possesses with the more propriety and 
facility he will execute them: More than ever law-knowledge 
in the Prothonotary, will now be useful and important, on 
account of the increased importance of the Court under the 
new constitution." 

When Ephraim Blaine had come down from Sewickley, 
Brownsville was, in modern language, " booming," and he 
lent a quick hand to the boom. In 1830 he became one of 
the corporators for the building of a bridge over the Monon- 
gahela. For twenty years there had been talk of such a bridge, 
but it had proved only talk. Now the amount of traffic and 
travel over the National Road justified the expenditure, and the 
bridge was built, and proved a most profitable investment to 
the stockholders, especially until railroads knocked away the 
profits, if not the props, of both bridge and road. 

The next year, in furtherance of the boom and its profits, 
Mr. Blaine laid out the Indian-hill farm into lots sixty feet wide 
and of varying depth, owing to the abrupt hill-side, from ninety- 



72 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

three to two hundred and seventy feet, — the plot of the town 
of West Brownsville. He also, with the hereditary tendency, 
adventured a partnership in a steam saw-mill, under the title 
of " Crumrine and Blaine,' 1 who were to be equally interested 
owners of the property, which Blaine chiefly furnished and 
Crumrine was to superintend. 

But the boom was slow of development in West Brownsville, 
and had to be patiently nursed, awaited indeed a new " plant " 
of boat-building, while a growing family to be reared and edu- 
cated made it hard to wait. A generous disposition, abounding 
hospitality, expensive tastes without the frugality which natu- 
rally attends the slow accumulation of fortune, had drawn the 
Middlesex estate and the Sewickley estate, and other outlying 
estates, to very tenuous proportions. Handsome, fascinating, 
popular, " always beautifully dressed," says one, " ah ! Mr. 
Blaine was a man of ability. I remember yet his courtly air 
as he came up the street, his bow so elegant and noticeable, 
yet nothing Chesterfieldian about it — but he made the money 
fly ! " There is a report in Washington that when he drove 
over to assume his office, his horses' fore feet were shod 
with silver, which shows the same picturesque imagination in 
interior Pennsylvania as that which flourished in Nero's stables 
and furnished Poppsea's horses with shoes of gold. An in- 
choate museum in Washington still holds the ruins of the 
famous T-cart which the silver-shod steeds, driven tandem, swept 
around her street corners amid much gazing from quiet win- 
dows. Fine stables Mr. Blaine certainly kept, and two of his 
magnificent chestnut sorrels dwell in the memory of men yet 
living — Bolivar and Beaver ; the first named in admiration of 
Simon Bolivar, the South American dictator, the second in 
honor of General Beaver, an old family friend of the Blaines. 
The deeds of derring doe performed with that team still make 
timid blood run cold. 

The grandfather, Neal Gillespie, had his own loves and tastes 
in the matter, of horses, which in the mental lapse of his later 
years took somewhat grotesque forms, — like galloping with 
three horses abreast, or insisting upon sleigh-riding in the sum- 
mer, — yet left a certain set of mental faculties in all their 
pristine keenness. His eccentricities at length so increased that 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 73 

his sons and his son-in-law agreed that a proceeding de lunatico 
inquirendo should be instituted to save the estate from waste. 
His ferries were losing money, and his business in general was 
suffering. The old Anak drew his Irish wits together, defended 
himself in person with great force of argument, humor, and good- 
natured sarcasm. He described his business career and accu- 
mulation of fortune, and admitted that there was plausible 
ground for the inquiry of lunacy because he was permitting his 
large and well-earned fortune to go to the support of those fine- 
gentleman loafers, his sons, and his tandem son-in-law ! The 
court broke up in roars of laughter, in which none joined more 
heartily than father and sons. But the wavering faculties were 
steadied only for the time. 

One of his " chums " was Father Murphy, the Catholic priest, 
who lived over the river, on the top of the high hill in Browns- 
ville adjoining the Catholic church. In those later days his 
feet wandered thither so often as sometimes to interfere with 
priestly duties. On one evening as he climbed the hill, he saw 
the priest's head above the low curtain of the lighted win- 
dow ; but when he reached the house the servant said 
Father Murphy had gone out. " Ah, gone out, has he ? " said 
Mr. Gillespie blandly. " Give my compliments to Father 
Murphy, and tell him the next time he goes out to take his 
d d old bald head with him." 

But Neal Gillespie was lying beside his father and his mother, 
at rest on Indian hill, with his son John at his side, and knew 
nothing of waning means or growing needs. 

When Ephraim Blaine became Whig candidate for prothon- 
otary, the charge was trumped up against him that he was a 
Catholic, to which his marriage into a Catholic family gave 
currency. Straightforward and straightway he went to the 
family priest for a certificate of non-membership. The priest, 
with a gleeful twinkle, wrote him the certificate on the spot : 

" This is to certify that Ephraim L. Blaine is not now and 
never was a member of the Catholic church; and furthermore, 
in my opinion, he is not fit to be a member of any church." 

Mr. Blaine knew his people. He caught up the certificate, 
flung it to the breeze, and rode into office on the crest of the 
laugh, and with the goodwill of both parties. 



74 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

So the household gods were borne to Washington over the 
National Road, only another stage of the old westward journey 
from Donegal. Leaving the Monongahela on the left to find 
or fashion its own way to the Ohio, skirting the lovely 
woods, climbing the green hills, we only see rich, rolling 
green hill-farms to the horizon. With the limitless substratum 
of limestone, the ridges seem fertile as the hollows, and all the 
hollows are ripening to unknown harvests, and all the hills 
dotted with countless sheep ; for when the whiskey rebellion 
foamed and broke against these hills, and the farmers found 
themselves forbidden to profit by their crops of whiskey, they 
wisely turned their attention to wool, and made their country 
famous for its quality and quantity. Up all the way to 
Hillsborough, eighteen feet above sea-level, with a glimpse 
of Laurel Hill, thirty miles distant. On and on, descending 
now to the Gals' house, founded before women had thought 
much about their rights, but when three women, without 
other points in law than possession, took them and their share in 
the National Road's bounty by keeping tavern, and an excellent 
tavern, whose yards were crowded with teams by night, and 
whose tables were crowded with guests by day. Past Eggnogg 
hill, a very mildly suggestive name for this whiskey insurrection 
locality; past coal mines still producing, that were opened 
ninety years ago ; and one sight we see which the boy did 
not — the scaffolding of countless oil-wells bubbling and 
bursting with a wealth undreamed of in his day, although the 
hint was given long before his day; for George Washington 
reported that he saw gas escaping in the Great Kanawha and 
ceded his land for a public curiosity. Unluckily some in- 
formality in the deed of conveyance had balked his pleasant 
purpose, and caused the reversion of the gift to his heirs, but 
nothing balks our increasing conviction that there were few 
things which escaped the eyes of George Washington. Past 
Sam Hughes's station, which so pleased Andrew Jackson that 
he used to stop there over night in preference to the town 
hostelries, till one unlucky day, in a fit of enthusiasm, he 
sent " Sam " to manage the Hermitage, to which he speedily 
showed himself less adapted than to " keeping tavern," and was 
quickly recalled, to the satisfaction of both ; past Pancake, 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 75 

derived by the archaeologist from the tavern's pancakes, whose 
flavor was such that the mouths of the stage-coach passengers 
began to water for them as soon as they left Cumberland, and 
not from the commonplace suggestion that one George Pan- 
cake kept the tavern, — we come to the bright and pleasant 
town which had been Cat Fish, but upon which a great man 
smiled and it became Washington. Here also, as at Browns- 
ville, and even perhaps more, young Blaine had the education 
of the outer world, of a short, but stirring and heroic past 
pictured all around him, and the same vivid and eager contact 
with a thrilling and active present. County and town, the 
first that had been called by that great name, had been Wash- 
ington's own hunting-ground. A part of the very land on 
which Washington College stood had been Washington's 
property, presented to him by Jane Hoge's father, gracefully 
returned by Washington in the shape of a gift to the college 
that bore his name. The very house which was to be for a time 
the boy's college-home had belonged to a James Blaine, of his 
blood. This house, still standing quaint and comely, had also 
been the house of David Bradford, the leader and soul of the 
whiskey insurrection, Deputy Attorney-General of the State. 
Here had been planned that first revolt against the infant 
nation which Washington had come as far as Ephraim Blaine's 
house to put down — the assault and burning of Revenue 
Officer Neville's house, the robbery of the mails, the march on 
Pittsburg. Here, too, it was that the tramp of Light Horse 
Harry's fifteen thousand was heard, and from one of these 
back windows the agile leader leaped to fight another day, 
rushed down the Ohio, down the Mississippi, nor ever stopped 
till he had reached the Spanish settlements and Tom the 
Tinker's house. 

Here, too, the young scholar had opportunity to learn that 
there is another side to all things human. Although the name 
of Washington was a household word to the people, repre- 
senting an actuality, yet thereabout still live men who have a 
personal grievance against Washington. All this region he had 
explored with discerning, prophetic, possessing eyes. By Vir- 
ginia patent for services rendered the colonists, a great tract of 
country had been given to him. This land had been located by 



76 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

his warm personal friend, Captain Crawford, of Fayette county, 
who knew what he was about, and took care that George 
Washington's twenty-eight hundred acres should be worth 
having. But Colonel Croghan, of Fort Pitt, had bought from 
Indians and sold to settlers parts of the same tract of country, 
and some of them had squatted on Washington's lands, along 
Miller's run and Raccoon creek, a few miles away, and when 
he could take breath between battles he came hither to adjust 
a settlement. His diary says naively: "Lodged at a Col. 
Canon's, on Shurtees Creek, a kind, hospitable man, and 
sensible. Sept. 19 Being Sunday, and the people on my lands 
being Cececlers and very religious, it was thought best to 
postpone going among them till to-morrow." Of course, so 
watchful and politic a man was not to be caught in a 
common settler's trap. The law was, as the courts and nature 
had settled it, that the right belonged to the first comers. 
Thus the squatters had to pay him for a quitclaim, and they 
hate him yet! 

Besides its historic interest, Little Washington was swaying 
in the full current of passing political life. Statesmen and 
merchants from the East and West had tarried there on their 
journeys. Jackson and Harrison had gone through on their 
way to their inaugurations ; Polk and Taylor were yet to go 
— probably the last, for the old order changed, giving place 
to new. Stories of them, and of Monroe and John Quincy 
Adams and Lafayette, of Calhoun, Crittenden, Clay and 
Bell, filled the air. At many a dinner-table, in after years, 
the gay old Washington College boys laughed over their 
Tangle wood Tales, and rehearsed how General Taylor, Presi- 
dent-elect, had been driven by Jack Bayless, a Democratic 
coachman, to McDaniels', the Democratic resort, and stayed 
an hour in that sequestered place before his Whig friends dis- 
covered him and rescued him to the banquet of the Mansion 
House, where he felt " only one thing missing, flitch and 
eggs " — how Henry Clay, returning to the stage-coach after din- 
ner, with his wife on his arm, between double lines of waiting 
admirers, to whom he was politely bowing right and left, was 
touched on the shoulder just as he had reached the carriage 
door, by a belated editor, who in a shrill excited voice intro- 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 77 

duced himself as A. B. C, of the " Commonwealth.' ' "I know 
your ' Commonwealth,' " shouted back the irate statesman, in 

the same high pitch, "but I'll be d d if I know who you 

are," — for which he deserved defeat at the polls ; how the 
same statesman, once obliged to stay overnight at the Mansion 
House, fell, like Taylor, a prey to the mischievous Democrats. 
The Whigs, learning of the godsend, gathered in the dining- 
room, which was also a meeting-place of the local Democratic 
club, and invited Clay to address them in the evening, to which 
he gave willing assent. The meeting was held, but after wait- 
ing in vain for the great Kentuckian, they were obliged to 
fall back on commonplace oratory, and the meeting came to an 
untimely and inglorious end. Investigation proved that the 
wicked Democrats, fearing his eloquence, had nocked to his 
room, bolted the door, and engaged him in such friendly 
and nattering debate that he had forgotten all about his 
Whig meeting ; how, one unlucky Sunday when old Father 
McCurdy was to preach in Dr. Jenkins's pulpit, word came 
that General Jackson was coming through and would attend 
church. "What will you do?" asked some of the anxious 
parishioners, who thought no gospel grand enough for grand 
hearers unless it came from Dr. Jenkins's lips. Then 
quietly answered Father McCurdy, " I shall preach to General 
Jackson just as I would to any other sinner," and preached so 
well that the sinner in question went up and shook hands 
with him and thanked him for the discourse. 

So good use did the boy make of his mind that his father 
was able to put him into college when he was little past 
thirteen — younger than any other member. But his mental 
action was quick, and he never lost ground, or suffered from 
imperfect preparation or too great effort to keep in step. Indeed, 
he seemed never to make effort. Work was the natural, easy 
action of his mind and did not fatigue him. 

His college course was apparently one of unalloyed pleasure 
and unbroken success. Three years after its close he wrote: 

" Old Washington is endeared to me by a thousand ties, and 
though I can now look back upon many acts of my College life, 
as strongly marked with folly, they are not on this account re- 
membered with less affectionate regard — not a single one of 



78 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

them would I wish to be blotted out — friendships, enmities, 
follies, disappointments, mortifications and all — a glorious four 
years — such as I shall never see again." 

His college mates unite in representing his scholarship and 
his character in college as unexceptionable. He was not over- 
fond of athletic sports, or of " street fun," or even of the games 
of the campus ; but he took his full share in riding, walking, 
driving, dancing, and is remembered as the best euchre-player 
in college or town. He was joyous, friendly, attractive, 
answering still to General Sherman's picture of " Jim Blaine 
and Tom Ewing," in Lancaster seven years before, u two boys, 
cousins, as bright and handsome as ever were two thoroughbred 
colts in a blue-grass pasture of Kentucky." 

One of his young friends of that early time writes : 

You know, and perhaps he knew, what my feeling toward him was, 
always has been, with no weakening or shadow of turning. He buckled 
one's heart to him "with hooks of steel. 11 I so well remember when and 
where I saw him first. It was when he was in college, in Washington, 
at a gay little picnic. He was the life and the light of the fete, so 
joyous were his spirits, so incessant the play of his wit. 

It seems to me I can see his frank young face, hear his merry laugh, 
at this moment. 

And of about the same time I remember that old Esquire M. admitted 
with some amusement : " Why, that young Blaine pushed me harder in the 
argument than any man I know three times his age ! " 

The young student had the great advantage during nearly 
all his college course of being at home, and in the midst of a 
large circle of his kinsfolk. Hence there was no room for 
homesickness. The grandfather had only lived to hear the 
inarticulate prattle of his namesake and grandson, and then 
the long procession bore him to the house appointed for all 
living, to the succinct record of the grave: "In memory of 
James Blaine Esqr. who departed this life September 6th. in 
the 66th. year of his age A.D. 1832." Two years afterwards 
his daughter Ellen died in the arms of her brother Ephraim, 
and then Margaret Lyon went to the house of her son-in- 
law, to fill her daughter's place in caring for the motherless 
children. There, sweetest of women, she grandmothered her 
oreat brood. On all the youthful tumult her mild eyes looked 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 79 

calmly down, and being " sweet and nice " herself, everything 
around her soothed itself presently to sweetness and peace. As 
no antagonisms ever sprang from her, she was the centre of com- 
fort and cheer, the meeting-place of all interests and dependen- 
cies. There her grandson had the advantage of constant easy 
access to his Uncle Ewing's large family of young people, a 
throng of boys and girls near his own age ; but rushing in to 
his gay young cousins he seldom failed to pass through his 
grandmother's room first, on the way to theirs, to give a cordial 
greeting that gladdened her heart more than he knew. The 
society of his uncle, who served in Congress with Clay, 
Webster, and Calhoun, and served at home, as a lawyer, to 
keep his neighbors away from lawsuits, beneficent, gentle, highly 
educated, and of a most liberal, powerful, and original mind, 
was in itself education. 

His uncle William, who had attended him on his wild-wood 
jaunts, and ministered to the fun he shared, retained his deep 
interest in his nephew, and whenever the youngster and the 
elder met in visits to Indian hill, the uncle would bid him bring- 
out his books and would examine him in his Greek and Latin.. 
"I am rusty," his uncle would admit, "but I should think 
you were doing very well." Many a delightful hour they 
passed together — the dreamy and perhaps somewhat dis- 
appointed uncle, who had not fulfilled the career which his 
friends wished, but who at least knew the happiness of 
following his own heart's leading, and the fresh eager student ; 
and when apart the elder depended much on the younger 
for tidings from the passing world. 

From Greene county, Aug. 29, 1846, he writes to 

Dear James : 

I expected a letter from you, thinking- that among my numerous 
acquaintances you might spin out a long letter which would be interesting 
to me — whilst I in the wilds of Greene could not pen anything to you that 
you would care about, except, perhaps the health of my family ; beginning 
in this wise: "we are all well thanks be to God hoping these few lines 
may find you in the same state of health." . . . Now do you not 
see how much easier it would have been for you to indite a letter than 
for me. Still T must not forget yr. many kindnesses in sending me 
papers, which have served to enliven many a dull hour. You are almost 
the only one that has remembered me at all in that way. Your Pap has 



80 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

occasionally sent me one, but owing I suppose to his want of health, he 
has not thought of me as often as formerly. I have no news worth 
mentioning except the fun I have with the long-faced Democrats 
about the tariff; they have all been obliged to sell their wool at prices 
that did not suit them and I comfort them by telling them that it is good 
for them. Were it not for the fun I have with them I should get the blues 
myself ; but as I am a believer in Ike Mayhorn's philosophy, which teaches 
never to take more trouble on one foot than we can kick off with t'other, 
I bear the evil like a true philosopher. . 

Now don't forget to write and give me all the news particularly about 
your own folks. Give me also all the Washington news — Deaths mar- 
riages all, all — tell me particularly if I. R. be married yet — if not why 
the deuce he is not — Tell me how many graduates you have — how Mr. 
A. M. is — tell me all and T am sure you will have no lack of materials for 
making out a long letter. 

What are your views now on the Trinity — are they as wild and infidel 
like as they were when we conversed upon the subject. With this I will 
send you a paper with the views of three candidates for ordination in the 
Methodist Church on that subject — after you have read it I would like to 
know which of the three you agree with. — When you answer me tell me 
who is your Pastor now, or rather who is Presbyterian Pastor. I suppose 
though whoever he is he occasionally gets astride the old Pope and ham- 
mers away at his seven heads and ten horns (wonder they dont among 
them break some off.) . . . And now dear James I must conclude 

with assurances of my affection. 

Yk. Uncle Will 



He left the college campus thoroughly furnished not only 
with character but with certificates of character from the fac- 
ulty, collectively and separately. From first to last it was a 
trait of his nature to trust nothing to chance or to the inspi- 
ration of the hour, but to go well armored and well armed. 
The groundwork of his inspiration was preparation. 



Mr. James G. Blaine having gone through a regular & full course in 
Washington College Penn a . was graduated Sept 1 , 29 th , 1847. During the 
whole period of his connexion with College he maintained the character of 
a very punctual, orderry, diligent, & successful student. His demeanor 
was always respectful, & becoming a gentleman. When graduated, to him 
with two others was awarded the first Honor of a large, & respectable 
class of thirty-three. He is of one of the most respectable families of 
Washington County; & by propriety of conduct, polite & pleasing man- 
ners will entitle himself to a place in the best society. If he should be- 
come an Instructor in a High School, Academy, or College, his talents, 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 81 

literary acquirements, dignity, decision, fidelity, & prudence will not fail 
to merit the confidence, & approbation of those who may obtain his 
services. 

October l 8t . 1847. 

David M. Conaughy President of 

Washington College Penm. 
W. P. Aldrich, Prof. Math, et 

Chem. et c . 
Richard H. Lee Prof r , BLP 
Nich s . Murray Prof, of Lang 
Robt. Milligan Prof , Eng Lit 



It is noticeable that each of the professors specialized the 
proficiency of his pupil in his own department. The professor 
of languages considered it " due to you as matter of private 
friendship that I should add my individual testimony to that 
which I have united with my colleagues in bearing to your 
worth as a man, your diligence as a student, and your attain- 
ments as a scholar. Permit me to say, sir, that during your 
long connection with the college your conduct has been such as 
greatly to endear you to those of us who have known you best. 
You indeed are one of the few who have passed through their 
collegiate course without a fault or a stain. 

" Of your qualifications for teaching, so far as these depend 
upon character and scholarship, I may speak with the highest 
confidence. Your knowledge of the languages especially, being 
critical beyond what is often attained at college, fits you in a 
special manner for the office of instructor in this department. 

" In a word, sir, I feel assured that those who may be so fort- 
unate as to secure your services in this capacity will, when you 
become known to them as you are known to us, be satisfied that 
no recommendation of ours has been in the least exaggerated." 

The professor of mathematics thought it " but justice to him 
to say that in my department Mr. Blaine specially excels. 
From the commencement of his course in mathematical studies 
lie manifested a peculiar fondness for them ; his recitations 
gave evidence of thorough investigation, and his demonstrations 
were characterized by clearness, accuracy, and precision. The 
same is true of the kindred branches, as natural philosophy, 
astronomy, etc., yet his taste for the exact sciences seems to 



82 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

indicate that in that department he would secure enjoyment 
with success." 

The professor of English literature praised his " Latin and 
Greek classics, and the various branches of mathematics, but 
particularly his sound and thorough English education," while 
he specially commended Mr. Blaine to his personal friends as 
" a young man of superior talents, of good moral and indus- 
trious habits, of many personal virtues, of a liberal, generous, 
and amiable disposition, and of one of the most respectable 
families of Western Pennsylvania," and assured them that he 
" should be much disappointed if he does not prove himself 
entirely worthy of their confidence." 

His attachment to the college and community of Washington 
was deep and lasting. He ever counted the circumstances of 
his college days as among the fortunate events of his life. 
Nearly a quarter of a century after he had left them, he noted 
his peculiar gratification at words of remembrance and regard 
"from those who knew me in my youth, and to whom I am 
allied for more than one generation by ties of blood, affinity, 
and friendship. I have the warmest attachment to Washington 
and all its surroundings. To the good old college I owe a debt 
of gratitude which I can never repay." 

After the death of his uncle, John Hoge Ewing, at the age 
of ninety years, Mr. Blaine wrote from Hamburg, Germany, to 
Mr. Ewing's daughter : 

Sept. 6, 87. 

Notwithstanding his weight of years, and the gradual failure which 
betokened the end, the death of Uncle was a great grief, I might well say 
a great shock to me. For nearly fifty years, ever since I measured human 
character and felt the warmth of human affection, ever since as a boy he 
noticed me so kindly, he has been an example to me of lofty character. 
No better or nobler man ever lived. I can even now feel the thrill of 
pleasure I felt when at the closing examinations of my first year in college 
he spoke to me so approvingly and so encouragingly of the examination 
I passed and of my conduct for the year. From that hour, though often 
separated for years, we were even more than relatives, we ivere friends 
in the highest, broadest, best sense. 

To all the loving circle in which he was the centre and the light and 
the life, my most affectionate sympathy goes out in full measure ; indeed, 
I hope I may count myself, in a peculiar sense, a member of that circle. 
Aside from my own immediate family, my deepest love goes out to my 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 88 

Ewing cousins. Even if this were not so from nay own impulse, and from 
my own heart, it would flow out naturally from the great love my dear 
Mother bore to all of you, and the love you bore to her. 

Those early days when we were all young together (in a circle of 
kinship that was inspired by the most unselfish love), come back to me 
freshly and vividly in this foreign land and blind my eyes with tears as I 
write. God bless you all and sustain you all. The wife who is widowed, 
the children who have lost the best of fathers, are all in my mind and in 
my heart, and I can only say again to all, God have you in his keeping. 
Affectionately and devotedly, 

Your cousin, 

JAMES G. BLAINE. 



$4 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



VI. 

FINDING THE ROAD. 

r I \HE seven years after leaving college were as truly a time 
-*- of preparation as the preceding years had been. Mr. 
Blaine's experience in the Military Institute of Kentucky and 
in the school for the blind at Philadelphia, riveting and in- 
creasing his knowledge of books and compelling close study of 
human nature in its most pathetic as well as its most stirring 
phases ; his reading of law with the view of adopting it as a 
profession ; his personal investigation of business methods, re- 
quirements, and successes in the South, with the same practical 
purpose ; his marriage, which led him to New England and 
ultimately to his permanent establishment there ; the premature 
death of his father and brother, intensifying his sense of respon- 
sibility as an elder son and brother, — all had their specific and 
important part in fitting him for and impelling him towards the 
work of his life. 

He had earnestly desired to take a two years' supplementary 
course at Yale College, but finding it impracticable he struck 
out into the world at once by way of Kentucky. His first ex- 
perience was the unheroic one of deathly homesickness. Forty 
years afterwards he wrote of this time to Mrs. Jane W. McKee, 
Allegheny Arsenal, Pittsburg : - . 

Paris, Oct. 11, /87. 
My dear Mrs. McKee : 

On the 28th of this month it will be forty years since on one half-rainy 
Sunday morning in Lexington I entered your house for the first time. 
The welcome you gave me, the cordiality with which you received me, 
made an indelible and most grateful impression on my mind. Every in- 
cident connected with that day comes to me afresh as I sit down to write. 
How you sent William to Child's Hotel for my trunk, and how my home- 
sickness which had made me so miserable for ten days was changed to 
the joy of the fireside and the delightful sensation of being with people 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 85 

who, if not akin, were connected in sympathy through common ties with 
the Reed family, all whose members were elaborately discussed on that 
blessed Sunday. I fell to thinking of all those things to-day, and I could 
not help writing to repeat my gratitude to you and to renew the expression 
of an affection which has followed you with tender recollection through 
this long period. The very small things which now and then I have been 
able to do for you seem so inadequate a return for all you did for me. 
Miss M. was on that Sunday morning of October, 1847, a connecting link, 
for I had met her more than once at Aunt Reed's, but I had not learned to 
have the affection which I soon acquired for her as your sister. I cannot 
realize I was then four months short of being eighteen years of age, and 
that through all these forty } r ears of " storm and sunshine," little as I have 
seen of you, my memory of you has been so vivid. . . . Give my sincerest 
regards to your good son and my good friend. 

To his college friend " Countee," Mr. James Murray Clark, 
he frankly owned: 

A thousand times have I regretted that I left Pennsylvania, but since I 
have left resolved to rely for a year or two upon my own exertions, I feel 
a pride within me too strong to allow me to return home. 

In 1869 he wrote to a friend : 

"The day is dark and gloomy, unsettled and uncertain like the chang- 
ing destinies of human and of national life." Now who said that ? With 
all your learning and reading you cannot tell, so let me instruct you ! 

Many years ago, — to wit, on the 13th day of November, A.D. 1847, — 
Henry Clay spoke in the great public market-house in Lexington, Ky., on 
the subject of the Mexican war, which was " flagrant," if not "fragrant," 
and the words I have quoted were the very first utterances of his majestic 
lips. Among the crowd, close up to the great commoner, "might have 
been seen" a stray and eager youth with note-book and pencil in hand, 
ready to report the words of the Whig oracle, and they were taken down 
by .this youth of seventeen green summers and carefully preserved ever 
since. From Lexington he went to Louisville, thence to Maysville, thence 
to Cincinnati, and the morning he left the last-named place, December 4, 
he heard that Robert C. Winthrop was just elected speaker of the United 
States House of Representatives. He immediately notified his friends that 
he was a candidate for the succession, and in the incredibly brief space of 
twenty-two years he attained the place — a remarkable instance of faith, 
patience, and despatch harmoniously combined. But I do not mean to 
imply that there is any immediate, or palpable, or recognizable connec- 
tion between the rainy Sunday of Lexington in November, 1847, and my 
election to the speakership in 18G'J. 



86 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

To Mr. J. M. Clark, Dec. 2, 1847 : 

I have procured a situation as assistant teacher of languages in the 
Western Military Institute located at Georgetown, Scott county, about 
twelve miles from Lexington. It is an institution of some celebrity in 
this State ; has about one hundred and fifty students and a faculty of seven 
professors ; is pretty much on the same plan as West Point, or probably 
more like the Virginia Military Institute. They attend to the military 
training of the students some hours every day. Their course in college 
studies is a good deal like Washington, except that they have a far more 
extensive course of mathematics, embracing the whole course at West 
Point. The students wear a beautiful uniform, and go through a regular 
drill every day in the college grounds. Georgetown is the county seat of 
Scott county (one of the richest in the State, joins Fayette and Bourbon) 
and contains fifteen hundred or eighteen hundred inhabitants — about as 
large as Washington. My situation will be a very pleasant one, I expect, 
though I cannot say for certain until I try it ; I will not commence my 
duties until the 8th of January. The session will end the 4th of July, 
and then will there be a vacation of six or eight weeks, so that I shall 
not be in Pennsylvania before that time, and very probably not even then 
if I like the situation and they like me. I shall stay there for some time, 
at least until I think of entering upon the study of a profession, which 
will not be for two or three years yet anyhow. The way in which I 
happened to get the situation was accidental. I heard of it when I was 
up in Lexington — just got into a buggy and drove down one morning, 
and they told me they would give me an answer in a day or two, and the 
very next day I received a letter stating that I could have the situation 
if I chose. I immediately accepted it, and am now only waiting until 
the next session opens. I will have to teach the preparatory course in 
Latin and Greek, and have a class in Davis's Elementary Algebra, so 
you see my situation will be a very pleasant one as regards the branches 
I have to teach ; what it will be in other respects I cannot of course say 
until I try it awhile. It is at least something to be a teacher in a corpo- 
rate college. ... I will send you a copy of the regulations after I get 
there. I shall go up in two or three y weeks. I will give you due notice 
of my removal before I start. I may not be in Pennsylvania again for 
some time, and although I would greatly prefer being there, yet, when I 
see it so obviously to my interest to remain in Kentucky, I endeavor to 
reconcile myself to it. I shall stay for a year or two, at least, as I said. 
Three of the professors in this institute are graduates of West Point, and 
one of them is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. It is intended 
to be the military school of- Kentucky. There is a female seminary in the 
same town pretty near as large as Miss Foster's — quite a literary place, 
you will perceive. Old Dick Johnson lives within a few miles of the 
place ; he has a brother living in the town, and the superintendent of 
the institute is a cousin of his : his name is T. F. Johnson —rather a John- 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 87 

sonian settlement. There are more great men live in that vicinity than 
anywhere else in the United States embracing the same space ; for instance 
at Lexington, only twelve miles distant, there is H. Clay, Bob Wickliffe, 
General Coombs, and a host of others. Then at Frankfort, but twenty 
miles distant, there is Jno. J. Crittenden, Governor Letcher, and numerous 
others too tedious to mention, and as I said before old Dick within a few 
miles of the place ; so I will be perfectly surrounded by great men. 
When I commenced writing I thought I could say all I had to in two 
sheets, but find myself here on the third and not more than half through. 

I mentioned in a former page that I would give you an account of my 
pecuniary circumstances. Whatever are my father's are of course mine. 
The state of his affairs is simply this — a few years ago he became very 
much involved in consequence of having foolishly endorsed for men who 
deceived him. ... He has now worked pretty well through his diffi- 
culties. . . . The family have a sufficiency. It is pap's great desire to 
see all his children established in some kind of business before his death, 
and it is his wish that I should study a profession, either law or medi- 
cine. It was altogether my own doings that I came away from home, 
and I believe it was for my good that I have done it. Whenever I choose 
however to return, father is ready and willing to render me all the aid in 
his power. He says that he has now done as much as he is able for the 
older ones, and they must henceforth depend on themselves. " They 
have a better start than many a young man, and if they are only indus- 
trious and economical they will succeed." Well, by the time I study a 
profession, if I conclude to do so, I shall have pretty near my share of the 
property, and the rest should be appropriated to educating the younger 
children. You will at once see,, then, that although not actually poverty- 
stricken, I am far from being in good circumstances, for after I study a 
profession I will not have much more than will buy me a library. . . 
Oh, how I would like to be back at Mrs. Acheson's. 

You must be sure to give my respects to H., for as you say I do like 
him. I cannot tell the reason, but I formed a very strong attachment for 
him when I was at the American with him last summer. I considered him 
one of the best-hearted fellows I ever knew, and shall always cherish a 
high regard for him. Remember me very particularly to Esquire M., for 
a better fellow never lived. He is as honest and true as steel ; a clever, 
whole-souled fellow. I had not heard of the death of M. Poor fellow, I 
pity him, as well as all those who have shed their blood and lost their lives 
to so poor a purpose and in such a poor cause. You may think these 
reflections ill-timed and ill-placed, but they are nevertheless true. We can 
but shed a tear over the fate of those who have so fallen. 

I saw a "Reporter" containing those resolutions relative to the death of 
Robinson, and although your name is in the Corner, I will do you the 
justice to suppose you had no hand in writing them. I think they might 
as Avell have a stereotyped edition struck off with blanks left for the 
name of the decedent — it would save them a great deal of trouble, they 
would not have to tax their memories so severely to remember the last 



88 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

form. I well remember the little incident relative to the album of Miss M. 
— the words you did not have exactly ; they were : 

"Reminiscitor me cum absum longe — Remember me when far away. 
In medio erro inconsiderati mundi — Amid a thoughtless world I stray." 

You left out the word " erro, 11 a typographical " error," I presume. 
That summer of the " Ball Alley," etc., is full of pleasing little occur- 
rences over which I love to sit and think by the hour. It was one of my 
most pleasant sessions at college, and I remember every little thing from 
the willow tree to the great Whig meeting the 5th September. That 
was the day I believe on which we first wore the striped velvet vests with 
the red buttons — do you remember them ? and do you remember Patter- 
son on the Catholic question? how he used to talk about Anthony Rentz, 
etc. ? — it is needless to enumerate — there are a thousand incidents of that 
summer which time can never efface. . . . This State is just crammed 
full of teachers, and there are a good many from Washington and Jefferson. 

A. M. is out here looking for a situation. I have not seen him though. 
I saw his advertisement in one of the Lexington papers a few days since — 
he is there still, I believe, staying with Bascom, the great Methodist 
preacher. I think he will find it somewhat more difficult to get a situation 
than he anticipates ; a great many are sorely disappointed in these expecta- 
tions — itfs very easy talking about these " big situations in Kentucky," but 
when you come to look for them you will find yourself mistaken. When 
I leave my present situation I don^ think I shall ever look for another, but 
I shall return to old Pennsylvania. The longer I am away the more I feel 
attached to her — her very name possesses a charm. As strong a Pennsyl- 
vanian as you already are, you are not as much attached to her as you 
would be if you were to leave her for a few months — depriving you of a 
pleasure teaches you better how to appreciate it. I can never nor shall I' 
ever be anything else in feeling than a Pennsylvanian, though probably 
circumstances may render it manifestly more advantageous for me to set- 
tle elsewhere ; yet I still cherish the fond hope that I shall ultimately land 
there. . . . 

My room-mate, Forbes, who is professor of mathematics in the institute, 
was formerly (I believe up to last July) in the same station at the Virginia 
Military Institute. . . . R. is better at acting the " Czar of Russia" and 
having you for chief " courtier," and drinking Jim Dennison^ hot whiskey 
punch. Do you mind that awful cold night that we went to Caldwell ; Mayor 

Johnson was in his shirt-sleeves and I lost my old cap that was so h ugly ? 

Many a time will those old scenes recur to my mind. I can sit and think of 
them by the hour — ''tis then that I long to be in old Pennsylvania. In your 
predictions as to the candidates for the presidency, I think you are wrong — 
at least as to the Whig candidate. Maz. is rather below par — that " secret 
circular" injured him considerably. Taylor stock has been rising very 
rapidly in the market since the old general returned to the United States. 
For a few weeks previous to that it had been going down, " but it is suffi- 
ciently evident to the most superficial observer " that a strong reaction has 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 89 

taken place and he now stands forth preeminently conspicuous as "'the 
man of the times.' 1 I have no doubt now but that he will be the Whig can- 
didate ; even if he is not he can run as an Independent, and such is the 
wild enthusiasm of the American people for a military hero that he will 
run ahead of anything that either party can bring out. As to the Demo- 
cratic candidate, I hardly know what to think, though I can scarcely believe 
that Buchanan will be the man. Your party will have great difficulty I 
apprehend in settling on a man. You have so many men that have strong 
claims that it will be no easy matter to make a nomination, and if Taylor 
is nominated by the Whig party it will be very little odds who you nomi- 
nate, for he will run ahead of the devil himself. For my part I would 
rather see James Buchanan president than General Taylor, if he had not 
had so large a fist in the affairs of the present administration. That will 
ruin him — he can't run now (remember, this is my humble opinion just 
to you). Calhoun's late speech will go very hard with President Polk & 
Co. He uses them up completely about that "vigorous prosecution of the 
war " that the President has always talked so much about and especially in 
his late message. I think he establishes beyond the shadow of a doubt 
that taking a defensive line is the true polic} T for our government to pur- 
sue. You have of course read the speech and formed your opinion of its 
merits and demerits. My opinion is that it is one of the most argumenta- 
tive speeches I ever read, which every man ought carefully to peruse 
before saying a word against a " defensive line ; " if you have not read it, 
do so immediately. But enough of politics. I would not have written so 
much about this subject only that you and I always took a great interest in 
such matters, and I thought a small touch would, not be amiss. In conclu- 
sion, I would just say that I would, like to see both candidates selected from 
among the citizens. I don't like these military presidents that " go in" on 
account of their " gunpowder popularity." I reckon I must not pursue 
this point further, or I will get you raised about " Old Hickory." Peace to 
his ashes — he was a great man, but entirely too rash. " Sed de mortuis 
nil nisi bonum." I heard Doctor Breckenridge preach this morning — he 
came down from Lexington to assist the preacher here in the communion 
service — he preached a most splendid sermon. I could not help thinking 
all the time that I was listening to a Pennsylvanian. I thought of the 
night that he recommended you and Nilsy to wash your faces — that same 
night that you stole one of the pillows off of Briceland's sofa and hung it 
upon Creigh's awning-post — do you remember that memorable night? 
My room-mate is a Loco-foco, we have it hot and heavy every day or 
two — he's too many for me occasionally — he would suit you exactly — 
he's a real Jos. K. Polk man. I may probably see Albert Graham some of 
these days in Lexington, as that is the great central point for this part of 
the world. 



To his college-mate, Mr. Thomas B. Searight, historian <>l 
the National Roarl : 



90 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

W.M.I. , Jan. 14, 1848. 
My dear Tom : 

Your d d mean; trifling, low-lived, half-written, one-paged affair 

(which might by some be called a letter, though improperly) reached me' 
a few evenings since. It made me mad for a few minutes, I assure you. 
Why couldn't you have written me a decent letter while you were at it, 
even if I were one in your debt ! . . . I see that J. has been elected 
to the United States Senate, a poor selection in my opinion. Why, don't 
you remember his long, dry, uninteresting address delivered to the alumni 

two years since ? and which by the way (your favorite) pronounced 

the best he had ever heard, and for no other reason, I presume, than that 

he did not understand a word of it. Edgar Cowan beat him all to h 1 

the very next day in his address to the societies. I think the Whigs would 
have showed more sense in selecting McKennan, Walter Foruard, Jos. R. 
Chandler, or indeed fifty other men in preference, but the Whigs are a 
fated party in Pennsylvania, and I think old Geo. Dawson's remark a very 
good one, and I heard Watson of Washington make a very sensible re- 
mark also, that the ''Whigs never could retain power in that State, and 
they would always run themselves out in three years." And they have 
let the Democrats elect the speaker. The natives do not always work with 
Whigs, it appears. Is not that speaker the same man that your father 
told Billy Roberts was too much of a Packer man ? Thus, then, by mis- 
management we will lose our power in the old Keystone, and the next 
governor will be a Democrat. 

As I have to go out of town to-day to visit a country friend I will not 
finish my letter until to-morrow. 

I have just returned from the country (and just by way of parenthesis I 
will tell you that I have had a most delightful visit and that Kentucky is 
the place to have such) . 

We resumed school last Monday, January 8 (an anniversary which you 
venerate on account of the immortal Jackson). We had a vacation of 
three weeks, which I spent at Lexington and Frankfort. It is very lively 
at Frankfort just now, as the Legislature is in session. 

They elect a United States Senator on the 1st February, and there is a 
good deal of excitement about who it shall be. It will, I think, be either 
Ex-Governor Letcher or Judge Robertson of Lexington. It lies between 
them at present ; however, one may withdraw before election day. They 
are brothers-in-law and it will not look very well to run against each other 
— politics divide many a family, though. 

They have a convention next summer to amend the constitution of this 
State. The all-absorbing question is that of slavery — whether it shall be 
continued or abolished. The papers have all taken sides, and some of 
them seem to be rabid Abolitionists — others again are ultra-slavery in 
their views — a third class and I think far the largest and most respectable 
are for a system of gradual emancipation, and this I think will be the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 91 

course pursued. Kentucky has been ruined by slavery — her soil and cli- 
mate won't admit of it — she is too far north. 

The convention will be composed of men of both parties of the first 
order of talent, and the affair will be fully and freely discussed. I wish I 
had you out here awhile with me. I know you would like the country and 
the people so much. Scott county would just suit you, for it is a strong 
Democratic region, although it gave a small majority for Taylor — this 
was the first time it ever gave a Whig majority. Polk beat Clay in it. 

Are not the Ohio Legislature playing well ? That is a burning shame on 
the Democratic party. It is the most ultra State in the Union on all ques- 
tions. It is always in one extreme or another. I wish they would turn 
right into it and have a civil war. I presume you were much pleased with 
Mr. Polk's message. I think it a very able document, but tinctured entirely 
too strongly with party politics instead of national affairs. It is a labored 
defence of his administration and his different cabinet officers. 

Walker's report of the Treasury is a masterly paper, and so is Johnson's 
post-oflice report. I read them both with great interest. 

What do you do to amuse yourself away out in the country — jon have 
no companions, and I don't see how you get along. Do you ever have a 
game of poker nowadays ? We play draw poker here altogether and I 
don't like it half as well as the regular old game we used to play at Wash- 
ington. M. and R. L. could have their ravenous appetites satisfied if they 
would come out here. 

Poor W. — he fought without knowing what the dispute between the two 
countries was about. It didn't matter much to him whether the Rio Grande 
or the Xeuces was the boundary. . . . 

Accept my thanks for the "Examiner" containing an account of the 
funeral ceremonies of Lieut. Irons. It must have been an imposing affair. 
Dr. King's oration I consider neat and apt. He did not say enough about 
Phillips — that is the only objection I could possibly find to it. Saml. A. 
Gilmore, Esq., of Butler, is to be Judge Ewing's successor. I suppose he is 
an able jurist from what I have seen in the " Examiner." I think it is decid- 
edly better that the judge should be from some other district. He is then 
free from any personal feelings pro or con, and is entirely untrammelled, 
and that is what a man can rarely ever be in his own neighborhood. I sup- 
pose if the appointment had been made in the district, some of the Union - 
town lawyers would have got it since the death of Cleavenger, or would 
your brother-in-law have stood a chance ? No doubt you would have used 
all your influence to further his interests. By the way, that reminds me of 
what you were telling me about you and the Count studying law with him. 
Do you intend to stick to it, or is it just one of the freaks of your imagi- 
nation, which you will discard as soon as the novelty wears off? I advise 
you to hold fast, and study with him until you are admitted. It is all you 
are fit for. Suppose you and the Count remain in W. after you graduate, 
and T will come there too, and we will all three go into it together, and be 
admitted at the same time. I tell you the legal profession would be benefited 



92 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

no little by the addition of three such promising young men as Messrs. 
Searight, Clark, and Blaine. Now I do not intend this all as a joke. I 
am in good earnest about studying law, and I know no place that I would 
rather do it in than Washington. The only difficulty I have is in making 
up my mind as to the time I shall commence. I could study here if I 
chose, as there is a law school connected with the institute, and my duties 
Avill allow me time to study. Accompanying this letter you will receive a 
copy of our catalogue and regulations, from which you will get a better 
idea of the W.M.I, than I could give you by writing for a month. You 
will see that they say I graduated No. 1 in a class of thirty-three. This 
was inserted without my knowledge ; if I had known it was going to be 
put in, I would have objected to it, for in fact it is not strictly true. I no 
more graduated No. 1 than did Tom Porter, or John Hervey, nor did they 
any more than I, so that in that sense I might be said to have graduated 
No. 1, for nobody was above me. But this is not to the point: I was 
speaking about how it came there. Mr. McKennan gave me some letters 
of introduction to gentlemen in this part of the country, in which he said 
as a recommendation that I had graduated No. 1. Johnson saw some of 
these letters, and that accounts for its being in the catalogue. I was ab- 
sent at Frankfort and Lexington the week it was made out and sent to Cin- 
cinnati for publication, and never saw it until the catalogues were printed 
and circulated. I have been thus tedious in my explanation of this matter, 
because I did not wish you to think that I was fool enough to have such a 
thing printed concerning myself. My class-mates who may happen to see 
it will think that I am taking a great stiff out here in Kentucky, just 
because I happened to get a share of the first honor. When you hear any 
remarks of this kind made I wish you to give the explanation which I 
have given to you. The Count mentions that he received a catalogue from 
me. I have not the slightest recollection of ever having sent him one ; if 
I ever did it was when I was asleep, for I determined long ago not to send 
one to Washington without preceding it with this explanation. 

We have some of the prettiest girls about here that ever lived in the 
world. They beat the Washington girls all hollow, one always excepted. 
I am in love with about a half dozen, and the only difficulty I have is to decide 
between them, and it is no easy matter, I assure you. Since I wrote to you last 
I have entered upon my duties, and like teaching very well indeed. I am 
at present hearing a class in algebra, one in geometry, one in Virgil, one 
in Caesar, and one in the Greek reader, so that I have them from qui, quae, 
quod up to triangles, circles, and squares. It keeps me right busy review- 
ing, for I always look at the lesson before going into the section room, — 
that is the military term for recitation room, — and each class is divided 
into sections, varying in number according to the size of the class. This 
afternoon (Friday) I have nothing at all to do. The sections are under 
the professor of composition and declamation. To-morrow I am going to 
Lexington, and will mail this letter there, as you will get it a day sooner 
in that way. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 93 

W.M.I., Georgetown, Ky,, Oct. 25, /48. 
Dear Tom : 

And you have graduated and left old Washington, no longer a student, 
but out fully in the world as a man. Well, Tom, it is not the thing it is 
cracked up to be. Give me a student's careless life — nothing to think 
about except to-morrow morning's lesson, and if he can only get through 
that feels perfectly happy. Oh, how you will think over these things 
before you are a year older. At present you do not, for I know you are 
all excitement in regard to the coming election, and cannot take time to 
think of anything else. But if I were you I would not rack my system 
about it. You are bound to be defeated, and that, too, most shamefully. 
Are you not perfectly aghast at the late result ? Pennsylvania elect a 
Whig governor ! The most astonishing thing I ever heard of. I do not 
think the most sanguine Whig ever dreamed of such a thing. It must be 
confessed we have not done so well in Ohio as we wished, but then you 
must remember that there existed a good many elements of discord among 
the Whigs, which can all be smoothed over before the 7th of November. 
Besides, Weller got the Free-soil vote, which will all be cast for Van 
Buren, thereby securing Taylor a plurality. But to tell the truth, I am 
very much afraid we will lose Ohio, but then Pennsylvania will more than 
make up. I have bet about sixty dollars on the election ; about half of it 
on Taylor's carrying Pennsylvania. Do you think 111 win ? Your 

" Pard 11 is elected by one vote, I see. He'll go to h this winter certain, 

and drink himself to death. I should like well to see you just about this, 
time to plague you about Pennsylvania. ... I had a delightful trip 
down the river with the Misses B. I went on to Cincinnati with them and 
stayed a day there. I received a letter from them a few days since con- 
taining very handsome presents in the way of bookmarks — rewards for 
my gallantry ! They are in Memphis. A. is a splendid woman. I had a 
blue day when I left Wheeling, going away from home and parting from 
you, but towards evening I felt better. The girls were so lively and the 
weather so pleasant that I could not help regaining my spirits. 

I am surprised to hear that Henry Clay's speech does not take in Penn- 
sylvania; it was made just for the purpose of conciliating the furor of 

the North, but I am afraid it is going to play the d 1 in the South ; it is 

tinctured too much with "Abolitionism " to go down well there. Henry 
has made another mistake which will be apt to defeat him again. You 
have no idea how his friends here are manoeuveringfor his renomination. 
This State will be very nearly balanced between him and Taylor when 
they hold their convention at Frankfort in February. Some of the Demo- 
cratic papers of this State have Gen. Wm. O. Butler up for the presidency. 
If he should happen to be nominated by your party it would be with groat 
difficulty that the Whigs could carry the State, even with Clay as I he 
nominee, and I have heard intelligent and leading Whigs say that they 
would vote for him, and that they believed ho could outrun any man of 
either party, f hope they won't nominate him, for if they do the NV r higs 



94 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

will be a used-up community again. You remember what a hard chase he 
gave Ousley for governor in 1844. If you nominate Cass, Buchanan, Van 
Buren, or any of those men, I think the Whigs stand a very good chance. 

I have read President Polk's message very attentively and consider it 
upon the whole a very clever document. Upon the important measures 
and suggestions contained in it I will not pretend to decide, be they poli- 
tic or impolitic ; let wiser and more experienced heads than mine do that ; 
I forbear expressing my individual opinion, as it would only raise a dis- 
pute between us. I will say this much, however, in compliment to Mr. 
Polk — he is and has been manly, honorable, and consistent in his course 
in regard to the " war. 11 But whether he is right in that course is another 
and a different question. 

We had " the message " here the day after it was delivered, telegraphed 
to Cincinnati. 

The great "Tom Marshall" made one of his very finest speeches in 
this place about a week ago. He is warm for Cass and Butler. It was 
about the finest political speech I ever listened to. He did give the Whigs 

h I assure you. I felt cheap myself in some parts of his speech, but it 

is all to no purpose ; can't beat old Zack — we can elect him if Ave can't 
Clay. The longer I live in Kentucky the better I like it. I wish you 
were here awhile with me. I know, with all your attachment to the 
old Keystone (which I so much admire in you), that you would §&y old 
Kentuck is hard to beat. 

We had a great time in our school on the 5th of this month ! — the anni- 
versary of the battle of the Thames. We had a review of the cadets by 
old Dick Johnson, assisted by Colonel Thompson, Fourth Regiment Ken- 
tucky Volunteers, General Pratt, and Games and Harmon (two Buena 
Vista heroes) as aids. It was an imposing sight I assure you, and at the 
same time rather ludicrous. Old Dick is one of the plainest-looking old 
chaps you ever saw. He would suit Plumpsock admirably ; he is the most 
radical Democrat in the Union ; he did not look the least military. All the 
rest were in full dress and looked splendidly. I wish you could have been 
here. Just come to Lexington and you'll see the prettiest piece of God's 
handiwork. 

I send you a little piece of Horace Greeley's wit in the political line. 
You must acknowledge it is pretty good, although it does hit you Loco- 
focos hard. Write soon after the presidential election and you will have 
the pleasure of recording a glorious Whig victory. 

From J. N. McKee, Lexington: 

I was in such great consternation the day you passed through that I 
entirely forgot a commission I wanted you to execute for me in Pennsyl- 
vania. You are doubtless aware that our wheat crop has failed. Conse- 
quently flour will be inferior, scarce, and dear. Colin Wilson would tell 
you if you were talking to him that we never had any fit to eat, but you 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 95 

know to the contrary, that you have eaten good bread made out of Kentucky 
wheat. As good flour as I ever saw has been made out of wheat grown 
in Ganara. . . . Now for the commission itself. Invest the amount 
enclosed in flour. I dare say your father will be a first-rate judge of the 
article, and Brownsville will be a convenient point to ship from — more so 
than Washington — as the river is exceedingly low. I presume freight 
will be high. By the time you are ready to leave, the water will perhaps 
be up. 

I hope you may be able to get a good situation on the road next spring. 

To Mr. T. B. Searight: 

April 8, 1849. 

God only knows when I'll get away from here. . . . Directly after 
the organization of the new Cabinet, I thought of applying for a clerkship 
in the Home Department, as Ewing (who presides over that branch of the 
Cabinet) is a relative of mine. Subsequent events have determined me to 
withdraw my application and now I am not in the ring at all. 1 

I do not think this is to be at all regretted, as very probably a resi- 
dence of four years at Washington would prove anything else than ad- 
vantageous to me. I would not expect to make any money, and I might 
contract habits ruinous to my future prospects. Nevertheless I must con- 
fess that it would be quite charming to be in Washington and see how the 
wheels of government revolve and how the wires are pulled. . . . 
Although there have been few removals made, you Democrats need not 
flatter yourselves that this administration is going to play the " betwixt and 
between' 1 '' — pursue a temporizing policy. You will find that about June 
and July and along there the heads will begin to come off pretty rapidly. 
I am looking for and hoping for a General Decapitation. I have had some 
advices from headquarters, and this opinion is formed from them. 

This State is at present all agitation on the subject of the convention 
which assembles next winter to remodel the constitution. Slavery is the 
great question. You have no doubt seen Mr. Clay's letter. He is strong 
for emancipation and colonization, but he has many bitter and able oppo- 
nents to encounter, and the day has long since gone by when Henry Clay's 
will was law in Kentucky. This county (Scott) will be apt to send one of 
the most able men in the State as her delegate — Jas. I. Robinson — you 
have never heard of him, though by many he is accounted the ablest lawyer 
in the State. He is opposed to emancipation in every shape and form 
and I have no doubt a large majority (say two-thirds) of the delegates 
returned will be his supporters. So the Abolitionists in the North may 
console themselves with the reflection that their ultra course has created 
this reaction in the public pulse of Kentucky. 

I am glad to see that the bill for the new county is again lost. I want 
old Washington to remain in her integrity. 1 expect they will finally 

1 Chief of "the subsequent events" was that Mr. Ewing kindly dissuaded him from even 
applying for a clerkship. 



96 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

succeed in getting the bill passed ; they come nearer and nearer every 
time ; it was lost this time by a tie vote I believe. Do you know whether 
we at West Brownsville would be in the new or old ? 

No two States in the Union fraternize better than the old Keystone and 
Kentucky, though one be Whig and the other Democrat. 

I intend to commence the study of law regularly this summer. My pre- 
ceptor will be Judge Robertson of Lexington, one of the first lawyers of 
the State. 



From J. N. McKee : 

Lexington, Dec. 4, 1851. 
You are wise in leaving that institution : it required all the energy of 
such a man as Colonel Johnson to sustain it. That once withdrawn, with 
the formidable opposition it will have to contend with, it will be more 
than the present faculty can uphold, and I think you are right not to be 
buried in its ruins. I am perfectly disgusted with trade, but you are 
young enough to lose and make a fortune. May you be as successful as 
your most sanguine expectations. 



From his mother 



My beloved Son • 



Elizabeth, Christmas Evening, 1852. 



Yours of the 22d I this day received with the very acceptable Christ- 
mas gift, for which I give you many thanks. Have you no vacation at 
this time in the institution ? I heard from M. that you expected one and 
intended going to Augusta and having your wife return with you. I fear 
you are kept too busy. ... I am indeed sorry to hear that you do not 

enjoy yourself at . How or why have you so poor an opinion of 

his young and handsome wife ? I would have you to be at all times kind 
and polite to them both. . . . Have you made many acquaintances in Phil- 
adelphia ? How do you spend your spare time if you have any ? And you 
have never yet told me how you spend your Sundays. ISTot, I fear, as I 
wish, in attending church ; but this, Jimi, I fear is an unpleasant subject 
and one that you think I have no right to speak of ; but you will forgive me 
as you will know my anxious desire to see you a practical Christian. . . . 

Your uncle Willie has made up his mind to go West. ... I would 
much rather it were otherwise. I cannot bear the thought of parting from 
my only brother in our old days. Never, never will either of us in this 
world spend as hapj^y days as we once did. Poor uncle Frank seems very 
near to me. I will ever love him for the unbounded love he had for your 
aunt E. Her death was about my first great trouble, but what was it com- 
pared to my sorrow and sadness in the last two years ? . . . 

Little M. and A. were dressed this day for the first time in their new 
frocks that you sent them. A. says her uncle Jim dress is the prettiest 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES O. BLAINE. 97 

one she has and wishes very much you could see how beautiful she looks 
in it. She knows you would think her almost as pretty as Stannie. . . . 

Mage is the very soul of honor and correctness, although she has some 
little faults to contend with. You ought to be very partial to her, for I 
think she loves you as dearly as it is possible for one person to love an- 
other. She told me the other day that if you were to die, all happiness in 
this world to her would be gone forever. . . . 

Do you have no idea of visiting us before July ? Oh, it seems so long, 
long to wait till then. ... I hope, my dearest child, this has been to you 
a happy Christmas. And may you have many, many, my own dearest 
son. 

To Mr. T. B. Searight : 

Elizabeth, July 7, 1853. 

Your letter did not reach me until many weeks after it was written, and 
then I chanced to see my name among list of advertised. . . . 

I am here without wife or child, they having gone on to New England 
to spend the summer. I will be in this region during this month and a part 
of next, and it is my most anxious desire to meet you and the Count. . . . 
I cannot make any appointment of a meeting because I know nothing of 
your engagements nor of the Count's. I lay myself, however, subject to 
your commands, and will most gladty meet you at any place you may des- 
ignate ; but meet you and the Count I must, or else T shall return to Phila- 
delphia, bitterly disappointed in one of the greatest pleasures anticipated 
in my visit. 

Where is " Tariff? " T am very anxious to see him. If in Uniontown 
I shall certainly see him if I have to come all the way on purpose. 

Elizabeth, Friday, Aug. o, 1853. 

After more than a week's delay I redeem my promise of sending you the 
Count's letter. You will observe it has the regular country-squire fold to 
it. No one but a Cross Creek or Robinson Township "Justice" would 
give a sheet of foolscap the shape this has. 

I leave to-morrow or next day for Philadelphia, and thence to New Eng- 
land, returning to Philadelphia by September 1. I am sincerely sorry that 
the trio can't have a reunion, but since the Count sj^eaks so mournfully 
about the probability of its being the last meeting, T feel inclined to put it 
off for some time — don't you ? 

Have you paid another visit to Miss ? If you are really struck, all 

I have to say is " pusxevcere" and if you should not make the landing, 
there is nothing lost in honor or purse. Write me in regard to your success 
if you make the effort. My own marriage only makes me sympathize the 
more warmly in all affairs of this kind. 

My address after first September will be Pennsylvania Institute for the 
Blind, Philadelphia. 



98 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAIJSE. 



VII. 

MAINE. 

MR. BLAINE'S post-office address, after the first of Sep- 
tember, was, as he had declared it would be, the Phila- 
delphia Institute for the Blind, but only for a few weeks. All 
unwittingly he had found the road — and it was The National 
Road. 

He had adopted teaching not as an ultimate profession, only 
as the next step ; but he had none the less taught with ardor, 
devotion, success, and happiness. His experience was at the 
two extremes of confident strength and pathetic helplessness, — 
with the young cadets of the military institute, vigorous, fiery, 
impulsive, eager to try and not loath to show their mettle, and 
with the young pupils of the blind asylum, groping their way 
through the darkness of an unseen Avorld, — and to both his 
profound sympathy brought full and eager service. In per- 
forming his duties he never consulted the contract, but 
wrought out of the abundance of his own nature, and over- 
filled his position with unstinted generosity, with joyous cor- 
diality. Instinctively he identified his own interests with those 
of his associates. As young as some of his cadets, he not only 
taught and trained their minds to accuracy and breadth, but he 
could sympathize even when they were wrong, and discern the 
time when it was wise not to see. Through the corridors of 
the blind asylum his step was as elastic, his mind as alert 
as in the Military School. He still kept an outlook on the law 
and on the land, but he lavished himself on his daily duties, 
looked after the interests of the institution, took part in the 
improvement of its organization, with as much fidelity and 
sympathy as if he had chosen it for his permanent work, and 
left his individuality so vividly impressed upon his partners 
that to them his later life was but the fulfilment of expectation. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 99 

Twenty-two years afterwards, an associate teacher in the in- 
stitute, who had but rarely seen him through the intervening 
years, wrote : 

I trust that out of this seeming defeat you will win a richer victory — 
that the world will be permitted to see a man who finds a defeat only an 
incentive to battle more strongly and vigorously for the right — a man 
who is able to forget himself, and by his nobleness and devotion to his 
country bring to it untold blessings. 

Loving you for all that you were to me, and ail that I knew you to be 
in yourself, in the years long ago, and proud of you for all that you have 
been since, and sure that the Lord knows what he is about when he does 
not let us throw up our hats for you in the coming election, under all 
circumstances, I am your friend. 

It was in the railroad train on the way from Augusta back 
to Philadelphia that he was joined by Mr. Dorr, who had been 
one of the owners and conductors of the Kennebec Journal, 
and was still interested in its fortunes. 

At that time, Mr. Blaine was known to the people of Augusta 
only as they had seen him in his short vacation visits, but Mr. 
Dorr had reached the conclusion that he was the man to take 
charge of the chief journal of the State ; and he represented 
the matter to Mr. Blaine so attractively that he immediately 
took it into consideration and consultation. 

Luther Severance, Simon Cameron, and Russell Eaton, three 
young men, were working together in the office of the Na- 
tional Intelligencer, at Washington, when the Whigs of Maine 
conceived that the time had come for the establishment of a 
Whig newspaper in their State. Mr. Severance and Mr. Eaton 
were selected as men whose mental ability and practical expe- 
rience fitted them for the undertaking. They were invited to 
Maine, and in 1825 the first number of the paper, the Ken- 
nebec Journal, was issued. It continued under their control 
till 1833, when Mr. Eaton withdrew and Mr. Severance con- 
ducted it alone until 1839, and in conjunction with Mr. Dorr 
until 1850. 

The proposition of Mr. Dorr appealed strongly to Mr. 
Blaine's political tastes. The probability that the State 
printing would be awarded to the Journal by the winter 
Legislature was presented as an additional pecuniar} induce- 



100 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

ment. He did not hesitate, but arranged with the Phila- 
delphia institution that his resignation should be accepted as 
soon as a person should be found to take his place, and on 
November 16, 1854, the Kennebec Journal announced that 
the establishment had been " sold to Messrs. Joseph Baker 
and J. G. Blaine, who would thereafter conduct its editorial 
and business affairs." 

The Journal was obliged to admit that Mr. Blaine had 
" come among us a comparative stranger," but pleaded in rebut- 
tal that he was a gentleman of decided talent and of wide travel, 
— a stronger adjective perhaps than would at this day be 
allowed to his modest meanderings. 

Mr. Blaine was a comparative stranger in the State, but he 
was not unprepared for his work. It had been the amusement 
of his vacations to go up to the State House and bury himself 
in Niles's Register and in local records, by which he speedily 
absorbed and assimilated the history of the State, and was 
thus able to lend a strong, eager, and shaping hand to its 
future course. 

The time was one of such mental and emotional upheaval as 
marks at intervals the upward path of humanity. The great 
landmark of past understandings, always misunderstandings, 
of compromises patriotically conceived and conscientiously 
undertaken for union between North and South, had just been 
swept away in the repeal of the Missouri compromise, and the 
North was glowing towards the white-heat of the great civil 
war. To the immediate actors and spectators, the repeal was 
a brazen betrayal of faith. Following the passage and enforce- 
ment of the last fugitive slave law, it seemed a wanton and 
wicked rending of a national compact solemnly made and 
sacredly kept for thirty-two years. In the procession of time, 
it was a constituent part of what Mr. Seward discerned as an 
irrepressible conflict, which no pledge, however solemn or 
sacred, could prevent or compose, a compromise which the 
most determined resolution could not perpetuate. It was the 
ever-rising tide of conscience, reaching in these latter days 
the high -water mark of a distinct consciousness of the value 
of the individual human being, which in the eternal order 
made, marred, and avenged the Missouri compromise. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 101 

The conflict had not become more real, only more manifest. 
The political ferment was radical. The old party lines were 
broken up, and new combinations were inevitable. 

In Maine, the nascent Republican party won its first victory 
in September, and the immediate question was what to do with 
it. When the Legislature assembled in January, interest was 
keen in the popular mind as to how its organization should 
be completed, and what should be its policy and measures. 
The Whig organization had been maintained, and the Free Soil 
and " Morrill Democratic " party had been maintained, but the 
Whig party had dwindled from 46,000 in 1840 to 14,000 in 
1854, while the vote for Anson P. Morrill ran up to 45,000. At 
least one-half of the 14,000 were estimated to be in perfect 
sympathy with the Republican or Morrill party, and were only 
retained in the old Whig organization by the force of a regular 
nomination. This was unequivocal testimony against the slave 
democracy and the Administration. 

The choice of Mr. Blaine as editor was speedily justified. 
His thorough acquaintance with the political history of the 
country, his ready comprehension of the issues pending, his 
familiarity with the characteristics and personal history of 
prominent persons, surprised even his friends. His reviews of 
measures and his judgments of men were correspondingly just 
and incisive. He fought not as one that beateth the air. 

Joseph Baker, Esq., father of Orville Baker, the brilliant 
ex- Attorney-General of Maine, was a leading lawyer of the 
State, and the exactions of his profession made it impracticable 
for him to retain active part in the newspaper. Mr. Blaine had 
seen and copied into his paper, with strong commendation, an 
unsigned article on the political situation, written by Rev. John 
L. Stevens, and Mr. Stevens had noted with what signal clear- 
ness and cogency, with what superior insight and intellectual 
force, the young Pennsylvanian was handling the prevailing- 
topics of public discussion. Without the knowledge of either, 
a meeting was arranged by influential friends between Mr. 
Stevens and Mr. Blaine, and in twenty-four hours from that first 
meeting they had become associate owners and editors of the 
Kennebec Journal. This was the beginning of a friendship 
which extended without break for thirty-eight years. " As 



102 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

freshly as of yesterday," says Mr. Stevens, "I remember his 
appearance as I first saw him at twenty-five. His handsome 
person, his striking features, his large, lustrous eyes, and his 
whole expression of face spoke the man of genius and intel- 
lectual power." 

To the two young men — for Mr. Stevens was scarcely ten 
years the senior of Mr. Blaine — there was nothing forbidding or 
formidable, on the contrary, there was somewhat attractive and 
stimulating, in the formation and appearance of a new party. 
They at once and eagerly determined to follow their principles 
into the Republican party rather than to " lie down and fold 
our arms and do nothing in this great final struggle between 
slavery and freedom. We will help bear the glorious banner 
of Republican liberty on to victory till our government is com- 
pletely and forever divorced from slavery, and wielded to secure 
the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity ! " 

The new party stood to them for freedom, temperance, 
river and harbor improvement within constitutional limits, 
homesteads for freemen, a just administration of the public 
lands of the State and nation, and for education as the surest 
safeguard of republican institutions. A department was to be 
devoted each week to religious intelligence. And they modestly 
continued : " With what ability or what success we may labor, 
we shall leave others to judge — we can only pledge honest 
impulses and faithful endeavors." They declared the great 
Republican party to be fairly inaugurated into power in Maine, 
" with a popular good-will, a prestige of success, and the elements 
of permanency such as no party has had since the birth of our 
State. . . . Let it be not merely the inauguration of a new 
party, but the exaltation of principle above party." 

Clear eyes at the South foresaw dissolution of the Union or 
extinction of slavery as the outcome of the Republican party. 
The Charleston Mercury foretold "no passing effervescence, 
but a great movement ; progress a law of its being, victory 
the law of its agitation." The Maine editors, on the con- 
trary, saw in it not the dissolution of the Union, but its sal- 
vation. Both were right. It was the extinction of slavery 
and the dissolution of the old Union founded on the shifting 
sands of compromise between the dying past and the eternal 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 103 

future. It was the establishment of a new Union founded on 
the rock of ages, the right of the human being. Certainly no 
party ever had a more immaculate conception or a holier 
nativity than the Republican party. 

A bill, very important to the private success of the two young 
men, passed both branches of the Legislature, making the Ken- 
nebec Journal the State paper, in which should be published 
all laws and resolves of a public nature, and all advertisements, 
notices, and orders required to be published. Their work was 
so well done that even their rivals complimented them on the 
highly creditable style in which their reports were issued, in 
response to which the Journal rather saucily congratulated 
its " Hunker contemporaries " that, " however awry their politi- 
cal principles, they know what good printing is ! " 

To one recalling incidents of this time, Mr. Blaine wrote in 
1868: 

I love these, reminiscences that give us a life glimpse of what we really 
were a dozen or fifteen years ago. I know myself that I must have been 
green enough in those days — but I never imagined it at the time. Was 1 
not then editing the leading Republican paper of Maine ? Was I not then 
State printer, making $4,000 a year and spending $600, a ratio between 
outlay and income which I have never since been able to establish and 
maintain? Bless me, how rich I, should grow if I should only now come 
into the annual receipt of seven times my outlay — and yet that was just 
my charming condition in those delightful days. 

But no personal compliments or private profits kept the 
Kennebec Journal from girding itself for battle. It went 
not simply where the fight was hottest, but it made the hottest 
of the light — confronting the determination of the slave power 
to extend and perpetuate slavery with an equal determination 
to limit and destroy it — confronting the arrogant demand for 
concession of superiority with as lordly an assertion and a 
wiser maintenance of equal condition and rights. " The Ne- 
braska swindle" was an objective point, a living contention. 
On the final passage of the Nebraska bill Northern Statesman- 
ship solemnly pronounced that all compromises Avith slavery 
were henceforth at an end. Every issue of the Journal 
was a series of blows boyish sometimes in their directness, 
but manfully aimed and delivered, manfully muscular, swift, 



104 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

untiring, effective. Every blow consolidated the party and 
confounded the opposition. The confidence and strength of 
the young editors infused confidence and increased strength, 
and made many adherents to the new cause. 

Mr. Stevens was then both chairman and secretary of the 
Republican State Committee, and was too deeply absorbed in 
efforts at Republican organization to devote much time to edi- 
torial work, so that most of the ably written articles and caustic 
paragraphs published in the Kennebec Journal in the cam- 
paign of 1856, and copied extensively in and out of the State, 
were written by Mr. Blaine. 

The madness of slavery about to be destroyed gave innumer- 
able points on which the alert foe never ceased to ring the 
changes. The fugitive slave law, which opened the whole North 
as a hunting-ground to the slave-catcher, and brought slavery 
in its most odious and least defensible form to the very doors, 
before the very eyes, of hereditary freemen; the overthrow of 
barriers against slavery in the new territories, openly threaten- 
ing freedom with the permanent political supremacy of slavery, 
— were all that was necessary to rouse suspicious and smoul- 
dering wrath to flame, and the strong young manhood of free 
institutions had thenceforth but one passion — wherever slavery 
showed head or hand or foot, to smite it. 

Thus it came that the Nebraska bill, instead of confirming 
the compromise of 1850 and strengthening harmony, brought 
resentment and discord. Instead of two slave States, it gave to 
the Union two free States ; instead of bounding Free Soil, it 
made Free Soil of the whole nation. 

Abroad the world was not becalmed. Mr. Perley, of New 
Brunswick, was in Washington interviewing the President and 
Secretary Marcy and Mr. Cushing and Mr. Crampton on the 
Reciprocity Treaty with Canada. France, England, and Sar- 
dinia were leagued in the great Crimean war to limit Russia 
in the Black sea, and to bar from the East her gigantic and 
terrible steps. In the very first issue of the paper after Mr. 
Blaine assumed the editorial chair, the annexation of Hawaii was 
presented as an immediate and American question. Mr. Sever- 
ance, his predecessor, had been a man of marked ability, 
courtesy, and character. While continuing as editor he had 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 105 

served in both branches of the Maine Legislature, and had twice 
been sent to the lower house of Congress. He had been ap- 
pointed by President Taylor commissioner to the Hawaiian 
Islands, and sailed from Boston August 22, 1851, reaching Hono- 
lulu January 12, 1852. In this station he bore himself so admi- 
rably that the king desired him to remain as Secretary of foreign 
affairs. He did not accept the offer, but he ever cherished a 
lively concern in the fortunes of this peculiarly interesting little 
kingdom. It was during his stay there that the question of 
annexation became prominently agitated for the first time, and 
he prepared a paper upon it whose pertinence and value have 
lost nothing from subsequent events. At the time of Mr. 
Blaine's advent, Mr. Severance was regarded somewhat as editor 
emeritus, and not only by his successor on the Journal, but 
by Maine citizens generally, was held in warm and high respect. 
Mr. Blaine's acquaintance with him was brief, Mr. Severance 
dying that winter, but his appreciation of the man induced 
him to write for the Journal a memorial sketch of the life of 
Luther Severance, which was afterwards published in pamphlet 
form. 

Mr. Stevens, born and schooled in Kennebec, avowed on as- 
suming editorship that his earliest political knowledge was drawn 
from the pages of Luther Severance, " whose light still lingers 
on us like the rays of the sun on the mountains, ere it goes 
down," and spoke " with reverence and joy through a medium 
made almost classic by his labors." 

Hon. Elisha Allen, of Maine, was then Speaker of the Hawaiian 
House of Representatives, a position which was said to be as 
onerous as it was honorable, from the ignorance of the Hawaiians 
regarding parliamentary forms. Of the twenty-seven native 
members only six, including the Speaker, were whites or under- 
stood English, and half the native Hawaiians had never even 
seen a legislative assembly before. With Judge Allen Mr. 
Blaine sustained cordial connections in private and public life till 
the New Year's day when, full of years and honors, the Dean of 
the Diplomatic Corps fell dead in the White House. 

Through his relations with such men Mr. Blaine acquired an 
intimate knowledge of the resources, history, character, and 
aspirations of the island kingdom, and shared with them an 



106 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

interest, personal as well as political and patriotic, in its con- 
dition and destiny. 

Annexation seemed coming on apace. Mr. Severance was 
writing from his vantage ground of familiarity with both 
nations, and strangely enough the questions which were con- 
vulsing America were affecting also the policy of the gentle 
island. The compromise intended to open way for slavery in 
Utah and New Mexico, the repeal of compromise to open 
Kansas and Nebraska to slavery, and the cry of squatter sover- 
eignty frightened the Hawaiians. Slavery was prohibited by 
the Hawaiian constitution, but if Hawaii were annexed, they 
feared they would be made slaves under the Nebraska bill, or 
even become the prey of marauding filibusters from San Fran- 
cisco. In August, 1853, the British Consul had offered the king 
formal remonstrance against annexation. Through the columns 
of the Journal, from the pens of Maine Hawaiians, the ques- 
tion of annexation was .ably presented, sometimes as the only 
ultimate resource against anarchy. Negotiations were be- 
lieved to be far advanced, and " probably," wrote a corre- 
spondent from Hawaii, " ere this time next year, we shall 
again be under the stars and stripes." Of 2,000 whites and 
70,000 natives, nearly all Americans were in favor of annex- 
ation ; the Germans stood three to one. The Scotch were 
somewhat indifferent. The mercantile and commercial motive 
was strong ; the sugar-planters wanted annexation to avoid 
a thirty per cent, duty and get a thirty per cent, protection. 
English land-holders were not opposed to it, since it would 
raise the price of their lands. The chiefs, who owned large 
tracts of land which yielded little income after compulsory labor 
was abolished, saw that they would profit by it. Of the mis- 
sionary work, the Journal spoke without sentiment, but its 
facts were significant. Until the arrival of the missionaries in 
1820 the natives had no written language, no recorded laws or 
titles to lands, or to anything else. " The authority of the king 
was paramount," and it was as constitutional for him, Kameha- 
meha I., when he conquered the islands to assume ownership of 
the conquered lands as it was for William of Normandy. The 
missionaries therefore not only brought Christianity, but civiliza- 
tion, to Hawaii. One of the judges of the Supreme Court was 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 107 

John Ii, who remembered seeing his father, a native priest, 
officiate at a human sacrifice. An annual labor-school for the 
children of missionaries was under the chief care of Rev. Daniel 
Dole, a " Kennebeeker," father of President Dole, of the Provis- 
ional Government established in 1893. The English school for 
half-castes was taught by G. B. C. Ingraham, a native of Hallo- 
well. In Maui there was a school for native children under Rev. 
Mr. Alexander, father of Professor Alexander now of Honolulu. 
If the islands should be admitted as a State, these Maine men 
avowed that they could send "better representatives than the 
average." In 1843 England and France agreed not to take pos- 
session of the islands either as a protectorate or otherwise, and in- 
vited the United States to enter into the compact. The United 
States declined, but all agreed to protect the islands against 
filibusters. In President Buchanan's subsequent message it 
was adversely noted that the two subjects upon which most 
interest was felt by the public, the acquisition of Cuba and the 
annexation of Hawaii, were wholly ignored. 

In addition to editorship Mr. Blaine assumed the work 
of reporter of the Senate, and his reports, though written 
from memory only, without notes, became at once authori- 
tative from their fulness and accuracy. His custom was 
never to watch the speakers, on a theory that the exercise of 
two senses is less effective than reliance on one. It was his 
invariable habit, when a debate commenced, to draw up a 
chair to the open fireplace and watch the burning logs while 
he listened. He would afterwards, without a single note, fur- 
nish his paper with a synopsis of the speeches delivered 
throughout the debate. While still listening, he would men- 
tally and instinctively frame speeches meeting the arguments 
brought forward. After hearing the roll-call, he could give at 
will every member's vote. He formulated no method of mem- 
ory, was aware of no effort. When asked, " How can you re- 
member so ? " his only explanation was, " How can you help 
it?" What came to him remained — was on call. It was a 
touch of the divine memory — no memory at all, but an 
eternal now. Yet the eternal now was perhaps a part of his 
secret, was certainly his impetuous and imperative rule, even 
in that early day. A word or ;i fact that he wanted must be 



108 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

sought at once, never relegated to a more convenient moment. 
This association helped to fix in his mind the definition or the 
statement required. 

His attendance upon the Senate gave him excellent oppor- 
tunity to become acquainted with the leading political men 
of the State, of both parties. His own intelligent interest, 
his enthusiasm, his knowledge of what most concerned legis- 
lators and public men, his readiness to draw upon it for the 
pleasure and the profit of his interlocutors, his eagerness to 
draw upon their stores for his own profit and pleasure, the 
very unwontedness of his Pennsylvania birth, breeding, and 
associations, quickly drew the attention and regard of the 
members, while it was equally observed that he never pushed 
himself forward. Always and by nature energetic and force- 
ful in manner when called upon to speak or to act, he had the 
reserve which belongs to trained intellect, good breeding, and 
good sense, no less conscious of responsibility than sensitive to 
the rights of others. 

From men then living in Augusta and its neighborhood Mr. 
Blaine received great advantage, by the fulness of their in- 
formation, and their ability and readiness to put him in pos- 
session of the personal history of men, measures, and parties as 
no reading could do. Several had done eminent service to the 
community and were in the evening of honored life. 

When Mr. Pinkham 1 drove President Polk in his coach to 
the house of Reuel Williams, a lad who was looking on with 
swelling heart affirms that he could not tell which seemed to 
him the greater man of the three ! Reuel Williams was a nat- 
ural magnate such as New England loved to honor. He had 
been United States Senator. He was a famous lawyer. He 
had charge of the Plymouth Company's lands, and perhaps his 
last public service was in the Peace Congress at Washington, 
in February, 1861. 

Nathan Weston, grandfather of the present Chief Justice of 
the Supreme Court of the United States, had been Chief Justice 
of the Supreme Court of Maine. He and Reuel Williams had 
married sisters, two of the four daughters of Judge Daniel Cony, 

1 Mr. Pinkham afterwards became Mr. Blaine's colleague in the Maine House of Representa- 
tive. He was an intense Democrat, but a no less intense admirer of Mr. Blaine. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 109 

who was one of the early settlers, and had given a house and 
one thousand dollars for the establishment of a school for the 
education of girls. Of the other two daughters one became the 
wife of Rev. Mr. Ingraham and the other of General Cony. 
Samuel Cony, from 1864 to 1867, Governor of Maine, was her 
grandson. 

Ethan Shepley had been in the national Senate from 1833 to 
1836, but had resigned his position to become Judge of the Su- 
preme Court of Maine, whence he was appointed Chief Justice. 
He retired from the bench in 1855 and made his home in Port- 
land. He was the father of George F. Shepley, who distin- 
guished himself in the war, and became afterwards a judge in the 
United States Circuit Court. 

Hon. George Evans, of Gardiner, had represented the Kenne- 
bec District in Congress for six terms, and had then entered the 
Senate, where he had shared a national renown with Webster and 
Clay and Calhoun, and was now Attorney-General of Maine. 

Hon. Williams Emmons, of Hallowell, was in the decline 
of his long and venerable life, though he did not attain unto 
the days of the years of the pilgrimage of his father, the 
famous Franklin divine, Rev. Nathaniel Emmons. His first 
wife was Miss Wild, a sister of the wife of Caleb Cushing; 
his second was the daughter of Benjamin Vaughan, the friend 
and disciple who had accompanied Priestley in his escape to 
this country. Mr. Emmons had been State Senator and judge, 
and was held in great and deserved reverence in the com- 
munity, not only for his eminent descent and connections, but 
for his personal probity and dignity. Mr. Blaine's father-in- 
law had cherished for him a special regard and affection which 
Mr. Blaine shared so largely that he gave the name Williams 
Emmons to his third son, and the family friendship continued 
throughout life. 

It will easily be seen that a keen appreciation which could 
open the storehouse of such memories, would furnish incalcu- 
lable treasure. 

" How does Blaine know so much about Maine ? " was often 
asked. Only by ways open to all, if trodden by few. 

" He was born in the rotunda at Washington," said one, 
whimsically accounting for an acquaintance with national details 



110 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

which had come to him by natural assimilation from these 
natural sources. 

Of those still at the front, and of those coming to the front, 
Edward Kent, Judge of the Supreme Court and Governor of the 
State, is still remembered not only for his public spirit and ser- 
vice but for the resonance of the campaign rhyme : 

" He has gone hell-bent, 
For Governor Kent." 

Senator Fessenden was in the height of his great reputation 
and influence, powerful by the purity of his character and his 
eminent ability. Senator Hamlin was among the first to leave 
the Democratic and join in forming the new party on the direct 
slavery issue. Senator Morrill, the brother of Anson P. 
Morrill, over the bridge of temperance, took the same road. 
Israel Washburn, Jr., one of five famous brothers, was in 
Congress from the Penobscot district, while the present Senator 
was encouragingly referred to in the Kennebec Journal as a 
young man of great promise, Assistant Clerk in the House of 
Representatives. 

March 23, 1855, the Journal records that Mr. Melville W. 
Fuller, who had reported the legislative doings for the Age 
while Mr. Blaine had been reporting them for the Journal, 
delivered the seventeenth lecture before the Augusta Lyceum, 
on Oliver Cromwell, in which his " researches as a historian and 
his ability as a writer fully sustain the creditable reputation he 
has already acquired." Afterwards he recited a poem which 
was also generously praised. 

Sidney Perham, Speaker of the Maine House in 1855, once 
said, " At that time two young men were reporters in the 
House. I never saw them together again till I saw them in 
Washington, when one was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 
and the other was Secretary of State." 

On July 13, the Republican editor welcomed B. A. G. 
Fuller and his nephew, Melville W. Fuller, to the editorship of 
the Democratic Age, particularly esteeming the Fullers as 
"talented and accomplished gentlemen whose abilities might 
possibly lend respectability to the bad cause they advocated ; " 
but by August 3 the sword was agleam, in spite of the " talents 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. Ill 

and accomplishments " of the foe. " Truly, Sir Cottrill, this is 
an Age of trickery. It cloth seem to grow yet c Fuller and 
Fuller ' of cunning machinations," quoted the Journal editor, 
and hung up in his office a secret circular of the Age, 
signed by " Fuller and Fuller" asking their friends to " coun- 
teract the influence of such pernicious prints as the Kennebec 
Journal, etc., which secret associations are using every means 
to open up channels through which a deluge of copies may be 
poured forth to flood the land with their dangerous doctrines ; " 
and " it is the obvious duty of our friends to counteract, by those 
vehicles of truth whose object it is to rebuke error, and hold up 
to the light the machinations of its devotees. We have no 
secret clubs, we have no hireling officials, to aid in their cir- 
culation;" and then the " hireling official," the State printer and 
future Speaker, held up his prospectus, inserted openly in the 
paper for six consecutive weeks, to shame the future Chief 
Justice ! 

The Coalition carried the next elections against the Repub- 
licans, and the u hireling official "-ism was transferred to the 
Age. Naturally, the alert Republican editor allowed no em- 
barrassment of the opposition to escape him. A coalition is apt 
to be awkward and unpopular. It did not seem less so under 
the manipulation of the Kennebec Journal. The nomenclat- 
ure was uncertain and entrapping. The victors could not call 
themselves Democrats, because that would offend the Whig 
membership. If they stammered on the " Democrat and 
Whig," it was but specializing the odium attaching to " Coa- 
lition." But when the bewildered Chairman, reduced to despair, 
shouted at the top of his lungs, " The Anti-Republican members 
will meet in caucus," peals of laughter reverberated loud and 
long through the Journal. 

The editor pointed out, with a. rather suspicious reverence, 
that he had not reported the prayers of the Legislature, but, 
finding the Coalition chaplain's prayer published by the 
" government organ," the Age, the Journal reproduced it 
with no other comment than underlining certain portions : 
" To thee, Almighty God, in the presence of men and angels, 
we humbly pray for thy favors to be upon the administration of 
our State government during the year which has now opened. 



112 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Thy servant offers this supplication, not that his voice has been 
bought to party interests, not that he would part with his love for 
Christ, and his allegiance to Him, for any worldly inducement, but 
because he loves his country, the whole and undivided country." 

Heartily devoted to the hopes and plans of Maine, the pages are 
yet sprinkled with Pennsylvania and Kentucky lore. Serious 
political argument is enlivened with stories of Joe Doake and 
the National Road. When John C. Breckenridge was appointed 
Minister to Spain by President Pierce, the Journal Editor 
affirmed from neighborhood knowledge that no abler or worthier 
man was to be selected. Before the Dred Scott decision fell 
like a pall upon the venerable Roger B. Taney, the Journal 
had noted his unswerving integrity and impartiality, the " rich 
record of an honest and faithful discharge of the weightiest and 
most momentous duties." When the Maine opposition pleaded 
that President Buchanan had not appointed a Southern man 
governor of Kansas, but a Pennsylvanian, son of a judge of the 
Supreme Court of the United States, and a man who had prac- 
tised law in Pennsylvania, the retort came like a blow that his 
father never was judge of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, but of the District Court of the Western District of 
Pennsylvania ; that he had not practised law in Pennsylvania 
for many years, but went to Mississippi as soon as he had fin- 
ished his legal studies, at the age of twenty-four years, and was, 
to all intents and purposes, a Southern man. 

Hon. Thomas Ewing, of Ohio, was triumphantly and author- 
itatively reported to have joined the " Buchaniers." " We 
contradicted the rumor when it was first circulated, knowing it 
to be false. Mr. Ewing has recently declared for Fremont, and 
his son, Thomas Ewing, Jr., has taken the stump in Ohio in 
behalf of the Republican nominees." 

" Henry Winter Davis, a young and talented Fillmore mem- 
ber of Congress for Maryland (would be for Fremont, prob- 
ably, if he dared), made a speech in the House lately that took 
some of the South by surprise. He spoke of the Buchanan 
party as a Southern sectional party, and intimated that so long- 
as Southern men supported it, they could not blame Northern 
men for supporting Fremont. He passed a high eulogy on 
Speaker Banks, who, he said, had graced the chair as it had not 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 11 



Q 



been graced for thirty years. Mr. Davis is the most eloquent 
and promising member of his party in the House, although this 
is his first year of congressional service." 

Thus it fell that at the age of twenty-six, upon a two years' 
residence in the State, Mr. Blaine had sufficiently won the 
confidence of the people to be chosen delegate to the first Re- 
publican national convention for the nomination of a candi- 
date for the presidency. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. I. Washburn, Jr. : 

Washington, Feb. 14, 1856. 

My Dear Sir : I am obliged to you for your favor of the 12th and its 
enclosure to you. Fremont has strong points undoubtedly, and very many 
elements of popular strength. It will not be strange if he shall be con- 
sidered upon the whole as our best man for the presidential nomination. 
But I doubt not that there will be strong opposition to him from quarters 
entitled to the greatest respect. A man who says " I am not opposed to 
the system of slavery if properly regulated," will be apt to say things, 
and do things, which will not tend to strengthen him in the North, to say 
the least. You are probably right in thinking that Seward nor Chase can 
be run, I am sorry it is so. Wilmot, Pollok, P. King, Judge McLean, and 
Speaker Banks have been named. It is thought by some that the latter 
gentleman occupies the best position for success of any man in the country, 
that he can better unite the American and Republican strength than any 
other man. This idea is not without force and plausibility. But in my 
judgment it is altogether too early to make commitments. We cannot say 
who ought to be nominated — hardly guess — at least I cannot. A few 
months may work great changes as to the positions and chances of men. 
I would let things drift for the present. There will be attempts to reunite 
the American party North and South, and, these failing, to organize a dis- 
tinctive American party North, and to which it will be held that Republi- 
canism must be subordinated. Movements and combinations to this end 
are undoubtedly on foot, and I shall not be surprised if our recent elections 
in the House enure considerably to their benefit- Every elected officer is a 
Know Nothing, and it is now whispered that all save Banks are of the 12th 
section, about all the subordinates are of the order, and majority, I believe, 
of the southern wing. 

Among the Republicans, pure and simple, especially from the West, 
there is considerable squirming ; they say that they are mere adjuncts to 
the party that has won; that they can procure no appoints., and indeed 
that Republicanism is an offence ; who declare that the upshot of tin; 
nine weeks 1 struggle; is the, strengthening of the direct and indirect opposi- 
tion to the Republican party, and that Americanism, as the paramount 



114 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

thing, is more healthy and hopeful than it has been, etc. These things 
though said, are more thought of than talked about. 

You will perceive that what I have written should be private, or " rather 
so. 1 ' Excuse a hurried letter at this time, and please write me often. 

February 26, '56. 

Your letters are received. ... I presume that no one expects that 
Seward will be our nominee. The trepidation of our friends has made 
him Aveak, when six months ago he was strong and ought to be now. The 
quest for as small a modicum of Republicanism as will answer, and as 
large an infusion of Know Nothingism as will be safe, has put all first rate 
men out of the ring, and left the nomination possible to onty second or 
third rates. Fremont may be the best man that we can take. I do not 
feel sure that he is not, but I must feel that we can tie to him on the 
slavery question. I have no specific and positive desire to be cheated 
again. 

There is a living feeling in the country, without which we are nowhere, 
which means opposition to the extension of slavery ; any attempt to ignore 
which, or waive, or trifle with, will not succeed, and ought not to succeed. 
Men are in earnest, and the earnest men rather than the traders and trim- 
mers, the mere politicians, are to be felt in this campaign . I hope Fremont 
may, be all right; if so, he can make a fine run. I agree with you in 
reference to Mr. Banks. 

Do you think that straight Whigs in Maine, who puffed Seward all last 
summer, would oppose him while they would support a Democratic 
"Republican"? The nomination of Fillmore yesterday will spoil many 
nice schemes in embryo. I am rather glad it has been made now, as I am 
sure it was bound to be made at some time. It will bring many anti 
Know Nothings, who have been waiting and temporizing, into line. It will 
crush out many aspirations and combinations. We can now see clearly the 
path of duty and of hope. Men who are with us in reality will say so, and 
those who at heart are against us but would have maintained a quasi con- 
nection for their own purposes, though certain to leave us in the end, will 
leave us now. Will the straight Whigs of Maine, who have opposed the dark 
lanterns so furiously, fall into the Fillmore ranks ? Is Americanism, when 
associated with opposition to slavery in Kansas, objectionable, and attrac- 
tive only when its leading idea and purpose is to establish it there ? 
. . . Weston says Maine is good for 20,000 majority for the Republican 
ticket, and I do not see how that ticket, if a fair one, can be beat. There 
is, we hear, considerable talk about Hamlin for governor. We think well 
of it here, if agreeable to Mr. H. 

At this convention Mr. Blaine inclined to the nomination of 
Judge McLean, of the Supreme Court, rather than Fremont. 
" My preference for Judge McLean," he explained to his 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 115 

constituents on his return, " was in large degree based upon 
admiration of his high character, but partly upon an inherited 
friendship for him, partly from a kinship of feeling with his 
conservatism, and partly, I suppose, because the Whig instincts 
which I share with the great majority of this district turned me 
towards one who has so long been among the trusted statesmen 
and soundest advisers of that party." Though impulsive in man- 
ner and bold in action, Mr. Blaine was the farthest from rashness 
— was, on the contrary, thoroughly cautious and even conserv- 
ative. The rapidity of his conclusions often gave the appear- 
ance of recklessness to what was really a sound, though swift, 
logic. Ever the lasting force if not the strongest shock of his 
charge lay in the strength of the position from which it was made. 
The young and ardent Republicans at the convention gener- 
ally preferred Fremont, and he was selected as standard-bearer. 
None the less Mr. Blaine entered the contest with all his heart. 
For the great majority with which the Republicans carried 
Maine, no member of the rising party won more laurels than 
their adopted citizen, and no exigency could have been better 
adapted to show his genius for leadership. The moral eleva- 
tion of the struggle was such as to enlist every power and the 
whole allegiance of a noble nature. 

His first public speeches are numerous. Soon after coming 
to Augusta he went with a large party to Farmington, where 
William Pitt Fessenden was to speak. It was one of the earli- 
est Franklin-county mass meetings of Republicans. Fessenden 
was not there, and the committee came to the Augusta delega- 
tion and asked if they had any speaker. Some one said there 
was a young man named Blaine there who had just come to 
town and spoke well at caucuses. He was called on and modestly 
stated that Fessenden was away, and that he had accepted the 
invitation so that they might hear Republican doctrines instead 
of no speech. He then likened his situation to that of the 
farmer in New Hampshire who had a fast horse which he 
thought worth $500. A jockey tried him, and offered $75. 
The owner thought it over for a few minutes, then said, " It's 

a d 1 of a drop, but I'll take it." The aptness of the story 

and the manner of the speaker captivated the audience, and his 
speech was pronounced the best of the year. From that day 



116 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

on, it is the proud boast of Franklin county that no person ever 
shared with him its political love. 

Another first public speech his editorial partner vouches for 
and describes. Mr. Blaine had then been in the State one year 
and a half, had already become well known as a brilliant and able 
writer, and had secured a large circle of warm friends. Yet 
it was not known that he possessed rare powers for debate and 
public speaking. It is doubtful if he knew that himself. In- 
deed, there are signs that he then distrusted his powers in this 
regard. There was to be a large political assemblage of farmers 
of more than average intelligence, in Litchfield, a Kennebec 
town a few miles from the Maine capital. The two Kenne- 
bec Journal editors rode together to and from this meeting, 
in the beautiful afternoon of a spring day, it being understood 
that both were to speak on pending issues. It was arranged 
that Mr. Blaine should begin and his associate close the 
meeting. A little nervous, yet holding complete self-command, 
he stepped on the platform ; he had not spoken five min- 
utes before there were plain indications that his audience 
was quickly coming to the opinion that the young editor could 
talk as ably as he could write. The various and vital issues, 
all converging in one focus, were reviewed plainly, incisively, 
and with compact and lucid array of facts. His success in an 
address of perhaps forty minutes was complete. The listeners 
were delighted, and his editorial associate, who was to speak 
after him, was quite as much surprised as the rural assembly, 
and too modestly avows that he felt his own speech was spoiled. 

In point of time Mr. Blaine's first political speech was in 
Haliowell in the open air. He stood on the top of a high flight 
of steps belonging to a boarding-house, and he probably never 
passed the house afterwards without thinking of it; seldom, 
with members of his family, without speaking of it. 

His public hatred of slavery was accentuated by its personal 
attack upon his brother-in-law, Mr. Stan wood, of Boston. That 
gentleman was, as the Boston papers of the time noted, " what 
is popularly known as a Webster Whig, of the conservative 
stamp, well and favorably known in mercantile circles ; and 
this foul attack upon a person of his high character and social 
position has, of course, excited much attention here." 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 117 

Upon returning to his hotel near midnight, Mr. Stanwood 
had been introduced by a friend to Mr. Bushrod W. Vicks, of 
North Carolina ; but seeing that the gentleman was somewhat 
excited on the subject of politics he soon withdrew, with some 
six or eight other gentlemen, leaving only one man, an acquaint- 
ance, with Mr. Vicks. Reaching the staircase and hearing very 
loud and harsh talk from Mr. Vicks, he went back, with the 
laudable intention of calming and separating the parties, and 
again left, supposing that he had succeeded. 

" I might have got some two or three paces from him," his tes- 
timony is, " he directly in my rear, when he commenced beating 
me, with a large and heavy cane, over the back of my head, my 
shoulders, and the back of my arms. I immediately faced him, 
and grappled him by the throat, and threw him on a settee, 
sprawling. But the severe blows I had received across my 
arms, head, and back had well-nigh exhausted me in the com- 
mencement, and he again got the advantage of me and kept it 
till he was taken off by help." 

The physician summoned testified significantly that " he bears 
the marks of very severe blows upon the back of his head, the 
back of the right shoulder and right forearm, and the back of 
the left arm and forearm. The blows must have been struck 
with a heavy weapon, by some person behind him." 

With all the editor's brotherly sympathy and outraged sense 
of justice, there is discernible a grim scientific satisfaction over 
the proof of a political theorem ! 

"This outrage seems the more aggravated when it is remem- 
bered that there was not even the excuse (if excuse it be) of 
political difference and animosity. Mr. Stanwood, we regret to 
say, belongs to the most hunker class of Boston Courier Whigs, 
a set of gentlemen who have about as much sympathy with 
4 Republicanism' as they have for the c Jellyby ' missions in 
Borrioboola-Gha, and whose affinities with the Buchanan Demo- 
crats are so close that the nicest optics can discern no line of 
demarcation. In. attacking Mr. Stanwood, therefore, the ruffian 
Vicks was assaulting one of that very class of Northern men 
who most persistently maintain that the South is the wronged 
party, and that Southern men, if treated well themselves, are 
not disposed to molest others. If all the Courier Whigs in 



118 BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Massachusetts, and in Maine too (for we have a few of them 
among us), could have the recent experiences of Mr. Stanwood, 
we might begin to hope that they would see matters in a differ- 
ent light, and be disposed to admit that the Black Republicans 
are doing battle against a tyranny as inexorable as ever cursed 
the earth — a tyranny that not only lays claim to supreme 
dominion in all the territories of the nation, but invades sover- 
eign States, and waylays and half murders Senators and private 
citizens at pleasure. 

" Until this spirit of insolence and arrogance is effectually re- 
buked, we of the North can expect but a repetition of similar 
outrages. So long as we have a party among us that excuses 
and palliates, and, in some instances, even justifies, these brutali- 
ties, we may be sure that Southern ruffians will repeat them. 
When Massachusetts editors give dinner parties to Knights of 
the Bludgeon, what else can be expected than that Massachu- 
setts Senators shall be assaulted for daring to speak the lan- 
guage of freedom, and Massachusetts merchants stealthily 
struck down for presuming to claim friendship with a supporter 
of Fremont? 

" At the South, we too well know how even these villanies are 
upheld, justified, and applauded. Preston S. Brooks has re- 
ceived thirteen canes and two services of plate, to say nothing 
of the bouquets, the compliments, and the kisses, for his chival- 
rous assault on Mr. Sumner. We expect nothing else than that 
Mr. Bushrod W. Vicks will be sent to Congress by a grateful 
constituency for his manly and courageous attack on Mr. Stan- 
wood. If he fails in securing that honor, he will doubtless be 
rewarded, in the possible event of Buchanan's election, with a 
handsome executive appointment." 

The possible event happened. Fremont was not elected, 
but through the very announcement of defeat rang the psean of 
exultation. " No defeat ! " resounded from the hills of Maine. 
44 Such a result from an organization four months old is the 
assurance of victory to come." 

But politics did not absorb all Mr. Blaine's thought. His 
nature was so full, so exuberant, that he was interested in every- 
thing he touched. All the interests of Augusta became his 
care and concern, both before the Legislature and in private 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 119 

citizenship. The institutions of the city, the agricultural possi- 
bilities of the outlying communities, the industrial developments, 
the charities and churches, all felt the glow of his sympathy, the 
impetus of his ready action. 

When Mr. Blaine came to Augusta, the Rev. Edwin B. Webb 
was pastor of the First Church. He was a very handsome and 
promising young man, but a few years older than Mr. Blaine, and 
he further allied himself to Augusta by marrying the daughter 
of his predecessor, the venerable Dr. Tappan, whose wife was a 
sister of Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, of Boston. Mr. Webb and 
his young parishioner at once became close friends. Many and 
many a night they walked up and down State street arm in 
arm, or sat upon the stone steps of the Capitol, though their 
homes were so near each other that, as Dr. Webb once said, he 
could throw a biscuit from his window to Mr. Blaine's, — and 
spoke no doubt from successful experiment. The relation be- 
tween them was one of peculiar warmth and tenderness. Dr. 
Webb had great confidence in Mr. Blaine's business ability, 
followed him through all his political career with keen, admir- 
ing, often pained and painful sympathy, and cherished the pas- . 
toral relation in his heart long after it had ceased on the records 
by his own removal from the State. Under his influence, Mr. 
Blaine was speedily brought into the church, nothing loath, it 
must be added ; for his easy way to the love of God, whom he 
saw not, was through love of man, whom he had seen. The 
Hon. Mr. Bradbury, then an Ex-Senator, and living now in the 
evening glow of his two and ninety years, remembers that 
Mr. Blaine was a member of his Sunday-school class for a few 
months till many cares thickened around him ; but Mr. Bradbury, 
who lived nearly opposite Mr. Blaine, insisted on exercising 
spiritual supervision to the extent of sending over a silver bowl 
which had been in his family a hundred and fifty years, for the 
baptism of each of the Blaine children. 

A large class of men he taught in a Mission Sunday-school 
with so much acceptance that a churchman declared fervently, 
" If he had entered the pulpit instead of the political arena, 
there would not have been his equal in the profession in the 
country." And a member of that Sunday-school class exclaimed 
many years afterwards, " Not a day passes but T bless the name 
of Blaine ! " 



120 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

At the annual parish meetings, which Mr. Blaine considered 
as important to a Congregational church as the annual election 
to politics, he was a regular attendant and an active participant. 
For liberal measures, especially for liberal appropriations for 
the minister, the music, and all the service of the church, he 
could be relied on. 

But in one respect Mr. Webb was disappointed. In the 
" prayer-meeting " Mr. Blaine's voice was not heard. The lamp 
of his faith glowed with a steady, cheerful, and far-reaching 
light, but that particular burner he never used. Anything like 
" exhortation," still more anything like personal revelation or 
exhibition of religious feeling, was impossible to him. 

None the less he walked in all the ordinances of the Lord 
blameless, and with ever-growing influence. They tell yet, in 
Augusta, of the good woman who, when the meeting-house was 
struck by lightning, rushed around amid the crowd, sorrowful, 
wringing her hands, and moaning, " Where is Mr. Blaine, oh, 
where is Mr. Blaine ? " evidently believing, by neighborhood 
interpretation, that if Mr. Blaine had been there the lightning 
would have been balked. " Where is Mr. Blaine ? " cried a 
second woman, coming up. " At home, drawing up a subscrip- 
tion paper for a new meeting-house.'' 

When a large East Boston church bade Mr. Webb to their 
pulpit, Mr. Blaine was appointed on a committee to draft reso- 
lutions expressive of the sentiments of the society. The com- 
mittee's resolutions were prompt and pointed, to the effect' 
"that this is not an invitation which the great Head of the 
Church requires their respected and beloved pastor to accept " ! 
They recapitulated the success of his work for the seven years, 
suggested that it was " the only society at the capital where were 
necessarily brought together large numbers of intelligent stran- 
gers from every section of the State, thus presenting a field of 
great general usefulness and influence beyond our own locality, 
and responsibility and accompanying duty surpassed only by a 
few positions in this part of the Union, where his labors have 
been so signally blessed ; " and that it was especially necessary 
that this society should be united, strong, energetic, and en- 
gaged ; and Mr. Webb remained in Augusta — till a better 
attested call won him to Boston itself. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 121 

Mr. Webb's young parishioner, the Journal editor, also re- 
ceived a call which he decided that the great Head of the 
Church required him to accept. His Augusta editorship had 
been successful. The paper was established in a new building 
with modern improvements, but the editor carried with him his 
pet desk, made upon his first induction into the office, from his 
own directions, under his own eye. By the limited light of 
that day, it was his ideal of the true editor's desk. It has ever 
since attended the fortunes of the Journal, and with all its 
shortcomings is at this moment the article of furniture most 
prized in the Journal office. Mr. Blaine was in truth a very 
skilful and artistic, though undeveloped, mechanic. There is 
reason for supposing that even the jack-knife was a lost art to 
him, but he delighted in mechanical inventions and arrange- 
ments ; loved to plan houses, rooms, furniture ; loved to symbol- 
ize sentiments and ideas in decorations, and watch their slow 
materialization ; loved to group pictures — always with a man 
and a step-ladder to try the suggested effects ! He was inval- 
uable in helping out interiors when he could be captured from 
the exterior. Not only his own houses, but his friends' houses, 
he viewed upon occasion with the eye of the artificer. If a 
change were desired by a woman on whom he might be calling, 
it was the work of a moment for him to pace the floor, to 
knock down a partition here, to knock open a door there, to 
throw out a portico, to place a tank, run a pipe, draw a diagram, 
and all with such definiteness of vigor and heartiness of reason- 
ing and demonstration, that the work seemed already accom- 
plished before a nail was driven, and it only remained to the 
proprietor to pay the bill. 

August 9, 1857, he wrote to his mother : " In case Walker gets 
through his sickness comfortably and H. and the baby remain 
in good condition, it is not improbable that I shall go to Port- 
land in a few weeks to edit a daily paper. I have an excellent 
offer, and have about concluded to accept in case my family af- 
fairs will permit. I should not remove my family from Augusta 
at present, and would be at home every Saturday and Sunday. 
Portland is but three hours distant." 

In October, the same year, the Journal made announce- 
menl that Mr. Blaine had become connected with the "Portland 



122 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Advertiser " a few weeks before, and a week later that he had 
disposed of his entire interest in the Journal, and " his con- 
nection with the paper ceases." He tendered many thanks for 
the confidence and regard shown him during three years' service, 
commended his successor, and spoke warmly of his partner, J. 
L. Stevens, " with whom I have been most agreeably associated, 
and to whose zeal, fidelity, and ability in the advocacy of Re- 
publican principles I bear most cheerful testimony." He did 
not announce what was nevertheless true that the success of the 
paper was attested by the greatly increased value of the prop- 
erty under his management, as shown by the prices at which he 
had bought and sold it. 

Familiar with the coal-fields of Pennsylvania, he early invested 
his surplus capital in coal properties in Western Pennsylvania, 
and it was not very long before he was contracting for the de- 
livery of coal ; by the spring of 1863, " the party of the second 
part agreeing to pay unto the said James G. Blaine the price of 
sixty cents for each and every one hundred bushels of coal 
taken out, not less, however, than three hundred thousand 
bushels in each year." 

Hon. John M. Wood, M.C., had come into chief ownership of 
the Portland Advertiser, and Mr. Wood fastened upon the 
young Augusta editor for editor-in-chief of his new venture, 
offering him $2,000 a year, a larger salary than had ever been 
paid a Maine editor. 

" Agreement " between John M. Wood, of Portland, of the 
first part, and James G. Blaine, of Augusta, of the second part, in 
Mr. Blaine's handwriting, " witnesseth " what importance he 
attached to a clear understanding of detail : 

. . . . That his salary was to be two thousand dollars ($,2000) per 
annum, payable monthly, one hundred and sixty-six dollars sixty-seven one- 
hundredths per month ($166.67). 

2. That if at any time prior to October 1, 1861, the said Wood desires 
to dispense with the services of said Blaine as editor of the " Advertiser," 
he (the said Wood) shall pay to him (the said Blaine) the sum of six 
hundred dollars ($600) in addition to the salary that may be due to him at 
the time his labor on the paper shall cease; and if, on the other hand, 
the said Blaine wishes to be released from this agreement prior to October 
1, 1861, he shall pay the said Wood six hundred dollars bonus for releasing 
him. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G, BLAINE. 123 

3. It is further agreed that said Blaine, during his connection with the 
paper as editor, shall reside either in Portland or Augusta; if in Augusta, 
then to remain in Portland five days of each week except when the Legis- 
lature is in session, during which time said Blaine is to remain in Augusta 
as correspondent and reporter for the "Advertiser," as much of the time 
as maybe deemed expedient for the best interests of the paper, at the same 
time furnishing the leading editorials for the paper. . . . 

7. It is further agreed that the supervision of the editorial columns of 
the paper shall be exercised by said Blaine, and no editorial article shall 
be allowed to appear in said paper without the inspection and assent of 
said Blaine, except articles whose insertion is directed by said Wood. 
And all editorial articles which may be inserted by said Wood's direction 
the said Blaine shall have the right to dissent from in the columns of the 
" Advertiser, 1 ' in case he desires to present different views, or explain his 
own position. 

8. For the considerations herein named and upon the conditions cited, 
the said Blaine binds himself to use all honorable efforts for the prosperity 
and advancement of the "Advertiser, 11 and to this end will devote all the 
time requisite to the proper and faithful discharge of his editorial duties, 
and will not aid by contribution or otherwise in the editing of any other 
paper or periodical, and will not engage in any other business that will 
conflict with the proper discharge of his editorial duties. 



In 1859 agreement was continued between Waldron, Little & 
Co. and James G. Blaine, in presence of E. B. Webb, with the 
addition that " in case said Blaine shall serve as a member of 
the Legislature, he shall devote his compensation as such to the 
payment of a substitute in his place, besides himself furnishing 
not less than three leading editorials or letters for the paper 
each week." 

February 11, 1860, under a new contract, " if said Blaine be 
a member of the Legislature he shall receive but twelve dollars 
per week for his editorial services, and be required to furnish 
no more than three leaders and one letter each week during the 
legislative session. This agreement shall continue in full force 
and effect for one year after the services of said Blaine shall 
commence, and may then be discontinued by either party 
thereto." 

The Portland Advertiser was a daily. The Kennebec 
Journal had been a weekly, and during the sessions of the 
Legislature a tri-weekly. The work was naturally more exact- 
ing, and in a letter to his mother Mr. Blaine speaks <»l 



124 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

. . . my very numerous cares and my constant, unremitting 1 daily 
labor. . . . 

I spend about one-half the week in Portland, and the remainder at home. 
A large part of my editorial labor is performed here, and as Portland is 
distant but three hours 1 travel by rail, I can get along just as well as though 
I were constantly there. I have thought a good deal about moving there, 
but hardly think I shall do so. Rents are enormously high and expenses 
of living higher in every way than here. The city is a very beautiful one, 
of thirty thousand inhabitants, situated directly on the ocean, and possesses 
many attractive points as a place of residence. I think, however, that 
upon the whole 1 prefer the quiet and retirement of Augusta. 

Our babies grow finely. Walker is a great boy of now nearly three 
years, and has grown prodigiously since his sickness of the past summer. 
I shall before long try to send you his daguerreotype. Emmons (now 
eight months old) is of course very handsome in my eyes. He is large, 
playful, and so far exceedingly healthy. 

Dec. 19, 1857. 

. . . Walker and Emmons are two as beautiful children as, in the 
fondness of my heart, I could possibly desire. I hope before very long I 
may be able to bring them to see you, or, better still, have you come and 
see them — or would you venture into this Puritan land ? 

Tell Mr. M. to lie low in political matters and watch the Democratic 
party rush on to self-destruction. . . . The Republican President will 
beyond all doubt be inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1861. I should like 
to see him and talk politics, but I cannot write them, as I have too much of 
that to do for a daily paper. 

The event foreshadowed in the contract with Mr. Wood came 
to pass, and in September, 1858, Mr. Blaine was elected Repre- 
sentative from Augusta in the State Legislature. His slight 
business connection with Portland had not been long enough or 
strong enough to weaken his home attachment to Augusta, or 
to invalidate the vigor with which, whenever an attempt was 
made to take away the Capitol from Augusta and give it to 
Portland, he opposed it tooth and nail. Nor, after his con- 
nection with the Advertiser ceased, was he ever again tempted 
away from Augusta to Portland. 

To Mr. Blaine from Senator Fessenden : 

August 15, 1860. 
. . . The publishers and owners of the Advertiser have made up their 
minds, at last, that they must adopt a new system. It is too late for 
them to do much before the September election, but we shall see what can 



lisiiia, 




■-.■--•-•: 



;« 

;«%?! 





AT TWENTY-EIGHT. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 125 

be done after that is over. . . . But nothing can be done unless an able 
editor can be had ; and there is but one voice as to who should be the 
man. I am convinced that the concern is profitable, and can be made 
more so, if a jDroper character can be given to it. Now, can you, and will 
you, become identified with Portland ? I have heretofore given you my 
views as to the proper place for you. My opinion remains unchanged. 
This is the point of strength for you in every aspect, political and pecuni- 
ary. Let me know what you think about it soon, as our action will be 
influenced by your decision. 

But editorship was incompatible with his new duties. As an 
editor he had not only shaped the policy and written the edito- 
rials for his paper but he had supervised its details. His writing 
was largely done in his own house. At the Journal office he 
looked over the newspapers, exchanged cheery words with the 
compositors at the case, and with the political friends who found 
him there, and not only gave general directions regarding the 
course of the paper, but stood by the foreman and dictated the 
position of every article, from the leader down to the most 
trivial three-line items. For particulars he had an inexhaustible 
capacity, and though he never expended himself on them they 
were the basis of all his generalization and his ready and most 
formidable weapon whenever those generalizations were chal- 
lenged. 

In the Legislature he quickly took high ground. His views 
were radical, definite, uttered with frankness and fearlessness. 
He was impetuous, aggressive, and persistent. His words were 
weapons. Maine had become used to his writing, but his suc- 
cess as an editor had not prepared her for his greater success in 
the House. After two years' service on the floor he was made 
speaker. In the new position he showed a knowledge of parlia- 
mentary rules and a quickness and reasonableness in applying 
them that come only from a comprehension of the principles 
underlying rules, and imply mental grasp rather than mechan- 
ical memory. 

In 1859, succeeding Mr. Stevens, he was appointed Chairman 
of the Republican Executive Committee, of Maine, an honor less 
noticeable, perhaps an office less conspicuous than those of the 
speakership, but carrying the responsibility of shaping the policy 
and organizing the forces of the Republican party in the State. 



126 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

To this office he continued to be reappointed until he was made 
Secretary of State by Garfield in 1881. Indeed, from the day 
of his election to the Legislature his district never let go her 
hold upon him, except to relinquish him to the State, and the 
State relinquished him only to the nation. As Chairman of 
the State Committee, his organization was so thorough that the 
party marched to nearly uninterrupted victory, and the other 
party called him dictator. A dictator he was, but a dictator 
who believed that the reason and conscience of the people was the 
true basis of government, and the only basis of popular govern- 
ment, and who, therefore, so arranged his forces as to meet the 
reason, and enlist the conscience, and command the assent, and 
know the purpose of every man in the community. His broad 
view, his swift glance were accompanied by such a patience of 
detail as counted nothing done for victory while anything re- 
mained to be done. This it was which invested his counsels with 
an unsurpassed vigor and vitality. When in other States ex- 
pected victories turned themselves into defeats at the polls, his 
surprised question was, " Why did they not know f v Thorough 
organization was the great secret of his political dictatorship. 

Of this* period of his life, Ex-Governor Robie some years 
afterwards writes : 



It was my good fortune to have been associated in the Legislature of 
Maine with Mr. Blaine during three of the most important years in the^ 
history of our State, commencing in the year 1859. . . . He came 
into public life at a time when the management of the finances of our 
State required a searching investigation, and he was made chairman of a 
responsible committee, of which I was a member. ... I recall the 
masterly manner in which he handled the delicate trust committed to him, 
his searching and uncompromising efforts to save the credit of the State. 
The able report prepared by him which laid open and explained an unfor- 
tunate misdirection of public confidence, was at once adopted ; the credit 
of the State was saved by his labor and by the action of the committee. I 
call to mind his efforts to develop the great railroad interests of the State, 
then in their infancy, but since developed in consequence of methods which 
he advocated. I recall his recommendation for State Prison reform, which 
created a new departure in our State and resulted in an improved method 
of prison-work and discipline. I cannot for want of space recapitulate 
the numerous and well-executed plans for the prosperity of our State 
and Nation which he advocated with the fervor of his youthful eloquence ; 
but he thus early laid in our State the foundation of that respect and 



BTOGEAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 127 

regard to which his untiring services for education, temperance, law, 
and order, and the development of the natural resources of the State, 
entitle him. . . 

These are some of the many causes which have contributed to create 
and increase the warm feeling of attachment and State pride which has 
grown into a profound veneration among the Republican masses. 

* 

Yet, in truth, his popularity was something other than this. 
The personal affection lavished upon him by the people of 
Maine was apart from political affiliation. 

The attractiveness which never failed to win at his first ap- 
pearance deepened as familiarity grew. His sympathy was 
seen to be not only quick, but wide, deep, lasting, and fruitful. 
It embraced the man himself, not simply the citizen. It was 
seen that his heart, his conviction, his conscience, were in his 
work, and that he was more eager to secure the end than the 
credit of it. Naturally he enlisted the best in every man, and 
gathered by divine right all love and loyalty to himself. The 
personal enthusiasm which centred in him stretched far beyond 
the point of personal contact. Governor Kent testified, " Almost 
from the day of his assuming editorial charge of the Kennebec 
Journal, Mr. Blaine sprang into a position of great influence 
in the politics and policy of Maine. At twenty-five he was a 
leading power in the councils of the party. Before he was 
twenty-nine he was chosen chairman of the Executive Commit- 
tee of the Republican organization in Maine, a position from 
which he has shaped and directed political campaigns in the 
State, leading his party to brilliant victory. There was a sort 
of Western dash about him that took with us down-easters ; an 
expression of frankness, candor, and confidence that gave him, 
from the start, a very strong and permanent hold on our people, 
and, as the foundation of all, pure character and a masterly 
ability equal to all demands made upon him ; "but just as deeply 
and more definitely right was the old neighbor in Augusta who 
wrote him, on his fortieth birthday, in Washington : 

January 31, 1870. 

My DEAR Mr. Blaink : Permit me to congratulate you on safely reach- 
ing your fortieth natal day. From my heart, I thank God for your life, 
and fott your public and private virtues. How prosperous have been your 



128 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

years ! From the day you took up your abode in Augusta, your advance- 
ment has been sure and steady, and the confidence and anticipations of 
your friends have never been disappointed. My opportunities for personal 
observation, and for knowing what others think, have been as good, I 
believe, as those of any other person ; and I have never heard you accused 
of any deceptions, trickeries, double-dealings, or any of those little mean- 
nesses that taint and mar the life of so many public men. That there have 
been envyings, there can be no doubt — alas, who is free from them? That 
you have been, and are, ambitious, is true, I suppose ; but your plans and 
measures have been wise and sagacious, not dishonorable, low, and mean. 
Your friendship for me — how constant and faithful has it been ! There has 
not been a year of our acquaintance that has not witnessed your good daily 
towards me and mine, and all that is now pleasant and comfortable in my 
surroundings I owe to you. Your deportment towards me in this city is 
as cordial and considerate as ever, though 1 have appeared to you many 
times moody, croaking, and cynical. 

May God have you and yours in his continued holy keeping, and grant 
you all the desires of your heart ; for sure I am that your advancement is 
also the advancement of the public welfare. 



When the Republican convention met in Chicago in 1860, 
Mr. Stevens and Mr. Blaine attended it, the one as Republican 
delegate, the other as a volunteer from vivid personal interest. 
Mr. Stevens was for Mr. Seward's nomination, and, as usual, all 
his soul was in his conviction. Mr. Blaine had been appointed 
Prison Commissioner for the State in 1859, and with great care 
had investigated prisons in many States and his report is still 
quoted as authority. On one such visit he had found him- 
self in the vicinity of the Lincoln-Douglas debate, and had 
availed himself of the opportunity to hear Mr. Lincoln twice. 
He had followed the senatorial contest with interest, and ever 
after was an enthusiastic adherent of Mr. Lincoln, and was 
now his earnest advocate. Indeed he believed his paper, the 
Kennebec Journal, to be the first one which ever mentioned 
Lincoln's name for the presidency. 

He could not win Mr. Stevens away from Seward, but of the 
sixteen Maine delegates not pledged, but supposed to be for 
Seward, six voted for Lincoln. This division of an Eastern 
delegation for the Western man had an appreciable effect. Mr. 
Stevens drew from Mr. Blaine full admission and admiration 
of Mr. Evarts's eloquence, to which he then listened for the first 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 129 

time, but it did not alter his opinion that Mr. Lincoln was the 
better candidate. 

Chenery House, Springfield, III., 

Sunday, May 20, 1860. 

I came here yesterday from Chicago, in company with the committee 
appointed by the National Convention to notify Mr. Lincoln of his nomina- 
tion. We reached here before sunset, and were received by a tremendous 
crowd at the depot, conducted to the hotel, treated to a handsome supper, 
and then taken to Mr. Lincoln's residence, where Mr. Ashmun, of Massa- 
chusetts, chairman of the committee, formally notified him of his nomina- 
tion, and Mr. Lincoln accepted it in a most admirable, pertinent, and brief 
speech. We were all then formally presented to him and also. to his wife, 
who is a very lady-like and quite good-looking person. Lincoln himself 
is a far better-looking man than you would expect from the miserable car- 
icature I sent you. It is like him to be sure, but a most grotesque and 
exaggerated painting of his phiz and features. . . . While a very 
awkward-looking man, you realize at once that it is the awkwardness of 
genius rather than any proof of the lack of it. 

I think the nomination the very best that could have been made in every 
way, and I have no more doubt of the election of the ticket than I have 
that Maine will be carried by the Republicans. Governor Morrill and my- 
self worked hard for Lincoln from the time we reached Chicago, and you 
may depend we feel no little gratification at the result. All the way out in 
the cars I tried to persuade Lot that Lincoln was the man, but he would not 
believe it until after he reached Chicago. His convictions were then 
speedily strengthened and confirmed. The renomination of Hamlin [for the 
Senate] proves what there is in being a lucky man. He always turns up 
on the winning side, and the very fact that he is on the ticket is a good 
augury of success. People generally accept it as assurance, and that 
impression will be as good as the reality. . . . 

It is now a little after nine o'clock, and the various gentlemen, strangers 
like myself, are inquiring where the best preaching may be found. 

Among those in our company is Governor Morgan. 

On the way home Mr. Stevens stopped at Mr. Seward's for 
consolation, but the intercourse only deepened the disappoint- 
ment which he shared with many Eastern men. For two days 
after reaching Augusta lie did not go near Mr. Blaine, and when 
he did it was only to revert for a moment to theology : 

"Here, you have got your man. Now, take your d d old 

paper and run it ! " 

And the stout-hearted loyalist was as good as his word, turned 
his back upon his paper for three months — much, it must be 
admitted, to Mr. Blaine's satisfaction, since it left him free to 



130 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

resume and use the Journal as a battering-ram through the 
Lincoln campaign. 

The war of ideas earnestly waged, came to its unexpected 
and terrible issue in blood. The North shuddered incredulous, 
but the forces of freedom and peace rallied in a new and untried 
defence. For one moment it was mere playing at war, but the 
grief of Baltimore, the surprised horror of Bull Run, passed 
into the unrelenting grip of a four years' war, fought by mil- 
lions of men. 

Concerning Mr. Blaine, there was never any question of his 
battle-field. The soldiers themselves drafted him into the sup- 
port and sustenance of the army, and his great-grandsire's grave 
did utter forth a voice. 

He was in constant communication with generals and privates. 
He was the servant of the soldier, whether it were to champion 
a general against unjust attack in the newspapers, or to sub- 
mit cheerfully to the demolition of his own purse or the 
devastation of his own larder, for the soldiers' sudden emer- 
gency. In gathering the regiments, in their care and comfort at 
home, in forwarding and furnishing them, in keeping commu- 
nication open between them and their families, in help for the 
wounded and ministry for the dead, he was unwearied, not only 
in service, but in sympathy. He shared, if he did not sound, 
Maine's proud boast of being the banner State in raising her 
quota for the Holy War. In defeat and darkness he maintained 
with cheerful confidence the ability of the country to suppress 
the rebellion, the ability of the Union to maintain itself. He 
was at the right hand of the State authorities, ever at call, and 
in frequent and close communication, for the State, with the 
general government at Washington. 

One letter shows as well as many the necessary but unbla- 
zoned civilian side of army work. It is from Mr. Washburn, 
who was then governor of Maine, to Mr. Blaine, who was in 
Washington : 

Augusta, Oct, 30, 1861. 
My dear Sir : I returned from Boston last evening, where I had been 
for three or four days arranging for some absolute needs. I there secured 
the appointment of Major Gilbreth, and another to be designated by him, 
to inspect the thing, etc. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES Q. BLAINE. 131 

Your letter of the 21th forbids the State doing anything more than fur- 
nish men, tents, and clothing for the artillery companies, but yours of the 
28th intimates that the State may furnish guns, carriages, etc., for all but 
Tillson's company. 

As it will take so much time to get up all these things, and will cause 
so many inconveniences, will it not, on the whole, be best for govern- 
ment to furnish eveiwthing save these — men, horses, clothing, and tents'? 
Will not General Barry furnish all the rest ? Let him do as he chooses 
about horses, though I would like to buy them in Maine, but make no 
special point if government has the horses on hand ; but if it has not, 
why not let them be purchased here? Upon consultation with General 
Barry, advise me what to do. I think we shall hardly raise more than 
three companies artillery in addition to Shepley's and Dow's (Tillson's) . 
There will be no difficulty in raising these. 

As to camp stoves, Colonel Harding has got up a pattern that will answer 
splendidly — he makes the pipe serve the double purpose of stove-pipe 
and tent-pole. The pipe is stiff, strong, steady, and lets the smoke escape 
from the apex of the tent. It is lighter than the common wooden pole. 
The entire expense of tent and pipe will not exceed $4.00, and by it you 
dispense with the pole, saving thereby some fifty cents in cost of the tent, 
and it warms the tent well, and is a saving of Avood and thus of expense. 
One of them has been in use here for several days and works admirably — - 
nothing else can be so good — there is no smoke in the tent. If we don't 
get a pattern in season, will it be safe to contract for some of these ? Stoves 
are now much needed, as cold weather is coming on. Telegraph me — 
remember the net expense will not exceed, hardly come up to, $3.50, in- 
cluding stove and pipe. 

Advise me of the proper steps^to draw money for payment of the horses 
and clothing. 

You know Colonel Marshall and the Seventh have been constructing a fort 
at Baltimore, in which they took great interest. It would be exceedingly 
gratifying to the people of this State, and particularly to Mrs. Marshall, 
if the fort can be named after the brave and noble man who built it. Will 
you speak to the Secretary about it ? It would be a most fit and graceful 
act. 

I have appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Varney colonel of the Seventh. I 
am rejoiced at your success in getting the laws. Laus Deo, and some 
laus J. G. B. 

I think we ought to have at least one army artillery sergeant for each 
battery. I will write Mr. Belger. 

Messrs. Sammat and Tayler came yesterday. Bowen has not arrived. 
The rubber blanket is such protection to the health of the soldier that I 
think the government will see that there is economy in adopting it. 

Recruiting is going on satisfactorily. Colonel Caldwell will leave next 
week — the Twelfth and Thirteenth are well along — the Sharpshooters is 
full, and a good beginning is made with Fourteenth and Fifteenth. Cav- 
airy regiment is full, though about one hundred men have not yH come 



132 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE 

into camp. I can move in two weeks if it only has arms. Can you get 
them ? I don't want it to leave without. They want to march to Washing- 
ton, or at any rate through New England — it will be fine drill for men and 
horses. Can you get consent? You can't exaggerate this regiment. 

I do want to give Colonel Caldwell's regiment their arms before they 
start. Please see what can be done for them — where will it <ro ? 

Maine has not vet received arms from United States averasfino- with 
those of other States. Government has furnished not one Maine regiment 
with rifles. 

Will you see how Colonel Berry is satisfied with the arms of his regi- 
ment ? Ask him what I shall do — some eight or ten hundred Enfield rifles 
will arrive soon in New York for us, in season probably for one of our 
regiments as it passes through that city. Ask him whether these guns 
shall be sent to him by express, while another, McKey, must go to Wash- 
ington armless, and there get guns much poorer than he now has ? I 
wish to gratify him, though I think it would be rather shiftless considering 
the guns he now has, that they are better than are often delivered now ; 
but if he is very particular, I suppose I can give him six to seven hundred, 
which, with the rifles he now has, will give this kind arms to all his men. 
But if he is content with things as they are, these guns will furnish flank 
companies of some four or five regiments with rifles. 

I would like to have you visit all our Maine camps and report condition, 
etc. 

Mr. Blaine's political creed till the war closed was the Union 
through Abraham Lincoln. He left the chair and took the floor 
in the House to iterate his faith and emphasize his position. 
Mr. Gould, of Thomaston, a veteran Democrat and a prominent 
lawyer, opposed resolutions supporting Mr. Lincoln, and hardly 
yet have the reverberations died away of the ringing and 
stinging words with which Mr. Blaine carried all before him — 
words so energized that they seemed like a physical attack. 
His friend, Hon. William P. Frye, of Lewiston, now and for 
many years United States Senator, occupied the chair at the 
time, and has hardly persuaded himself that in vigor, force, 
effectiveness, Mr. Blaine ever surpassed that early grapple with 
slavery and rebellion. The loyal masses of the nation have 
made truisms of the truths which were then only divined, but 
Avhose utterance was determining, decisive. 

" I am for the administration through and through, being an 
early and unflinching believer in the ability, the honesty, and 
patriotism of Abraham Lincoln. . . . Lest the gentleman 
should infer that I shrink from the logical consequences of some 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 133 

propositions which I have laid down as ultimate steps, I tell 
him boldly that if the life of the nation seemed to demand the 
violation of the Constitution, I would violate it ; and in taking 
this ground I am but repeating the expression of President Lin- 
coln in his message, when he declared that c it were better to 
violate one provision than that all should perish.' The gen- 
tleman sticks to forms : I go for substance. He sacrifices the 
end to the means : I stand ready to use the means essential to 
the end. I am sure that I speak no less the sentiments of patri- 
otic Republicans than of those truly loyal Democrats who intend 
to stand by the administration to the end of this fight with 
rebellion and treason." 

But no storm of the outside world ever made the fire on his 
hearth-stone burn low. With all the stress of war and politics 
and business and travel, he never forgot to say the loving word 
to the present, to write a loving word to the absent. It might 
be only a word, but it certified sympathy, memory, affection. 

His letters to his mother and sister are continuous — almost 
always accompanied by some little " gift " or " remembrance " 
or proposal of pleasure which he begs them to accept. In his 
occasional journeys he remembers not only the Great Hearts 
but the Little Hearts to be gladdened by news from him ; and 
printed letters to the children are scattered all along the way. 

May 15, 1859. 
To his sister : 

You and ma could not do me a greater favor than to send me all 
your family letters from Lancaster, Washington, Pa., and wherever else 
you may think worth while. I am so far out of the circle of my own " kith 
and kin " that T hear no more of them directly than though I was in Siberia. 

. . I hope to be able to make a visit to Philadelphia within the year, 
but at what time I cannot now say. 

. . . Emmons is now nearly two years old ; a perfect rogue. Walker 
sedate and sober. . . . 

P.S. — The passport was received. . . . He may tell General Cass that 
1 will sell it back to him for half price, as I have concluded, most probably, 
to postpone my trip until 1 can have my passport signed by a Republican 
Secretary of State, which will be from and after March 4, 18C1. 

Washington City, D.C., March 25, L86L 
My dear Walker: I received your nice little note this morning. I 
shall long keep it as the first letter written to me by ray darling little son. 



134 BTOCtBAPHY OF JAMES (1. BLAINE. 

The weather here is very warm. There is no snow here. The dust is 
very thick and blows in my eyes whenever I go on the street. 

I saw Abe Lincoln at the White House, and I heard that his children are 
sick with the measles. 

Kiss dear little Alice for Papa. 

( To be read by Walker.} 

Washington City, March 29, 1861. 

My dear Emmons : Papa was very glad to receive a letter from his 
dear little son. . . 

When I come home we will get the express wagon out of the barn, and 
have it nicely fitted up for you and Walker to ride in next summer. 

Kiss Alice for me. 

West Point, June 11, 1861. 

My dear Walker : This place is very beautiful indeed. It is on a 
high hill, with mountains all around, and the great Hudson river at the 
base. There are very many ships and steamboats sail past here, and some 
very large ones : one steamboat, called the " Isaac Newton," is four hun- 
dred and four feet long, as far nearly as from Mr. Potter's to the Mansion 
House. They sail very fast, some of them going twenty miles in an hour. 

In the river just opposite where I sit is an island called "Constitution 
Island." It is not very large, and one lady owns the whole of it. She is a 
very smart lady and writes books. She wrote one called Queechy, which I 
know you will read when you are old enough. ... I wish you would 
write to me soon. 

{To be read by Walker.) 

West Point, New York, June 13, 1861. 

My dear Emmons : There are a great many boys and young men here 
learning to be soldiers ; when they drill they have a splendid band of 
music and thirty musicians. A man walks at the head of the baud with a 
large gilt staff in his hand, with which he directs them how to play. He 
wears a very big hat with four very large feathers in it. They call him 
the drum major. 

I hope you go to school every day and behave yourself well. 

I don't think you ought to whistle at the table, but you can do so in the 
front yard. 

New York. 

My dear Walker r Before the war began Ex-President Pierce wrote a 
letter to Jeff Davis, telling him that Northern people would help him fight 
against Republicans. When our troops under General Grant captured 
Jackson, Mississippi, they found the letter in Jeff Davis\s house. I send 
you an exact copy of it. Keep it carefully. Love to Emmons and the 
Palace. Your affectionate father. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 135 

My dear Ma : I have thought it just as well to slip this translation of 
Emmons's letter into the envelope, as I doubt if you could read his scrawl. 
It is entirely his own in every respect. 

Augusta, Oct. 28, 1865. 
Dear Grandmother : I am very sorry that I did not write before. I 

want to tell you about the baby. Alice calls her " Pleasant M ." She 

is the pleasantest child you ever saw. . . . 

A few weeks ago a large part of the business portion of the city was de- 
stroyed by fire. Property amounting to half a million of dollars was lost. 
Nine engines were playing, among which was a new steam fire-engine, I 
cannot think of anything more, so good-by for a week. 

From your affectionate grandson, 

Williams E. Blaine. 
P.S. — Uncle R. has been here and returned. 



136 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



VIII. 

IN CONGRESS. 

~V JTR. BLAINE'S marked success in the State Legislature 
.-»-"- made his election to the National Congress pure foreordi- 
nation. His ability was so conspicuous that movements for his 
promotion began long before his own judgment could further 
them. He was a strong party man, seeing that measures could 
only be effected through organized action. He refused therefore 
to consider any personal proposition that threatened party har- 
mony. He had moreover the happy faculty of enjoying the 
estate wherein he was placed. He liked well to discover and 
achieve its possibilities, and he especially liked not at all to 
violate the just claims, or even disappoint the expectations, of 
others. The following slight correspondence, but one of many 
similar records, is thoroughly characteristic. 

Augusta, June 26, 1860. 
My dear Sir : The opportunity to set matters right in Monmouth 
occurred early and naturally. The day after I saw you I received the en- 
closed, and answered it, as you will see, on third page of this sheet. I also 
saw Mr. T. L. Stanton, of North Monmouth, last night, and set him right. 
Do you know anything specific about Leeds ? I advise you to look after 
that locality with some care. You may if you please return this note, as I 
may wish to keep Andrews's letter. 

In haste, your friend truly, 

J. G. Blaine. 
Gov. A. P. Morrill. 

(Enclosure.) Confidential. 

Monmouth, June 23, 1860. 
J. G. Blaine, Esq. : 

Dear Sir : Is your name to be used at the Congressional Convention of 
this district, for representative to Congress ? If so, I pledge you my hearty 
support and the delegation from this town, and, in the event of your nomi- 
nation, every Republican vote of this town next September. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 187 

Tn this I speak what I know. Should you feel disposed, I would be happy 
to hear from you at an early day. 

Very truly yours, 

Geo. II. Andrews. 

Augusta, June 25, 1860. 
Geo. H. Andrews, Esq. : 

My dear Sir : Your kind and friendly favor of the 23d is before me. 
The tender of your support for the honorable post of representative in 
Congress is exceedingly gratifying and flattering to me, and proves that I 
have not reckoned amiss in counting you among my most earnest friends. 
It is proper, however, to advise you that I am not a candidate for that 
position. It may possibly be known to you that Ex-Governor Morrill de- 
sires the nomination, and I should consider it both ungenerous and unjust 
for me to allow my name to be used against him. He has done much and 
sacrificed much for the Republican party in the day of its trial and its need, 
and the opportunity seems now to be presented for suitably and cordially 
recognizing his worth and his services. You can readily see how unbe- 
coming it would be in a man of my years to contest the nomination with 
him, even if I personally desired to do so. Its effect could only be to 
divide the hitherto harmonious ranks of the Republicans of Kennebec. 

I shall therefore most cheerfully support Governor Morrill for the nom- 
ination, and shall urge all my friends to do the same. 

Yours most truly, 

J. G. Blaine. 

When the propitious time came, his nomination to Congress 
was spontaneous, unanimous, enthusiastic, and in this spirit 
every succeeding step was prompted. The only question was 
as to what office he should fill, never as to whether he should 
fill office. His majority at the election approved the wisdom 
and justified the enthusiasm of the nomination ; and thenceforth 
to the day of his death his State held him in love and pride that 
knew no waning or wavering; that counted all his honors 
won; and all that he failed to wear, a personal sorrow and a 
national loss. 

In accepting the nomination, July 8, 1862, he not only referred 
with respect and gratitude to his immediate predecessor, Hon. 
Anson P. Morrill, and to the earlier men who had given the Ken- 
nebec District a front rank in Congress by their ability, culture, 
and skill in debate, but dwelt with peculiar affection on " the 
able editor, the sincere friend, the judicious adviser, the upright 
man, Luther Severance, who, after promoting the elections of Mr. 



138 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Sprague and Mr. Evans with unsurpassed activity and zeal, was 
rewarded with succession to the seat to which they had given 
eminent distinction. If you will pardon the personal reference, 
I regarded it as the chief honor of my life, before you crowned 
me with your favor to-day, that I followed Luther Severance, 
longo intervallo, in the editorship of the Kennebec Journal, 
which he had founded and nurtured, and to which he had given 
character and prominence throughout the State. There have 
perhaps been more brilliant men in Maine than Luther Sever- 
ance, but not one who ever enjoyed the public confidence in a 
higher degree, or repaid that confidence more amply by an 
honorable and stainless life." 

In this accepting speech he announced as his platform — ■ Abra- 
ham Lincoln. He made no pledge of principles to be adopted 
or measures to be carried out. His one pledge was, ' If I am 
called to a seat in Congress, I shall go there with a determina- 
tion to stand heartily and unreservedly by the administration 
of Abraham Lincoln. In the success of that administration, 
under the good providence of God, rests, I solemnly believe, 
the fate of the American Union. If we cannot subdue the 
rebellion through the agency of the administration, there is no 
other power given under heaven among men to which we can 
appeal. Hence I repeat that I shall conceive it to be my duty, 
as your representative, to be the unswerving adherent of the 
policy and measures which the President in his wisdom may 
adopt. The case is one, in the present exigency, where men 
loyal to the Union cannot divide. The President is commander- 
in-chief of our land and naval forces, and while he may be 
counselled he must not be opposed." 

On the great question which had already become not slavery, 
but emancipation, he spoke with veiled, but not vague voice : 
" The great object with us all is to subdue the rebellion 
speedily, effectually, finally. In our march to that end we must 
crush all intervening obstacles. If slavery, or any other " in- 
stitution," stands in the way, it must be removed. Perish all 
things else, the national life must be saved. My individual con- 
victions of what may be needful are perhaps in advance of those 
entertained by some, and less radical than those conscien- 
tiously held by others. Whether they are the one or the other, 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 139 

however, I do not wish to see an attempt made to carry them 
out until it can be done by an administration sustained by the re- 
sistless energy of the loyal masses. I think, myself, those masses 
are rapidly adopting the idea that to smite the rebellion its 
malignant cause must be smitten." 

In early September the metropolitan newspapers began to 
announce from their Maine correspondents, among the congres- 
sional nominations of the country, that of Mr. James G. Blaine, 
who had been " for the last two years speaker of the House of 
Representatives in Augusta, who is an able debater, and who 
will at once take high rank among the debaters in the national 
House of Representatives." 

When the vote was announced which upheld the President 
and the Union, the patriotic State proudly boasted that, 
though her young voters had carried the battle from the polls 
to the field, — ninety Republican to ten Democratic soldiers, — 
she had citizens enough left to man the ballot-boxes. 

At the time of Mr. Blaine's entrance into Congress, President 
Lincoln was the centre of a storm of hostile criticism. The 
shafts aimed at him were not only pointed, but envenomed. 
The suggestions of his message were pronounced vague and 
impracticable, wildly unjust, worse than tyranny, a betrayal of 
the principles of our fathers'. It was the " despot's edict, a 
ukase from the chambers of an autocrat." The President was 
hotly charged with political duplicity, with mean and treach- 
erous trickery, and was consigned by many a now forgotten 
foe to eternal infamy. 

Enemies abroad repeated the obloquy of the foe at home, 
and in Mr. Lincoln's message they saw, to the republic whose 
safety is the first care of monarchs, every menace, from the 
sanction of State suicide to a " bid " for renomination. 

Even in the house of his friends the great President was 
wounded. Distinguished and patriotic men were coldly criti- 
cal, if not actively hostile, towards the leader whom they did 
not comprehend, but whom they could pain and hinder — hin- 
derance perhaps the greatest pain of all. 

Naturally the Maine victory won in his name was doubly wel- 
come to Mr. Lincoln; the men whom it sent to Washington 
found his confidence already bespoken, and thus perhaps Mr. 



140 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Blaine had freer access to him than would otherwise have been 
awarded ; and all his intercourse inspired him with deeper faith 
in the President's wisdom, and confirmed his acceptance of the 
President's leadership as the only safety. 

Another President, Mr. Lincoln's predecessor, Mr. Buchanan, 
was watching the new member, and in a letter of comment and 
inquiry from Wheatland, showing his continued deep interest 
in public matters, he wrote : 

Mr. Blaine leads in the House of Representatives ; he will rise to be 
one of the leaders in reconstruction. I know that he comes from a noble 
stock of people in the counties of Washington and Cumberland, Penn. 

The problems before Congress at the time of Mr. Blaine's 
entrance were such as enlisted his warmest and highest interest 
— the support of the patriotic army on the field, and the official 
and complete abolition of slavery, made possible through the 
army and proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln. When this stern 
army of more than a million men melted away under the sun- 
shine of peace, and became again an elemental where it had 
been an objective force of productiveness and prosperity ; when 
slavery had been eliminated from the young nation whose life 
it had endangered, — the question became at once a questi'on of 
healing, of restoring national unity, of rebuilding waste places 
on new and lasting foundations. A great State rent by four 
years of fierce war was to be reconstructed on the old lines 
of republicanism, and on the new lines of universal indi- 
vidual liberty. President Lincoln proclaimed the emancipa- 
tion of slaves. Congress destroyed forever the institution of 
slavery. 

Into this work Mr. Blaine entered with his whole soul. The 
grandeur of this new nation was ever before his eyes. What 
the country could be, founded on the good-will of every citi- 
zen, where every citizen was free to work out his best and to 
enjoy his rest, — that it should be. No quest of the holy grail 
was ever more devotedly followed than his " extraordinary 
generous seeking " for the ideal republic. Her fortunes, her 
glory abroad, her happiness at home, definitely to be measured 
by the degree in which each man should through industry and 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 141 

thrift have freedom to cultivate his mind, create his home, and 
enjoy his family, — that became the private vocation and the 
public profession of the young Congressman. To his thought, 
national success began only where the struggle for life ceased 
and human beings entered into the sphere of aspiration. 

But for this ideal republic he wasted his strength in no vain 
dreams or vapid rhetoric, but used it in the widest fields and in 
the smallest details. His quick, pervasive, generalizing, and in- 
terpreting mind enveloped, penetrated, classified things small 
as well as great, and they ceased to be merely small, but, taking 
their place in the eternal sequences, became parts of the world- 
drama. 

Thus along the general principles which shaped themselves 
in the great seething mass of facts, he trod a clear path to 
logical positions which often seemed to the desultory mind seg- 
regated and sometimes inconsistent. From his fund of knowl- 
edge he readily marshalled precedents, and to his quick insight 
facts grouped themselves with their belongings and were there- 
fore orderly and pertinent. He noted that the central direct- 
ing power of the world does not scorn to use economic as well 
as moral forces to accomplish moral ends, and he put himself 
heartily in accord with that law. He rejected the idea that a 
community should or could be punished. While the rebellion 
was rampant, he had but one purpose — to suppress it ; the 
rebellion once suppressed, his purpose became to heal by cordial 
cooperation, by wise and fostering care, by a benign justice, by 
an inexhaustible patience, by returning prosperity, and thus win 
to voluntary and enthusiastic union the element which had been 
forced back from secession. He counted an enemy destroyed 
only when turned into a friend. 

He never forgot that the American government is a popular 
government, that legislation to be effective must carry the 
popular good-will. Yet he would secure good-will only by 
appeal to reason, to which he never appealed in vain. He was 
not afraid of being in a minority, if that was the way to better 
things. He advanced measures on applied principles without 
hope of a majority, or even a vote, but believing the path he 
was blazing was in the right direction, and would eventually 
become the beaten path; and did not hesitate In say that the 



142 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

man who shoots at the sun will come nearer to it than the man 
who does not draw a bow. 

A sound currency he deemed as vital to the body politic as 
the circulation of blood to the human system, and early and 
late, against the world or with the world, he held up the neces- 
sity of the two metals with one standard, " to the end that busi- 
ness should be conducted on a safe and secure basis, that labor 
should meet with its full reward, that every man should know 
what he is dealing in and how much he is worth, and the entire 
country rejoice in an abundant circulation of both gold and 
paper, in which paper will be as good as gold and gold no better 
than paper." Yet he recognized on this point, as on others, that 
legislation was but the working of causes far more powerful 
than itself, and could be lasting only as it was in harmony with 
eternal laws. He recognized that the country is continental, 
and should therefore be self-sustaining; that we are in the family 
of nations, but that the nation is a family ; that privileges bring 
duties, and requirements involve responsibilities. The princi- 
ple of protection was to him inwrought with the very idea of a 
nation, but it was a principle sinuous and flexible to the move- 
ment of events, to be applied with watchful wisdom, to be 
modified in detail by the demands of the occasion, with scrupu- 
lous regard to the rights and interests of the individual, and 
to be complemented by the principle of reciprocity between 
nations, equally to be modified by the current of events and 
correspondingly regardful of national rights. 

The Grand Army had been the saviour of the nation, and he 
felt that the war debt to each soldier was a debt of honor. Yet 
his share in the debates of Congress was eminently practical 
and business-like. He spoke in Congress exactly as he spoke 
out of it, with the earnestness of conviction, with the persua- 
sion of facts and figures, directly, simply, without oratorical 
attempt, though statistics in his hands not infrequently touched 
the imagination, and even arabic numbers became poetry. He 
had no self-consciousness. His purpose became himself. He 
had no sense of dignity to be defended or assumed. His dignity 
was the dignity of a pure, upright, and lofty manhood, instinc- 
tive, inalienable. Because he was a young man, assimilative and 
sympathetic, his words were often free, even careless, and no 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 148 

doubt occasionally startled the House, accustomed to some- 
what more formal style. But his words were never used to 
shock the House, only to express opinion most directly and forc- 
ibly. The little hells, and damns, and deuces, which sparsely 
sprinkled his boyish letters, had long since disappeared, as 
meadow midges from one reaching the sunny uplands ; but the 
street words that fell upon his all-hearing ears fell sometimes 
from his all-remembering tongue, and occasionally the torrent 
of his speech tossed out combinations that, if not created 
on the toss, must have had their origin in the mountain 
fastnesses of Pennsylvania. He was persistent, but not opin- 
ionated. He readily relinquished his own suggestions where 
others' seemed more desirable, or even when they seemed not 
materially less desirable, if thus he could avoid controversy 
and accomplish his purpose. " If I cannot have a better 
amendment than the one of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, 
I shall vote for that." Addressed lightly he answered lightly, 
returning the ball with unfailing gayety of heart. Often his 
disapproval of a measure was expressed with too infantile a 
simplicity for this aged and circumlocuitous world, and he was 
genuinely surprised, grieved, and repentant to find that he had 
given offence. If he grasped the other man's idea before it 
was half out, it was very hard for him to sit still and hear it 
out. If a boat was likely to lose the race through bad rowing, 
it was very hard for him not to put in his oar and pull ahead, 
even when it was not his boat. A member is asked if such and 
such will not be the effect of his amendment : 

"I really am unable to say,"- says the gentleman, rather 
helplessly. 

" Not by a very great deal," would Mr. Blaine interpose 
with an unasked but lucid explanation. 

If an onset was made upon him, he repelled it sometimes 
perhaps with a greater impetus than was necessary, but that 
was the end of it. He carried anger as the flint bears fire — 
bore no malice — did not so much forgive as forget. 

He was in no haste to rush to the front in Congress, but 
neither was he backward. It was matter of course that his 
first work should be in committee where he was soon found 
to be an authority. He had not the self-consciousness that 



144 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

prearranges pose and place, but wherever his thought, purpose, 
impulse led, thither he followed. His command of parliament- 
ary law often enabled him by a motion to shorten, or even to 
close debate. Indeed, his very first speech was a citation from 
the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, of perhaps a dozen 
lines, but so pertinent to the debate that it practically settled the 
question at issue, and secured for him the compliment of per- 
sonal thanks from the venerable and formidable Thaddeus 
Stevens, who had the bill in charge, and whose powerful, if 
somewhat grim, not to say ferocious, leadership in the House 
made his commendation as valued as it was rare. During life 
the saturnine old Pennsylvanian and his sunny-hearted young- 
compatriot remained mutual admirers and personal friends. 

Many measures which Mr. Blaine introduced or advocated 
related, of course, to business matters, but the business questions 
of that day were suffused with the sentiment of patriotism and 
holy self-sacrifice out of which they sprang, and close alongside 
the driest or the most trivial details the wells of human sympathy 
were ever ready to burst forth. One day he was asking for the 
assumption of war debts by the general government, taking for 
granted the success of the Union, though in the midst of the 
war, and maintaining that such success was " of no more impor- 
tance to the loyal than to the revolted States and to the forty 
new States that are yet to be added to the Union!"' His argu- 
ment was that by this assumption the burden would not be 
increased, but equalized. " The contest is not local, but general ; 
not for ourselves, but for mankind ; not merely for to-day, but 
for all time. The burden falls with increased severity on the 
farmers and other holders of real estate, from the fact that so 
vast a proportion of the personal property in many of the com- 
munities has sought investment in government securities which 
are specially exempt from State and municipal taxation. I 
should certainly be among the last to countenance a breach of 
the national faith in the slightest degree. We must standby the 
terms nominated in the bond, no matter how onerous and op- 
pressive they may be. No hardship can arise to any of us from 
observing good faith on the part of the government, at all com- 
parable with the hardship that would ensue to all of us by 
violating that faith, even by the remotest hint. But while we 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 145 

all agree, I trust, on this point, I submit that as the policy of 
the government has made the war debt of the States bear une- 
qually on different classes of the community, and most oppres- 
sively on the most meritorious class, it is the imperative duty of 
the government to equalize the burden by assuming an equitable 
share of the debt." 

Another day he was speaking a kind word for the West Point 
cadets, whose Academy he had closely investigated when he was 
on the Board of Inspectors in 1861, — that too grave a construc- 
tion might not be put on "found deficient," and thus lose to the 
nation some of her best officers because their curtains were not 
"drawn back at 6.45 A.M.," or their floors were "out of order 
near the washstand," or even — which shows much generosity in 
a man who never smoked — because there was " the odor of 
tobacco-smoke in their rooms ; " but praying that power to 
pardon might be restored to the President and the Secretary of 
War ; and he cited the case of a boy for whom he had come 
to Washington and successfully interceded with the Secretary 
of War — a boy who had afterwards gloriously justified his in- 
tercession, on Sheridan's staff in the valley of the Shenandoah. 
General Schenck came to his support handsomely, declaring — 
rather unhandsomely — that' if he wanted to secure a principal 
of a female academy he would take the men whose floors around 
the washstand were clean, but when he wished to secure efficient 
officers he would turn the graduating class the other end fore- 
most ! As a result of conference, the desired power of restoring 
cadets was relegated to the Secretary of War. 

He took it for granted that wherever a usage has grown up 
in the army, whether with reference to titles or to more sub- 
stantial points a civilian would find, when he went to the bottom 
of the matter, that there is some good reason for this usage and 
that it is not safe to abolish it without full inquiry. 

In a debate regarding the presence of cabinet officers on the 
floor of the House, he took little part, and was indeed subse- 
quently opposed to it, but he maintained there and then that 
if they should refuse to appear when required, they could be 
impeached, just as any other officer could be impeached. Later 
events have made his advocacy of a concurrent power for the 



146 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Executive in the foreign affairs of the government seem almost 
too successful, though he was even then fully appreciative of 
the distinct spheres and divine rights of the coordinate depart- 
ments of the government. 

When he disapproved of a measure he instantly opposed it, 
without so much as thinking whether his opposition would be 
well or ill received. In December of 1864, Mr. Stevens 
had brought in a bill to prevent gold and silver coin and 
bullion from being sold or exchanged for a greater value than 
their real currency value. Even to receive notes of corpora- 
tions or individuals in payment for gold, silver, or bullion, at 
less than par value was to be a punishable offence. It is not 
easy to exaggerate the surprise with which the old autocrat 
beheld " the gentleman from Maine " rise and inform the House 
quite simply and with great earnestness that only the respect 
he felt for the distinguished gentleman prevented him from 
saying that the provisions of the bill were absurd and mon- 
strous — that a gold dollar cannot be made worth less or more 
by legislation — that the bill had been productive of great 
mischief in the brief twenty-four hours it had been allowed to 
float before the public mind as a measure seriously entertained 
by this House — that if a dollar note issued by the govern- 
ment should be declared equal to a gold dollar the whole 
Pacific coast was liable to indictment for criminal offence, 
because they would persist in believing that in the present 
condition of the currency a gold dollar was worth more than a 
paper dollar ! It was not till after the House had laid his bill 
on the table that Mr. Stevens recovered breath and sarcasm 
to note the " intuitive way " "in which his excellent friend " got 
at a great national question : " How the gentleman from Maine 
by his intuitive knowledge of these things comes to understand 
at once what the ablest statesman of England took months to 
mature, I can't very well understand. It is a happy inspira- 
tion ; " and returning to the field again spoke of his bill, which 
threw "my excellent friend into convulsions or the House into 
epileptic fits." " My excellent friend from Maine, in an alarmed 
and excited manner, said that the bill was fraught with innu- 
merable mischief, that it would destroy the interests of the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 147 

country, — I do not speak exactly as he spoke. The House, par- 
taking of the magnetic manner of my friend from Maine, — he 
seemed to be distracted on the subject, — and wishing to escape 
the evils of this gunpowder plot, immediately laid it on the 
table." That something unusual had happened, that some 
unwonted force had been displayed, is evident, for he repeated: 
" The House, being magnetized by the excited manner of the 
gentleman from Maine, became alarmed and immediately laid the 
bill on the table without its being presented, and without a single 
member having had an opportunity to read a word of it. I 
remember what was said by the able editors, sciolists, who prate 
deeply in reference to things of which the}^ know nothing. I 
know that they repeated what my excellent friend had taught 
them." 

This, so far as I know, is the first time the word magnetic 
was applied to Mr. Blaine — that word which simply spans the 
unknown and perhaps the unknowable, and which came after- 
wards to be, it may almost be said, appropriated to Mr. Blaine. 1 

How light-heartedly he received the criticisms of the old 
Pennsylvanian whom he loved, and whose God of freedom and 
patriotism he worshipped with equal ardor, is seen in his banter- 
ing declaration shortly after,, when seeking the floor. " I ob- 
serve my friend from Pennsylvania is very anxious to hear me." 
"The gentleman is mistaken," growled his friend from Pennsyl- 
vania. " I am not in the least anxious to hear a speech on any 
subject." 

In a debate on naval affairs, Mr. Blaine called attention to 
the fact that of the four and one-half hours allowed for 
debate the committee occupied more than four ; four gentle- 
men on the same side of the question had spoken in succession, 
and he had only three and a half minutes ; that the gentle- 
men of the Naval Committee found it easier to oppose a Board 
of Admiralty with objections borrowed from English example 
than to answer the charges of shortcoming and blundering in 
the Navy Department, and thus dexterously spent their time in 

1 His own wordH of Mr. Burlingame are not inapt. " What precisely is meant by magnetism 
it might be diflicult to define, but it is undoubtedly true that Mr. Burlingame possessed ;i great 
reserve of that subtile, forceful, overwhelming power which the word magnetism is used to 
piirnify." 



148 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

exposing the inefficiency of the proposed remedy rather than 
in meeting the great essential points made against the navy. 
To reject the amendment was to declare that the officers of 
the department may again spend $10,000,000 in the construction 
of twenty iron-clad vessels that will not stay on top of the water. 

The assertion was flatly disputed, but he reaffirmed that 
twenty of these iron vessels built under the supervision of the 
Navy Department will not float — - at least those that have been 
tried won't, and the model is the same for the whole number. 

Mr. Pike reiterated that it was a mistake. 

Mr. Blaine. — They are not sea-going. 

Mr. Pike. — They were never intended to be sea-going. 

Mr. Blaine. — They will not float. 

Mr. Stevens. — An engineer told me the other day that not 
one of them would float until 1120,000 more had been expended 
upon each of them. 

Mr. Pike. — The first of them, launched in Boston harbor, 
floated three inches out of water on a level, though she was in- 
tended to float twelve. Others floated high enough and when 
altered make useful vessels. 

Mr. Blaine. — Then the first lost nine inches. 

Mr. Pike. — She did. 

Mr, Blaine. — That is, she lost seventy-five per cent, of that 
portion of her which was designed to be above water, and this I pre- 
sume is the best of the whole twenty. Well, sir, that is conceding 
the whole case. Only three inches above water. Why, the 
chances are that she could not be towed a mile in smooth water 
without sinking to the bottom. As to speed, out of ninety 
British steamers caught within a given period in attempting to 
run the blockade, only twelve were caught by vessels built by 
the present Admiralty of the Navy Department, while seventy- 
eight were caught either by purchased vessels or vessels in- 
herited by the old navy. Members of the Naval Committee 
quoted from one of those remarkable reports of Admiral Porter, 
written from Fort Fisher, in which the admiral indulged in 
some very high blowing about the merits of a certain monitor, 
and states in conclusion that she could cross the ocean, storm 
all the fortresses of England and France, and, after laying their 
cities under contribution and playing havoc generally on a very 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 149 

large scale, could recross the ocean in perfect safety provided 
she could get coal. A very important proviso, truly, — if she 
could only get coal in some mysterious way entirely unknown 
to the authorities that ordered her construction. 

Mr. Pike. — The criticism on Admiral Porter is unfair. He 
meant she could carry coal enough to cross the ocean, but not 
enough to return. 

Mr. Blaine. — Oh ! I presume that after laying London 
under contribution, some of the obliging coal-heavers at Green- 
wich would supply her as a matter of international courtes}^. 

Presenting a bill for the repeal of the tax on gross receipts 
and the substitution of a tax on net receipts of boats, Mr. 
Blaine " occupied his brief time " with facts personally known 
to himself: U A ship-owner in my district — a highly respon- 
sible and intelligent gentleman — chartered to government a 
vessel of four hundred and fifty tons, with cargo of coal from 
Philadelphia to New Orleans, for gross $6,000. For painting, 
calking, repairs of sails, men and provisions, and port charges, 
the captain drew on owners for $3,075.35 ; for distribution in 
New Orleans, $1,410.70. Procuring no business in New Or- 
leans, she was compelled to proceed to Boston in ballast, where, 
to pay off her crew and meet other expenses, there was a further 
distribution of $1,176. At Boston the vessel chartered to go to 
Philadelphia in ballast for cargo, and at Philadelphia, before a 
dollar of the new charter was available, or even earned, the 
captain again drew for $576 — a total distribution of $6,238.05, 
At this point the government paid the $6,000 in certificates of 
indebtedness then selling at ninety-four, the owners thus receiv- 
ing but $5,640 in cash for the period during which the actual 
distribution in cash was $6,238.05, showing a net cash loss for 
the time of about $600, or, to be precisely accurate, $598.05, be- 
sides the interest on advance — nearly two hundred more. And 
now see — after this melancholy experience the tax collector 
came forward and demanded of the owner of the vessel 2 1 per 
cent, on the $6,000 which the government paid as above, and 
on top of all losses already incurred actually compelled him to 
pay $150 under that section of the internal-revenue law which 
we are now seeking to amend." 



150 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

An amendment that no vessel which had been licensed to sail 
under a foreign flag or the protection of a foreign government 
during the rebellion should be registered as an American vessel, 
or have the rights and privileges of an American vessel except 
under an act of Congress authorizing it, Mr. Blaine advocated 
with statistics : " At the beginning of the war we had 
2,500,000 tons of shipping engaged in foreign trade. As war 
grew hot and dangers multiplied on the ocean, 800,000 tons of 
this shipping took refuge under a foreign flag. The flag of our 
nation was hauled down, and protection was sought under the 
flag of our neutral enemy, Great Britain. I do not question the 
right of the owners — many who did so are honorable and pa- 
triotic men. All I contend is, that having made their election 
they shall abide by it. They escaped all the hazards, they 
gained all the profits, of their alien connection, and for one I am 
not now willing to put them on the same ground with those 
ship-owners who took all the risks of standing by the American 
flag in good report and in evil report, in our dark days as well 
as in our bright days. The ship-owners who took British 
registers escaped the heavy war-risks, and now to place them on 
the same footing with those who hazarded everything rather 
than sail under a foreign flag would be flagrantly unjust. I 
think, sir, it would be cruelly unjust for the American Con- 
gress to permit this policy, and thus turn their backs on 
those ship-owners who, under all the seductions of profit and 
against all the perils of war, refused for a single hour to take 
refuge under any other flag than that which was floating over 
the armies of the Union, and which protects us in this Capitol 
to-day. 

" Moreover, while many were high-minded and patriotic men, 
some were unpatriotic and even criminal, and while securely 
concealed behind their British registers, they were sharing in 
the enormous profits derived from running our blockade and 
engaging, to the detriment of the Union cause, in all the illicit 
commerce which the' British flag covered during the four years 
of bloody war from which we have just emerged." 

He ever leaned to the moderate and gentler side when the 
success of the cause did not imperiously demand the sternest 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 151 

recourse. He upheld the necessary conscription, but he would 
not make it unnecessarily hard, sharp, inexorable. 

He opposed earnestly an amendment which summarily cut off 
the power of the President to appoint any lad, however promis- 
ing, however loyal, to West Point, if he were so unfortunate as 
to have been born and lived in the South : " I am opposed to 
the amendment, root and branch. I regard it as proscriptive, 
illiberal, narrow-minded. Its logic can be justified only on the 
ground taken by my distinguished friend from Pennsylvania, 
who holds that the entire population of eleven Southern States 
are alien enemies. Not believing, myself, in this extreme 
dogma, I shall vote against the amendment, even if I stand 
alone in my opposition." 

Of course Mr. Schenck, who moved the amendment, and Mr, 
Stevens, who advocated it, could but notice the " extraordinary 
remarks of the gentleman from Maine, who characterized the 
amendment in the worst kind of terms ; " and certainly they 
were not complimentary, though both members were among his 
most valued friends. 

Mr. Colliding could not round a sharp corner so easily as 
these men. " I will accept that in lieu of my amendment, 
though I think it is merely surplusage," said Mr. Blaine lightly. 
Mr. Conkling took three days to think it over, and hoped " the 
House will not vote in here anything as harmless surplusage. 
. . . I am quite sure that it is not harmless surplusage." 

" I should like to make further observations upon the ques- 
tionable expediency of any permanently established invalid 
corps. ... I believe the practical effect will be virtually 
to prefer en masse a large portion of the officers of the present 
corps to other wounded and disabled officers and soldiers." 

Mr. Schenck. — There is no such thing in the bill, and the 
gentleman either cannot read or will not understand. 

Mr. Conkling. — I hope the gentleman from Ohio will not 
get too energetic. ... I do not wish to wrench myself 
by attempting to execute that celebrated pelvic gesture by 
which the gentleman makes himself forcible, but I hope the 
House will consider that I have executed it as far as it is 
necessary. . . . 

Mr. Blaine presently desired to suggest to the gentleman 



152 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

from New York that it would be more satisfactory if he would 
point out the section of the bill which conveys the alleged 
meaning, instead of indulging in loose and vague assertions. 
Mr. Conkling retorts that possibly by listening the gentleman 
from Maine will have his attention directed to some provisions 
of the bill which he may not understand any better than the 
rest of us ; which does not prevent Mr. Blaine from rising 
presently to correct " a gross misapprehension — I will not 
call it a misrepresentation — of the gentleman from New York. 
When he speaks of his own knowledge of a subject, he is a 
gentleman of accuracy to whom I shall always listen with great 
pleasure. He is not so accurate when he speaks upon the 
suggestions of others who are interested adversely to this bill/' 
Unhappily, Mr. Conkling had also a private grievance. At a 
dinner party given by Hon. Henry C. Deming, of Hartford, 
the conversation glanced from the Utica of Mr. Conkling's home 
to a newspaper which had been published for a little while by 
Mr. Deming and his friend Park Benjamin, and which bore 
for its motto the lines : 

" No pent-up Utica contracts our powers, 
But the whole boundless continent is ours." 

A question arose as to their authorship, and the whole com- 
pany gayly contributed answers. An impression prevailed that 
it was Barlow. Mr. Conkling offered to bet a basket of cham- 
pagne that it was from Addison's "Cato." Mr. Blaine warned 
him not to make the bet because he kneiv the authorship, and 
that the lines were not from Addison's " Cato." Mr. Conkling 
was so sure that he persisted in the bet. The lines are by 
Jonathan M. Sewall, in an " Epilogue to Cato," written for 
the Bow-street Theatre in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

Mr. Conkling sent the basket of champagne, but took his dis- 
comfiture so much to heart as to insinuate that Mr. Blaine had 
been reading up for it ; and when Mr. Blaine made a feast 
and invited all the company to drink the champagne, Mr. 
Conkling did not attend. 

The proposed substitute for the reciprocity treaty with Can- 
ada seemed to Mr. Blaine so radically wrong in its details that 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 153 

he despaired of seeing it amended into any acceptable form. 
" It seems to me to sacrifice and subordinate American interests 
to provincial interests." 

In a matter of separating" hemlock and spruce timber, and 
making the duty specific instead of ad valorem : " The bill not 
only ingrafts ad valorem, but tells these cunning provincials 
just where to strike, and therefore I denounce this proposition 
of Congress as a fraud upon the revenue as well as a fraud 
upon the lumber interests ; " but he remembered to have the 
grace to say, "I do not think they so intended it ; " and having 
thus antagonized the committee in general, he proceeded to 
pay his respects to the gentlemen in detail — to the gentleman 
from Michigan who had been advocating the admission of 
lumber in order to enable the people of the South to rebuild 
the houses destroyed by war. Did he expect many houses 
would be built in the eleven Southern States, of lumber from 
Canada, when they had lumber of their own as good as could 
be obtained anywhere ? And a word to the gentleman from 
Ohio, to tell him his very figures were unreliable, and it was a 
vicious cheating inducement to fraud. 

Yet he was but stating the simplest fact when he declared : 
" Mr. Chairman, I was very much surprised and somewhat 
mortified a few days ago, on finding, when I had made a motion 
to get rid of this bill at an early stage of the debate upon it, 
that a great many gentlemen who sympathize with my purpose 
considered it a discourteous and rude motion. I certainly 
intended nothing of the kind to the Committee of Ways and 
Means. The chairman of that committee assuredly knows that 
it would be utterly impossible for me to make a motion in this 
House, intended to convey disrespect or discourtesy to him. I 
thought that the House was against the bill, and I do not believe 
you can find forty gentlemen who can say that they intend to 
vote for the bill as it has gone through the amendatory process. 
Now, as our time is valuable, is it not best to express the sense 
of the House on a direct motion ? And having said that 
I did not intend any disrespect before, it is unnecessary to 
repeat that I do not now intend disrespect when I renew the 



154 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

motion for the purpose of bringing this question to a head 
at once." 

" Yesterday the honorable chairman of the Military Com- 
mittee intimated that I had procured the amendment be- 
cause it would promote some of my friends. The friends of 
mine that would thus be promoted are the friends of every 
member of Congress who has had business at the War Depart- 
ment, and in no other sense. I have no kinsman, or constitu- 
ent, or old acquaintance to be helped or hindered by the 
amendment. I count many of the officers of the Adjutant- 
General's department my friends, and I am proud to do so, but 
I was actuated solely by a desire to promote the interests of the 
public service in procuring advanced rank for that depart- 
ment ; " and then he added somewhat haughtily, " I desire to 
say nothing more on the subject." 

" The gentleman from New Jersey is as graciously heard as 
almost any man on this floor ; we always listen to him with 
delight, but it is rather going too strong for him to take up one 
entire morning hour." This when his Sunday rest had sent 
him fresh and strong to Monday's work. 

The gentleman from New Jersey wanted only a few minutes, 
but did not perceive the flight of time till the morning hour 
was gone, and with it all opportunity for the weekly work ; and 
with that went all the gracious patience and delighted listening 
of the gentleman from Maine ; and the gentleman from New 
Jersey " has gone on and talked during the whole morning 
hour, and prevented us from attending to any morning business 
at all. Now after he has abused and outraged the patience of 
the House to this extent, I want to guard against any similar 
outrage next Monday. . . 

" Propositions like the one now pending interjected in this 
way will, of course, only give rise to this sloshy-washy debate." 

To be sure, General Schenck was almost as bad. When 
the gentleman from" New Jersey moved to amend, Mr. Schenck 
declared the amendment not in order. The gentleman from 
New Jersey appealed to Mr. Schenck to wait until he found out 
his object. " Oh ! I know your object," replied the bluff old 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 155 

general. " It is to make that same old speech that we have 
heard on every occasion." 

Yet it was only to Mr. Blaine that the much-belabored gen- 
tleman turned for relief from the " malicious assaults which the 
honorable gentleman has made it his business to make upon me 
every time I have got up to say anything in this House. I con- 
fine myself strictly to the subject under debate. [A remark 
which the House garnished with irreverent " laughter." I 
make no general speeches, but I think I ought to be treated 
with common respect, at least, by the gentleman from Maine. 
God made us so that our natures are different and we arrive 
at different conclusions, and I think it is most contemptible 
and indiscreet work on the part of the gentleman, when I 
undertake to discuss any subject, to attempt to browbeat and 
insult me. I have no ill-feeling towards the gentleman at all. 
I hold him in high respect. I believe him to be a gentleman, 
and shall always treat him with courtesy. All I ask of him 
is, that he shall treat me in the same way. When he speaks 
on any question he never finds me slurring him for what he 
says. I speak the honest dictates of an honest heart." 

The offender apologized promptly : " The gentleman says 
whenever he has spoken, I have taken occasion to say something 
ridiculous or unbecoming. Yet he cites only two occasions on 
which I have offered any remarks about him. If he will re- 
member how frequently he has addressed the House, and can 
only remember those two occasions, he must see that there must 
have been a good many times when I have not referred to him 
at all. Two or three weeks ago on a Monday morning, by 
means of a mere accident in parliamentary rule which happens 
perhaps once in twenty-five years, the gentleman had an op- 
portunity to exhaust the whole morning hour in a debate in 
which neither himself nor any other person was interested, and 
I appealed to the gentleman personally to yield the floor, inas- 
much as there were many gentlemen on this side of the House 
who had resolutions to offer — not of a political character, but 
of a business nature, which could only be introduced under the 
call of States on alternate Mondays. The gentleman agreed 
that he would not take more than twenty minutes, but then he 
continued for the entire hour, and in the heat of the moment 



156 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

I made some remarks that were hasty and unbecoming. If I 
have thereby wounded the gentleman in any way, I am very 
sorry for it, and I will say in addition that I have none but the 
kindest feelings for him personally. He has always treated me 
with respect, and I desire to treat him in the same way." 

The gentleman from New Jersey was pleased to accept the 
apology as " sufficient." 

This was not the old formal, " dignified " oratorical style of 
debate. It was animated conversation. But it was very ef- 
fective in the hands, on the lips, of a man whose object was 
to make his points and secure his ends, whose sympathies 
were both national and individual, who assimilated knowledge 
as the blood assimilates air, whose memory was a necessity of 
his being, and therefore assured the accuracy of his knowledge 
and its production on call, whose mental processes were so 
rapid as to elude observation, outstrip communication, and 
seem intuitional. 





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BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 157 



IX. 

THE CONKLING-FRY INCIDENT. 

THE House on the twenty-fourth of April, 1866, resumed the 
consideration of the bill entitled " An Act to reorganize 
and establish the Army of the United States." The twentieth 
section was then read — That the Provost Marshal's bureau 
hereafter consist of a provost marshal-general, with the rank, 
pay, and emoluments of a brigadier-general ; and one assistant 
provost marshal-general, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of 
a colonel of cavalry ; and all matters relating to the recruitment 
of the army and the arrest of deserters shall be placed under 
the direction and control of this bureau, under such regulations 
as the Secretary of War may' prescribe. 

Mr. Conkling at once moved to strike out this section, and 
gave as his first reason, " that it creates an unnecessary office 
for an undeserving public servant." 

Discussing public reasons against it, he continued his personal 
reasons. " I have never heard any very serious attempt to 
justify by argument the permanent continuance of an officer 
whose administration during the war has had in it so little to 
commend and so much to condemn. But I have heard, an 
effort made to prove the propriety of this section by charging 
it to the Lieutenant-General of the army, and by saying that 
he had found a necessity for continuing in time of peace the 
bureau of the Provost Marshal-General. In order that the 
House may see how true this allegation is, I send to the Clerk's 
desk and ask to have read copies of letters which have been 
furnished to me, the first a letter addressed to the Lieutenant- 
General by a Senator of the United States." 

The Clerk read as follows : 



158 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

United States Senate Chamber, 

Washington, March 17, 1866. 
General : The House bill for the organization of the army contains 
a provision creating a permanent provost marshal's bureau, with a brig- 
adier-general at its head ; also placing the recruiting service in its charge. 
It has been unofficially reported to me that this was done in consequence 
of a recommendation of yours to that effect. 

I should be pleased to know if such is the case, as I had labored under 
the impression, from conversation with officers of the army, that such a 
step was not a judicious one, and tended only to increase the number of 
bureaus and officers of the army, with an increase of expenditure without 
any corresponding efficiency or benefit. 

If my impressions are erroneous I would like to have them corrected. 
I am, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

J. W. Nesmith. 

The answer of the Lieutenant- General was then read, which 
stated that — 

Some months since, a paper was referred to me showing the great 
number of desertions from the army, and asking for suggestions to put 
a stop to them. To that paper I suggested a number of changes in orders 
governing the recruiting service, and I recommended that the whole 
matter be put in charge of the Provost Marshal-General, who could devote 
more attention to it than the Adjutant-General, with all his other duties, 
could. I am opposed, however, to multiplying bureaus, and I think there 
is no necessity for a provost marshal-general. In fact, if we had to 
organize the army anew, I would not have as many bureaus as we now 
have. In my opinion, the country would be just as well, and much more 
economically, served if the coast surveying duties were added to the 
engineer bureau, and the quartermaster, subsistence, and pay depart- 
ments were merged into one. I would not recommend a change now, 
however, but would not make any increase of bureaus. 

Very truly yours, 

U. S. Grant, 

Lieutenant- General. 

After further giving the public reasons, Mr. Conkliilg re- 
turned to the personal reasons : 

" There is one thing — I know of but one — for this bureau 
to do before leaving the public presence, and that is to close its 
accounts, so as to allow the War Department and the country 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 159 

to know precisely what has become of the twenty-five million 
and odd dollars which, under the act of March 13, 1862, went 
to its credit. 

" My constituents remember, and other constituencies re- 
member, wrongs done them too great for forgetfulness, and 
almost for belief, by the creatures of this bureau, and by its head. 

" There came, at the same time, other creatures of the head 
of the bureau at Washington. The western division swarmed 
with these chosen favorites. 

" They turned the business of recruiting and drafting into a 
paradise of coxcombs and thieves. 

" There never has been, in human history, a greater mockery 
and a greater burlesque than the conduct of this bureau." 

It may here be mentioned that the officer who was so obnox- 
ious to Mr. Conkling had been assigned to Western New 
York by General Fry, at the request of William H. Seward, 
of New York, Secretar}^ of State ; that Mr. Spaulding, of Ohio, 
who also opposed the continuance of this military bureau as 
necessary only in war and unnecessary in peace, thought it his 
duty to protest in the House that a great deal of the odium 
which had been attached " to the administration of the duties 
of that office pertained rather to the nature of the office than 
to the individual who discharged the duties of the office. I 
question whether any man, whether he came from the East or 
the West, from the North or the South, could have gone into 
the administration of the Provost Marshal-General's depart- 
ment and discharged its duties with any more satisfaction to 
the general public than General James B. Fry," — and added, 
with amiable desire to allay strife, " I think, perhaps, the gen- 
tleman from New York has sufficient cause for what he has 
said ; but such a case as he has mentioned has not been brought 
home to me, in all my official intercourse with the Provost 
Marshal-General during the last three years, and it has been 
constant and frequent. I have been treated by him with a 
degree of kindness and courtesy which requires from me an 
expression of thanks rather than of censure. I am happy, 
therefore, to have it in my power to say that I am under obli- 
gations to this man ; and it is a pleasure to me to acquit myself 
of the duty of doing so " : 



1G0 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

That General Schenck, of Ohio, protested against the intro- 
duction of General Fry's character, as having no relation to the 
question, declaring that " It is defended by the history of the 
war. It is defended by his services through good report and 
evil report. According to the best of his ability, that officer 
has so discharged his duty that those in his own immediate 
department, who know best how that duty has been discharged, 
have no such epithets to bestow upon him as that he is an un- 
deserving officer ; the Military Committee, in all their labor of 
consideration, discussion, inquiry, and other work tending to 
the framing of a proper bill for the establishment of an army 
system, have endeavored to act without reference to persons, 
having in view only the best schemes for the attainment of 
objects which might result in the public good " : 

That Mr. Farquhar, who had served under General Fry, rose 
in the House to declare : " I never did hear any charge made 
against the efficiency, against the promptness, against the 
success of the officer in charge of that department, but, on the 
contrary, — - and I say it with pleasure, ■ — the duties of that office 
were performed with evidence of the highest ability and the 
greatest satisfaction. During the time I had an opportunity of 
serving under that officer, a large number of recruits were 
raised, both to fill up old regiments and to create new regi- 
ments, with a success which did not attend the service when 
another officer was in charge of that department. I take 
pleasure, without entering into the controversy, if I may so 
call it, in regard to the duties and services of that high officer, 
to say to-day that I bear testimony to the highest ability of that 
officer in the full discharge of these duties " : 

That General Fry was a graduate of West Point from Illi- 
nois, and had been in the army from the age of twenty ; that 
when the war broke out, his father, though a Democrat and 
over sixty years of age, raised a regiment, went into the field, 
and fought in some of the severest battles of the war; that 
General Fry was attested by his own Congressmen to have been 
one of the most gallant men we ever had in the army, whose 
character had been without reproach, whose integrity had never 
been impeached until that moment ; that after righting the bat- 
ties of the country. with glory and with joy, the bloodless 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 161 

battles of the provost marshalship with deserters and drafts 
and bounty-jumpers, were so distasteful to him that he once fell 
from his high estate of unquestioning obedience into complain- 
ing to President Lincoln of the obloquy attaching to the mere 
administration of the law of his office ; but the great-souled 
President, who had himself drank to the full the cup of obloquy, 
instead of rebuking, comforted him with the assurance, " That is 
necessarily the case for the present, but it will be all right in the 
end." Suffer it to be so now for thus it become th us to fulfil all 
righteousness. Such a soldier, so attacked on a field where he 
could make no defence, Mr. Blaine was not likely to pass by on 
the other side. When Mr. Conkling began to speak, Mr. Blaine 
was talking to a friend in the diplomatic gallery of the House ; 
but his quick ear caught the tenor of the remarks, and hurry- 
ing to his seat he took the floor the instant Mr. Conkling re- 
leased it. He was on the Military Committee which had the 
bill in charge, and he had a special right to speak. He began 
calmly enough, replying to Mr. Conkling's implication of 
falsehood in attributing the report to the Lieutenant-General : 
" I wish to state why the committee reported this section of 
the bill in regard to which the gentleman from New York 
shows so much feeling. I believe that among the earliest acts 
of the gentleman from New York at this session of Congress 
was the introduction of a resolution which was adopted by this 
House, directing the War Department to report upon the ex- 
pediency of abolishing the office of provost marshal-general. 
In the routine of business the answer of the Secretary of War 
came to the Military Committee, and among the papers was a 
letter from Lieu tenant-General Grant The gentleman from 
New York has read a letter from the Lieutenant-General, which 
practically recalls the recommendations of the letter on which 
the committee acted ; but I desire the Clerk to read the letter 
of Lieutenant-General Grant, which was the authorization, in 
the judgment of the committee, for inserting the section." The 
Clerk read as follows : 

Headquarters Army op the United States, 

Washington, December 14, 18G.0. 
Sir: In reply to your letter of the 13th instant, in reference to deser- 
tions, I would make the following remarks: J do not think the present 



162 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

method of recruiting, as carried out, sufficient to fill up the regular army 
to the force required, or keep it full when once filled. 

The duty is an important one, and demands, I think, the exclusive atten- 
tion of an officer of the War Department, aided by a well -organized system 
extending over the country. I think the officer best fitted for that position, 
by his experience during the present war, is General Fry, and would rec- 
ommend that the whole subject of recruiting be put in his hands and all offi- 
cers on recruiting duty be directed to report to him. He should also have 
charge of the apprehension of deserters, should be authorized to offer such 
rewards as will secure their apprehension. When caught they should be 
tried, and the sentence rigidly carried into effect ; this would soon stop the 
present enormous amount of desertion. 

I would recommend that the duties heretofore performed by provost 

marshals be hereafter performed by officers detailed for recruiting duty. 

Very respectfully, 

U. S. Grant, 

Lieutenant- General. 
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War. 

Mr. Blaine. — The House will observe that the Committee 
on Military Affairs acted precisely in accordance with the rec- 
ommendations of the Lieutenant-General as contained in the 
letter which has just been read. When the gentleman from 
New York quotes the letter of the Lieutenant-General in con- 
demnation of the report made by the Committee on Military 
Affairs, I merely wish the privilege of showing that that report 
was made in express conformity, verbatim et literatim, with the 
recommendations of that officer's letter, which came officially 
before the committee, and which was not smuggled in in the 
manner in which the letter read by the gentleman from New 
York comes before us. That is not an official letter ; it is an 
unofficial note. The letter just read by the Clerk is an official 
note, communicated to this House by the Secretary of War on 
a regular call, and referred by the House to the Committee on 
Military Affairs. 

Mr. Speaker, I do not suppose that the House of Representa- 
tives care anything more than the Committee on Military 
Affairs about the great recruiting frauds in New York, or the 
quarrels of the gentleman from New York with General Fry, in 
which quarrels it is generally understood the gentleman came 
out second best at the War Department. I do not think that 
such questions ought to be obtruded here. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 163 

Though the gentleman from New York has had some differ- 
ence with General Fry, yet I take pleasure in saying that, as I 
believe, there is not in the American Army a more honorable 
and high-toned officer than General Fry. That officer, I doubt 
not, is ready to meet the gentleman from New York or any- 
body else in the proper forum. I must say that I do not think 
it is any very creditable proceeding for the gentleman from 
New York here in this place to traduce General Fry as a mili- 
tary officer when he has no opportunity to be heard. I do not 
consider such a proceeding the highest specimen of chivalry 
that could be exhibited. 

The gentleman from New York has had his issues with Gen- 
eral Fry at the War Department. They have been adjudicated 
upon by the Secretary of War, and I leave it for the gentleman 
to say whether he came out first best. I do not know the par- 
ticulars ; the gentleman can inform the House. All I have to 
say is — and in this I believe I speak the sentiment of a majority 
of the members of this House — that James B. Fry is a most 
efficient officer, whose character is without spot or blemish; a 
gentleman who stands second to no other officer in the Ameri- 
can army ; and he is ready to meet the gentleman from New 
York and all other accusers anywhere and everywhere. And, 
sir, when I hear the gentleman from New York rehearse in 
this House, as an impeachment of General Fry, all the details 
of the recruiting frauds in New York, which General Fry used 
his best energies to repress with iron hand, a sense of indigna- 
tion carries me beyond my personal strength and impels me to 
denounce such a course of proceeding. 

To this Mr. Conkling replied in words which, as reported in 
the " Congressional Globe," were : 

" Mr. Speaker, if General Fry is reduced to depending for 
vindication upon the gentleman from Maine, he is to be com- 
miserated certainly. If I have fallen to the necessity of taking- 
lessons from that gentleman in the rules of propriety, or of right 
or wrong, God help me. I say to him further that I mean to 
take no advantage such as he attributes of the privileges of this 
place or of the absence of General Fry. On the contrary, I am 
ready to avow what I have here declared anywhere. T have 



164 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

stated facts for which I am willing to be held responsible at all 
times and places." 

What the newspapers reported Mr. Conkling to have said 
was, " I am entirely responsible, not only here, but elsewhere, 
for what I have said." " To the particular individual to whom it 
may give offence I will answer not here, but elsewhere — any- 
where it may be agreeable to have the answer." 

" I say, further, that the statement made by the gentleman 
from Maine with regard to myself personally, and my quarrels 
with General Fry and their results, is false." 

Mr. Blaine. — What does the gentleman mean to say was 
false ? 

Mr. Conkling. — I mean to say that the statement made by 
the gentleman from Maine is false. 

Mr. Blaine. — ■ What statement ? 

Mr. Conkling. — Does not the gentleman understand what 
I mean ? 

Declining to answer Mr. Blaine's question directly, Mr. 
Conkling at length came around in his own way to the point 
of his objection, which was the statement that he had " had 
personal quarrels " with General Fry and had been worsted 
in them, and that too before the Secretary of War and by the 
Secretary of War. 

Mr. Blaine replied that what he had understood was " from 
very high authority," but " I left it to him to say whether it 
was so, but added I could not consent to go into this cheap sort 
of stuff about answering 'here and elsewhere,' and about 'per- 
sonal responsibility,' and all that kind of thing. 

" Sir, I do not know how to characterize it. When we had 
gentlemen here from the eleven seceded States, they used to 
talk about answering ' here and elsewhere ; ' and it was under- 
stood that they meant a duel. I suppose the gentleman from 
New York means nothing of that kind ; I do not know whether 
lie does or not ; but that is the only meaning that can be at- 
tached to the phrase. When a man says that he is ready to 
answer ' here or elsewhere ' he means that he is willing to 
receive a note outside of the District of Columbia. Well, now, 
that is very cheap, and certainly beneath my notice. I do not 
believe the gentleman from New York wants to fight a duel; 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES O. BLAINE. 1G5 

and I am sure he needs no assurance from me that I do not 
intend it. When I have to resort to the use of the epithet of 
' false ' upon this floor, and this cheap swagger about being 
responsible ' here or elsewhere,' I shall have very little faith in 
the cause which I stand up to maintain." 

On the second day of the debate Mr. Blaine read the Globe 
report, and threw down the gauntlet himself, informing the House 
that in personal controversies between gentlemen it is a point of 
honor that as the reporter puts what takes place it shall be printed, 
and that if alterations are made they shall be made by mutual 
understanding and knowledge. On reading the report at the 
Globe office he found essential alterations, and was told the 
alterations were made by the member from New York, and are 
in his handwriting. " I now hold the report of his remarks in 
my hand, and there is scarcely a page but what has been 
altered. But I merely want to call the attention of the House 
to one point where the gentleman sought by an alteration to 
take away the entire point of my reply to him. I characterized 
some of his bravado as cheap swagger when he talked about 
meeting me ' here or elsewhere.' The gentleman eliminates 
that important part of his speech, and inserts these words : ' I 
have stated facts for which I am willing to be held responsible 
at all times and places.' Now the phrase ' here and elsewhere ' 
is a phrase well known in Congress — ■ it is the phrase of bully- 
ism. It was a phrase upon which I commented, and which I 
denounced, and justly denounced, and which the gentleman 
had no right to alter at the Globe office. I want members to 
understand the precise point of my complaint. Though I am 
reported, and correctly reported, as referring to the phraseology 
'here and elsewhere,' and commenting upon the bravado of 
his manner, yet a person reading the debate might be led to 
ask what I was replying to when I quoted a phrase of that 
kind, the very mild phrase c at all times and places ' having 
been cunningly substituted. Mr. Speaker, I never expected 
to make a personal explanation in this House in my life. As 
to courage, I am like the Methodist deacon about his piety, I 
have none to speak of." 

Mr. Conkling asked and was permitted to look at the sheets, 
protested that he had made no improper alterations, that he 



166 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

was " as incapable as the gentleman from Maine pretends to 
be of doing anything in violation of the rights or the position 
of any other member," reviewed the debate in question, de- 
fended his course and rights therein, declared that he never saw 
the notes of the gentleman from Maine, did not know they con- 
tained any statement about " here or elsewhere," did not think 
there was the slightest significance in those words more than in 
any other for this purpose, characterized Mr. Blaine's remarks 
as " frivolously impertinent and also incorrect," and that the im- 
putation of duelism was " a cheap way of clawing off," and, after 
expressing with great fervor his indifference to, not to say con- 
tempt for, the opinion of the gentleman from Maine, proceeded 
to read the original phrases and the alterations, and "throwback 
to the gentleman any imputation which he seeks to cast upon 
me," — - which reading showed him to have done exactly what 
Mr. Blaine said that he had done ! 

So the second day came and went, and on the morning of the 
third Mr. Blaine reappeared with a fresh fusillade, comprising 
the proof of his statement, — which was much more in his way 
than shooting Mr. Conkling, or being shot by him, with an 
entirely illogical and therefore impertinent bullet.. 

" I hold in my hand a letter from Provost Marshal-General 
Fry, which I ask to have read at the Clerk's desk, for the double 
purpose of vindicating myself from the charge of having stated 
in debate last week what was false, and also for the purpose, 
which I am sure will commend itself to the House, of allowing 
fair play to an honorable man in the same forum in which he 
has been assailed." 

The Speaker. — It requires unanimous consent to have it 
read. Is there objection ? 

Mr. Conkling. — I infer that this has some reference to 
me. I shall make no objection, provided I may have an 
opportunity to reply to whatever the letter may call for here- 
after. 

Mr. Blaine. — I wish further to say that if, on investigation, I 
had found I was in error in the statement 1 had made touching 
the member from the Utica district of New York [Mr. Conk- 
ling] and Provost Marshal-General Fry, I would, mortif}dng as 
it would have been, have apologized to the House. Whether 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 167 

I was in error or not, I leave to those who hear the letter of the 
Provost Marshal-General. 

A letter from General Fry was then read in which he said : 
"Your assertions touching Mr. Conkling's difficulties with this 
bureau are amply and completely justified by the facts which 
this letter will disclose. . . 

" My official intercourse with Representatives in Congress dur- 
ing the past three years has been constant and in many cases 
intimate, and, with the solitary exception of Mr. Conkling, it 
has been marked, so far as I remember, by mutual honor and 
fair dealing." After giving in detail the three main issues be- 
tween himself and Mr. Conkling, (which were, first, that General 
Fry removed the first Provost Marshal of Mr. Conkling's dis- 
trict, that Mr. Conkling complained of this action both to the 
President and to the War Department, but failed to procure 
any modification of General Fry's conrse. Second, that General 
Fry had removed the second Provost Marshal of the district, 
and that Mr. Conkling had failed to restore him. Third, that 
Mr. Conkling had attempted to secure counsel from the gov- 
ernment to defend the second Provost Marshal in his litiga- 
tions and had failed) General Fry added, " Notwithstanding 
Mr. Conkling's denial in the House, his own letters as well as 
the foregoing statements show that there were differences, and 
that he was 'worsted.' On the 25th of October, 1865, he 
wrote the Secretary of War, saying : 'It is now many 
months since I have been able to obtain any response from the 
department touching the interests of the government in this 
district. Still I venture one more trial, etc' Every request, 
complaint, or accusation of any importance made by Mr. 
Conkling affecting General Fry's bureau had been laid before 
the Secretary of War, and passed upon by him. The result in 
nearly every instance had been, unfavorable to Mr. Conkling, 
and assuming that these were the differences or quarrels 
which were referred to in the debate as those in which Mr. 
Conkling came out second best, he asserted what was not true 
when he denied them." 

This was sufficiently conclusive of the existence of the 
quarrels referred to ; but General Fry, having been so very 
definitely and sorely attacked, did not stay his hand. To the 



168 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

, insinuation that lie " should allow the War Department and the 
country to know precisely what has become of the twenty-five 
million and odd dollars which, under the act of March 3, 1863, 
went to its credit," General Fry replied triumphantly, " My 
official report, now partly in the hands of the public printer, 
shows in detail the disposition of every dollar of this money, 
and shows, moreover, a completeness and accuracy in accounts 
that is not surpassed, if it is equalled, by any bureau under the 
government ; and I hold a certificate from the Second Comp- 
troller of the Treasury that all my accounts relating to this 
fund have been examined and found correct." And in turn he 
added a suggestion whether Mr. Conkling's action in exercis- 
ing the functions of judge advocate, and receiving pay therefor 
from the United States to the amount of $3,000 while receiving 
his compensation as a member of Congress, was a violation of 
the letter or spirit, or both, of article one, section two, of the 
Constitution : 

" He was as zealous in preventing prosecutions at Utica as he 
was in making them at Elmira, and the main ground of difficulty 
between Mr. Conkling and myself lias been that I wanted ex- 
posure at both places, while he wanted concealment at one. I 
have been at all times amenable to the severest form of law, — 
the military code, — liable at any moment to summary arrest, 
court-martial, and extreme punishment in case of any derelic- 
tion of official dut}r. No one knew or knows this fact better 
than Mr. Conkling, and if, while acting as judge advocate, he 
came into the possession of any fact impugning or impeaching 
my integrity as a public officer, he was guilty of grave public 
wrong and unfaithfulness if he did not instantly file formal 
charges against me with the Secretary of War. He can, there- 
fore, only escape the charge of deliberate and malignant false- 
hood as a member of Congress by confessing an unpardonable 
breach of duty as judge advocate. He held both offices and 
took pay for both at the same time ; he has certainly been false 
to honor in one, and perhaps, as the sequel may show, in both. 

" Copies of official documents substantiating statements herein 
made are subjoined." 

Mr. Blaine did not ask that these documents should be read 
but that they and the letter should be printed. Mr. Ross, of 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 169 

Illinois, moved that ten thousand extra copies be printed. Mr. 
Conkling desired them to be read, rather childishly declaring 
that he enjoyed it very much, and proceeded to justify in de- 
tail his acceptance of the $3,000 fee till Mr. Ross interrupted 
him again, " If it will not discompose the gentleman too much, 
I would ask him to state whether that was during the time he 
was drawing pay as a member of Congress." 

Mr. Conkling. — I do not quite understand the pertinence 
of the question of the gentleman from Illinois. But I will 
endeavor to enlighten him. He probably knows, for I presume 
that information has extended to him, that the term of members 
of Congress commences on the fourth of March. And as the 
retainer which I have spoken of was in April, which, I will in- 
form the gentleman, is a month that comes after March in the 
calendar, he will very likely be able, by the rule of three, or by 
some other rule with which he is familiar, to cipher out whether 
I was a member of Congress at the time or not. 

I should be sorry to suppose that the member from Illinois, 
or any other member of this House, — indeed, I should be sorry 
as an American to suppose that the standard of intelligence 
anywhere in the country is so low that any human being, un- 
less it be that distinguished mathematician and warrior, Provost 
Marshal-General Fry, believes there is the slightest impropriety 
in a man who is a member of Congress practising his profession 
as counsel in courts, or accepting from the government of the 
United States, or from any other client, a retainer for such pro- 
fessional services. 

But after he was again in the full tide of explanation, Mr. 
Ross again interposed, " Will the gentleman from New York 
yield to me a moment?" 

Mr. Conkling. — For what purpose ? 

Mr. Ross. — I desire to ask the gentleman whether he was draw- 
ing pay as judge advocate at the same time when he was receiving 
$3,000 a year from the government as a member of Congress. 

Mr. Conkling. — I will answer the gentleman's question, 
Mr. Speaker ; because nothing interests me in connection with 
this matter more than the laudable curiosity of the gentleman 
from Illinois. 



170 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

I beg, Mr. Speaker, to assure the gentleman " confidentially," 
as the gentleman from Pennsylvania would say, and I hope 
he will regard it as a confidential communication, that I never 
did receive salary as judge advocate during the period he 
refers to, or during any other period ; not one penny. Indeed, 
Mr. Speaker, I found myself very unexpectedly elevated when 
I saw the announcement in some paper that this retainer which 
the government had given me made me acting judge advocate 
for the purpose of trying a case. It was merely an employ- 
ment as counsel; and the counsel fee which was paid is, I 
beg to assure the gentleman, the only compensation that I 
ever received for my services. I never received any pay as 
judge advocate during any period whatever. ... I beg 
leave, Mr. Speaker, to remind gentlemen of the precise state- 
ment which on that occasion I pronounced untrue. The mem- 
ber from Maine said — I read from the Globe : " I do not 
suppose that the House of Representatives care anything more 
than the Committee on Military Affairs about the great recruit- 
ing frauds of New York, or the quarrels of the gentleman from 
New York with General Fry, in which quarrels, it is generally 
understood, the gentleman came out second best at the War 
Department." I will not stop to read further (although I 
propose to have all I have marked inserted in my remarks) the 
various forms in which the statement was made that I had had 
personal quarrels with Provost Marshal-General Fry. 

Mr. Blaine. — -I hope the gentleman will read the whole. If 
he will show me the word " personal " in the speech to which 
he is replying, I will reward him. He cannot do it. He is put- 
ting his own interpretation upon it. Let the gentleman read 
all that he is going to print. 

Mr. Conkling^ — Mr. Speaker, I hope the active member 
from Maine will preserve himself as free from agitation as 
possible. 

Mr. Blaine. — I demand that whatever the gentleman puts 
in the Globe he shall read. 

The Speaker ruled that the demand was parliamentary, and 
Mr Conkling perforce yielded : " Mr. Speaker, this is a little 
episode, I suppose, for the amusement and diversion of the 
House. It is quite unnecessary. The member had better be 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. Ill 

quiet ; I am entirely disposed to have the whole passage read, 
and I will ask to have it read." The whole passage was read, 
and then Mr. Blaine scored his point by declaring, " The word 
personal does not occur there," to which Mr. Conkling made 
the astonishing confession and avoidance, " The House will 
observe I did not say the word ' personal ' did occur. But 
that is not here nor there," and continued his argument to 
prove that he had " no personal quarrel with General Fry," 
and concluded by hoping that the House would " pardon some- 
thing to the extraordinary incident which has been witnessed, 
of the head of a bureau, a clerk in the War Department, sending 
here to be read such a pile of rubbish as that, a personal assault 
upon a member of this House, under the pretence of vindicating 
himself in some way or other." 

Mr. Blaine responded in his most off-hand manner : " I do 
not know that I have anything to say, and I shall not take very 
long to say it. I do not happen to possess the volubility 
of the gentleman from the Utica district. It took him thirty 
minutes the other day to explain that an alteration in the 
reporter's notes for the Globe was no alteration at all ; and 
I do not think he convinced the House, after all. And it 
has taken him an hour to-day to explain that while he and 
General Fry have been at swords' points for a year, there has 
been no difficulty at all between them. He has said that General 
Fry is of no consequence, that he is a mere clerk in the War 
Department. Yet he is a very sensitive clerk, and when he 
has been accused of all sorts of fraud, he should have a little 
chance to be heard. Now, one single word. The gentleman 
from New York has attempted to pass off his appearance in 
this case as simply the appearance of counsel. I want to read 
again, for the information of the House, the appointment under 
which the gentleman from New York appeared as the prosecutor 
on the part of the government. It is as follows : 

War Department, 

Washington City, April 3, 1865. 
Sir: I am instructed by the Secretary of War to authorize you to inves- 
tigate all cases of fraud in the Provost Marshal's department of the 
western division of New York, and all misdemeanors connected with 
recruiting. You will from time to time make report to this department of 



172 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

the progress of your labors, and will apply for any special authority for 
which you may have occasion. The Judge Advocate-General will be in- 
structed to issue to you an appointment as special judge advocate, for the 
prosecution of any cases that may be brought to trial before a military 
tribunal. You will also appear in behalf of this department in any cases 
that it may be deemed more expedient to bring before the civil tribunals. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

C. A. Dana, 

Assistant Secretary of War. 
Mr. Roscoe Conkling. 



u Now, sir, I find in Brightly's Digest, Section 46, page 821, 
that : ' No person who holds or shall hold any office under the 
government of the United States whose salary or annual com- 
pensation shall amount to the sum of #2,500 shall receive 
compensation for discharging the duties of any other office.' 

" I leave it for the House to decide whether the gentleman 
can get off under the technical plea that he was not a judge ad- 
vocate. He cannot deny that he discharged the duties of judge 
advocate under the special commission which I have read, and 
he was paid for the discharge of those duties. The case falls 
under the same law as that of the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. 
Schenck], who, being a Representative in Congress while yet a 
major-general, declined to receive any pay as a member until he 
had resigned his office in the army, and had taken his seat in 
this House. I have no suggestions to make about this, except 
that I consider the point well taken, and that in my view this 
committee, if appointed, ought to investigate the matter. I do 
not believe that the gentleman received the money rightfully, 
though I will say this much of him, if he will permit me, that I 
have no doubt he will restore it if convinced he has taken it 
improperly. 

" Mr. Speaker, all I have to say further in connection with this 
matter is, that what I stated the other day has, as I conceive, been 
fully, entirely, and emphatically vindicated by the record. I 
believe I have shown the members of this House that I am in- 
capable of stating anything here for which I am not responsible 
— not exactly 'here or elsewhere,' but responsible as a gentle- 
man and as a Representative." 

If the debate had stopped even there, the situation, though 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 173 

dilapidated, might not have been irreparable ; but Mr. Conkling 
added, " Mr. Speaker, I sought the floor again to say this, 
which possibly I omitted to state before : that no commission 
was ever issued to me by the Judge Advocate-General. For 
fear that I omitted to state it, I beg leave to say that no com- 
mission, paper, or authority whatever was ever issued to me 
except the letter of retainer which has been read, employing me 
to act, according to its language, before military courts and 
before other tribunals." 

Mr. Blaine, who had already said his final word, was instantly 
up again, but Mr. Conkling's patience was exhausted to the 
point of direct and simple ire. 

The Speaker. — Does the gentleman from New York yield 
to the gentleman from Maine ? 

Mr. Conkling. — No, sir. I do not wish to have anything 
to do with the member from Maine, not even so much as to 
yield him the floor. [But he quickly recovered his rhetoric and 
attested the fervor of his indifference.] Mr. Speaker, if the 
member from Maine had the least idea how profoundly indif- 
ferent I am to his opinion upon the subject which he has been 
discussing, or upon any other subject personal to me, I think 
he would hardly take the trouble to rise here and express his 
opinion. And as it is a matter of entire indifference to me 
what that opinion may be, I certainly will not detain the 
House by discussing the question whether it is well or ill- 
founded, or by noticing what he says. I submit the whole 
matter to the members of the House, making as I do an 
apology for the length of time which I have occupied in con- 
sequence of being drawn into explanations originally by an 
interruption which I pronounced the other day ungentlemanly 
and impertinent, and having nothing whatever to do with the 
question. 

Mr. Blaine, taking the floor, began : 

" It is hardly worth while to pursue this controversy further ; 
but still the gentleman from New York cannot get off on the 
technicality which he has suggested. He says that a com- 
mission never was issued to him. I understand him to admit 
that if a commission had been issued to him he could not have 
taken pay for both offices. Now every one knows that those 



174 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

preliminary authorizations are the things on which half the 
business arising out of the war has been done. Men have 
fought at the head of battalions and divisions and army corps 
without having received their formal commissions. The gentle- 
man was just as much bound to respect the law under that 
appointment as though it had been a formal commission with 
the signature of the Secretary of War." Turning then 
directly to Mr. Conkling, who was accentuating his profound 
indifference to what the gentleman from Maine might be say- 
ing by writing busily, there came one swift downpour of scorn 
for scorn. "As to the gentleman's cruel sarcasm, I hope he 
will not be too severe. The contempt of that large-minded 
gentleman is so wilting, his haughty disdain., his grandiloquent 
swell, his majestic, supereminent, overpowering, turkey-gobbler 
strut, has been so crushing to myself and all the members of this 
House, that I know it was an act of the greatest temerity for me 
to venture upon a controversy with him." Referring then to a 
chance newspaper comparison of Mr. Conkling to Henry Winter 
Davis (which he interpreted satirically), he continued, " The 
gentleman took it seriously,, and it has given his strut additional 
pomposity. The resemblance is great, it is striking. Hyperion 
to a Satyr, Thersites to Hercules, mud to marble, dunghill to 
diamond, a singed cat to a Bengal tiger, a whining puppy to a 
roaring lion. Shade of the mighty Davis, forgive the almost 
profanation of that jocose satire ! " 

The House of Representatives proved to be but children 
of a larger growth. It listened to every word, shouted 
its inextinguishable laughter, then pulled itself together to 
comfort the gentleman from New York, and to discipline the 
gentleman from Maine. The Chair recovered presence of mind 
first, and laid the blame on the House. " If any member had 
called to order, the Chair would at once have strictly enforced 
the rule ; " but it is noticeable that the Chair took care not to 
make this suggestion prematurely. The House, having first 
gratified its curiosity by listening to the whole letter, appointed 
a committee " to investigate the statements and charges made 
by Hon. Roscoe Conkling, in his place, against Provost Marshal- 
General Fry and his bureau, whether any frauds have been per- 
petrated in his office in connection with the recruiting service ; 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 175 

also to examine into the statements made by General Fry 
in his communication to Hon. Mr. Blaine read in the House." 
The committee met, gave one look at the mass of docu- 
ments which were to be examined, and determined, "in 
view of the magnitude of the task assigned to it," to under- 
take only half of it ; that is, to dispose of the charges of 
General Fry against Mr. Conkling, and to leave General Fry to 
fight his way out of Mr. Conkling's charges as best he could. 
This task it accomplished to its own satisfaction. The com- 
mittee asserted, and the House assented, that Mr. Fry's 
charges against Mr. Conkling were wholly without foundation 
in truth, that the conduct of Mr. Conkling had been in all 
respects above reproach, and, too late horror-stricken at the 
spectacle of a mere clerk of a department attacking a member 
of Congress in Congress simply to defend his own unimpor- 
tant character, and forgetting that the House was advised of 
the contents of the letter before it was read, that it agreed to 
the reading without an objection, when a single objection could 
have kept it back, and that it must therefore be particeps crimi- 
nis, it nevertheless condemned General Fry for breach of the 
privileges of the House. Indeed, General Fry fared so ill at 
the hands of the committee that the question was openly asked 
on the floor of the House, why some steps had not been taken 
to send him to the penitentiary ; which it appeared, in answer, 
the House might have done, but that the sin of General Fry in 
writing the letter was so closely connected with the sin of Mr. 
Blaine in offering the letter that the same prison-door which 
opened on the one must needs close on the other, by which the 
dignity of the House would be still further violated. Thus it 
will be seen that while they laid exculpating hands on Mr. 
Conkling, and kept inculpating hands off Mr. Blaine, they all 
turned upon poor General Fry, and, forgetting that he had any 
grievance at all, gave him a very bad time of it. The com- 
mittee reported, and the House adopted the report, condemning 
General Fry for attempting to resent and disprove, in the 
House of Representatives, the charge made in the House that 
he had prostituted "the whole machinery of the government 
to miscreants and robbers." 

Still there was a world outside. The Mouse adopted the report 



176 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

on the 14th of July. On the 17th of the same month, General 
Fry was appointed '" major-general by brevet, for faithful, meri- 
torious, and distinguished services in the Provost Marshal-Gen- 
eral's department." And the Senate confirmed the appointment. 
June 10, 1.868, he was appointed " brigadier-general by brevet, 
for gallant and meritorious services in the battles of Shiloh, 
Tennessee, and Perryville, Kentucky." And the Senate con- 
firmed the appointment. He was appointed " colonel by brevet, 
for gallant and meritorious services in the battle of Bull Run 
(first), Virginia." And the Senate confirmed the appointment. 
March 12, 1875, he was appointed colonel in Adjutant-General's 
department. And the Senate confirmed the appointment. So 
the House of Representatives and the War Department each 
drew its own child from the fierce flame, to its own fond eyes 
unscarred, while the other child was all scathed and blackened 
by the lightning stroke. 

This controversy has been given with more detail than its 
intrinsic importance would justify, because of the innumerable 
variations which time and tradition have lent to the tale, and 
because of the factitious importance with which the subsequent 
prominence of the two chief contestants invested it. National 
policies and presidencies have been hung on its issues, and the 
poison of an imaginary bitterness has been diffused through 
an entirely constructive " life-long feud." But to a feud there 
must be two parties. On Mr. Blaine's side certainly, there 
was no feud whatever. He spoke to the occasion, and smote no 
more. He had fought in his own field the soldier's battle, who 
had fought on the bloody field the citizen's battle, and that was 
the end. Thereafter was no moment when he was not ready for 
peace, — at least for such peace as was possible with Mr. Conk- 
ling. At intervals along the way were ever springing up 
friends who wished to heal the breach, and Mr. Blaine always 
lent himself cheerfully, without their urging, to their desire and 
design. He did not think it worth while to go over the story in 
detail, or to make an apology, or any scene whatever ; he was quite 
willing that the dead past should bury its dead, but he would 
assist at no funeral ceremony. Hearing that the obstacle to rec- 
onciliation in Mr. Conkling's mind was a supposed reflection 
on his integrity by Mr. Blaine, the latter denied promptly any 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. Ill 

such reflection, and half humorously maintained that any un- 
prejudiced reader of the debate would testify that in this aspect 
he had more to complain of than Mr. Conkling. But he not 
only admitted, he was quick to avow his admission, that in the 
excitement of the moment both had spoken some words which 
in cooler moments both regretted and would have been glad to 
recall. So much he volunteered without regard to Mr. Conk- 
ling's attitude. To peace-lovers and well-wishers of both, 
and to loyal adherents of the Republican party, who thought its 
interests involved in the relations of its prominent leaders, he 
from the first averred his willingness, even his desire, at any 
moment to resume relations with Mr. Conkling, and to disavow 
at the same time, and at all times, any intention whatever to 
reflect on his honor as a gentleman. On one of the many 
occasions when he was approached by friends of Mr. Conkling in 
the cause of reconciliation, he closed with the proposition, " If 
you will assure me of Mr. Conkling's acceptance, I will without 
any other preliminary invite him and Mrs. Conkling to the 
best dinner I can proffer to the best company I can gather in 
Washington." This was after he had been made Speaker and 
had established his home with its usual hospitalities in Wash- 
ington. The gentlemen withdrew, but the desired assurance 
was never given and the proffered table was never spread. On 
another and similar occasion he replied that he would " far 
rather be Mr. Conkling's friend than his foe, and I can say 
with entire candor that I never felt towards him any of the 
rancor of an enemy/' During the presidential campaign of 
1884, renewed efforts were made by loyal Republicans towards 
friendly intercourse in the interests of political cooperation. 
Again Mr. Blaine responded, as always, with assurances of 
good-will. He reiterated his readiness to resume friendly 
relations and to disavow any intention of imputing dishonor to 
Mr. Conkling, but added, " To do so now would subject me to 
the imputation of improper motives, but when the election is 
over, whichever way it may end, I would be glad as a step to 
reconciliation to make that disavowal in any way that would 
be agreeable to Mr. Conkling, assuming of course that he feels 
ready to make similar disavowal respecting myself." The 
reconciliation went no further. 



178 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Yet it probably was not wholly due to Mr. Conkling's un- 
willingness to be reconciled, but partly perhaps to his practical 
inability to overcome what seemed to him the awkwardness of 
the step. 

It must also be admitted that Mr. Blaine did not set a high 
private value on Mr. Conkling's friendship. To the core of the 
heart they were different men. They worshipped different 
gods with different rites. They cherished different ideals and 
followed them on different lines. Mr. Blaine was not gladly on 
ill terms with any one, but he was not pressed to a reconcilia- 
tion with Mr. Conkling by any inward urgency. 

The controversy^ did not affect Mr. Blaine's political course, 
and not perceptibly, I think, his political fortunes. The situa- 
tion was not indeed without its humorous side — as at a 
dinner where important matters were discussed with Secretary 
Fish, and Mr. Blaine would refer Mr. Fish to the Senator from 
New York as the proper authority, and Mr. Conkling, address- 
ing also Mr. Fish, would presently refer another question to 
the decision of the Speaker of the House. On another day it 
chanced that a group of friends, including both Mr. Blaine and 
Mr. Conkling, were travelling from New York to Washington, 
and enjoying the liveliest nonsense of leisurely talk. One of 
them, Mr. (since Senator) Chandler, amused himself with contriv- 
ing, as opportunity offered, a cut de sac in which to entrap Mr. 
Blaine and Mr. Conkling, for the sake of forcing their skill at 
keeping out. In a careless moment Mr. Conkling produced some 
confection or other and began to pass it around, apparently 
without thinking of the great gulf fixed between himself and his 
constructive foe. When it should have come to Mr. Blaine, 
there was a visible rudimentary movement of Mr. Conkling's 
proffering hand towards Mr. Blaine ; but alas ! the habit of a 
lifetime prevailed, his good angel of gayety forsook him and 
fled, more to Mr. Conkling's chagrin, possibly, than to any other 
person's. " Would you have taken it if he had offered it?" 
asked a friend of Mr., Blaine afterwards. " Certainly, if it had 
choked me ! " was the careless reply. 

It was inevitable that they should be often in opposition, but 
they never clashed on the old battle-field. They never contended 
where, but for that battle-field, they- would have combined. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 179 

On the contrary, that early conflict was rather, doubtless one 
of the things that made for peace. Mr. Conkling's manner 
was intolerable, and Mr. Blaine disembarrassed himself of it 
once for all, and thus the world remained unvexed of many 
a storm. Mr. Blaine never made the mistake of under-estimat- 
ing Mr. Conkling while fully recognizing his limitations, and 
Mr. Conkling, I think, never again made the mistake of even 
pretending to leave Mr. Blaine out of the account. " Mr. Conk- 
ling and I have usually cooperated in political struggles, and I 
have never withheld my frank expression of admiration for his 
great abilities, " wrote Mr. Blaine to one of the great army of 
peace-makers. " You can talk with Conkling and I can't," said 
Senator Blaine to a brother Senator when a pet measure of Conk- 
ling's was at stake. " I have seen L., and I think he is on 
the borders. . . . Go and tell Conkling if he will talk with 
L., I believe he can bring him in." And it was observed 
that Mr. Conkling speeded to Mr. L. like an arrow from a bow. 
On the other hand, in some of Mi\ Blaine's many minorities, 
Mr. Conkling did not shrink from ranging himself alongside. " If 
any gentleman on this floor has made himself singular," was 
the euphuism by which Mr. Conkling indicated that it was Mr. 
Blaine's forlorn hope which he was following. In presidential 
nomination campaigns, as often in other causes, Mr. Conkling 
opposed Mr. Blaine, but there is no reason to attribute Mr. 
Blaine's defeats to Mr. Conkling, any more than to Mr. Sher- 
man or to Mr. Windom, or to others with whom Mr. Blaine 
never had a personal conflict, but who were working each for 
his own man with as undoubted honesty and zeal as if that man 
had not been himself. Mr. Blaine never nursed the old dis- 
pute, never seemed to hold it in mind, never used it as a base 
of operations, never gathered or disseminated from it any poi- 
sonous fruitage, never looked upon it as other than an incident 
of the past, right in its origin and motive, improvable perhaps 
in its manner, to be left for what, on the spur of the moment, 
it was worth. 

The metropolitan press seems, like the House of Represent- 
atives, to have joined in the laugh, but to have espoused the 
cause of the member from New York. A leading and powerful 
newspaper, the New York Tribune, marvelled that a bureau 



180 BIOGRAPHY <)F JAMES G. BLAINE. 

clerk should impudently cause such a letter to be read to the 
House. It declared each and all the charges against Mr. Conk- 
ling to be proved false and frivolous and foolish, while only the 
novelty of the attack redeemed General Fry and its lamented 
supporter from Maine from general contempt. It was the 
Provost Marshal-General's bureau that was about to be put on 
trial, and the prediction was that Roscoe Conkling would con- 
vict it of the grossest crimes or compel it to prove innocence 
by confessing to the most finished, incalculable, and complete 
stupidity. 

When " The Historic Congress " was delineated in that jour- 
nal, Mr. Conkling appeared in minute and accurate detail, 
" brimful of blood and action, forceful and commanding, with 
the height of Mars, crowned with the forehead and locks of 
Hyperion, eyes large and black," — though in the search-light 
of the newspapers they often flashed blue, — " auburn hair, and 
beard peaked as his nose, set above shoulders that become a 
great captain ! " but near the end of four and one-half columns, 
the member from Maine comes perfunctorily in only as "an 
editor from Maine, and the ally of Mr. Fry in the pending in- 
vestigation. " 

One journal did not consider him of sufficient importance to 
be named, and brought him forward indiscriminately as Mr. 
Blane and Mr. Blain. 

Five years flew by and another day had dawned. On the same 
pages " Conkling rose with his slow undulations like nothing 
so much as a yellow viper coupled with the accompanying 
venom," and by that time the "crimes," and the " stupidity '" 
were alike merged in " the annoyance which we all suffered 
under General Fry's legal tyranny," but that " he did his duty 
faithfully, industriously, and honestly is too well vouched for 
by his superiors, among them the lamented Stanton," to be 
doubted ; while Mr. Conkling's " overbearing manner has made 
him the most unpopular man in the Senate, and he carries it in 
debate to an extreme almost beyond belief. Though his rasp- 
ing tones are disagreeable at all times, they are specially and 
incomparably odious when employed (as they are every day) 
to convey an insult to one of his associates. ... In answer- 
ing a political opponent, it is his custom to give the lie as 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 181 

nearly as he can without being called to order. . . . Not 
being called to order, he went on to make that unfortunate 
observation about c courage ' and 4 strutting ' which brought 
upon him the severest rap he has received in six years. When 
Mr. Schurz begged pardon if he had done anything like strut- 
ting, c because he did not want to interfere with the exclusive 
privilege of his friend from New York,' the application was so 
perfect that the galleries roared with laughter, and some of the 
Senators were convulsed with delight. For the strut of Mr. 
Conkling is one of the sights of the Capitol. 

" Six years ago, Roscoe Conkling and James G. Blaine had a 
famous tilt in the House of Representatives. The debate was 
then upon ... a piece of sharp practice which Mr. Conk- 
ling justified, if I am not mistaken, upon the plea that, though 
he took the appointment and the pay, he did not receive a 
formally engrossed commission. In the course of the discus- 
sion Mr. Conkling was guilty of an airy exhibition towards 
Mr. Blaine, and the member from Maine retaliated with a piece 
of denunciation so cruelly descriptive that it will long hold a 
place in our political literature." 

Only the Creator, never the created, is the same yesterday, 
to-day, and forever. 



182 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



X. 

VACATION IN EUROPE AND WORK AT HOME. 

IN May, 1867, Mr. Blaine took a short vacation voyage to 
Europe, and often boasted that he had outstripped Napoleon, 
having in three months conquered three languages and overrun 
five kingdoms ! Mr. Morrill, of Vermont, was his travelling 
companion, and though twenty years his senior, they sailed into 
New York harbor on their return, agreeing that if the journey 
were to be taken again, each could choose no better companion- 
ship. 

" He was a delightful traveller," says Mr. Morrill, " mar- 
vellous. We fell in with, many English gentlemen, and he 
seemed to know more about their country than they did them- 
selves. He was thoroughly familiar with the history and the 
associations of every battle-ground we visited, of every spot 
connected with great events. His observation was remarkably 
quick and wide, and we swept a great deal of interest and value 
into a short time." 

He landed at Queenstown on the last day of May, and never 
dreamed of anything in vegetation so splendid as the green of 
Ireland, but noted Spike Island, on the outer side of the harbor, 
a penal institution strongly walled in and " just now filled with 
condemned Fenians, waiting for transportation to Botany Bay." 
He rode on the engine to Cork, for a better view of the mag- 
nificent country. " The only fault, the double fault rather, is 
the absence of trees and the absence of houses. The inhabi- 
tants are all rooted out by the large proprietors. I had no idea 
of the beauty of Ireland, nor of the fearful effects of absenteeism, 
and the general disaster to the native race caused by the Eng- 
lish policy." On the way to Dublin he made friends with the 
" guard " and rode on his car, an elevated one with forward and 
rear lookout, and got all the views and information attainable. 




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BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 188 

One Sunday in Dublin the travellers decided " to go to 'church 
on a large scale ; so we took a carriage, and between 10.30 
and 1.30 we attended four Catholic and three Episcopal 
churches. . . . We heard a very good sermon at the last 
one, where we wound up our ecclesiastical perambulations. At 
St. Patrick's, the great Episcopal cathedral, the highest of High. 
Churchdom, there were by actual count more persons engaged 
at the altar and in the choir than were to be found in the pews. 
The audience did not number over fifty, including Morrill and 
myself, and such an array of rectors and vicars and deans and 
canons and prebendaries and deacons and sub-deacons you 
never saw and never will in America. The cathedral would 
probably seat at least three thousand, and it only lacked two 
thousand nine hundred and fifty of being full ; and the church 
is maintained by tithes on the property of all denominations. 
What a cruel farce ! The music in all, both Catholic and Epis- 
copal, is very fine." At the great cemetery he noted O'Con- 
nell's monument and the memorial stone of an Irish soldier who 
fell in the battle of the Wilderness, " in defence of the ' Great 
Republic,' as the inscription said." From Kingston they em- 
barked for Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey opposite, and 
made the trip in three and three-quarters hours. "I never 
saw anything so long and sharp as the steamers are. We shot 
out into the English channel like an arrow, passed a lightship 
seven miles out from the pier in precisely twenty minutes by 
Mr. Morrill's watch. Fare on steamer very high, 12 shillings, 
$ 3 gold, for sixty-six miles." 

In Menai Bridge he was disappointed and gave it only the 
honors of a pioneer. But with the beauty of the scenery he 
was greatly impressed. At Chester he measured the Roman 
wall in his usual way by pacing it. At Eton his comment on 
the park, architecture, and greenhouses, which alone covered 
fifty-two acres, was enthusiastic, but of a distinctly Maine 
flavor. From Wolverhampton fourteen miles to Birmingham, 
through the Black Country, — " one continuous Pittsburg. 
Mr. Morrill, who is so familiar with statistics of trade and 
manufactures, confessed himself utterly amazed at the magni- 
tude and extent of the display we witnessed." Giving two 
hours to Birmingham, they went to Warwick, thence a drive 



184 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

four miles out to Kenilworth, then another drive with fresh 
horses to Stratford-on-Avon, and at 4.30, train to Oxford, after 
lunch driving out to Blenheim. They slept at Oxford, visited 
all the colleges, gave over an hour to the Bodleian Library, 
and reached London at 2.20 P.M. " It is only five days since 
we landed at Queenstown. . . . An attentive study of the 
trains and the notable localities that are accessible on the route 
has enabled us to do more in these five days than tourists often 
accomplish in two or three weeks. We find a great number of 
those who came over on the " China " with us here at the 
Langham, and all they have done is simply to travel from 
Liverpool, stopping nowhere and seeing nothing. We have 
seen rural England, ridden on its fine roads, talked with its 
people, seen its splendid country seats. 

" Take the finest finished and ornamented lawn in Brookline, 
Roxbury, or any of those beautiful towns around Boston, and 
you see there only what you see in all directions in England, 
only what I have seen for every mile of the four hundred miles 
that I have travelled by rail or carriage on English soil. It is 
just as Ralph Waldo Emerson says of it in his English notes, 
4 England is finished with a pencil, America with a plough.' 

" Travelling here is expensive. . . . My English experi- 
ence thus far has cost me twenty-one dollars a day in our money- 
I had previously written Mr. Morse, our consul, from Oxford, 
that he would procure us admission to the House of Parliament 
and have the necessary papers at the Langham. We found his 
note containing a card of introduction to Mr. W. E. Foster, 
and down we went about 5 P.M., when we found to our dismay 
that he was not in his seat. ... I was not, however, to be 
so easily put off, and remembering the almighty power of the 
shilling in England, I made up to one of the guards, door- 
keepers, explained our dilemma, slipped a half-crown into his 
hand, and away he flew and reappeared in a few minutes with 
Lord Henry Cavendish's order for our admission ; and 

for several hours we enjoyed the sight of the British House of 
Commons. I was intensely interested in everything that was 
said and done. 

" Next morning Mr. Morse called, and we all called on Mr. 
Adams and were very cordially received. He said he would send 






BTOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 185 

his Secretary of Legation to our hotel at 3.30 to escort us to 
Parliament House and procure our admission to the floor. So 
at the hour Mr. Moran very promptly appeared, and off we 
drove. . . . Mr. Foster was in his seat, and, hearing about 
us from Mr. Morse, he did not wait to be introduced, but came 
right over, and soon after brought John Stuart Mill, and then 
Lord Amberley and many other of the Liberal members. 

" After about half an hour Mr. Foster, having left us for a few 
minutes, returned with the compliments of the Right Honorable 
John Evelyn Dennison, Speaker of the House, inviting us to 
take seats on the Peers' Bench, — a most eligible location, — - 
and sending us word that during our stay in London he would 
be happy to have us occupy that seat whenever it might suit 
our pleasure. Mr. Morrill and myself felt quite overwhelmed 
with the attention, but a member of the American Congress is 
a bigger animal in England than he ever was before. Our war 
has infused a tremendous respect for us into the minds of 
Englishmen. 

"After staying for several hours we repaired to the House of 
Lords, and here again we had seats on the floor, at 4 the foot of 
the throne.' We had an admirable chance of seeing all the 
notables in both Houses, Derby, Disraeli, Russell, Stanley, etc. ; 
we did not see Bright or Gladstone, as they are both out of 
town. I never cared [for] a sight so much as the British Par- 
liament, and I have now seen it under the most favorable cir- 
cumstances. ... But withal it is a body of notable men 
worth a trip across the Atlantic to see. . . . Mr. Morrill is 
a capital travelling companion in every sense — even-tempered 
and with wide-awake interest and attention." 

From London to Brussels, through Antwerp, Malines, Aix-la- 
Chapelle, to Cologne ; but he could not call Belgium prosper- 
ous, because while some were accumulating enormous wealth the 
laboring classes seemed deprived of their fair share of the profit. 
The " stolid, stupefied, resigned, and saddened look so un- 
affectedly assumed would touch the heart of stone — far worse 
than any I saw in England or Ireland," and he could "imagine 
no country better adapted for the marshalling and manoeuvring 
of troops than Brussels." 

Kverywhere the works of art and of architecture receive his 



186 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

word of criticism, of enthusiasm or of indifference, sometimes of 
disappointment. Of the most beautiful face he ever saw : " I could 
have choked the valet when he told me that the Antwerp tra- 
dition was that Rubens painted it from the face of his mistress." 
From his window he hears " in the soft moonlight the ceaseless 
gabble and gibberish of the German crowds in the street. Prus- 
sian soldiers are plenty, the fellows who fought at Sadowa. 
They look small and mean, and before an army of Americans 
would, I think, be a small obstacle ; " but " Prussian power and 
prestige are everywhere visible after you leave Cologne. It is 
really a nation of tremendous energy and enlightenment." With 
carriage, horses, driver, and guide they made a thorough inspec- 
tion of the field of Waterloo. 

From Cologne they took steamer to Mayence — - so charmed 
with the scenery that he could not leave the deck, having lunch 
brought up to him instead of going down to the saloon. Dis- 
appointed at not finding Elihu Washburn at Homburg, they 
went on to Ragatz, Switzerland, where he was taking the fa- 
mous hot baths of mineral water, but stopped all along the way : 
two hours at Frankfurt, and a drive to Hanau in Hesse Cassel, 
then a night and a morning at Heidelburg, an afternoon at 
Baden Baden, presenting themselves dutifully at Strasbourg 
Cathedral at 12 M. to see the apostles come out, a night and a 
morning at Zurich, and meeting at the Hof Ragatz not only Mr. 
Washburn, but a dozen unexpected American friends. Thence 
they took carriages through the wild Alpine scenery to the Swiss 
village Tusis in the canton of Grison, where they ate mountain 
trout and played " c Old Hundred ' and c John Brown ' on a fine 
piano in the Hotel Via Mala " till eleven o'clock at night, and 
at half-past seven the next morning began the ascent of the real 
Alps by the Splugen Pass. When they had passed the last bridge 
of the Via Mala they called a halt and celebrated a feast of the 
meeting and parting " with as cordial a feeling of fellowship as 
ever animated the hearts of seven Americans. . . . We 
parted with songs. and cheers, waving of hats and handker- 
chiefs, the cordial grasp of hands, and with more than one pair 
of eyes moistened by the grateful pleasure of the romantic meet- 
ing and the inexpressible sadness of the parting — they back to 
Ragatz, Mr. Morrill and myself on to Italy ; . . . zigzagging 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 187 

up the precipitous sides of the mountain just after the fashion of 
the pictures of the Tower of Babel in the old Bibles. . . . We 
have a splendid carriage all to ourselves, three horses, and pay 
for it one hundred and forty francs from yesterday P.M. to 
bo-morrow at eleven, when we reach the head of Lake Como." 
They sailed across the lake to the city of Como, thence to 
Milan one night, with a glimpse of city and cathedral, then on 
to Florence, and found in the wonderful railroad engineering 
proof of " a new birth for Italy, hope of a great future and even 
increased glory for the Latin race.'"' 

At Florence, he had " considered the crossing of the Alleghe- 
nies Central as a wonderful triumph of human skill and enter- 
prise, but it is absolutely lame and inconsiderable compared with 
what has been achieved in the Apennines." 

Two days to Florence and its fascinations. "As we drove 
home we passed the elegant palace in which Bigelow Lawrence 
resides — not the finest by any means in Florence ; but it is 
very elegant, and the grounds are by far the grandest in the 
city, except those of the king. They are in the city, sixteen 
acres in extent, and these, with the splendid house> he has on a 
lease of six thousand francs (twelve hundred dollars) a year. 

Then eleven hours in a gondola at Venice, to Milan through 
the famous quadrilateral of the Italian war of 1859, over the 
Simplon Pass, " doing Geneva very thoroughly." 

By July 5 he was " living in clover " at the Hotel de Hol- 
lande on the Rue de la Paix — just as it turns out of the Place 
Vendome ; Elihu Washburn was there and Governor Curtin, 
and he was constantly accosted by Augusta people and Maine 
people and Americans, for 4 it was the Exposition year. As he 
stood just where the garden of the Tuileries opens into the 
Place de la Concorde he had a good look at the Emperor Louis 
Napoleon and the Sultan of Turkey, which was all he wanted. 
The travellers' only trouble was in regard to Congress. " It 
seems to be the very general impression that if we should start 
to-day we should not reach Washington before the adjournment. 
All our advices are to that effect, and yet I dislike very much 
not to start and try to reach there. . . . 

" At the Theatre L'Imperatrice last night I saw John Breck- 
enridge and his wife. They sat but a very few boxes from us. 



188 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

and were very intently gazing on our party the whole evening. 
They look sad, downcast, and dispirited. He is in Paris without 
money. What situation could be more deplorable ! 

" I had a very fine day in the Corps Legislatif. Heard Berier 
speak, also Rouher, the great minister. Saw Jules Favre, Thiers, 
and all the magnates. The Assembly is very impressive, and I 
think contains far more talent than the British House of 
Commons. The speakers displayed marvellous readiness and 
eloquence. They were discussing the Mexican question, which 
is now exciting France profoundly. The death of Maximilian 
is a terrible blow to Napoleon. It shows his infallibility too 
palpably. The sensation created is immense and intense. One 
can see the excitement about it on all hands. . . . The 
dismay at the Tuileries is said to be great. . . . Neverthe- 
less, I fully believe the power of the Emperor to be firmly fixed 
for his lifetime. His improvements in Paris, which are truly 
vast, and visible on every hand, give him this city, and with that 
and the army he can hold France. I saw him again yesterday. 
He bears himself stoically and splendidly." 

The Representative conscience continued to flatter them that 
Congress would adjourn in a very few days. " I am very glad that 
I did not attempt to get home for the session. Had I been in 
London when John Sherman sailed I would doubtless have 
gone with him, but, luckily or unluckily, I was that very day on 
the top of the Alps, and by the utmost exertion it would have 
been impossible for me to reach Washington before this time, 
or say July 20, and that, I apprehend, would have been just in 
season to see Congress adjourn. At least, such were the rea- 
sonings of Mr. Morrill and myself, and I am satisfied that we 
acted wisely. We have, at all events, done the best we could 
with the light before us, and that is all that human nature is 
expected to do." 

From Paris Mr. Blaine and Mr. Washburn went again to 
Homburg for a fortnight, while Mr. Morrill went on to Eng- 
land. With all the distractions of Homburg he remembered 
his desire to secure " George Field, if we can, for the Augusta 
church. I never saw the day when I did not prefer him to any 
other." 

On August 8 he rejoined Mr. Morrill in London, met the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 189 

Garfields next day, and went down to see Mr. Washburn on 
the way from Bremen to America. 

Two years afterwards Mr. Washburn returned to Europe as 
American Minister to France, an appointment that elicited much 
ridicule from a class of reformers, for its unfitness. Mr. Wash- 
burn very soon distinguished himself throughout Europe by his 
eminent fitness, staying at his post when all other ministers fled, 
and shielding under our flag, from the perils of the Franco-Prus- 
sian war and the greater perils of the commune, not only the 
property and the lives of his own countrymen, but of the still 
more endangered Germans. In the House of Representatives, 
April 17, 1894, Mr. Hitt, of Illinois, than whom no one is better 
entitled to speak of American diplomacy, said of Mr. Wash- 
burn, " When the first peal of that awful cannonade burst 
upon Paris, all the other diplomats, every one of the lords, and 
counts, and marquises hurried away : Washburn stayed — stayed 
through it all. The stars and garters all disappeared, but the 
stars and stripes stood fast. His house was pierced with shot. 
The bomb-shells fell all about the Legation, but he never 
failed one day nor one hour from his post. He had the respect 
and the confidence of both the French and German governments 
when they trusted no one else. For weeks he was the only 
means of communication between the contending forces, a pure 
politician turned diplomat, a dignified, courageous, discreet 
American minister." 

But before the stress of war came on, while Mr. Washburn 
had hardly yet occupied his new position, he recalled the old 
visit of two years before with a touch of homesickness : 

" The good old lady, three hundred avoirdupois, the well- 
beloved daughter, the polite 'cabtain,' and, last, little c Bet- 
chen.' . . . The walk and the waters in the early morning, 
the same simple breakfast brought to the room, and the dinner 
at the Kursaal. I often sat at the same table where we took so 
many meals, and never without thinking of you. Homburg was 
for all the world the same. The same sort of a crowd, the 
same eternal jingle of the money, the same imperturbable 
' croupiers,' and many of the self-same persons that we saw 
every day were there. Though the irrevocable edict has gone 
forth that the gambling must cease in 1872, the effort to make 



190 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

everything attractive as possible has not abated. There is the 
music, the theatre, the ball, the illuminations, and the demi- 
monde, the latter more gorgeous than ever. A still larger crowd 
of Americans were there than two years ago, but I missed the 
pleasant people we had there, the Whitmans, the Fields, the 
Kings, the Van Bergers, the Holmeses, and others. . . . 
The regret at the removal of Murphy is very great, among the 
Americans and Germans equally. Never were people more 
beloved than both he and his wife, and particularly by the 
Frankfort people, who, in view of their departure, have pre- 
sented them touching souvenirs. Webster, his successor, Ben 
Butler's brother-in-law, has been a long time at Homburg 
waiting for his commission to come, and now Kreisman writes 
me that Bancroft tells him that it is detained with two or three 
others, purposely, at the State Department. This leads me to 
say that there have been many curious changes made in the 
consuls abroad. . . . Further about Homburg people. The 
good madam was jolly as ever, with the bright, charming little 
girls. In Paris, for seven weeks, I was still unwell. The 
weather was the most wretched I ever knew, and on the whole 
I was not jolly. My reception was very cordial and all that I 
could desire. My intercourse with the officials was very pleas- 
ant. Rouher was the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs when 
I arrived, and he was particularly cordial. He is a great man, 
but now the worst-hated man in France. His ability and elo- 
quence are conceded, but he is considered as utterly without 
principle. De Valette, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, whom 
I saw often, was a most agreeable and charming gentleman, and 
I am sorry the new deal has thrown him out. Burlingame 
writes me that the new Minister is a good fellow. I liked 
Marshal Neil (now very ill) and Duruy, Minister of Public 
Instruction, very much. There are 4 high old times ' now in 
political circles in Paris, and the coming winter bids fair to be 
a very interesting one. ... I think I shall like my position 
very well. The official duties will not worry me. The social 
duties are the most burdensome. ... I shall not be lone- 
some as I was at Ragatz when I saw you and Justin Morrill 
streaking it up to the 4 Hof Ragatz.' " 

In the House of Lords Mr. Blaine heard "a splendid speech 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 191 

from Lord Derby, one of the most elegant, graceful, and eloquent 
men I ever listened to. I heard also moderate speeches from 
Lord John Russell and from Earl Stanhope." 

The travellers took a week in Scotland exploring the Tros- 
sachs, one at least with the memory of his well-beloved Walter 
Scott for a guide. 

" Yesterday before starting for Ayr, I thought I would look 
up Mrs. B. ; but alas ! the directory spoke of more than thirty 
John B.'s, and at least a dozen of the same business that I 
knew John B. pursued. But I looked them all over carefully 
and found one whose residence was at 5 Royal crescent. I said, 
fc That is highly genteel, and that must be the one.' So at 9 
o'clock I took a cab«and posted away off a mile and a half, and 
stopped in front of an elegant house in the most aristocratic 
section of the city. A tidy Scotch serving-maid answered the 
bell. ; Does Mr. Black live here ? ' ' Yeas, but he bes gone 
down to his business.' ' Well, is Mrs. Black in ? ' rejoined I, 
adding that I was not sure I was at the right house. 4 1 trow 
you are,' said she, 4 for Mrs. Black is an American !' 

August 24 they sailed for America in the " Persia," and 
Mr. Blaine reached Maine in season to vote at the September 
election. 

On the day of his departure from home he had written to his 
mother : 

" I sail for Europe to-day on the Cunard steamer ' China,' a 
fine boat, and you must not feel uneasy about me." 

He had hardly returned before he was asking her, " What 
are your desires as to the winter? I mean for yourself and 
Maggie, ft is my wish that you select just the place you may 
desire to pass the winter. It is not for me to suggest where you 
had better go — you and Maggie can judge far better in regard to 
that point than I can ; and as it more immediately and directly 
concerns you, 1 desire you to settle it for yourself." 

Mr. Blaine derived health and pleasure from his foreign jour- 
ney, but it can hardly be said that he needed it. Amusement 
he always found in his work. Intellectual occupation was his 
panacea. A definite purpose gave him bounding health. " Cam- 
paigning " was to him a recreation, not an exhaustion. His 
neighbors say that he did more service on the stump than any 



192 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

other man in Maine. With a horse and buggy, sometimes with 
two horses, and generally accompanied by some member of his 
family, he drove over the hills, through the woods, along the 
shores, of the picturesque State. 

To stop in some pleasant village, or by some pleasant pond, and 
talk under the trees for an hour or two on a theme with which 
he was entirely conversant, and in which he was deeply inter- 
ested, to a great company of friends and neighbors, who had 
come from far and near to hear him, who listened intently and 
responded quickly, — what was it all but a festivity, an exhila- 
ration, no labor; and the hearty greetings, the sympathetic and 
often humorous advice and comment, the quick mother-wit, were 
a stimulus both to heart and mind. He had great respect for 
his audiences, and never found it necessary to talk down to an 
assumed lower level, but paid them the compliment of addressing 
them on his own level. Speaking in the open air he considered 
as good as gymnastics, especially for the chest exercise, and it 
gave him no sense of fatigue. Generally he avoided hotels, and 
was greatly humored in such avoidance by the hospitality which 
opened all houses to him, not only as an honored but as an 
entertaining guest. His bearing was so simple and gentle, his 
interest in others so sincere, his talk so earnest and informing, 
that men and women, alike the cultured and the unlearned, 
were eager to welcome him, and by these excursions he made 
and kept himself acquainted with the people, diffused his own 
spirit around him, and felt himself the ebb and flow of the pop- 
ular currents. 

As his family had grown in numbers and stature the old home 
had grown straitened, and he had bought a house adjoining the 
State House, so that the State House grounds simply enlarged 
his own. In a far corner, near the river which flowed by out 
of sight beyond its high north bank, was "the governor's 
grave," where lay buried the young Governor Lincoln who 
died in office ; to this grave led a path bordered by elms ; all 
through these grounds and through the State House woods and 
Mulliken's farm, and up the Betsy Howard hill, and by Canada 
brook he rambled and roved with his children and neighbors 
and friends, in ever fresh and keen enjoyment of the common 
lot of life. As the children went from under his roof to school 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 193 

and brought young friends home with them, and the outside 
world came in upon him faster and thicker, this second house 
had to be enlarged, and every summer the home was radiant 
and not infrequently rampant with life. The croquet mallet 
and the tennis racket and the billiard cue kept the balls in 
steady leap, and no carriage was too fine and no go-cart too 
shabby for climbing the far-off hills or winding along the river ; 
and if there was a lull in politics there was always theology 
to fall back upon, in which the youngest child showed interest 
as soon as he could articulate ; and the old questions of litera- 
ture are new to every generation. Fresh visitors have been 
startled in the early morning b}^ hearing mysterious voices of 
disputation ; and inspection has revealed a boy's unkempt head 
stretched far out of window arguing with other unkempt heads 
stretched out of other windows, at various angles, all bear- 
ing down hard on some insoluble problem which they had fallen 
asleep over the night before. Frequent also were excursions 
along the coast, taking on all the traits of a pleasure party, 
though generally with some political or business aim to give it 
purpose and reason to be, and usually some outside friends to 
impart to it the grateful touch of hospitality. It was a breezy, 
healthful, stirring, satisfying life, in which work was the under- 
lying earth and pleasure the overspringing bloom. 

In work, in bringing knowledge and power to bear on some 
beneficent end, Mr. Blaine was always happy ; and the larger 
and loftier the aim, the more buoyantly, almost boyishly, w T as 
he happy. Work seemed never to exhaust him. He wore out 
every one else, but himself remained bright and elastic. He 
had the inestimable gift of sleep, at convenience, in continu- 
ance. For him indeed there was no such thing as work ; it was 
merely expression. 

In the course of the summer lie would strike off from all 
business to drink the waters of Saratoga, or he would run up 
for a few days with as many of his family as were foot-free to 
Poland Springs. In the cooler weather he would go down from 
Washington for a week to the White Sulphur Springs of Vir- 
ginia, and once he even adventured the Hot Springs of Arkan- 
sas. Mis journeys to his Pennsylvania properties, or on political 
missions, always seemed like celebrations, so welcome was he to 



194 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

his old neigborhood and to his old State. It is pleasant to 
think that the two communities of his birth and of his adoption 
held him in equal confidence, honor, and love, as one alto- 
gether unique and worshipful, and that he lost nothing even 
of the satisfactions of the heart by his northward migration, 
and perhaps added by the transplantation — in accordance with 
the law of growing things — to his mental equipment and his 
moral force. 

But always he went back to Congress with fresh energy, and 
especially was he earnest and untiring in working for the weak 
against the strong, in helping the South to recover from the 
war, in extending all the benefits of the Union, while seeing 
that the principles of the Constitution received no detriment. 

One of the most important steps in the great work of recon- 
struction was the amendment of the Constitution regarding the 
basis of suffrage. Mr. Blaine, in the Thirty-ninth Congress, 
made the first argument against the plan of basing representa- 
tion on voters, and presented and urged the plan of basing it 
upon population. Fully sharing the sense of justice which had 
inspired the first plan, he aimed to secure its benefits without 
incurring its evils. Its object was to deprive the lately rebel- 
lious States of the unfair advantage of a large representation 
in Congress based on the colored population, while that popula- 
tion was denied political rights. But women, children, and other 
non-voters he maintained may have as vital an interest in the 
legislation of the country as have voters, and if persons be 
excluded from the basis of representation, they should be ex- 
cluded also from the basis of taxation. The ratio of voters to 
population varies from nineteen to fifty-eight per cent., and 
hence would come gross inequalities of representation. To make 
voters the basis of representation " would cheapen suffrage ; 
would cause an unseemly scramble to increase voters, and the 
ballot, which cannot be too sacredly guarded, would be de- 
moralized and disgraced everywhere." 

His proposition was that representation and direct taxes 
should be apportioned according to the population, and that the 
population should be determined after excepting all to whom 
civil or political rights or privileges should be denied or abridged 
on account of race or color. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES 0. BLAINE. 195 

" . . . No statistics show any loss to Maine, and on sev- 
eral theories we gain one member. My opposition, therefore, 
is not grounded on local selfishness, but upon the belief that 
the principle is a dangerous one ; that it is an abandonment of 
one of the oldest and safest landmarks of the Constitution, and 
that it is a most perilous leap in the dark. It introduces a new 
principle in our government, whose evil tendency and results 
no man can measure to-day." 

Apportionment on the basis of voters was abandoned, and Mr. 
Blaine's proposition was substantially embodied in the Four- 
teenth Amendment to the Constitution. 

He was equally strenuous against any measure that should 
place the South under military government without, at the same 
time, prescribing the methods by which the people could by their 
own action, reestablish civil government. To this end he offered 
" the Blaine amendment," making impartial suffrage the way of 
escape from " military police" — which also was subsequently 
embodied in the reconstruction laws. 

In March, 1865, defending an amendment of the Constitu- 
tion, which should strike out the clause that forbids the taxing 
of exports, in a speech, which caused an extraordinary agitation 
throughout the country, he had declared that in the future of 
our country " the great task and test of statesmanship will be 
in the administration of our finances, and the wise distribution 
of the burdens of taxation. . . . An immense amount of 
money will be required to meet the interest of our National 
debt, to maintain our arnfy and navy — -even on a peace founda- 
tion, and to defray the ordinary expenses of civil government. 
The revenue for these objects may be raised so injudiciously as 
to cripple and embarrass the commercial and industrial interests 
of the whole country ; or on the other hand, the requisite tax 
may be so equitably distributed and so skilfully assessed that 
the burden will be inappreciable to the public. Whoever, as 
Secretary of the Treasury, shall accomplish the latter and 
avoid the former result, must be armed with a plenitude of power 
in the premises. He must have open to him the three great 
avenues of taxation — the tariff, the excise system, and the 
duties on exports ; and must be empowered to use each in its 



196 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

appropriate place by Congressional legislation. At present only 
two of these modes of taxation are available, and the absence 
of the third takes from the general government half the regu- 
lation of trade. It is for Congress to say whether the people 
shall have an opportunity to change the organic law in this im- 
portant respect, or whether with a blind disregard of the future 
we shall rush forward, reckless of the financial disasters that 
may result from a failure to do our duty here. 

" I do not know whether there is the slightest hope that this 
amendment will be adopted, but I believe, with the old Cove- 
nanters of Scotland, that it is sometimes valuable to bear testi- 
mony against a wrong which we are unable to resist. I think 
the tax on raw cotton is altogether the most extraordinary that 
was ever laid by an intelligent government. Six years ago, 
when the war began, we had a monopoly of this article in the 
markets of the world. The course and events of the war 
robbed us of that monopoly. The system of labor on which 
the cotton culture, rested was utterly destroyed — destroyed as 
a necessity of war and for the permanent welfare of the nation, 
as well as to vindicate the right of every man to personal 
freedom. Nor was this all. The war in its ravages consumed 
the horses, the mules, and the farming implements of the 
South, laying waste the plantations and using up the accu- 
mulated wealth and the reserved capital of the South. Brazil, 
Central America, the West Indies, Egypt, Australia, and the 
East Indies were greatly stimulated and encouraged to engage 
in the cultivation of cotton, and hence during the five years in 
which the business was practically suspended in the United 
States, every other country in the world, where the climate and 
soil are suitable, engaged in the effort with great zeal and 
enterprise. 

u We now desire to regain our ascendency, and the first step 
which Congress takes is to impose a heavy tax of $15 on each 
and every bale of cotton before it can be removed from the 
plantation where it is raised. It seems to me that absurdity 
cannot go further ; that if we had specially designed to lay a 
great obstacle in the way of our ever reviving the cotton busi- 
ness in this country, we could not have invented a more certain 
and efficient mode. The fate of the negro and the cotton plant in 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 197 

this country seems to be indissolubly connected, and just in the 
degree that we retard the cotton culture Ave retard the progress 
and the profit of negro labor. In urging the repeal of the cot- 
ton tax, therefore, I feel that I am most effectively pleading the 
cause of the emancipated negroes of the Southern States. 

" The idea that we are punishing the South by this tax (which 
some gentlemen advance) is utterly delusive, if it were not 
indeed unworthy. The cotton tax is not an injury to the 
South merely, but to the whole country, and quite as great an 
injury to the manufacturing and commercial interest as it is to 
the agricultural. Resentment is always an unsafe basis for 
legislation. Let us remember that a heavy export of cotton 
with cheap cotton at home is among the most desirable objects 
for the whole country that can possibly be obtained ; that the 
tax of $15 per bale is not merely an oppression and a hindrance 
to cotton-growing in the United States, but that it is a bounty 
and a stimulus to cotton-growing in Egypt, in India, and 
everywhere else that the plant can be successfully cultivated. 

" We may, I know, get several millions per annum from the 
tax, but every dollar derived from this source is a loss of $5 in its 
adverse effects on other business interests of the country. It 
is a tax, in short, Mr. Chairman, which we cannot afford to 
collect." 

Refusing to take a questionable advantage even for the Re- 
publican party, Mr. Blaine directed attention to the fact that 
"we have had an able committee of this House diligently at 
work on the question of loyalty or disloyalty of Mr. B., and 
after seven or eight months' investigation the committee re- 
ported that his record was disloyal. It took nine astute men, 
with all the powers of investigation that this House could 
clothe them with, to find out that fact, and then the com- 
mittee could not agree. 

" 1 desire to know, if this doctrine be laid down, how any 
constituency, in the disturbed condition of the Southern States, 
could ever be sure that they were to have a foothold in this 
House by giving this man or that man a certificate of election. 
The power of the House is ample ; it has been exercised, and 
exercised with tremendous power, in refusing to let Mr. B. 



198 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

take the oath and assume a seat in this House, and I — one 
among the majority — voted to refuse him the right to sit here ; 
but I am not going to turn round thereafter, and with this 
House elect a man to represent that district. Let them have 
another chance. If they send a loyal man here with a majority 
vote, he shall take the oath. If they send a disloyal man here, 
we will send him back. We can stand that just as long as the 
second district in Kentucky can stand it. 

" If there were anything decided by the election in this dis- 
trict of Kentucky, it was that they did not want Mr. S. to rep- 
resent them. Now it appears to me to be stretching technical 
constitution to the last point, where it cracks and where it 
breaks, if you are going to hold up nine, ten, or twenty thou- 
sand men to an accurate knowledge of the precise political 
record of the various candidates asking their suffrage. We 
have a peculiar case pending now, I believe, before the Com- 
mittee of Election. One of the gentlemen from Tennessee, 
who is in sympathy with this side of the House, was arrested 
at the Speaker's desk on the first day of the session, and was 
not allowed to take the oath because he had once taken an 
oath to support the confederate constitution. If the Com- 
mittee of Election shall report that he is ineligible on that 
account, why of course then this copperhead competitor by this 
construction comes immediately in." 

Eldridge. — I rise to a question of order. I insist that the 
term copperhead is not parliamentary. 

Mr. Blaine. — I recall the word. I never used it before in 
a debate here. I will say his Democratic competitor. 

The Speaker overruled the point of order on the ground that 
he was not speaking of any gentleman in the House, but Mr. 
Blaine refused to be thus upheld : " I did not withdraw the 
word as a question of order. I should have told the gentleman 
that he had made no point of order. As a question of taste 
I confess that I have transgressed, and as a question of taste I 
change the word. ' It was in bad taste, as it always is, to use 
offensive political epithets in debate. To resume the line of 
my argument : I am unwilling to lay down a precedent affect- 
ing the other side of the House, that I would not be willing to 
follow for this side of the House. . . . And it does seem to 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 199 

me that it is a most extraordinary proposition — and I say it 
with all due respect to the admirable arguments that have been 
made on that side — the most extraordinary proposition that I 
ever knew advanced here in an election case, that the House 
should deliberately declare that a man who has a pitiful minor- 
ity of the votes in the discussion shall be declared here en- 
titled to the seat.'' 

The same scruplous respect for the will of the people as the 
foundation of government is everywhere seen. On the bill 
concerning land-grants to Southern railroads: "We expect 
within the next few weeks, or at most the next few months, 
these States which are to be immediately affected by this 
legislation will be represented on this floor, that those States 
will have on this floor Representatives in the interest of the 
very class in whose behalf he advocates the passage of this bill. 
Now, Mr. Speaker, is it not at least fair that before passing a 
bill of this kind we should wait until these Representatives 
shall come upon this floor and be heard in their own behalf? 
They. should be heard on this subject as the Representatives 
and Senators from Iowa and Wisconsin have been heard. 
Why, just as the reconstruction system is approaching its con- 
summation, should we rush through a bill of this kind ? I 
greatly distrust the wisdom of denying to these Southern States 
the means of finishing their lines of transportation. If these 
lands were ever necessary to those States, I believe them to be 
much more necessary to-day than they were at the time when 
they were originally granted. I do not say that I shall vote in 
favor of a renewal of those grants. I have not voted for other 
land-grants this session. But we lose nothing by waiting. To 
the accusation that they were rebels and lost by war, if the 
Southern country is ever to be built up again, then upon those 
lines of railroad depends the future of the South, just as if rebels 
never had anything to do with them. We do not propose to 
have the rebels here. Reconstruction is to bring loyal men 
here, and the best loyal men. Why, then, cannot the gentle- 
men wait until they get here ? " 

In the same spirit of justice lie opposed anything like the 



200 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

exclusion of the South from West Point. "I differ entirely 
with the committee. I do not believe in punishing children 
in the rebel States. When this war began the persons eligible 
to be appointed to West Point were nine, ten, or eleven years 
of age, and I do not propose to punish them for the faults of 
their fathers." 

Being answered that it punished no children, but merely 
provides that no rebel should be admitted to West Point, he 
answered : " I am opposed to keeping up this imaginary line." 
" I should think the gentleman from Pennsylvania would see — 
if I had not a great respect for him, I would say — the absurdity 
of such a notion." 

At the time when all were angry with President Johnson, 
when he was called on the floor " His Royal Highness," and had 
made inquiry of the Attorney-General if he could turn Con- 
gress out of the House, Mr. Blaine insisted that it was " perfectly 
absurd, to use a strong phrase, when the business of all the other 
departments has increased three, four, five, and six fold, and ab- 
solutely requires a proportionate addition of clerical force, to 
suppose that the Executive Department, which is the head of 
the whole, should need no more clerical assistance than in the days 
of Madison. . . . Every one knows that the business of the 
Executive Department has increased enormously of late, . . . 
and I ask any gentleman if it be at all possible for the execu- 
tive head of all the departments to get along with precisely 
the same number of secretaries and clerks that he had five years 
ago. I think the amendment of the gentleman is wrong." 

Offering communication from Judge Advocate-General Holt : 
" The report is clear and explicit, and nothing I can say will 
add to it. If gentlemen will not listen to what the Judge 
Advocate writes, I am sure they will not listen to what I may 
say. I move the previous question." 

" I give notice of a vote soon, so that gentlemen may not 
consider the question as sprung upon them when I call it up." 

" I understand perfectly well that gentlemen on the other 
side desire this bill shall not by any possibility go to the Presi- 
dent till morning, but they must see very plainly that it is now 
impossible it should go to him before to-morrow. I appreciate 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 201 

their motives. They have the power, and I am willing they 
should exercise it. But it is a mere capricious demand on 
their part that this bill shall again he postponed a whole day." 

" Unanimous consent, in nine cases out of ten, is only 
another name for negligence on the part of the House. It 
was gross negligence in this case." 

" I move to strike out, and insert 4 by the President of the 
United States, by and with the advice and consent of the 
Senate.' The appointing power is vested by the Constitution 
in the President of the United States. The secretaries are but 
his servants, and we do not intend to invest the Secretary of 
the Treasury with a power distinct from the President of the 
United States." 

As a specimen of Mr. Blaine's parliamentary manner we may 
refer to his conduct of the Army Appropriation Bill shortly 
before he was elected Speaker : 

Mr. Blaine. — Before the Clerk proceeds to read the bill 
for amendment, I desire to make a statement in reference 
to the aggregate amount of the appropriations comprised in 
the bill. 

It will be observed that the total amount appropriated by the 
bill is $43,199,500. ... I desire for myself to say now, 
as I said then, that it is my conviction that the army ought to 
be reduced. I had the honor to introduce last year a provision 
in the Army Appropriation Bill for the reduction of the army, 
which did not meet with the concurrence or approval of the 
House. . . . Therefore, the Committee on Appropriations 
have not this year made any recommendation touching that 
question. But in order to preserve my own consistency, which 
is important to me if not to other people, I hold now that in- 
stead of sixty regiments, this Congress, or, if not, the very next, 
ought to provide for the reduction of the army to thirty regi- 
ments, or just one-half what it now is. 

General Grant, as General-in-Chief of the Army during the 
past year, has done everything within the existing law, and 
under the power that the law confers upon him, to reduce the 
army. All that it contains now, with its sixty regiments of 



202 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

enlisted men and non-commissioned officers, is about forty-nine 
thousand. That is nearly the minimum of the army, and yet we 
have the same number of officers. There are between twenty- 
eight and twenty-nine hundred officers on the pay-roll, which, in 
my judgment, is a larger number than it ought to be, and more 
than Congress ought to allow. But as the army is now cir- 
cumstanced, with the exigencies which seem to be upon it with 
reference to army operations, the Committee on Appropriations 
have not felt at liberty to readjust its proportions by this bill 
to what they believe the size of the army ought to be, but have 
felt it their duty to report the appropriations for it under ex- 
isting law, leaving to the appropriate committees of the House 
itself to give directions as to whether the army shall be 
reduced. With this explanation I ask that the bill be read for 
amendment. 

Mr. Brooks. — I would ask the gentleman if under the 
rules, orders, and proceedings of this House it is practicable 
during this session to pass an act reducing the army from sixty 
to thirty regiments save in this bill ? 

Mr. Blaine. — • I am very glad to answer the gentleman. If 
by unanimous consent the Chairman of the Committee of Ways 
and Means, or the gentleman from Illinois, who opposed my 
proposition last year, could to-day move to put a proviso in 
this bill for the reduction of the army, I would be glad to have 
it done. Or if any one else will move it, it will gratify me. I 
decline to do it myself, because, having been voted down last 
year, I do not choose to run the hazard of a second rebuff. No 
one would support such a proposition more cheerfully than 
myself. It need not be moved now : it can be done at any 
stage of the bill. 

Mr. Brooks. — To what committee does this business appro- 
priately belong ? 

Mr. Blaine. — To the Committee on Military Affairs, of 
course. 

Mr. Brooks. — Will that committee or the Committee on 
the Militia have any opportunity to report before the fourth of 
March ? 

Mr. Blaine. — I think not. ... I have a suggestion 
which I think is practicable. This is Friday ; the bill will be 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 203 

considered about one hour to-day, and I think it will be possi- 
ble to get through it to-morrow, when it will be reported to the 
House. I will not call the previous question till Monday, 
which is suspension day. In the meantime, if any gentleman 
can devise a plan for the reduction of the army which will 
meet the concurrence of two-thirds of the House, it will bring 
it within the power of two-thirds under the rule to act upon the 
proposition. 

Mr. Wood. — - 1 have not wished to interrupt this interesting 
discussion by gentlemen on the other side of the House. Per- 
haps it would be as well to leave it to them, as the responsi- 
bility rests with them. But I wish to remind the House and 
the country that we have repeated discussions of this character 
by the gentlemen who have recently participated in this discus- 
sion, proposing a reduction of the army and of the great expend- 
itures which grow out of the army. It is about time that we 
should have a practical reduction of the army, which has been 
so often promised. Although the war has been closed for now 
nearly four years, and although it is contrary to the genius 
of the country to keep up a standing army in a time of pro- 
found peace, yet this bill proposes to tax the people of the 
country over $43,000,000 to maintain an army at this 
time — ■ one-sixth of the whole amount required to be raised for 
the support of the entire government of the country. This is 
proposed for the support of an army when no necessity exists 
for an army of over six or eight thousand men. I think the 
country, like myself, is tired of hearing of a reduction of the 
army when there is no practical proposition to reduce the army, 
and when the majority in Congress persist in maintaining 
the present large army, for the support of which this bill 
appropriates money. Our avenues and streets are filled with 
generals and major-generals and captains and colonels draw- 
ing full pay, while the poor tax-payer is overburdened with 
unnecessary taxation, wrung from him for the purpose of 
supporting these idle vagabonds, who are so well paid and do 
nothing. 

I ask, therefore, that we shall have some practical proposition 
presented to us on this subject. I ask the gentlemen on the 



204 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

other side to show that they are acting in good faith by com- 
mencing an actual reduction of the army. I want to see these 
143,000,000 cut down to what it was before the war. 

Mr. Blaine. — It was $22,000,000 before the war. 

Mr. Wood. — I wish the gentleman to tell the country Avhy, 
although the war has closed for almost four years, we are called 
upon at this day to appropriate these immense sums of money 
for the support of the army. 

Mr. Blaine. — During Buchanan's administration of four 
years the annual expenditures for the support of the army, as 
the gentleman will find by reference to the documents, were 
$22,000,000 in gold for nineteen regiments. While I will go as 
far as the farthest in favor of a just reduction of the expenditures 
of the government, I wisli the House to understand that the 
rate of expenditure for the army under the administration of 
James Buchanan was greater than at any time during the last 
eight years. This bill only proposes about $700,000 in paper 
for each regiment, when during the administration of James 
Buchanan before the war the cost of supporting a regiment was 
a little in excess of $1,000,000 in gold. 

Mr. Wood. — I know that the gentleman from Maine is ex- 
ceedingly ingenious in making the worse appear the better 
reason. I will remind him that under Buchanan's administra- 
tion we had to suppress a rebellion in the Western country. 

Mr. Blaine. — There were only nineteen regiments employed, 
and not a single extra regiment was called into service. 

Mr. Farnsworth. — I hope the gentleman from Ohio will 
submit his amendment, so that we may have it printed and 
before us for our consideration. 

Mr. Blaine. — That consent having been given, the proper 
place for the amendment will be at the end of the bill. 

Mr. Farnswokth. — Of course. 

Mr. Blaine. — I hope it will be printed for use to-morrow, 
as I hope to be able to get through with this bill to-morrow. 
Unanimous consent having been given, it will not be necessary 
to carry this bill over to suspension day. 

Mr. Lawrence, of Ohio. — Will the gentleman yield to me 
for a moment ? 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G, BLAINE. 205 

Mr. Blaine. — Yes, sir. 

Mr. Lawrence, of Ohio. — I ask unanimous consent of the 
committee that other amendments may be offered to this bill 
providing for the consolidation of the regiments of the army 
and the mustering out of the necessary officers. 

Mr. Blaine. — The permission given to the Committee on 
Military Affairs covers the whole ground. 

Before the committee is compelled to rise I desire that 
some little progress may be made in the consideration of 
this bill. I wish only to say this for the benefit of gentle- 
men on my right and my left : this matter is now exactly in 
the position where it should be. The Committee on Appro- 
priations tried their hands last winter at the work of reducing 
the army, and met with such discouraging results from the 
action of the House that they are not very eager to try their 
hands at it again. It belongs properly to the Committee on 
Military Affairs, and I think the responsibility has now been 
very properly shifted to their shoulders. Unanimous consent 
having been given for the introduction of a measure looking to 
the reduction of the army, the whole question will be opened, 
and all amendments pertinent to the subject will be in order. 

Mr. Windom. — I would like to know whether that will 
enable the Committee on Military Affairs to introduce an 
amendment contemplating a reform with reference to commu- 
tation of quarters, subsistence, etc., in connection w T ith which 
there has been so much swindling of the government ? 

Mr. Garfield. — And I will inquire whether we shall be 
permitted to submit a proposition for the transfer of the Indian 
Bureau to the War Department? (Laughter.) 

Mr. Blaine. — I decline to yield further. I ask that the bill 
be now read for amendment. 

The Clerk proceeded to read the bill by paragraphs for 
amendment, and read the following : 

" For expenses of recruiting and transportation of recruits, 
1300,000." 

Mr. Ross. — I move to amend the item just read by striking 
out " three " and inserting "one," so as to make the amount of 
the appropriation $ 100,000. 



206 BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Mr. Blaine. — I desire to make a single remark. If the 
army is to be kept at the present minimum standard, this 
appropriation of $300,000 is absolutely necessary; but if the 
army is to be reduced, then I think there might be a reduction 
in this item ; but the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Ross] pro- 
poses too small a sum. If he will modify his amendment so as 
to make the amount $150,000, it will obviate the necessity for 
offering an amendment to his amendment. 

Mr. Ross. — I decline to modify my amendment. 

Mr. Blaine. — Then I move to amend the amendment so as 
to make the amount of the appropriation $150,000. 

Mr. Maynard. — I see that the appropriation for this pur- 
pose for the present fiscal year was only $100,000. 

Mr. Blaine. — Yes ; but we recruited for only four months 
in the year. We were reducing the army down to the min- 
imum. But to keep the number of men at the present minimum 
a larger amount will be necessary. One hundred thousand 
dollars were appropriated last year because it was intended to 
cover only about one-third of the year. 

Mr. Maynard. — ■ Then the gentleman is of opinion that 
$150,000 will be needed for this purpose ? 

Mr. Blaine. — Absolutely. 

Mr. Burleigh. — I move to amend by adding : Provided, 
that no officer or soldier of the army of the United States under 
the age of sixty-five years, unless he be a married man and 
takes his wife with him, shall be assigned. 

Mr. Blaine. — It is unnecessary to read that amendment 
further. I raise the point of order that it proposes independent 
legislation, and cannot be entertained as an amendment to this 
bill. 

The Chairman. — The Chair sustains the point of order. 

Mr. Loughridge. — I move to amend the pending para- 
graph by striking out " fifteen " and inserting " ten," so as to 
make the amount of the appropriation for the pay of the army 
$10,000,000. 

Mr. Blaine. — I think the gentleman from Iowa will not 
urge that amendment when he understands fully the cir- 
cumstances of the case. If the House should, to-morrow or 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G, BLAINE. 207 

Monday, take the action which seems to be contemplated for 
the reduction of the army, the amount named in the bill will 
be absolutely needed. The reduction of the army will lead to 
mustering out, whereby additional expense will be incurred ; 
and if the mustering out process is to go on, it is probable this 
item will have to be increased. 

Mr. Lotjghkldge. — I would like to ask the gentleman from 
Maine how or where we are to reduce these appropriations. 
It is understood that the army is to be reduced : where are we 
to reduce the expenditures? 

Mr. Blaine. — In the quartermaster's department. 

Mr. Blaine. — I move that the rules be suspended, and that 
the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on the 
state of the Union, to proceed to the consideration of the 
Army Appropriation Bill; and pending that motion, I move that 
all general debate upon it shall cease in one minute until we 
reach the point where the amendment which was allowed to 
be presented yesterday for the reduction of the army shall be 
introduced. 

The motions were agreed to. 

Mr. Blaine. — In view of the very general agreement that 
seemed to pervade the House yesterday, that an amendment 
should be presented for the reduction of the army, I have 
consulted several members of the Committee on Appropria- 
tions, all that I could meet, and all excepting one gentleman, 
and they agreed that I should move such amendments to 
the appropriations as would cut down the aggregate to the 
amount appropriated last year. That will reduce the amount 
110,000,000. T think, from the examination I have given the 
bill, that I know better than those who have not examined it 
at all, just where these amendments ought to be put, and where 
they can most profitably and easily be made. For that pur- 
pose, I propose, if the gentleman from Iowa will withdraw 
his amendment, to move to reduce the pay of the army from 
115,000,000 to 111,000,000. That will be a reduction of 
-14,000,000. 



208 BTOGTtAPUY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Mr. Loughridge. — That is entirely satisfactory to me, and 
I withdraw my amendment. 

The Clerk read as follows : 

" For commutation of officers' subsistence, $2,000,000." 

Mr. Blaine. — I move to reduce that appropriation to 
11,500,000. 

Mr. Windom. — I move to amend the amendment by reduc- 
ing the amount to $1,000,000. 

Mr. Blaine. — I think the reduction that I propose is a 
very considerable one, and it is on a scale that will cut down 
the bill just $10,000,000. I think every dollar that is left 
after that reduction is made will be absolutely needed. 

Mr. Windom. — My reason for moving to cut this appropria- 
tion down to a greater extent than the gentleman from Maine 
proposes to reduce the bill generally is, that I think upon this 
point we shall have an amendment offered by the gentleman 
from Massachusetts [Mr. Butler] that will prevent the cor- 
ruptions growing out of this system. Now, sir, it has been my 
fortune during the last years to board in a good many boarding- 
houses in this city ; and I think I never, with one exception, 
was in a boarding-house where there was a military officer that 
a part of his board bill was not paid by allowing the boarding- 
house keeper to get beef cheaper than it could otherwise be 
bought. I know of one honorable exception, and only one. 
Now, I am opposed to this sort of swindling of the government, 
and to this whole system of commutation of subsistence. I 
do not believe there should be such a thing. I believe the 
provision of the gentleman from Massachusetts should be 
carried out, and that this kind of fraudulent dealing with the 
government should be prevented. 

Mr. Blaine. — - 1 do not understand that the gentleman from 
Minnesota proposes to cure the evil at all. If you do not 
change the law you must appropriate what the law allows. If 
we do not need $1,500,000 we do not need anything. 

Mr. Windom. — I' move to amend the amendment by strik- 
ing out the whole clause. 

Mr. Blaine. — I think that would be a very injudicious 
amendment, and T hope the committee will not concur in it. 

Mr. Windom. — When Ave come to act on the amendment of 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLATNE. 209 

the gentleman from Massachusetts we can prevent this kind of 
corruption. 

Mr. Blaine. — I do not think it fair to call it " corruption.' 
This is an appropriation for pay under the existing law. The 
law may be unwise, but I think the gentleman uses too severe a 
term when he calls it " corruption." There is not a gentleman 
upon this floor who has served in the army — and there are a 
great many who have served with great distinction — who has 
not drawn a part of his pay in this form. It is a part of the pay 
of officers of the army under the law, and so long as the law re- 
mains as it is, it is idle to talk about its being corruption to draw 
pay in that form. 

Mr. Scofield. — I ask unanimous consent of the committee 
to pass over this and the two succeeding clauses providing for 
commutation of officers' subsistence, forage for officers' horses, 
and clothing for officers' servants, so as to consider them 
in connection with the amendment offered by the gentleman 
from Massachusetts and which has been ordered to be printed. 

Mr. Blaine. — I think that is a good suggestion. I am will- 
ing that these three clauses shall be passed over until we see 
what fate will betide the amendment of the gentleman from 
Massachusetts. 

Mr. Wood. — I desire to' ask the gentleman from Maine 
whether in this appropriation of 160,000 for contingencies of 
the army there is included 125,000 to be paid to a horse doctor 
hj the name of Dunbar ? 

Mr. Blaine. — The Committee on Appropriations have no 
knowledge of a horse doctor named Dunbar, or any other horse 
doctor, being interested in this appropriation. Nothing of the 
kind came to the knowledge of the committee, and I never heard 
of it before. Tt is an appropriation $ 40, 000 less than up to last 
year has usually been made for that item. 

Mr. Wood. — The Secretary of War has made a contract with 
a horse doctor for which he proposes to pay him $25,000 a year 
for curing horses' feet. I meant to ask in what part of this bill 
the appropriation is made which would include that expenditure ? 

Mr. Blaine. — I think it is in the item of appropriation for 
cavalry and artillery horses, which I propose to materially 
reduce when we reach it. 



210 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 

Mr. Eldridge. — I desire to inquire of the gentleman from 
Maine if there is in this bill any appropriation for the purchase 
of the museum called the Army Museum, I believe ? And 
then I would like to have him inform the House, if he will, by 
what authority that museum was purchased — how it became 
the property of the War Department, or of the United States. 

Mr. Blaine. — We have already passed the item for the Army 
Medical Museum ; but, of course, I will not take advantage of 
that point of order. It was by authority of an appropriation 
made by this House, for which I suppose the gentleman voted 
in common with the rest of us. 

Mr. Eldridge. — I beg pardon of the gentleman; I think I 
did not vote for it. 

Mr. Blaine. — -I suppose there is no record to sustain the 
gentleman in his assertion. 

Mr. Eldridge. — Perhaps not ; but I generally vote against 
such things, and think I did this. I hope the gentleman will 
inform the house by what authority this museum was purchased. 

Mr. Blaine, — This Army Medical Museum has nothing 
whatever to do with the Ford's Theatre museum, to which I 
suppose the gentleman refers. The Army Medical Museum is 
under the management of the Medical Department, and is 
regarded as of great use. The appropriation given for it has 
been considered a very wise expenditure ; it is not very large 
in amount. 

As to the Ford's Theatre Museum, that is a matter of three 
or four years ago. And if there was anything done in that 
matter that was not right, the gentleman from Wisconsin 
should tell the House, if he knows it. I do not know it. 

Mr. Eldridge. — I will tell what I know about it. I have 
understood, and I believe, that the Secretary of War took pos- 
session of that building without authority of law, without any 
right whatever to do so, without any authorization from Con- 
gress or from any other source, and made it the property of the 
United States by force — he only consenting. I believe that to 
have been done ; and that is the reason why I make the inquiry 
of the gentleman. 

Mr. Blaine. — Does the gentleman object to that having 
been done ? 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 211 

Mr. Eldridge. — Yes, sir; since the gentleman asks me the 
question, I object most emphatically to any man or any officer 
of the government doing anything without authority of 
law. I would never consent that any officer of the government 
make any purchase of property or do any other act not author- 
ized by law. I oppose all such things now and at all times. 

Mr. Blaine. — I desire to say to the gentleman from Wis- 
consin, who, I think, rather ungraciously brings up this subject 
and obtrudes it upon us at this time, that the Secretary of War, 
in the case alluded to, acted in a way which the Congress of the 
United States clearly approved, in rescuing that building, which 
was the scene of the greatest sacrifice that has been made in 
modern times. 

Mr. Van Trump. — I rise to a point of order. 

The Chairman. — The gentleman will state his point of 
order. 

Mr. Van Trump. — Unless there is something here in the 
way of instalments for the purchase of Ford's Theatre, I object 
to this debate. 

Mr. Blaine. — It was to prevent that desecration [the use 
of it as a place of common amusement], that the Secretary of 
War took possession of the building ; and the Congress of the 
United States afterward gave him the money necessary to vest 
the title to it in the United States. 

Mr. Shanks. — I wish to say that the murder of President 
Lincoln was an act of war, and that it was the duty of the 
Secretary of War to take such steps as became a nation in a 
state of war. 

Mr. Blaine. — . . . If at this late day the gentleman 
from Wisconsin, or any other gentleman, on that side of the 
House, desires to criticise acts of Secretary Stanton which he 
believes to have been outside the Constitution or outside the 
laws, he makes a very unfortunate selection when he singles 
out this particular transaction ; for among the many deeds 
which will for all time commend the name of Edwin M. 
Stanton to the patriotic people of this country, that will not 
be among the least. 



212 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

I desire to say a very few words in reply to what 
was said this morning by the gentleman from Massachusetts 
touching the amendment for reducing the army. I hope the 
House will not vote to sustain the amendment of the gentle- 
man from Massachusetts. I hope the House will not vote to 
deprive General Sherman of the right to be promoted to the 
rank of general. I hope the House will not vote that Gen. 
George H. Thomas or Gen. Phil. Sheridan shall never be pro- 
moted to the rank of lieutenant-general. I hope the House 
will not say that Meade or Hancock must and shall be mustered 
out as major-generals of the army ; and yet that is what they 
would say if they voted for the proposition of the gentleman 
from Massachusetts. There is a great deal in his proposition 
which is meritorious, and which I would vote for if it was by 
itself. But there are features in it which I do not believe this 
House will ever be willing to approve. 

The amendment which I have moved as a substitute for his 
proposition has this extent and no more : it ties up the army 
so that there can be no more new appointments or promotions 
until Congress can take hold of the question. And in that 
way all increase of the army will be prevented, and under the 
administration of General Grant the army may be very rapidly 
decreased. 

The criticism of the gentleman from Massachusetts that the 
Secretary of War and not General Grant will have the control 
of this matter, is very superficial. The Secretary of War under 
General Grant will be very apt to carry out the ideas and 
wishes of General Grant in this matter. I do not think there 
is any great danger that General Grant and the Secretary of 
War will differ very much about this matter. 

Mr. Butler, of Massachusetts. — Why did the gentleman 
leave it entirely to the Secretary of War last year? 

Mr. Blaine. — Because Andrew Johnson was President. 
Was not that a good reason ? 

Mr. Butler, of Massachusetts. — Yes, it was a good reason 
for the time. 

Mr. Blaine. — When the question was up last year there 
was a very serious trouble between President Johnson and 
Secretary of War Stanton, and my sympathies were with the 



BTOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 213 

Secretary of War, and the provision was made accordingly; 
and when I moved the amendment last night, I did not think 
it worth while to change it from what it was last year, because 
I do not suppose that there is any doubt that the Secretary of 
War under General Grant will carry out the wishes and views 
of General Grant on the subject. 

Upon the election of General Grant, Mr. Blaine congratulated 
the American Congress and the American people, making one of 
his rare pauses in an unwearying march to look back along the 
path already followed. The victory of 1860 he recounted as 
having dealt the fatal blow to slavery-propagandism — the Am- 
erican people deciding that at all hazards the further spread of 
human servitude into free territory should cease. 

" The election of 1864 turned upon the point of continuing or 
discontinuing the bloody contest, which up to that time had 
raged with unabated fury and with enormous sacrifice of life and 
property. The vote of the people demanded the prosecution of 
the war until the rebellion should be suppressed, the national 
unity secured, and slavery utterly abolished throughout the 
length and breadth of the land. But the unexpected and unpre- 
cedented course of the Executive, the revived malignity of the 
southern rebellion, and the manifold attacks on our national 
character and credit by the Democratic party, rendered the vic- 
tory of 1868 as absolutely essential to conserve and preserve the 
fruits of our great triumph, as was the victory of 1864 to insure 
the prosecution of the war to a successful conclusion. And now 
that the victory, complete and unsullied, lias been won, the 
points that have been solemnly adjudicated and permanently 
settled by the American people in the election of General Grant 
to the presidency, are : 

"First. The union of the States has been maintained, and its 
perpetuity guaranteed, by this election, in a sense and with a 
force that were never before enunciated when the question was 
involved. 

" Second. The reconstruction laws of Congress have been 
vindicated and sustained by General Grant's election. 

"Third. The election of Genera] Grant had settled the finan- 
cial question. The American people have deliberately, solemnly, 



214 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

and emphatically recorded their decision in favor of an honest 
discharge of their public obligations, and against all the forms 
of evasion and delusion so temptingly set forth in Democratic 
platforms. They have declared against the policy of wildly in- 
flating, depreciating, and ruining their currency in order to prema- 
turely pay off any portion of the government bonds ; and they 
have declared with equal emphasis in favor of lightening the 
public burdens by reducing the interest on the national debt as 
promptly and as rapidly as may be done with honor. They have 
decided against all forms of repudiation " open or covert, 
threatened or suspected," and in favor of upholding the public 
faith and maintaining the public honor spotless and stainless. 
Nay, they have gone one step further ; the question of paying 
the public debt " in the utmost good faith, according to the letter 
and spirit of the contract " is no longer to be made the subject 
of controversy or of doubt in the American Congress. 

" Fourth. With the election of General Grant comes a higher 
standard of American citizenship — with more dignity and char- 
acter to the name abroad and more assured liberty and security 
attaching to it at home. Our diplomacy will be rescued from 
the subservient tone by which we have so often been humiliated 
in our own eyes and in the eyes of Europe, and the true position 
of the first nation of the earth in rank and prestige will be as- 
serted ; not in the spirit of bravado or with the mere arrogance 
of strength, but with the conscious dignity which belongs to 
power, and with the moderation which is the true ornament of 
justice. And with this vindication of the rights and the rank 
of our citizenship abroad will come also its protection and its 
panoply at home. 

" Whatever, therefore, may lie before us in the untrodden and 
often beclouded path of the future, — - whether it be financial 
embarrassment, or domestic trouble of another and more serious 
type, or misunderstandings with foreign nations, or the exten- 
sion of our flag and our sovereignty over insular or continental 
possessions north or south, that fate or fortune may peacefully 
offer to our ambition, — let us believe with all confidence that 
General Grant's administration will meet every exigency with 
the courage, the ability, and the conscience which American 
nationality and Christian civilization demand." 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G, BLAINE. 215 

With all Mr. Blaine's foresight and forecast which often left 
him alone on the mount of vision, with all his undisguised 
directness and intellectual vehemence, the rectitude of his 
judgment, the depth and delicacy of his sympathy, his sense 
of justice, his enthusiasm for humanity, and his over-brimming 
good-will to men, were always in evidence. His parliament- 
ary skill and power had been attested by repeated temporary 
service in the chair, and during the winter of 1869, the gossip 
of Washington in the newspapers began, as early as January, 
to invest him with the speakership, and his "great popu- 
larity with his fellow members " began to be "inferred from 
his prospective promotion." The Republicans made good 
the gossip by his unanimous nomination on March 2, and his 
harmonious election on March 4. The oath was administered 
by his long-time friend and comrade, Mr. Elihu Washburn. 

The approval of his promotion to the speakership was 
general, but not extravagant. He was described with the not 
immoderate praise of being a hard-working member who never 
made long speeches, but was ready and quick in debate. His 
frequent service as speaker pro tern, was declared to have certi- 
fied his fitness for the permanent position, and though he had 
" assumed the chair at a critical moment, he has proved himself 
equal to the emergency." He was congratulated that there 
was so much excitement attending President Grant's Cabinet 
appointments as to leave him at peace in the appointment of 
his committees. 

But when the fifteenth of March had come and he had not 
announced those committees, even the warmly Republican news- 
papers began gentle gibes, and fables, and philosophies, warning 
him of the folly and the futility of trying to please every one 
on committees, which were " said to be the reasons " of the delay. 

On March 16 the committees were announced, and the press 
made a handsome retreat, avowing that the attributed reasons 
were all erroneous, and that the delay was on account of the 
New Hampshire members who had not been sworn in, and 
could therefore not be on committees, which would leave New 
Hampshire unrepresented. The appointments, in spite of 
prophecy and fable, were declared to have elicited general sat- 
isfaction. Important committees were pronounced especially 



216 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 

strong, and every section of the country was represented. Two 
years later, at the beginning of his second term in the chair, 
to which he was re-elected practically without opposition, Mr. 
Blaine pointed out the care and preparation required in making 
appointments, especially in the case of new members, and, 
referring to these eleven days of committee-making, suggested 
that the announcement even then was in many respects pre- 
mature ! 



From Hon. Elihu Washburn : 

Galena, Illinois, September 15, 1868. 

Deak Blaine : Well, you have gone and done it in good earnest. 
What a campaign, what a tight, and what a victory ! I tell everybody you 
deserve immense credit for the magnificent conduct of the campaign. 
Complete success in November is now assured if we only half do our 
duty. . . . There is a terrific fight going on in Indiana, and our 
friends have been alarmed. Your election will help them out. 

. . . I think Grant will remain here till after October elections. I 
wish you would write him about your election and tell him to remain quiet 
at home till the October elections are over. 



From Mr. Blaine : 

16 January, 1869. 

The book to Senator Fessenden was "favored by Mr. Blaine" with 
prompt delivery. I did not content myself with sending it by a servant, 
but carried it myself. He opened it very deliberately — when out dropped 
a note. He put on his glasses, read the note with some apparent interest, 
then read it again — and then " the wretch" (a term Beau Brummel ap- 
plied to his wife, and thus sanctioned its use in jwlite circles) with great 
care ^returned it to its envelope, laid it on his table, and proceeded to read 
the marked pages. To be sure, I had no earthly right to see that note, 
but then I said to myself he might just as well have shown it to me, for 
he knows I would have enjoyed reading it. . . 

You write very sensibly about the speakership. Do not imagine that 
I am unduly excited about it, or that I desire it with an intensity which 
leaves me unprepared for failure and its consequent disappointment and 
chagrin. I have measured the whole matter calmly, logically, and phil- 
osophically. I mean to win if I can fairly and honorably. If I cannot, 
there's the end. But if successful, I shall not have the self-reproach of 
having done one unworthy act to secure the place ; and if unsuccessful, the 
same consciousness will be my compensating and consoling fact. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 217 

February 11, 1869. 
Your search in the papers for the sayings and doings of Mr. Blaine, of 
Maine, will have meagre reward this winter — for, by a wise care or caution 
or cunning or cowardice, Mr. Dawes, of Massachusetts, and Mr. Blaine, of 
Maine, are taking just as little part as possible in the current business of 
legislation; not exactly dodging, for that would be too mean, but avoid- 
ing very carefully the trampling on other people's corns — a good deal of 
which I have done in this hall during the last half-dozen years. 

What a very sad death that of Mrs. . And what a sad sort of life to 

look back on. A married life that has so much that is necessarily painful in 
it as hers must have had, is to me the blankest and hardest form of human 
woe. For it is so ordained that all those relations best calculated to confer 
happiness have in them the largest capacity for suffering. Weighed down 
almost continuously with the "primal sorrow of her sex," burdened with 
the care of a family, constantly outgrowing her powers and resources, her 
sympathy drawn upon if not exhausted by an invalid husband ; her fate, 
to my observation and appreciation, was the very acme and essence of 
domestic misery. But all these sufferings have their compensation. I am 
a firm believer in the doctrine that suffering here is to be carried to our 
account on the credit side in balancing the Ledger of Eternity. Dickens 1 
sermon on the death of the Chancery prisoner was always to me one of the 
most touching passages in his writings. . . . 

In June, 1867, I stood on the spot where this scene is laid, and it came 
upon me with the rush of reality, far more than when viewing the local- 
ities of actual tragic occurrences Of life, such as the Tower of London or 
the Field of Waterloo. I realized at that moment the creative power of 
Dickens as never before, — and I say this not liking him, — indeed, having 
a sort of distaste for the man as separated from the author. But there is 
one thing in regard to which I have always done him injustice, and I hasten 
to offer my apology through you. It appears after all, that the Chicago 
woman, who lately destroyed herself, was not his brother's wife, but 
merely his jmrtner in crime ; that the actual lawful wife or widow has 
always been in England, and tenderly cared for by Dickens. This ought 
to have been told before, and Dickens may have been restrained from the 
explanation by a desire not to uncover the skeletons of his household, and 
still more by a chivalrous reluctance to expose and farther degrade an 
erring and lost woman. Having accejjted the version of the stoiy as given 
by the Chicago papers, I had laid up a heavy charge against him, which I 
now deliberately retract. If, in your judgment, it would be wise and proper 
to acquaint Mr. Dickens with my " change of heart" on this subject, you 
can give the pertinent hint to your friend, Mr. F. Through this channel it 
would doubtless reach Mr. Dickens by the earliest trans- Atlantic mail, if not 
by cable despatch. Probably, however, the apology would create a more 
profound sensation in England if I should wait till I am elected Speaker 
of the House. But then if I should not be elected Speaker! Why, what 
then? Dickens might have to <li<; without the sublime satisfaction of 
reading my retraxit. 



218 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

From Mr. Blaine to a friend who had characterized one of 
his letters as "just a scrawl, with an umbrella handle, on an 
acre of white paper " : 

House of Representatives, 

Washington, D.C., March, 1869. 
You complain in an audacious and umbrageous manner that I sprawl my 
writing out to such a degree that you are cheated by the appearance of a 
letter on the outside, that really contains nothing within ; now, to punish 
you for this slur and contempt of my precious epistles, I have a great mind 
to send you sixteen sheets written just as close as this, so as to weary 
your brain and destroy your eyesight, as a proper punishment for the dis- 
respect and contumely that you have so gratuitously heaped upon me. 
Indeed, I would surely do it were it not that in the process I should be pun- 
ished as severely as you would be ; for of all the combined mental and 
physical processes to produce an ecstasy of agony, commend me to this 
" cribbed, cabined, and confined " style of penmanship. It not only cramps 
my hand and benumbs my fingers, but it freezes my blood and paralyzes 
my brain and reduces me to a condition bordering on spiritual despair. I 
am sure that one of the occupations of lost souls doomed to eternal punish- 
ment must be the copying of Jonathan Edwards 1 sermons forever and for- 
ever in just such handwriting as I am now joyfully inflicting on you. What 
a delightful torture it must be to the hopelessly lost to continually tran- 
scribe in this choice chirography the special causes, the general grounds, 
and the absolute justice of their damnation ; and what sublime equity 
there would be in giving you a temporary purgatorial experience of this 
fate, in compelling you to read the transcriptions. I am administering a 
slight taste of it to you, and I shall sicken you, I am sure, of this type of 
writing, and make you cry aloud in agony for another display of my 
sprawling proclivities. Please remember that in letter-writing I am noth- 
ing if not " sprawling.' 1 My education in that respect was once good, but 
by bad association and evil practice it has come to naught, and by the bless- 
ing of God, or its absence, " I am what I am. 11 

From an Andover Professor to Mr. Blaine : 

March 28, 1869. 
. . . Mrs. M. has for some time declined taking boarders, though 
much pressed, and did so in the present instance ; but my assurance 
respecting your son, founded in jmrt on the pleasant impression he made 
on me when I saw him at your home in Augusta and again last spring, 
induced her to change her mind. 

From Mr. Blaine, enclosing the former : 

I have no doubt Mr. S. has selected wisely. I am very anxious that 
Walker should be continually under good influences, and I think he must 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 219 

have secured a very safe and excellent place in this regard. He has 
certainly taken great pains and put himself to much trouble to accom- 
modate me. 

It is noticeable and notable that his letter is written on Sunday, Ando- 
ver is liberal. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

In that same file of the " Kennebec Journal " in which I hunted up the 
Manchester romance of the Swedish girl, I found the accompanying para- 
graph, which conclusively establishes the date. You must have come up to 
Augusta on Thursday, August 23. Next day, Friday, you returned to Bath 
by steamer, and went thence home by rail on Saturday, August 25. An- 
other trifling fact corroborates Thursday as the date — i.e., I was late at 
tea on account of its being publication day, and thus by my industry in 
my business I was cheated out of more than half your call. Who knows 
but that if I had enjoyed the other half, we should not have been compelled 
to wait thirteen years, two months, six days, twenty-one hours, and thirty- 
six minutes for a new introduction and a second meeting ! You may rely 
on this interval being stated with absolute accuracy, it having been cal- 
culated with laborious care after the most diligent comparison of almanacs 
and the closest astronomical observations, the "reckoning being verified 
by geometry and the higher mathematics.''' 

July 22, 1869. 

How sad and heavy our hearts were eight years ago to-day. We were 
just having our eyes opened to the, magnitude of the war under the keen 
anguish of our first defeat. The first shock of that defeat was the moment 
of deepest grief I ever felt in my life. The reaction, of course, came 
promptly, but not until my very soul was harrowed with agony unspeak- 
able. I do not think I have ever been the same man since; perhaps I am 
a better man than I was before, but no stroke so stunning could ever be 
entirely recovered from. I felt as one whose treasure and honor and life 
were at stake. . . . 

From the courage I gained on the reaction, I never once afterwards de- 
spaired or grew faint. The awful magnitude of later battles, the terrible 
carnage, the costly sacrifices never had in them the fearful omens of that 
trifling: fisrht and g-io;antic defeat at Bull Run. 



DO 



Elizabeth, Penn., 30th July, 1869. 

I write you from a house of mourning, though my dear mother, with a 
fortitude which I could not have anticipated, bears the burden of her 
great sorrow with pious resignation. Indeed, the very magnitude of the 
affliction seems to have given her the nerve and Christian courage to 
endure it. 

My dear sister died at three o'clock on Monday morning. She was taken 
very suddenly and alarmingly ill on Saturday night, and all day Sunday 
she was sinking — \vm,s in a state of great debility, though not suffering any 



220 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

acute pain. She was in entire possession of her faculties, but spoke little, 
paying attention, however, to all that was going on around her. She was 
perfectly conscious that her time on earth was to be measured by hours 
only, and early in the afternoon she expressed a desire to receive the last 
sacrament of her church — the extreme unction which the Catholics base on 
that verse in St. James, " Is any sick among you ? Let him call for the 
elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil 
in the name of the Lord. 1 ' After the ceremony was concluded she seemed 
to revive for an hour or two, but at nightfall she grew painfully worse. 
At midnight she said that her hour was nigh, and desired that the " Liturgy 
of the Church for the Dying " might be read while she was yet able to fol- 
low it. It was at once done, and the two physicians in attendance — both 
Protestants — begged that they might be allowed to remain and join in the 
responses. Many parts of this liturgy are very impressive : 

" Receive thy servant, O Lord, into that place where she may hope for 
salvation from thy mercy. 

" Deliver, O Lord, the soul of thy servant as thou didst deliver Enoch 
and Elias from the common death of this world. 

" Deliver, O Lord, the soul of thy servant as thou didst deliver Isaac from 
being sacrificed by his father. 

" Through thy nativity, deliver her, O Lord ! 

" Through thy cross and passion, deliver her, O Lord ! 

" Through thy death and burial, deliver her, O Lord ! 

" Through thy glorious resurrection, deliver her, O Lord ! 

" Through thy adorable ascension, deliver her, O Lord ! 

' ' Through the grace of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, deliver her, 
Lord ! " 

I might copy much more, but this little, selected at random, will show 
you the impressive solemnity both of the thought and the diction. Really 
all that is beautiful in the Episcopal service is borrowed bodily from the 
Catholic ritual. 

Parts of the liturgy were repeated at intervals for two hours or more, 
and a few minutes before three o'clock she dropped off into a sweet and 
infant-like slumber, and in a short time ceased to breathe, — without a 
struggle or a single exhibition of pain, — peacefully passing to her reward. 

If ever a sinless life was lived, she lived it. If ever a soul went before 
its Maker pure and white and spotless, that soul was hers ! 

She left most affectionate and affecting messages to all her near relatives, 
and she wished it to be told to me that she " had always loved me more 
devotedly than any one else in the world except ma ; " and she added, 
among the last things. she ever said, " Tell him from me to be very mindful 
of his soul's salvation " — speaking in the somewhat quaint, strong phrase 
that was natural to her tongue. Her funeral was on the afternoon of Tues- 
day. It was attended literally by a vast multitude. The services were 
conducted by her own beloved pastor, and among those present were 
seven Protestant ministers. Indeed, the entire country side seemed anxious 
to testify their respect for her life of faith and good works — an exhibition 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 221 

which in life would have been most distasteful to her modesty and hu- 
mility, but over the grave and in the presence of death there was nothing 
to restrain it or forbid it. 

Between the good and the pure there is a link of interest and identity 
which binds them together on both sides of the grave. She was lovely to 
all who loved purity and piety. No fear of death darkened her last hour 
— her mind was unclouded, her heart undaunted, her hope sure, her faith 
steadfast. She fills a place in the first rank of those who are redeemed 
from the earth, who stand without fault before the throne of God, who 
share the last mighty victories of the Lamb, who are called and chosen 
and faithful. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



XL 

THE SPEAKER. 

TTPON his election to the speakership, Mr. Blaine bought a 
*^ house and established a home in Washington. 

It was a glorious era of intellectual and national life, the 
beginning of a happier time. The country had not yet wholly 
lost the first rapture of slavery abolished, of peace renewed and 
assured, of advanced and advancing reconstruction. The irri- 
tations and exasperations of Mr. Johnson's presidency had no 
place under the administration of the great general. The 
leaders of the war were the leaders in peace. Congress, army, 
and navy abounded in them, and one saw on every dinner-card 
names still aglow with the heroism, the patriotism, the self- 
possession and self-surrender which have lit up the long, sad 
story of humanity, which have vitalized history, constituted 
poetry, created civilization. 

To the new Washington, the centre of the new nation, every- 
thing came. The new life was represented in every phase of its 
beauty and brilliancy, its intellectual impulse, and its moral 
activity. 

The Speaker's house would naturally be a house of much 
resort. With his family about him, Mr. Blaine was always 
happy, and that happiness left him free to seek and to give 
pleasure. His modest means were ample for a generous and 
refined, but never ostentatious hospitality, which indeed his 
taste, if not his purse, would have forbidden. He had never 
wealth for the demands of extravagance. The luxury which 
is a necessity he had never lacked. The nursery was at the 
top of the house, and was the one place in it which the children 
disdained even to visit. His library was between the dining- 
room and the drawing-room, his writing-room was at every one's 
writing-desk, where he was a great disturbance and a still 




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BIOOBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 223 

greater delight. No child's frolic, no talk of friends, annoyed 
him. His power of abstraction was illimitable, and he could 
always be interrupted with impunity. The world of his thought 
builded its own walls and closed its own gates and did not fear 
incursion. There was but one imperative and external law of 
his life — to be in the Speaker's chair at 12 M. As often as 
possible he walked thither — a mile or more — from his house 
on Fifteenth street, accompanied by as many members of his 
family as chose to go, or chanced to be at leisure. He declared 
that any proposal of his for walk, or drive, or concert, or theatre, 
or any other outing was always a signal for town-meeting. If 
the Congressional debates were interesting, his companions 
stayed to listen, and an informal luncheon in the Speaker's parlor, 
with a friend or two from the House, or from the gallery, was 
a separate attraction and an agreeable realization. 

On the one side of Mr. Blaine lived Governor Buckingham, 
then Senator from Connecticut, a churchman without pretence, 
a total-abstinence man who shunned all notoriety from it, a 
knight without fear and without reproach, a serious man with 
full appreciation of humor, and abounding in unobtrusive good 
works. On the other side was Governor Swann, handsome, 
hospitable, and luxurious, a Democratic member of Congress 
from Maryland, but knowing no North or South in social 
amenities. Beyond Governor Swann, in the corner house, Hon. 
Fernando Wood, of NeAv York, also a Democrat, was an equally 
courteous, friendly, and irreproachable neighbor. Opposite lived 
Secretar3 r Fish, ruling his diplomatic world with iron hand and 
velvet glove, — himself ruled in all things lovely and of good 
report by the serene and stately lady, his wife, greatly, but 
never too greatly, praised for the dignity, the elegance, the un- 
tiring assiduity with which she discharged the duties of her 
position. 

The friends of Mr. Blaine's childhood helped to make the 
atmosphere home-like. The Hugh and Tom Ewing of his boy- 
ish comradeship had gone from the army to become, in time, one 
minister to Belgium, one a lawyer in Washington, afterwards 
member of Congress. Their sister Ellen, wife of General 
Sherman, was living in the house on I street, that had been 
given first to General Grant and then to General Sherman; 



224 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

and the father, Hon. Thomas Ewing, passed the tranquil even- 
ing of his years and honors sometimes with one child, sometimes 
with another. Younger members of all these houses were 
naturally gathered in Washington, and Mr. Blaine had the hap- 
piness in his new home of finding himself in the midst of closest 
friends and kin of his old homes. 

Walker and Emmons were at school at Andover. Mr. 
Blaine's letters to his absent children were not long or over- 
frequent. A word of family news, a word of public affairs, 
always a word of abounding love, often a word of tender and 
sometimes of urgent advice, occasionally a delicate word of 
religious suggestion ; but details were left to a pen that never 
failed them. The boys were generally in such a hurry to get 
home that whichever was dismissed first on vacation shot 
home like an arrow from the bow, without waiting for the 
other. Once it was Emmons whose excellent report had 
preceded him, and whose way, therefore, was unclouded. But 
Walker's report had accompanied his brother's, and Walker's 
standing was nothing to speak of. Dr. Taylor, the head of the 
school, averred that Walker could take any rank he chose, but 
that he had not studied at all. Emmons tried continuously 
to soften matters for Walker before his arrival, but an irate 
father was not to be appeased till the miserable but happy 
boy, barely inside the threshold, had promised to do his best the 
next term ; and the storm having burst in one minute, in two 
minutes the sun was shining clear. Stout, tall Emmons was 
sitting in his father's lap with his long legs hanging to the floor, 
while bigger and taller Walker was sitting close to his father, 
resting his two elbows on his two knees, bending forward in his 
eagerness to lose no word of his father's talk with a group of men 
who had called on some business errand, perfectly content simply 
to be at home, taking the liveliest share in the conversation with- 
out uttering a word, and drinking in knowledge at every pore in 
spite of his disgraceful report. Mr. Blaine was never brilliant in 
baby-lore, although the children's story-teller found no more 
interested listener ; but whenever his children asked him an intel- 
ligent question he gave them a full, exhaustive answer, as soon 
as he could be dragged up out of his well of thought far enough 
to be aware that a question had been asked. He never saved 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 225 

himself for anything. He was an inexhaustible source of infor- 
mation and inspiration. His best talk was as free at his own 
breakfast-table as to a listening constituency. His best thought 
was at the service of his own family, and he was never more 
direct, more rich in illustration, more earnest, eloquent, and 
luminous than when he was expounding a policy, or shaping 
a measure, or explaining a point, or quoting a precedent, or 
verifying a statement to this select audience of the fireside, 
which he believed, and pronounced, and made, the happiest fire- 
side in the world. 

When Emmons' turn for admonition came, it was a more 
serious one. His father, visiting Andover when Walker gradu- 
ated, had thought the mock programme performance rather silly, 
and wondered that the teachers did not forbid it. The next 
year it was forbidden, and Emmons was suspended for being 
connected with his class in the distribution of the prohibited 
programmes. Emmons', however, was no case of suspended 
animation, and before presenting himself to his father in the 
character of a discarded student, he had secured board in Newton 
in a good deacon's family, and the tutorship there of Mr. Water- 
house, who had been the remarkably successful high school 
master of Augusta, and was most favorably known to his 
father and mother. It may be mentioned, however, that Emmons 
entered Harvard after two years at Newton, much better pre- 
pared than Walker, who had gone through the whole prepara- 
tory course at Andover. 

In all parliamentary and administrative questions, Mr. 
Blaine's skill and power were quickly recognized. The busi- 
ness of Congress, in his view, was to promote the interests of the 
country by furthering wise legislation, and preventing unwise 
legislation ; the Speaker, from his central position, was especially 
empowered to secure such a result by an impartial and inflexible 
administration of parliamentary law — the highest embodiment 
of wisdom from the experience of generations. His decisions 
were instantaneous and authoritative. Sometimes they made 
against the object of the hour and of the party. Though 
always founded on principle, and often fortified by precedent, 
he seldom argued the one or quoted the other, but carried con- 
viction by the clearness of his statement, the promptness of his 



22b' BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

ruling, and the unwavering definiteness of his own conviction. 
He ruled, but it was a rule well-tempered and flexible to the law 
of right, never varying in principle, ever varying in application. 
As he presided not over a House of subjects, but in a House of 
Peers, and peers who were often intensely concerned in the 
theme under debate, things did not always run smoothly. 
In the heat of contest sharp words were sometimes spoken, and 
men who were ruled to their seats when they were eager to be 
on the floor resented the authority against which they did not- 
rebel. But the resenting mood was followed by the consenting 
mood of calmer moments, and exasperation yielded to reason 
or dissolved in a jest, — all the more easily because the Speaker 
did not arrogate absolute power. 

" While the Chair does not possibly see how there can be any 
difference of opinion, the Chair does not desire to extend abso- 
lute decision without the right of appeal." 

" It would put the Chair in an embarrassing position to say 
that his judgment shall absolutely be taken without appeal, 
although it is not possible for him to see in tins case any ground 
for difference of opinion." 

" As gentlemen have expressed some dissatisfaction with 
the ruling of the Chair, he will only say that if the motion for a 
suspension of the rules could be made by the gentleman from 
Arkansas, in order to permit him to speak on this question, a 
suspension of the rules would be in order to allow the same privi- 
lege to every other member of the House." 

" Mr. Butler. — Why not, if the House desires it ? 

" The Speaker. — Simply because the House does not wish to 
commit an absurdity after having seconded the previous question 
and ordered the main question. It would put it in the power of 
one man to detain the House here until noon, on Thursday 
next [the end of the session], by moving to suspend the rules 
that each member of the House should have the right to speak. 
It would, of course,, be the greatest absurdity." 

Naturally it would require some courage to take an appeal in 
face of this calm confidence. 

A member having quoted the Speaker's past decision against 
his present one upon conditions which seemed precisely alike 
was assured that u the Chair is really quite pleased to see how 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 227 

accurately he made the distinction in that decision. It is pre- 
cisely what he would reaffirm at this moment. . . . The 
two bills were entirely different in scope and purpose. 
This bill may involve an expenditure, but does not require it. 
The distinction is very wide." 

" I withdraw my motion." 

" So the Chair understands." 

Wearied with all-night sessions, a member plaintively asked 
that absentees might be sent for. Mr. Blaine, whose physical 
endurance seemed insurmountable, and who presided after an 
all-night session with as much dexterity and decision as at its 
morning commencement, replied that the House would not have 
a particle more power than it had at that moment, since a 
quorum was already present. The poor gentleman insisted that 
a call could be made. Mr. Blaine gently insinuated that there 
should be some reason for the call. 

To the suffering member it appeared reason enough that 
" when it is now a question of endurance, and those who are 
here are suffering all the inconvenience of attending this long 
session of the House, is it not right that those who have gone 
home to bed should be brought here under the call ? " 

"That would not make the endurance of those who are here 
a particle less." 

"The House has the right to send for absentees." 

" If the gentleman got the House of Representatives to en- 
force that, it would never do anything else." 

Although acting as Speaker of the House, Mr. Blaine never 
forgot, and never allowed the House to forget, that he was a 
member of Congress from the Third District in Maine, and that 
he retained all his rights and especially the right to discharge all 
his duties as a Representative. When General Butler, of Massa- 
chusetts, endeavored to make a point that in shaping a resolution 
and securing its adoption at a Republican caucus, the Speaker 
had committed an impropriety, Mr. Blaine left the Speaker's 
chair and came down upon. the floor to dissipate the assumption 
with a series of rapid, verbal, and logical onsets which that very 
clever and belligerent man of genius was more accustomed to 
assay than to receive. 

When a Congressional District sent a prize-fighter to Congress 



228 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

it was a scandal to many, not only that a prize-fighter should be 
sent to Congress, but that the Speaker should treat him like a 
Congressman. But the Speaker answered that Congress was a 
representative body, and the right of representation was a 
sacred right, and not only a sacred, but a safe right ; that it was 
not his duty, but would be a flagrant violation of duty in the 
Speaker to interpose his personality between a member and his 
constituents. More than this, he sent for the pugilist to the 
Speaker's parlor, acquainted himself with the man's views, 
with his wishes, with his ways of thinking, his modes of action, 
with his fists and his muscles, acquired his confidence, and 
helped him in many ways. It may be added that he found the 
ex-warrior very modest in his legislative ambitions, desiring only 
as quiet and inconspicuous positions as possible, and aiming 
to perform his duties with decency and fidelity. 

When a member had fallen under popular disfavor by reason 
of charges against his character, the Speaker was Avidely re- 
proached because on the reassembling of Congress the offen- 
sive member was reappointed to the Chairmanship of an im- 
portant committee. But the Speaker responded that it was no 
part of his duty to visit popular odium upon a member of Con- 
gress. The gentleman in question had not been censured 
by Congress, he had been elected by his constituents, and the 
Speaker should strictly regard parliamentary law and official 
duty. 

On the important Committee of Ways and Means there was 
a serious " split." The Chairman, Mr. Dawes, was a moderate 
Protectionist ; so also was another member, Mr. Roberts. Two 
Republicans were high-tariff men ; three Democratic free-traders 
and two low-tariff Republicans constituted a majority and 
brought in a very low tariff bill, which the Chairman could 
not support, and refused to report to the House. No one of 
the majority who had forced it knew enough of tariff details 
to undertake its management in the House. The Speaker 
was justly held responsible for the composition of the com- 
mittee, and was criticised as having formed an unwieldy 
organization. But he was unmoved. By the withdrawal of the 
previous Chairman, General Schenck, the head of the Committee 
of Appropriations, Mr. Dawes, was justly entitled to the pro- 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 229 

motion which he received. The opinion of the House was 
fairly represented and was entitled to fair representation in 
the committee. The result justified the Speaker's judgment. 
A compromise was effected. The Chairman agreed to report 
the bill, reserving right to state to the House his disagreement 
with certain provisions and to offer amendments. After the 
subject had been well knocked about in the House for several 
weeks, Judge Kelly offered a very high tariff bill as a substitute 
for the committee's bill, and Mr. Dawes offered by way of 
amendment a moderate bill as a substitute for Judge Kelly's. 
The low-tariff men joined the moderates and voted for the 
Dawes bill, then the high-tariff men turned about and joined 
them, and thus the two moderates had their way at last. Their 
bill became the Tariff law of 1872, and " parliamentary luck " 
turned in the exact direction that the Speaker wished and 
designed. 

During his first winter in the Speaker's chair, the sale of 
cadetships was proven against some members of the House, and 
a resolution for their expulsion being expected, the House was 
surprised by the resignation of the offending member whose 
case was first reached. Two prominent legislators, one an 
ex-Speaker, objected that the House alone had the right to 
decide when one of its members ceased to be a Representative ; 
but the Speaker ruled against them. Leading Republican 
newspapers, friendly to Mr. Blaine, criticised his action frankly, 
and paying full tribute to his high personal character, and his 
devotion to the public interest, and to the dignity of his office, 
yet maintained that by allowing a member to resign and thus 
escape expulsion, he had made a false ruling, contradictory to 
all English parliamentary law and to the law of common-sense, 
and establishing ;i dangerous precedent. 

But the Speaker maintained his ground both by precedent 
and principle. The member had sent his resignation to the 
Governor, the Governor had formally accepted it, and a notifi- 
cation to this effect had been sent to the Speaker the day before. 
By the unbroken precedent of tin; House, the man eeased to be 
a member. The Speaker could not suppress or withhold the 
resignation. But that the House might have opportunity to 
give its judgment, the Speaker privately requested a Republican 



230 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

member to appeal from the Speaker's decision. He did so, 
though publicly stating at the same time that he agreed with 
the Chair. A Democratic member moved to lay the appeal on 
the table, which was done almost unanimously, and thus the deci- 
sion of the Speaker became the decision of the House. Mr. 
Blaine maintained that any other decision would not only be 
unparliamentary, but would entail great embarrassment and 
might be productive of great injustice. Resignation being un- 
known directly to the British Parliament, and only to be practi- 
cally secured by indirection, that body could furnish no analogy, 
and he pronounced it absurd to attempt to institute a parallel or 
even to deduce an inference applicable to the American Congress. 

He steadily maintained and upheld the rights of the minority. 
When the transformation of the minority into a majority was 
manifestly and rapidly approaching, he refused to advocate a 
legislative change which would bind the majority by new and 
repressive rules. To the argument that the Democrats would 
work mischief without it in the next Congress, he maintained 
that a majority has the right to legislate, and the responsibility 
for legislation by reason of its numerical existence, irrespec- 
tive of its political complexion, and that no legislation can be 
so destructive in its effects as the forcible assumption or the 
forcible prevention of legislation. 

His manner in the Chair was entirely without self-conscious- 
ness, yet utterly self-confident. He had thorough control of the 
situation. He was never perplexed or uncertain. If in some 
temporary absence or in Committee of the Whole, the House 
fell into confusion and he was summoned from the dinner-table 
to straighten the snarl, he appeared upon the scene radiant, 
intent, erect, masterful, and order evolved itself from chaos. 

No better stage can be imagined for the display of his person- 
ality. The vast hall, the strong men, the great questions, the 
intense interest, the varying purposes, clashing, combining in 
stormy debate, — among it all and above it all he stood, an em- 
bodied intellect, a regnant spirit, — vibrant, electric, compelling. 
One could not say with the poet, " his body thought," but his 
body was transfused with thought, became the perfect medium 
of his will. Eye and voice and figure were instinct with com- 
mand. Great as was the position, he illustrated it by the un- 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 231 

conscious dignity of his bearing, by the force, the scope, the 
completeness of his control. Recognizing — and assuming where 
he did not recognize — that all men were, like himself, loyal to 
the reign of law and seeking always the way of righteousness, 
which is rightness, he disentangled the law and developed the 
right, and penetrated the consciousness of men. Mr. Holman is 
reported as saying that Mr. Blaine, by that personal quality 
which gained for him the name of the " magnetic " man, con- 
vinced his opponents of the correctness of his decisions against 
their own judgment. It is a contradiction in terms, yet holds a 
germ of truth. " His winning manner," " his irresistible fasci- 
nation," was the proffered and pleased disguise under which 
many a man confessed to spiritual illumination. 

Yet no man was less averse to pleasantry upon occasion. 
Sometimes when the House was too noisy or had failed to re- 
spect his gavel, he would fling himself into the chair with a 
fierceness of patience, with a desperation of resolution to wait 
for quietness that was both effective and amusing. Monday 
being private Bill day the proceedings had a tendency to become 
turbulent. A sudden declaration by the Speaker that no busi- 
ness would be transacted until order was restored, and that the 
condition of the House oh two preceding Mondays was a 
scandal to legislation, had the effect of producing better order 
for at least one day. As nothing could exceed the earnest- 
ness of members to get their Bills through, so nothing could 
be a greater inducement to order than a suspension of all 
business during disorder. 

While General Garfield and General Butler were acting as 
tellers in a long and fatiguing session, the irrepressible boy 
in the two men enlivened the monotony by interjecting a quasi- 
dialogue into the proceedings : 

General Butler. — 1 want gentlemen to vote to save nearly 
a million dollars to the treasury. 

General Garfield. — I object to the gentleman from Massa- 
chusetts discussing the question while acting as a teller. 

General Butler. — Read the rule that forbids it. 

The Speakeb, — The rule of common propriety forbids 
it. 



232 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

After a pause : 

General Butler. — Mr. Speaker, may I be dismissed as a 
teller ? 

The Speaker. — Does the gentleman demand a further 
count ? 

General Butler. — I don't want this question to be decided 
without a quorum. 

The Speaker. — That is what the Chair is trying to get. 

General Butler. — I do not like to see a great wrong of this 
sort done at this time of the morning. 

General Garfield. — I object to a teller making remarks 
on the question which is being voted upon. 

General Butler. — - 1 object to being interrupted by my 
fellow-teller. 

General Garfield. — I rise to a perpetual point of order : 
that the gentleman should behave with seemly decency in this 
matter. 

General Butler. — Pardon me ; it is a very indecent neigh- 
bor I have got here who keeps all the time talking. 

Mr. Speer. — I object to debate. 

The Speaker. — The Chair thinks it fair to let the tellers 
fight it out 

" Mr. Speaker, put me down for five minutes ! " called Mr. S. 
S. Cox when a dozen were clustering around the Speaker 
arranging for the order of the day. 

" I wish I could keep you down for one minute," was the very 
audible sotto voce of the Speaker. 

It is hardly too much to say that his authority in Congress 
became almost absolute. His imperiousness was seen and felt 
to be founded on understanding, pervaded with good-will, 
lightened with good-humor, and justified by the strength and 
skill with which he guided the important business of the country 
through the legislative labyrinth, and by the firmness with 
Avhich he established himself in the confidence and regard of 
the House. Not his own party alone, but the opposition placed 
so much reliance on his knowledge of the law and on the 
impartiality with which he administered it that an appeal was 
seldom taken except by his own devising, for his own satisfac- 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 233 

tion, and no appeal against his decision was ever sustained by the 
House. When the minority subsequently became the majority, 
knotty questions were often referred to him privately, and 
Democrats who on the floor had been the most recalcitrant to 
Mr. Blaine's rulings, sometimes took the precaution of fortifying 
themselves for imminent battle by having on hand a parlia- 
mentary programme, solicited for the occasion and adapted to 
its probable course by the Republican ex-Speaker. Both parties 
agreed with equal unanimity in congratulations upon his taking 
the chair, in regrets at his leaving it, and in thanks for the 
manner of his incumbency. 

Mr. Blaine was hardly settled in the speakership before the 
question of the Senatorship was again presented. It had been 
agitated two years before, but while he had looked at it with a 
certain favor and had carefully observed the situation, the time 
had not seemed to him propitious, and he had decided not to 
encourage the movement. In the spring of 1870 another decision 
was required. His friends in Washington, and even in the 
public press of the country, warmly opposed, in the public inter- 
ests, the Contemplated change. " The House of Representa- 
tives," protested the latter, " needs the best possible of Speakers 
to keep it in anything like order, and Mr. Blaine has shown 
himself on several occasions well fitted to hold the reins." He 
fully enjoyed his position, and as fully discerned its great influ- 
ence and responsibility. He feared also that the step might dis- 
appoint friends to Avhom he wished to give only pleasure, and, 
being unnecessary, might seem to them inconsiderate. He there- 
fore decided against it, and replied, "Fearing my candidacy 
would tend to produce discord among those who have hitherto 
been friends and might possibly mar the harmony of the Re- 
publican party in Maine, I deem it my duty to say thus early 
that my name will not be presented to the next Legislature as 
a candidate for the United States Senate." It was recog- 
nized that this withdrawal secured the election of Mr. Morrill, 
who held Mr. Blaine's confidence and received his cordial sup- 
port. 

Public questions of home and foreign relations were of mani- 
fest vital interest from the very opening of General Grant's 
administration. By the spring <>f 1870 all the States were back 



234 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

in the Union, and, in Mr. Lincoln's quaint phrase, " finding 
themselves once more at home it seemed immaterial to inquire 
whether they had ever been abroad." Reconstruction was 
formally completed during this first year, and the Fourteenth 
and Fifteenth Amendments became a part of the Constitution 
with public proclamation and unutterable thanksgiving; but 
Congress continued to be urgent in enacting laws to protect 
the newly guaranteed rights. Ku-Klux Klans were still odious 
to the North, and carpet-baggers to the South, but it remained 
that four years of war had abolished slavery, and four years 
of reconstruction had restored the Union, and not a drop of 
blood had been shed or a single home confiscated by way of 
legal penalty. The annexation of San Domingo was earnestly 
desired by the President, but he could not bring Congress or 
the country to his way of thinking; while Senator Sumner 
opposed it with unnecessary heat. The British Government, in 
its own defence, had picked up and proffered the arbitration which 
it had contemptuously thrown down when offered by the United 
States, and which President Grant had quietly permitted to lie 
where it fell. A Joint High Commission was se,nt over by 
England, — the gossip of Washington said in such a, hurry that 
they could not stop for their papers, or their trunks, but made 
sure of getting here themselves, and certified their right to come, 
afterwards. Their arrival and residence in Washington in the 
winter of 1871, together with the presence of the American 
commission appointed to meet them, made a pleasant social 
feature of the season with its veiled note of American exulta- 
tion, through which ran also its jar of discord caused by the 
deposition of Mr. Sumner from his chairmanship of the Com- 
mittee on Foreign Relations. Mr. Sumner had been among the 
first to condemn the attitude of England, and it seemed only 
fitting that he should assist at its change. The country with 
regret saw him set aside in the hour of victory, a regret scarcely 
modified by the feeling that his own methods and manners had 
contributed somewhat to the bitter result. 

In the spring of 1871 Mr. Blaine's mother died. From her 
earliest days when she was at school at Emmetsburg, and when 
even her girlish letters to her young friends closed with gentle 
wishes for their happiness here and blessedness hereafter, her life 



BIOGKAPHY OF JAMES G, BLAINE, 235 

and love had been in two worlds. She was a Catholic both in the 
ecclesiastical and the etymological sense of the word. Not only 
her close alliance to Protestants, but all the instincts of her 
heart made her liberal. The Protestant Herrons, of Pittsburgh, 
were akin through Alexander Blaine, and the Catholic Tiernans, 
of Pittsburgh, were akin through a marriage with her only sister, 
and when her eldest boy died in Pittsburgh, while she was on 
her way to the old home in Brownsville, Dr. Francis Herron, 
Presbyterian minister, and old Father McGuire, an Irish Cath- 
olic priest, walked together at the head of the procession at 
the child's funeral. 

" Ah," said one of her nieces to her, " if all Catholics were 
only like you ! " 

" My dear," was the gentle reply, " that is the poorest compli- 
ment you can pay me." 

" But, dear aunt, you are so charitable, so kind." 

" That is my religion ; that is the way I wish to recommend 
my religion." 

But though suffused with the religious spirit, she was not 
careless in observing the forms of her own faith. Washington 
held no Catholic church at the time of her removal thereto, and 
she at once secured the services of the Brownsville priest and held 
such public worship as was practicable in her own house. Her 
husband was a Protestant, but he had been well trained to 
public spirit, and by hereditary habit shared his privileges with 
his neighbors. When his father came to Brownsville he found 
no sufficient facilities for the education of his children, and 
therefore sent for a teacher from Philadelphia to his own house 
at his own expense ; but to this private school-room the children 
of his neighbors were warmly welcomed, and shared its advan- 
tages with his own children. 

Years after her death Mr. Blaine wrote to a friend: "It seems 
to me here and now that I would give worlds could I have had 
a single parting word. The last message my mother left in her 
conscious moments was to me, the last word she ever uttered 
audibly was my name, after her intellect was clouded with 
the shadow of the dark valley. She was the most loving, 
devoted, and affectionate of mothers, and my love for her was 
very great." 



236 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

In the summer of 1871 Walker was sent to Paris for a year's 
study. His father's P.P.C. is characteristic. It was a little 
manuscript book known only to those two, and found among 
Walker's papers after his death. 

Walker Blaine, P.P.C. 

Aug. 7, 1871. 
Read pages a and b near end of book once a day during your voyage. 

It contained among other things minute directions for the 
trip, written from memory of his own, mostly in pencil and in 
the irregular chirography of the railroad train. 

If you find an agreeable travelling companion on the "Tripoli" who 
wishes to land at Queenstown and proceed overland to London, the fol- 
lowing is a good route : Delay at Cork only long enough to go out to 
Blarney Castle, five miles out the valley of the Lea. Go in an Irish 
jaunting-car. Go one road and come back the other. Then take rail for 
Dublin. If you stop at all on the way, let it be for a single day at the 
Lakes of Killarney. One day in Dublin will enable jou. to see the public 
buildings and churches, the Phoenix park, the monument to Daniel 
O'Connell, etc. From Dublin to Kingstown, mouth of Liffey, nine miles ; 
thence by steamer to Holyhead on the Island of Anglesea. At Holyhead 
buy a ticket in early morning train for Menai station, thirty-two miles, 
near famous bridge over Menai straits ; after seeing the bridge, drive to 
Bangor three miles farther on ; see old cathedral, and take the next train 
to Chester, fifty-two miles. In Chester see the old Roman wall, the old 
cathedral, and drive out to Eaton Hall, the famous seat of the Marquis 
of Westminster. Procure ticket of admission in the town. You may get 
back in season to go to Birmingham, forty-eight miles, the same evening, 
via Wolvesampton and the "Black country"; if not, go next morning, 
At Birmingham there is nothing to see except a vast succession of factories. 
From Birmingham go to Warwick, twenty-six miles. Engage a carriage 
at Warwick station to take you to Ken il worth, and then back through to 
Stratford-upon-Avon. Get a carriage if you can belonging to the keeper 
of the little hotel in Warwick. I think the Warwick Arms landlord will 
probably drive you. From Warwick go to Stratford one way and back 
the other ; see Squire Lucy's, where Shakespeare shot the deer. You will 
get back to Warwick in season to take evening train for Oxford, forty-five 
miles. Stay in Oxford a day or two studying it well ; while there drive 
down to Blenheim Castle, the famous seat of the Duke of Marlborough ; 
see fair Rosamond's well, etc. From Oxford to London, fifty miles. In 
London you will have friends to advise you what to see, and how to see it. 
If Parliament is in session you will, of course, attend there several times 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 237 

Visit British Museum. Go to Richmond via the park, and take a row up 
the Thames. See Madam Tousseau's wax- works. Attend divine service in 
Westminster Abbey ; see Poets 1 corner ; see Bank of England ; Zoological 
Garden. Try to get Director's ticket and visit Sunday afternoon St. Paul's 
Cathedral, the Tower of London, Crystal Palace on Saturday. During 
your stay in London you can run down one day and see the University of 
Cambridge ; one day will do it. A very fine excursion of a single day 
may be had thus : Leave London early in the morning for Southampton, 
there take a steamer for Cowes, and along Isle of Wight by Osborne. 
Ride, etc., to Portsmouth, the great naval station ; thence to London by 
evening train. In going to Edinburgh, go up on east side of England 
through " Old York.'" If you provide yourself a lunch before leaving 
London you need not dine in York, but can employ the time that other 
passengers are eating in seeing the famous York minster. In Edinburgh 
see the " Castle," Holyrood Palace, the famous old Cannongate, the house of 
Regent Murray, house of Jno. Knox, Heart of Mid-Lothian, Scott's monu- 
ment, Arthur's seat, etc. In leaving Edinburgh go to Glasgow by way of 
the Trossacs, first to Calendar by rail ; thence in open wagon over Ben 
Lomond, and by boat over Loch Lomond ; thence in wagon again to Loch 
Katrine, etc., and finally by rail into Glasgow. In Glasgow spend one 
day, Cathedral crypt of same ; also spend one day in going to Burns' birth- 
place, Ayr ; go down by rail via Paisley, distance forty miles. Returning 
go by steamer up the Fryth of Clyde, a splendid sail. See Castle of 
Dumbarton as you go up the river Clyde. From Glasgow go to Sheffield 
or lake country ; thence to London. Reach London Saturday night. 
. . . Sunday go to hear Spurgepn preach in the morning. Monday 
go to British Museum. Always have sun in room in Rome and Naples. 
Victoria Hotel, Naples. 



To temper the rigor of a superiority attested by this foreign 
journey, Emmons was allowed to make alone a tour of explor- 
ation and discovery to Chicago the day after Walker set sail. 
All went well until he should have telegraphed his arrival in 
Chicago. Not hearing from him there according to appoint- 
ment, his father was in great apprehension and telegraphed in 
all directions. Twenty-four hours after " schedule time " 
Emmons telegraphed cheerfully that, seeing in the papers that 
there was to be " a race in Buffalo with a favorite trotting mare," 
he had stopped over. And having delivered his letters of intro- 
duction in Chicago and investigated the city to his heart's con- 
tent, the " positively delightful boy " — as a friend wrote to 
his parents — came leisurely and safely home, without mistake 
or mishap. 



238 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

To Walker : 

Augusta, April 27, 1869. 

. . . Yesterday Emmons commenced his school again — likewise M. 5 
the magnificent, hers. Mons came home at noon fearfully disgusted with 
his arrangements. He had been put into Caesar, although he is perfectly 
unposted as to rules — into geometry, though he has never been in algebra, 
and in arithmetic only to square root. His other study, natural history, 
he made no objection to. Then he has that bete noir, declamation, threat- 
ening him. Altogether I think if it were not for the fear of boarding- 
school hanging over him, he would sit down in the ashes and wait for his 
fairy godmother, rather than try to help himself; but with this dread 
harrowing his soul, he knows that he must do or die, so last night he 
shut himself into the parlor until he had mastered his geometry, and this 
morning at breakfast, while I cut steak and poured coffee, he ate and read 
out his " Gallia omnis divisa est in tres partes,''' 1 and I will say for him 
that he translated his nine lines very deftly and neatly. All your old books 
come in play so well that he has not had to buy a new one. As soon as 
breakfast is over, I take in the little Blaine girls and the one big brother 
and off we drive. First we drop M. at Winthrop street, — she goes off 
bowing her head and saying, " Now, Alice Blaine," — then Emmons throws 
out the reins and gives a spring as we come in sight of that dirty, 
hiibbubly High School, and lastly I drive over the old bridge and deposit 
my saintly Alice among the saints [Saint Catherine's School] . She likes 
there much, and this is now the fourth week, so I feel some confidence 
in the permanency of her regard. When I come home, father meets me 
with the salutation, " Well, old lady, the separation is over. We have 
nothing to do now but enjoy each other." This on Friday, but on Wednes- 
day I find myself at the door saying good-by, with the best grace I may. I 
give him now until Saturday to get home in. If he comes not then, I have 
a fit of the blues all ready to put on. I was delighted to hear from him 
so satisfactory an account of you. That your tongue ran, that you ate the 
oranges, that the home-sickness had disappeared, that you addressed Aunt 
C. as Sir, — each and every item gave satisfaction. 

To Mr. Blaine from Hon. Eliliu Washburn : 

Paris. 

About home matters, I read up pretty well, but I take it I don't get quite 
all there is going. I would give " a pretty" for an old-fashioned talk of 
three or four hours with you touching the present political situation. I 
may be deceived, but I confess I don't like the look at this distance. 
If A. Johnson gets to the Senate, it must be regarded as the joak of the 
century. I want you to take a morning for it and give me a bird's-eye 
view of the field. How stands the administration, and does the President- 
hold all his popularity ? . Tell me all about your movements. 
1 am delighted not to have seen your name among the junketers on the 
Pacific Railroad. Keep clear of all entangling alliances. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 289 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Portland, Sept. 3, 1869. 

I write you with a sad heart. It is not improbable that the same mail 
which delivers you this note will bring you the newspaper announcement 
of Senator Fessenden's death. I have just returned from his house. He is 
critically low — exhausted in body and wandering in mind. His attending 
physicians give no hope. He was taken suddenly, a day or two since, and 
the peculiar feature of the disease seems to be that it is a consummation of 
the National Hotel poison — of which he with so many others was a victim 
in 1857. 

I feel profound sorrow for the impending blow. Notwithstanding I may 
desire his place, I do not wish to get it in that way ; nor indeed do I know 
that his removal from the field would improve my chances. It may raise 
up other Richmonds. But in the shadow of death, I do not think of the 
future, only of the past ; and in the past, I recall a man of strong mind, 
of many high points of character, and with few weaknesses, who has been 
my friend for fifteen years, and with whom I have passed through many 
trying scenes, and had many pleasant days, and I grieve that, at sixty -three, 
he is to be removed from earth. 

From Mr. Blaine to Hon. I. Washburn, Jr. : 

Augusta, Sept. 13, 1869. 

Dear Governor: Yours received. I thank you for your frankness. 
But in telling me that you are a candidate for United State Senator you do 
not specify which term you will run for. 

Am I to understand that you are a candidate for the short term, or for 
the long term, or for both? 

I am not myself a candidate for the short term — so in the one pressing 
exigency of the hour you may regard me as out of everybody's way. 

Colonel Smith must have quite misunderstood what I said to him or what 
I intended to say, if you have correctly reported him. But nothing is 
more common than for conversations to be misunderstood, and such 
misunderstanding implies no reflection on any one. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

The depth and richness of Y.'s composition remind me all the time of the 
infinitely varying and always freshly developing grandeur of Henry 
Winter Davis' character. [ was only yesterday glancing over one of his 
speeches and I came across this, which I well remember when it fell from 
his lips : 

"For untimely agitators and premature reformers I have little sym- 
pathy. They are cocks that crow at midnight, heralding no dawn, and only 
disturbing peaceful and needed rest by unseemly and unseasonable 
clamor." 



240 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

I do not quote this as any striking exhibition of eloquence or excellence 
of speech, but only of that wonderful readiness and facility of expression 
and illustration which came to his lips as with inspired force. I re- 
member the startling significance of this particular phrase as it fell on 
the ear. It arrested the attention of the entire House, and you have very 
probably heard me quote it before. Davis was essentially a many-sided 
man. His culture seemed to embrace the whole domain of knowledge. 
He was a profoundly learned lawyer. He was a most clear-headed 
and admirable statesman. He was a man of letters. He was a match- 
less orator. He was a true and genial Christian, and yet a man of the 
world. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Oct. 3, 1869. 

As to that Sorrento expedition, it strikes me as in some respects just 
what you would not want. Going that horrid Quebec route in the 
autumn is enough to chill one with apprehension at the very outset. 
Seven steamers of that line lost in four years, and the navigation the 
most hazardous and least interesting of all the Atlantic waters ! And 
still further, after you shall have reached Liverpool, seasick, exhausted, 
despondent, hating the sea and all connected therewith, the proposition 
is to coast round through Gibralter on one of those miserable mail 
steamers that touch here and there on the barren coast-line, but give you 
no more glimpse of Europe, than a trip by steamer from Boston to the 
Kennebec would give you of New England. Your sight of France would 
be that of the sailors whose experience is embraced in that charming dis- 
play of ballad-rhyming: 

•' There we lay 
All the day 
In the Bay 

Of Biscay, O ! " 

. . . Wait and go with the Blaines, and we will take a Cunard 
steamer to Queenstown and we'll "do" Ireland at the start, and then 
we'll do England and Scotland, and then cross over to Belgium and 
Holland, and thence to the Rhine valley and the German States, following 
the Rhine through Switzerland, and crossing the Alps via the Simplon, 
and come back via the Splugen, after doing Milan, Turin, the Lakes 
Maggiore and Como, and then when on the North shore again, doing 
Munich and Vienna and Pesth, and then to the head of the Adriatic, over 
to Venice, Padua, Modena, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Sorrento 
(one day), and thence back along the Italian coast, Leghorn, Genoa, via 
the Cornici road to Nice, Marseilles, Lyons, Paris, Home. This would be 
a trip worth taking. We'll do it in 71, so don't go and spoil your ap- 
petite by imprudent nibbling in advance of the real feast. As we go 
along, I shall gather, up sufficient data to demolish Julius Ca3sar, and 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 241 

you can see about Joan D'Arc, and any other worthy whose real immor- 
tality hangs upon the end of your pen. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Boston, Oct. 10, 1869. 

We have just returned from hearing Mr. Murray, and I must tell you 
that, in spite of the prejudice his Adirondack book gave me, — deepened 
and intensified as it was by your settled adverse judgment, — I liked him 
very much indeed. He preached a lucid, logical, fervent, impressive 
sermon, well conceived and admirably delivered. His text was very 
brief, " On earth peace and good- will to men." The subject, " Christian 
unity. 11 My wife was even more taken with him than I was, and she is a 
capital judge of a good sermon. . . . Doubtless in future if I hear Mr. 
Murray he may not preach so well, surely not if I go to hear him with 
you and have the aroused sensitiveness which your presence would inspire ; 
but I always will maintain against all comers that " the discourse" 
delivered by the aforesaid on the tenth day of October, 1869, in the 
presence of the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United 
States and his wife, was a scriptural, Christian, eloquent, and faithful ex- 
position of the Word as it was delivered to the saints and handed down by 
the elders — a very saving power to them that believe, and ineffectual only 
on such incredulous and uncharitable mortals as can see no good in a man 
who had the bad taste once to tell an indelicate story ; as if the very 
prince of English statesmen in the eighteenth century had not been in the 
habit of entertaining his guests at parliamentary dinners with coarse stories, 
on the avowed ground that, it being difficult to find congenial topics for 
such mixed companies, he fell back on that " which everybody enjoyed." 
Now, I am not defending Murray's coarseness, nor am I assailing Sir Robert 
Walpole. I am only showing you that genius and vulgarity are not by any 
means incompatible ; nay, that they are not infrequently associated ! 

I found myself nearly laughing aloud as the preacher hastened in such 
a hand gallop through the preliminary exercises, apparantly anxious to 
get at the sermon. Just at that moment the d— 1 put it into my head to 
remember Byron's tart letter to his publisher, when he was so impatient 
for additional cantos of "Don Juan," commencing', 

" My dear Mr. Murray, 
You're in a d — d hurry." 

But Jacob Stanwood's carriage is at the door, punctual at the 1 P.M. 
which 1 appointed, and so I take leave of Mr. Murray in a — hurry. 

At three I went to Andover and had three good hours with my beloved 
boys, and at seven we met their beloved mother. At your cousin's we had 
a very pleasant time and a dinner altogether too sumptuous to have been 
cooked on the Sabbath day, in the household of one descended of the Puri- 
tans, but perhaps he had his notions of the strict observance of that day 
somewhat loosened by reading a certain review and criticism of (iillillan's 



242 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Sabbath. At all events, as I had the advantage of the dinner, and greatly 
enjoyed it, I am not going to question too closely the theological basis on 
which it rested. 

From Mr. Blaine: 

Washington, Jan. 14, 1870. 

The way in which you analyzed the parliamentary question involved in 
the point at issue on Monday last is worthy of an old legislative head. 
By the way, did you see that the paper editorially sustained me, and their 
correspondent has since materially modified his despatch in which he 
attempted to place me in the wrong ? 

I write this while the roll is calling on Bingham's amendment to Virginia 
Bill, and maybe another tie is in reserve for me with its trials and tests. 
I close this letter without knowing, save that the vote is very close. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Washington, Jan. 16, 1870. 

You observed how close a vote followed the closing of my last letter, 
98 to 95, for the unconditional admission of Virginia. It came very near 
precipitating another tie. They were counting noses during roll-call, and 
thought it would be 96 to 96. I would reallv have been glad had it been 
so, for I would like to vote on the admission of all the States still out. 

You have so well analyzed and so well understand all the points of my 
parliamentary disagreement that you have left me nothing to explain. 
The editorial was very good, just, and true. No Speaker has voted to 
produce a tie since Robert C. Winthrop, and he was very severely 
censured therefor. To produce a tie and defeat a motion is to give the 
Speaker's vote the force of two votes, and would prove highly odious 
and offensive. The Speaker has the undoubted right to vote on every 
question ; but if he refrains from exercising that right from motives of 
courtesy and conciliation, he ought not to claim it at a time when its asser- 
tion must prove exceedingly offensive. I take great pleasure and no little 
pride in telling you that the decisive weight of opinion is now in my favor. 
Indeed, my course is approved by all who have any right to give an opinion 
on the premises or any knowledge to base it on. 

Jan. 20. 
I noticed that your dear and daily Monitor gave the Speaker a slight 
dig for his decision on Monday ; nevertheless, the Speaker was entirely right, 
and the oldest and best parliamentarians declare that he was. But as he 
knew from the outset that he was right, he can afford to endure the crit- 
icisms of all the " Respectable Dailies " that can be crowded into or issued 
from the city of Boston, because "Respectable Dailies" in Boston or 
elsewhere, have very slender knowledge of the Lex Parliamentaria, that 
bundle of wisdom into which the unregenerate have never even looked. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 243 

January 26. 

I dined with the prince [Arthur] last eve. He impressed me as a young 
man of fair sense who had been accustomed to good society. It seem to me 
but yesterday when I saw in the " London Illustrated News " the picture of 
the Duke of Wellington holding him in his arms for baptism. It was in 

1850. 

From V. : 

Washington, April 22, 1870. 

All the Shermans were out, but across the way Mr. Blaine happened to 
see General Sherman in his garden and drove back to speak to him. He 
came up with the greatest cordiality, insisted on our going into the 
garden, showed us all around the place, which you may remember is the 
one formerly given to General Grant and afterwards transferred to 
Sherman. I wanted to see his horses, and we went into the stables, saw 
the carriages, etc. ; then he would have us go into the house, showed 
me the maps which he used in his campaigns, some of them mere pencil 
sketches drawn to illustrate a plan, one which General McPherson drew 
and brought a few minutes before his death. I asked him if in that march 
to the sea he was following a designed plan or making it simply as a 
necessity. He said it was wholly a plan. Did he have faith in it? 
Entirely, never faltered a moment. It was just as the lightning opens 
the landscape to you suddenly and shows everything. It was one mental 
effort and the thing was done. From Chattanooga to beyond Atlanta, for 
a four-months' march with one hundred thousand men, there was not an 
hour in which the cannon was not roaring somewhere along the line, so 
that when at last it did stop, it seemed strange and noticeable. We spoke 
of the attempt now making to reduce the General's salary. I said I did 
not care so much about the inconvenience to him, but that it seemed 
mean for the country, whose fate had so hung upon the strength and 
steadfastness of a few men ; now having availed itself of all their 
services and being in the full enjoyment of the fruit of their labors, it turns 
about and proposes to reduce their salaries. Then we professed unbounded 
gratitude ; now we talk of paying them too much, as if we did not owe 
to them the having anything to pay for, or to pay with. He said he did 
not care so much about himself, he could live anyway, but he did care 
about his family, whose mode of life must be changed by this proposed 
reduction. He is also opposed to having the office of General cut off with 
his life, thinking there were many others who had served with great dis- 
tinction in the war, and who ought to have the title when he was done with 
it. The call was all the more interesting for our being thrown entirely 
upon the General. He is so simple, so hearty, and earnest, and intense, 
with his small, sharp, wrinkled face, anything but good-looking in the 
common sense of the term, with the ttcm of genius from head to foot, in 
every tone and turn. . . . 



244 BIOGRAPHY OP JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Washington, April 25. 
. . . Later came Senator and Mrs. Williams. She is handsome, 
vivacious, has an agreeable voice and manner of speech, a good deal 
of intelligence and fluency. She talked on woman's rights, — against 
it, — and advanced such arguments that I withdrew from the field "in 
sullen silence," Mr. Blaine said afterwards. Mrs. Williams talked in 
earnest, and Mr. Blaine told her, on leaving, that he had talked on three 
sides, and if she had stayed only a little longer, he should have got on to 
the fourth ! 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. Anson P. Morrill : 

Readfield, May 8, 1870. 
Your highly esteemed favor of 29th ult. was duly received. I have been 
from home nearly all the time since on railroad matters, and hence my 
delay in answering. Permit me to say that nothing could give me greater 
satisfaction than to be assured that in no event would you and Lot be made 
opponents and competitors for political place. If such a contest presented 
itself, the ties of consanguinity which would urge me to support a brother 
would be hardly stronger than the personal friendship I have felt for you 
for many years. I have, amidst all the rumors, constantly asserted that 
such an evil day would be averted. No word of an unfriendly character 
has escaped me, and for the future, as in the past, T shall rejoice and feel 
proud of your prosperity and success. ... I defer very much to your 
judgment, and should be glad, very, to act in harmony with your views as 
I ever have done. ... I shall see our true friend, Stevens, to-morrow 
and will try to consult for the general good. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Augusta. 

. . Q.'s baptism was very impressive. Mr. McKenzie is marvellously 
felicitous in all such exercises. Give him a marriage or a funeral or a 
christening, and he is the very soul of all that is pious and eloquent and 
touching. M. insisted that the baby ought to be baptized after " mother's 
cousin," the title by which she always designates you. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Augusta, August 15, 1870. 

Our darling little Q. has been very ill since I wrote you. Yesterday 
morning we were really quite alarmed about him. He is better this morn- 
ing, and we hope and trust permanently so. The weather is cool, delight- 
ful, and charming, and that is very favorable to him. 

No news of any kind, and if there was, my anxiety about Q. has been 
such that I could write nothing. . . . 

I think your tile drain need not be laid over three and one-half feet deep. 
I will see how deep mine is. N., I know, is colder than Augusta, but by a 
little differential calculus, aided by a last year's almanac and the meteoro- 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 245 

logical tables of the nineteenth century, you may calculate how many inches 
deeper you would require a drain on the bleak coast of Massachusetts than 
in the mild valleys of Maine, to be secure from frost. 

I take another half foot from the drain. I find that mine is but three 
feet under ground, and we have never heard of a freeze. You see, the less 
you sink the drain, the better. If you do not, I will come to N. and illus- 
trate by diagrams and drawings on the ground, fixing my corner points by 
shavings carefully deported ! 

To Mr. Blaine, from General Schenck, of Ohio : 

Burlington, Ohio, Aug. 29, 1870. 

I have been constrained to be a candidate for reelection in spite of me. 
I have just sent down my acceptance of the nomination, after four weeks 
of delay and consideration. Now for the canvass. I am going home to 
open the campaign next week. It is going to be a tough and doubtful fight. 
. . . Two years ago, in a vote of 35,000 I had 474 majority ; 335 of that 
was from the inmates of the National Soldiers' Asylum, now ruled out by 
the count. I shall gain about 200 by colored votes, and lose perhaps as 
many from prejudiced Republicans who " won't vote with niggers." Alto- 
gether it's close work ; but I think I'll win. 

Now, do you remember your promise to come and help in my district if 
I should run ? What time can you give me between the 15th September 
and 10th of October ? . . . Mind, it isn't to come to Ohio, but / am 
after you for my district. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Town of 

Pittsfield 

Somerset County 
State of Maine 

United States of America 
Western Hemisphere 
Terrestrial Globe 

Latitude 44 £ North 

Longitude 77j| West 
from Greenwich 
8| East from 
Washington 
8.25 A.M. 
Tuesday 
Sept. 6th 

A.I). I.S70 

Can you tell where and when by the above? Lefl home yesterday :i 

little after twelve, and drove here with my pair and my wife. I drove the 



246 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

pair, my wife rode ; she is not generally driven, but in family arrange- 
ments she more commonly drives. Distance from Augusta, forty miles, 
directly up the Kennebec to Winslow, nineteen miles ; thence N.E. up the 
valley of the Sebasticook twenty-one miles. Now, 1 presume you never 
heard of the Sebasticook, which is only another proof of the deep igno- 
rance that prevails in the country towns of Massachusetts. What a State you 
live in, — all the culture and intelligence crowded into a little circle of three 
miles diameter measured from the Boston State House, the remainder of 
the Commonwealth left to black and blue ignorance. In Maine, culture is 
generally diffused, reaching this country town in such profuse abundance 
that the largest church in the village, last evening, was filled with its in- 
habitants, able to follow and comprehend an abstruse and profound political 
discourse, delivered by a friend of yours. The same discourse, an hour 
and a half in length, would have been preached in vain in a Massachusetts 
audience, outside the favored circle I have mentioned. 

Wednesday, September 7, tea-time. 
Town of 

Bingham 

on the Kennebec river 

70 miles north of Augusta 

Directly on the route that 
Benedict Arnold 

took to reach Quebec. 
Inspired by this patriotic reminiscence, I addressed a large audience 
this afternoon, and here I am two hundred and twenty-one miles nearer 
the north pole than you are. 

My wife and I have just returned from a ramble up the side of a moun- 
tain here, where we enjoyed a view of unsurpassed grandeur. 

I wrote you from Pittsfield yesterday morning, that afternoon I spoke in 
Hartland, and the same evening in Athens, both very beautiful villages. 
This morning we drove hither, twenty-five miles. We are staying at a 
delightful country hotel and enjoying everything except you. We leave 
to-morrow morning for North Anson, twenty miles nearer home, where I 
shall mail this letter. The tea-bell rings, and after tea we shall have 
country friends calling. 

To Mr. Blaine, from General Schenck : 

Dayton, Ohio, Sept. 29, 1870. 

. . . My strength and voice are nearly gone. But I think I shall beat 
Free Trade, Repudiation, Whiskey, Ireland, Democracy, Falsehood, and 
the Devil generally, and get, maybe, five hundred majority. The combina- 
tion, though, has become ferocious ! 

I am sadly disappointed at the prospect of your not coming at all. You 
could have given me just the help I wanted and need. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 247 

From Mr. Blaine to his mother : 

November 14, 1870. 

. . . I had three days to spare — two of which I spent in Washington 
[Pennsylvania] , and one in Brownsville — saw all the friends in both places 
— none more delighted to see me in Washington than Mrs. Adams. She 
flew at me with wide arms, and kissed me. " You're not Mr. Blaine nor 
Speaker Blaine. You're just Jim Blaine to me," she said. She sent 
showers of love to you. The same with Mrs. Huston. I saw her in the 
identical old kitchen in which I pulled the chair from under grandpa. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Washington, December 17, 1870. 

Mr. Fisher, of Boston, is with us, and last evening we had a round-table 
dinner — the guests, besides Mr. Fisher, wereSchenck, Banks, Allison, Cox, 
Potter, Beck, Garfield, Schofield, Hale, Peters, Kelly, Hooper, Ingersoll, 
and General Butler ; good company and a good dinner. 

I had quite a chat with Governor Coburn yesterday noon about advanc- 
ing the $140,000. I think I shall induce him to do it. 

From Walker : 

Andover, December 27. 

I have so many things which I wish to thank you and father about, and 
I have so many occurrences which I wish to tell you, that I hardly know 
how to make a beginning. 

Saturday noon, Emmons, Guy [son of General Howard], and myself 
went to Boston. We met father at the Parker House at two o'clock, and 
he engaged the rooms for us which we occupied during our whole stay. 
We all three went to the Globe Theatre to see Fechter in " Ruy Bias." 
The best piece of acting I ever saw. In the evening, father and Emmons 
went to the Globe, while Guy and I went to the Boston Theatre, and saw 
the opera of the " Bohemian Girl." The opera was very good, though I 
believe you are not very much interested in operas or theatres. Sunday 
morning we all went to hear Mr. Murray preach. At two o'clock we all, 
except Guy, who dined with some relatives, dined with Mr. Fisher. On the 
way to that place, father said that he wasn't sure whether he was invited 
for Sunday or Monday. However, we stumbled on, and found that there was 
no mistake. Had a very nice dinner at two, after which father went out into 
the country with Mr. Fisher to see his father, and Mons to Cambridge to see 
N. I stayed at Mr. Fisher's, where I spent a most pleasant afternoon. . . . 
Father returning, we all went to tea, and afterwards Dr. Gay came in. 
Father retired with him for a private consultation on the subject of his 
broken-dovm health. Mrs. Fisher and I went in to see Dr. Lewis' library. 
Dr. Lewis is the father of the first Mrs. Fisher. A magnificent library. 
Two rooms completely walled in with books, while the doctor himself is a 
real old antiquarian. Tie says that he has over six thousand medals and 
coins. On returning to the house, we found a carriage waiting, which 



248 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

drove us to the hotel. This ended Sunday — as pleasant a Sunday as I ever 
spent, and spent in the way which I like. I don't think very much of 
the doctrine of making you expiate all the sins of the past week every 
Sunday by corporal punishment on hard benches, and by mental punish- 
ment under ! Monday morning we took breakfast at a very reasonable 

hour, nine o'clock, and then Guy and I went out to see the picture of 
"Sheridan's Ride, 11 by T. B. Read, the author of the poem. Jenks and 
all the boys from Andover came up Monday, and in the afternoon we 
went to see Stuart Robson at the Boston Theatre, in "Paul Pry. 11 At six 
o'clock of the same evening, nine of us took dinner together, and in the 
evening we went to see Fechter and Miss LeClercque in " Black and 
White, 11 by Wilkie Collins, as you would soon discover if you saw the 
play. I found, on returning from the matinee Saturday afternoon, that 
father had gone out to Mr. Caldwell's (Josiah) to a Christmas-tree, and 
that he enjoyed it so much that Mr. Caldwell had sent a carriage for 
Emmons and myself to go out there. Of course, as I was not at home 
Emmons went alone, and had a very pleasant time, I believe. After re- 
turning from the evening performance we all went to bed, and came to 
Andover at seven o'clock this morning. This closed the Boston trip. I 
have been to the theatre thrice, opera once. Have seen six plays and one 
opera. Have been out to dinner, and have, on the whole, had one of the 
best times I ever had in my life. And now I come to giving thanks 
both to you and to father. To father for all three, for the splendid time we 
had. 

From Mr. Blaine 

Washington, Jan. 4, 1871. 

I have been round to the White House since dinner to call on the Presi- 
dent. He sent for me, and we had a frank chat on San Domingo. I will 
support the resolution of inquiry, but am against the final acquisition. 

From a guest : 

Washington. 

Thursday morning I walked to the Capitol with Mr. Blaine, and then 
back again alone. In the evening we went to General Sherman's, and had 
a very bright and agreeable evening. Old Mr. Ewing is spending the 
winter there, and his son, General Hugh, late Minister to the Hague, was 
also there. The former is past eighty, tall, handsome, silver-haired, a real 
gentleman of the old school, and he promised to come here some evening 
if possible. We had Mr. Stephens, the new Minister to Uraguay, at 
dinner. Mr. Blaine is guiltless of Sumner's deposition. He told the 
President frankly that the whole power of his administration could not 
do it. If he was not right, he came pretty near it, for it is still a ques- 
tion whether the administration will not break down under it. Yet the 
President keeps on perfectly good terms with Mr. Blaine, though the 
latter is very outspoken and frank. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 249 

Washington, March 4, 1871. 

Mr. Blaine has been exceedingly busy these last few days, was up at 
Congress all last night, and did not get home till near six this morning, 
then at it again at ten. 

We have been to the House, heard a resolution of thanks to the Speaker 
passed with an eulogistic speech from S. S. Cox. The caucus was held 
last night, and nominated Mr. Blaine by acclamation. There was practi- 
cally no opposition. The dissolution and recreation were extremely inter- 
esting. At precisely 12 M. Mr. Blaine brought down the gavel and made 
a little farewell speech ; a few minutes of pause, and then the clerk, 
McPherson, came in, called the roll, and then elected the Speaker by the 
roll. Mr. Blaine had one hundred and twenty-six votes, one hundred and 
ten necessary to election. There were no scattering votes. Then Mr. 
Morgan, the Democratic candidate, and Mr. Dawes, the oldest consecutive 
member, led him to the chair. He made a short inaugural speech, and Mr. 
Dawes stood in front of the desk and administered the oath. Then Mr. 
Blaine swore in the members. It was very impressive. Mr. Blaine's 
speeches were everything one could desire — short, touching, concise, 
sufficient, not a bit of spread eagle. The House was as still as emptiness. 
I heard every word with perfect distinctness. 

Washington, March 17, 1871. 
I suppose you have seen the Butler-Blaine fight in all the papers. The 
boys came from Andover Thursday morning. Mr. Blaine said it would 
probably be lively at the House and we went up. Judge Kelly was 
speaking when we went in. Presently I was startled by Walker's saying : 
" I declare, he is going for him," and I then saw that Mr. Blaine was 
leaving his Speaker's chair and taking a place on the floor. He did come 
down like a sledge-hammer. Butler was really cowed. You know how 
impetuous Mr. Blaine is, and it was lightning and thunder all together. 
Mr. Peters, who sat in front of Butler, told Mr. Hale that Butler shook so 
that he (P.) could feel it where he sat. Butler has brow-beaten wit- 
nesses till all the world exceedingly feared and quaked, so that he has, 
in a certain sense, had free course ; but this time he was faced down and 
pounded and battered, and very much — surprised. I was surprised too 
to see how little he had to say in reply. He left nearly every point un- 
touched, throwing out a few wild shots. But yesterday he went up to the 
desk and chatted with Mr. Blaine just as if nothing had happened, and 
the whole gallery of reporters rushed down to the front seat and looked 
over below to see it — frightfully disgusted, no doubt, that it was all talk 
and no tussle. 

Washington, March 23, 1871. 

Tt is very warm to-day, and Miss Ripley took us driving this morning, 

and then to lunch with her, and then II. went to Nettie Chase's wedding. 

The boys are all to dine at General Sherman's, and Mr. Blaine ami I are 

going to the Thomas concert. II. won't go because she is sure she shall 



250 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

go to sleep. There is and has been a report around for several days that 
General Butler was to attack Mr. Blaine again to-day, and old Mr. Ewing 
sent his son, General Charles, down this morning to see if it was so, be- 
cause he wanted to go in if it was, and wanted Mr. Blaine to be loaded! I 
meant to go up and see for myself, but just as I was dressing for Miss 
Ripley's, the note came from Mr. Blaine which I enclose with this. 

First page. 
General Butler opened his fresh attack on me to-day as soon as the 
journal was read, and before a privileged question, which Farnsworth was 
trying to offer, could be got fairly before the House for consideration 

Second page. 
by inviting you and Miss D. and myself to accompany the managers of 
the National Asylum to Fortress Monroe and Norfolk on an excursion 
to-morrow, by boat, to be back on Monday morning. Will you go ? 

Gu} 7 Howard and a school friend of his here at dinner ; also General 
Sherman's son and nephew, Tom Sherman and Tom Ewing, — all fine boys. 
Tom Sherman has a pony and rides over to Georgetown to school every 
morning at eight and back at five. Did I tell you that Mr. Fish had given 
the boys a fine billiard-table ? In the evening Mr. Hooper came up, 
having seen in the evening paper an account of some previous transac- 
tions alleged to have taken place between Butler and Blaine, bringing Mr. 
Hooper in. He came to say that so far as he was concerned, there was no 
truth whatever in it. The San Domingeese are expected next week, and 
there is no prospect of an immediate adjournment. There was a confer- 
ence Wednesday night, Butler being on, and when they were considering 
where they should meet, Mr. Blaine invited them here, and they came, 
Butler and all. He came in and shook hands as heartily as you please. 
Mr. P. went on that Fortress Monroe expedition, and says General Butler 
seemed to be really disappointed that Mr. and Mrs. Blaine did not go, 
and had the steamer wait for them. 

Mr. Sumner's speech went too far against the President. The President 
was at Governor Buckingham's in the evening, and was much excited — 
for him. 

Mr. has a picture of Mr. Blaine that makes him look like a brigand, 

and a biographical sketch of him makes him out not much better. Mr. 
Blaine says he always knew they would have their revenge on him, and 
here it is. General Garfield was here at breakfast. The Shermans called 
last evening, and are coming here to-day to dinner, and General Tom 
Ewing, who is visiting in town. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

House of Representatives, April 15, 1871. 
I will not give you very many rules in interest, but aim merely to im- 
press one useful point on you, and so to explain it that you may be able 
readily to tell qua ratione. Knowledge sine ratione is not enduring. 






BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 251 

In business affairs your most frequent use of interest is to calculate it 
for short periods, months and days. For even number of years your path 
is easy and direct. The months and days are the bother. 

The most comprehensive rule for calculating interest at six per cent, for 
any number of days is to multiply the amount by the number of days, 
and divide by sixty. For example, what is the interest on $371.23 for 
eighty-three days, six per cent? Process: , 

$371.23 

83 

1,113.69 

29,698.4 



60)30,812.09 



$5,135 

The reason for this is, that in the interest year there are 360 days, there- 
fore if you multiply by 360 and divide by 60, you do the same as multiply- 
ing by 6 per cent. If true for 360 days, it must be true for any other 
number of days, greater or less. 

For 5 per cent., multiply by the number of days and divide by 72, 

same as 360 7 « 

5 

Op A 

Eight per cent., multiply by the number of days and divide by 45— 

8 . 

Nine per cent., multiply by the number of days and divide by 40 = 

Seven per cent, does not give an even quotient. Your easiest way is to 
get the interest at 6 per cent., and then add ^ of the result. 

Seven and three-tenths you get accurately by multiplying by number of 

days and dividing by 50. In this case, however, we reckon the year at the 

365 3650 
calendar number of days, 365. You get the result thus, yy = ~~r^~~ — 50. 

'To '° 

For reckoning in months at 6 per cent., always remember that eacrj 
month is £ per cent. For two months you simply reckon one per cent. ; 
four months you reckon two ; six months, three ; eight months, four, etc. 
All well and send much love. 

Hastily and very affectionately, 

Your Father. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Saratoga, N.Y., August 15, 1871. 
The day after you sailed, your mother went home and T came to this 
place, where we have been since. Emmons went same day to New York ; 
thence to Niagara; thence to Cleveland; thence to Chicago; and then 



252 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

home via Pittsburgh. He left Chicago last evening, will be in New York 
to-morrow morning, and home Thursday P.M. . . . Your mother, I 
have no doubt, is sending you a letter full of domestic news by this same 
mail. ... Be very careful and prudent in your money matters. I 
want you to have everything needful for your comfort, culture, and enjoy- 
ment, but do not forget that my fortune is not a large one. 

Most lovingly and tenderly, 

Your Father. 

To Walker : 

Augusta, August 21, 1871. 

. . . The great event since I wrote you a Aveek ago is your father's 
Saratoga serenade speech, which he made last Wednesday evening. An 
immense crowd assembled to hear him, and he has been overwhelmed 
with congratulations. I think myself he was most happy, and perhaps I 
should be more difficult than almost any one else to please. All the papers 
have said their say about it, pro and con. . . . Emmons has expected 
to leave for Andover, via Boston, to-morrow, but has had a telegram this 
afternoon from your father telling him not to leave till he hears from him ; 
so possibly he may not go till Wednesday. I hope he may not, for no 
tongue can adequately portray my loneliness since I came from Boston the 
day after you sailed. I have, to myself, to lead two lives entirely distinct 
from each other. The one when I am with your father, all variety, wide- 
awake, gay ; the other — 

From President Grant : 

Washington, August 31, 1871. 

Dear Mr. Speaker : Your favor of the 28th inst. was received yes- 
terday just before I started for Washington. I have given Mr. Hamlin, 
and two other gentlemen who called with him, a reply to the questions 
contained in your letter. I can reach Bangor on Tuesday evening, the 
17th of October, and can remain do/vn East, low down, until about Friday 
morning. I cannot, however, leave the limits of the United States. Some- 
how I am under the impression that there is a statute, or some provision, 
against the President leaving the territory of the United States. However, 
whether there is or not, I think I will not be the one to establish the prec- 
edent of an executive going beyond the limits of his country. I antici- 
pate a very pleasant visit to Maine. It will be' the second time only that 
it has fallen to my lot to get so far East, and I never got among cleverer 
people. When I was -there before I had not yet become a politician, had 
not arrayed a section and a half against me, and it was, too, just at the 
close of a great war in which the ignorant, but enthusiastic, Maine people, 
not looking to the "New York World" and other equally veracious Demo- 
cratic papers for true light, supposed I had taken a small part. Their 
ardor being cooled by time, and true light having been forced in, in spite 
of Yankee prejudice in favor of a united country, may make a change now. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 253 

I will trust myself among them again, however, Providence permitting, 
taking all the chances of having very pleasant recollections dashed. 

My kindest regards to Mrs. Blaine and the children, who I hope are all 
well and enjoying their vacation. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Augusta, August 28, 1871. 

Seeing that General Schenck is on the Continent, I have feared that you 
might have missed the cheerful welcome you anticipated in London. . . . 

I would not go to Paris until you know that Mr. Washburn is there. . 
I shall assume that you have made your hasty run to Scotland before this 
reaches you. 

I should get to work on French as soon as I well could ; and be sure 
to pursue it with great diligence, but not to the detriment of a great 
deal of out-door exercise and plenty of observation of what is going on 
around you. 

I more and more incline to the belief that Paris is the best place. I have 
so suggested to Mr. Washburn in a note that goes out by this mail. As 
soon as you reach Paris call on Mr. Washburn. It would be well for 
you to write him a line a few days before you leave London, advising him 
of the day you will reach Paris. 

Your mother writes a full budget of news. 

To Walker : 

Augusta, September 8, 1871. 

. . . Your father and I had the first reading of your letter in the 
carriage over Malta Hill. How delighted we were to hear from you I 
cannot express. Your father is well jDleased with you. Thinks you 
outdo him as a traveller. He was saying, at the supper-table, that next 
summer if Emmons wanted to go over to meet you, he should make no 
objection ; whereupon Alice insists that he told you over and over again 
to keep away from Americans ! " Surely Emmons is an American ! " . 
Your father expects, Tuesday, to leave for Pennsylvania. The local poli- 
tics are becoming very interesting. A partisan warfare is waged between 
the Journal and the Standard, and, of course, your father is the mark 
for most of the shafts and honors. W., it is reported, has gone over to 
the Democrats. . . . You cannot think how high the partisan spirit 
seems to run this election. Your father has just had sent him from down 
town a Democrat sheet, which that party, in lack of a daily paper, have 
just issued. Two-thirds of it certainly devoted to him. . . . How glad 
I shall be when the city and State are well carried, Monday evening! 
. . . I am immensely interested, for I feel that there has been a 
deliberate effort to break down your father. Nothing at the bottom of it, 
I presume, but envy. 

Monday evening. Well, Walker, the election is over and well over. 
Every ward in this city is carried by Republicans — a thing which 1 think 



254 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

has hardly ever been before. This city is carried by 239. Other towns 
have thrown very large votes. Grain p [a venerable neighbor] voted 
among the first, fearing that he might die during the day if he put it off. 
Every one congratulates your father on the election in this city as a per- 
sonal compliment. How he would feel to have had it telegraphed all 
over the country, as it was to be, that Augusta, the home of Morrill and 
Blaine, had gone Democratic ! 

To Walker : 

Augusta, September 12, 1871. 

We have had a great treat this afternoon, viz., your first and second 
batch of London letters, the last date of which was August 30. Father 
expected to go to Boston to-day, but, as his stay is quite a serious one, two 
weeks at least in Pennsylvania, and as there were a great many telegrams 
concerning election to receive and to send away, he concluded to defer his 
departure till to-morrow ; so he was here to read out your letters. First, they 
were read in the " spare chamber ,1 — S., M., and I the audience. When 
about half through. Alice and Q. added themselves to the little circle, 
the former very indignant that We had not sent for her to hear the begin- 
ning of the narrative. Then George was told to put old Prince into harness 
and go for Aunt C. Of course, she was more than ready; so at supper 
we had reading number two, and, Aunt H. coming in during the evening, 
there was a third reading, your father officiating every time. We all 
think you are doing splendidly, seeing a great deal, and describing all to 
us with great accuracy and freshness. But do not write any more on both 
sides of that paper. Your father says use it, if you wish, but write only 
on one side. You have no idea how impatiently we want to read, and how 
slowly we have to feel our way. . . . The election, as you will see by 
the papers your father sent you this morning, has turned out splendidly. A 
grand vindication of your dearest dad, that of this town is. All the capital 
of the Democratic party seemed to be centred in him. . . . He got 
off yesterday noon, started in his usual hurry. At the last moment, there 
was the kev of his strong box missing 1 — was fortunate enough to find it, 
carelessly left on the clock ! At the " Journal " office there was proof to 
correct, cars meantime in. Then there was the bank, and at every corner 
some one running to stop him. However, he got off, cheerful and bright, for 
he feels that he has conquered gloriously in this town, and I have already 
had two notes from him — one sent from Brunswick and another from Port- 
land. . . . You are a dear, good boy, and your letters give us unbounded 
satisfaction. . . . And, by the way, one of the things about your letters 
which pleased your father especially is the address. I often see him 
showing it and challenging admiration for it. ... I greatly miss the 
enjoyment of reading your letters with him. We have, since they began 
to come, read them together, and generally alone, and, sympathizing with 
you and with each other to the fullest, we have felt united over you to a 
wonderful degree. Always may you give as much joy and satisfaction to 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 255 

our hearts as you have in the way you have improved the first two weeks 
of your stay in Europe. 

To Walker : 

Augusta, September, 21, 1871. 

. . . The mail also brought me a letter from your father, written 
Sunday afternoon at Elizabeth, when he was wandering- over coal-fields 
and thinking sadly of his mother. 

To Walker : 

Augusta, September 24, 1871. 

. . . It is a week last Wednesday since your father went away, and I 
am beginning, as you may suppose, to long for his good company once 
more. He left Pittsburgh Friday evening, was in New York yesterday, and 
telegraphed me to write him to Parker House by last night's mail, so that 
I expect him home next Wednesday. He spent his time in Elizabeth 
going over coal-fields, but I do not yet know whether he purchased any 
more of that kind of property. 

. . . He has succeeded in purchasing some more coal-land — only 
$28,000 worth, however. Payments very easy. I expect him home 
Wednesday. . . . Gramp hopes to live to vote for Grant next Pres- 
ident. Thinks Mr. Blaine will certainly be the next, but he shall not be 
here to vote for him ; shall intercede for him in heaven, however. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Boston, September 25, 1871. 

I am thus far on my return from Pennsylvania, where I have been for 
ten days past. 

I reached here at ten Saturday night. 

Emmons had come up to meet me in the afternoon, and spent yesterday 
(Sunday) with me. We went to church in the Old South, and in the after- 
noon drove out to Uncle Jacob's. This morning at seven Emmons 
returned to Andover. He had received your letter from Edinburgh. I 
think he is studying very well this session, and seems really very much in- 
terested in Mr. Tilton — is growing rapidly. . . . 

I hope you will get settled down to study in Paris at once. Be sure to 
get into a good family where you will hear no English and the best of 
French. Mr. Washburn will give you good advice, I am sure. 1 am 
writing very hastily, relying on your mother to give you all the details of 
news. . . . 

Massachusetts is in a great ferment over the Butler nomination. The 
convention is at Worcester on Monday, and the result will probably be 
known to you before you receive this. I think Butler will be beaten, but 
others fear his nomination. 



256 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

From Walker : 

September 27, 1871. 

I cannot bear to think of missing the presidential election next fall. 1 
want to be at home and stump the State like the man who stumped it with 
Daniel Webster — held the horse while the great Daniel harangued the 
audience from the buggy. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Augusta, September 28, 1871. 

. . . The great event just now in the public mind is the defeat of 
Butler at Worcester yesterday. You know the Mr. Washburn who is 
nominated — one of the best of men. . . . Alice is making fine prog- 
ress in her music. 

To Walker: 

Augusta, September 28, 1871. 

Tuesday evening, just before eight, I got a telegram from your father 
saying that he was on the train due at that hour, and would expect to find 
George at the depot. . . . The night was stornry, and George had been 
dismissed till the next day. Of course there was not a bit of meat in the 
house. However, it was everything to have him coming home. Mary 
flew down the lane, and George's father came to the rescue and har- 
nessed. A good supper was knocked up with the help of Mons, and at 
fifteen minutes past eight your dear dad was comfortably housed, sitting 
before a blazing fire in the back parlor. He had spent Monday night at 
Hamilton in company with the Stowes, having, of course, a most brilliant 
time, Harriet Beech er being in one of her most communicative, social 
moods. Emmons went back to Andover Monday morning early, looking, 
your father says, as well as he ever saw him in his life, and appearing like 
a good boy and a faithful scholar. He thinks he shall lay up on his allow- 
ance! One hundred dollars is due him already, though, of course, he has 
not paid his board. 

Augusta, October 5, 1871. 
. . . In the library Mr. Sherman [Mr. Blaine's private secre- 
tary] is diligently at work, making an accurate list of committees, to- 
gether with resignations and new members and the outs, — a very nice 
"job" indeed, — and I heard him tell your father yesterday he thought 
he had gone over the names, in his anxiety, some thirty times. In the 
nursery, Bedlam, under the generalship of Alice, has evidently broken 
loose. There are gathered J. and M. and Alice and Eliza, and as their 
leader stands in awe of no one, the liberty I permit soon becomes license. 
. . . Your dear father, I am happy to say, has gone out for a walk, 
and, as he turned his face down-town ward, I am in hopes his admiring 
constituency will have the pleasure of seeing him! 1 think, perhaps, 
he never stood so high with them before. Certainly he never stood 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 257 

higher. This morning I rode down town with Q. to get the darling some 
boots, also to canvass the field a little before making the change in his 
clothes. At half-past twelve, just as we were turning our faces home- 
wards, your father hailed us from Mr. Hurder's saloon, to come over and 
have Q.'s picture taken. His dress was torn and his boots shabby, but X 
hope we got something that will at least remind you of the little brother. 
Your father also sat; and Alice, who came in on her way from school, 
wanted to, but it was too late. Your father has just interrupted me to 
read some letters about his recent coal purchases. He is immensely 
pleased. Finds that the M.'s were after the very property he has pur- 
chased. . . . Since I wrote you he has returned from Boston. He was 
there only one day, but in that time bought blankets and got my mended 
jewelry from Shreve & Stanwood, where it has been ever since you sailed, 
and had business interviews unsatisfactory and satisfactory with Warren 
Fisher and Mr. Hayes, and, to my great surprise, he got home on the 
four o'clock train yesterday afternoon, his beloved Kinglake (" Crimea'' 1 ) 
still accompanying him. . . . You. see, Walker, I write you the most 
trivial details of our life. I go out but little, and even if T went more my 
narrative would still run on the same way. I wrote just such letters to 
your father when he was away as you are, and he said the very sight of 
the home names was a refreshment to him. . . . Mrs. Pike has in- 
quired with the greatest interest for you. She thinks she never saw such 
children, meaning you, your brothers and sisters ! Father has gone to 

, loudly bewailing his sad fate in having to leave his pleasant li reside, 

his darling Q,., and his sweet M. Mr. Sherman is waiting for this letter, 
and now nothing remains but for me to bid my dearest boy good-by. 1 
send you no advice, for you know, better than T can tell you in words, the 
youth and man I wish you to be. God bless and keep you! Be sure to 
write about your financial matters, as the dada wishes to know. 



From TTon. E. P>. Washburn : 

Paris, October 5, 1871. 

1>laine : The great question which now agitates all circles in Paris — 
business, social, political, and diplomatic — is, whether or not "Blaine is 
sony. 11 

An early and a categorical answer " Yes 1 ' or " No" would lend to the 
quiet of Europe. 



To Mr. Blaine from Hon. Horace Greeley: 

New York, October 6, 1871. 
. . . I would like to visit Bangor with your crowd, but I am chosen 
defendant in a libel suit which is to be tried ihe week of your festival. As 
I am seldom chosen anything, I feel obliged to accept. 



258 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

To Walker : ■ 

Augusta, October 8, 1871. 

. . I get no line from you. A week yesterday morning since we 
heard from you. Your father sits in the parlor toasting his feet over the 
fire, a suspicious dampness having settled upon them in the garden, where 
he and Tom Sherman have been exercising or exorcising — which you like. 
I have just been saying to him, "Am I not better to thee than ten sons?" 
" Yes,' 1 he says, "and if you were better than twenty, I still want the 
sons. 1 ' I thought he was uneasy about you, but he says he is not. Still, 
my dear boy, be particular to send off a letter, if of ever so few lines, by 
frequent mails. . . . Your father and Mr. Sherman are still desper- 
ately busy over the committees. It is part of the power of the Speaker, 
and, like everything else worth anything, is a rock of offence and a block 
of stumbling to many, though to others the chief corner-stone. . . . 
Friday he expects to go to Boston to participate in the honors paid the 
President, all of which he will see, and a part of which be, as he is him- 
self the city's guest. Tuesday he expects simply to come through town 
with the President on his way to Bangor. The President stops, I believe, 
about twenty minutes only. He — your father — hates it, but I suppose il 
would not do for the President to come into Maine and the Speaker not be 
here to see him. Mr. Morrill gets rid of the whole thing by starting tc 
Kansas to see May to-morrow. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker: 

Augusta, October 9, 1871. 

We are eager to hear from you in Paris. ... I still cling to the 
belief that Paris is your jilace, but you must confine yourself to French 
society and not allow yourself to be much in the American colony. I do not 
wish you to overstudy or too closely confine yourself, but I am very 
anxious for you to acquire French and study Paris in all its moods and 
tenses, by your American eyes. 

I am now in the very midst of the troubles and perplexities of making up 
my committees, and a most vexatious job I find it. The resignation of 
Burton O. Cooke, of Illinois, and the nomination of Mr. Washburn for gov- 
ernor of Massachusetts, throw two important chairmanships into my hands 
— District of Columbia and Claims. . . . 

I close this just as Mr. Homan comes sauntering in for an evening call. 

From General Sherman : 

Washington, October 13, 1871. 

Dear Blaine : 1 am just back from St. Louis and Lancaster, and find 
your letter of the 5th, and the official invitation to assist in the ceremonies 
of opening the European and North American Railroad. Of course 1 
wish I could come, but there is a reason which you can better understand 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 259 

than any man living, and yet which I ought not to submit to a corporate 
body. Mr. Swing's life is now flickering in its socket, so that any moment 
the dread notice may come. I took Ellen out last week, and he seemed so 
utterly feeble that she could not venture with me to the St. Louis fair, and I 
left her at Lancaster. On my return there on Tuesday last he was better, and 
we came home yesterday, leaving him in this uncertain condition. Just as 
we started we learned that his old faithful physician, Dr. Roustler, had 
fallen dead, and we dared hardly reveal the whole truth, though he read 
it in our acts. I beg you will, then, aid me in explaining to the good people 
of Bangor that, however anxious I may be to be present on the 17th, I am 
restrained by private reasons that are overwhelming. Of course I will 
answer the president of the company in general terms. 

To Walker : 

Augusta, October 14, 1871. 

. . . Your father goes to Boston to-day at twelve M. to meet the 
President. He stops at the St. James, and has written Emmons to meet 
him there this evening. I have had a letter from him this morning; full 
of the Chicago calamity. He was so full of Chicago he would think of 
nothing* else. 

M. and Q. are playing on the sofa. The latter has been trying all the 
morning for a cat. I heard him before breakfast on the joorch calling to 
George to go out and find him a cat. There are so many on the premises 
that they go out very much as one would hunt an elephant in Africa. Sure 
enough, he came in a few minutes ago hugging up a very fair specimen 
of the feline race. This is a specimen of M.'s manoeuvring to get the kit- 
ten : " Oh, Q., you be the mother, and play that you are out shopping to 
buy something for the baby's birthday, a little gold chain or something. 
I'll be the nurse and stay at home and take care of the baby. Here, darling, 
come to nursey," and Q., overpowered by the argument, surrenders, and 
M. sits on the sofa, fondling and enjoying to her heart's content. 

I do not know how much you may have seen of the Chicago fire. All the 
prominent newspaper accounts, doubtless. There never was, and God 
grant there never may be, anything like it. Perhaps you know that your 
father has been very much urged to buy in Chicago lands, and when he 
was in Boston to see you off, a gentleman from C, engaged in real-estate 
business in that city, was at the Parker House, pushing the matter very 
hard. I supposed that your father had invested a good many thousands, 
but it seems his lucky star is still in the ascendant, for when in Pennsylva- 
nia lately lie decided to use all his money in coal-lands, and sent back there 
all the papers, bonds, etc., connected with this business. . . . 

Think of the winter which is before those crowds of people ! Any 
quantity of work, but no shelter. In live years, your father thinks less, 
Chicago will be rebuilt. ... I suppose Mons and he are to-day at 
the St. James. Sunday the President comes to Bangor, stops here about 
twenty minutes. I shall go to the depot and get a passing word with 



260 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

your dear daddy, who is to keep with the President till Friday .... 
I have heard from your father this afternoon. He reached Boston 
at 8.30 Saturday evening. Found Emmons and an alderman waiting for him. 
Saw the President, the P.M., Mrs. Grant and Nellie, and the boy. Break- 
fasted with them. Then went to Dr. Putnam's church, Roxbury. Emmons 
and the Grant boy went with Collector Russell, to attend service on the 
school-ship. . . . To-morrow they come to Maine. I expect to go to 
the depot to see your father, but he has to keep on to Bangor, not 
returning till Friday. . . . Aunt C. is down spending the evening. 
She has copied nearly all your letters into a book. Alice thinks it will be 
so interesting to Walker's children and children's children to read them. 
. . . Emmons is in distress for your Greek lexicon. He is so economi- 
cal now that he hates to buy a new one. 

October 19. 
. . . Father is in Bangor, accompanying the President. I took M. 
and Q. and rode as near the depot as I dared Tuesday afternoon. There 
was a great crowd. I did not see him, as I sat high up the hill in the 
carriage ; neither did I see the other dignitaries who were present, but T 
saw, best of all, your father, who, as soon as he had introduced the Pres- 
ident to Mayor Evelyth, hunted us up and spent a delightful quarter 
of an hour at the carriage. ... I think, from the newspaper 
accounts, that the whole celebration at Bangor must be a great success. 
Your father told me that he dined at Mr. Hooper's Sunday evening with 
Agassiz, Longfellow, Holmes, Lowell, and other savans. Enjoyed it ex- 
tremely. . . . We were fearfully disappointed not to receive a letter 
from you. Your father could not believe that I had none for him. . . . 
You cannot tell how anxious it makes me not to hear. 

October 23. 
. . . Your father sits here at the table toiling away over his com- 
mittees. Hard, hard work. As fast as he gets them arranged, just so 
fast some after-consideration comes up which disarranges not one, but 
many, and over topples the whole row of bricks. It is a matter in which 
no one can help him. . . . The door-bell has been ringing the whole 
morning, your father seeing not one in twenty who call. Yesterday 
Newman Smyth preached for us. I went out with your father and Alice in 
the morning, your father also in the evening. In the afternoon he took 
the three home children and went up on the knoll. . . . Saturday was 
made memorable by the arrival of your first Paris letter. You cannot 
think how anxious we were to hear. As I told you in my last, your father 
could not believe that I had not a letter for him when I met him Tuesday. 
Still he would not permit me to express the least anxiety, but when he 
came Friday afternoon, and still no letter, he could not quite conceal his 
own anxiety. Of course, we calculated for the despatcli bag, and should 
have allowed for one day more before quite giving up, but when I came 
out of my room at the ringing of the breakfast-bell Saturday morning, I 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 261 

was greeted by the joyful words, "A letter of the longest kind from 
Walker." Down we sat at the table, and while I poured coffee and tea 
and otherwise waited on the children, your father read. Then when he 
had read about half, I took the manuscript and read out while he ate his 
breakfast. With thankful hearts, we read of your getting to Paris and 
among friends. Now I shall feel entirely different from what I have 
while you were in London, isolated. We like your arrangement about 
school very much. Of course, it is an experiment, but I hope it will work 
satisfactorily. At any rate, you will not fail to master French. Friday 
morning I had a telegram from your father, saying that he would not be 
at home till afternoon. He had left Bangror the night before with the Presi- 
dent, and gone through to Portland. Then, after a wearisome barouche 
procession, at one o'clock he took leave of His Excellency and set his face 
homewards, and here he now is, and here he expects to stay for at least a 
week. I suppose there never was anything like the time they had in 
Bangor. The speeches were good as they could be. Underlying the 
speeches was the best of feeling. Hospitality flowed like a river, and 
not an untoward circumstance marred the perfect whole. Your father 
stopped with Mr. Hamlin, and was obliged to borrow his host's dress coat 
to wear to the dinner and reception. Don't you think he must have looked 
funny? As Hannibal never wears coats of any other cut, of course he 
had one in reserve for himself. 

. . . Your father is waiting to take my letter to the j)ost-office, so T 
must say good-night to my dear boy. I long to see you. No words can 
express how much. I have every confidence that you will not abuse your 
father's indulgence, and if you make any mistakes, be sure to write me or 
him all about it. Do not be afraid, under any circumstances, of giving us 
your fullest confidence. When your father was in Bangor he saw a great 
deal of Rear- Admiral Al den. He sails very soon for Europe. Takes out 
General Sherman. His ship is the "Wabash," the flagship of the European 
squadron. He has invited you to go with him, but your father felt obliged 
to decline, because he wants you to improve your stay in Paris by the 
acquisition of French. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Augusta, October 24, 1871. 

Your mother and I observed with much concern and no little pain that 
after you returned to London your letters seemed a little low-spirited. 
You did not go anywhere and seemed all tired of London. . . . There 
seemed a perfect cessation of interest. ... I shall, of course, expect 
the most absolute frankness from you, with a very full explanation of the 
cause of your low spirits after you return. . . . 

And here hit me caution you in regard to loaning money. You must not 
do it. Your letter of credit is to supply your own wants, not to enable 
you to loan money to others. 1 . . . But don't let it prey on your 

1 Mr. Blaine's conjecture wan right. Walker had loaned a large Bum, bill it was to a friend 
and wan duly returned. 



262 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

spirits. Be cheerful, enjoy yourself, and acquire French as rapidly as you 
can; and, above all, do not in any event suffer yourself to be led astray. 
Do not permit yourself to do anything which you would blush to confess 
to your mother or to me. 

I do not wish you to feel if you have loaned money that I blame you 
too harshly. You will understand that I write in the deepest and tenderest 
affection for you. You are the very apple of my eye, and anything wrong 
with you goes to the very core of my heart. 

Now, if you have had any sort of mishap or trouble that you do not 
wish to write about in your home letters, Avrite me a private note to the 
Parker House, Boston, marking, "To be called for. 11 As I shall be in 
Boston every few days in November (D.Y.), I shall easily get it without 
observation. 

Your frankness towards me must be equal to my affection for you. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Augusta, October 26, 1871. 
. . . So long as there is perfect and absolute frankness between us, 
I feel at ease in regard to you ; but where concealment begins, trouble be- 
gins. . . . We stripped the house yesterday of every spare piece of 
clothing for the Wisconsin and Michigan sufferers, so while you are en- 
joying yourself in Paris this winter, your pleasure will not be decreased 
by knowing that your former clothing is warming the backs of some 
destitute lads on the shores of the North-western Lakes. 



From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Augusta, October 30, 1871. 
We are about to have postal cars now through here all the way to St. 
John, and as soon as the European and North American road is finished to 
Halifax (May, 1872), they expect to send the foreign mails that way, ex- 
pecting to gain fully thirty-six to forty-eight hours in the regular trans- 
mission of letters between Boston and London, and at least twenty-four 
between New York and London. Boston letters have now all to go to 
New York. The gain from here would be still greater. 

. . . I was busy all day yesterday with a special agent of the Post- 
Office Department, and with the railroad authorities, in arranging postal 
cars from Boston to St. John, to begin November 13. . . . You 
must not get the impression that my resources are very large. They are 
not. I have all the time to plan, to calculate, and to provide for my large 
expenditures, and while I wish my children to enjoy themselves and not 
feel pinched, I wish them at the same time to be prudent and careful, and 
in any and every event to be free and unreserved with me in all their acts 
and deeds. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 263 

(Enclosing photograph.) Augusta, November 7, 1871. 

This is Q. — just as he was caught upon the street about four weeks 
since. He is a great driver. To-day I was out exercising in the back 
yard, and, looking up on the top of the portico, found the rogue quietly sit- 
ting there. He had crawled out from the gallery, and did not seem to 
know that he was out of place at all. Alice is having her face taken, and 
will send you soon. I enclose a letter to you which she was busy writing 
a few days ago. 

To Walker : 

Augusta, November 12, 1871. 

. . . Father left for New York Wednesday. I could hardly let him 
go. I needed his reviving society so much. But he had wool and cotton 
manufacturers to meet in Boston, dinners, breakfasts, and lunches, all or 
some, to give and take in New York, and, over and above all, pressures, to 
resist or permit, of Congressional committees. He had to go, but felt that 
my desire to keep him was all right and natural ; so, with a man's appre- 
ciation of a woman's nature, he promised to buy silk dresses for M. and 
Alice, to say nothing of half a dozen for myself. When I look at the bed 
and the little heap of flannel on it, laces, silks, feathers, and gew-gaws of 
every description resolve themselves into preposterousness ; but your 
father is strong of will, and I am weak, and he is determined that I shall 
be in society this winter, and I know I shall. . . . Since he left, I 
have heard from him several times. Every one pleasant and pleased to 
see him, but he says, after his own bright fireside, inexpressibly dull to 
him. 

. . . . Your father will be delighted to find that you are getting under 
headway in French. Let nothing keep you from earnest application. Oh, 
how fond I was of study when I was your age ! I never had any gift at 
writing. In this deficiency I am sorry to see that Emmons is my own 
child. He writes me little — short, unsatisfactory letters usually, mostly 
taken up in acknowledging the arrival of my own, and ending always one 
way. According to his own story he is a perfect Mussulman for prayers 
— the evening bell invariably calling him away from his letter. . . . 
Greatly to your father's discomfort, I cannot go on till after the holidays. 
On this I take my stand, and he has to submit. He will sleep in the house, 
have a servant or two, and take his meals at Wormley's, and the manage 
will open with the New Year. . . . 

Have just had the pleasure of reading two letters from your father, one 
written yesterday afternoon, the other in the evening. . . . He had 
been to see "Lord Dundreary" by the same actor you saw in London. 
Said it seemed to bring you very near. Was exceedingly anxious to get 
your letter. I sent it to him by the early mail of the morning. The chil- 
dren have been out all the afternoon making a snowman. For anything 
of this kind Alice is really artistic, and this afternoon she has surpassed 
herself. 



264 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAISE. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Augusta, November 18, 1871. 

I returned from New York yesterday after a week's absence. I came 
from Boston via Andover, and having telegraphed Emmons he met me at 
Wilmington Junction and rode to Lawrence ; distance, nine miles ; time, 
twenty minutes. He is well and seems to be studying well. . . . 

Russell Jones, our Minister at Brussells, I know very well. He is a very 
clever gentleman. But I would rather have you adhere closely to your 
studies than to do any writing just now. 

Do not study German to the neglect of French. I would far rather 
have you push the latter with all energy, so that you can speedily begin to 
read history, geography, etc. I do not, however, object to German if your 
teacher thinks it will not interfere with your French. Study six hours a 
day faithfully, take plenty of exercise, and enjoy yourself in every reason- 
able and proper way. 

I am glad you are so much at Mr. Washburn's, but do not go more than 
seems to you proper. In other words, do not wear out your welcome. I 
must trust to your discretion, of course, in this as in most other things. 

From Mr. Washburn : 

Paris, November 21, 1871. 

Dear Blaine: Mr. Elliot C. Cowden, of New York, but who lives here 
more than half the time, a most excellent, intelligent, agreeable, hos- 
pitable man, and one of my most highly esteemed friends, leaves to-mor- 
row for home. He knows all about Walker, and can tell you what a nice 
boy he is and how well he is getting along. He will visit Washington, and 
I want you to go with him and see the President, as he can tell him, as 
well as yourself, all about us. . . . Among other things, please in- 
troduce him to Butler, as I want him to find out Butler's authority for de- 
claring that " Blaine was sorry." 

To Walker : 

Augusta, November 26, 1871. 

. . . Down-stairs Mr. Sherman is trying to put some final touches to 
the copying of the committees. Alas ! If final touches are not soon put 
to them, I am afraid your father will give out entirely. . . • . To-mor- 
row he leaves for Washington, getting there Thursday or Friday. Fie 
made his usual preparation last night by having up a barber at the house. 
The door-bell was ringing continuously, and people calling on him all the 
time, so after the tonsorial professor had been introduced to my room, and 
a large linen spread down for the protection of the carpet, Emmons sat 
down. His hair had been cut quite lately in Boston, but it certainly needed 
clipping, and then Mons was not averse to saving one fee ! When he was 
through, we put Q. into his high chair. The pretty little fellow Avould 
not permit himself even to wink. When his head was cropped, we had 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 265 

up father. It is a work of art now to cut his hair and leave at the same 
time enough on the head. Happily, however, this desirable end was 
achieved and at ten Monsieur took his leave. . . . Emmons' report 
oame by the morning's mail, and is, I believe, quite satisfactory. What 
did not come, and what your father, Alice, Emmons, and I were all watch- 
in <r for at the window a full half hour before Harry Brown came along 1 , 
was a blue enveloped letter from you. Your father would allow no one 
to go to the door for it but himself ; but alas ! though there was a very 
bright letter from G., a racy one from Horace White, and a gossipy one 
from Joe Manley, who had ridden over a Western railroad with Colfax 
and had interviewed him, there was nothing from across the water. The 
detention by the despatch bag is sometimes very much longer than it should 
be. Your father is particularly anxious for this letter, as he thinks it 
must answer his. 



To Walker : 

Augusta, November 29, 1871. 

This morning, to my great delight, — for I had given up expecting any- 
thing from the " Scotia," — your two letters in reply to your father's turned 
up. I at once telegraphed him to the Parker House. His anxiety I knew 
was great, and he could not get your letter till he reached Washington. 
He will be so pleased at his own shrewd guessing that he will not be very 
severe on you. Your letters were admirable. I never had a fear that you 
had done anything wrong. You made a great mistake in not writing 
about it. 

. . . I have had three letters from your father to-day, all of course 
written yesterday — in the afternoon, after tea, and at bed-time. . . . I 
am sorry to say that Mr. Fisher seems to be fast losing in the esteem of all 
good men. Every new discovery your father makes only seems to show 
a baseness still deeper. Will he ever reach the bottom of his treachery 
towards him? . . . Emmons has been skating all day. Fun for him, 
but hard for the horse, as he rides to his pleasure ground, blankets poor 
old Prince, and comes home only when he is hungry. I expect he takes 
girls, as he has the best carriage. He is so kind and pleasant, so bright 
and gay, 1 can refuse him nothing. I make a very poor mother. 



To Mr. Blaine from Walker: 

Paris, November 17, 1871. 

. . . I am sorry that, in the very first of the whole matter, I did not 
write you fully and openly. I did intend and wish to have the most per- 
fect frankness. I am studying very hard now, much harder and better than 
I have ever done before, and were it not that I fear you may be a little 
displeased with me, should be in every way perfectly happy. 1 trust thai 
1 have given full explanation of everything in my former letter. 



266 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Washington, December 8, 1871. 

. . . You will have seen before this all about my committees in the 
New York papers. 

I am keeping bachelor's hall — none of the family being with me. 
. . . They will come on after the holidays. It seems lonely to be here 
by myself after such pleasant and lively times as I have had for the past 
two winters. We expect, however, to take a recess on the 21st till after 
New Year's, and you may depend I will promptly report in Augusta. 

. . . Your expressions of confidence and affection are very grateful 
to me. A child can scarcely know or appreciate the deep love and solici- 
tude of a parent. Your welfare and success in life are objects of daily 
care, and I trust of daily prayer, with me. You are my pride and my hope, 
and if anything should go wrong with you I think it would kill me. But 
I have the greatest confidence in you. My sending you to Europe was 
surely a great proof of this at your tender age — trusting you all alone. 
There are few boys at sixteen whom I would so trust. . . 



To Mr. Blaine : 

Augusta, December 11, 1871. 

. . . Professor Barbour has been down to see me this afternoon, 
really overflowing with congratulations on your most happy selection of 
committees. Says he shall tell you to cut off the tail of a dog. When 
Alcibiades did so many fine things that he was afraid of being forced into 
some great office, he cut off the tail of a dog to show that he could do a 
foolish deed. 



Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Washington, December 11, 1871. 

. . . I fully understand and appreciate your desire to remain at your 
studies during the winter, and not go off travelling. As I said before, I 
leave this wholly to your own judgment, though at your age I, of course, 
consider the acquisition of the languages the most important. Rome and 
all Italy " will keep for a future tour," but your golden opportunity to 
acquire French may never again recur with such favoring auspices and 
circumstances. I do not wish you in any way to stint yourself in attending 
the innocent amusements of Paris — theatres, operas, etc., leaving you to 
be the judge of what is proper to expend of time and money in that 
direction. 

They are improving Washington very rapidly and very greatly, — and 
I think extravagantly, — expending $4,000,000 on the streets and squares, 
raising the money by sale of city bonds, and heaping up taxes for the 
future. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 267 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

December 15, 1871. 

. . . I have by same mail with yours a letter from Madame Heidler, 
speaking in very kind and flattering terms of your progress and your be- 
havior. This is, of course, very gratifying to me, and will be so to your 
mother when she receives it. 

To Walker : 

Augusta, December 28, 1871. 

After getting off your letter Monday evening, I turned my attention to 
your father's toilet. I do not know whether or not I wrote you that we 
were invited to the golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Fuller, and that just 
at the time when I was rejoicing in the thought of wearing some of my 
finery in Augusta, it came out that your father had no clothes at home, 
excepting those in which he was then standing, a roughish suit a year old. 
What Chicago had not swallowed up had gone to Washington. We were 
both full of chagrin, as you may believe. The father took a candle and 
made search in the trunk-room, but nothing came of it but two gaiters, and 
even those were not alike. To match the gaiters, I myself went west- 
ward and returned triumphant, bringing on my arm a pair of black 
trousers not too much the worse for wear, a swallow-tail coat, very much 
of a swallow too, made in Paris when your father was in Europe, — 
lavender gloves, almost new, turned up in the pockets ; in short, every 
essential of a first-class society dress was drummed up from one quarter 
or another, with the single exception of a white cravat, and at nine o'clock 
behold us in the narrow sleigh, with George for postilion, en route. You 
never saw any one so pleased as was your father with his dress. When I 
went down into the parlor, on my way to the sleigh, I found all the burners 
lighted, while he turned himself about and about, admiring old clothes as 
good as new. As good? A thousand times better in his eyes! Of the 
wedding, there was a table loaded with presents, a handsome supper, a 
poem by Madame Dillingham, read by Mr. Beach, and sung to the tune of 
" Auld lang syne," the house trimmed with Christmas greens, the whole 
Williams clan, and, last, a dance, the chorus jig, led off by Mrs. Fuller 
and Arthur Edwards' grandfather. Emmons was invited, but preferred 
to spend his evening with the W. girls; he told George he might stay in 
the kitchen and he would drive over for us. When he rang the bell Aunt 
II. came to the door, so, of course, Mons had to go in . . . . Emmons 
got off Sunday noon. We have not heard from him since his arrival at 
Andover, for Emmons, though a very good talker, holds a more cramped 
pen than even I do. Father wrote to Mr. Tilton, telling him that he, 
and he alone, was to blame for the delay in Mons 1 return. 



268 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



XII. 

CREDIT MOBILIER. 

A S the presidential election of 1872 drew on, discontent 
-*-^- with the administration became, if not very deep, very 
demonstrative. Early in the year a group of the leading mal- 
contents came to Washington and held conference with Mr. 
Blaine regarding the situation. At a dinner in his house there 
was a full, frank, and confidential consultation. They desired 
and proposed to organize a movement antagonistic to the Presi- 
dent, with Mr. Blaine — tentatively — at its head as candidate 
for the succession. 

He had disagreed often enough with the President to be 
supposed ready for organized opposition. 

In the ensuing campaign it was publicly reported, to offset 
his advocacy of President Grant, that he had said, " The only 
way to have a good, square talk with the President was to get 
him behind a pair of horses that he liked to drive," and that on 
another occasion, leaving the President after a long interview, 
he had exclaimed that Grant had no more sense than a horse. 
It is true that he was often impatient with the President's views, 
or lack of views, and occasionally intolerant of his methods, as 
might well be with a President Avho had served his administra- 
tive apprenticeship at the head of the army ; but Mr. Blaine 
held steadfastly an underlying respect for his character, for his 
patriotism, for his achievements, and for his standing with the 
people. Occasional disapproval or disagreement is a far step 
from declaration of Avar. He not only declined to join the 
movement, but tried to convince its advocates of its undesirable- 
ness and its futility — in vain. They left him regretfully, as- 
suring him that they left him behind, and that he had made the 
mistake of his life in rejecting the opportunity for reform and 
promotion. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 269 

Reform was the watchword, investigation the weapon of the 
new party. Every leader in every governmental department 
seemed to be set afight for his honor. A dozen investigations 
were dragging their slow and sometimes slimy length across 
the boards at the same time. The Democratic party, despairing 
of snccess on a question of principle, was only too glad to join 
the Reform party — or the Liberal Republican party, as it other- 
wise called itself — on a question of personal character. The 
Japanese embassy under Iwakura came over to meet Arinori 
Mori and to study the institutions of the Republic, and was 
received with welcome and much rejoicing. The arbitration 
of the Alabama claims, a distinct advance in the world's prog- 
ress, had gone so far as to sign the Treaty of Washington 
May 8, 1871, to ratify it June 11, and to proclaim it July 4. 
Every intelligent American citizen and Christian was watching 
the outcome. The Chinese Commission was here to inspect 
our educational systems, the young Prince of Russia, supposed 
to be on pleasure bent, was struggling through the country 
as best he could under the weight of Catacazy, and Gilmore was 
singing his international love-songs in the Boston Coliseum 
against all the winds of Heaven and the breezes of criticism. 
The American people looked and listened, but the Juggernaut 
of investigation went steadily on. 

The Southern Rebel saw the Northern Abolitionist open- 
ing for him the path of preferment through the gateway of 
scandal, and the old foes became firm allies. It was Grant, 
they proclaimed, who was blocking the wheels of Reform, and 
Grant must be gotten rid of. A feeble blast was blown on 
the " one term " bugle, but it had small summoning power. 
" One term '' had never been an urgent question, and the 
people could not be made to bring it to an issue on the 
man who had been most conspicuous in saving the nation 
from destruction. General Banks attempted to bring for- 
ward a term of six years. Mr. Blaine, if there was to be a 
change, favored a term of two years, to diminish rather than 
by a longer term to increase, the strain of presidential election.; 
but there was no vitality in the question, and it was never 
fairly launched. Mi-. Sumner, not without reason I'm- liis iv- 
sentments, forgot his Civil Rights Bill, for which he had persist- 



270 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

ently and heroically labored, and publicly and formally joined 
hands with the men who had secured its defeat. Mr. Blaine 
at once wrote him a lmblic letter of remonstrance : 

July 31, 1872. 

Your letter of July 29 lias created profound pain among your former 
political friends throughout New England. Your power to injure President 
Grant was exhausted in your remarkable speech in the Senate. Your power 
to injure yourself was not fully exercised until you announced an open 
alliance on your part with the Southern secessionists in their effort to 
destroy the Republican party. 

I have but recently read with much interest the circumstantial and mi- 
nute account given by you in the fourth volume of your works, of the 
manner in which you were struck down in the Senate Chamber in 1856, for 
defending the rights of the negio. The Democratic party throughout the 
South and, according to your own showing, to some extent in the North 
also, approved the assault upon you. Mr. Toombs, of Georgia, openly 
announced his approval of it in the Senate ; and Jefferson Davis, four months 
after its occurrence, wrote a letter to South Carolina in fulsome eulogy of 
Mr. Brooks for having so nearly taken your life. It is safe to say that 
every man in the South who rejoiced over the attempt to murder you was 
afterwards found in the Rebel conspiracy to murder the nation. It is still 
safer to say that every one of them who survives is to-day your fellow-laborer 
in support of Horace Greeley. He would have been a rash prophet who in 
that day would have predicted your fast alliance sixteen years after 
with Messrs. Toombs and Davis in their efforts to reinstate their party in 
power. In all the strange mutations of American politics, nothing so mar- 
vellous has ever occurred as the fellowship of Robert Toombs, Jefferson 
Davis, and Charles Sumner, in a joint effort to drive the Republican party 
from power, and hand over the Government to the political control of those 
who so recently sought to destroy it. 

It is of no avail for you to take refuge behind the Republican record of 
Horace Greeley. Conceding for the sake of argument (as I do not in fact 
believe) that Horace Greeley would remain firm in his Republican princi- 
ples, he would be. powerless against the Congress that would come into 
power with him in ease of his election. Wc have had a recent and striking 
illustration, in the case of Andrew Johnson, of the inability of the President 
to enforce a policy or even a measure against the will of Congress. What 
more power would there be in Horace Greeley to enforce a Republican 
policy against a Democratic; Congress than there was in Andrew Johnson 
to enforce a Democratic policy against a Rejmblican Congress. And besides, 
Horace Greeley has already in his letter of acceptance taken ground practi- 
cally against the Republican doctrine so often enforced by yourself of 
the duty of the National Government to secure the rights of every citizen 
to protection of life, person, and property. In Mr. Greeley's letter, accept- 
ing the Cincinnati nomination, he pleases every Ku-Klux villain in the South 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 271 

by his slogan about " local self-government," and his inveighing, in Rebel 
parlance, against " centralization." 

You cannot forget, Mr. Sumner, how often, during the late session of 
Congress, you conferred with me in regard to the possibility of having 
your Civil Rights Bill passed by the House. It was introduced by your 
personal friend, Mr. Hooper, and nothing prevented its passage by the 
House, except the rancorous and factious hostility of the Democratic mem- 
bers. If I have correctly examined the Globe, the Democratic members 
on seventeen different occasions resisted the passage of the Civil Rights 
Bill, by the parliamentary process knoAvn as filibustering. They would 
not even allow it to come to a vote. 

Two intelligent colored members from South Carolina, Elliott and 
Rainey, begged of the Democratic side of the House merely to allow the 
Civil Rights Bill to be voted on, and they were answered with a denial so 
absolute that it amounted to a scornful jeer at the rights of the colored 
man. And now you lend your voice and influence to the reelection of 
these Democratic members who are cooperating with you in the support 
of Mr. Greeley. Do you not know, and will you not, as a candid man, 
acknowledge that with these men in power in Congress the rights of the 
colored man are absolutely sacrificed, so far as these rights depend on 
federal legislation? 

Still further, the rights of the colored men in this country are secured, 
if secured at all, by the three great constitutional amendments, the Thir- 
teenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth. To give these amendments scope and 
effect legislation by Congress is imperatively required, as you have so 
often and so eloquently demonstrated. But the Democratic party are on 
record in the most conspicuous manner against any legislation on the 
subject. It was only in the month of February last that my colleague, Mr. 
Peters, offered a resolution in the House of Representatives, affirming the 
" validity of the Constitutional Amendments, and of such reasonable legis- 
lation of Congress as may be necessary to make them in their letter and 
spirit most effectual." This resolution, very mild and guarded as you will 
see, was adopted by 124 yeas to 58 nays. Only eight of the yeas were 
Democrats. All the nays were Democrats. . . . 

It is idle to affirm, as some Democrats did, in a resolution offered by Mr. 
Brooks, of New York, that " these amendments are valid parts of the Con- 
stitution," so long as the same men on the same day vote that these 
provisions of those amendments should not be enforced by Congressional 
legislation. The amendments are but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals 
to the colored man, until Congress makes them effective and practical. 
Nay, more ; if the rights of the colored man are to be left to the legislation 
of the Southern States, without Congressional intervention, he would, 
under a Democratic administration, be deprived of the right of suffrage in 
less than two years, and he would bo very lucky if he escaped some form 
of chattel slavery or peonage. And in proof of this adage I might quote 
volumes of reasons and wisdom from the speeches of Charles Sumner. 

Your argument thai Horace Greeley docs not become a Democrat by 



272 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

receiving Democratic votes, proving it by the analogy of your own elec- 
tion to the Senate, is hardlv candid. The point is not what Mr. Greeley 
will become, but what will be the complexion of the great legislative 
branch of the Government, with all its vast and controlling power? 
You know very well, Mr. Sumner, that if Mr. Greeley is elected Presi- 
dent, Congress is handed over to the control of the men who have 
persistently denied the rights of the black man. What course you will 
personally pursue toward the colored man is of small consequence, after 
you have transferred the power of the government to his enemy. 

The colored men of this country are not as a class enlightened, but they 
have wonderful instincts, and when they read your letter they will know 
that at a crisis in their fate, you deserted them. Charles Sumner, coop- 
erating with Jefferson Davis, is not the same Charles Sumner they have 
hitherto idolized, any more than Horace Greeley, cheered to the echo in 
Tammany Hall, is the same Horace Greeley whom the Republicans have 
hitherto trusted. The black men of the country will never be ungrateful 
for what you have done for them in the past, nor in the bitterness of their 
hearts will they ever forget that, heated and blinded by personal hatred 
of one man, you turned your back on the rights of the millions to whom in 
past years you have stood as a shield. . . . 

Mr. Sumner replied, defending his course in the interests 
of harmony and reconciliation. But Horace Greeley, Apostle of 
Freedom, Tribune of the People, found Mr. Blaine's letter " pre- 
tentious " and worse ; marvelled that this " superserviceable 
henchman" should "rush in unbidden " to the presence of Sena- 
tor Sumner ; thought it kind in Mr. Sumner " to take any notice 
of his small antagonist," and avowed that " if Mr. Speaker Blaine 
is not fairly extinguished by Senator Sumner's rejoinder we de- 
spair of ever seeing this pertinacious young man put down." 

The presidential conventions began in May. Mr. Greeley de- 
clined to attend the Republican convention at Philadelphia 
because he found no trustworthy assurances of Reform, and he 
signed a call for an earlier convention at Cincinnati of Reunion 
and Reform Associations, by which convention he was himself 
nominated for the presidency. The Republican convention 
was warned that there was nothing for it to do at Philadelphia 
but throw Grant overboard, yet the Republican convention in 
June nominated Grant without opposition, almost without 
effort ; after which the country was told that the biggest thing 
before it was The Honest Men against The Thieves, and 
" Republican venality and rapacity r " became a battle-cry with 
men who had fought bravely in the fore-front of the Republican 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 278 

ranks. The Democratic convention met at Baltimore on the 
ninth of July and accepted and strove to assimilate both Reform 
platform and candidate. I believe there was also a " Straight " 
Democratic convention at Louisville, Ky., which nominated 
John Quincy Adams for the presidency ; and a Labor Reform 
party, with its convention and candidate at Columbus, Ohio. 

Then union and harmony shrieked from every raucous throat. 
" The New York Tribune," powerful with Horace Greeley's good- 
ness and genius, proclaimed that party lines were everywhere 
rapidly disappearing ; that the Republican party was rent 
asunder. Sumner and Greeley and Chase on one side, Wendell 
Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison on the other, seemed to 
justify the statement. The colored people, bewildered by the 
fight of the giants who had been their leaders, besought 
Whittier's counsel. The gentle Quaker, pained to the heart by 
strife between friends equally dear, bade his questioners to fol- 
low logic and conscience, but not prejudice or passion. He saw 
no reason, he told them, why they should not vote for Grant, 
but they need not on that account condemn Sumner who had 
valiantly upheld their cause. They might vote for Greeley, but 
might not on that account strike down Phillips and Garrison, 
their friends. 

As early as July Mr. Blaine marked out an honorable course 
towards Mr. Greeley. In a speech at the Lincoln County, Maine, 
Republican Convention he said : " The Republicans will make 
no attack on the personal character of Mr. Greeley, for they 
know nothing against him. He enjoyed Republican confidence 
and admiration in an extraordinary degree until he showed 
a willingness to become identified with a party which, according 
to his own repeated declarations, has made an unpatriotic and 
mischievous record since 1860, and is unworthy to be trusted 
on a single question of interest and importance to the people of 
the United States. Let it be the only indictment against Mr. 
Greeley that he has consented to stand as the candidate and 
representative of that party." 

But from the beginning the Greeley party not only recognized 
in Mr. Blaine a formidable toe, but seemed to regard him with the 
bitterness dm* to a recusant, and directed against him its fiercest 
fire, which was too often a foul tire. The " Tribune " carried the 



274 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

war into Maine and depicted Mr. Blaine as no powerful oppo- 
nent, but one hard pressed to save himself from defeat. Its 
columns harbored the prediction that he would not have his 
usual elegant leisure to do general missionary work as hereto- 
fore. Maine was " in a state of general uprising against him." 
There was to be a " continuation of the history whose first 
pages were written in the Conkling-Fry conflict." The 
prophets of evil admitted, in the very act of crushing him, that 
he was a " brilliant politician." " No man can better wield the 
elements. He is bold, aggressive, dangerous." 

As time went on, Mr. Blaine's prospects grew, in the estima- 
tion of the Reform candidate, more and more desperate. His 
affairs assumed a very threatening aspect. It would not be strange 
if he should be defeated for Congress by a decided majority. Mr. 
Greeley bore his own standard into the enemy's camp, and was 
received at Augusta with great enthusiasm — and some of his 
advocates were entertained at Mr. Blaine's house ! Sanguine 
Reformers avowed that Mr. Blaine's friends were moving heaven 
and earth to save him. They were paying a hundred dollars a 
vote, but he would have a large majority against him outside of 
his own county. Then the majority began to topple against him 
in his own county, and even while voting for him in his district 
they hated him for his despotic rule. It was impossible he 
should have more than 1,300 majority, all bought or frightened 
into his support. It was comfortably and " generally conceded that 
this is Blaine's last race, whatever may happen." Certainly, as 
the " Tribune " solaced itself withal, the situation was " looking 
bad for Blaine." 

At the same time, and without any apparent perception of in- 
consistency, the same authority declared that Mr. Blaine 
" owned " his district. As the day of election drew near he 
" owned the State, and was more powerful than Hamlin and 
Morrill rolled into one." He had not only a general corruption 
fund, but was 'himself a millionaire, "though he had come into 
the State a carpet-bagger and an adventurer a few years ago, 
and had borrowed the money to make his first trip to Congress." 
The Reform party admitted that it had had in Maine fck magnifi- 
cent opportunity for a generalship which was not forthcoming" 
while Blaine's forces were " admirably organized with battalions 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 275 

of speakers and tons of documents," as well as " unlimited 
money." " By an organized plan and an especial fund they 
brought home every voter. Incoming trains brought heavy 
freights from all quarters, and they will get out the last man." 

With the sweeping charge of corruption and terrorization it is 
strange that even the writers should not have observed that their 
specifications were of not only innocent but highly praiseworthy 
and patriotic expenditures. 

As early as July 6 Mr. Blaine's opinion was asked by the im- 
partial news-gatherer. He answered quietly that he thought 
Maine would give its customary majority for Governor Perham ! 

Blaine men, on the eve of election, projected a majority of 
14,000, but the Greeley men pronounced their data worthless. 
Yet, although the latter had early protested that Mr. Blaine's 
defeat would not only be a great relief to the subjugated voters 
of his district, but a greater relief to the country, the Blaine 
tide was coming in so deep and strong that towards the end of 
the contest they " would not be surprised if our enemies get 
not only all the doubtful votes, but many which are not now 
supposed to be doubtful. " 

At the Lincoln County Convention in July 27, Mr. Blaine had 
made a statement and a prophecy : " The opponents of President 
Grant adopt the most unwise of policies when they seek to 
make personal warfare upon him, to cast opprobrium upon him, 
to throw calumny and suspicion upon his good name. The 
strength of the President before the people is due not alone 
to his brilliant military achievements, but to that vigor and 
directness of character, that rugged personal integrity, which in 
every relation of life have distinguished him. . . 

" The result of the election will show that thousands of people 
in every loyal State, who perhaps differ from General Grant in 
certain views of public questions, will resent the imputations 
upon his character as a personal affront to themselves. The 
people of the United States feel profound gratitude to the Pres- 
ident for his illustrious services to the Union during the war, 
and they will not hear him maligned and insulted 
without hot resentment of the wrong," 

As soon as the election returns were in Mr. Blaine telegraphed 
the result: 



•2li\ BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

To the President of the United States, Long Branch,, New Jersey : 

We have carried the State for Governor Perham by more than fifteen 
thousand majority, a net gain of five thousand on last year's vote. We 
have carried every county in Maine, something we have achieved but once 
before. We have carried all the Congress districts, the closest by well- 
nigh two thousand majority. We have elected every Senator and chosen 
more than four-fifths of the House of Representatives. Our victory is com- 
plete and overwhelming at all points, and insures you more than twenty- 
five thousand majority in November. 

Mr. Blaine himself had a majority in everyone of the twenty- 
seven towns of his county, six of which were usually Demo- 
cratic. His majority in bis district was three thousand five 
hundred. 

And the campaign poet gayly sang : 

" Greeleyism is from this time dead : 
Maine has knocked it on the head." 

While the presidential contest was yet in its acute stages, the 
" Credit Mobilier " question was taken up by the Reform candi- 
date and pushed to the front. 

The Speaker and other leading members of Congress were 
charged with having accepted stocks of the Union Pacific 
Road as bribes from Hon. Oakes Ames, also a member of 
Congress. 

After the great victory of the Maine election, a month before 
the national election, Mr. Greeley's paper declared roundly 
and definitely, " The Speaker is proved to have received thirty- 
two thousand five hundred shares of assessable stock of the 
Union Pacific Railroad, and two thousand unassessable shares 
of the same stock. 

" Speaker Blaine is proved to have received allotments valued 
at $1,625,000, and unassessed allotments valued at #295,000, 
and two thousand shares more allotted but unassessed. The 
two latter lots were secured by Blaine for himself, while the 
thirty-two thousand five hundred shares were supposed to be 
for distribution among his supporters in helping to procure the 
passage of the bill." The question was repeatedly discussed in 
the editorial columns, "how he became a millionaire on a 
Congressman's pay." The fc ' New York Tribune," founded and 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 277 

edited by Horace Greeley, lowered to the level of declaring that 
" Blaine had no other business than his Congressional duties, " 
and that he had apparently " lived up to his salary as a Con- 
gressman." 

When this charge appeared definitely, Mr. Blaine was em- 
ploying the elegant leisure which had been prohibited him by 
prophecy in doing the general missionary work which the 
Reformers had promised themselves would be impossible, owing 
to their own hard pressure against him. Before a great public 
assembly which he was addressing in Cleveland, Ohio, he made 
answer to the charge : 

" In 1862, when the act passed, I had not taken my seat in 
Congress, I had not been elected to Congress, indeed I had not 
been even nominated for Congress. When the act to which 
the ' Tribune ' refers became a law, I was member of the Maine 
Legislature and Speaker of the Lower House. I had no more to 
do with Congressional legislation than the fish-wardens and 
tide-waiters on the Kennebec river, and yet the ' Tribune ' 
asserts and repeats that for my services and influence in 
Congress at the time I was a member of the Maine Legislature, 
I received nearly $2,000,000 in stock of a great Erie road cor- 
poration. 

"And now, gentlemen, if I were to stop here after demonstrat- 
ing the utter absurdity of this charge, the 'Tribune' would come 
out coolly and say that Speaker Blaine had not denied it. 

" Let me, then, deny it in the presence of this vast assemblage, 
and deny it in the most emphatic manner. Neither in 1862, nor 
in any subsequent year, did I ever receive or own, directly or 
indirectly, a single dollar of stock in the Eastern Division of 
the Union Pacific Railroad Company or any other division of 
the Pacific Railroad Company. Nor did I ever receive a dollar, 
directly or indirectly, from the sale of any stock of that com- 
pany. In short, gentlemen, I stamp the whole story as not 
oidy false on its face, but absurd and ridiculous. But I do not 
expect to make a denial that will satisfy the ' Tribune.' A 
few weeks since, when the story was started, I published ;i card 
on the eve of the Maine election, saying I had never owned, 
directl\ or indirectly, through myself or through another, a 
single dollar of stock in the k Credit Mobilier.' The k New 



278 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

York Tribune ' pronounced this denial evasive and unsatis- 
factory, and said I did not deny that I had received dividends 
or profits therefrom. Any candid man, I think, could see that 
my card was intended to be exhaustive and to exclude all sup- 
positions of ownership. Let me say now, however, that not 
only did I never own a share in the ' Credit Mobilier,' but I 
never received, directly or indirectly, a single penny therefrom, 
in any manner or shape whatever. 

"But this mania for bearing false witness against your neigh- 
bor has seized Mr. Greeley personally, as well as the 4 New 
York Tribune,' for I observe that in a recent speech in Penn- 
sylvania he states that more than $100,000 had been expended 
by the Republicans of Maine in the purchase of votes at the 
recent election. Now, in the very nature of things it would be 
impossible for Mr. Greeley to know that this was true, but I 
know it is absolutely untrue. I am Chairman of the State 
Committee, and on my order every dollar of the funds of 
that committee was disbursed, and from first to last we had 
in all, control of but little more than $12,000, and I fur- 
ther assert that every dollar of this amount was expended 
either in payment of speakers, distribution of documents and 
papers, or the bringing home of absent voters. These accounts 
of the State committees are kept with rigid exactness, and the 
entire committee of sixteen men will testify to the truth of 
what I state." 

Mr. Blaine was right in presuming that Mr. Greeley would 
not consider his denial satisfactory. With evil ingenuity, he 
argued that Mr. Blaine "might very well contrive to say of 
moneys received from Oakes Ames, that he never received them 
from the 4 Credit Mobilier,' " and he " only provokes contempt 
by the effort to produce the impression that the administration 
only spent $12,000 in the Maine canvass. There is hardly 
a politician in the. State who will not regard this as a pre- 
posterous and grotesque caricature of the known admitted 
truth." 

And he continued to iterate and reiterate the story of 
" Blaine's Credit Mobilier Funds," of " the men who bought up 
Blaine," and of " Mr. Blaine as a poor man in 1862, and in 1872 
reckoned by his friends and neighbors in Augusta as a million- 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 279 

aire, on his salary as a Congressman," and he even fore- 
shadowed his conviction and expulsion from Congress. 

On the 1st of October Mr. Blaine wrote to General Thomas 
Ewing from Cleveland, Ohio : 

Cleveland, Ohio, October 1, 1872. 

I send you herewith copies of the "New York Tribune' 11 of September 
28th and 30th, containing the remarkable statement that I received nearly 
$2,000,000 of stock of the Union Pacific Railroad, Eastern Division, as a 
bribe to myself and other members of Congress for our aid in procuring 
the passage of the original act of incorporation in 1862. The charge is 
based, as you will see, on a certain paper made out in May, 1863, contain- 
ing a list of contracts alleged to have been made by Col. J. C. Stone and 
yourself, as agents of the Leavenworth, Pawnee, & Western Railroad 
Company — afterwards changed into Union Pacific, Eastern Division. You 
and Colonel Stone are thus made sponsors of the charge preferred against 
me by the "New York Tribune. 1 ' 

The whole accusation is so entirely groundless, and withal so extraor- 
dinary, that it excites my curiosity rather than my indignation. As I 
never in my life even so much as saw a certificate of stock in the railroad 
company referred to, and never had a dollar's interest therein, I cannot 
imagine the origin of the story. Hence I write to you for some solution 
of the mystery. Colonel Stone I do not know personally, and do not think 
I ever saw. As I was not a member of Congress at the time the act 
referred to was passed, and had not even been nominated for Congress, 
the "Tribune" charge is, of course, absurd, but I should be glad to hear 
from you if there be any possible explanation of it. 

The political line that separates us will not, I am sure, prevent your 
recognizing the claim I have upon your friendly candor, nor will it forbid 
my making public use of your reply should I deem it needful. . . . 

Lancaster, Ohio, October 7, 1872. 
Hon. James G. Blaine, Speaker House Representatives: 

My Dear Sir: Your letter of the 1st inst., from Cleveland, was re- 
ceived by me yesterday on returning home after an absence of ten days. 
I had previously seen the " New York Tribunes" of 28th and 30th Septem- 
ber, in which is published, with editorial comments, what purports to be 
a list (made by Gen. J. C. Stone, of Leavenworth, Kansas, dated May, 
1863) of contracts alleged to have been made by him and myself jointly 
as officers of the Leavenworth, Pawnee, & Western Railroad Company 
(afterwards the Union Pacific Railroad, Eastern Division, and now the 
Kansas Pacific) to procure the passage of the original Pacific Railroad law 
of 1862. 

On this list your name is said to appear, first as the recipient of $1,920,000 
of the stock of that company, and a second time as the recipient of $10,000 
of the stock. And on the faith of these entries you are accused of having 



280 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

taken a bribe to aid in procuring the passage of the law of 1862, and also 
of having acted as agent of the company in using a large part of its stock 
to corrupt other members of Congress. 

So far as the charge imputes to you personal corruption in office, it is 
conclusively disproved by public records accessible to all, which show that 
you did not enter Congress for nearly a year and a half after the law re- 
ferred to' was passed. And as to the other branch of the charge, my 
general knowledge of the business of the company, and especially my 
intimacy with you, make it certain that you could not have had any con- 
tract with the company without my knowing the fact ; and I unhesitatingly 
declare that you were not in any manner, or at any time, directly or in- 
directly, employed by the company, or in any way interested in its affairs 
as stockholder, agent, or otherwise, in any capacity whatever. 

Your brother, J. E. Blaine, at that time Clerk of the District Court at 
Leavenworth, and one of the early settlers of Kansas, was the owner of 
$10,000 of the stock of the Leavenworth, Pawnee, & Western Railroad 
Company, which, indeed, was held very generally among influential men 
of all parties along the line of the road in Kansas. But that was in 1861 
or 1862 — and a considerable period before you were even nominated for 
your first term in Congress. Beyond that, there never was at any time 
the remotest interest in the company held by any of your family. The 
entry of $1,920,000 of stock opposite the name of " Blaine" was therefore 
wholly a fiction or a blunder, and the grave imputations on your character 
and on that of the officers of the company are utterly groundless and with- 
out a shadow of justification. 

I know nothing whatever of the list alleged to have been furnished by 
General Stone. It purports to have been prepared nearly a year after the 
act had been passed, long after I had entered the military service, and more 
than six months before you first took your seat in Congress. I am in- 
formed that General Stone is now in Europe. He will doubtless take 
occasion, when he learns of these charges, to speak for himself about them. 
So far as my knowledge of the affairs of the company goes, I deliberately 
assert that it never, by any of its officers, agents, or attorneys, made any 
contract, the proceeds of which there was good reason to believe were to 
be in any manner participated in by any member of Congress or other 
public officer. 

Very truly yours, 

Thomas Eaving, Jr. 

The " Tribune " strove to disguise its defeat under " A case 
of brothers." But it was not a case of brothers. It was no 
case at all. Neither Speaker Blaine nor his brother J. E. Blaine 
had done what the " Tribune " alleged that Speaker Blaine was 
proved to have done ; but the " Tribune " did admit that Gen- 
eral Ewing's explanation seemed entirely satisfactory and trust- 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 281 

worthy. It took u pleasure, therefore, in withdrawing in the 
promptest and fullest manner the imputations upon Mr. Blaine, 5 ' 
regarding his immense wealth from that source, but not those 
" equally damaging imputations put upon him by Oakes Ames 
and Colonel McComb." 

The heaviest gun having thus been spiked, the Credit Mobilier 
cannonade against Mi*. Blaine ceased, except when a few 
days before the election, in sullen response to Mr. Blaine's 
" repeating for the thirtieth or fortieth time old jokes about 
Dundreary," the equally old story of Mr. Blaine's " having no 
other occupation and living up to his salary " was repeated. 

One can imagine how effectively Mr. Blaine would apply 
before great popular gatherings the Dundreary farce, " If you 
had a brother would he like cheese ? " 

The national election came and brought to Mr. Greeley over- 
whelming defeat, to President Grant triumphant reelection. 
For the twenty-five thousand majority which Mr. Blaine prom- 
ised, Maine gave the President thirty thousand. New York, his 
own State, went heavily against Mr. Greeley. On November 5 
the Tribune admitted that there was " scarcely a parallel to 
the completeness of the rout and the triumph." Every Northern 
State and several Southern States were in the Republican 
column. 

Before the month of the election closed Mr. Greeley died. 
His friends and his opponents, many of whom were his 
warmest admirers, the men who had maligned him and the 
men whom he had maligned, stood shocked, sorrowful, silent, 
above his tragic grave. His successful rival, the President 
of the United States, grieved and hurt beyond words by the 
attacks of the campaign, paid the tribute of national respect 
at his funeral. The beloved poet Whittier, anguished by the 
dissensions which had shadowed the last days of the great 
editor, and now doubly anguished by his premature death, 
could rejoice only, but more significantly perhaps than he 
meant, that he had himself "been preserved from saying one 
word through partisan zeal or difference of opinion which 
could add bitterness to his life." 

By his message, completed probably before Mr. Greeley's 
death, though read in Congress afterwards but before his 



282 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

burial, the President showed how deeply the iron had 
entered his soul. Against the habit of his life he spoke of 
himself as the subject of "abuse and slander scarcely ever 
equalled in political history." 

The " Tribune," loyal to its dead founder, suggested that 
" it would have been a most graceful act in the victor in that 
contest to have forgotten for a moment his petty griefs and laid 
on the grave of his dead rival a wreath of pleasant memories." 

But to the soldier words were serious things. He could not 
comprehend the newspaper use of them as graceful gestures, or 
campaign methods, or even funereal wreaths. Neither could 
the newspaper understand that an honest man who uses words 
seriously cannot find himself branded as a thief without ex- 
periencing a grief that is in no sense petty. It was his victory 
which demonstrated that the President's grief was not petty, — 
not vexation over disappointment, but a moral and righteous 
resentment which no success could quench, — only forgiveness 
upon repentance. 

The beauty and beneficence of his life is Mr. Greeley's noble 
legacy to his country ; but the evil that men do, no less than 
the good, lives after them, however gladly we would close our 
eyes to the bitter harvest. Let it be remembered only that 
we may rise on stepping-stones of our dead selves to higher 
things. 

The accused men had agreed to demand an investigation, and 
upon the reassembling of Congress, the Speaker called a Dem- 
ocrat to the chair, and, on the floor of the House, moved for the 
appointment of a Committee of Investigation by the Democratic 
Chairman pro tern., upon the " Credit Mobilier " charges. The 
investigation developed that Mr. Blaine held none of the stock. 
He took care, however, to receive no false advantage from the 
exemption. While testifying that Mr. Ames had offered him 
the stock, and that he had declined it, he was explicit and em- 
phatic in affirming also that he attributed no wrong to Mr. 
Ames in offering it, no credit to himself in refusing it, and, by 
implication, no fault to those who had accepted it. 

" I beg to say," he testified, " in justice to Mr. Ames, but more 
especially in justice to myself, that it never once occurred to me 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 283 

that he was trying to bribe me or in any way influence my vote 
or action as a representative. I understood him to say that he 
was the owner of more of the stock than he wished to carry, 
and was offering some of it to friends at cost and interest to 
him, a slight advance over par value. The amount offered 
me was very small and made little impression on my mind, 
indeed was well-nigh forgotten until recalled by the incidents 
which led to this investigation." Mr. Ames testified to the 
same effect, that Mr. Blaine never held any stock, or got any 
advantage from " Credit Mobilier," " except abuse on its 
account." 

On the 8th of January, 1873, the " Tribune " made its final 
recession, and though cause and consequence, accident and de- 
sign, are rather jumbled, the recession is sufficiently explicit: 

" We have no hestitation in saying that the record of the 
Speaker in connection with this affair seems to be absolutely 
clear, and it is a great satisfaction to us to be able to say it 
— the greater since, from the accidental fact of his name head- 
ing McComb's list, he has had to bear the brunt of the general 
attack upon the whole business." 

One of those men whose role in politics is, " Follow my 
leader," thought he saw a way to success where the " Tribune " 
had achieved a failure, and introduced a resolution for another 
investigation on a different line of road, in Iowa, and appeared 
before the Investigating Committee as prosecuting witness. 

Mr. Blaine also appeared promptly before the Investigating 
Committee, and remarking that he saw Mr. Stevenson, who had 
introduced the resolution, present he would like Mr. Stevenson 
to state the facts on which he based his resolution. 

" The resolution alleges so and so. I want something to speak 
to, and therefore request that Mr. Stevenson be sworn." 

Mr. Stevenson was sworn, and affirmed that Mr. Oakes Ames 
informed him that certain members of the House, including Mr. 
Allison, Mr. Blaine, and others, were interested in this railroad. 

Mr. Blaine. — Did you ever say to any one that you 
thought you had caught the Speaker ? 

Mr. STEVENSON. — I don't remember. . 

Speaker Blaine. — Did you have such a conversation with 
Senator Stevenson, of Kentucky? 



284 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Mr. Stevenson. — I don't remember. I had a conversation 
with him on the subject. 

Speaker Blaine. — And you said, " I have caught the 
Speaker? " 

Mr. Stevenson. — Not in that rough way. I may have 
mentioned that I had something that would implicate the 
Speaker in land grants. 

Speaker Blaine. — Do you think your controlling motive 
was the public good, or to catch the Speaker ? 

Mr. Stevenson. — My object was to catch the Speaker, if he 
was involved in this road, and I said further, that if the Speaker 
of the House was engaged in such transactions, it was equal to 
dealing in " Credit Mobilier " stock. 

Naturally, with the accused investigating and cross-examining 
the accuser, the investigation developed into a farce, and the 
crowded committee-room became the scene of almost tumultu- 
ous amusement. Mr. Blaine at length gave the true and unim- 
portant story of his connection with the road, though protesting 
that he was not under the smallest obligation to do so. 

" The Iowa Falls and Sioux City Road never received an acre 
of land by a direct act of Congress. The State of Iowa gave to 
the company the remnant of the old land grant to the State in 
1856. The road was built by a contracting company entirely 
for cash. In this contracting company my particular and highly 
valued friends, Messrs. A. & P. Coburn, the wealthiest men in 
Maine, and as good men as ever lived, took $ 200,000 of stock, 
and paid their assessments in hard cash. . . . The road 
was finished to the last rail and spike, by the payment of cash 
down. ... In January last, just a year ago, in settling up 
some business . with the Messrs. Coburn, I took from them a 
quantity of the stock of this road, for which I paid about sixty 
in cash. That was the first of my ownership in the road. I 
hold the stock in my own name, and the transaction is one 
which Congress, "in my judgment, is no more called on to in- 
vestigate than it would be to inquire into the weekly expenses 
of my household. But at the same time I wish the committee 
to understand that I make this explanation without the slight- 
est reluctance." 

Mr. Stevenson, apparently loath to be convinced — if one may 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 285 

use Mr. Lincoln's phrase — that his rat-hole was not worth 
watching, asked the Speaker as to the nature of his transactions 
with the Messrs. Coburn. 

" Do you mean in regard to this matter, or timber land in 
Maine, or coal land in Pennsylvania ? If you would like an 
interest in this railroad, Mr. Stevenson, I will sell it to you at a 
slight advance." 

As Mr. Blaine had previously declared that ever since he had 
bought the shares he had been living in hope that they w T ould 
draw a dividend, but up to this time in vain, the proffer was 
doubly provocative of laughter. Mr. Stevenson preferred to 
wait till he was out of Congress, and Mr. Blaine agreed then 
and there to " take it all off your hands when you are re- 
elected." 

Mr. Oakes Ames testified that he told Mr. Stevenson he had 
got hold of the wrong road — that he thought he had sold some 
bonds of the Sioux road to Mr. Blaine — thought he had sold 
him $5,000, but could not remember. 

" Ask me, Mr. Stevenson," prompted Mr. Blaine, " I can tell 
you. I bought $6,000 of bonds from Mr. Ames and paid him 
eighty cents on the dollar. At another time, in Boston, $15,000 
at eighty cents on the dollar. I turned them in to the Messrs. 
Coburn, partly at one price, partly another — eighty-five per 
cent., ninety per cent. My business with the Messrs. Coburn is 
very large." 

" Is there anything else you want to know ? " inquired Mr. 
Ames, after having mentioned his various railroads. 

" I have no personal interest," replied the badgered prosecu- 
tor. " The committee required me to come here." — " But," 
rejoined Mr. Ames, " the committee did not require you to go 
into all these things outside of the resolution. I never knew 
that it was a crime to build a railroad until this investigation 
commenced, and I am not satisfied of it now." 

The investigation brought great distress to worthy members, 
great anxiety and anguish to their wives and families. Mr. 
Blaine was indefatigable in defending and advising those who 
were the objects of attack — an attack made with so much 
vigor and with such assumption of guilt, that even the elect 
who were not business adepts were deceived for a moment 



286 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

into believing themselves to have committed sin without know- 
ing it, and men faltered before the thought who had not faltered 
before the cannon's mouth when their country was endangered, 
while men who were familiar with business never quickened 
step or shortened breath. " Sam Hooper," of Boston, it used 
to be said, walked daily back and forth before the Speaker's 
chair, with his pockets stuffed full of Credit Mobilier stock, a 
single dividend bringing $100,000, not only unharmed, but 
unassailed and undisturbed ; and Bingham, of Ohio, when asked 
if he had any, shouted, " Yes, and only wished he had ten times 
more," — and him, too, the bullets carefully passed by on the 
other side ; but gentle and scholarly men, in the natural timidity 
of their unwontedness, suffered many a pang, and the door-bell 
sometimes rang Mr. Blaine from his bed at midnight to counsel 
and console. I have seldom seen a more pathetic sight than that 
of Oakes Ames, — a man of honored ancestry and stainless name, 
the modest hero of the great Pacific Railroad, the man whose 
energy had wrenched it from failure when to a less patriotic 
insight the nation itself seemed a failure, and had made its 
final link a guaranty of national peace and union, — sitting 
silent, stunned into immobility before Mr. Blaine's library fire 
with his head bowed on his breast, while the younger man, 
alert and intent, applied himself indefatigably in and out of the 
house, arranging for his defence and for that of the other men 
who were implicated with him and who were equally guiltless 
of bribery. Let it be repeated and remembered that the man 
who bent his hoary head to calumny and contumely was the 
man whose faith in the continuance of the Union, whose 
unfaltering courage and whose imperial resources were proved 
by his assumption of the struggling, failing road in the depth 
of the war, and by his simple, dogged, glorious persistency till 
the last golden spike was driven, and the world beheld the mar- 
riage of the Eastern and Western shores of the Great Republic 
amid shoutings of" Grace, grace unto it ! " 

How futile it all seemed to the people after the panic was over 
appears in the fact that the member of Congress who, by reason 
of his conspicuousness and his sensitiveness, perhaps, suffered 
most, received afterwards a prompt reelection by the people of 
his own district to the House of Representatives, a triumphant 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 287 

election by the people of his State to the Senate, and by the 
people of the whole Nation to the presidency of the United 
States. 

How superficial was the morality, how valueless was the 
judgment that condemned these men, a single incident shows. 
Upon the conclusion of the investigation, and the censure of 
Mr. Ames and Mr. Brooks before the bar of the House, the 
leading religious newspaper of Mr. Ames' own State found 
" original sin in the thing itself, let alone all the wickedness 
which it drew after it. . . . 

" We see not how any healthy soul could fail at once to de- 
tect the intention of bribery in Mr. Ames and the consent to 
be bribed on the part of those who became the recipients of its 
stock. . . . On the whole, then, it would seem that the re- 
port is well as far as it goes, but . . . obviously stops short 
of exhausting the matter ; that Messrs. Brooks and Ames 
deserve the ignominy which is advised for them ; and that 
the whole subject needs deeper ploughing than it has yet 
received." 

A few weeks afterwards Mr. Ames returned to his home in 
North Easton, and the friends and neighbors among whom he 
had spent his honored and useful life ministered unto him a 
triumphant entrance ; and then the columns of the same religious 
journal found "nothing that anybody ought to object to, or that 
was in any sense improper in the Credit Mobilier itself, or in 
any of his [Mr. Ames'] actions in regard to it. We think 
Hon. Marshall P. Wilder hit the nail on the head in his excel- 
lent speech the other day in Salem, where he introduced Mr. 
Ames into a long list of the most eminent and useful sons 
of Massachusetts — with Hancock, Franklin, Morse, Field, 
and Peabody, warmly ascribing all honor to his name, to 
whose indomitable energy and perseverance we are indebted 
more than to any other man for opening up across this con- 
tinent a great highway for nations in all coming time." 

On the 8th of May Oakes Ames died, and his sons bore 
him to his burial, and all the community lamented over him. 

Mr. James Brooks had already preceded him to the unheard 
and unseen world, and the saddest chapter of the "Credit 
Mobilier" was closed — closed with the death of three men, 



288 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

accuser and accused, while the man chiefly aimed at was not 
even hit. 

If there is a moral to the story it has yet to be told. We only 
know it is the way of God in the evolution of man. 

The nearest approach to a moral is hinted in The " Tribune " 
two years afterwards : 

" There were laid before us yesterday certain startling docu- 
ments gravely affecting high officials. The publication of 
them seems to us a clear duty; but we are unwilling to permit 
our columns to be used in promulgating papers that must bring 
such discredit upon the American name, while there is the re- 
motest possibility of our being able to establish their lack of 
authenticity. We have, therefore, set on foot a thorough in- 
vestigation "... which established the lack of authenticity, 
and the papers remained unpublished. 

When issues are vital, great men forge to the front by natu- 
ral fitness, smaller men are exalted to their noblest moods, 
and the nation is fused to one bent and purpose. The crisis 
passes, and men relapse into self-seeking. Fault-finding seems 
a higher work than well-doing. Men who are near the head 
see no reason why they are not at the head, except the art- 
fulness and arrogance of their leaders; and, unable to rise 
farther, they seek to achieve the desired primacy by pulling the 
primates down. Hence the scandal and scum of political life 
in its sluggish phases, the small questions agitated as if they 
were great, the sucking doves essaying to roar like raging lions, 
the placid pool of ordinary life lashed into a foaming sea of 
corruption. But when real issues are again in question, human 
nature rises again to meet them, casts off its inhumanities, and 
exalts itself anew in a glorious, if transient, transformation. 
Therefore we live. 

While excitement was still at fever heat, Mr. Blaine found 
occasion to take the floor to secure a pension for a widow. 
General Sherman told the story years before Mr. Blaine's death : 

" I was seated in my office at the old War Department, now 
destroyed and replaced by a better one, when my orderly pro- 
duced the card of ' Mrs. Wood,' widow of the late Assistant 
Surgeon-General, U.S.A. Of course I instructed him to show 
the lady in. She was deeply veiled, and without unveiling 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 289 

handed me a letter in the familiar handwriting of the venerable 
Gen. David Hunter, asking me to befriend t the bearer.' Cast- 
ing my eyes over it I exclaimed, 4 What ! are you the widow of 
my old Surgeon-General Wood and the daughter of Gen. 
Zachary Taylor ? ' — 4 Yes,' she answered, raised her veil, and 
revealed her features, then of an old lady, but beyond question 
the daughter of Gen. Zachary Taylor. 4 Dear Mrs. Wood, what 
does this mean ? What can I do for you ? ' She replied, 'I tlo 
not know, but General Hunter, our steadfast friend, has sent 
me to you,' and she went on to explain : *• When my husband 
died in 1869 I supposed I had estate enough to satisfy my 
moderate wants. I went to Louisiana, took possession of the 
old sugar plantation, collected a few of the old slaves with 
promises of wages or shares, tried to make a living, but every- 
thing was out of joint. I then tried a lease with no better 
success. Now my daughter writes me from Austria that she is 
very sick, and begs me to come to her. General Sherman,' I 
must go to my daughter, and I have not a cent. My old friends 
are all dead, and I know not what to do.' I naturally inquired 
how much money was necessary. She said a thousand dollars. 
I had not the money. General Hunter had not the money. 
' How about your pension ? ' — ' When my husband died, after 
forty-four years of faithful service in the Florida war, in the 
Mexican war, and the great civil war, 1 thought 1 could take 
care of myself, and never asked for a pension, but now my child 
calls to me from abroad.' — 4 Mrs. Wood, I am sure we can easily 
make up a case under the General Pension Law, which will 
give you $30 a month, but it can only date from the time of 
your formal application.' — ' What good will that do me ? ' she 
exclaimed, ' my daughter is calling for me now! My passage 
across the ocean will cost #120, and the incidental expenses 
afterward will run up to a full thousand.' After a few moments' 
thought, I said, ' Mrs. Wood, we must get a special bill, put- 
ting your name on the same list with that of Mrs. General 
Worth, Mrs. General Sumner, and others, and have this special 
pension to date back to your husband's death, viz., March 28, 
1869. This will require an Act of Congress. What member 
of that body do you know from Louisiana ? ' — ' Alas, none' — 
4 What member from Kentucky ? ' — ' Not one.' — ' Do you know 



290 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

anybody in Congress ? ' — ' Not a single member.' — ' Don't you 
know Mr. Blaine ? He is Speaker of the House, a fellow of 
infinite wit and of unbounded generosity ? ' No, she had never 
met Mr. Blaine. ' Now, my dear Mrs. Wood, can you meet me 
this afternoon at the Speaker's room, say at four P.M., punct- 
ually?' — 'I will do anything,' she answered, 'that you advise.' 
— ' Then meet me at the Speaker's room, south wing of the 
Capitol, at four o'clock this evening.' Of course she did. 

" I was there ahead of time, sent my card to Mr. Speaker 
Blaine, who was in his chair presiding over a noisy House, but 
who, as always, responded quickly to my call. In a few words 
I explained the whole case, and we went together to the 
Speaker's room across the hall, behind the ' chair,' where sat 
the lady, closely veiled. No courtier since the days of Charle- 
magne ever approached a lady with more delicacy and grace 
than did Mr. Speaker Blaine the afflicted woman. After a few 
words of inquiry and explanation, Blaine continued : " Your 
father was the first man I ever shouted for as President, and for 
you, his daughter, I will do all a man can in this complicated 
Government. I will make your case my own. Don't leave 
this city till you hear from me.' Finding I had touched the 
proper chord of his generous nature, I advised Mrs. Wood to 
return to General Hunter's and await the result. Blaine 
escorted her to the stairway with many friendly expressions, 
and returned to the Speaker's chair. 

" I did not remain, but learned from a friend afterwards the 
sequel. Blaine sat in his chair about an hour, giving attention 
to the business of the House, occasionally scribbling on a bit of 
paper, and when a lull occurred he called some member to take 
his place, and Walked straight to Mr. Holman, the ' Universal 
Objector,' saying : ' Holman, I have a little matter of great 
interest which I want to rush through ; please don't " object." ' — - 
'What is it?' — 'A special pension for the widow of Surgeon 
Wood, the daughter of Gen. Zachary Taylor.' — 'Is it all 
right ? ' — 'Of course it is all right, and every American should 
blush that this thing could be.' — 'Well,' said Holman, 'go 
ahead ; I will be out of the way, in the cloak-room.' Watching 
his opportunity, James G. Blaine, as a member of Congress for 
Maine, got the eye and ear of the acting Speaker, made one of 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 291 

his most eloquent and beautiful speeches, introduced his little 
bill for the pension of Mrs. Wood for $50 a month, to date back 
to the time of Surgeon Wood's death (about four years), which 
would give her about $ 2,400 arrears and $600 a year for life. It 
was rushed through the House by unanimous consent, and 
Blaine followed it through to the Senate and to the President, 
where it became a law, and this most deserving lady was en- 
abled to go to Austria to be with her daughter in her illness. 
I understand that both are now dead, and that the overflowing 
Treasury of the United States is no longer taxed by this pen- 
sion, but I must rescue from oblivion the memory of this pure 
act of unrecorded benevolence." 

General Sherman's mode of justifying himself for printing 
the story without Mr. Blaine's permission, and Mr. Blaine's 
mode of presenting the case to Congress, are equally character- 
istic. " Pensions," said the straightforward splendid old soldier, 
" pensions are not always matters of legal contract, but of 
charity, wmich blesses him who gives as well as receives ; and 
I, of all men, fully recognize the difficulty of making pen- 
sions subject to the tender feelings of an executive officer ; but 
when I discover an instance illustrating the genuine feeling 
no one should object to my recording it, and printing it if 
need be." 

Mr. Blaine's speech, to which General Sherman referred, 
was brief: "A few moments since I had an interview in 
my parlor which deeply touched me. It was with the 
widow of the late Robert C. Wood, late Assistant Surgeon 
General in the Army of the United States. This lady is 
the daughter of the late Major-General Zachary Taylor, Presi- 
dent of the United States. She presented a petition, which I 
will not have even read or placed on the files of the House, be- 
cause it discloses a fact which ought not to exist — that the 
daughter of Zachary Taylor needs aid in any form. I ventured 
to assure her when she put her petition in my hands, and asked 
me to take charge of it, that I did not believe there would be a 
dissenting voice in the Congress of the United States upon a 
proposition to grant her a pension suitable to her rank, and 
to the memory of her great and honored father. I ask unani- 
mous consent to introduce for consideration at this time a bill 



292 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

for her relief." Needless to say, unanimous consent was 
given, the bill was received, read a first and second time, en- 
grossed, read a third time, and passed unanimously and im- 
mediately. 

Another bill, which made a stir quite out of proportion to 
its importance or its iniquity was ignominiously dubbed the 
" Salary Grab Bill." The objectionable point was that Congress- 
men not only raised their own salaries, but made the increase 
go back and cover the whole term of the Congress then near 
closing. Mr. Blaine, as soon as the measure was proposed, dis- 
cerned its weakness, and opposed the bill. When he saw that it 
was about to be passed, he simply withdrew himself from its 
operation by placing the Speaker alongside the Vice-President 
and the Cabinet, upon whose salaries the bill was not to take 
effect until after the Fourth of March, and asked unanimous 
consent to put in " the word c hereafter,' to follow the words 
4 shall receive.' This will affect whoever shall be Speaker of 
the House of Representatives hereafter, and does not affect the 
Speaker of this House, but leaves him upon the same plane 
with the Vice-President and Cabinet officers, upon the salary 
as before adjusted." 

It can hardly be said that unanimous consent was given, for 
the Speaker pushed his matter through so swiftly that members 
hardly knew what he was doing till too late for effective dissent. 
One man was quick enough to object and another sprang to his 
feet, but by high-handed usurpation of authority, Mr. Blaine 
took his pen and wrote the " hereafter " into the text of the bill 
before him and declared the amendment adopted ! 

Mr. Hale, of Maine, speaking afterwards of the great unpopu- 
larity of the bill, illustrated it with humorous solemnity: "I 
swear, if I travelled by the railroad as far as it would take me, 
and then had to take the stage-coach, and then go horse-back, 
and then walk, and then follow a squirrel-track in the woods, 
and at the end of that came on a man chopping a log — what- 
ever he did not know he would know all about the salary-grab 
and be the maddest man of all ! " 

When, near the close of a long session, the Speaker wished 
the pages to have a full month's pay for little more than a half 
month's work, thinking their unwearied fidelity through day 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 293 

and night service had richly earned it, he put and carried the 
motion, as one member expressed it, " heels over head," 
and " The Chair hears no objection," by giving no time to 
hear it. 

When a vote was to be counted, he would stand erect, hold- 
ing the gavel by its head and pointing the handle at each 
standing member before him, turning from the extreme right 
to the extreme left as he counted, and the motion of the gavel 
was like chain-lightning. If challenged to explain his dynamics 
consistently with his mathematics, he would reply, laughing, 
" The Speaker knows how to count." 

He never made a point of small things. No such honesty as 
dividing his official from his personal correspondence ever com- 
plicated his use of the frank. Making a rapid mental calcula- 
tion, he placed the franking privilege as a matter of three 
hundred dollars a year to each member and held that it was not 
worth talking about one way or the other. If suspicion or 
odium clung to it, and the people wanted it abolished, abolish 
it, — it was not worth defence or delay ; but until it was 
abolished, he used it freely, franking his own letters and letters 
of friends who happened to be under his roof, or under whose 
roof he happened to be, as has been from the foundation of the 
frank, and just as freely as he used his purchased postage stamps 
after the frank was abolished. 

In the spring of 1873 Mr. Blaine made a journey to Cali- 
fornia. Waiting in Washington for the Maine snows to be re- 
duced to two feet deep on a level, according to his own account, 
he was not able to leave Augusta till the ninth of May, which gave 
too little time for the most desirable tour. He wished Emmons 
to join the customary " town-meeting," and consulted with his 
tutor, Mr. Waterhouse, who replied : 

I do not think ho is overworked. He is studying assiduously, to be 
sure. lie must do that to enter Harvard well, and nothing short of enter- 
ing well would satisfy his desire. During his stay in Newton, Emmons 
has, in attention to study, and in conduct generally, done his duty, and done 
it in a manner that deserves high praise. I find no better boys anywhere 
than he is. I do not indeed regard him as belonging to that class of boys 
eulogized in the Sunday-school books, who attain sanctification in early 
youth. He is not a religious phenomenon. But his morale, like his 



294 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

jyhysique, is emphatically healthy. He is sound in the nobler parts. I 
would trust him a good deal farther than I would most of the youthful 
saints. Emmons has in him the elements of first-rate scholarship and a 
fund of practical sense quite remarkable in one so young. To worst him 
by an examination paper, or to fool him into selling a pony for a gross of 
green spectacles, would be rather a difficult matter. I expect great things 
of him. And, though the state of his health may not demand it, I am 
strongly in favor of his taking the California trip. 

Mr. Blaine was earnestly solicited to extend his visit to Ore- 
gon with the promise to " . . . pnt you on the top shelf of 
comfort, consideration, and attention Avhile you are in Oregon 
and on the Sound. 

. " You should also see the wonderful timber of the 
Puget Sound Basin, compared with which the forests of Maine 
are but nurseries of telegraph poles." 

But he had already passed the time limits and was obliged to 
leave Oregon for another day, which never came. But the 
warmth of his reception in California and the pleasures of the 
journey and the visit remained with him a grateful memory. 

To Walker: 

Washington, January 8, 1872. 

. . . To my great surprise, we found ourselves, our children, and our 
bundles, at the Worcester depot in ample season. For help, Emmons was 
a host in himself. His father, good as he is, is not better. He wanted 
dreadfully to go to Washington, but at the sleeping-car we separated — 
he to return to Andover. . . . For the afternoon Judge Kelly brought 
himself into the midst of our squalor, a huge brown paper parcel in 
his hand, inquiring, in his magnificent voice, if we were Pennsylvanians 
enough to love doughnuts. ... At five we reached Washington, were 
quite fortunate in regard to company, only a few gentlemen finding us 
out. 

From Walker : 

Paris, January 30, 1872. 

. . . Went to a" little American restaurant. "Every tiling was very 
small, but very clean, and they brought up such nice buckwheat cakes, that I 
thought I would taste them. Ended by eating nine, and a large plate of 
pumpkin pie ; at which I was very much rejoiced, as proving that I have 
not entirely forgotten how to eat, notwithstanding my long course on French 
cookery. 

. . . This morning have finished in German the book which I was 
learning by heart, and begin to feel now that I really know something 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 295 

about German. Shall study very hard on it for the next two months. In 
French I am quite well up. Don't find myself at all embarrassed in con- 
versation, and can write almost without fault, though not, of course, like a 
Frenchman, which I never shall do. . . . Father's forty-second birth- 
day was Wednesday. I trust that I may live to see the double, the eighty- 
fourth. Whenever I think of you, it always seems as though I had a very 
young father, for I see many men of forty, and they always seem like very 
young men to me. Then again, not having yet got to my majority, I feel 
very young still myself. When I am twenty-one and through college, if 
(D.V.) that ever happens, I suppose I shall feel so old, that father will 
seem like a patriarch. 

Well, I long very much to get home next year to go into college, for 
until I am through I seem to be nothing more than a working, studying 
zero, perhaps useful, like zero, in making up a sum, but nothing by and of 
myself. 

. . . Ever since I have been in Paris Mrs. Washburn has made her 
house like a home ; that is, as much like a home as any stranger's house 
could be, and for it I feel very much indebted to one of the kindest- 
hearted women I have ever seen. 

Paris, February, 1872. 
. . . I was exceedingly worried, in reading the papers, to find that 
father was absent from Congress two or three days on account of the 
illness of Q. I have still a great deal of anxiety. My only solace is that 
if the worst had happened, you would probably have telegraphed to me. 

To Walker : 

Washington, February 18, 1872. 

. . . Here the door-bell rings. Douglass, who would, to quote 
Chai'les Lamb, cast a damper over a funeral, answers it. Some one to see 
the Speaker. Douglass discreetly answers that indeed he does not know 
whether Mr. Blaine is home or not — if the gentleman will walk into the 
parlor, he will see. Enter gentleman, and up-stairs Douglass. Returning, 
he announces that Mr. Blaine has gone up to General Sherman's. A fib 
with a circumstance, and Douglass, coming through the library where Mr. 
Sherman and I are writing says he shall never get to heaven in this 
world, and vanishes looking exceedingly pleased (for him) at the prospect. 
Whereupon Mr. Sherman says to me in an aside, that he does not see what 
his idea of heaven in this world can be. The day is quite pleasant. Father, 
C, M., and I have been to our own church. Had an exceedingly earnest 
and interesting sermon on missions in Turkey, — as interesting as a book 
of travels. . . . Friday we had our presidential dinner. Father wanted 
to defer it till Emmons came, but I could not let it overhang so long. 
The President talked incessantly about himself. I have a certain sympathy 
with him, for I think him an honest man, and no doubt he feels dread- 
fully assailed. . . . After the dinner was over and the guests had 
departed, father, Miss D., and myself went to the Arlington to attend the 



296 BIOGRAPHY OF 7AMES G. BLAINE. 

reception of the Japanese Minister. I went out to supper with the Minis- 
ter himself, a lively little Jap, rather taller than the average of his coun- 
trymen, speaking English perfectly well. They, the Japs, seem to be 
perfectly delighted at seeing so many ladies. Mrs. Schurz said when she 
left M. Mori was standing motionless, his arm tight round a young lady's 
waist. Imagine it! In the morning I was at the Capitol. I heard Mr. 
Beck reply to Mr. Brownlow, a personal explanation, interesting to me 
because of the perfectly impartial ruling of your father, though to do it, 
he had to decide against Mr. Stevenson, Mr. Hale, and Mr. Garfield. 
. . . Q. is fast getting well. He hears now almost as well as ever. 
It is very interesting to see the past come back to him. Sometimes things 
rush in on him, and he is so eager, he cannot make himself understood. 
Yesterday morning, I heard him say to Annie who was dressing him, 
"Oh, Annie, you mustn't say naughty words, you'll go to jail, sir, if you 
say bad words, W. F. says ' it's a fraud. 1 " — "A fraud," says Annie, " what's 
a fraud ? " — " Why, you know, ' afrod a- would a-wooing go.' " When we 
were coming on, A. T. was in the car, and was lamenting that W. F. was so 
addicted to slang — everything with him was " it's a fraud." Q. heard him 
and was very much impressed at the time. The phrase was so suggestive 
of Emmons. When Annie said " dreadful," he felt like upbraiding her, and 
as soon as he commenced, the whole reprehensible conduct of W. F. came 
back, and then I discovered the queer association of ideas. I shall leave 
your father to write you about Hanover. I am not really competent to 
advise. Whatever he and you decide on will be right. Only I want you 
to make the acquisition of French, and I want you at home. The Presi- 
dent tells me that his son, who is at Harvard, intends going to Germany to 
spend his third year. It seems they allow the third year to be passed in 
Germany, the student to retain his class rank on his return, provided he 
can pass the requisite examination, and meanwhile the boy picks up Ger- 
man. . . . We get down to breakfast soon after nine. Father sits 
down in his seat and at once proceeds to bury himself in newspapers. 
Douglass, the slow, gradually works round among the mutton chops, the 
grits, the butter, the apples, the ham, and the drinkables, and by the 
time everything is as cold as a stone, eating begins. Father does not even 
offer the steak. As we take three morning papers and the mail is always 
large, you can imagine how social we are. I dare not abandon the chil- 
dren, so while C. and the pater satisfy their hungry minds, I look out for 
the hungry little folks, — and when I and they are through the readers 
wake up and are ready to be waited on. Just as we were getting through 
this morning, somebody or other remembered our dinner party of to-day, 
and then it was discovered that no orders had been given for the dinner, 
that the bill of fare had not even been made out. Such an explosion as at 
once followed ! However, everything is all straightened out now. 

March 3, 1872. 
. . . To-morrow, at twelve, I go to the White House to assist in the 
formal reception of the Japanese. Mrs. Fish has been in twice about it 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 297 

to-day already, Mr. Fish once. The most punctilious arrangements are 
made for the ceremony. As it is the first ambassador this country has 
ever received, it behooves us to be particular. Your father puts some one 
in the chair and then hastens down himself to assist in the ceremonies. 
All the ladies are in full dress morning costumes, no bonnets. In the 
evening I go to the opera to hear Parepa in " Figaro. 1 ' Sunday evening I 
go to Masonic Temple to assist in another reception of the Japs. Mrs. Fish, 
wife of Secretary of State ; Mrs. Colfax, wife of President of Senate; Mrs. 
Blaine, wife of Speaker of the House ; and Mrs. Banks, wife of Chairman 
of Committee of Foreign Affairs, are the ladies to receive. Wednesday I 
have a reception and in the evening go to the opera again to hear Parepa. 
Thursday we are engaged at the Bristows, and Saturday afternoon father 
to the matinee. . . . Thursday afternoon — I am just up from down 
town, where I have been buying a little frippery for to-night. I went to 
the White House yesterday, as I anticipated. The ceremonies were all 
gone through with, according to programme. The President and Cabinet 
and a few officers received the chief of the Japanese dignitaries, and then 
they were brought into the blue room and presented to Mrs. Grant and her 
ladies. Mrs. Grant had Mrs. Colfax on her right, myself on the left. I 
was quite unprepared for the womanliness and cordiality and thoroughly 
unaffected kindliness of Mrs. Grant's reception of them. I could not have 
done half so well. Fortunately I knew Mr. Mori, so that I could break 
the dead spell a little. Another thing also helped me personally very much. 
The chief interpreter turned out to be a young Mr. Rice, son of Elisha, 
and nephew of Judge Rice, who went from Augusta to Japan at the age of 
ten. Of course he got introduced to me, and we had a great deal to talk 
about, to the evident admiration of our Asiatic friends, who looked on with 
longing eyes. In the evening, took a carriage and went to Parepa's opera. 
The singing and acting were superb. . . . Father opened the door to 
us at our first summons. The poor man had lost Parepa and had nothing 
to compensate. Over one hundred twenty-five guests sat down to the 
dinner, in a room built over a stable. Mr. Robeson seated between 
two Japanese dignitaries, neither of whom, of course, could speak one 
English word. The dinner, father said, seemed to be served by the acre, 
and after standing it as long as he could, he concluded to slip out. As 
soon as they saw your father start, Mr. Voorhees and Mr. Beck also rose, 
and I should not be surprised to hear that quite a stampede then com- 
menced, but, afraid of the consequences, our father beat a hasty retreat 
home. ... I assisted at the reception last night. Mrs. Colfax, I, Mrs. 
Fish, and Mrs. Banks. When supper was announced, Iwakura went first, 
having on his right arm Mrs. Colfax, the Vice-President on his left. 
Then came Minister Mori, Mrs. Fish and your father on either arm. Then 
the second ambassador, I on his right arm, Secretary Fish on his left. 
Who came after I know not, every faculty of mine being absorbed in 
analyzing my feelings — so curious. Not one word could my poor Asiatic 
understand of my language, and Mr. Fish, having the whole diplomatique 
corps to keep straight, was continually looking back and calling out to 



298 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

some greater or lesser dignitary to fall into line. When we had marched 
back from the supper-room into the hall, all our formal duties were over. 
We got home about twelve. This morning we have been up to the House 
to see them received by your father. Tremendous crowd there, and as 
your father insisted upon Q. going, and M. was to go anyhow, I feel as 
though I have been out pleasuring with my nursery. 

From V. : 

March 4, 1872. 

Mr. Yonge, who has lately returned from Paris, brought a letter from 
Walker, of whom he speaks in the highest terms. Yesterday Secretary 
and Mrs. Fish came around to arrange about the Japanese. Mrs/. Fish 
came on from New York on purpose, and the storm of Saturday kept her 
in, and, as the ceremonies begin to-day, it seemed to be a work of necessity. 
Secretary Fish had the programme all arranged and a diagram where all 
were to stand, and instructions for the Japanese and all, even to the dress 
of our people. 

Later. Everything went off well, only one of the Japanese's hats came 
off when he bowed. They wear their hats as a matter of etiquette. The 
President received them in the big east room, and then he gave his arm to 
the head ambassador, and the Cabinet and the rest came in order and were 
presented to Mrs. Grant. She appeared beautifully, told them how glad 
she was to see them, congratulated them on their arrival after so severe a 
journey, and hoped the young ladies would come and see her at the White 
House. H. spoke of it to the President afterwards. He said yes, she did 
better than he, for his knees trembled under him. " What! " said H., "a 
brave man like you !" Yes, he said, his knees shook as they never shook 
before, and he had his words all written out beforehand, too, like all the 
rest. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker: 

Washington, March 6, 1872. 

. . . Tell Mr. Washburn not to be disturbed by the apparent bick- 
ering and quarrelling in political circles. General Grant will be nomi- 
nated at Philadelphia by acclammation. Electoral vote, 357 ; Grant, 191 ; 
opposition, 122; doubtful, 44. 

The tendency is for a better result than this. Indiana will pretty surely 
go with us, so will Nevada and Oregon, while our chance for New York 
is worth counting. 

To Walker: 

March 12, 1872. 

Please date your letters more accurately. Your pater blows a blast 
which might reach across the Atlantic, when he sees one of your missives 
commencing with a Friday morning, or a Tuesday, or a Monday, or so on. 






BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES Q. BLAINE. 299 

We heard from you Sunday morning, and I yesterday sent the letter to 
Augusta. Emmons was coming away from Andover, so I did not detain it 
for him. It will be happiness enough for him to be with us. I had the 
game dinner he writes for all ordered, but about an hour ago came a 
telegram from New York saying that he had lost the connection and could 
not be home till ten. M. is at school. I do not know how she will bear 
the disappointment. She was expecting to be dressed in white with blue 
on skirt, to meet him. " I do want," said she this morning, when she was 
deciding on her toilet, " to hear Emmons say, ' How nobby you look ! " Her 
education might have for its motto "festina lente." She gets to school some- 
where about ten, and is often at home before her father gets started for the 
Capitol. . . . Saturday father, C, your sister M. went to matinee. 

. . . The pater came home as slangy as W. F., saying and resaying 
"It's a fraud. 11 Every part was shorn and clipped, and the voice of the 
prompter was audible enough to mar all the effect. At six your father 
dined with the territorial delegates. . . . 

In the evening we all went to the billiard-room for amusement, C. and 
father played, and such wild strikes never were seen before. . . . 

Wednesday morning. Emmons got here at half-past ten last evening. He 
missed the train yesterday morning, simply because he had not been par- 
ticular about the time-table. I need not say that we have all been alive 
this morning. Your big brother first went all over the house in his night- 
gown. Next he put on his coat over it, and again perambulated, and 
lastly he dressed himself en regie and came down to breakfast. All we 
wanted was to have you here. Mary Wilson got every dish for Em- 
mons she could think of, and to one and all he did full justice. 
After Mons had had his supper, he and your father went up for a game of 
billiards. Of course, Mons distanced his partner a long way. . 
Your father seems very much opposed to your leaving Paris. He is 
anxious for you to be sure of French. At the same time, ne likes to have 
you do anything you want to. If you would like it he would prefer your 
staying another year in Europe, but I do not think I could give my consent. 
At any rate, I should come over with Emmons and travel for the summer. 
Q. is getting well very fast. He looks like a snow-drop. Is wonderfully 
interesting. 



Postscript of a letter from Hon. Elihu Washburn to Mr. 
Blaine, Paris, April, 1872 : 

Private. 

How is it going on at home ? Can^ we " smash 'em " handsomely, 
all the soreheads to the contrary notwithstanding? Write me just as fully 
as you have time as to the real situation. 

Walker is getting along splendidly. He is all that the fondest parent 
could wish, and we have come to feel in him almost the same interest we 
have in our own children. If he were my boy I should have him remain 



300 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

here an additional year. He would then be perfect master of the German 
and French and would keep up with his other studies besides. He can 
learn the languages a great deal faster now than he would after coming 
back here after graduating. 

From Walker : 

. . . As this letter will reach you about the time that Mons is at home 
for his vacation, tell him to study his Latin and Greek as he never studied 
them before. I thought that they were not worth much, but my little 
knowledge has lightened up the French language in a most amazing man- 
ner. If one knows Greek and Latin, or only the latter and English 
thoroughly, the French language is but a mere child's play. The differ- 
ence is amazing when you attempt to learn French through reasoning and 
taking the derivations, and by mere force of memory, as we learn Eng- 
lish. . . . The person who knows Latin well, and cannot learn the 
French language in two months, provided he speaks it all the time, and 
reasons it out, is a dunce. ... I see that Gratiot Washburn has 
been nominated by the President as Second Secretary to the Legation in 
Paris, and I do not doubt but that he has been before now confirmed. I am 
very glad, for he is a very nice young fellow. ... I hope you will 
send me some word soon about Germany. I am very anxious to acquire 
the language, and I feel that it would be much better for me to go there. 
I cannot stav in Paris during the summer, probably not longer than the 
15th sure, and I am anxious to stay in Germany for four months, work- 
ing with assiduity. One lesson every day in French will keep me well 
up. 

To Walker: 

Washington, May 1, 1872. 

I am just congratulating myself on our excellent habit, lately inaug- 
urated, — can a habit be lately inaugurated ? — of getting up for a half- 
past eight breakfast — so now at 9.15 we are all at liberty to go our 
several ways : father to the parlor crowded full of gentlemen ; Slier my to 
his writing-table ; C. to the baby, the petted darling of upstairs, down- 
stairs, and my lady's chamber; M. and Q. with spade and shovel 
to the yard, and the mamma to her dearest and best of boys. . . 
Everything has gone on very quietly since my last date. Indeed, Walker, 
we are a most happy family. So much of life and so much love do 
not often go together. The affectionate people are almost always quiet. 
. . Everything political, English and American, seems to be in a sort 
of a snarl. Things, I believe, will all come out right. Your father was 
so impressed with the fatal influence which any concession on the part of 
Mr. Fish would have on our political situation, that he went in to talk 
over matters with him Sunday evening. Was there till a very late hour. 
Commercial interests bring heavily to bear en the question. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 301 

To Walker : 

Washington, May 7, 1872. 

To-morrow will be your seventeenth birthday. ... I shall not at- 
tempt any advice to the good boy, who I do not believe needs it, for how 
can one have a better guide than conscience ? But I do from the bottom 
of my heart thank you, Walker, for all the anxiety you have spared me. 
I have always trusted you, — so has your father, — and never have you 
abused the trust. Continue ye in this love. . . . The little sister is out 
in all the glory of the cherry rosettes and short dresses. Has called on 
Miss Ripley, Mrs. Fish, and is now gone to Mrs. Hale's — all in honor of 
the brother she has never seen. . . . 

To Walker from Mr. Blaine : 

Washington, May 8, 1872. 

You are seventeen years old to-day. Almost a grown man ! I hope you 
will continue to be a good boy, and make a good man. Remember that 
there is no success in this life that is not founded on virtue and purity," and 
a religious consecration of all we have to God. Do not forget your capac- 
ities, your abilities, and your responsibilities. . . . 

By same mail herewith you will receive from Jay Cooke an additional 
letter of credit for £50 ; should you desire or need a few pounds more, 
Mr. Washburn will furnish you the amount. I shall write him in regard 
to it, and he will speak to you, rather than you to him. ... I want 
you to come early enough in June to be here, or rather at home, by the 24th 
or 26th, or at all events, the first of July. I want you to go by way of the 
Rhine, round through Belgium, taking, say, Strasburg, Baden, Frankfort, 
and Homburg en route. You can do this in a few days, and will be gov- 
erned somewhat by securing a fellow-traveller. At Brussels you will take 
a run over to Waterloo. . . . You will see how strangely politics are 
tending here. Greeley's nomination is very strange. ... I wish you 
to come on the " Scotia " or " Russia" — take whichever one Captain Lott 
commands ; if you can secure a good state-room on her. The enclosed 
card will introduce you to Captain Lott. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

May 22, 1872. 

I presume you need more money than I have sent, and you will find 
herewith an additional letter for £40. This should pay your passage home 
and all other expenses, including such presents as you may desire to bring. 
I would not go very largely into presents, as I do not wish you to smuggle 
anything, or in any way evade the duties. . . . With this additional 
letter of credit you will not need to ask Mr. Washburn for any aid or 
loan. ... Be a good boy, always in all ways. 

To V.: 

Augusta, June 16, 1872. 

Mr. Blaine and the boys — the elder ones — have just driven off to 
church, — three fans, a cotton umbrella, and a horse and buggy, amongst 



302 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

them. The papa took the umbrella, Emmons drove, and Walker fanned, and 
I only hoj)e they may step far enough heavenward to pay for the earthly 
trouble — for Mons, in harnessing 1 , broke out into a heat which nothing 
could allay — his father, in the supreme moment of departure, turned round 
to tell us how large his head felt, while Walker, with the prospect of three 
or four favorite girls to flirt with, was eminently content. Q. and M. 
were in the yard to see them off; Q. all currant and raspberry from his 
throat to the hem of his frock, but clean as to the face and sweeter than 
honey in the honeycomb ; his last word to the martyrologists being, Hulloa 
— a greeting, which they seemed to think a pitiful satire. 

When we got home we found that no entreaties had prevailed on Alice 
to wear one of her new dresses. S. had had them all made, and made 
beautifully, and there they hung by the closetful. When we arrived the 
set time had fully come, and she has now the fine satisfaction of dressing 
well every day. Yesterday she began to go to dancing-school, a branch 
of her education I have been very anxious for her to attend to. The 
boys are clever as can be. Walker devoted to M. and L. — and Emmons 
to swimming, the "New York Ledger," base-ball, and all sorts of boy 
business. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. O. P. Morton: 

Indianapolis, July 22, 1872. 

We would be very glad to have you come into Indiana and make several 
speeches if it is in your power to do so. Your great reputation will draw 
large crowds, and what you say will have much influence with our people. 
The contest here will be hard fought and most bitter, and we shall require 
all the assistance possible. I shall await your answer with anxiety. 

Free trade is a beautiful theory, but in practice, neither you nor I will 
live long enough to see it prevail. But the result of the present agitation 
will be to lower seriously the rate of duties levied by the existing tariff, 
and that is a consummation devoutly to be wished. I am more than will- 
ing to speed the day. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Judge Hoar: 

Concord, November 8, 1872. 

Thank you for your note, which is very kind. My only dissatisfaction 
with the result of the election is that I am chosen to the House of Repre- 
sentatives — though calling it a "bear garden 11 is not inconsistent with 
the highest admiration for the keeper of the animals. You have done so 
much to contribute to the splendid victory, that I think you are fairly 
entitled to feel as if you owned it. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 303 

From V. : 

Washington, 1873. 

How much have you seen of Mr. Blaine's tilt with Mr. Stevenson ? He 
came to Mr. Blaine afterwards rather complaining 1 of his treatment. Mr. 
Blaine told him he did not want to attack him, but he could not help it, 
Mr. Stevenson brought it on himselfo Mr. Stevenson said of course he 
"could not stand up against a man of Mr. Blaine's talent and courage which 
was perfectly audacious." He objected that Mr. Blaine had made him appear 
to swear falsely. "Why, Job," said Mr. Blaine, "that's the very point. ■ 
Have you just got that through your head ? " The committee-room was 
full, and they say Mr. Blaine went at him shovel and tongs, and carried 
all before him ; even the ' ' Tribune " says the Speaker came off with flying 
colors, and the "Herald" quite abuses Stevenson. George W. Curtis, at 
the Fish dinner, complimented Mr. Blaine very highly, especially upon 
shining so brightly in the midst of so much darkness. 

From General Sherman : 

Washington, Feb. 5, 1873. 

Dear Blaine : Mrs. Wood's full name is Ann Mackall Taylor Wood. 
Her habitual signature is Ann M. Wood. 

She heard of the event in the House last night from the Hunters, who 
were with you at Robeson's, and they say her sense of gratitude was 
beautiful, especially in the compliment to her father's memory. 

From V. : 

Washington, February, 1873. 

Mr. Blaine went to church yesterday for the first time, and astonished 
Mr. Whittlesey, a regular attendant, by informing him he had not seen 
him out before this winter. 

In the afternoon, at a matinee at Colonel Audenried's, saw Mrs. James 
Brooks, who is in great trouble about her husband who is deeply implicated 
in Credit Mobilier. I comforted her all I could ; saw also General Sherman, 
the Bristcds, and many other acquaintances and friends. In the evening 
Mr. Blaine had a splendid dinner. Mr. Evarts, the great lawyer, Geneva 
arbitrator, etc. ; Horace Clark, Vanderbilt's son-in-law, a lawyer ; Judge 
Watts and his brother, with whose father Mr. Blaine's father studied law, 
and Horace Maynard, of Pennsylvania. Mr. Evarts is a thin, sharp- 
featured, keen-faced man, quiet but calm, clear, acute, witty, and when 
the flash of his wit is too bright and swift for the popular comprehension, 
enjoying it all his lane or telegraphing across the table with his eyes to 
some one who does comprehend the additional fun contributed by the non- 
comprehending. 



304 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES Q. BLAINE. 

To Mr. Blaine, from E. A. Rollins : 

Philadelphia. 

I do not credit half the news I see in the newspapers, more particularly 
since the Credit Mobilier investigation began. Glad you are all right, not 
in fact only, but in reputation. You made a grand witness with reference 
to the Iowa road, and made grand good points on Stevenson. Everybody 
was laughing about it this way. I wish all our friends were all right in 
every way in this matter, in fact, in substance, and form. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Washington, March 26, 1873. 

I forgot to tell you of a very remarkable coincidence that hapf>ened just 
as you left on Saturday last. You recollect your questioning me to see if 
I remember Mr. Rollins' street and number aright. [Two hundred and 
thirty-five Forty-second street.] As I turned from the depot, as your 
train was rolling out, Tom Sherman handed me some letters to mark 
for answer, and among them one from Eastern Express Company, show- 
ing balance with them to my credit, $235.42, and that was the very first 
letter I opened. Now, had a coincidence of figures like unto this 
happened in any trial at law, it would have been almost conclusive of 
guilt or innocence, as the case might be. These fortuitous coincidences 
should make us very careful about rash conclusions based on " sich. 1 ' 

Moral. — Give all the doubts to Schuyler. 

From President Grant to Mr. Blaine : 

Long Branch, N.J., July 18, 1873. 

My dear Mr. Speaker : Your favor of the 13th is at hand, having 
been received a day or two since. It is not possible for me to answer 
definitely as to the time I can make the visit to the State of Maine and to 
you, proposed before we left Washington. But I can say that it will 
not be before the 5th of August, and that I will endeavor to make it as 
near that time as possible, informing you by telegraph the exact day 
when I shall leave here the moment it is fixed upon. My stay in Maine 
will be from six to eight days. If, however, you and Mrs. Blaine have 
any visit or trip you wish to make that would be in the slightest degree 
interfered with by this selection of time, I beg you to let me know. Any 
time after the 5th during the month of August would suit me as well as 
that particular time. I name it because I have guests invited to my house 
up to about that date. 

Mrs. Grant and Nellie, both of whom will accompany me, join in kindest 
regards to Mrs. Blaine and yourself. 

From the President to Mr. Blaine : 

Long Branch, August 1, 1873. 
As the time approaches when I had hoped to visit you in Maine, with my 
family, I find it will be impossible to go as early as I had set, and that it 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLA1NK 305 

will be impossible for Mrs. Grant to go at all. Mr. Dent has been failing 
for the last few days rapidly, the effects of old age and a dropsical ten- 
dency, and I do not believe would survive Mrs. Grant's absence for a 
week. He cannot last long at best. 

The first of next week I must go to Washington to spend a couple of 
days. On my return I will inform you by telegraph about when I can go, 
if not prevented by circumstances. 

I beg of you not to postpone or abandon any plans you or Mrs. Blaine 
may have formed for the summer, on account of my proposed visit. If 
not prevented from going by the sickness or death of Mr. Dent, one time 
will suit me as well as another, up to the middle of September. 

From the President to Mr. Blaine : 

Long Branch, August 7, 1873. 
On my return from Washington I find your letter of the 5th inst., from 
which I infer you had not received the last one I wrote to you. In that I 
stated that unless something unforeseen should prevent, I would leave here 
on Monday next for Augusta, Me., taking the night train from New York 
City. My party will consist of my two youngest sons, Nellie, General 
Babcock, and myself. My intention is to return by way of the White 
Mountains, Lake Champlain, and Lake George, provided I can get back by 
the 22d inst. There is nothing now to prevent my going at that time. 

From Harper & Brothers : 

New York, August 14, 1873. 

In reply to yours of the 11th, we beg leave to say ; ... 3d. That 
we also like Mr. Blaine, and are sorry if we said anything (which we 
never did) that by the utmost feminine ingenuity could be interpreted to the 
contrary. He is as independent as any man we ever knew, and is abun- 
dantly able to take care of himself always and in all ways. As your 
Western friends say, we can safely "go a blind on him." 0, si sic omnes! 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. Samuel J. Randall : 

Philadelphia, September 29, 1873. 

Do you expect to be south soon, say as far as New York or Philadelphia P 
I would like to see you and confer as to some legislation during next ses- 
sion, principally on a subject which has caused much public expression 
during the recess. 

You are to be made to discriminate among the Republican members 

from Pennsylvania as to a successor to Mr. . ... I mention 

these facts with no possible intention to draw from you any expression 
thereon ; simply, however, to keep you advised. 

My district is quiet as to " Back pay," and I apprehend no opposition to 
my renomination by Demoeratic convention nor as to the reelection, 



306 BIOGRAPHY OE JAMES O. BLAINE. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. W. A. Wheeler : 

Malone, October 21, 1873. 

I have yours of 30th ult. It is true that there has been an effort in the 
New York delegation to induce me to withdraw my declination of a can- 
didacy for the Speakership. As to the motive, so far as I can fathom it, it 
originates mainly in State pride, with perhaps an opinion that the delega- 
tion would, in the event of my election, gain something in the construc- 
tion of the committees. A number of Western men are also pressing me 
to become a candidate, assigning various reasons : such as the domination of 
New England in both ends of the Capitol ; that you will give the best places 
on committees to those implicated in the Credit Mobilier affair, etc., etc. 
To all these solicitations I have but one response : " I will not suffer myself 
to be pitted against Mr. Blaine in any contingency. "' 

You had my word for this a year ago, and the statute of limitations has 
not } r et run upon it. No matter what rumor may at any time say, you may 
rest confidently upon my assurance. 

I am afraid the West will annoy you greatly in the making up of the 
committees. Credit Mobilier puts you in a delicate position with refer- 
ence to some old friends, and your action in construction of committees 
will have a very important bearing upon your political future. We are 
evidently only in the outer circles of the political maelstrom which is to 
swallow up all the wicked politicians, and no one, for some time to come, 
can expect the public favor who has not a claim to political sanctity. 

As to committees, my preference is for that which probably you could 
not give me without embarrassment — Chairman of Foreign Affairs. I 
don't want, in any contingency, to have any further connection with 
railroads. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. Fernando Wood : 

New York, October 29, 1873. 
My Dear Sir : I enclose a slip from the " New York Times " of to-day. 
If you require any pecuniary aid as a loan, I am at your service, having 
just now a surplus. Supposing that in your position a favor from a politi- 
cal opponent would be more desirable than from one who might have 
favors to ask in return, I offer myself as a personal friend. 

{Enclosed.) 

' JAY COOKE & CO.'S ASSETS. 

The "Evening Star" has the following explanation of how Speaker 
Blaine's name appears in the list of Jay Cooke & Co.'s debtors: "Anions 
the assets of Jay Cooke & Co. an item of some $30,000 from Hon. Jas. G. 
Blaine is reported. We find, on inquiry, that the amount due from Mr. 
Blaine to the firm is for money borrowed on a long mortgage in 1869, 
when he purchased his residence on Fifteenth street, in this city. The 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 307 

mortgage is not mature until 1875. The amount is amply secured by the 
intrinsic value of the residence." 

From Mr. Blaine to Mr. Wood: 

Augusta, October 31, 1873. 

My dear Sir : I thank you very sincerely for your kind favor and its 
kind offer. I thank you none the less heartily because I am not under the 
necessity of availing myself of your generous tender of aid. The strin- 
gency in the money market pinches me somewhat, but not beyond my 
power of control. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Jay Cooke & Co., bankers : 

Washington, November 5, 1873. 

The newspapers are in some way misstating your indebtedness to our 
firm. Your principal debt is for money loaned you, when you purchased 
your house on Fifteenth street on which we hold a mortgage for $33,333.33, 
last payment due April 1, 1875. Besides this, you have a note discounted 
for $5,000, amply secured by Chicago bonds as collateral. You are also 
held by us on another note for $1,000, which your good nature induced you 
to indorse, and which we shall expect you to pa} 7 , unless the principal 
pays. This is all. If we could realize as readily on all our assets as on 
these, we should at once have a heavy surplus on hand. 

From Hon. S. S. Cox : 

New Y^ork, November 5, 1873. 
My dear Mr. Speaker: For I must again cultivate the old prefix. 
Your congratulation was the first to reach me. I am sure it made me very 
happy. We have lived an eventful life together under trying circum- 
stances ; and to miss your face in the House, and as its head, would be to 
miss the House itself. 

I should be pleased to serve on the Ways and Means. It is generally 
expected, as all my studies, since I left college, have led me in the direc- 
tion of the economics. . . . My majority is equal to my opponents 1 
vote. I led my ticket largely. With the assurance that you will be 
Speaker, beyond a peradventure, and with the wishes for a happy winter 
— a happier than last — 

I am, as ever, 

your friend. 

From Mr. Blaine to Walker : 

Augusta, Me., November 12, 1873. 

I have very fully reflected on your case, and have come to the following 
conclusions : 

First. The Faculty, \ think, were not logical in their treatment and con- 
clusions. They should either have remitted punishment, or expelled yon 



308 BIOGRAPHY OP JAMES G. BLAtNE. 

— for a hazer should always be expelled remorselessly. A middle course 
was, I repeat, illogical. The court-martial that tried Fitz John Porter 
merely sentenced him to be dropped from the rolls. This was sharjjly 
criticised at the time, as wholly an inconsistent verdict — for, as old Mr. 
Ewing well said, " Porter should have been cleared or shot" Something 
analogous applies to the case of you boys. The Yale Faculty, however, 
proceeded apparently on the basis of the old trial justice with the man 
accused of stealing a horse — "Not guilty ; but don't you ever do it again." 

Second. My whole conclusion in regard to the course of you bo}^s is, that 
you behaved very foolishly. You tried the impossible game of ' ' running with 
the hare and holding with the hounds. 11 You had to proceed by an indirection 
and a deception, and hence placed yourselves in an indefensible attitude, 
and got into trouble. If you could not make open resistance to the hazers 
and join issue with them, you should have gone to your rooms. I would 
have justified all of you in getting into the most desperate fight — one that 
would have roused the whole college, and the city too, if need be — in re- 
sisting an outrage upon a friend ; but when you had to resort to an artifice 
and an evasion, and apparently join the drunken crowd of assailants, you 
forfeited all the moral strength of your position — Hinc illce lachrymce. 

I am glad to hear that you are studying well, and if the Faculty should 
keep you out six months, you probably will not be the loser in your 
studies. I have great faith in good tutoring. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Augusta, November 12, 1873. 

Suspension is always a silly punishment: The idle boy likes it, the 
industrious, ambitious boy may be greatly injured by it. It always seemed 
to me just as absurd as to punish a soldier for misconduct, by depriving 
him of the opportunity to drill. All offenders in a college, short of those 
requiring expulsion, can be punished in an exemplary manner by many 
little deprivations of privilege, which the student would keenly feel. I 
think the boys are doing well at Hartford. I agree with you fully in re- 
gard to the inexpediency of having a controversy with the Faculty. Let 
the boys grin and bear it. 

To Mr. Blaine,- from General Garfield : 

Washington, December 5, 1873. 

You are so crowded with calls and vexations, that I will write a few 
words in addition to the suggestions I made yesterday. 

My colleague, Mr. Monroe, is, as I told you, specially desirous of being 
made chairman of some committee, such as Pensions, Education and Labor, 
or some committee of similar grade, and if it is at all possible I hope you 
will so arrange it. In the tempest which raged in Ohio over the increase 
of salary, Mr. Monroe was fortunate in having the full approval of the 
people in his record on that subject, and I have no doubt it would be very 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 309 

generally acceptable to the people if he were given a committee. Mr. 
Monroe is warmly my friend, and it would gratify me very much if you 
can do what is here suggested. 

Several other suggestions have been made and written to me which I 
will not weary you with, but I enclose a note or two for your consideration. 
I will also mention that W. H. Stone, a Democrat of St. Louis, is anxious 
to be a member of the Committee on Commerce. I have been unwilling 
to bore you in reference to these things, but couldn't avoid it. Let me say, 
in conclusion, that I hope there will be cultivated between those of us who 
have borne the storms of the last ten years such a close intimacy, and 
working together for the sake of comradeship and the general good, that 
we may aid each other in many ways. 

I will not close without assuring you that those of us who have been 
the special objects of assault during the last year appreciate more highly 
than you know of the courage and manliness with which you stand by 
them. I am sure you will never have occasion to regret it. 



310 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



XIII. 

FROM THE SPEAKERSHIP TO THE SENATE. 

|~N accepting his seventh unanimous nomination in 1874 as 
-*- representative to Congress, Mr. Blaine was able to con- 
gratulate his constituents that the currency question, at 
one time threatening to divide parties, and, which would be far 
more serious, to divide sections, was " in process of a happy 
adjustment, partly by wise and temperate enactment, passed 
by a large majority in both branches of Congress and approved 
by the President, but in a far greater degree by the operation 
of causes more powerful than any legislation can be." The 
old questions of protection and free trade were still before the 
people, especially in Maine, in their extreme form. Canada 
was trying to negotiate a reciprocity treaty with our govern- 
ment in which, as Mr. Blaine pointed out, the reciprocity was, 
like that of its predecessor, all on one side. The treaty which 
was terminated in 1866 inflicted upon Maine " during the 
eleven years of its existence, a loss of fifty millions of dollars. 
It presented the anomaly of giving to the Canadians the control 
in our own markets of certain leading articles, on terms far 
more favorable than our own people had ever enjoyed. The 
utmost stretch of the Divine command is to love our neighbor 
as ourselves, and I can certainly see nothing in personal duty 
or public policy which should lead us to prefer our Canadian 
neighbors to our own people. 

" The treaty of reciprocity now proposed is understood to 
include the admission of Canadian vessels to free American 
registry, and the full enjoyment of our coasting and lake trade. 
Thus, the ship-building and commercial interests of the United 
States, just recovering from the terrible blows dealt by British- 
built cruisers during the war, are again to be struck down by 
giving advantages, hitherto undreamed of, to the ships of the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 311 

very power that inflicted the previous injury. . . . To 
illustrate : If the United States will agree to admit Canadian 
vessels to American registry and the coasting-trade, Canada 
will admit straw hats, mule harness, and rat-traps free of duty. 
. . . Let us simply place Canada on the same basis with 
other foreign countries, — taxing her products, or admitting 
them free, according to our own judgment of the interest of 
our own revenue, and the pursuits and needs of our own people, 
— always bearing in mind that in governmental as in family 
matters, c charity begins at home,' and that 4 he who pro- 
videth not for those of his own house is worse than an 
infidel.' " 

Even more important than the protection of manufactures Mr. 
Blaine considered the protection of United States citizenship, 
and urged in his public addresses that it was required by every 
principle on which the Republican party had been formed and 
sustained, and for which the war had been waged. " The 
strength of a column is the strength of its weakest part, and 
the strength of government protection to citizenship is not that 
which goes out to the wealthy and the influential, to the strong 
and the mighty, but it is that which protects and upholds the 
lowly, the poor, and the weak." 

Another address called attention to a fact of wide and great 
importance, but almost, if not altogether, unnoticed. Mr. 
Blaine had been invited to speak, incidentally, to the Northern 
Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association at their 
annual fair in Oshkosh. He had accepted, but learned shortly 
before the designated day that, without consulting him, the 
association had made him the chief speaker. He therefore 
prefaced his address with the apology : " If this large audience 
shall feel disappointed with the result, they must not lay the 
charge at my door, but hold the officers of the association re- 
sponsible in such exemplary damages as a good Wisconsin sense 
of justice may impose. 

" I believe, by modern usage, an address before an agricul- 
tural society is expected to leave agriculture severely alone ; 
on the very sound and sensible presumption that the audi- 
ence have more knowledge on that subject than the speaker 
is likely to possess. In my own case, certainly, I am ready 



312 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 

to admit the full force of such presumption ; for, although 
I was born and reared in an agricultural community in west- 
ern Pennsylvania, and have lived all the years of my maturer 
life in the best agricultural districts of Maine, I do not claim 
such practical knowledge of the great art and science as 
would enable me to give one word of needed instruction to the 
assemblage which I have now the honor to address." He then 
brought up the subject of debt, — national, State, county, and 
town, — beginning with a slight sketch of the origin and growth 
of debts, showing that the vast mass of the world's debt was 
incurred " not to promote the ends of peace, not to develop ag- 
riculture or the mechanic arts, not to improve harbors and the 
navigation of rivers, not to found institutions of learning, or of 
charity, or of mercy, not to elevate the standard of culture 
among the masses, not for any or all of these laudable objects, 
but for the waste, the cruelty, the untold agonies of war. The 
vast mass of this prodigious sum-total not only went for war, 
but for wars of ambition and conquest, in which the fate of 
reigning dynasties was the stake, and not the well-being of the 
people or even the aggrandizement of the nation itself in the 
higher and better sense. In our own country we have had four 
wars, and with the exception of that with Mexico, they may 
certainly and fairly be called defensive on our part, for they 
were assuredly wars essential to our national existence and in- 
dependence. But still this fact makes us no exception to the 
rest of the world ; and war, however unavoidable in our case, 
was nevertheless the direct cause of our national burden. Our 
total national indebtedness to-day is twenty-one hundred and 
forty millions of dollars (12,140,000,000) ; and of this great 
sum sixty-four . millions ($64,000,000) given towards the con- 
struction of a railroad to the Pacific is all that was incurred for 
works of peace. The remainder was expended in the long and 
bloody and desolating struggle in which secession was resisted 
and destroyed, and in which we won the privilege of continuing 
to exist as the United States of America. 

" But in regard to the national debt, whatever vain regrets 
we may indulge over the loss of so much treasure and the fear- 
ful sacrifice of that which is beyond earthly price, we have this 
to console, — that the war which gave rise to it was unavoidable, 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 313 

apparently forecast as part of the great experience of bitterness 
and of blood through which it was our destiny as a nation to 
pass, and that out of its sorrowful depths we have emerged a re- 
generated people, doing justice to a race long oppressed, educat- 
ing ourselves to higher standards of liberty and of law, and having 
our feet henceforth shod with the preparation of the Gospel of 
Peace. 

"Leaving the consideration of our national debt as an obliga- 
tion not within our discretion, except as to the best and most 
honorable means of reducing and discharging it, I invite your 
attention to those less observed, but even more burdensome, 
forms of obligation contracted by States, counties, cities, and 
smaller municipalities, and contracted oftentimes, I may add, 
with an extravagance and prodigality that seem to invite 
calamity." 

He then gave a startling array of figures, all the more im- 
pressive for being entirely apart from politics, showing not 
only the alarming increase of debt, but the recklessness with 
which it was created, and the extravagance by which it was 
attended. " I venture the assertion, based on careful scrutiny 
of the facts, that, taking the aggregate of State debts as they 
stand to-day, there has not been realized on the average fifty 
cents permanent value for each dollar raised and expended." 
He ended by suggesting for the defence of the people against 
themselves more stringent restriction of the power of State 
legislation to incur debts, and a more careful definition of the 
precise ends for which municipal credit should be used, together 
with some adequate safeguard against the overlapping of 
municipal and county debts, so that the smaller organization 
should not find itself involved in the embarrassments of the 
larger ; quoting as a safe governing principle the advice of Mr. 
Jefferson : " Never borrow a dollar without laying a tax at the 
same instant for paying the interest annually, and the principal 
within a given term ; and consider that tax as pledged to the 
creditors on the public faith." 

It was not flattering to the sagacity of self-governing people, 
who love to rebuke the extravagances of their national Con- 
gress, but are not given to accusing themselves of far greater 
extravagance. It was, however, a timely and necessary warning, 



314 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

and arrested general attention at home, while in England its 
information regarding our situation and resources was used by 
public speakers with marked effect. 

One of the interesting incidents of the winter of 1874-75, im- 
portant in the light of subsequent events, was the presence in 
Washington of Kalakaua, king of the Hawaiian islands. On 
the 18th of December he was received by the House of Repre- 
sentatives. Escorted by Senator Cameron of Pennsylvania, and 
Representative Orth of Indiana, he entered the hall and took 
his position in the centre aisle fronting the Speaker, who 
welcomed him on behalf of the American Congress, empha- 
sizing the visit as "the first instance in which a reigning 
sovereign has set foot upon the soil of the United States, and it 
is a significant circumstance that the visit comes to us from 
the West, and not from the East." With a few words of 
personal courtesy and compliment, the Speaker assured his 
majesty that " our whole people cherish for your subjects 
the most friendly regard. They trust and believe that the 
relations of the two countries will always be as peaceful 
as the great sea that rolls between us — uniting and not 
dividing." 

Chief-Justice Allen, of Hawaii, — and Maine, — read the 
king's reply of graceful acknowledgment that " for any success 
in government, and for our progress in a higher civilization, we 
are very much indebted to the government and people of this 
great country. Your laws and your civilization have been in a 
great degree our model." The Speaker then left the chair for 
a more personal greeting to the king, before he withdrew with 
his suite. 

The elections of 1874 gave the House of Representatives to 
the Democratic party for the first time since the Rebellion. 
Naturally many Republicans were greatly alarmed at seeing the 
balance of power about to pass into the hands of their oppo- 
nents, so lately armed foes of the country. Many members of 
the House of Representatives had been in the rebel ranks, — 
softened by time into " confederate " ranks. The Republican 
party, without cleaving into distinct factions, gravitated in two 
distinct directions, — towards further repressive legislation on 
the one hand, on the other towards the enforcement of present 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 315 

law through the machinery already provided. The administra- 
tion led in the first direction the radical element. Mr. Blaine 
was universally recognized as head of the more conservative 
forces. The presidential election of 1876 was near enough to 
be an estimated, if not always a perceptible motive. Desire for 
a third election to the presidency was attributed to President 
Grant. Denial was hardly possible to him, and his most 
intimate friends advocated " a third term." By common con- 
sent Mr. Blaine was counted as the rival candidate, whether 
he would or not, and he certainly gave no sign that he would 
not. He was in the prime of life, thoroughly versed not only 
in historical but in practical politics — a phrase not less weighty 
for being warped into a petty and corrupt interpretation. The 
ideal policy of this great nation was already shaping itself, in 
his ardent thought, towards new advances in national power, 
and individual prosperity and happiness. He had no misgiving 
as to the correctness of his judgment on those points, or his 
ability to guide the country along the course which he deemed 
its true and high destiny. He was always eager to use the one 
in furtherance of the other. It was not timely or necessary for 
him to avow, but he did not disavow, the candidacy. He had a 
full sense of the greatness of the position, a greatness not to 
be minimized by unworthy seeking, or by insincere pretence of 
not seeking. He had a strong sense of its influence, a solemn 
sense of its responsibility. He accepted the opportunity, and 
would have accepted the presidency with all his heart and soul, 
with all his mind and strength. But he did not and could not 
do what many both in his own party and in the opposition 
wished him to do, — withdraw from the House of Representa- 
tives that he might avoid embarrassing complications. When the 
anti-third term resolution was put to vote in the House early in 
the winter of 1875-76, he was quite willing to absent himself and 
meet the not ill-humored raillery of having made public procla- 
mation of his candidacy, rather than cast a vote which seemed 
to reflect so directly on the President. But he was not willing 
to relinquish his work and retire from his post rather than run 
the risk of such complications. He would not exchange a 
present certain opportunity for a future which was only 
possibility. 



316 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Several of the Southern States were in a very unsettled con- 
dition. Arkansas was agitated almost to the point of the 
bayonet by internal political conflict. The Louisiana elec- 
tion troubles were at culmination. Mr. Kellogg and Mr. 
McEneiy were both claiming the governorship of the State. 
Behind the one were the returning board, the administration, 
and the army ; the other based his title on the popular vote. 
The administration party maintained that the honest vote 
was prevented by intimidation, and must be secured by 
federal interposition. The anti-administrationists maintained, 
on the contrary, that Louisiana votes, returned as polled under 
the State government supervision, aided by United States 
supervisors and United States troops, gave the State Legislature 
to conservatives ; that a returning board of seven men, none of 
them citizens of Louisiana, was called as a board of arbitrators 
to determine who were the men chosen by the people of that 
State to represent them in their own Legislature ; that this re- 
turning board had rejected the governor chosen by the people, 
and had installed in the Legislature Republicans who had never 
even made a contest for seats, and that these had been kept in by 
federal baj^onets. The State House was guarded and conserva- 
tive legislators were ejected by federal troops. Such a state of 
things ten years after the war was over could but be eminently 
unsatisfactory. The North no more liked to see, than the South 
to feel, United States soldiers entering a capitol, and turning 
out members of the Legislature. The aggrieved State main- 
tained that she respected the National government, but detested 
the State government as fraudulent. The President's opponents 
insisted that it was the result of his officious and unconstitu- 
tional intermeddling. The radical wing of his supporters 
affirmed that it was due to the rebellious spirit yet rampant in 
the South. The conservative wing sought to compose the 
differences and bring about a better feeling and condition, 
without antagonizing the President, or widening the party dis- 
affection. Of these Mr. Blaine was chief. 

A compromise was effected. A committee was appointed 
by the Speaker of the House, whose decision Louisiana 
promised to accept. Its final recommendation was that Kel- 
logg should be recognized as the de facto governor, that the 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 317 

errors of the Republican enrolling board should be corrected, 
and the popular branch of the Legislature given to the 
Democrats. 

Some of the spring elections were made to turn virtually on 
the third-term question, as involving the President's vindica- 
tion. New Hampshire came out strongly against third term, 
and won. In Connecticut the Republican platform contained 
a full approval of the administration, and lost. Mr. Blaine was 
reproached on the one side for giving, in his Connecticut 
speeches, an apology for the President rather than cordial sup- 
port ; and on the other side for giving, if not justification, at 
least an apology for the President. Against complaint of sec- 
tionalism he declared broadly and definitely that the sectional 
question would not cease until the Union was everywhere 
respected, the majesty of the law everywhere recognized ; until 
the rights of the humblest were everywhere conceded, and 
freedom of speech was nowhere denied; until Wendell Phillips 
and General Logan could speak as freely in Georgia as Gordon 
and Lamar in New Hampshire ; until every man entitled to 
suffrage was freely accorded the privilege of voting. He also 
took occasion to say that before the report of the House 
Committee had been received, the President had wisely and 
necessarily reached its conclusion, which was the only practi- 
cable adjustment. Any other would have involved wrong on 
one hand, anarchy on the other. 

But he declared as definitely that he had no faith in any 
special form of additional coercive legislation. He believed 
that legislation had gone as far as was prudent or promis- 
ing. He thought the time had come for reliance on other forces. 
He could not advise or consent to any interference with an 
existing State government except under the express terms of 
the Constitution and under an exigency so pressing as to in- 
volve the public safety. " What is wanted is not more law, but 
a better public opinion." 

Both sides agreed that he was right in appealing to the gen- 
eral feeling that the Democrats could not be trusted, and the 
most radical began to observe and remark with approval that 
Mr. Blaine had not condemned outside, but had labored within 
the party to correct mistakes and to prevent their repetition. 



318 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

The Civil Rights bill, characterized by its opponents as a 
bill to abolish the color line and the Federal Elections bill, by 
corresponding authority characterized as " the force bill," and 
" a bill to facilitate executive interference with elections," were 
before Congress and were discussed with great and warm in- 
terest. The Republican party was passing from power in the 
House, and the more radical Republicans deemed the enactment 
of these bills sufficiently important to justify drastic measures. 
They insisted that the Speaker should refuse to recognize the 
Democrats making dilatory motions, and should recognize only 
the Republicans who were in charge of the bills. Mr. Blaine 
maintained that the dilatory motions were perfectly in accord- 
ance with the rules of the House, and no choice was left him 
but to recognize their movers. 

The object aimed at in both bills, Mr. Blaine desired and sought, 
but he did not think it attainable in the prescribed direction. 
He believed that the two bills were an attempt to accomplish 
by legislation what legislation can never accomplish. Clearly 
seeing the great wrongs of the freedman at the hands of South- 
ern prejudice and pride, he saw as clearly that no great advan- 
tage is to be gained by legislating against human pride and 
prejudice. Always outspoken for a free and pure ballot as 
essential to the life of a republic, he had a historic patience, 
could make allowance, and strove to introduce other and varied 
interests of business and patriotism that should divert the 
thought of the South from sectional matters and enlist its own 
financial prosperity and material progress in the cause of human 
rights, thus dividing the " solid South " on non-political issues, 
making the colored vote valuable and to be sought by each 
party, rather than worthless because abhorred by both. To 
him it seemed that we were in danger of losing a practical 
advance, certified by the logic of statistics and the testimony 
of unprejudiced -observers, for a sentimental advantage that 
undoubtedly showed better on paper and rang out better in 
oratorical rhetoric and even syllogism, but left both white 
and black at the South waging their unequal and profitless 
war, — because the friction of humanity must always be allowed 
for in the working of pure logic. 

In the spring of 1874 rumors were abroad that Independent 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 319 

editors were designing to form a party by joining the hard- 
money Democrats, with Speaker Blaine for a candidate, " be- 
cause he was more popular with the Democrats than any other 
Republican ; " and again in the winter of 1874-75 a section 
of the Republican party that was impatient of slow processes 
undertook to form a new party, and endeavored to secure the 
alliance of Mr. Blaine. His unsurpassed power as a popular 
leader was everywhere recognized and acknowledged, and it 
was equally manifest that in principle he was steadfast, un- 
movable — antagonizing Republicans with promptness and effect, 
whenever necessary in the interests of good government. If 
his cooperation could be secured, it was believed that the people 
would follow ; that the new party would immediately form and 
move without halt in the right direction. 

The disaffected Republicans assembled in force in Washing- 
ton and made direct overtures to Mr. Blaine in his own house. 
He received them with his usual light-hearted cordiality and 
hospitality, conducted what could hardly be called the negotia- 
tions with abundance of argument enlivened with much illus- 
tration and anecdote ; but his opinion could not be changed or 
his course in the least degree influenced. He never for one 
moment countenanced a secession from the Republican party. 
What the " Independents " could not understand was the 
principle upon which Mr. Blaine assented and dissented. 
That on one and another point he should resist his party to 
the utmost, yet refuse to abandon it altogether, was to them 
strangely inexplicable. He was first and last in demanding a 
free vote and a fair count, and yet he had constantly, stubbornly, 
and effectually, though quietly, opposed the " force bill " with 
its extreme and dangerous power of suspending the writ of 
habeas corpus, and using the army in the suppression of vio- 
lence, without reference to the State authorities. He had cor- 
dially advocated Grant's reelection, yet was well known to be 
firmly opposed to the third term. The direct road may not be 
wholly in sight from every point upon it, but it is none the less 
the direct road. What seemed to uncomprehending observers, 
or what insincere observers chose to characterize as tereriver- 
sation, or caprice, or timidity, was the instantaneous and 
instinctive application of unchanged and unchanging principle. 



320 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Mr. Blaine, moreover, did not believe that parties are ever 
formed on Monboddo's theory of the construction of language, 
by a company of learned men assembled for the purpose. Parties 
form themselves and whirl up their own leaders in the storm. 
The Republican party had not outlived its usefulness. He held 
it to be sound at the heart — occasionally and incidentally wrong, 
substantially right. Its organization, traditions, principles, were 
too valuable to be thrown aside. He foresaw his own deposi- 
tion from the speakership, not only with tranquillity, but with 
abundant hope of greater opportunity ; of putting his hand 
more directly to the helm and heading the noble ship more 
surely on her true course. He felt no need of a new party, and 
saw no hope in leaving the old party. 

The 4th of March came, and he relinquished the chair amid 
the warmest expressions of personal regret and regard, not only 
from his own partisans, but from his comrades in the oppo- 
sition. " As a work of art," says an unemotional eye-witness, 
" his speech was perfect, but no one who reads it can appreciate 
its effect as it was delivered to the vast throng. The deep feel- 
ing which was apparent in every word and sentence aroused 
corresponding sympathy, and when he closed, threw down the 
gavel and left the chair, no such scene has been witnessed in 
the House by the oldest habitue of the Capitol." 

It was the beginning of our centennial years, and he took an 
interested part in the Concord and Lexington celebrations, 
whose patriotism could no more be chilled by the April's un- 
timely fierce cold than could the patriotism of our fathers be 
withered by the untimely heat of its predecessor one hundred 
years before. 

In October, with a small party of friends, he paid a vacation 
visit of a week of more to our British neighbors in the Provinces, 
touching all along the way, through St. John to Halifax, inspect- 
ing the Citadel, — now but a pleasant international jest, — and the 
beautiful "Bellerophon," as peaceful as a white-winged bird, but 
which might turn the jest into a sombre fact ; interchanging 
courtesies with the Provincial authorities, and building with 
swift, sure hand upon history and poetry, upon race resources 
and position, a future of fair promise. 

In December he went back to Congress to be one of the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 32i 

minority on the floor of the House, with the Democrats naturally 
exulting in their new and novel majority. 

And in one day the tide had turned, and the majority, sur- 
prised and sobered, found themselves swept on and swept under 
to a familiar but unwelcome subordinacy. 

The occasion was a quiet little Democratic attempt to un- 
settle the Louisiana settlement. The members elected to the 
House from Louisiana presented themselves for admission. 
The greater number of them held certificates from both Kellogg 
and McEnery ; one held a certificate from Kellogg alone and 
had no competitor. These were at once admitted. One, 
Frank Morey, had a certificate from Governor Kellogg, but had 
a competitor whose certificate was signed by McEnery. Hon. 
Fernando Wood moved that these contesting applications 
should be sent to the Committee on Elections for decision — 
thereby silently assuming that the governorship was still in 
question. But this apparently harmless arrangement was upset 
by Mr. Blaine the moment it was launched, with the declara- 
tion that McEnery had no more claim to be considered 
governor of Louisiana than had Mr. Wood to be governor of 
New York ; and, ably supported by Wheeler, of New York, 
who had been chairman of the House Committee on Louisiana 
Affairs, against the gentle Lamar and the witty Cox and all 
other comers, he proceeded to wrest victory from the jaws of 
defeat, till Speaker Kerr sent down to his friends on the floor 
the word of advice for withdrawal, and the experienced Mr. 
Holman led the perplexed ranks of his party, who had thought 
it incumbent upon them to follow Mr. Wood, safely back into 
camp. The Republicans were as little used to being in the 
minority as the Democrats were to being in a majority, and 
were as much astonished as their opponents to see the Demo- 
cratic party " broken in two " on their first party vote, Mr. 
Wood's budding leadership blighted, and such men as Mr. 
Lamar and Mr. Cox turned adrift, on the first day of the ses- 
sion. They took heart at once, and in the elation of their unex- 
pected triumph openly declared that " the whole conduct of 
affairs might as well be put into Blaine's hands for the winter;" 
that not only could ho be trusted to lead, but that a man who can 
" achieve the unprecedented parliamentary triumph of defeating 



322 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

and demoralizing the majority on the first day of the session, 
will be sure to shape the action of any caucus or conference, 
and can fear neither his foes of the other party nor rivals in 
his own." 

The school question, as connected with sectarianism, had 
been more than usually prominent before the country, and in 
one State at least it had been considered the pivotal point on 
which a governor — Mr. Hayes, of Ohio — was elected over 
his Democratic opponent, Mr. Allen. Mr. Blaine thought the 
matter too fundamental to be left to the varying fortunes of 
partisanship, and in October, 1875, he had written to a citizen 
of Ohio a letter whose substance was afterwards formulated in 
a constitutional amendment which should forever prohibit any 
State interference for or against an establishment of religion or 
the free exercise thereof, or any portion of the public-school 
money, whether raised by taxation or derived from any public 
funds, from being placed under the control of any religious sect 
or divided among sects or denominations. 

Another measure which the Democrats hoped to carry un- 
opposed if not unobserved in the glow of good feeling char- 
acterizing the first centennial year, Mr. Blaine promptly laid 
hold of to the advancement of public virtue and of the Repub 
lican party. 

A rebellion, never exceeded in magnitude, had been followed 
by a victory never exceeded in magnanimity. The government 
in the hands of Republicans had from time to time remitted the 
penalties of rebellion, until only about seven hundred and fifty 
men remained outside of pardon and citizenship. The last 
Congress had reported a general amnesty bill through the 
House Committee of Rules, of which the Speaker is chairman. 
Mr. Blaine had not wholly approved the bill, and had in com- 
mittee objected to certain of its features. He had, however, 
been willing that it- should be brought before the House, but had 
asked certain members to oppose it in the House and had not 
himself taken the floor against it. 

Early in the new session the Democrats, not unwilling to 
receive some small share of the glory and grace of the final 
amnesty in our centennial year, presented a bill for general am- 
nesty through Mr. Randall, of Pennsylvania, afterwards Speaker. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 823 

Mr. Blaine at once gave notice that he should offer an amend- 
ment. On the 10th of January Mr. Randall called up his bill 
relieving all persons in the United States from the disabilities 
imposed by the fourteenth article of amendment to the Con- 
stitution. Mr. Blaine at once projected his amendment, in the 
nature of a substitute, that " all persons in the United States 
under the disabilities imposed by the fourteenth amendment, 
with the exception of Jefferson Davis, late president of the so- 
called confederate States, shall be relieved of such disabilities, 
upon their appearing before any judge of a United States court, 
and taking and subscribing an oath that they will support and 
defend the Constitution of the United States, and bear true faith 
and allegiance to the same." 

The exception of one man, and the condition that those who 
wished their disabilities removed should certify their change of 
heart by swearing allegiance to the government that must re- 
move them, seems but a slight modification of the amnesty reso- 
lution, a very mild display of Republican revenge ; but it proved 
to be the little candle that lighted up the whole scene. 

Mr. Randall declined to admit the amendment to vote or de- 
bate. The Republicans refused to permit it to be summarily 
smothered, and therefore defeated the bill, which required a two- 
thirds vote. Mr. Blaine then moved to reconsider, and thus 
gained control of the bill, which he at once opened to debate 
and amendment, thereby gaining opportunity to offer his amend- 
ment as a substitute for the original bill. He then addressed 
the House, emphasizing the spirit and defining the position of 
the Republican party regarding the people of the Southern 
States : 

" Every time the question of amnesty has been brought be- 
fore the House by a gentleman on that side for the last two 
Congresses, it has been done with a certain flourish of magna- 
nimity which seems to convey an imputation on this side of the 
House. It seemed to charge the Republican party, which has 
been in control of the government for the last fifteen years, with 
being bigoted, narrow, and illiberal, grinding down certain gen- 
tlemen in the Southern States under a great tyranny, from which 
the hard-heartedness of this side of the House constantly refuses 
to relieve them. 



324 BlOGUAPIIY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" If I may anticipate as much wisdom as ought to character- 
ize the gentlemen on the other side of the House, this may be 
the last time that amnesty will be discussed in the American 
Congress. I therefore desire, and under the rules of the House, 
with no thanks to that side for the privilege, to place on record 
just what the Republican party has done in this matter. I wish 
to place it there as an imperishable record of liberality, and mag- 
nanimity, and mercy far beyond any that has ever been shown 
before in the world's history by conqueror to conquered." 

A concise review demonstrated that restoration to citizen- 
ship of those lately in rebellion had gone steadily on, till only 
about seven hundred and fifty men remained outside the par- 
don of the United States government: and that of these men 
three hundred and twenty-five were officers of the United 
States, educated at its own expense at West Point ; two hundred 
and ninety-five were officers of the navy ; the remainder were 
Senators and Representatives of the Thirty-sixth and Thirty- 
seventh Congresses, officers in the judicial service, heads of 
departments, and foreign ministers of the United States. To 
their restoration to citizenship he offered no objection. 

" All I ask is that each of these gentlemen shall show his 
good faith by coming forward and taking the oath which you 
on that side of the House and we on this side of the House take 
and gladly take. It is a very small exaction to make as a pre- 
liminary to full restoration to all the rights of citizenship. 

" In my amendment I have excepted Jefferson Davis from 
amnesty. I do not place his exclusion on the ground that Mr. 
Davis was, as he has been commonly called, the head and front 
of the Rebellion, because on that ground I do not think the 
exception would be tenable. Mr. Davis was in that respect as 
guilty, no more so, no less so, than thousands of others who 
have already received the benefit and grace of amnesty. Prob- 
ably he was far less efficient as an enemy of the United States ; 
probably lie was far more useful as a disturber of the councils 
of the confederacy, than many who have already received am- 
nesty. It is not because of any particular and special damage 
that he above others did to the Union, or because he was person- 
ally or especially of consequence, that I except him. But I 
except him on this ground : that he was the author knowingly, 



BIOGBAPHT OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 325 

deliberately, guiltily, and wilfully, of the gigantic murders and 
crimes at Anderson ville." 

He then produced in detail the awful proof of his awful ar- 
raignment, from the testimony of Democrats and Republicans, 
of Southern men and Northern men, of soldiers and the clergy ; 
testimony concerning bloodhounds set upon skeletons that 
escaped from the unspeakable horrors of Andersonville, - — tes- 
timony sworn to before Congress by a great cloud of witnesses, 
recorded in its annals, and concurred in by Democrats and by 
Republicans. All this he charged upon the deliberate knowl- 
edge and intent of Jefferson Davis, since Winder and Wirz 
were his creatures, acting under his appointment and orders, 
and even sustained by him. 

" The poor victim Wirz deserved his death for brutal treat- 
ment and murder of many victims ; but it was a weak policy on 
the part of our government to allow Jefferson Davis to go at 
large and hang Wirz. Wirz was nothing in the world but a 
mere subordinate, and there was no special reason for singling 
him out for death. I do not say he did not deserve it. He 
deserved no mercy ; but his execution seemed like skipping over 
the president, superintendent, and board of directors in the case 
of a great railroad accident and hanging the brakeman of the 
rear car. 

" There is no proposition here to punish Jefferson Davis. No- 
body is seeking to do it. That time has gone by. The statute 
of limitations, the common feelings of humanity, supervene for 
his benefit. But what you ask us to do is to declare by a vote 
of two-thirds of both branches of Congress that we consider 
Mr. Davis worthy to fill the highest offices in the United States 
if he can find a constituency to endorse him. He is already a 
voter ; he can buy and he can sell ; he can go and he can come. 
He is as free as any man in the United States. This bill pro- 
poses that Mr. Davis, by a two-thirds vote of the Senate and a 
two-thirds vote of the House, shall be declared eligible and 
worthy to fill any office up to the presidency of the United 
States. For one, upon full deliberation, I refuse my assent to 
that proposition." 

Mr. Blaine was not content with making no charge against 
the Southern people. 



326 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" I do not arraign the Southern people for these inhumanities. 
God forbid that I should charge sympathy with such wrongs 
upon the mass of any people. There were many evidences of great 
uneasiness in the South about the condition of Andersonville. 
One of the great crimes of Jefferson Davis was that, besides 
conniving at the cruelty, he concealed it from the Southern 
people. He labored not only to conceal it, but to make false 
statements about it. This is not a proposition to punish Jeffer- 
son Davis. Nobody is attempting that. But here and now I 
express my firm conviction, that there is not a government, a 
civilized government, on the face of the globe — I am very sure 
there is not a European government — that would not have 
arrested Mr. Davis at the close of the war, and when they had 
him in their power would not have tried him for maltreatment 
of the prisoners of war and shot him within thirty days. 
France, Russia, England, Germany, Austria, any one of them 
would have done it." 

"It is often said that ' we shall lift Mr. Davis again into 
great consequence by refusing him amnesty.' That is not for 
me to consider. I only see before me, when his name is pre- 
sented, a man who, by a wave of his hand, by a nod of his head, 
could have put an end to the atrocious cruelties at Andersonville. 
Some of us had kinsmen there, most of us had friends there, 
all of us had countrymen there. In the name of those kinsmen, 
friends, and countrymen I here protest, and shall with my vote 
protest, against calling back and crowning with the honors of 
full American citizenship the man who organized that murder." 

It is hardly possible to exaggerate the sensation produced by 
this speech, near and far, immediate and lasting. In the 
House the opposition raged with a violence which to the ob- 
server seemed portentous, but which now seems creditable and 
indeed inevitable. From the horror and the crime of Anderson- 
ville, the South recoiled as strongly as the North. Their hearts 
refused to receive the witness of their heads. They simply 
denied atrocities which they could neither justify nor disprove. 

The more astute saw, too, that the controversy was putting 
them terribly in the wrong before the people ; was doing them 
politically more harm than even the quiet passage of an am- 
nesty bill could have done them good. Under the goading of 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 327 

this formidable opponent, the weaker brethren were exposing 
their weakest points, making them still weaker and more de- 
fenceless. Ineffectual attempts were made to stay the torrent. 
It was doubly hard to lose a victory, so nearly ensured, by the 
sudden necessity of making a political stand on an issue im- 
moral and indefensible. 

" Has not the time of the gentleman from Maine expired ? " 
but the Speaker was obliged to answer that it had not. 

" Can he claim the floor ? " was asked when, after brief sur- 
cease, he was up again. 

" Certainly, I have the floor for an hour, and you cannot pre- 
vent it." 

u I did not ask the gentleman from Maine." 

But the Speaker, whom the questioner did ask, ruled honor- 
ably, if reluctantly, that the gentleman from Maine was in 
order. 

"Will the gentleman allow me a moment ? " he asked when 
off the floor, and " no ! no ! "came from a dozen storm-centres on 
the Democratic side of the house. 

Vainly he protested, " Do not be alarmed. I only want a 
moment." His " moments " had a terror of their own. 

Mr. Cox made a vain attempt at response, but it was perfunc- 
tory and ineffective. Mr. Hill, of Georgia, with the courage of 
despair attempted to neutralize the effect by charging that equal 
atrocities were perpetrated upon Southern prisoners at the North ; 
but Northern Democrats from the locality of the rebel prisoners 
were summoned to testify on the spot, and between two opposing 
fires, their Northern constituencies and their Southern allies, gave 
unwilling but direct testimony against an allegation so false as 
to be suicidally foolish ; while Southern Democrats were refuted 
by unexpected quotations from their own speeches in other 
halls. Angry men cried out on the floor that Mr. Blaine was 
spoiling the opportunities of the centennial year for universal 
harmony. He was like some " magician of the black art, with 
devilish incantation, calling up grim and gory spectres from the 
political inferno to mar the fair form of the festal cheer of the 
Republic." He Avas speaking out " hate and venom." He was 
"a ghoul," "a howling hyena," and other unpleasant objects 
of history and imagination. But no rage or rhetoric could 



328 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

disguise the simple fact that what he sought and all he sought 
was a prohibition of national honors for the author of crimes 
against humanity, and for the others the Divine condition of 
pardon, — the asking for it. The father went out to meet his 
prodigal son a great way off, but not while the prodigal sat 
sulking among his swine ; not till he had said, and suited the 
action to the word, " I will arise and go to my father, and will 
say unto him, Father, I have sinned." 

Two days afterwards — January 12 — General Garfield fol- 
lowed Mr. Blaine, and in his best manner, with his own indi- 
viduality and independence, defended every position that Mr. 
Blaine had taken. 

Of Mr. Hill's statement that the atrocities of Andersonville 
do not begin to compare with the atrocities of Elmira, of Fort 
Douglas, or of Fort Delaware, and that of all the atrocities, 
both at Andersonville and Elmira, the Confederate government 
stands acquitted from all responsibility and blame, — General 
Garfield said : 

" I stand in the presence of that statement with an amaze- 
ment that I am utterly incapable of expressing. I look upon 
the serene and manly face of the gentleman who uttered it, and 
I wonder what influence of the supernal or nether gods could 
have touched him with madness for the moment and led him to 
make that dreadful statement. I pause ; and I ask the three 
Democrats on this floor who happen to represent the districts 
where are located the three places named, if there be one of 
them who does not know that this charge is fearfully and awfully 
untrue ? [A pause.] Their silence answers me. They are 
strangers to me, but I know they will repel the charge with all 
the energy of their manhood." 

Mr. Blaine, resuming the floor, designated the two questions 
of our treatment of rebel prisoners and whose was the blame 
for breaking exchange as points on which General Garfield had 
left him nothing to say. " No gentleman in this House has 
answered, no gentleman can answer, one fact presented by him." 
But he pressed harder and fortified by further indisputable 
evidence, by the words of the Southern men themselves, the ter- 
rible truths which had been met only with futile denial and more 
futile resentment, and especially emphasized his citations as 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 329 

being always from Confederate, never from Union prisoners — ■ 
till the cry was repeated : 

Has not the time of the gentleman from Maine expired ? 

The Speaker (pro tempore'). — The time of the gentleman 
from Maine has not expired. 

Mr. Hancock. — He commenced ten minutes before one 
o'clock. 

Mr. Jones (of Kentucky). - — The gentleman from Maine is 
constantly violating the rales of this House. 

Mr. Blaine. — In what respect? 

The Speaker (pro tempore). — The gentleman from Kentucky 
is out of order. The Speaker of the House set the dial exactly 
at the time the gentleman from Maine commenced his speech, 
showing exactly when his hour will expire, and the present 
occupant of the chair when that time is reached will notify 
the House. 

On the 14th the Democrats attempted by a coup d'etat to 
pass their amnesty bill ; but Mr. Blaine anticipated them, 
rallied the now thoroughly aroused Republicans to their posts 
of vantage, and forced the Democrats to the necessity of oppos- 
ing in open day an amnesty , bill which gave pardon for the 
asking to every man but one, and which the Republicans would 
combine with Democrats in passing, in order to bring up a bill 
which they knew could not be passed at all ; and having mar- 
shalled all forces in full array, he dismissed them as one having 
authority : 

" I hold in my hand a letter which I endeavored to have this 
morning the poor privilege of reading, and which I could not 
get ; but again under the rules of the House, always beneficent, 
and which I have no doubt will always be beneficent as admin- 
istered by the honorable occupant of the chair, I have that 
privilege. This morning I received a letter which I commend 
to gentlemen from the South. With that fascinating eloquence 
which my friend from Massachusetts (Mr. Banks) possesses, he 
called your attention to the great value in this centennial year 
of having no man in the length and breadth of the land under 
the slightest political disabilities, and why except poor Jefferson 
Davis? I have here a letter written to me without any request, 
and, so far as I know, without any expectation that it would 



330 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

be made public ; but I am sure that even if it be a private letter 
the gentleman writing it will pardon me for reading it. 
It is as follows : 

Raleigh, N.C., January 12, 1876. 

My dear Sir : I observe there is excitement in the House on the amnesty 
proposition. 

In 1870 I was impeached and removed from office as governor of this 
State solely because of a movement which I put on foot according to the 
Constitution and the law to suppress the bloody Ku-Klux. This was done 
by the Democrats of the State, the allies, and the echoes of Northern 
Democrats. I was also disqualified by the judgment of removal from hold- 
in 2* office in this State. The Democratic Legislature of this State and its 
late constitutional convention were appealed to in vain by my friends to 
remove this disability. The late convention, in which the Democrats had 
one majority by fraud, refused by a strict party vote to remove my disa- 
bilities thus imposed ; and I am now the only man in North Carolina who 
cannot hold office. 

I think these facts should be borne in mind, when the Democrats in Con- 
gress clamor for relief to the late insurgent leaders. Pardon the liberty I 
have taken in referring to this matter, and believe me, truly, your friend, 

W. W. HOLDEN. 

Hon. James G. Blaine. 

" Gentlemen, what have you to say to that? 

" Now, I wish to make this proposition, that I may bring my 
bill before the House by unanimous consent, and I will yield to 
any gentleman to move an amendment to it. I will give to that 
side of the House all I have asked for this side. If it be 
the case that gentlemen will refuse that proposition, then it is 
because they do not want any bill passed. I am for a practi- 
cable amnesty. I am for an amnesty that will go through." 

Mr. Robbins, of North Carolina. — I object. 

Mr. Blaine. — Now, Mr. Speaker, I will end this matter, 
which I have within my power : I withdraw the motion to 
reconsider. 

And Jefferson Davis went to his grave a man without a 
country. 

Many of Mr. Blaine's political and personal friends doubted 
the wisdom of his course, — feared the stirring up of ill-feeling, 
deprecated possible consequences, did not understand how he 
who opposed the force bill could also oppose the amnesty bill. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 331 

They thought the country was " weary of strife, wanted con- 
ciliation, and not renewal of acerbity. Everybody was sick of 
the whole Southern business. The country had a chance to 
make money and wanted to be let alone." 

He was sternly warned by the Republican press that such 
movements would " lose him the presidency." In noting can- 
didates " Speaker Blaine was already counted out." " Hot corn 
was not dropped more suddenly than our candidate James G. 
Blaine." " It was smartness, but not statesmanship." It was 
hoped that " his speech on the second day would retrieve the 
errors of his first." He had not " only destroyed the centen- 
nial harmony in the land, but the centennial appropriation in 
Congress." 

But Mr. Blaine never mistook the temper and touch of the 
people. Across the leaders, athwart apparent tendencies, he 
appealed to the general sense of justice, to the conscience, 
the reason, the heart ; and the response was sure. In this case 
it was electric. The nation was tired of strife and wanted 
peace, but not with Jefferson Davis as a chief corner-stone. 
Outside of politics, regardless of parties, over all the North, in 
crowded city and remote hamlet, here, there, everywhere, was 
a father, a mother, wife, sister, daughter, in whose heart dwelt 
an undying memory, the memory of some one dearer than life, 
who had sunk in the mud of Andersonville, his only bed, and 
had died in the mud where he sank ; memories of dear ones 
who had gone out men and had returned — but let us forget. 
Jefferson Davis was not honored, and it is lawful now to 
forget. 

To these suvivors Mr. Blaine's words spoke like a voice from 
heaven. Their unspeakable sorrows were not forgotten ; their 
unspeakable wrongs were not to be whelmed in a rush even of 
centennial good feeling, and the centennial was all the more 
worth celebrating because they were not. Letters came pour- 
ing in upon Mr. Blaine. Steam was not swift enough. From 
every quarter the lightning flashed gratitude to the man who 
had touched a sacred woe with sympathetic hand. Eveiy mail 
and every minute brought messages of love and thanks. 

The echoes of disapproval had not died away before Repub- 
lican conventions began to pass resolutions denouncing Mr. 



332 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Hill and endorsing Speaker Blaine " for his noble defence in 
opposition to the amnesty bill." It began soon to be dis- 
covered by the newspapers that Mr. Blaine's great blunder in 
making the speech had been more than offset by Mr. Hill's 
monstrous errors in answering it. Then came a letter from 
Mr. Jefferson Davis, on the 27th of Januaiy, citing to an 
astonished world his " inexcusable tortures and privations at 
Fortress Munroe," the " want and suffering of men in Northern 
prisons," and the extraordinary argument that " to remove 
political disabilities, which there was not legal power to impose, 
was not an act of so much grace," and that he had been cen- 
sured " because I would not visit on the helpless prisoners in 
our hands such barbarities " as had been inflicted on Southern 
prisoners by the North. 

Then men remembered that Mr. Blaine had avowed his 
desire that the people should know the animus of these unre- 
pentant rebel leaders who were as busy as they had been 
before the war in consolidating the old slave States into one 
compact, political organization, which, with a very few votes 
from the North, should govern the country; and even those who 
had decried his appeal, declared that one-half of Davis's letter 
was taken up in showing that Blaine was right ! " It is 
Blaine's luck," was the half vexed, half admiring comment. 
" He will be marching through the country now as the cham- 
pion of disabled Union soldiers, just as he did a month ago as 
champion of public schools." He even received the tribute 
of imitation, and other men smote the same chords, but drew 
thence only a languid note and passed in music out of sight. 

Leaving the discussion to wear itself away, Mr. Blaine 
turned to other things. An irredeemable paper currency still 
seemed to many a way of escape from poverty, and the " Rag 
Baby " was fondled and scourged through the country. The 
essential nature and value of the circulating medium Mr. Blaine 
believed to be a matter about which parties should agree never 
to disagree. On the 10th of February he spoke in the House, 
arguing witli great force from the experience of the world, the 
necessity of a specie standard, a necessity which the greater 
necessity of war had temporarily overborne, and which contin- 
ued prostration of business had permitted to be overlooked. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 333 

Government notes as legal tender had been the last and suc- 
cessful resort of war ; but he demonstrated the disorder and 
disaster that must follow a reliance on an irredeemable paper 
currency as relief from business stagnation, or as anything but 
the addition of permanent confusion to whatever burden we 
might be laboring under. 

All occasion for such argument has happily long since 
passed; yet so clear in statement, so pertinent in illustration, 
so picturesque and forceful in arrangement, so vivid in style, so 
patriotic and proud was his presentation, that it can be read 
to-day with keen interest and pleasure. Amid the many inflation 
schemes fatal to both honor and prosperity, it was welcomed 
as a guiding voice on a darkened and perilous way. 

Public approval of Mr. Blaine's position on the currency was 
outspoken. Men of affairs said that while his speech on am- 
nesty appealed to patriotic sentiment, his soundness on money 
showed hard-headed business ability. Even the omniscients of 
the lecture-room and the editorial chair, who had thought his 
44 amnesty performances mere smartness," admitted this to be 
as near statesmanship as they ever allow Congressmen to 
approach. Before the month was out, the newspapers were 
declaring that " Blaine is the only one of the candidates mak- 
ing real headway." He was "popular with the people." Men 
might be never so tired of strife, never so eager to make 
money, but " Blaine is gathering in the States." When the 
" post-tradership scandals " were before Congress, " the Repub- 
licans had the best of the discussion, not because their argu- 
ments were stronger, but because Blaine, by his skilful 
leadership, persistency, and strength of lungs bore down all 
opposition. What with Ben Hill and the Rag Baby, the under- 
tow of Blaine sentiment is unmistakable." 

When the reformers put forward a bill prohibiting election 
contributions from government clerks, Mr. Blaine went a step 
further, and moved an amendment prohibiting election contribu- 
tions also from members of Congress while they were candidates 
for Congress ; but took occasion to warn the reformers that one 
or two men behind the polling-booth can do more mischief than 
a thousand bribed men can do outside. It seemed in the right 
line and harmless, and Mr. Caulfield, who had it in charge, 



334 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

permitted him to introduce it ; but evidently fearing some mys- 
terious consequence, took back his permission in a panic, and 
Mr. Blaine was forced to get possession of the bill and introduce 
his amendment as an original proposition. 

By April, palliation and modifications and secondary causes 
were thrown aside, and leading Republican journals admitted 
that Mr. Blaine had with " consummate sagacity sounded the 
key-note of his policy in his amnesty speech last winter. Many 
of his best friends then thought he had made a frightful 
blunder, but he understood the temper of the Republican 
masses better than they." And on the lines which he laid 
down that winter the victory of 1876 was won. 

The situation became to the party which had been sixteen 
years out of power, acute and critical. As the life and death 
questions of slavery and reconstruction receded, leaving victory 
with the nation, private ambitions grew more restless and party 
opposition more hopeful. The Republican State defeats of 
Grant's second term augured the possibility of a national defeat 
in 1876. But it became constantly more evident that one man 
in particular must be disabled before success could be assured. 
From party defeat as from party triumph the Democrats and the 
reformers observed with dismay that this man came out stronger 
than he went in, and that behind him followed a great admiring 
and enthusiastic army of the loyal, sturdy, controlling masses of 
the Republican party, — an army whose ranks were constantly 
swelling in numbers, in strength, in momentum. Whether it 
were the dry matters of finance or the more emotional questions 
of amnesty, or public concerns of less defined if not less impor- 
tant traits than either, mere political opposition was of no avail. 
There must be a resort to some other expedient. 

The politics of those who opposed the Republicans seemed to 
consist mainly of investigation. To justify a new party, it 
seemed necessary to demonstrate that the chief men of the old 
Republican party were scoundrels. In number and extent the 
investigations set on foot during that Democratic reform winter 
were unprecedented. Whether it was the aftermath of the 
Credit Mobilier, or whether human nature, after rising to the 
height of great questions, must, upon their settlement and with- 
drawal, react in false and feeble and futile issues, the air was 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 335 

heavy with charges and counter-charges of corruption. Mr. 
William Lloyd Garrison lifted up his voice and protested 
that the nation's work was being ever better done, and was 
laughed at for his pains by the professional reformers. From 
the Credit Mobilier storm Mr. Blaine had emerged untouched ; 
but his name had been mentioned in connection with railroads, 
and railroads had not yet been taken from the " Index Expurga- 
torius." The popular prejudice regarding railroads might yet 
be turned to account against him. 

Indefinite and anonymous but scandalous rumors began to 
steal about. On February 28, 1876, Mr. Blaine received a let- 
ter from a friend which gave them definite shape, and the 
authority of Mr. John Scott C. Harrison, of Indianapolis, a 
government director of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, 
a road which derived its franchises from the national govern- 
ment. This story was that shortly after Mr. Harrison became a 
director, he found seventy-five worthless bonds of the Little 
Rock and Fort Smith Railroad among the assets of the com- 
pany. Upon inquiry, he learned that the company, in return for 
a favor done it by Mr. James G. Blaine, a member of Con- 
gress, had loaned him 164,000, had accepted his worthless bonds 
as security, and that Mr. Blaine had never repaid the loan. 
The draft had been ordered on motion of Thomas Scott, presi- 
dent of the road, and was made payable to the order of Morton, 
Bliss, & Co., New York. This information Mr. Harrison re- 
ceived from Mr. Rollins, an officer of the company. Such, with 
many variations and details, was the substance of the rumors. 
The favor for which Mr. Blaine received the 164,000 was not 
stated, but the implication was of corrupt legislation. 

This letter Mr. Blaine answered with a denial of the whole 
statement so far as it concerned himself ; but no private denial 
could make headway against a tale intended for public cir- 
culation. On April 11 an Indianapolis newspaper opened 
its columns formally to the charge, unwittingly revealing the 
animus of the attack in the first sentence : " A prominent 
banker of this city is in possession of a secret, the exposure of 
which will forever blast the prospects of a certain candidate for 
the presidency." 

As Mr. Blaine did not immediately reply, the utterers of 



336 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

the tale began to demand that Mr. Blaine ask an immediate 
investigation, and to threaten that " if he does not, J. S. C. Har- 
rison will go before the Judiciary Committee of the House as 
government director of the road and demand an immediate 
investigation ; " and when a week had passed some not perhaps 
so unfriendly as timid observers began to fear that " Blaine had 
made a mistake in not asking an investigation." 

Mr. Blaine had his own way of meeting these rumors. His 
private letter of denial had been enough to meet honest doubt. 
To the public charge he made public answer in the full House 
of Representatives, not demanding investigation, but bringing 
proof that defied investigation. 

It was on the 24th of April, a rainy and dismal day, but the 
House was crowded. Mr. Blaine read his speech from manuscript. 

Mr. Blaine. — Mr. Speaker, with the leave of the House, so 
kindly granted, I shall proceed to submit certain facts and cor- 
rect certain errors personal to myself. The dates of the corre- 
spondence embraced in my statement will show that it was 
impossible for me to make it earlier. I will be as brief as 
the circumstances shall permit. For some months past a charge 
against me .has been circulating in private, and was recently 
made public, designing to show that I had, in some indirect 
manner, received the large sum of $ 64,000 from the Union 
Pacific Railroad Company in 1871, — for what services or for 
what purposes has never been stated. The alleged proof of this 
serious accusation was based, according to the original story, 
upon the authority of E. H. Rollins, treasurer of the Union 
Pacific Company, who, it was averred, had full knowledge that 
I got the money ; and also upon the authority of Morton, Bliss, 
& Co., bankers of New York, through whom the draft for 
164,000 was said to have been negotiated for my benefit, as they 
confidentially knew. Hearing of this charge some weeks in 
advance of its publication, I procured the following statement 
from the two principal witnesses who were quoted as having 
such definite knowledge against me: 

Union Pacific Railroad Company, 
Boston, March 31, 187G. 
Dear Sir : In response to your inquiry, I beg leave to state that I have 
been treasurer of the Union Pacific Railroad Company since April 8, 1871, 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 337 

and have necessarily known of all disbursements made since that date. 
During that entire period, up to the present time, I am sure that no money 
has been paid in any way or to any person by the company in which you 
were interested in any manner whatever. 

I make this statement in justice to the company, to you, and to myself. 

Very respectfully yours, 

E. H. Rollins. 
Hon. James G. Blaine. 

New York, April 6, 1876. 
Dear Sir : In answer to your inquiry we beg to say that no draft, note, 
or check, or other evidence of value, has ever passed through our books in 
which you were known or supposed to have any interest of an} T kind, 
direct or indirect. 

We remain, very respectfully, your obedient servants, 

Morton, Bliss, & Co. 
Hon. James G.Blaine, 

Washington, D.C. 

Some persons on reading the letter of Morton, Bliss, & Co. 
said that its denial seemed to be confined to any payment 
that had passed through their " books," whereas they might 
have paid a draft in which I was interested and yet no entry of 
it made on their "books." On this criticism being made known 
to the firm, they at once addressed me the following letter: 

New York, April 13, 1876. 

Dear Sir : It has been suggested to us that our letter of the 6th instant was 
not sufficiently inclusive or exclusive. In that letter we stated " that no 
draft, note, or check, or other evidence of value, has ever passed through 
our books in which you were known or supposed to have any interest, direct 
or indirect." It may be proper for us to add that nothing has been paid by 
us, in any form or at any time, to any person or any corporation, in which 
you were known, believed, or supposed to have any interest whatever. 
We remain, very respectfully, your obedient servants, 

Morton, Bliss, & Co. 
Hon. J. G. Blaine, 

Washington, D.C. 

The two witnesses quoted for the original charge having thus 
effectually disposed of it, the charge itself reappeared in an- 
other form, to this effect, namely, that a certain draft was 



338 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

negotiated at the house of Morton, Bliss, & Co., in 1871, through 
Thomas A. Scott, then president of the Union Pacific Railroad 
Company, for the sum of $ 64, 000, and that $75,000 of the bonds 
of the Little Rock and Forth Smith Railroad Company were 
pledged as collateral ; that the Union Pacific Company paid the 
draft and took up the collateral ; that the cash proceeds of it 
went to me, and that I had furnished, or sold, or in some way 
conveyed or transferred to Thomas A. Scott these Little Rock 
and Fort Smith bonds which had been used as collateral ; that 
the bonds in reality had belonged to me or some friend or con- 
stituent of mine for whom I was acting. I endeavor to state 
the charge in its boldest form and in all its phases. 

I desire here and now to declare that all and every part of 
this story that connects my name with it is absolutely untrue, 
without one particle of foundation in fact, and without a tittle 
of evidence to substantiate it. I never had any transaction of 
any kind with Thomas A. Scott concerning bonds of the Little 
Rock and Fort Smith road or the bonds of any other railroad, 
or any business in any way connected with railroads, directly 
or indirectly, immediately or remotely. I never had any busi- 
ness transaction whatever with the Union Pacific Railroad 
Company or any of its officers or agents or representatives, and 
never in any manner received from that company, directly or 
indirectly, a single dollar in money, or stocks, or bonds, or any 
other form of value. And as to the particular transaction re- 
ferred to, I never so much as heard of it until nearly two years 
after its alleged occurrence, when it was talked of at the time 
of the Credit Mobil ier investigation in 1873. But, while my 
denial ought to be conclusive, I should greatly regret to be com- 
pelled to leave the matter there. I am fortunately able to sus- 
tain my own declaration by the most conclusive evidence that 
the case admits of or that human testimony can supply. If any 
person or persons Juiow the truth or falsity of these charges, it 
must be the officers of the Union Pacific Railroad Company. I 
accordingly addressed a note to the president of that company, 
a gentleman who has been a director of the company from its 
organization, I believe, and who has a more thorough acquaint- 
ance with its business transactions probably than any other 
man. The correspondence which I here submit will explain 






BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 339 

itself, and leaves nothing to be said. I will read the letters in 
their proper order. They need no comment : 

Washington, D.C., April 13, 1876. 
Dear Sir : You have doubtless observed the scandal now in circulation 
in regard to my having been interested in certain bonds of the Little Rock 
and Fort Smith road, alleged to have been purchased by your company in 
1871. 

It is due to me, I think, that some statement in regard to the subject 
should be made by yourself as the official head of the Union Pacific Rail- 
road Company. 

Very respectfully, 

J. G. Blaine. 
Sidney Dillon, Esq., 

President Union Pacific Railroad Company. 

Office Union Pacific Railroad Company, 

New York, April 15, 1876. 
Dear Sir: I have your favor of the 13th instant, and in reply desire 
to say that I have this day written Col. Thomas A. Scott, who was presi- 
dent of the Union Pacific Railroad Company at the time of the transaction 
referred to, a letter of which I send a copy herewith. On receipt of his 
reply I will enclose it to you. 

Very respectfully, 

Sidney Dillon, President. 
Hon. James G. Blaine, 

Washington, D.C. 

Office of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, 

New York, April 15, 1876. 
Dear Sir : The press of the country are making allegations that cer- 
tain bonds of the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad, purchased by the 
Union Pacific Railroad Company in 1871, were obtained from Hon. James 
(J. Blaine, of Maine, or that the avails in some form went to his benefit, 
and that the knowledge of these facts rests with the officers of the com- 
pany and with yourself. 

These statements are injurious both to Mr. Blaine and to the Union 
Pacific Railroad Company. There were never any facts to warrant them, 
and I think that a statement to the public is due both from you and myself. 
I desire, as president of the company, to repel any such inference in the 
most emphatic manner, and would be glad to hear from you on the subject. 

Very respectfully, 

Sidney Dillon, President. 
Col. Thomas A. Scott, 

Philadelphia, Perm. 



340 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Office Union Pacific Railroad Company, 
New York, April 22, 1876. 
Dear Sir : As I advised you some days ago, I wrote Col. Thomas 
A. Scott, and beg leave to enclose you his reply. 

I desire further to say that I was a director of the company and a mem- 
ber of the executive committee in 1871, and to add my testimony to that of 
Colonel Scott's in verification of all that he has stated in the enclosed 
letter. 

Truly yours, 

Sidney Dillon, President. 
Hon. James G. Blaine, 

Washington, D.C. 

Philadelphia, April 21, 1876. 

My dear Sir : I have your letter, under date New York, April 15, 
1876. . . . 

In reply, I beg leave to say that, much as I dislike the idea of entering 
into any of the controversies that are before the public in these days of 
scandal, from which but few men in public life seem to be exempt, I feel 
it my duty to state : 

That the Little Rock and Fort Smith bonds purchased by the Union 
Pacific Railroad Company in 1871 were not purchased or received from 
Mr. Blaine, directly or indirectly, and that of the money paid by the 
Union Pacific Railroad Company, or of the avails of said bonds, not one 
dollar went to Mr. Blaine, or to any person for him, or for his benefit in 
any form. 

All statements to the effect that Mr. Blaine ever had any transactions 
with me, directly or indirectly, involving money or valuables of any kind, 
are absolutely without foundation in fact. 

I take pleasure in making this statement to you, and you may use it in 

any manner you deem best for the interest of the Union Pacific Railroad 

Company. 

Very truly yours, 

Thomas A. Scott. 
Sidney Dillon, Esq., 

President Union Pacific Railroad Company, New York. 

This closes the testimony I have wished to offer. 

Several newspapers — some of them, doubtless, from friendly 
motives — have urged that I should ask for a committee to in- 
vestigate these charges. I might have done that and awaited 
the delay and slow progress that inevitably attend all congres- 
sional investigations. Three and a half years ago I moved a 
committee to investigate the Credit Mobilier charges, and 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 341 

though every particle of proof, in complete exculpation of my- 
self, was before the committee in thirty-six hours after its first 
meeting, I was compelled to wait for more than two months, 
indeed seventy full days, before I got a public report exonerat- 
ing and vindicating me from the charges. If I had asked for 
a committee to investigate the pending matter, I should have 
been compelled to wait its necessarily slow action, with the 
charge all the while hanging over me, undenied and unanswered ; 
and, pending the proceedings of an investigation which I had 
myself asked, propriety would have forbidden my collecting 
and publishing the decisive proofs which I have now submitted. 
For these reasons I have deemed that the shortest and most ex- 
peditious mode of vindication was the one which I was bound 
to choose by every consideration of myself personally and of my 
official relations. I have not omitted the testimony of a single 
material witness to the transaction on which the accusation 
against me is based, and unlesss I misapprehend the scope and 
force of the testimony it leaves no charge against me. In any 
and all events, I am ready to submit the whole matter to the 
candid judgment of the House and the country ; and if the 
House thinks the matter should be further inquired into, I beg 
to express my entire readiness to give all the assistance in my 
power to make the investigation as thorough, as rigid, and as 
impartial as possible. 

To give a seeming corroboration or foundation to the story 
which I have disproved, the absurd rumor has lately appeared 
in certain newspapers that I was the owner of from 1150,000 to 
1250,000 of the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad bonds, 
which I received without consideration, and that it was from 
these bonds that Thomas A. Scott received his $75,000. The 
statement is gratuitously and utterly false. No responsible 
author appears anywhere for this unfounded story, but in dis- 
missing it I desire to make the following explicit statement : 
More than twenty-three years ago, in the closing days of Mr. 
Fillmore's administration, the government granted to the State 
of Arkansas some public, lands within its own limits to be ap- 
plied to the construction of railroads in that State. The Legis- 
lature of Arkansas incorporated the Little Rock and Fort Smith 
Railroad Company the same year, and gave; to the company a 



342 BIOGBAPHT OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

portion of the lands it had received from the general govern- 
ment to aid in the construction of the road — about five thou- 
sand acres to the mile, I think. But the company were unable 
to raise any money for the enterprise, though they made the 
most strenuous efforts, and when the war broke out in 1861 — 
eight years after the State had given the lands to the company 
■ — not a mile of the road was built. Of course nothing was 
done during the war. After the war all the grants of land 
previously made to the Southern States, were renewed in gross 
in the session of 1865-66. The Little Rock and Fort Smith 
Company again received a grant from the State, and again tried 
to raise money to build their road; but 1865, 1866, and 1867 
passed without their getting a dollar. Finally, toward the close 
of 1868, a company of Boston gentlemen, representing consider- 
able capital, undertook its construction. In raising the requisite 
means they placed the bonds of the road on the New England 
market in the summer of 1869, offering them on terms which 
seemed very favorable to the purchaser, and offering them at a 
time when investments of this kind were fatally popular. In 
common with hundreds of other people in New England and 
other parts of the country, I bought some of these bonds, — not 
a very large amount, — p a y m g for them at precisely the same 
rate that others paid. I never heard, and do not believe, that 
the Little Rock Company — which I know is controlled by 
highly honorable men — ever parted with a bond to any person 
except at the regular price fixed for their sale. The enterprise, 
though apparently very promising, proved unsuccessful, as so 
many similar projects did about the same time. I lost a con- 
siderable sum of money (over $20,000) by my investment, and 
I presume New England made a net loss of $2, 000,000 in com- 
pleting that road for Arkansas, as she has lost over one hundred 
million by similar ventures West and South within the last 
twelve years. In. addition to my investment in the bonds I 
united with others in raising some money for the company when 
it met its first financial troubles. Proceedings are now pending 
in the United States Circuit Court in Arkansas, to which I am 
a party of record, for the reimbursement of the money so 
advanced. All the bonds which I ever purchased I continued 
to hold ; and when the company was reorganized in 1871, I 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 343 

exchanged them for stock and bonds in the new concern, which 
I still own. My whole connection with the road has been open 
as the day. If there had been anything to conceal about it I 
should never have touched it. Wherever concealment is desir- 
able avoidance is advisable, and I do not know any better test 
to apply to the honor and fairness of a business transaction. 

As to the question of propriety involved in a member of 
Congress holding an investment of this kind, it must be re- 
membered that the lands were granted to the State of Arkansas, 
and not to the railroad company, and that the company derived 
its life, franchise, and value wholly from the State. And to the 
State the company is amenable and answerable, and not in any 
sense to Congress. Since I purchased the bonds but one act of 
Congress has passed in any way touching the subject, and that 
was merely to rectify a previous mistake in legislation. I take 
it, when any security, from government bonds to town script, 
is offered at public sale to anyone who can pay for it, every 
American citizen is free to buy. If you exclude a Representa- 
tive from the investment on the ground that in some secondary 
or remote way the legislation of Congress has affected or may 
affect the value of the article, then yOu exclude every man on 
this floor, not only from holding a government bond or a share 
in a national bank, but also from owning a flock of sheep, or a 
field of hemp, or a tobacco plantation, or a cotton-mill, or an 
iron-furnace ; all for these interests are vitally affected by the 
tariff legislation on which we vote at every session, and of which 
an important measure is even now pending in the Committee 
of the Whole. In the seven intervening years since the Little 
Rock and Fort Smith bonds were placed on the market, I know 
few investments that have not been more affected by the legis- 
lation of Congress. But this case does not require to be 
shielded by any such comparisons or citations, for I repeat 
that the Little Rock road derived all it had from the State of 
Arkansas, and not from Congress. It was in the discretion of 
Congress to give or withhold from the State, but it was solely 
in the discretion of the State to give or withhold from the 
Little Rock Railroad Company. 

When the Little Rock road fell into the financial troubles 
of which I have spoken, there were certain interests connected 



344 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

with it that were under peculiarly pressing embarrassment and 
that needed relief. There had been at different times very con- 
siderable talk about inducing the Atlantic and Pacific road — 
which on its southern branch was to be a connecting line east 
and west with the Little Rock and Fort Smith, and the Mis- 
souri, Kansas, and Texas road, which would be a connecting 
line both north and south at the point of junction — to aid the 
Little Rock and Fort Smith enterprise by taking some of its 
securities, — a practice very common among connecting roads. 
To both these roads the completion of the Little Rock road was 
of very great importance. Accordingly, in the spring of 1871, 
when only one coupon had been passed by the Little Rock 
Company on one series of its bonds and none passed on the 
other, and when there was sanguine hope of getting the enter- 
prise on its feet again, the Atlantic and Pacific Company took 
one hundred thousand of its bonds and one hundred thousand 
of its stock for the gross sum of 179,000 ; and the Missouri, 
Kansas, and Texas, if I remember correctly, took half the 
amount at the same rate. This was done not for the corpora- 
tion itself, but for an interest largely engaged in the construc- 
tion of the road. With the circumstances attending the 
negotiation with the Atlantic and Pacific road I was entirely 
familiar, and with several of its officers I have long been well 
acquainted. I also knew all about the negotiation with the 
Missouri, Kansas, and Texas road, though I never to my knowl- 
edge saw any of its officers, and never had an interview with 
any of them on any subject. But in the case of both roads, I 
desire to say that the bonds sold to them did not belong to me, 
nor did I have one dollar's pecuniary interest in the whole 
transaction with either company. 

The infamous insinuation, made in certain quarters, that I 
engaged to use my influence in Congress for the Atlantic and 
Pacific road and also for the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas in 
consideration of their purchasing these securities, hardly merits 
notice. The officers and directors of both companies, so far as 
I have known the one and heard of the other, are high-minded, 
honorable gentlemen, and they would have justly spurned 
me from their presence had I been willing to submit an offer 
so dishonorable and mutually degrading. I had no pecuniary 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 345 

stake in the negotiation, and I should have loved infamy for 
infamy's sake had I bartered my personal and official honor in 
the transaction. And I am sure that every man connected with 
either company would repel the dishonoring suggestion as 
warmly as I do myself. The whole affair had no more connec- 
tion with congressional legislation than any one of the ten 
thousand similar transactions that are constantly occurring in. 
the business world. 

Of a like character with the insinuation just answered is that 
which, in an irresponsible and anonymous way, attempts to con- 
nect the ownership of Little Rock and Fort Smith bonds with 
the legislation of last winter respecting the State government of 
Arkansas. There are some accusations which it is difficult to 
repel with, sufficient force because of their mixture of absurdity, 
depravity, and falsehood. I never heard this stupid slander 
until within a few days, and I venture to say there is not a 
responsible man in the country of the slightest sense who can 
discern the remotest connection between the two things that 
are alleged to have an intimate and infamous relation. 

Let me now, Mr. Speaker, briefly summarize what I have pre- 
sented : 

First, that the story of my receiving $64,000 or any other sum 
of money or other thing of value from the Union Pacific Rail- 
road Company, directly or indirectly, or in any form, for myself 
or for another, is absolutely disproved by the most conclusive 
testimony. 

Second, that no bond of mine was ever sold to the Atlantic 
and Pacific, or the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad Com- 
pany, and that not a single dollar of money from either of those 
companies ever went to my profit or benefit. 

Third, that instead of receiving bonds of the Little Rock and 
Fort Smith road as a gratuity, I never had one except at the 
regular market price, and that instead of making a large fortune 
out of that company I have incurred a severe pecuniary loss 
from my investment in its securities which I still retain. 

I can hardly expect that any statement from me will stop the 
work of those who have so industriously circulated these calum- 
nies. For months past the effort has been energetic and contin- 
uous to spread these stories in private circles. Emissaries of 



346 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

slander have visited the editorial rooms of leading Republican 
papers from Boston to Omaha, and whispered of revelations to 
come that were too terrible even to be spoken in loud tones. 
And at last the revelations have been made ! 

I am now, Mr. Speaker, in the fourteenth year of a not inac- 
tive service in this hall. I have taken and have given blows. 
I have, no doubt, said many things in the heat of debate which 
I would now gladly recall. I have, no doubt, given votes 
which in fuller light I would gladly change. But I have never 
done anything in my public career for which I could be put 
to the faintest blush in any presence, or for which I cannot 
answer to my constituents, my conscience, and the great 
Searcher of hearts. 

To all right-thinking men, the answer was sufficient ; the case 
was concluded. The most captious reformer was constrained 
to admit that " Mr. Blaine stands fully acquitted before the peo- 
ple," venturing to add only the suggestion that it would have 
" greatly strengthened Mr. Blaine's explanation and denial if he 
could have submitted facts showing precisely to whom or for 
what purpose the sum of $64,000 for some worthless Arkansas 
railroad bonds was paid." 

But as doubt was not the beginning of the attack, refutation 
was not necessarily the end. The point was not to dismiss 
charges which could not be proved, but to keep alive charges 
which had been disproved, until after the meeting of the National 
Republican Convention in June, which was to nominate a can- 
didate for the presidency. This might be accomplished by the 
mere institution of a congressional investigation, which there 
was no difficulty in procuring from a Democratic House. On 
May 2 a resolution was adopted instructing the judiciary com- 
mittee to inquire if any such transaction took place, and if 
so, whether the transaction was from corrupt design, and avIio 
were the guilty persons. Mr. Tarbox, of Massachusetts, who 
fathered the resolution, had previously distinguished himself by 
surreptitiously obtaining and using in the House the text of Mr. 
Blaine's speech on the currency before it was delivered, to the 
great displeasure of all honorable men, especially among his 
Democratic allies. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 347 

The investigation was opened on May 15th. It may be 
mentioned as indicative of the level of Mr. Blaine's opponents 
that on the same morning the old charge of Credit Mobilier 
days regarding the Kansas Pacific bonds, which had been aban- 
doned as " a case of brothers," reappeared in long columns of 
the newspapers, rearranged as a fresh and fatal discovery. A 
development of the fatuity of malice it proved to be, for Mr. 
Stuart trampled it to a second death five days after. 

Mr. Blaine was present at the investigation, surrounded by 
watchful and alert friends, as well as by eager political oppo- 
nents ; but he permitted nothing to escape him. Every weak 
point was brought out by skilful question or pregnant remark. 
All the material facts which he had stated to the House were 
repeated as sworn testimony before the committee. Mr. Morton, 
of the firm of Morton, Bliss, & Co., and Mr. Sidney Dillon, the 
president, took oath to the purport of their letters, and swore 
that they had never heard Mr. Blaine's name in connection with 
the $64,000. 

Mr. Rollins, who had been made responsible for the story, sup- 
ported his letter by his oath, but admitted that he might at 
some time long ago have said that the bonds were Mr. Blaine's, 
though he had no remembrance of saying so, and not the 
slightest reason for thinking so. 

Mr. John Scott C. Harrison under oath knew nothing but what 
Mr. Rollins had told him. Mr. Carnegie, a member of the 
Union Pacific and of the executive committee, who transacted 
a great deal of President Scott's business for him, testified that 
he had never heard Mr. Blaine's name in connection with the 
164,000. 

Crowning all this conclusive, sufficient, but negative testi- 
mony came positive testimony in the sworn statement of Mr. 
Thomas A. Scott, that the $64,000 Little Rock and Fort Smith 
bonds were his, that he had received them from Mr. Josiah Cald- 
ivell, who ivas constructing the road, and that he had sold them to 
the company at a higher than the market price, as compensation 
for extraordinary services rendered the road as its president ! 

At this point Mr. Blaine claimed that he was entitled to 
have judgment on the $64,000 bonds. Mr. Lawrence, the only 



348 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

member of the sub-committee who had not been in the rebel 
ranks, declared that the investigation had utterly failed to put 
guilt on Mr. Blaine, and that no suspicion attached to him. 

All in vain. The New York convention, which had met at 
Syracuse on the 25th of March, had developed a suspicion that 
it held two Blaine votes for every Conkling vote. New Hamp- 
shire had spoken unmistakably for Blaine. The delegations 
continued to " come in for Blaine." The investigation must 
go on. 

The evidence was in. All that remained was babble, which 
can, doubtless, be found in the chronicles of that day by all 
who desire it. To most of this Mr. Blaine listened with 
varying degrees of disgust and contempt, which he was not 
always careful to conceal. The testimony before the committee 
was so frivolous on the one side, so conclusive on the other, 
that no reason appeared for not bringing in the report, and Mr. 
Blaine was publicly congratulated on his successful defence, 
exactly as if a just report had been rendered. 

There remained only two weeks to the national convention. 
The Illinois convention was overwhelmingly for Blaine ; 
there was a spontaneous outburst for him in Missouri, and 
on June 1st Iowa declared for Blaine. 

There began to be whisperings in the underworld that Mr. 
Blaine might be implicated in corrupt legislation with the 
Northern Pacific Railroad. Mr. Blaine answered simply : " From 
first to last in all the legislation touching Pacific railroads, I 
never had an interest of a penny in one of them nor in any of 
their branches, directly or indirectly." 

Idle words for beasts of prey. 

A final deadly blow was heralded. An incriminating letter 
existed. Witnesses were coming from Boston who would show 
not only that Mr. Blaine was implicated in Northern Pacific 
bribery, but that. he had been the owner of the $64,000 bonds. 
These witnesses proved to be Mr. Elisha Atkins, Mr. Warren 
Fisher, and Mr. James Mulligan. Mr. Atkins was a director of 
the Union Pacific road. With Mr. Fisher Mr. Blaine had 
been connected in Little Rock and Fort Smith and some other 
investments. Their relations had been friendly until the ter- 
mination of the business connection, which had long ceased 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 349 

to be satisfactory to Mr. Blaine. Mr. Mulligan had once been 
the clerk of Mr. Blaine's brother-in-law, Mr. Jacob Stan wood, 
in Boston, and afterwards of Mr. Fisher. With Mulligan Mr. 
Blaine was so slightly and remotely associated, that when on 
May 29 a telegram from Boston told him that Mulligan was 
on the way to Washington with hostile intentions, and a 
member of his family asked him what the telegram meant, he 
only answered carelessly, " I am sure I do not know ! " 

It was soon reported that Mr. Mulligan had private letters 
from Mr. Blaine to Mr. Fisher during the time when they had 
common interests. Mr. Blaine was incredulous, as there had 
been the understanding, frequent at the closing of business 
transactions, that correspondence should be destroyed. It was 
of no special importance, and Mr. Blaine had left the arrange- 
ment to complete itself. He promptly sent a servant to their 
hotel asking Mr. Fisher and Mr. Mulligan to come to his 
house. Mr. Fisher came alone, and upon questioning him Mr. 
Blaine learned that an indefinite number of his letters had not 
been destroyed, and were in Mulligan's possession by Mr. 
Fisher's own act. 

The three witnesses appeared before the committee. The 
testimony of Mr. Atkins and Mr. Fisher was entirely negative. 
Neither knew of any such transactions as were alleged. Mr. 
Mulligan was equally uninformed, except that he had understood 
Mr. Atkins to say that seventy-five bonds went from Mr. 
Blaine to Mr. Scott and were " worked off" upon the Union 
Pacific ; " but he knew nothing about it himself. Mr. Atkins 
testified without delay that he never said it to Mr. Mulligan, 
but that Mr. Mulligan said it to him ! Mr. Atkins testified 
also that Mr. Mulligan had a grudge against Mr. Blaine — 
thought Mr. Blaine did not treat him right many years ago in 
the settlement of the estate of his brother-in-law, Stanwood; 
said, " Mr. Blaine went back on him." 

While the committee was hearing this testimony, as it must 
be called, Mr. Blaine sat in the committee-room, lost in 
thought, communicating with no one, every feature drooping, 
presenting to the observer an appearance of deep melancholy. 
It was an attitude perfectly familiar to his intimates, and meant 
only abstraction. Often when thinking, his soul seemed 



350 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

drawn away, leaving his face inert, vacant. He was utterly 
unable to pose for effect, or to consider how he was appearing. 
In a committee crowded with alert foes and newsgatherers, this 
change from his usual intent attention was almost embarrassing 
to his friends. 

In truth Mr. Blaine was not so much interested in the testi- 
mony or in the committee, as in his own letters so treacherously 
manipulated. 

As soon as he had decided what to do, he quietly secured an 
adjournment. His course was, as always, the straightforward 
one. As Mulligan would not come to him, he went to Mul- 
ligan, and asked from him the surrender of the letters. Mr. 
Mulligan refused. Mr. Blaine attempted reasoning, but to 
that Mr. Mulligan was impervious. He took the position that 
the private letters of a public man are public, and doggedly 
insisted that he should retain the letters and publish them at 
his pleasure either before or after the investigation. Mr. Blaine 
suggested that Mulligan return them to Mr. Fisher, who was 
present, and who alone besides himself had right to them. But 
Mr. Fisher declined to receive them, and directed Mulligan to 
give them to Mr. Blaine. Mulligan declared that "he would 
not give them up to God Almighty or His Father." 

Whereupon, without further parley, Mr. Blaine took the let- 
ters, calling upon Mr. Fisher and Mr. Atkins to witness his act. 

Returning home he at once sent for two friends from the 
House and requested their inspection of the letters. 

The next morning Mr. Mulligan appeared before the com- 
mittee and gave them an account of the interview, reducing it 
to his own level in the narration. The Democratic element in 
the committee- tried to get at the contents of the letters. Mr. 
Blaine demanded to be heard before they went into his private 
letters. Mr. Frye, of the minority, ijrotested that there was no 
rule of law by which the witness could be interrogated at this 
point regarding the contents of the letters. Mr. Hunton (of 
Virginia) was frank enough to admit that " this committee is 
not governed by the ordinary rules of law," and Mr. Mulligan 
was induced to swear that the bonds which Mr. Caldwell sold to 
Mr. Scott were the bonds that he had received from Mr. Blaine, 
and that Mr. Blaine had acknowledged it in his own letter. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 351 

When at length Mr. Blaine was permitted to testify, he gave 
a full account of the circumstances attending his seizure of the 
letters, pronounced Mulligan's detention of them illegal, took 
his stand on his rights as a citizen, and declined to yield the let- 
ters to the committee. He informed them that he had consulted 
friends, should submit the letters to counsel, and be guided by 
their advice ; but at present he refused to yield the letters. 

The next morning he submitted the written opinion of the 
Hon. J. S. Black, of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, and Senator 
Matt. H. Carpenter, of Wisconsin, a Republican, and it was 
read in committee. 

Washington, June 2, 1876. 

The Hon. James G. Blaine has laid before us fifteen letters written by 
him to Warren Fisher, Jr., between the years 1864 and 1872 inclusive, and 
three other papers in the same package — making eighteen papers in all — 
which he informs us he received from James Mulligan on the 31st of May, 
1876, at the Riggs House, in the city of Washington. We have carefully 
examined these letters and papers at Mr. Blaine's request, with intent to 
ascertain whether they relate to the subject-matter which the Judiciary 
Committee of the House of Representatives are authorized to inquire into 
by resolution of the House, passed May 2, 1876. 

We do not hesitate to say that the letters and papers aforesaid have no 
relevancy whatever to the matter under inquiry. We have no doubt the 
committee itself would decide the question of their relevance the same 
way. As a result of this it follows that Mr. Blaine having the letters and 
papers in his possession is not bound to surrender them. Referring to Mr. 
Blaine's private affairs, and being wholly beyond the range of the investi- 
gation which the committee is authorized to make, it would be most unjust 
and tyrannical as well as illegal to demand their production. We advise 
Mr. Blaine to assert his right as an American citizen, and resist any such 
demand to the last extremity. 

(Signed) J. S. Black, 

Matt. II. Carpenter, 

Counsellors at Law. 

The committee were at their wits' end. Not only were the let- 
ters, from which they had expected so much, in Mr. Blaine's actual 
and legal possession, with no means in sight by which he 
could be dispossessed, but there was this irrefutable evidence 
that the letters were not relevant. The sub-committee referred 
the situation to the Judiciary Committee, on Saturday, June 
3d. After much vain attempt to grapple with it themselves, 



352 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Mr. Scott Lord proposed to bring it before the House for deci- 
sion ; but his proposition was vigorously rejected, one member 
remarking that though they did not know what to do, they 
knew what not to do, and that was, " not to have Blaine cavort- 
ing round on the floor of the House." After protracted and 
perplexed discussion, the matter was postponed to Tuesday, 
June 6th. But the committee gave no sign that they would 
render a report. The three witnesses — Atkins, Mulligan, and 
Fisher — were discharged, and by night it became known that 
the committee would not bring the question before the House. 

Then Mr. Blaine determined that he would. The committee 
had postponed all consideration of the matter till Tuesday, 
June 6th. Mr. Blaine resolved to consider it on Monday, June 
5th. After the morning hour, the Geneva Award bill was 
in order, but Mr. Blaine claimed the floor on a question of 
privilege. 

As soon as the word " Blaine is up " went through the Capi- 
tol the galleries, the aisles, the floor of the House, the corri- 
dors filled. Ail the door-ways were bulging out with men who 
by no possibility could hear anything more than the tones of a 
voice and the swell of applause ; but the spirit of the occasion 
held them fast. 

Mr. Blaine. — If the morning hour has expired, I will rise 
to a question of privilege. 

The Speaker (pro tempore^). — The morning hour has 
expired. 

Mr. Blaine. — Mr. Speaker, on the 2d day of May this 
resolution was passed by the House : 

Whereas it is publicly alleged, and is not denied by the officers of the 
Union Pacific Railroad Company, that that corporation did, in the year 
1871 or 1872, become the owner of certain bonds of the Little Rock and 
Fort Smith Railroad Company, for which bonds the said Union Pacific 
Railroad Company paid a consideration largely in excess of their actual 
or market value, and that the board of directors of said Union Pacific 
Railroad Company, though urged, have neglected to investigate said 
transaction: Therefore, 

Be it resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to in- 
quire if any such transaction took place, and, if so, what were the circum- 
stances and inducements thereto, from what person or persons said bonds 
were obtained and upon what consideration, and whether the transaction 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 353 

was from corrupt design or in furtherance of any corrupt object ; and that 
the committee have power to send for persons and papers. 

That resolution on its face, and in its fair intent, was 
obviously designed to find out whether any improper thing had 
been done by the Union Pacific Railroad Company ; and of 
course, incidentally thereto, to find out with whom the transac- 
tion was made. The gentleman who offered that resolution 
offered it when I was not in the House, and my colleague (Mr. 
Frye), after it was objected to, went to the gentleman and 
stated that he would have no objection to it, as he knew I 
would not have, if I were present in the House. The gentle- 
man from Massachusetts (Mr. Tarbox), to whom I refer, took 
especial pains to say to my colleague that the resolution was 
not in any sense aimed at me. The gentleman will pardon me 
if I say that I had a slight incredulity upon that assurance 
given by him to my colleague. 

No sooner was the sub-committee designated than it became 
entirely obvious that the resolution was solely and only aimed 
at me. I think there had not been three questions asked until 
it was obvious that the investigation was to be a personal one 
upon me, and that the Union Pacific Railroad or any other 
incident of the transaction was secondary, insignificant, and 
unimportant. I do not complain of that ; I do not say that I 
had any reason to complain of it. If the investigation was to 
be made in that personal sense, I was ready to meet it. 

The gentleman on whose statement the accusation rested, 
Mr. Harrison, was first called. He stated what he knew from 
rumor. Then there were called Mr. Rollins, Mr. Morton, and 
Mr. Millard, from Omaha, a government director of the Union 
Pacific road, and finally Thomas A. Scott. The testimony was 
completely and conclusively in disproof of the charge that 
there was any possibility that I could have had anything to 
do with the transaction. 

I expected (and I so stated to the gentleman from Virginia, 
the honorable chairman of the sub-committee) that I should 
have an early report; but the case was prolonged, and pro- 
longed, and prolonged ; and when last week the witnesses had 
seemed to be exhausted, I was somewhat surprised to be told 



354 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

that the committee would now turn to investigate a transaction 
of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company on a newspaper 
report that there had been some effort on my part with a frieud 
in Boston to procure for him a share in that road, which effort 
had proved abortive, the money having been returned. I asked 
the honorable gentleman from Virginia on what authority he 
had made that investigation — not that I cared about it ; I begged 
him to be assured I did not ; and the three witnesses that he 
called could not have been more favorable to me within any 
possibility. But I wanted to know on what authority I was to 
be arraigned before the country upon an investigation of that 
kind ; and a resolution offered in this House on the 31st of 
January by the gentleman from California (Mr. Luttrell) was 
read as the authority for investigating that little transaction 
in Boston. I ask the House to bear with me while I read a 
somewhat lengthy resolution : 

Whereas, the several railroad companies hereinafter named, to wit : the 
Northern Pacific, the Kansas Pacific, the Union Pacific, the Central Branch 
of the Union Pacific, the Western Pacific, the Southern Pacific, the Sioux 
City and Pacific, the Northern Pacific, the Texas and Pacific, and all the 
Pacific roads or branches to which bonds or other subsidies have been 
granted by the government, have received from the United States, under 
the act of Congress of July 1, 1862, the act of March 3, 1874, and the 
several acts amendatory thereof, money subsidies amounting to over 
$64,000,000, land subsidies amounting to over 220,000,000 acres of the 
public domain, bond subsidies amounting to $ , and interest amount- 
ing to $ , to aid in the construction of their several roads ; and whereas 

it is but just and proper that the government and people should understand 
the status of such roads and the disposition made by such companies in the 
construction of their roads of the subsidies granted by the government: 
Therefore, 

Be it resolved, That the Judiciary Committee be and are hereby in- 
structed and authorized to inquire into and report to this House, first, 
whether the several railroad companies hereinbefore named, or any of 
them, have, in the construction of their railroads and telegraph lines, fully 
complied with the requirements of law granting money, bonds, and land 
subsidies to aid such companies in the construction of their railroads and 
telegraph lines ; second, whether the several railroad companies or any of 
them have formed within themselves corporate or construction companies 
for the purpose of subletting to such corporate or construction companies 
contracts for building and equipping said roads or any portion thereof, 
and, if so, whether the money, land, and bond subsidies granted by the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 355 

government have been properly applied by said companies or any of them 
in the construction of their road or roads ; third, whether the several rail- 
road companies or any of them have forfeited their land subsidies by failing 
to construct and equip their road or roads or any portion of them as re- 
quired by law ; and, fourth, that, for the purpose of making a thorough 
investigation of the several Pacific railroads or any of them, the Judiciary 
Committee shall have full power to send for persons and papers, and, after 
thorough investigation shall have been made, shall report to this House 
such measure or bill as will secure to the government full indemnity for 
all losses occasioned by fraudulent transactions or negligence on the part of 
said railroad companies or any of them, or on the part of any corporate or 
construction company, in the expenditures of moneys, bonds, or interest, 
or in the disposition of land donated by the government for the construction 
of the roads or any of them or any portion thereof, and for the non-pay- 
ment of interest lawfully due the government, or any other claim or claims 
the United States may have against such railroad company or companies. 

That resolution embraces a very wide scope. It undoubtedly 
embraces a great many things which it is highly proper for the 
government to look into ; but I think the gentleman from 
California who offered that resolution will be greatly surprised 
to find that the first movement made under it to investigate 
what the Northern Pacific Railroad Company has done was to 
bring the whole force of that resolution to find out the circum- 
stances of a little transaction in Boston which never became a 
transaction at all. I asked the gentleman from Virginia how 
he deduced his power. Well, he said, it would take three 
months to go through the whole matter, but in about 
three months it would reach this point, and that he might as 
well begin on me right there. He began ; and three witnesses 
testified precisely what the circumstances were. I had no 
sooner got through with that, than I was advised that in another 
part of the Capitol, without the slightest notice in the world 
being given to me, with no monition, no warning to me, I was 
being arraigned before a committee known as the Real Estate 
Pool Committee, which was originally organized to examine 
into the affairs of the estate of Jay Cooke & Co., and whose 
powers were enlarged on the third day of April by the follow- 
ing resolution : 

Whereas, on the 24th day of January, A.l). 1870, the House adopted tho 
following 1 resolution : 



356 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" Resolved, That a special committee of five members of this House, to 
be selected by the Speaker, be appointed to inquire into the nature and 
history of said real-estate pool and the character of said settlement, with 
the amount of property involved, in which Jay Cooke & Co. were in- 
terested, and the amount paid or to be paid in settlement, with power to 
send for persons and papers and report to this House."' Therefore, 

Be it resolved, That said committee be further authorized and directed to 
likewise investigate any and all matters touching the official misconduct 
of any officer of the government of the United States or of any member of 
the present Congress of the United States which may come to the knowl- 
edge of said committee : Provided, That this resolution shall not affect any 
such matter now being investigated by any other committee under authority 
of either House of Congress ; and for this j^urpose said committee shall 
have the same powers to send for persons and papers as conferred by said 
original resolution. 

They began an investigation, which, I am credibly informed, 
and I think the chairman of that committee will not deny, was 
specifically aimed at me. I had no notice of it, not the remot- 
est ; no opportunity to be confronted with witnesses. I had no 
idea that any such thing was going on, not the slightest. So 
that on three distinct charges I was being investigated at the 
same time, and having no opportunity to meet any one of 
them ; and I understand, though I was not present, that the 
gentleman from Virginia has this morning introduced a fourth, 
to find out something about the Kansas Pacific Railroad, a 
transaction fifteen years old, if it ever existed, and has summoned 
numerous witnesses. 

Now, I say — and I state it boldly — that, under these 
general powers to investigate Pacific railroads and their trans- 
actions, the whole enginery of this committee is aimed person- 
ally at me ; and I want that to be understood by the country. 
I have no objection to it ; but I want you by name to organize 
a committee to investigate James G. Blaine. I want to meet 
the question squarely. That is the whole aim and intent ; and 
the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Hunton) and the gentleman 
from Kentucky (Mr. Knott) will pardon me for saying that 
when this investigation was organized I felt that such was the 
whole purpose and object. I ivill not further make personal 
references, for I do not wish to stir up any blood on this ques- 
tion ; but ever since a certain debate here in January it has 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 357 

been known that there are gentlemen in this hall whose feelings 
were peculiarly exasperated toward me. And I beg the gentle- 
man from Kentucky, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, 
to remember that when this matter affecting me went to his 
committee, while there were seven Democratic members of that 
committee, he took as the majority of the sub-committee the 
two who were from the South and had been in the rebel army. 

Then when the investigation began, the gentleman from 
Virginia who conducted it insisted under that resolution, 
which was obviously on its face limited to the seventy- 
five thousand dollar transaction — the transaction with the 
Union Pacific Railroad — he insisted on going into all the 
affairs of the Fort Smith Railroad as incidental thereto, and 
pursued that to such an extent that finally I had myself, 
through my colleague, Mr. Frye, to take an appeal to the whole 
committee, and the committee decided that the gentleman had 
no right to go there. But when he came back and resumed the 
examination, he began again exactly in the same way, and was 
stopped there and then by my colleague who sits in front, not 
as my attorney, but as my friend. 

When the famous witness, Mulligan, came here loaded with in- 
formation in regard to the Fort Smith road, the gentleman from 
Virginia drew out what he knew had no reference whatever to 
the question of investigation. He then and there insisted on 
all of my private memoranda being allowed to be exhibited by 
that man in reference to business that had no more connection, 
no more relation, no more to do with that investigation, than 
with the North Pole. 

And the gentleman tried his best, also, — though I believe 
that has been abandoned, — to capture and use and control my 
private correspondence. This man had selected, out of corre- 
spondence running over a great many years, letters which he 
thought would be peculiarly damaging to me. He came here 
loaded with them. He came here for a sensation. He came 
here primed. He came here on that particular errand. I was 
advised of it, and I obtained those letters under circu instances 
which have been notoriously scattered throughout the United 
States, and are known to everybody. I have them. T claim I 
have the entire right to those letters, not only by natural right, 



358 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

but upon all the precedents and principles of law, as the man 
who held those letters in possession held them wrongfully. The 
committee that attempted to take those letters from that man 
for use against me proceeded wrongfully. They proceeded in 
all boldness to a most defiant violation of the ordinary private 
and personal rights which belong to every American citizen, and 
I was willing to stand and meet the Judiciary Committee on 
this floor. I wanted them to introduce it. I wanted the gen- 
tleman from Kentucky and the gentleman from Virginia to 
introduce that question upon this floor, but they did not do it. 

Mr. Knott (in his seat). — I know you did. 

Mr. Blaine. — Very well. 

Mr. Knott. — ■ I know you wanted to be made a martyr of. 
[Laughter.] 

Mr. Blaine. — And you did not want to, and there is the 
difference. [Laughter and applause.] I go a little further; 
you did not dare to. 

Mr. Knott. — We will talk about that hereafter. 

Mr. Blaine. — I wanted to meet that question. I wanted 
to invoke all the power you had in this House on that question. 
I repeat, the Judiciary Committee, I understand, have aban- 
doned that issue against me. I stood up and declined, not only 
on the conclusion of my own mind, but by eminent legal 
advice. I was standing behind the rights which belong to 
every American citizen, and if they wanted to treat the ques- 
tion in my person anywhere in the legislative halls or judicial 
halls I was ready. Then there went forth everywhere the 
idea and impression that because I would not permit that 
man, or any man whom I could prevent, from holding as a 
menace over my head my private correspondence, there must be 
something in it most deadly and destructive to my reputation. 
I would like any gentleman on this floor — and all gentlemen 
on this floor are. presumed to be men of affairs, whose business 
has been varied, whose intercourse has been large — I would 
like any gentleman to stand up here and tell me that he is 
willing and ready to have his private correspondence scanned 
over and made public for the last eight or ten years. I would 
like any gentleman to say that. Does it imply guilt ? Does it 
imply wrong-doing ? Does it imply any sense of weakness that 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE, 359 

a man will protect his private correspondence ? No, sir ; it is 
the first instinct to do it, and it is the last outrage upon any 
man to violate it. 

Now, Mr. Speaker, I say that I have defied the power of the 
House to compel me to produce those letters. I speak with all 
respect to this House. I know its powers, and I trust I respect 
them. But I say this House has no more power to order what 
shall be done or not done with my private correspondence than 
it has with what I shall do in the nurture and education of my 
children ; not a particle. The right is as sacred in the one case 
as it is in the other. But, sir, having vindicated that right, 
standing by it, ready to make any sacrifice in the defence of it, 
here and now, if any gentleman wants to take issue with me on 
behalf of this House, I am ready for any extremity of contest 
or conflict in behalf of so sacred a right. And while I am so, I 
am not afraid to show the letters. Thank God Almighty, 
I am not afraid to show them. There they are (holding up a 
package of letters). There is the very original package. And 
with some sense of humiliation, with a mortification that I do 
not pretend to conceal, with a sense of outrage which I think 
any man in my position would feel, I invite the confidence of 
forty-four million of my countrymen while I read those letters 
from this desk. 

He was hardly permitted to finish the sentence. The tense listen- 
ing broke into applause prolonged, insuppressible — applause 
that widened in great waves through the land as the wires 
flashed the words, " Blaine is reading the letters." 
• It was afterwards remembered as characteristic of Mr. Blaine 
that in taking his countrymen into his confidence he had not 
reckoned them according to the last census, but had allowed for 
the subsequent increase of the population ! 

A slight explanation prefaced the reading of each letter. 
Referring only to matters long past, of no present or public in- 
terest, their unsensational character gave a distinct relief to the 
strained attention of the audience. But it was noted that the 
letters revealed one thing which Mi'. Blaine had withheld. He 
had told the truth, but not the whole truth. He had said 
enough to justify himself, but it was not possible for him to 



360 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

glorify himself. The letters certified more than his honesty or 
his honor, — his magnanimity. They showed that when the 
Fort Smith enterprise proved unsuccessful he not only met his 
own loss, but assumed the losses of " those innocent persons 
who invested on my request." Two of his friends, Hon. Abner 
Coburn and Mr. Charles B. Haseltine, a staunch Democrat, 
refused to accept reimbursement, on the ground that it was a 
financial venture and that each man's risk was his own. But 
Mr. Blaine would not himself apply that principle. 

At the conclusion of the reading he went on : 

" 1 do not wish to detain the House, but I have one or two more 
observations to make. The specific charge that went to the com- 
mittee of which the honorable gentleman from Virginia is chair- 
man, so far as it affects me, was whether I was a party in interest 
to the sixty-four thousand dollar transaction ; and I submit that 
up to this time there has not been one particle of proof before the 
committee sustaining that charge. Gentlemen have said what 
they had heard somebody else say, and generally when that 
somebody else was brought on the stand it appeared that he did 
not say it at all. Col. Thomas A. Scott swore very positively 
and distinctly under the most rigid cross-examination all about it. 
Let me call attention to that letter of mine which Mulligan says 
refers to that. I ask your attention, gentlemen, as closely as if 
you were a jury, while I show the absurdity of that statement. 
It is in evidence that, with the exception of a small fraction, 
the bonds which were sold to parties in Maine were first-mort- 
gage bonds. It is in evidence over and over again that the 
bonds which went to the Union Pacific road were land-grant 
bonds. Therefore it is a moral impossibility the bonds taken 
up to Maine should have gone to the Union Pacific Railroad. 
They were of different series, different kinds, different colors, 
everything different, — as different as if not issued within a 
thousand miles of each other. So on its face it is shown it 
could not be so. 

" There has not been, I say, one positive piece of testimony in 
any direction. They sent to Arkansas to get some hearsay 
about bonds. They sent to Boston to get some hearsay. Mul- 
ligan was contradicted by Fisher, and Atkins and Scott swore 
directly against him. Morton, of Morton, Bliss, & Co., never 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 361 

heard my name in the matter. Carnegie, who negotiated the 
note, never heard my name in that connection. Rollins said 
it was one of the intangible rumors he spoke of as floating in 
the air. Gentlemen who have lived any time in Washington 
need not be told that intangible rumors get considerable circu- 
lation here ; and if a man is to be held accountable before the 
bar of public opinion for intangible rumors, who in the House 
will stand? 

" Now, gentlemen, those letters I have read were picked out of 
correspondence extending over fifteen years. The man did his 
worst, the very worst he could, out of the most intimate busi- 
ness correspondence of my life. I ask, gentlemen, if any of 
you — and I ask it with some feeling — can stand a severer 
scrutiny of or more rigid investigation into your private cor- 
respondence ? That was the worst he could do." 

He paused. The silence was expectant. 

" There is one piece of testimony wanting. There is but one 
thing to close the complete circle of evidence. There is but one 
witness whom I could not have, to whom the Judiciary Com- 
mittee, taking into account the great and intimate connection 
he had with the transaction, was asked to send a cable de- 
spatch, — and I ask the gentleman from Kentucky if that 
despatch was sent to him ? " 

" Who ? " suggested Mr. Frye, in an undertone. 

" Josiah Caldwell." 

Mr. Knott responded blandly, " I will reply to the gentleman 
that Judge Hunton and myself have both endeavored to get 
Mr. Caldwell's address, and have not yet got it." 

Then came the unexpected and upsetting question from Mr. 
Blaine, " Has the gentleman from Kentucky received a despatch 
from Mr. Caldwell ? " 

The House was breathless. 

"I — will explain that — directly," replied Mr. Knott. 

" I want a categorical answer," demanded Mr. Blaine. 

" I have received," gasped Mr. Knott, " a despatch purporting 
to be from Mr. Caldwell." 

" You did ! " 

" How did you know I got it ? " asked Mr. Knott in the very 
fatuity of surprise. 



362 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

" When did you get it ? " questioned Mr. Blaine, sternly. " I 
want the gentleman from Kentucky to answer when he got it." 

" Answer my question first," parried Mr. Knott. 
. "I never heard of it until yesterday." 

" How did you hear it? " 

Mr. Blaine thrust aside the frivolous questioning, and for all 
answer towered down the aisle, holding high a despatch in his 
uplifted hand, and standing in the open space in front of the 
Speaker, in full view of the whole assembly, in the very face of 
Mr. Knott he pronounced with deliberate intense distinctness : 

" You got a despatch last Thursday morning at eight o'clock 
from Josiah Caldwell completely and absolutely exonerating 
me from this charge, — and you have suppressed it ! ' 

There was one instant of silence. Then went up from the 
great congregation such a sound as never those halls had heard 
before. It was not a shout, not a cheer, but rather a cry, the 
primal inarticulate voice of all souls fused in one, a victorious 
voice of horror, anger, exultation, triumph ; rising, swelling, 
sinking, renewing in an ecstasy that could not end. 

The House simply went to pieces. The vast audience dis- 
solved into individual human beings abandoned to individual 
expression. For fifteen minutes nothing else was done. It 
seemed as if nothing else ever would be done. The Speaker is 
reported to have called to order, but only the reporters heard 
him. He is said to have complained piteously that he was not 
responsible, that the door-keepers had let in upon the floor twice 
as many visitors as there were members, and that the House 
would be cleared if the applause was repeated ; but the applause 
was repeated at will, and no one left till he chose to go. 

Mr. Blaine at length rose and offered a resolution, the most 
extraordinary perhaps that was ever offered in a Legislative 
assembly, or that an investigating committee ever encountered, 
— a resolution which, in fact, put the investigating committee 
under investigation by the accused : 

Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to report 
forthwith to the House whether in acting under the resolution of the House 
of May 2, relative to the purchase by the Pacific Railroad Company of 
seventy-five land-grant bonds of the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad, 
it has sent any telegram to one Josiah Caldwell, in Europe, and received 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 363 

a reply thereto. And, if so, to report said telegram and reply, with the 
date when said reply was received, and the reasons why the same has been 
suppressed. 

" And after that," suggested Mr. Blaine, rapidly, " add ' or 
whether they have heard from Josiah Caldwell in any way.' 
Just add those words, ' and what.' Give it to me and I will 
modify it ; " and seizing a pen he swiftly scratched in the words, 
called the previous question on the resolution, and with another 
wild, long-continued applause from floor and gallery, the House 
adjourned and the audience slowly melted away. 



364 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

From V. : 

Washington, April 13, 1874. 

I have just returned from the funeral of Charles Sumner at the Senate 
Chamber. The body was lying in the rotunda. There was a procession, 
or file, three or four deep, extending from the coffin, around the outer 
circle, to the door, waiting to take a farewell look. As we were with a 
Senator, we were allowed to cross directly to the coffin without waiting. 
There was a pained look on the face, and the head seemed to be almost bent 
forward and the face shortened. The coffin was loaded with flowers. 
The face was far more natural than I feared to find it. We went im- 
mediately into the Senate gallery. What met the eye was very impressive 
— what met the ear was less so. Nothing of the latter was so forceful to 
me as the subdued manner in which the unanimous " ay ! " was pronounced 
by the Senators when the few motions of adjournment were put. The 
Senators and members of Congress were all in badges of mourning. The 
Speaker and the escort wore broad white silk scarfs across the shoulder 
and breast, falling behind. When the President pro tern, announced " The 
House of Representatives," all the Senators arose. Mr. Blaine and the 
clerk, Mr. McPherson, headed the procession. Mr. Blaine's look and bear- 
ing were very fine. He is always dignified upon occasion — being 
naturally so. He mounted to the side of the President of the Senate and 
the House filed in ; then the Chief Justice and the associate judges of the 
Supreme Court were announced and walked in with their floating heavy 
silk gowns ; then, " The President and the Cabinet ; " then, preceded by the 
ministers and the pall-bearers, Charles Sumner came into the Senate Cham- 
ber for the last time. Although the whole coffin-lid was glass, the flowers 
chiefly covered it. As I looked down from the gallery I could see the 
lower part of his face and his folded hands. The greatness was in the 
man, and nothing could minish aught thereof, but . . . voice and soul 
did what they could. However, Sumner lay there undisturbed and grand. 
When " the Senate of the United States consigns the body of Charles 
Sumner to the sergeant-at-arms," etc., Carpenter's words were good 
though his manner was not weighty. I could not help thinking how 
Sumner's own voice would have spoken like the voice of an archangel. 
Then they filed out as they had filed in, except the President, who slipped 
through a side-door followed by the Cabinet. ... It was not till 
after Mr. Blaine had left for the Capitol, Wednesday, that a servant came 
up and told us that Mr. Sumner had been sick all night, and was thought 
to be dying. From: time to time reports of his death came, but they proved 
to be false, till the last one at about 3 P.M. Mr. Blaine was in in the 
forenoon. He said Mr. Sumner lay with his eyes closed, the muscles of 
his face much contracted as if he suffered, breathing heavily, and every 
now and then clutching his breast over his heart. They sent for Carl 
Schurz quite early in the morning. He went over, stayed awhile, then 
came back and told his wife it seemed so sad to have no woman there, he 
wished she would go over, and she went back with him directly. They 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 365 

found the parlors below full of black women crying, the only white person 
being Dr. Mary Walker, walking around in her demoniac old trousers. 
Mr. Blaine said it was as quiet and orderly as possible when he was there. 
Before Mrs. Schurz's arrival so many gentlemen had come down from the 
Capitol that it was not thought best for her to enter the room, and she 
went home again. Mr. Hooper and Judge Hoar were in close attendance. 
Crowds, many of them colored ])eople, surrounded the house during the 
day. One of the most touching sights to-day was the long procession of 
colored men, shabby, but all decent, five deep, following immediately after 
the hearse, to the station, of their own freewill and gratitude. The hearse 
was drawn by four milk-white horses. Do you remember seeing that 
almost his last words, often repeated, were, " I am so tired. I want rest " ? 
Mr. Hoar said his brother, looking over his papers after his death, found 
one of his earliest papers, a college oration, for aught I know, in which he 
said, " How should a man ask rest except in the grave ! " Mrs. Fish was in 
yesterday, and as she was going out she said that Mr. Fish had not been 
out since Tuesday. He had something of a cold, and the death of Sumner, 
and the remembrance of their early friendship, and their late estrange- 
ment, gave him so much grief and shock that he was really ill. He was 
at the Senate to-day, but he looked very pale. Sumner was in the Senate 
only the day before he died, remaining long enough to be present at the 
presentation of the vote rescinding his censure. Won't Whittier be glad? 
I suppose it is chiefly owing to him that the censure was taken back. 
. . Mr. Blaine appointed a colored member to go to Boston. . . . 
At dinner, Monday night, Secretary Fish began to say something about 
Mr. Blaine being President — indirectly, of course. I stopped him, play- 
fully of course ; told him I could not help common people talking about it, 
but he should not ; that while I had no objections to the presidency, I had 
decided objections to Mr. Blaine's going through life as a disappointed 
candidate. After the company was gone, one of the outside waiters 
came into the parlors to ask Mr. Blaine, " How did you like the dinner, sah ? 
Hope to serve you a better one in the White House, sah," with the broadest 
of grins. At Governor Buckingham's, Mr. Fish was telling a gentleman 
how I had lectured him here ; so I told him the negro story, that he might 
see what good company he was in. He declared that that was the rising 
race, held the balance of power, and he was wise to be on their side. . . . 

Washington, May 20, 1874. 
. . . We dined at Mr. Chandler's last night. . . . M. and Q., 
Lulu, L. C, and the little D. had a small table in the corner of the same 
room, with L.'s nurse to wait on them, and it was very cunning. They 
were still all the first part of the time, but after a while their little voices 
began to bubble quite freely. Mr. Blaine and L. sat nearly back to back, 
and Mr. Blaine would turn around and pinch his cheek once in a while, 
and make him laugh. Towards the last, L. pulled Mr. Blaine's sleeve, and 
whispered, " I've had a yighl nice time." . . , 



366 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

From Walker : . 

Denver, July 19, 1874. 

Dearest Mother : . . . Thursday evening we drove out to see the 
war-dance of the Ute Indians. It took place at their camp some two or 
three miles from the city, out on the prairie. The contrast was very strong 
between the civilization of this city, and the wild, savage, somewhat bac- 
chante scene presented by the Indian dance. Indeed, this seems to me the 
country of contrasts. 

Perhaps the handsomest man I have seen anywhere out here — a mild, 
peaceable face, handsome as the creation of an artist — was at the same 
time the worst specimen in dress and manner of a border ruffian. I can 
understand now the parts of Bret Harte's stories which have hitherto 
seemed defects, in which this contrast is so sharply displayed. We drove 
out there, arriving at their camp about seven o'clock. The evening was 
charming. In the background, the Rocky mountains, with purple ame- 
thyst tints, lit into gold by the sunset's last beams. In the foreground the 
Ute tents, round wigwams, their ponies straying here and there, and the 
warriors, some of them gathered in small groups, around the scattered 
camp-fires. Several carriages and barouches filled with ladies and gentle- 
men were drawn up near to the circle which the dancers made. The occa- 
sion of this dance was the obtaining of three scalps by the Utes from the 
Cheyennes. How many the Utes, not as good fighters as the Cheyennes, 
lost in obtaining them, I know not. Nearly all the Ute warriors were 
drawn up in a semicircle, and were saying a rude barbaric chant, which 
nevertheless had more of harmony in it than I expected. They accom- 
panied their song — if one may so call it— by beating on a sort of drum. 
The squaws and maidens danced around within this semicircle, in a sort of 
concentric circle. The steps were of two kinds, — one a shuffle, advancing 
the front foot and then bringing the back foot up to it, the other a hop, 
holding the two feet close together and taking short jumps. The warriors 
all the time beat time with drums, and all the people joined in the rude 
chant. The three scalps were carried around by as many women, and were 
held aloft on poles. At the conclusion of the song, which ended in a sort of 
yelp or cat-call such as you may hear the boys in a theatre indulge in, they 
trailed the scalj)s in the dust, symbolical, as I understood it, of the abase- 
ment of their foes. The attire of the Indians was varied. I found great 
difficulty in distinguishing the women from the men, but, like all the 
daughters of Eve, I found that they wore a sort of skirt. In features they 
differed little from those of the opposite sex. One woman wore a magnifi- 
cent tiara made of eagle's feathers. They were sewed on a strip of 
blanket, and reached nearly to her feet. Some of the leggins worn by the 
men were embroidered magnificently with beads. The attire, however, 
was very diverse. One of the chief warriors was exceedingly proud of an 
old beaver hat which he wore ; and one of the young children was 
wrapped up in an old red print tablecloth. The children were the best- 
looking portion of the whole tribe. They wore very little clothing and 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 367 

were all handsomely formed ; but in feature — bah ! One old Indian wore a 
large silver medal, on one side of which was a medallion of Washington, 
and on the other, two clasped hands and the pipe of peace. The old 
Indian had obtained it from some Cheyenne to whom it had been presented 
by the simple process of slaying its former owner in battle. 

From Mr. Blaine's uncle, Hon. Jno. H. Ewing : 

Washington, Pa., August 27, 187-4. 

My dear Friend and Kinsman : Your favor was duly received, en- 
closing draft of one thousand dollars' donation to Washington and Jefferson 
College, for which you have the sincere thanks of the trustees and faculty, 
and your many warm friends here, and I hope most sincerely that ere long 
we shall have the pleasure to manifest our good feeling to you in a more 
honorable and substantial manner. The course of our State convention will 
have a good effect in one respect, yet it was ill-advised ; it will show that 
Pennsylvania is not in favor of third term. He had better rest on his 
honors. 

I feel that your prospects are very good for the succession, if nothing 
should arise prior to the time for next nomination. If Grant sees that he 
has no chance, he will go in for you ; but he must first be satisfied of that 
fact. It is not necessary for you to commit yourself on any of the great 
leading questions of currency. The prosperity of the country will depend 
much more upon good crops than any legislation. 

The country must have time to < right herself: she has overtraded and 
speculated too much, with too little work. The desire to get rich in haste 
has ruined the country ; she must get back to the old-fashioned way of 
making a living by honest labor. Take care of the leading men of the 
country : the mass will follow. 

I shall at all times be pleased to hear from you. My best and warmest 
friendship to your boys, who endeared themselves to all of us while here. 

From Hon. M. C. Kerr : 

New Albany, Ind., November 21, 1874. 
Absence from home for a few days prevented a more prompt acknowl- 
edgment of your very kind letter of the 13th inst. Accept my sincere 
thanks for your congratulations and the kindly reference to the speakership 
in connection with my name. Permit me to say in all frankness that I do 
not look upon the event to which you refer as at all probable. It is no 
doubt possible, and if it should happen, I am sure no reflection would (rive 
me more disquiet than that which makes me realize the essential difficulty 
there would be in an untried hand attempting to preside over such a body 
after one who had performed that duty with such signal ability and success 
as you have done. Without reference to that matter, however, I shall be 
very glad to meet you in the 44th, and there renew our service together. 



368 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

Boston, December 3, 1874. 

Just as we were finishing dinner, or supper, at 7.30, Q. started off, on 
leave as I found from Emmons, to look at Boston by gas-light. A. and the 
girls went out separately to do some little shopping. As soon as I found Q. 
was gone, I was ready, and made Emmons start out one direction, while I 
went the other. I went up Tremont, and he down, and up near the Park- 
street church I met the little toad, as quietly looking at the sights as any- 
body. I never let him know I had been uneasy, and he and I had a good 
long walk after we met Emmons. Mons is now out calling. Q. said he 
had been " round the square," a very comprehensive term. No news. Of 
course I feel very badly about going away. I am pursued here by tele- 
grams, and I can be ill spared. But I am doing my duty, and that always 
squares matters. 

To Mr. Blaine : 

Ohio, January 27, 1875. 

I want to vote the Republican ticket this year, and therefore I want to 
see you the candidate. There are a great many people about here who feel 
the same way. I have talked with four or five leading men, and they all 
prefer you to Governor Hayes. ... I find no State or sectional feeling 
at all. There is no real Hayes movement, and the nomination of Morton is 
positively dreaded by the best men in the party. But M. is working like 
a nailer. 

I suppose you see General Garfield often. I would like to suggest, if 
you will not think it impertinent, that you should talk a little with him 
about the advisability of your coming out here for a little visit to me. 
There are several of us who are willing to give a good deal of time for 3 t ou, 
if we only knew how. We could learn more by talking with you an hour 
or so than in any other way. General Garfield knows this district 
thoroughly, and can tell you all you want to know about the advisability 
of a visit. . . . The amnesty debate has left you stronger than before, 
and has strengthened the Republican party in an unexpected manner. 

Washington, January 29, 1875. 
A mild, rainy day. Mr. Blaine came home from the House at six this 
morning, and is still in bed, at 2 P.M. They are filibustering — the mi- 
nority staving offthe,civil rights bill, and the majority determined to fight 
it out and to show that the rules of the House need to be altered so that a 
minority shall not be able to block legislation. They have been in contin- 
uous session since Wednesday noon, but have now adjourned over till to- 
morrow. Report says that Mr. Blaine distinguished himself last night by 
the wisdom and decision of his rulings. Butler and his allies were trying 
all the while to bring the new rule into disrepute, and to have Mr. Blaine 
arrogate a quorum where no quorum voted — but in vain. 



BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 369 

From Walker : 

March 1, 1875. 

. . . I wish I could have been in Washington during the last two 

weeks. Have you observed the very great change in the , and the 

tone of compliment it now so habitually assumes in speaking of the 
ex-Speaker? And, speaking of speakers, this is the last letter I shall ever 
address to Speaker Blaine. I hope that the " paternal's " valedictory is a 
good one. I should dislike to see six years of such good service terminate 
in any poor speech, though I know father's must be good. 

From V. : 

Washington, March 2, 1875. ' 

. . . Mr. Blaine did not get home from the House till 1.30 this 
morning ; said he was crazy at having to stay so. Everything was going on 
smoothly, but every one said he must not go ; and sure enough, at the very 
last Butler slipped in fifty thousand dollars, and Mr. Blaine slipped it 
out again, and felt paid for staying. 

Washington, March 4, 1875. 
We are no longer Speaker. ... It has been an "ovation." Mr. 
Blaine was at the House all night, came home about half-past eight, took 
bath and breakfast, returned directly, Congress re-assembling at half-past 
nine. He sent the carriage back for us, and we all, down even to Q., went 
up. Q. knew beforehand that he was going, and must needs add to his 
delight by tormenting T. with the fact that he was going and she wasn't. 
Then, " T., do you know your papa isn't going to be Speaker any more? 
He is going to stop being Speaker. Aren't you sorry ? " — " Well," said T., 
" he isn't going to stop being papa." Mrs. Dawes was in the Speaker's 
seat, and all the Maine ladies, Mrs. Frye, Burleigh, and Hale. M. went on 
the floor with E. F. and Q. also under charge of Mr. Sherman and J. S. 
Legislation went on until almost the minute hand was on twelve. The 
crowd increased every moment — galleries, aisles, steps, slowly darkening, 
and the open sjiaces on the floor finally filled up till it was just one great 
sea of blackness. Messengers were coming in from the Senate, stopping 
near the door, then handing bills to others who passed up the centre aisle 
to deliver them at the desk. Mr. Blaine and the clerk of the House were 
rapidly signing bills, which were snatched by waiting messengers, who 
rushed down the front aisle on the full run to carry them to the Senate, and 
suddenly down came the gavel, and Mr. Dawes rose and reported that the 
committee appointed to wait upon the President to ask if he had any further 
message for the House reported that he had none. Then Mr. Blaine again 
struck the gavel, three times slowly, and the great assemblage hushed 
to perfect stillness. In a clear voice, audible to the farthest corner of the 
House, the Speaker made his (-losing address, which you will have read 
before you see this. It was perfect, — terse, deliberate, simple, touching, 



370 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

manly, closing with, "the House of Representatives is adjourned with- 
out day." Everybody was moved, and the very clerks at the desk wiped 
their eyes. At the close, there came such a clapjDing of applause, again 
and again repeated, and no one stirred from his place except Mr. Blaine, 
who immediately left the chair ; but the ajDplause kept on, and he turned 
partly back and bowed his acknowledgments, and as still they did not stop, 
he went up to the clerk's desk in front of his own and lower, and bowed 
again, and still they applauded, till finally he sat down. Then there was a 
moving, and he stood at the edge of the raised platform, and people went 
up and by, and shook hands. Every one says, nothing like it ever happened 
before. Then, though very slowly, the vast congregation melted away. 
One lady, whom I did not know, behind me, asked me if Mr. Blaine had 
been up all night. She thought it was so wonderful. She did not know him, 
but she could not help crying herself: she never heard anything so touching. 
Mr. Ramsdell was quite carried away with enthusiasm. First he came 
under our gallery, looked up and clapped, then met us on the stairs. 
♦'Oh ! it was splendid, 11 he said, " nothing ever like it before — never was 
such a speech nor such a reception. 11 I said, " Splendid, indeed, to have the 
Speaker lose his chair." " Oh ! " he said, " he only lost it to get something 
hisrher and better." However, Mr. Blaine is well warned at home to care 
for none of these things ; but it is gratifying to retire from six years 1 ser- 
vice with such plaudits, and they came from both sides. The other night 
after one of his rulings against B., and in accordance with law, a South- 
erner and a Democrat sent up a note to him. " By G — d, I am proud of 
you. . . • You looked magnificent. God bless you ! " 

The whole town is ringing with Mr. Blaine 1 s speech and reception. 
Meeting Mr. Phelps walking, he said he had never seen the English 
lancruao-e used with more force. J. S. comes in and says every one is 
talking about it — that he wanted to cry and to cheer himself, and he went 
out and found G. wiping his eyes. In fact, we have already got to laugh- 
ing about it, and Mr. Chandler has just sent in a note saying he has but 
just got over his crying; but it Avas no laughing matter at the time. In- 
deed, Mr. Blaine felt a good deal himself, and could not quite control his 
voice at first, though I did not detect it at all ; but those who were near him 
said he did hesitate a moment, and he admits that he felt a twitter in his 
knees. It is a very easy thing to write about, but one must be on the spot 
to feel it — the immense concourse, the incessant noise suddenly closing 
with the three slow knocks, and then a silence so vast, and the sense of 
sympathy and separation — and the clear voice and strong, simple words of 
a man himself so simple and so strong. ... I have written at a hand- 
gallop, but hope you will make it out. 

To Mr. Blaine : 

Little Rock, Ark., March 5, 1875. 
Dear Sir : With this I take great pleasure in forwarding to you a true 
copy of a joint resolution just passed by the Legislature of this State. It is 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 371 

but a feeble although a most heartfelt testimonial of a suffering people to 
the noble stand yourself and others took in their defence. 

As Congress had adjourned when this resolution was adopted, the Legis- 
lature deemed it proper to have the same forwarded to you as the late 
Speaker, and I now perform that duty with feelings of the deepest sensi- 
bility, and express the hope that you may live long to serve and honor our 
common country. With great respect, 

I am, most truly, 

A. H. Garland, 

Governor of Arkansas. 

Senate Concurrent Resolution, No. 36. 

Whereas, in the recent contest before the Congress of the United States 
to overthrow the present State government, it is evident that the true ex- 
pression of the sentiment of the people of this State was recognized and 
endorsed in Congress by the Conservative Representatives, without regard 
to party, 

Therefore, be it resolved, by the senate of the State of Arkansas, the 
House of Representatives concurring, that while the thanks of the people 
of this State are due to those in Congress who vindicated their rights, they 
are especially due to the Republicans of that body who remained true to 
our State, and that they may not be mistaken, and have cause to regret 
their action, Arkansas is hereby pledged to a fair, just, and faithful enforce- 
ment of the laws, to the end that all people may still have their rights, and 
that her course shall be " Charity to all and malice toward none." 

Resolved further, That the Governor is hereby directed to forward a 
copy of these resolutions to the Hon. James G. Blaine, Speaker of the 
House of Representatives. 

Approved March 4, 1875. 

A. H. Garland, 

Governor of Arkansas. 

From G. : 

Washington, March 23, 1875. 

. . . Mr. Blaine criticised the expression, " Touching the Almighty," 
etc. Isaid, " But it is Bible." — "Is it Bible ?"—" I think so." — " Won't 
believe it till I see it." I went for my Concordance. He found the verse 
and was silent a long while, so I called out, " How is it? " — " The scamps 
have put in 'touching,'' but it is in italics — ^wasn't in the original Hebrew 
as / read the Bible." 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. John II. Ewing : 

Washington, Penn., May 4, 1875. 
I have learned with much pleasure from Dr. Hays thai you have agreed 
to meet with us at our next college commencement on the last of June. 1 



372 BIOGBAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

am gratified to know that we shall have the pleasure of your company 
upon that occasion, and personally I feel that your presence will afford us 
much pleasure, to meet once more one who is so nearly identified with my 
family. Those feelings of early life grow stronger as we advance in life. 
You will make my house your home while you are here. . . . And do 
not forget my good boys, who gave us so much interest when here last 
with you, that all our 3 7 oung people were so delighted with, and ask me 
frequently when they will be here again. 

You will come directly to my house. Mrs. Ewing and myself will take 
no denial, as we all feel that we have claims upon you that none others 
here can have. 

From Mr. Blaine : 

New York, June 13, 1875. 

My telegram will have relieved you from any uneasiness that might be 
created by the newspaper accounts of the railroad accident, although I 
do not know what those accounts may be. The car I was in was thrown 
down headlong from the track and rolled clear over, and there we were, an 
indistinguishable mass of men, women, chairs, sofas, carpet-bags, umbrellas, 
and so forth. 

I was sitting in the next chair to Annie Louise Gary, when the fearful 
crash came, and as soon as motion ceased, I found that she was not hurt, 
except a slight bruise on the shoulder ; but on attempting to rise myself, I 
found my right side so lame and so painful, that I certainly thought some 
ribs were broken. We all managed in the course of ten or fifteen minutes, 
with the aid of the people outside, to get out of the car, and into the 
station (Tremont), about ten miles from New York. Here we had to 
wait in the utmost discomfort for more than two hours for a wrecking 
train to come up from New York and relieve us. 

I reached the Fifth Avenue Hotel about quarter of two. I had Dr. 
Ruppaner summoned immediately, and on close examination he found no 
ribs broken, but a severe contusion along my right side, with lesser bruises 
on different parts of my body. He had me well rubbed with chloroform 
liniment, and I got to sleep in the course of an hour, and slept till nine 
o'clock. 

I am very stiff to-day, and full of aches and pains ; but have great cause 
for thankfulness that I got off without any real injury. I have not a parti- 
cle of fever, thus showing I sustained no internal injury whatever. Vice- 
President Wilson was in the next car and got off without a scratch. The 
train was running thirty-five miles an hour, in the dark and rain, so that no 
element was lacking to make the accident fearful. 

Secretary Robeson is here, and has been to see me twice to-day — and 
madam, also here, has sent her maid to do anything she can for me, — a 
kind service, but not needed. 

I shall hope to be up to-morrow, though possibly it may not be prudent 
to move round much for a day or two. ... I could see, in this 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 378 

accident, how utterly impossible it is for passengers to escape from a car 
that takes fire. Had this car taken fire, I don't see how any one of us 
could ever have got out; but, fortunately, there was no kerosene, — the 
Boston line using these large candles. 

From Walker: 

New Haven, Tuesday, June 15, 1875. 

. . . I have been so busy lately in my preparations for the " annuals ' 
that I have had no time to write. Indeed, almost every moment has been 
spent either in exercise or in reading physics. I bristle all over with 
physics, and should you come near me you would be in danger of an 
electric discharge, or of seeing the solar spectrum plainly visible upon 
my brow. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. Rutherford B. Hayes : 

Fremont, Ohio, June 16, 1875. 

Thanks for your note. Maine hurt us badly by a big loss eight years 
ago in the pinch of our suffrage fight. Since, she has done us " a power of 
good " on several occasions by handsome gains. I am glad you can 
promise well this year. After it is done, come over and help us. We 
shall need it. The secret of our enthusiastic convention is the school 
question. The Democrats take the hint and are on the retreat. They wiil 
probably adopt a good sound plank on that subject. If they can get the 
people to trust them on that topic, their chance of success is good. Other- 
wise, otherwise. 

We have been losing strength in Ohio for several years by emigration 
of Republican farmers, and especially of the young men who were in the 
army. In their places have come Catholic foreigners. Last year on a 
tolerably full vote they had 17,000 majority — the vote being larger than 
when Allen beat Noyes by a scratch. In the cities this spring we are still 
more decisively beaten. Whether the reaction has spent its force is the 
question. We shall crowd them on the school and other State issues. By 
the time your election is over, we shall need help, and fresh men, with 
general topics. Let me know if we may reckon on your help. Thanking 
you for your encouragement. . . . 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. J. II. Ewing : 

Washington, Prnn., June 22, 1875. 
I learn by the papers that you met with an accident on railroad near 
New York, but have been unable to Learn the character of your injuries, 
and whether they are of so serious a character as to prevent your being 
with us on the 30th inst., at our college commencement. It will be a great 
disappointment to your friends should you not be able to be present. Will 
you let me hear from you as early as possible ? 



374 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

June 24, 1875. 
. . . Mr. Blaine was bruised and mauled, not seriously injured, but 
the accident was a frightful one — near midnight; the car wabbled and 
jerked and was finally thrown off at right angles from the track — thirty 
feet away — and left on its side ; cut two telegraph poles off clean, broke 
every chair off, and the people and everything were hurled and huddled 
into a heap. The long sofa struck Mr. Blaine in the side, but the doctor 
says the hurt is purely muscular. His clothes were torn off him. He 
keeps his hat as a memento. He says he can never in his thought face 
death more closely than he did then. He says he did not think of his sins 
at all. Dear old soul, he has not any to think of, — none to speak of cer- 
tainly; but he thought, "So this is the end of it all, and what a blow it 
would be to them at home, and most of all how badly Walker would feel 
that he had not telegraphed him to come to the station in New Haven and 
have the last look at him ! " 



To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. E. C. Ingersoll : 

June 24, 1875. 

Now that you are out of danger, I congratulate you upon your recovery, 
and upon your escape from death. I suppose your escape will be accounted 
providential, but to my mind it would have been more providential not to 
have happened. But be this as it may, I am awfully glad that you got off 
as well as you did. 

The political outlook is improving each day, and you are gaining 
strength constantly. I meet men from all portions of the country daily, and 
they talk of you in a way that makes my heart feel glad and strong. 

From G. : 

June 28, 1875. 

. . . Dr. Smith sounded Emmons's praise for engineering that party 
through Harvard class-day ; said he could not do it himself, and gave up 
early in the fray.. . . . Emmons went away gay as a lark at six o'clock 
in the morning. • I suppose he has his faults, and will come to nothing like 
the rest of us ; but at present he seems perfect. ... I cannot help 
comforting myself with reflecting that there are people who require more 
provocation to be '.' confined to bed " than the beloved ex-Speaker. 



To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. Elisha H. Allen : 

Honolulu, July 23, 1875. 
. . . For the kind interest which you have taken in our island affairs 
you are held in grateful remembrance. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 375 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. Z. Chandler : 

Detroit, August 15, 1875. 
The campaign of 76 is now being fought in Ohio, and while the outlook 
is admirable, we should leave no stone unturned to make assurance doubly 
sure. Either inflation, repudiation, and d— n — n are to win in Ohio, or hon- 
esty and coin at an early day. I want you to go to Ohio and make as many 
speeches as you can at an early day. Elevate the standard as high as }*ou 
would in any Eastern State. The gage of battle has been thrown down, 
and we must accept, whether we would or not. If timid souls fear the loss 
of a few votes, elevate it higher, and my word for it we shall gain ten 
votes where we lose one. 

From Messrs. J. Y. Calhoun and W. E. Gapen : 

Bloomington, III., August 21, 1875. 

We write you as " native Pennsylvanians," coming here from the local- 
ity where you were born. 

Mr. Calhoun you will no doubt remember as a college-mate at Wash- 
ington College. He wishes to renew the old acquaintance and revive the 
memories of " Auld Lang Syne." 

Mr. Gapen was "born and raised" in Fredericktown on the Mononga- 
hela river in Washington county ; and while he never met you but once 
(which was in Washington city during your first term in Congress), he 
knew your relatives — the Bells, Gillespies, and Ewings — and also your 
friends Judge William McKennan and the other lawyers at Washington 
— George V. Lawrence and others. 

Of course we are both familiar with your political history, and are grati- 
fied at your success ; and we congratulate you on having achieved the diffi- 
cult task of spending such a long time in active political life without 
having given cause of offence to any one. 

And this brings us to say that in view of our early associations it is a 
great pleasure to us to see the attention of the people turned to you as their 
candidate for President. 

It is scarcely necessary for us to add that we are in favor of your nomi- 
nation and election, and that we desire to do all we can to accomplish those 
ends. 

Mr. Calhoun has not heretofore been identified with the Republican 
party. Mr. Gapen has always been a Republican, and was one of the dele- 
gates (with the late Hon. Andrew Stewart, of Fayette county, and Alex- 
ander Murdock, of Washington county) from his congressional district 
in Pennsylvania to the Chicago convention in 1860 that nominated Mr. 
Lincoln. 

Of course you know better than we how political matters should be con- 
ducted ; but a suggestion occurs to us which we will make — and that is : 



376 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

wouldn't it be well for you to make a visit to the State of Illinois some 
time during the fall or winter and make an address at some prominent 
point, — say at Chicago, Springfield, or this city, — on some occasion of 
general public interest (not on politics, of course), and thus become per- 
sonally acquainted with our people? And if such an occasion should 
occur, would you come? 



From Mr. Samuel L. Clemens to Mr. Blaine : 

Hartford, October 7, 1875. 
* . . . Mr. N. sends me, at this late day, certified copies of his creden- 
tials. Among them I find one from you dated Washington, January 14, 71, 
in which you recommend this Mr. N. to the Secretary of State as a proper 
person to bear despatches to London. You say have "known him for some 
time as a most estimable and worthy man, devoted to the Union cause in 
Virginia at the hazard of life and the loss of property." You also say, 
"And I have no hesitation in commending him as strictly trustworthy." 
Please write me quickly an answer to the following questions : 

1. Is that a genuine document? 

2. If so, do you still regard Mr. N. as you did in 71 ? 

All who have met him here think the man a fraud, but if he isn't, I want 
to right the wrong I have done him. 

From Mr. Blaine to Mr. Clemens : 

Augusta, Me., October 9, 1875. 

Infandum jubes renovare dolorem, dementia ! 

After the late cruel war was over, Washington was for several years the 
resort of those suffering patriots from the South, who through all rebel 
persecutions had been true to the Union ; and the number was so great that 
the wonder often was where the Richmond government found soldiers 
enough to fill its armies. Of these Union heroes and devotees was N. He 
appeared there about 1868 or 1869. He had fled from oppression in the 
land of his birth, only to find still more grievous tyranny in the land of his 
adoption. He looked as though he had been at once the victim of kingly 
vengeance and the object of concentrated rebel malignity. His mug was 
like that of Oliver Twist, and he evoked your pity even if its first of kin, 
contempt, went along with it. He obtained some very small place in one 
of the departments, and held it, I think, for a year or two. He fastened on 
me as his last hope, and continually brought me notes of commendation, 
letters of introduction, and rewards of merit. But he never insulted me 
with a reference to his being a candidate for anything. He uses that card 
only with green people in the country, for in Washington, candidates go for 
nothing. It's only the chaps that are elected that count. 

The idea finally occurred to N. that a good way to be avenged at once on 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 377 

all his enemies, to make Queen Victoria and Jeff. Davis both feel bad at 
the same time, would be to have a commission as bearer of despatches to 
England. As carrying a mail-bag across the Atlantic on a Cunard steamer 
seemed a cheap and convenient way of exhibiting triumph over the dead 
confederacy and hurling defiance at England at the same time, I gave N. a 
letter to the Secretary of State, though I had no idea that I wrote quite so 
gushingly as the quotations you send me imply. But it is quite possible 
that seeing N. before me the impersonation of fidelity to the Union and 
honest hatred of the Britishers, I was carried beyond the bounds of discre- 
tion and indulged in some eccentricities of speech. But, alas ! my real con- 
victions are that N. in all his pitiful poverty belongs to that innumerable 
caravan of dead beats whose headquarters are in Washington. It does my 
very soul good to know that Hartford is getting its share. Your evident 
impatience under the affliction, your lack of sympathy and compassion for 
the harmless swindler, show how ill-fitted you would be for the stern duties 
of a Representative in Congress. And if the advent of N. teaches you 
Hartford saints no other lesson, let it deeply impress on your minds a newer, 
keener, fresher appreciation of the trials and the troubles, the beggars, the 
bores, the swindlers, and the scalawags wherewith the average Congress- 
man is evermore afflicted. 

Excuse my brief note. If I had time, I would give you a full account 
of N. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. E. R. Hoar : 

Concord, September 7, 1875. 

. . . If you should get the nomination for the presidency next year, 

which I should be glad to believe, and would gladly aid, you may depend 

upon my lifting up my voice like a pelican in the wilderness, or a sparrow 

on the housetops, in support of such a consummation devoutly to be wished. 

From Walker : 

New Haven, October 31, 1875. 

. . . I fear I have made no mention of your letter including one from 
Mons concerning his Harvard affairs. (So the young " swell " is furnishing 
his room a la Eastlake. ... I wish, that you would send me Hil- 
dreth's " History of the United States. 1 ' I will treat the books carefully. I 
am taking a course of lectures in the post graduate department from Pro- 
fessor Sumner on the political and financial history of the United States, 
and Hildreth's History is good reading to accompany the course. I have 
been devouring Thackeray's "Virginians" (the meal is not yet quite fin- 
ished, Heaven be praised!), and am now ready to vote Thackeray the most 
delightful of authors. 

. . . Let me hear from you often. You can have no idea how much 
I enjoy the letters from home. More and more every year home becomes 
nearer and dearer to me. 



378 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. W. E. Niblack : 

December 19, 1875. 

You perhaps remember that I told you last spring after the adjournment 
that you ought to resign and retire on the laurels you had won as Speaker. 
That on the floor you would constantly be running risks in votes that you 
would be called upon to give, and in various other ways. 

I was reminded of what I had said to you by your failure to vote on the 
anti-third term resolution the other day. To make the matter worse, how- 
ever, it was telegraphed West Friday night, that when Grant was informed 
of your failure to vote on that resolution, he remarked, "Blaine is not in 
anybody's way, so he need not be so d — d careful." This to my mind 
serves to illustrate the force of the suggestion I made as to the antago- 
nism you will have to meet in various ways while you are in your present 
position. I do not doubt your ability to hold your own as well as any one 
else could under the circumstances, and I sincerely wish you personal suc- 
cess in your present position, as well as in all others to which you may be 
called. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Mr. Samuel L. Clemens : 

. . . Now that I have started after this youth, I shall not feel content 
until I shall have destroyed his Hartford market for him. 

A couple of his most prominent endorsers are dead. I wish I knew 
whether they endorsed N. before they died or after. 

p.S. — I wish you would let me publish your entire letter just as it 
stands ; it is just what I want. 

From V. : 

Washington, January 15, 1876. 

At Mrs. Fish's reception last night . . . Mr. Blaine received an- 
other "perfect ovation." Everybody was congratulating him and Mrs. 
Blaine. General Garfield could not contain himself. He nearly hugged 
Mrs. Blaine. "Oh! your glorious old Jim." It was the first time I ever 
heard any one call him Jim ; but I forgave Mr. Garfield on the spot. Gen- 
eral Garfield says that in the whole thirteen years he has been in the House 
of Representatives, he never saw so brilliant a victory as that of Mr. 
Blaine's yesterday, Mr. Randall first brought up his amnesty bill. Mr. 
Blaine brought up his amendment to have the seven hundred and fifty who 
were to receive amnesty first take an oath, and to exclude Jeff. Davis. 
They tried in every way to keep him from speaking, but he has always 
spoken when he designed to speak. He laid out the ground on Monday. 
Mr. Cox replied in a very weak manner, mere jest and in no respect meet- 
in"* Mr. Blaine's points. His own friends were extremely dissatisfied, but 
he could not help it. He had no heart in it. Tuesday Mr. Hill, of Georgia, 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 379 

spoke — very bitter and extreme, but far better adapted to the subject 
because not frivolous. Wednesday General Garfield proved more at 
length, and conclusively, what Mr. Blaine had alleged, that Jefferson 
Davis was responsible for the infamy of Andersonville. I never heard 
him speak better. He had one thing to do, and did it well. Thursday 
Mr. Blaine closed debate with another speech, less symmetrical than 
the first, because he had only to meet the points that came up, and 
could not lay it out quite so squarely, but very effective. It ended 
without a vote by the bill being referred to the judiciary, where it was 
supposed it would lie indefinitely, awaiting its turn with seven hundred 
others. Yesterday morning Governor Holden, of North Carolina, sent him 
a letter, which he said at breakfast he would have given its weight in 
diamonds for the day before, that he might produce it in the discussion. 
That morning I walked up to the Capitol with him, and had hardly got 
home before a note came to send up Governor Holders letter instantly. 
It seems that the Democrats, having no work blocked out, got hold of the 
bills and drew this one out, and were going to have a vote at once with 
Banks's amendment — accepting the oath, and Jeff. Davis with it. Our 
people pulled in all the men from the lobby and outside to fill the vote 
against it. They got the negro members in a room by themselves and 
labored with them, and finally they got them compacted, and really got 
seven more votes, I think it was, than were needed to defeat the bill, which 
requires a two-thirds vote. Then Mr. Blaine moved to reconsider. What 
he wanted was a record on the Jefferson Davis amendment separately. He 
said that such was the temper of the House that they could probably get their 
amnesty bill through, but he wished every one who wanted Davis in to 
record his vote, ay or no. This the Democrats did not wish to do. They 
wished to record on the amnesty bill, but had no relish for being advertised 
through the country as advocates for Davis. So then Mr. Blaine withdrew 
his motion to reconsider, which effectually killed the bill. The Democrats 
were completely surprised and dismayed. One of the morning papers says, 
"People are beginning to think that Mr. Ex-Speaker Blaine, by himself 
alone, constitutes the majority of the House of Representatives." The 
papers give you no idea of it. They, indeed, are generally offish, and damn 
with faint praise ; but it has been a wonderful battle and a splendid victory. 
He is perfect master of the situation. He knows the parliamentary rules by 
instinct. He is absolutely without fear or nervousness, and talks with just 
as much freedom as by our own table in Hamilton, and in precisely the 
same way. His impetuosity is overpowering. The only difference is that 
instead of a few admiring women he has a crowd of angry and baffled men 
in front of him ; and sometimes it seemed as if the whole sixty rebels on 
the other side were on their feet at once, and he just defying them all. 
Old members here say that they never saw anything so superbly done. 
Professor Seelye spoke once — very well too, but illogically — agreeing to 
the oath, but thinking best to let Jeff. Davis alone. Mr. Blaine addressed 
him in his second speech to refute him, but interjected "whose cooperation 
I crave." Professor Seelye shook hands with him afterwards very cordially, 



380 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

and said, " You know I don't exactly agree with you, but you have been 
a conquering hero through this whole debate. 1 ' 

From Hon. J. W. Webb to Mr. Blaine : 

January 15, 1876. 
Hon. J. G. Blaine: 

My dear Sir : When a public man ably and fearlessly discharges his 
whole duty in defence of the right, he ordinarily finds his reward in the 
approbation of the people, indicated through the public press of the 
country ; but when a portion of that press, to which he naturally looks for 
approval when right, openly misrepresents his motives, mistakes his 
actions, and seeks to build up public opinion against him, by assuming 
that the people are passing an adverse sentence upon his conduct, it be- 
comes the duty of all who have taken part in public affairs to come to the 
rescue. 

At seventy-four I may justly claim to have retired from political life ; 
but the time has been when I had a right to be heard, both as a judge and a 
representative of public opinion ; and I feel it incumbent upon me to say to 
you, that, in common with the Republican sentiment of the country, and of 
the convictions of all honest and patriotic men, of all parties and of all 
sections of the country, I most cordially approve of your course in object- 
ing to amnestying the infamous leader of the late Rebellion. What you 
said and did was a duty and, therefore, a necessity ; and whatever the 
consequences, you richly merit the thanks and gratitude of all right- 
minded persons ; and I am proud to say that you are reaping your reward. 
But it is said by your traducers, that you have not only injured the Repub- 
lican party, but that you have virtually destroyed your prospects of a 
nomination to the presidency, by having dared to be true to your princi- 
ples and to the principles and feelings of those who not only put down the 
Rebellion, but crushed out human slavery, and stamped with infamy all 
concerned in the horrors of Andersonville. 

Now, in regard to candidates for the presidency and with " president 
making 11 I have probably had as much to do as any man living ; and as 
you know, I have rarely been mistaken in regard to results. Your talents 
and your public services and prominent position made you a candidate all 
too soon, and you were gradually sinking into the position which was 
always fatal to Webster and Clay, — conceded merits and ability, and the 
absence of an exciting cause or excuse for every man's feeling that they 
were called uj:>on to fight a battle in your behalf. Such a condition ever 
has been and ever will be fatal to the success of public men under our 
institutions, and from this, thank God, you have escaped. 

I have been too long absent from the country to judge what were your 
chances for a nomination and election to the presidency last week ; but I 
do know, as assuredly as I know that I am now writing to you, that what- 
ever your chances then were, they have been increased an hundredfold 
by your course on the amnesty bill. Men and women who only respected 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 381 

you before, absolutely admire and love you now. You have struck the 
chord to which all the better feelings of their nature respond ; and be 
assured that thousands everywhere, who cared very little one week ago 
who received the nomination from the Republican convention, now offer 
up prayers for your success ; and by the frank and earnest expression of 
their feelings will do much to accomplish their triumph. . . . During 
the week there have been nightly, social gatherings ; and I am happy to 
say that I have not met with a solitary individual who has not approved 
of your course, and condemned in very decided terms the conduct of my 
old friend Samuel Bowles, in the " Republican." But I need not tell you 
that the so-called " Independent Press," . . . have become and are 
thorough-going Democratic papers. Alas for the independence of the 
press ! It has vanished ; and all because the purpose of newspapers has 
been lost sight of. Nowadays they are made to sell. When you and I 
were editors we did not follow, but made, public sentiment ; and we also 
made presidents. But things have changed now. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Mr. Wendell Phillips: 

January 16, 1876. 

Allow me to congratulate you on your triumph. Such the country re- 
gards it. I thank you most heartily for the check you've given to this 
ridiculous gash which threatens to wash away half the landmarks of our 
war-gain, — one-third of it devilish craft; one-third hypocrisy; the rest, 
perhaps, honest stupidity. 

Such a protest was needed just now to stun this drunken people into a 
sober estimate of their position and danger. You were most emphatically 
the man to make it. Thanks for your fidelity, and hearty congratulations 
on your admirable success. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Mr. W. G. Brownlow (of Tennessee) : 

Washington, January 16, 1876. 
. . . St. John said, " We know that we have passed from death 
unto life because we love the brethren." Mr. Hill has always been a very 
devout brother Methodist of mine, and I judge him by this rule in reading 
his utterances in the House in view of his professed desire for reconcili- 
ation. ... If you meet the enemy again this session, I can only wish 
you the success which has already crowned your efforts. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. Charles Emory Smith : 

Albany, January 18, 1876. 
I must congratulate you upon your brilliant fight and splendid success 
in the House. It was magnificent. Its effects are being felt everywhere. 



382 BIOGBAPHT OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Republicans are stirred and enkindled, the opposition confounded and 
overwhelmed. ... I made it a part of my business to follow you 
closely, to publish your speech in full, and to have my say, as enclosed. 

The same is true of the school question. . . . You compel the whole 
country to follow you with interest. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Mrs. Ellen Ewing Sherman : 

St. Louis, February 4, 1876. 

My dear Cousin : Here I am fighting Catholic editors, and going forth 
daily armed "cap-a-pie " in your defence, wherever there may be a mis- 
creant bold enough to assail you — and you have not condescended to 
answer my letter. ... I am for you always — and as a family we all 
are — the general included ; for we know that you would fill the position 
of President with honor and dignity, and add, by your administration, a 
lustre and a glory to the country. 

But shall we have that satisfaction ? Your demonstration regarding the 
State Constitutions and school laws will play sad havoc with your interests 
among our Irish friends and Catholics ; but time may change this. At any 
rate, you have my heart-felt and heart-strong wishes for the attainment of 
your ambitious ends here, and for what is so much beyond, as to make 
this, indeed, be, as St. Paul says, dross and dirt. . . . E. has told me 
of your great kindness to her. May Heaven bless you, my dear grand- 
cousin! I am very proud of you. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Mr. Benson J. Lossing : 

Dover Plains, N.Y., February 14, 1876. 

. . . The " Southern Historical Society" have expressed a desire to 
have "all" the Confederate archives in the hands of our government, 
" published." I think such publication would arraign Mr. Davis as a crim- 
inal in a stronger light than you have placed him. There is a paper 
among them that shows that he was willing to have the drama of Guy 
Fawkes repeated in our country. It is a communication from a Southern 
man, or a sympathizer with the Confederates, to blow up the Capitol at 
Washington, while Congress was in session, in the summer of 1861. The 
proposition seems to have been favorably entertained by Davis, who, by 
an endorsement on the back of the paper, referred it to the proper depart- 
ment to act in the matter. This fact was communicated to me by the late 
Francis Lieber, LL.D., who was enrployed by our government to arrange 
the Confederate archives. 

It seems to me that the greatest boon which the leaders in that wretched 
Rebellion can pray for is to be forgotten. They have injured the Southern 
people a thousandfold more than they have us of the North. ... I 
am willing to forgive all the injury that men have inflicted upon the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 383 

Nation, but it is neither wise nor wholesome for us to forget them. There 
was great wisdom and truth in the remark of Cicero against Cataline, 
"Mercy toward traitors is cruelty to the State." 

To Mr. Blaine, from Chicago : 

February 23, 1876. 

At the Republican conference meeting held here yesterday, there were 
about fifty of the captains, lieutenants, and sergeants of the party at roll- 
call, from all parts of the State. In fact it was a State convention, except 
in form. The presidential expression was quite generally in your favor. 
. . . When you made your two speeches on the amnesty question, the 
Eastern papers denounced you, and said you had ruined yourself politically. 
I did not think so. We followed up the Andersonville Jeff. Davis business, 
until the responsive echoes came back from the old guard. As the West 
warmed up, the East began to catch a little of the heat. Your currency 
speech was well received, and strengthened you much with the " honest- 
money " classes, who don't care a great deal about party politics. 
Wisconsin spoke out quite plainly in your favor, and so will the rest of the 
Western States in due time. 

From G. : 

Washington, February 26, 1876. 

Before he sat down, Mr. Curtis (G. W.) gave a long look around the 
(round) table, the flowers, and the company, and said to me softly, " I often 
hear people speak of a ' beautiful dinner, 1 but this is indeed a beautiful 
dinner." Or you may choose what Senator O. said to Mr. Blaine after- 
wards, " Why, it was a devil of a time !" . . . Sir Edward Thornton 
thought Mr. Blaine was mistaken about a man's being expelled from the 
House some years ago, and offered to bet a gold sovereign against a half 
eagle. Mr. Blaine took it, and Sir Edward has just sent in the sovereign, 
with a very handsome letter. . . . Judge Hoar was invited, being 
here on a visit, but was engaged elsewhere, and came in after dinner, 
bright, and full of cordiality. He says in a letter this (Monday) morning, 
that the President (or as he says, " the individual in question") assured 
him that he should do nothing to oust Bristow. This, however, you need 
not proclaim. Also that the President said, to Mr. Blaine the other day, he 
should support the nominee of the Cincinnati convention, and had no idea 
who it would be, but said, " Mr. Blaine, if I wanted to ruin you, I should 
come out for you. On whomsoever the weight of this administration falls, 
it will crush him ;" and I rather pitied him, for it cannot be a pleasant 
thing to know. 

From Walker : 

New Haven, February 28, 1876. 

. . . I hear and read on every hand all sort of rumors and prophe- 
cies, but am keeping my mind well off the subject by going deep into 



384 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

history. Saturday brought the nicest letter from father I ever remember 
to have received, a letter which I shall certainly preserve. 

Washington, March 2, 1876. 
The other day when Washington Territory elected Blaine delegates, 
Mr. Blaine came in flourishing his telegram, " Well, Maine is for me, and 
Washington Territory is for me ; the little gap between it is for my friends 
to fill up!" 

From Judge Noah Davis: 

New York, March 10, 1875. 

I beg leave to add a single globule to the flood of congratulations you 
are receiving. 

Of all " the Speakers," you are the most fortunate in your retiracy, for 
no one ever left the chair with approbation so universal and so wholly 
free from partisanship ; and while this is true, no one can say you have 
not been at all times faithful to the principles of your party, and earnestly 
alive to its integrity. 

I can only hope that, in the new role of leader of the minority in the 
House, you may be able to win for yourself the same meed of credit, and 
largely to contribute to restore the (almost) lost prestige of Republicanism. 
I do not despair of the future. I have faith still, that Republican princi- 
ples may triumph in the centennial contest. But it must be through an 
openly avowed determination to abandon errors, undo wrongs, and make 
the party what it formerly was, the champion of right. 

I think no man in the country has in larger measure the popular confi- 
dence than yourself, and I am quite sure that no one can bring back so 
great a number of the doubting, fearing, and almost despairing Republi- 
cans as you. 

I hope this will find you well, happy, and hopeful. 

From Walker : 

New Haven, March 16, 1876. 

After vacation there are only ten weeks more in Yale. I hope to be 
an A.B., and have what is called by courtesy an education. 

Wasn't New Hampshire a faithful State? I suppose now they will try 
to fight out the battle in Connecticut. Governor English is personally so 
popular, and such a good governor, that I think there is very little pros- 
pect of his defeat; but Mr. Robinson, the Republican candidate, who is a 
strong man, will make a good run, and materially reduce the majority of 
'75, thus giving only a normal victory to the Democrats. If Governor 
English is beaten, I would stake everything I had that the Republicans 
will win the next presidential election. Aren't you getting tired of hearing 
Aristides continually called the just? I am. It reminds me of what I 
heard that an old letter of Jno. Adams contained, written in '98, when 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 385 

there were prospects of foreign complications, and the great G. W. was 
made commander-in-chief of the army, and some one wrote to Jno. Adams 
congratulating him on having the cooperation of the father of his country. 
"I would have you know," wrote back Jno. Adams, "that there were 
other gentlemen who fought for this country than Mr. Washington. I am 
getting tired of hearing continually of Mr. Washington," etc. I begin to 
have something the same feeling. But I am growing cross and crabbed ; 
so with love to all. . . 



From Walker: 

New Haven, March 26, 1876. 

Dearest Mother : Since you were so kind as to have no objection to 
my bringing on a fellow to spend the spring vacation, I have invited my 
chum to come on, and he has accepted. ... As Mark Twain lectured 
that evening before the Law School Club, and as I had never heard him, I 
was led away from hearing the general. However, I called on him that 
evening, and he thought I had heard him, which did quite as well. . . . 
The general talked somewhat on politics, thought father could carry New 
York were he nominated, and said that he was opposed to a pledged delega- 
tion from that State, though he was personally a friend and admirer of 
Senator Conkling. He was very complimentary to father personally, though 
somewhat doubtful of Republican success in the national campaign next 
fall. Polite to the utmost verge as usual. . . . Then Friday evening 
I went out to a little party, where I had a pleasant evening, though they 
insisted on playing twenty questions, a game, a subtle invention of the 
adversary to bore one nearly to death. The party was made up of all 
ages, and I would have been much better entertained had I been let alone. 
Why don't people learn that when two or three people are gathered to- 
gether, they can best be entertained by being allowed to entertain them- 
selves ? . . . I am beginning to count time in small numbers until my 
graduation now, as there are only ten weeks after the next vacation. 

From V. : 

March 29, 1876. 

. . . Mrs. Bancroft told me that at the Syracuse convention a gen- 
tleman said to G. W. Curtis, " I understand you dined with Mr. Blaine, 
and that he offered you the English mission." — "Ah!" said Mr. Curtis, 
" my price has risen. I thought I was bought by the dinner alone." 

To Mr. Blaine, from Judge Noah Davis : 

New York, April 25, 1876. 
I have just read your vindication of yesterday. It is clear, explicit, and 
complete. I have never had a doubt of the utter falsity of the charges 



386 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

against you — and hereafter, no honorable man can have one. I am glad 
you have taken the mode you have to meet the slanderers ; for I am sure 
your vindication will be universally regarded as the frank and bold utter- 
ances of innocence and truth. Thanks and congratulations. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. A. P. Gould : 

Thomaston, Me., April 25, 1876. 
Allow me to congratulate you upon your complete vindication of your- 
self in the House yesterday. I wish to express my gratification that slan- 
der is likely, in this instance, to recoil upon the heads of its promoters. 
The charge was an improbable one ; but in these days of general corrup- 
tion almost any charge against a public man is credited by many. I trust 
that the attempt to defeat your nomination by such foul means will ad- 
vance your prospects, as it ought. I am of that number of Democrats 
who would prefer your success to that of any other person yet named as 
the probable nominee of the Republican party. If we cannot have a Dem- 
ocratic President (which I trust we may), I prefer a man of political expe- 
rience and naturally conservative tendencies, such as I know you possess, 
unless you have very much changed from what you were when I knew you 
best. 

From John G. Whittier : 

Amesbury, 18th, 5th mo., 1876. 

I was not knowingly a candidate for the Cincinnati convention. . . . 
I do not feel able to go through such a labor. The complete vindication 
of Mr. Blaine from the Democratic charges is very satisfactory J to all 
Republicans. 

To Mr. Blaine from Col. John Hay : 

May 26, 1876. 

I hope your health is prospering as well as your affairs. I think you 
should give all your time now to your own constitution, so as to be ready to 
protect the other one next year. 

I spent a week or two in Illinois just before the convention met, but 
soon found I was calling the righteous to repentance. I was astonished, 
after all the Chicago Tribune's shouting, to find absolutely no Bristow sen- 
timent; in fact very little of anything but Blaine. Of course there is still 
the danger of some midnight trade, though it is hard to see where the 
elements of it are at present. 

Anyhow, I shall take this opportunity to congratulate you on your 
immense success before the people. 

From V. : 

Washington, May 25, 1876. 

. . . The conventions yesterday went very handsomely for Mr. Blaine, 
as you have doubtless seen. People here are jubilant over it. Telegram 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 387 

after telegram coming in " solid for Blaine." Many think it is a foregone 
conclusion. I should think so myself, if it depended upon popular feeling. 
I think the country is noticeably for him even to enthusiasm — quite 
unusually so for a contested nomination. Why I am not on the whole 
confident is that there are so many ways by which the will of the people is 
defeated. Those who know "the ropes" can "pull the wires " and get 
the machinery into their hands. Mr. Blaine knows "the machine" as 
well as any one, but the trouble with him is that there are some things he 
will not do, and one of them is to truck and dicker. Whatever can be got 
by organizing forces, by foresight and combination and sagacity, he will do. 
He does not affect to be indifferent. He will do anything that an honorable 
man should ; but there he stops. Of one thing you may be sure : it is no 
small compliment to receive the suffrage of so many conventions. What- 
ever happens, it is very gratifying to see State after State coming in for 
him. . . . Just here, another telegram from Missouri. "We count 
for you a clear majority." You must remember, too, that this is done in 
the face of all the scandal which they are persistently bringing up against 
him, and is therefore the more satisfactory. I don't pin any faith in the 
future, but I exult now, just as A. always sounds victory at croquet as soon 
as her ball bobs through the first wicket. The investigation is an outrage, 
and many Democrats are coming to think so. Governor Connor, of Maine, 
told H. that the Democrats down in Maine were as mad about it as the 
Republicans. S. writes that Deacon H. of their church turned round to 
E. last Sunday while the minister was pronouncing the benediction, and 
said, " Did you see Colonel Scott's splendid vindication of Mr. Blaine ? " 
loud enough for all the neighbors to hear. He was so happy he could 
not wait. ... If Mr. Blaine should not be nominated, I think we 
shall go home about June 20th. If he is, we shall be delayed. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Rev. Dr. Webb: 

Boston, May 29, 1876. 

My dear Mr. Blaine : Good deal like the day of judgment, isn't it ? 
Everything you ever did, and most of the things you ever refused to do, 
mustered and massed and hurled at you with the force of jealousy, 
malignity, and enraged malice. Only in that day the Judge is not a man 
that he should lie, nor are his accusers to.be savages with tomahawk and 
scalping-knife, to hack and scalp, and then try afterwards. . . . 

But what I want is to preach a little to you as my old parishioner : ask 
Mrs. Blaine if she don't believe in the total, and unlimited, and absolute 
depravity of some men ? . . . 

Secondly. Do you keep calm, and sleep nine hours every night ; and if 
you can't keep calm, keep as calm as you can. The strain upon you must 
be something fearful. It frightens me to see reports of your illness. The 
stake is large, but your life is not to be endangered. You may not be 
conscious of the tension. This " secondly" is the main thing which I want 
you to notice and profit by, — restrain your feelings, restrain your menial 



388 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

action, put brain and heart regularly to rest. A little more trust in God, 
my brother, a resting on His providence, this will help you just now. 
And may God bless you ! Amen. 

Washington, May 29, 1876. 

. . . Judge Allen was also in, a Maine man, now judge in Hawaiian 
Islands. He had just come from Bangor, and said he had a solemn 
message which he was commissioned to deliver from Judge Appleton, 
and many others in Maine, that they wanted to assure Mr. Blaine in 
the most emphatic manner that their confidence in him was absolute and 
unimpaired ; that they, who had known him and loved him and watched 
him from his youth, were following him still with unwavering devotion and 
trust ; that all the attacks upon him only endeared him to them the more ; 
that no words could express the indignation of Maine, Democrat as well as 
Republican, at the persecution of which he is the object, and which only 
shows how formidable he is to the enemy ; that they know how open and 
above-board were all these business transactions which the scoundrels 
are trying to make capital out of; that they were familiar with them at 
the time, and know there was no breath of impropriety in them, etc. 
Indeed, Judge Allen in giving the message to H. for Mr. Blaine, told her 
that she could not use language too strong ; and the tears came into his 
eyes, and H. could not speak, and he was so excited that he would hold her 
hand, then start, then take it again and begin new. . . . However, 
it will only last a fortnight, unless he is nominated, in which case I sup- 
pose they will keep it up till November, and may the Lord have mercy 
on their souls ! I don't think I should if I could get at them. . . . The 
over-sanguine think it is a foregone conclusion for Mr. Blaine, but I do not 
by any means. The popular voice is unmistakably for him; but it is useless 
to underrate the power of desperate men with strong machinery in their 
hands, and the Democrats will leave no stone unturned to prevent the nomi- 
nation of the strongest candidate. Two weeks will satisfy all curiosity. 

. . We are invited to go to Mount Vernon to-day with the emperor 
and empress, and also to meet them at Lady Thornton's this evening. 

. . I do not believe Mr. Blaine will have time for the second. 
As the time draws near, the fight waxes hotter and hotter, and the devil 
and all his angels seem to have taken the field. If the issue depended 
upon people who know Mr. Blaine, there could be no doubt of its char- 
acter • but it seems hardly possible that the great outside world should not 
think in all these repeated attacks there is no smoke without some fire. 
One gentleman said this morning that all this would do Mr. Blaine no 
harm, but that he had never yet known the strongest candidate win, and 
that Mr. Blaine, being the strongest, would inevitably lose. 

From Walker : 

New Haven, June 2, 1876. 

My dear Father: I have just read the statement of Mulligan and 
your own of yesterday. ... It seems to me that the principle which 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 389 

you have laid down about private correspondence is one of the most valu- 
able that can be impressed upon public law with reference to political 
investigations. That a committee which has been given limited powers 
should assert unlimited power threatens everybody. The Court of Star 
Chamber did not assert or really grasp more arbitrary power than the 
American House of Representatives has been doing all winter and is doing 
to-day. The precedents for the case of Hallett Kilbourn are to be found in 
the assertions of the Houses of Parliament, and that of these investigating 
committees in the Star Chamber of the Stuarts. Dispassionately I think 
that the principle you have laid down is one worth the contending for, and 
I would not give up those letters in any event. 

I trust to see in to-morrow's papers that you have produced the testimony 
of lawyers to sustain you in your point. If the public has got to know all 
the purely personal secrets of a man's private life, why then I am an aris- 
tocrat or a Helot, I care not which. I want to be counted as against such a 
public. But it seems to me that there is one thing which now is needful. 
Personally, however little you may care for the nomination at Cincinnati, 
you need it more and more for these brutal lying attacks. Nothing suc- 
ceeds like success, and the very men who in newspapers shout to-day that 
Blaine is ruined, to-morrow, should you be a candidate and, as would be 
undoubtedly true, elected, would hurl their hats to the sky in your honor. 

" How proud you must be," said a friend to Cromwell when he returned 
from his campaign in Ireland, " to see the crowds of people that have 
turned out to honor you ! " — " Yes," was the reply, " but how many more 
would have turned out to see me hanged!" The public press and the 
canaille will shout and deride, and praise and huzza in the same breath the 
same man. 

But however painful the attacks of perjuring witnesses and more-than- 
perjuring newspapers may be, however distressing an investigation con- 
ducted for partisan ends and purposes and with partisan bitterness and hate, 
may prove, there is one Tribunal which will need to pass no judgment, and 
to whom the testimony of suborned and lying witnesses is of no possible 
account. Your children, those who may read and reason now, and those 
who will learn to do so hereafter, will need no distinction to make a father's 
name dearer, and no praise of men or good repute to make his honor 
greater. " I have learned," once said Horace Binney, " that the honors of 
a public life are but barren, and the distress and anxiety great ; but the 
esteem of friends and the love of kindred is a solace that never fails, and 
a pleasure that never proves delusive." Of the latter you are certainly 
assured. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. William M. Evarts : 

Windsor, Vt., June 3, 1876. 
I have never been in much danger of becoming enamored of politics, 
but I confess I am greatly shocked at the wretches who are pursuing you 



390 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

when and because you are winning the race. I see the instruments of this 
envy and malice are New England born, which distresses me the more. 
Still there is a hope that Mulligan may turn out Irish in birth as well as 
race. 

I dare say you have more letters of respect and sympathy than you care 
to read, but I thought you would not impute this to a desire for a " consul- 
ship,' 1 and so send it. 

From Walker : 

South College, June 4, 1876. 

I wrote father a note Friday afternoon, and I am afraid that you may 
have got a wrong idea as to what I meant. I did not intend to say that I 
thought public opinion was to be despised, or that political life was a thing 
to be shunned and avoided. An honest and impartial opinion of the major- 
ity we must acknowledge as the highest verdict. But I do think that if 
public opinion breaks loose from reason, and, in a blind devotion to what 
it considers a laudable end, rushes over to a judgment unwarranted and 
partisan, it is very little worthy of consideration. And, on the other hand, 
while I think a political existence one, if not the, most honorable of all 
careers, yet I also see the hard trials and anxieties very clearly. I am 
enough of an aristocrat not to cut my coat and fashion my shirt collar to 
suit the opinion of the mass, if I wish otherwise. And I have seen the un- 
pleasant features of political life brought out recently in such bold outlines, 
that I have no desire to enter on that career. The position which father 
has taken is one that will do him honor, and, I think, benefit him politically. 
The attack of the " Mulligan guards " will prove ineffectual. . . . 

To Emmons : 

Washington, June 4, 1876. 

I have been very anxious to hear from you to know how you were 
enduring, like a good son, the fiery ordeal through which your father is 
passing. 

Its fierceness no one but himself can know, but, walking it, he feels 
peculiarly for you and Walker. 

The defeat in the convention is as the small dust of the balance to him, 
though no one better knows than himself the prize for which he was con- 
tending. But the thought which takes the manhood out of him is that you 
and Walker, who are just entering life, may, perhaps, be forced to see, not 
only all your proud and happy anticipations disappointed, but yourselves 
put on the defensive. . . . 

He has been upstairs looking up the order of a speech for the House 
to-morrow, but it is very likely it will never be made, as every new-comer 
has different advice to give. . . . 

I find it difficult to command my thoughts, but there is one thing I must 
say, though I presume and hope you will laugh at my fears. I have been 
afraid you might go into Boston and do something to Mulligan; but you 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 391 

have sense enough to know that nothing could be worse for your father 
than notoriety of that kind. Keep yourself as patient and hopeful as you 
can. . . . All of us are well, and your father has a great reserve of 
pluck and resource. 

Walnut Street, 7 o'clock, 6 June, 1876. 
My dear Sir : This minute I have laid by your speech of yesterday. 
You have macerated these scamps. With head erect and with defiant tone 
you have scattered the wretched crew of calumniators and spies on private 

life and private intercourse. The of the administration cabal do not 

see that in tarnishing your name they besoil their party. They do not see 
that in thus overthrowing you they prepare the way for the defeat of the 

Republican nominee. But what does or care for that party. 

They are neither of them of that party. They have used it and would now 
destroy it. You have beaten them as I believed you would, and I rejoice 
with you and with the party, as all men will do here. 
Truly your friend, with respect, 

Benjamin Harris Brewster. 

From John G. Whittier: 

Amesbury, 6th mo., 6, 1876. 

. . . But. how splendidly Mr. Blaine held himself in his fight with the 
ex-Confederates of the committee ! I hope thee saw it. . . . He has 
cleared himself of the charges against him. He has had an awful ordeal. 
The game of the presidency is not worth such a candle. Any man who is 
named for the White House will soon be in the condition of the man out 
West who was everywhere well spoken of until in an evil hour he allowed 
himself to stand for General Court, and found himself so abused that he 
had to call his dog to see if he was himself or somebody else. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Hon. E. McPherson : 

Gettysburg, June 7, 1876. 
I read yesterday your speech of Monday, with choking utterance, and 
with tears of thankfulness and joy that you were able so utterly to con- 
found the base conspirators who were attempting your life. With this 
was mingled the highest admiration for the power you displayed, and for 
the terrible force with which you drove home your blows. There is but 
one sentiment here, and there must be but one everywhere on the face of 
the earth where civilized people dwell, and that is of thorough sympathy 
for, and admiration of, you ; and among friends a more determined pur- 
pose than ever to stand by you, and to do whatever may be required to 
attest the feeling of friendship. I feel it as a great loss that I failed to see 
the scene, but in the midst of my engagements could not get away. . 
With congratulations to Mrs. Blaine on the overwhelming defeat of this 
conspiracy. . . . 



392 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

To Mr. Blaine, from Mr. William Orton : 

New York, June 8, 1876. 
. . . I congratulate you sincerely and heartily upon your substantial 
victory over your enemies. When partisan hates overcome all the instincts 
of manhood, it is time for those who have any manhood left to cease to be 
partisans. 

From G. : 

Washington, June, 1876. 

. . . We did not tell Mr. Blaine we were going to the House, as he 
rather did not wish us to go, but helped him with his papers and letters 
till the last minute, and the moment he was out of the house we flew. 
He had got through the first part of his speech, but was on the letters. I 
cannot tell you the effect. There never was such a rout. Knott and 
Hunton were deserted even by their own party ; not one of the leading 
Democrats came to their aid. The cheering when Mr. Blaine marched 
down the aisle and charged Knott with having suppressed the telegram 
was indescribable. It seemed to come up from all over the House. It 
was wild and long and deep. It was a perfect roar of triumph. Knott 
seemed to shrivel visibly in the hot flame of wrath. Observe how Mr. 
Blaine led him on by asking if he had sent to Mr. Caldwell. Mr. Kasson 
came up into the gallery, said there had been no such feeling since the 
emancipation clause was introduced into the Constitution. Mr. Ramsdell 
said, "Made you feel happy, didn't it?" — "Happy," said Mr. Kasson, 

" I was crazy.' 1 Mr. ("Ben") Wade said, "Blaine is the d dest man 

to handle. He has got them down again." A Bristow delegate said, 
"I have been a Bristow man through and through, but I shall vote for the 

man that has put the Democrats in h 1 twice." Everybody is coming in 

congratulating, and I must stop. They say the nomination is certain, but 
I do not depend upon that. Mr. Hale says Mr. Blaine never did anything 
so fine. Mr. Frye says if they can only get him into a fight, he is as brave 
as a lion ; but when he is at home all alone, or with only intimate friends, 
he is so disgusted with the lowness of the fight and with having to go up to 
that committee-room to watch those nasty rebels and Democrats, that he is 
almost ready to throw up the whole thing. His Monday's fight has done 
him a great good. Mr. Frye said there was a stranger, an Englishman, 
who said to him in committee-room the other day, " In all my travels this 
is the most humiliating thing I have seen. Here is a man of great name 
and great fame forced to stand up and defend his character before two 
men, who, twelve years ago, stood with a halter round their necks. My 
God ! think of it." Mr. Frye and Hale and nearly all Mr. Blaine's most in- 
timate friends are gone to Cincinnati. 

Washington, June 9, 1876. 
. . . F. came in Monday to tell Mr. Blaine what a villain Mulligan is, 
but his information was of such a nature as hardly to be available. Besides 



BIOGBAPHT OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 393 

that, Mulligan was pretty well disposed of by the time F. got here. . . . 
Mr. Chittenden, of New York, says he noticed a Democratic friend 
clapping, last Monday, as enthusiastic as himself. Mr. Blaine thinks the 
revise (?) of all these attacks will defeat him ; but we don't much care now. 
He has put himself on a height from which no defeated nomination can 
displace him, and will be beaten not only with honor, but with distinction. 
People say if he could only go to Cincinnati himself, the case would be 
sure. It is the universal verdict that nobody can resist himself. At the 
House yesterday, Mr. Ramsdell met us first with " Well, there is another 
gone to join the great army of corpses, — Tarbox." Then L., of Hart- 
ford, who was in the House and heard it, said Tarbox did seem so poor 
and mean and abject and helpless, that one could hardly help pitying him. 
He is Judge Hoar's successor, and defeated Ayer, the cherry pectoral man, 
who is said now to be in an insane asylum, which gave rise yesterday to 
the remark that the Massachusetts folks are great fools : they ought to 
have sent Ayer to Congress, and put Tarbox in the insane retreat ! The 
Democrats tried to prevent him from speaking, and the scene the day 
before was exceedingly amusing. He arose to speak, and Mr. Kasson 
reminded him that Mr. Blaine was not present, so he stopped. Scott Lord 
took the floor on another subject. Mr. Blaine was brought in, but when 
Scott Lord got through, Tarbox did not rise. Then Mr. Blaine inter- 
rupted the fresh speaker to notify Mr. Tarbox that he was here, and 
Mr. Hale said Blaine looked yerj much as if he was "here," and Tarbox 
said he did not wish to go on. The House all laughed and I suppose 
Tarbox took the bits in his mouth next day. Morrison, the Ways and 
Means chairman, went to him in the morning and said, " Tarbox, do you be- 
lieve in a hell ?" Tarbox made some kind of surprised reply. " Because 
you will before the day is over." Then the way in which Mr. Blaine took 
the investigating committee in hand and investigated them ! V., a friendly 
foe, says, " They had digged a pit before him. It was engulf ment or a des- 
perate leap. Blaine cleared it with plenty of room to spare." Mr. R. 
says that S. (a Western Democrat) goes around growling, " Anybody else 
would have been killed on half ; but Blaine is always rising. Another 
day like this would nominate him." Mr. Kelly, with his voice of many 
waters, says, " I have been in Congress when Constitutional Amendments 
have been passed, when men have been denounced as traitors, when vic- 
tories have been proclaimed, and the enemies of the country overthrown 5 
but I have never seen anything so thrilling as this ! " 



394 BIOGBAPHT OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 



XIV. 

THE WORK OF THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION. 

HHHE investigating committee practically disappeared on the 
-*- fifth of June. They had some meetings afterwards, but 
they had been permanently deflected from their original 
purpose, and the question henceforth before them was not the 
entanglement of Mr. Blaine, but the disentanglement of Mr. 
Knott. The nature, motive, and methods of the investigation 
had been too thoroughly exposed for it ever again to assume 
standing among men. In the committee room and on the floor 
of the House, Mr. Blaine spoke a few rare words of haughty 
and supreme contempt which proved to be parting words, and 
appeared before them no more. After he had gone, some signs 
of malign life stirred in the House, but Mr. Blaine's friends, 
finding that their magnanimity had been abused by the " cul- 
prits," — to use General Garfield's designation, — turned and 
tore them in pieces. Deprived of the vitality which his pres- 
ence lent, the committee never pulled itself together enough 
to make a report. 

There was no need. Mr. Blaine had made his own report to 
the great tribunal, to the highest Court of Appeal on earth, 
the people, and received from them at once and forever, not 
merely the award of innocence, but the plaudit of righteous- 
ness. Thenceforth he became, and as long as he lived remained, 
the one prominent Republican candidate for the presidency, 
more eagerly desired by a larger number than any President had 
ever been, and followed and loved as a leader with an ardor 
that had relation to no place except that which he had made in 
the hearts of the people ; and it is to be observed that the bulk 
of his nominating vote came always from the electing States, 
while the very candidates who were brought forward to defeat 
him in the nomination depended upon the Blaine votes for elec- 
tion — and received them. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 395 

Nevertheless evil did a deadly work. To a nature as deli- 
cately organized as strongly endowed, friendly yet seclusive, of 
honor in the blood and therefore not on the lips, this struggle 
fierce and prolonged, against the cold, close coil of the politi- 
cal devil-fish, had a slimy repulsion utterly apart from the glow 
of manly combat with wind and wave. Standing up steadfastly 
to the defence of his reputation, in which the hopes, the faith, 
and the welfare of a great multitude were centred and attacked, 
Mr. Blaine was not infrequently overtaken by a sudden horror 
of inward loathing which only an ever present sense of the wide 
interests involved enabled him to surmount. During all that 
hideous time no word of impatience broke from him to mar the 
intense sympathy of the household whose life was bound up in 
him. When once as he was endlessly pacing back and forth 
through the long suite of rooms, silent, absorbed, a detaining 
hand was laid on his arm, he said gently, " Do not mind me," 
but continued his walk. Once lying on the sofa, ill with a 
slight malaria, he suddenly raised his clenched hand high and 
exclaimed in a voice thick with emotion, " When I think — 
when I think — that there lives in this broad land one single 
human being who doubts my integrity, I would rather have 
stayed " — but instantly controlled himself and did not finish 
the sentence. His magnificent bearing in the front of the fight, 
his stately and splendid march to an unprecedented personal 
triumph, permitted no hint of the acuteness of his suffering. 
His patience and gentleness at home were beyond words. 

The severe strain removed, a reaction came. On the Sunday 
after he had snatched his case from the suppression and suffoca- 
tion of the committee, and had submitted it to the impartial 
judgment of men, he came from his chamber to the drawing- 
room well and strong as usual to all appearance. Through the 
spring he had been several times somewhat indisposed from 
malaria and disgust ; but this morning he pronounced himself 
fresher and more elastic than he had felt for some days, and 
telegraphed cheerfully to his friends in Cincinnati who were 
already gathering for the convention that was formally to meet 
on the next Wednesday. When summoned to breakfast he 
walked into the dining-room with a child perched on each 
shoulder. It was a warm day and the carriage was suggested 



396 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

for church, but he preferred to walk. Nearing the church door, 
with no comprehensible warning he sank down unconscious 
upon the stone step in the arms of his wife, who could save him 
only from falling. Help was instantly at hand. An omnibus 
standing on the street was driven up, in which he was laid and 
taken immediately home. For the sake of air he was placed 
upon the floor in the hall, with the doors wide open, while a 
bed was prepared in the drawing-room. So quickly the tidings 
flew that the street was blocked with a sorrowful, sympathetic 
throng who gazed incredulous at the prostrate form. General 
Sherman, utterly skeptical, bent over the bed and called 
" Blaine ! Blaine ! " as if it were a summons to battle ; but only 
the ring of his own voice shook the air, and only his own lip 
quivered. The house filled with friends who went where they 
listed, but the master was far away, locked in impenetrable 
sleep. Hour after hour numbered themselves into days while 
this slumber held him ; then the clouds slightly parted, slowly 
lifted, gradually, yet at the end suddenly, rolled away, never to 
return. On Tuesday afternoon all the channels of the mind 
were cleared, and while the telegraph was flashing to Cincinnati 
tidings that he was dead, he telegraphed the message in his 
own handwriting, " I am entirely convalescent, suffering only 
from physical weakness. Impress upon my friends the great 
depth of gratitude I feel for the unparalleled steadfastness with 
which they have adhered to me in my hour of trial." 

Under such circumstances the Blaine delegates met in 
convention at Cincinnati on June 14, and waged their heroic 
battle for the country and for him. Into the midst of all 
their plans had broken the certainty that he was sick unto 
death, the uncertainty at any moment whether it might not be 
death, and the air continued to be thick with rumors and 
counter-rumors. Yet they rallied to his standard with a con- 
stancy that knew no second choice. Mr. Robert G. Ingersoll 
formally introduced his name to the convention with an elo- 
quence whose timely truths were touched with living fire which 
set the whole vast audience aflame with heroic enthusiasm. 

" . . . The Republicans of the United States demand as 
their leader in the great contest of 1876 a man of intellect, a 
man of integrity, a man of well-known and approved political 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 397 

opinions. They demand a statesman. They demand a reformer 
after as well as before the election. They demand a politician 
in the highest, the broadest, and the best sense of that word. 
They demand a man acquainted with public affairs, with the 
wants of the people, with the requirements of the hour not only, 
but with the demands of the future. They demand a man 
broad enough to comprehend the relation of this government 
to the other nations of the earth. They demand a man well 
versed in the powers, duties, and prerogatives of each and every 
department of this government. They demand a man who will 
sacredly preserve the financial honor of the United States ; one 
who knows enough to know that the national debt must be paid 
through the prosperity of this people ; one who knows enough 
to know that all the financial theories in the world cannot re- 
deem a single dollar; one who knows enough to know that all 
the money must be made not by law, but by labor ; one who 
knows enough to know that the people of the United States 
have the industry to make the money, and the honor to pay it 
over, just as soon as they can. The Republicans of the United 
States demand a man who knows that prosperity and resump- 
tion, when they come, must come together ; when they come 
they will come hand in hand through the golden harvest field ; 
hand in hand by the whirling spindles and the turning wheels; 
hand in hand past the open furnace doors ; hand in hand by the 
flaming forges ; hand in hand by the chimneys filled with eager 
fire, raked and grasped by the hands of the countless sons of 
toil. This money must be dug out of the earth. You cannot 
make it by passing resolutions in a political convention. The 
Republicans of the United States want a man who knows that 
this government should protect every citizen at home or 
abroad ; who knows that any government that will not de- 
fend its defenders, and will not protect its protectors, is a dis- 
grace to the map of the world. They demand a man who 
believes in the eternal separation and divorcement of church 
and school. They demand a man whose political reputation is 
spotless as a star ; but they do not demand that their candi- 
date shall have a certificate of moral character signed by the 
Confederate Congress. The man who has, in full, complete 
and rounded measure all of these splendid qualifications is the 



398 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

present grand and gallant leader of the Republican party, 
James G. Blaine. 

" Our country, crowned by the vast and marvellous achieve- 
ments of its first century, asks for a man worthy of her past and 
prophetic of her future ; asks for a man who has the audacity 
of genius ; asks for a man who has the grandest combination of 
heart, conscience, and brain the world ever saw. That man is 
James G. Blaine. For the Republican hosts, led by this in- 
trepid man, there can be no such thing as defeat. 

" This is a grand year, — a year filled with the recollections of 
the Revolution ; filled with proud and tender memories of the 
sacred past ; . . filled with legends of liberty ; — a year 

in which the sons of freedom will drink from the fountain of 
enthusiasm ; a year in which the people call for the man who 
has preserved in Congress what their soldiers won upon the 
field ; a year in which they call for the man who has torn from 
the throat of treason the tongue of slander ; the man who has 
snatched the mask of Democracy from the hideous face of the 
Rebellion ; the man who, like the intellectual athlete, has stood 
in the arena of debate, challenging all comers, and who, up to 
the present moment, is a total stranger to defeat. Like an 
armed warrior, like a plumed knight, James G. Blaine marched 
down the halls of the American Congress and threw his shining 
lance full and fair against the brazen forehead of every traitor 
to his country and every maligner of his fair reputation. For 
the Republican party to desert that gallant man now is as 
though an army should desert their general upon the field of 
battle. . . . James G. Blaine is now and has been for years 
the bearer of the sacred standard of the Republican party. I 
call it- sacred because no human being can stand beneath its 
folds without becoming and without remaining free. . . . 

" Gentleman of the Convention : In the name of the great 
Republic, the only Republic that ever existed upon the face of 
the earth ; in the name of all her defenders and of all her sup- 
porters ; in the name of all her soldiers living ; in the name of 
all her soldiers that died upon the field of battle ; and in the 
name of those that perished in the skeleton clutch of famine at 
Andersonville and Libby, whose sufferings he so vividly remem- 
bers, — Illinois — Illinois — nominates for the next President of 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 399 

this country that prince of parliamentarians, that leader of 
leaders, James G. Blaine." 

The voting began on the third day of the convention. Three 
hundred and seventy-nine votes were necessary to a choice. 
On the first ballot Mr. Blaine had 285 votes, from twenty-eight 
States and seven Territories. Morton had 124 votes, 30 from 
his own State, Indiana, the remainder from the South. Bristow 
had 113 votes from nineteen States and one Territory. Conkling 
had 99 votes, 69 from his own State, New York, 8 from Georgia, 
7 from North Carolina. Hayes had the 44 votes of his own 
State, Ohio, and 17 scattering votes. Hartranft had the 58 
votes of his own State, Pennsylvania. 

On the second ballot Mr. Blaine gained 11 votes. Every hour 
developed a popularity throughout the country which surprised 
even his friends and stimulated his opponents to the desperate 
combinations and more than desperate measures which alone 
could defeat him. The sixth ballot gave him 308 votes. There 
was no break from his ranks, and it was evident that many States 
which presented candidates of their own were so warmly for 
Blaine that any wavering on the part of any one would send the 
delegates flocking to his standard. The delegations represented 
in this only a very general feeling outside the convention ; as in 
New York where Mr. Conkling, then at the height of his power 
and fame, was put forward as the candidate of the State and was 
loyally supported by her delegation. Yet when the balloting 
pointed seemingly to the inevitable nomination of Mr. Blaine, 
the great crowd assembled around the bulletin board burst into 
a tumultuous, spontaneous shout, cheer upon cheer, from the 
storage battery of enthusiasm that seemed always awaiting the 
mention of Mr. Blaine's name. 

The question thus with the supporters of every other leader 
became, not how to nominate their candidate, but how to hold 
back their delegates from nominating Blaine. Finally, a com- 
bination was forced of all others against the strongest, Blaine, 
on the weakest, Hayes. Mr. Blaine's last vote was his highest, 
351 ; but Mr. Hayes, who in the beginning had but 61 votes, 
and who was so little known as to have made no enemies, and 
so little feared as to inspire no jealousies, on the 16th of June 
received 384 votes, which gave him the nomination. 



400 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Calmest, coolest, most discerning of all, Mr. Blaine sat in 
his library and from morning forecast the result. Before the 
decisive vote was fully counted, his message of congratulation 
written with his own hand was on the way to Mr. Hayes. 

" I offer you my sincerest congratulations on your nomina- 
tion. It will be alike my highest pleasure as well as my first 
political duty to do the utmost in my power to promote your 
election. The earliest moments of my returning and confirmed 
health will be devoted to securing you as large a vote in Maine 
as she would have given for myself." 

This was followed by a message of thanks to Messrs. Hamlin, 
Hale, Frye, and other friends for their untiring service, and 
a request to Mr. Hale to call on Mr. Hayes and present Mr. 
Blaine's congratulations in person. 

The disappointment to his political allies and to personal 
friends was great, and it was not free from the bitterness that 
springs from the suspicion of foul play ; but they emulated 
Mr. Blaine's loyalty. The defeated delegates left the conven- 
tion jeering the victors, and then went into the contest and sup- 
ported them. Many took a roundabout way to their homes 
through Washington to comfort themselves with a look at the 
man of their first and only choice, to hold up his hands, to 
receive from him strength, to communicate to him the new 
revelation they had received at the Convention of his standing 
before the people. 

But to Mr. Blaine had also come a revelation. Hitherto he 
had gone from strength to strength and from glory to glory, as 
glory goes in the world, through the regular gateway of promo- 
tion, without check. He had thought to win this highest prize 
of all as he had won the others, in the natural way, by honora- 
ble competition, and the success of the fittest. But he saw that 
this race was not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. He 
felt what he had often seen, that a presidential election is not a 
logical sequence. Fitness for the position, desire of the people, 
has no relation to it. A national convention is an organization 
for preventing the people from having the candidate they want, 
and providing them with a candidate whom the leaders are 
willing to have. Mr. Blaine had too much work on hand, he 
had too serious plans in mind, to spend his time in beating the 



BIOGBAPHT OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 401 

air. If the great opportunity of the presidency could not come 
to him in the legitimate way of adaptation and achievement, it 
was not his opportunity. He belonged to the work, not to the 
place that was open by accident and closed to him. He saw, 
also, that while the presidency itself is a great opportunity, a 
presidential candidacy is in many respects a hindrance. Im- 
portant issues brought forward by an assumed claimant do not 
receive the attention which sound judgment requires, by reason 
of that gallinaceous scratching which calls itself " looking be- 
low the surface," and which demonstrates the depth and quality 
of its own insight by seeing in every measure and movement 
only a " bid for the presidency." 

And yet another consideration influenced him which must be 
mentioned. The nature of the opposition that had been brought 
to bear upon him was so low, so revolting, that no prize what- 
ever was high enough to tempt a second encounter. He had 
made a small thing great by the greatness of his treatment ; but 
though his reputation had been enhanced, it seemed to him that 
the game was not worth the candle. His honesty had been 
assailed only to keep him from the presidency. Every manly 
motive forced him to its defence. He wrested himself wrath- 
fully, scornfully, from the unexpected toils, but he preferred 
to relinquish the presidency rather than continue or provoke 
conflicts foul in their origin, fruitless seemingly to the cause of 
good government. Never afterwards did he make one move- 
ment towards a candidacy ; never did any solicitation thereto 
receive the consent of his own mind, and never the consent of 
his lips except as it seemed to him cowardice, the abandonment 
of comrades and betrayal of causes, to refuse it. Whatever 
assistance he subsequently lent to support of his candidacy was 
rendered with an insurmountable personal reluctance, from a 
conviction that it would be ignoble not to do it. 

The reluctance was augmented by the fact that he ever after 
underrated his own personality as a factor in the political prob- 
lem. He saw, he could not help seeing, the extraordinary, ever- 
increasing love of the people, for it followed him wherever he 
moved, and surrounded him wherever he stopped. It was not 
confined to personal association. It was strong, tender, active, 
unquenchable in men who had never seen him and avIio exacted 



402 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

no recognition, even, in return. But it had not availed. Every 
weapon brought against him he had turned and blunted till it 
fell harmless at his feet. Success seemed already achieved. 
Then he himself was cast down. That was of God. Whatever 
is beyond a man's own best effort is God to him, whether it be 
the acquisition of power, the ransom of a soul, or the swinging 
of a star in the sky. He resumed his work with unflagging 
ardor and devotion, with a penetration that never failed, with 
a hope as wide as the world, but without taking the presidency 
into account. 

And the greatest successes of his career came afterwards 
For to his genius was added an element of self-surrender, — or 
if that be too strong a word for a man in whom self had always 
seemed merged in purpose, — the selfhood which had always 
been but a secondary factor, now ceased to be a factor at all. 
Disaffected towards any other external and personal goal than 
he had already gained, he gave himself, undetached and wholly, 
in his public service, to the service of the country. This is an 
objective conclusion from closest every-day association in the 
intimacy of family life. There is no sign that he ever classified 
himself, ever wasted time in explaining or adjusting his rela- 
tions with the universe, or made any ado over unselfishness, or 
duty, or denial. He went his way as cheerful, as unpretending, 
as simple-hearted as the schoolboy whistling along the brook. 

On the evening of June 19th he was sufficiently restored to 
address from his own door-stone a throng of citizens who had 
gathered with a serenade to see and hear him. Then he went 
home to renew his strength from the sea-coast and the mountains 
of Maine ; and in the autumn he went east and west to win the 
Republican party to the election of Hayes. It was hard work, 
but great multitudes followed him and greater multitudes 
besought him, and whatever was doubtful, this was certain, 
that the heart of the people beat with one desire to certify the 
honor and love in which they held him. 

Wherever he went the same words are true with simple 
change of name : 

" The Republican demonstration in Newark on Tuesday in 
honor of the Hon. J. G. Blaine was the most remarkable event 
of the campaign in this State. In its proportion and in the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 403 

degree of enthusiasm shown, the afternoon meeting, and likewise 
the reception and street parade in the evening, were beyond 
comparison with any previous demonstration in New Jersey." 

" Many expressed their devotion to him as they took him by 
the hand, in such words as these : ' Sorry we cannot vote for 
you this time, but we will next,' and ' Thank the Lord I have 
got a chance to take you by the hand,' and many other similar 
expressions. . . . Cannon on the park thundered out tones 
of welcome, fireworks blazed incessantly. . . ." 

" Mr. Blaine left the residence of Mr. Peddie in a carriage 
for the Market-street depot. Down Market street the boys in 
blue opened ranks, occupying each side of the street while the 
distinguished guest drove between, and was greeted along the 
whole route by continuous cheers, the boys having determined 
to give the Senator the grandest send-off possible. . . ." 

" The reception of Mr. Blaine at the hall of the Cooper Union, 
last evening, was one of the grandest of demonstrations which 
even this city has ever witnessed. In every respect the audi- 
ence was one which reflected credit upon the intelligence and 
patriotism of the metropolis." 

" The appearance of the ex-Speaker was the signal for a most 
enthusiastic and tumultuous reception. Men cheered until they 
were hoarse, women waved their handkerchiefs, and for full five 
minutes the air resounded with the continuous applause." 

" The scene when Mr. Blaine left the rostrum was a repeti- 
tion of his welcome. It was generally conceded that the meet- 
ing was one of the most memorable in the annals of New York 
politics." 

Mr. Blaine everywhere led his forces for Hayes, but it was 
perhaps not possible for him to secure, even in Maine, what his 
telegram to Mr. Hayes had promised to attempt, as large a vote 
for that gentleman as he would himself have received. Mr. 
Hayes was elected President, but by so small a majority that 
the result was for some time in doubt, and was never uni- 
versally conceded. Congress met under the heavy cloud of a 
disputed presidential election. 

Maine had not waited for the national convention to honor 
her representative under fire. On the tenth of June, four days 
before the national convention, the Maine State convention 



404 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

had recommended him for the senatorship to complete the term 
of Mr. Morrill who had resigned to take a seat in the cabinet. 
Governor Connor had at once appointed Mr. Blaine, and in 
December he entered the Senate. For the few winter weeks he 
stayed in Washington without his family, visiting Augusta, how- 
ever, several times, and having his elder sons occasionally with 
him. Alone, he was theoretically forlorn and homesick, but 
actually he seems to have been unusually gay, — though the 
two are not incompatible, — seldom dining in his own house 
except when he gave dinner-parties, which he fondly endowed 
with great culinary and other success in his reports, whatever 
may have been the actual menu of a man who took little thought 
of the " regular order " of home, but had small liking for French 
cookery ; whose first cry when he returned from the most elab- 
orate dinners was for " something to eat,'" and a bit of cold 
chicken or roast beef with bread and butter and jam had to 
atone for the many sins of the chef; who finally abandoned his 
place at the table to his boys or even to their boy visitors, took 
refuge at his wife's elbow, and from that point of vantage made 
proclamation that he would not carve even a mashed potato ! 
The very beggars whining to him over the fence when he was 
at dumb-bells in the garden, he meanly sent around to the back 
door, assuring them that he was only a boarder. But for all 
such shortcomings the blame must rest on the unlimited in- 
dulgence which surrounded him, and would have spoiled him 
had he been spoilable. 

The continued and increasing agitation under the unwilling- 
ness of the Democrats to accept Mr. Hayes's election gave so 
much alarm that an electoral commission was proposed for 
another decision. The popular Republican opinion was that the 
Democrats had by fraud and the forcible suppression of the 
negro vote, attempted to secure the Louisiana, Florida, and 
South Carolina vote for Tilden, and that the Republicans had 
baffled them by securing the honest vote of those States for 
Hayes. The popular Democratic claim was that the honest 
vote was for Tilden, and that the vote was secured for Hayes by 
fraud and the suppression of the white vote by federal troops. 

Mr. Hayes was elected by one majority if the vote of Louisi- 
ana, South Carolina, and Florida had been cast for him. If 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 405 

not, Tilden was elected. It became, therefore, of the utmost 
importance to ascertain beyond question the vote of these three 
States, and extraordinary measures were taken. Each party 
had sent down a detachment of its best men to supervise the 
counting of the votes. The Union men in the South were 
greatly strengthened by the evidence of national sympathy and 
support, and had stood firm against the menace by which they 
were surrounded. The result had been the confirmation of 
Senator Chandler's midnight telegram on the morning of the 
7th of November : " Rutherford B. Hayes has received one 
hundred and eighty-five electoral votes and is elected." But 
the Democrats were as far as ever from being satisfied. 

The settlement of the disputed election was of the first inter- 
est and importance. The proposed commission was to be formed 
of three Republicans and two Democrats from the Republican 
Senate, three Democrats and two Republicans from the Demo- 
cratic House, and four judges from the Supreme Court, who 
were to select a fifth. Its decisions were to be final. 

Mr. Blaine was opposed to the creation of this commission, 
believing that the existing machinery of the government was 
fully adequate, and that President Grant's sturdy patriotism 
might be relied on to enforce the execution of the law. Years 
afterwards he spoke of it openly in the Senate as " a makeshift, 
purely and entirely a makeshift, and a pretty rickety one it was." 
These views he expressed with great frankness everywhere, 
but he made no captious opposition. He favored and indeed 
urged a constitutional amendment enabling the Supreme Court 
thereafter to settle all such cases ; but without some constitu- 
tional amendment he protested publicly that Congress had not 
the power to settle the question in other than the prescribed 
way, or power to transfer the power, or to vest a power so tre- 
mendous in any body of men whatever. 

The sturdy belief of a large number of American citizens in 
the ability of their government is fitly represented in a letter 
received by Mr. Blaine from a citizen of Maine : 

Bethel, January, 1877. 

. . . I do not believe a new departure is called for. To the com- 
mon mind, unbiased and unprejudiced, no difficulty presents itself under 



406 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

the constitutional provision. By that I would stand, and declare Hayes 
elected, and inaugurate him, and if the Democrats wish to appeal to the 
courts, let them do so, and we will quietly abide their decision. The call- 
ino; in members of the court to sit with coordinate branches of the govern- 
ment upon questions which may be presented to them to decide judicially 
is, to say the least, questionable, and to my mind unconstitutional. 

Mr. Blaine's counsels did not prevail. Democrats and Re- 
publicans agreed on the commission and promised to respect its 
findings, — the Democrats more enthusiastically than the Repub- 
licans, — the vote for it in Congress being Democratic in the 
ratio of ten to one. To the public mind there was something allur- 
ing, even imposing, in the spectacle of a question so important 
submitted to a council entirely non-partisan. Why the country, 
or any citizen of the country, should count it non-partisan, it is 
difficult to see. It was strictly though equally partisan, the 
two parties being exactly represented in the Senate and House 
members and in the four supreme judges. 

The fifteenth man was expected to be Judge Davis, who was 
called an Independent, but who had acted with the Democrats, 
and had voted for Mr. Tilden in the late election. Judge Davis, 
however, was elected by the Democratic Illinois Legislature as 
a Democratic Senator the very day before the commission was 
to be voted on, in the House, and Judge Bradley, a Republican, 
was selected for the commission. On every important question 
its vote was divided by strictly partisan lines. In the end Mr. 
Hayes was declared elected by the non-partisan tribunal just as 
he had been declared elected by the party politics of the country. 
The defeated party accepted the decision of this extra-judicial 
tribunal with no more confidence or acquiescence than had 
attended the previous decisions, ordinary and extraordinary. 
They had pronounced the original election a fraud, and with 
equal frankness after its work was done they pronounced the 
electoral commission a fraud. 

The advance of the South is seen in the fact that they did 
not organize a second rebellion. The retrogression of the North 
may perhaps be found in rumors that the Republicans, fearing 
a tumult from the result of the electoral commission, as they 
had feared a tumult from the result of the national election, 
compromised with the Southern leaders as they had compromised 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 407 

before, but far more seriously, agreeing to abandon the State 
elections in Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina, if the South 
would relinquish the national election. These three States were 
the only ones in the South on which the Republicans retained 
any visible hold. 

A Democratic movement for the reduction of the army 
seemed under the circumstances almost sinister. Mr. Blaine 
opposed it with pungency and power. It was claimed in the 
Senate that the negro Democratic vote was repressed in the 
South by the mere presence of United States troops. " I want 
it to go on record," responded Mr. Blaine, " that the negroes in 
South Carolina were so eager to vote the Democratic ticket 
after the Hamburgh massacre [by white men in South Carolina] 
that it took the entire army of the United States to restrain 
them," — and the laugh that followed showed how palpable was 
the absurdity of such pretence. He pointed out that it was the 
South, not the North, which complained of the size of the army, 
although, on the authority of General Sherman, there were be- 
tween the Potomac and the borders of Texas only an " army " 
of a thousand men. Senator Bayard declared frankly that it 
was the use of the army and not its numbers that was objec- 
tionable. " Would the Senator from Delaware," asked Mr. 
Blaine, " consider it to be quite within the scope of the consti- 
tutional powers of the President to say that in a given instance 
the President should command the army in one way, and in 
another way that he should not command it ? " 

" I have grave doubts," replied Mr. Bayard, " but there is no 
time now given for due discussion." 

Mr. Blaine pushed the question, but in vain — " Did you ever 
find an act of Parliament that said the king should command 
the army in a certain way ? Is the power of Congress over the 
army absolute any more than the power of Parliament over 
the British army ? " 

Without even the small tribute of circumlocution the declara- 
tion was definitely and defiantly made that the army appropria- 
tion would depend on such restriction on troops in Louisiana 
as would prevent the President from installing and maintaining 
Governor Packard in Louisiana ! 

Mr. Hayes was inaugurated on the 4th of March, and the 



408 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

rumors began to wear an ugly look of confirmation. The appli- 
cation of Southern Senators for admission brought the question 
at once to the crisis. Mr. Blaine, antagonizing some Republican 
comrades, advocated the admission of Mr. Lamar, from Missis- 
sippi, with a personal compliment for the Senator-elect ; but he 
advocated also the admission of Mr. Kellogg, from Louisiana. 
He had not been in favor of the formation of the electoral com- 
mission, but he was in favor of keeping strictly to its conclusions. 
"Whatever doubts may have attached to the validity of the 
Louisiana returning board had been dispelled by the electoral 
commission, and the same returns that were at the basis of the 
national election and made Hayes President, were at the basis 
of the State election and made Packard Governor and Kellogg 
Senator. 

The Cincinnati convention had " sacredly pledged " the Re- 
publican party and the Republican administration " to put in 
exercise all their constitutional powers for securing to every 
American citizen exact equality in the exercise of all civil, 
political, and public rights." 

Governor Hayes in his letter of acceptance had emphasized 
his adherence to this principle, and had urged as an argument to 
be prominently used in the campaign the danger arising from a 
solid South ; and when after the election he had thought him- 
self defeated, he had said that he did not care for himself, but 
for the poor colored men of the South, whose fate would be 
worse than when they were in slavery, and that Northern men 
could not live there and would leave. Northern Republicans 
who had gone down to the contested States to confirm the 
presidential vote, had assured the intimidated Republicans there 
that the National and the State governments should stand or 
fall together. 

The President of the United States had sent a despatch to 
the headquarters of the Department of the Gulf : 

January 14. 
It has been the policy of the administration to take no part in the settle- 
ment of the question of rightful government in the State of Louisiana — at 
least not until the Congressional Committees now there have made their 
report ; but it is not proper to sit quietly by and see the State Government 
gradually taken possession of by one of the claimants for gubernatorial 
honors by illegal means. 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 409 

The Supreme Court set up by Mr. Mcholls can receive no more recog- 
nition than any other equal number of lawyers convened on the call of any 
other citizen of the State. 

A Returning Board existing in accordance with law, and having judicial 
as well as ministerial powers over the count of the votes, and in declaring 
the result of the late election, has given certificates of election to the Legis- 
lature of the State. A legal quorum of each House holding such certificates 
met and declared Mr. Packard Governor. 

Should there be a necessity for the recognition of either, it must be 
Packard. 

But the signs multiplied that Packard and Kellogg were 
not to be sustained. Mr. Blaine was profoundly moved by 
what seemed to him an utter betrayal of faith both to the 
Southern State governments and to the national government. 
The presence of federal troops at the polls, in however small 
numbers, was a proof of an unsatisfactory state of things ; but 
federal troops had sustained the same relation to the State as to 
the National election, and federal troops had been summoned 
in the legal way by the State governments. To accept the 
votes cast under the protection of the flag for President and to 
withdraw the protection of the flag from those cast for governor 
seemed to Mr. Blaine not only the very dishonor of selfishness, 
but of suicide ; seemed to place the President in the attitude 
of affixing the stamp of fraud upon his own administration. 
Mr. Blaine reiterated protests against it, with almost passion- 
ate vehemence. That any Senator who considered the electoral 
vote of Louisiana as legally and properly cast for Hayes could 
permit himself to doubt that S. B. Packard, who had nearly one 
thousand votes more than the electoral ticket received, was 
equally of right the governor of Louisiana, seemed to him im- 
possible. He sent word to some who were named as the prin- 
cipal promoters of this strange policy that he would openly 
denounce it in the Senate. 

March 6th, two days after the inauguration, he kept his word. 
" The electoral commission decided that the Louisiana return- 
ing board was a legal and constitutional body competent to do 
what it did do. What it did do was to declare who were the 
presidential electors of that State ; it did also declare who 
were the Legislature ; and the Legislature, performing a mere 
ministerial duty, declared who was the governor ; and I stand 



410 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

here, if I stand alone, to say that the honor and the credit and 
the faith of the Republican party, in so far as the election of 
Hayes and Wheeler is concerned, are as indissoiubly united in 
maintaining the rightfulness of the return of that body as the 
illustrious House of Hanover that sits on the throne of England 
to-day is in maintaining the rightfulness of the revolution of 
1688. Discredit Packard and you discredit Hayes. Hold that 
Packard is not the legal governor of Louisiana, and Presi- 
dent Hayes has no title, and the honored vice-president who 
presides over our deliberations has no title to his chair. The 
Legislature, the governor, and the presidential electors of 
Louisiana, all derive their legality and their right to act from 
the same source and the same count, and if the one is discred- 
ited the other is discredited. 

" I know that there has been a great deal said here and there, 
in the corridors of the capitol, around and about, in by-places 
and high-places, of late, that some arrangement had been made 
by which Packard was not to be recognized and upheld. I 
want to know who had the authority to make any such arrange- 
ment ? I deny it. I deny it without being authorized to speak 
for the administration that now exists. But I deny it on the 
simple broad ground that it is an impossibility. ... I deny 
it on the broad ground that President Hayes possesses charac- 
ter, common-sense, self-respect, patriotism, all of which he has 
in high measure. I deny it on all the grounds that can in- 
fluence human action, on all the grounds on which men can be 
held to personal and political and official responsibility. I deny 
it for him, and I shall find myself grievously disappointed, 
wounded, and humiliated if my denial is not vindicated in the 
policy of the administration. But whether it be vindicated or 
whether it be not, I care not. It is not the duty of a Senator 
to inquire what the policy of an administration may be, but 
what it ought to be ; and I hope a Republican Senate will say 
that on this point there shall be no authority in this land large 
enough or adventurous enough to compromise the honor of the 
national administration or the good name of the great Republi- 
can party that called that administration into existence." 

But prominent Democrats continued — after the decision of 
the commission, as before — to declare that the electoral vote 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 411 

did not belong to Hayes and Wheeler ; that it was a fraud to 
give it to them. 

Mr. Bayard likened Mr. Blaine's opposition to fire-bells in 
the night kindling anew the flames of sectional discord. Into 
Mr. Blaine's argument that if the electoral commission was 
good enough to find the presidential returns valid, it was good 
enough to find the State returns valid, Mr. Thurman interpolated 
the aside " that it was not good for anything except to be hung." 
The electoral commission which was to allay strife and restore 
peace by its non-partisan decision could have done so, if at all, 
only by deciding for the Democratic and against the Republican 
party. The decision at the polls, the decision of Mr. Hayes's 
committee, and the decision , of the electoral commission 
availed nothing so long as three Republican governors re- 
mained at the head of three Southern States. The Democratic 
leaders demanded simply that the Republican administration 
should do what a Democratic administration would have done 
if the people had voted it into existence ; or as the Democratic 
party put it, if the Republican administration and the electoral 
commission had permitted it to be installed. 

Unable to believe that Republican faith could be violated if 
its demands were understood, Mr. Blaine repeated in every 
possible guise his conviction that the movement against the 
State governments was a simple invitation to the Republicans 
to abandon the ground on which the people of the United 
States had accepted the election of Hayes and Wheeler. On 
the 7th of March he read in the Senate a telegram from D. H. 
Chamberlain, Governor of South Carolina, to Hon. D. T. Corbin : 

March 6th. I have just had a long interview with Haskell, who brings 
letters to me from Stanley Matthews and Mr. Evarts [of Mr. Hayes's 
eabinet]. The purport of Matthews's letter is that I ought to yield my 
rights for the good of country. This is embarrassing beyond endurance. 
If such action is desired I want to know it authoritatively. I am not act- 
ing for myself, and I cannot assume such responsibility. Please inquire and 
telegraph me to-night. 

Mr. Haskell, it appeared, was chairman of the Democratic 
State committee of South Carolina, and Mr. Blaine charac- 
terized the proposition as empowering him " to treat with Gov- 
ernor Chamberlain for the surrender of the State." There was 



412 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

rumor of a similar letter carried to New Orleans by a Mr. 
Burke. 

" Is there any Senator on this floor," inquired Mr. Blaine, 
" who desires to stand sponsor for that despatch, or for the 
policy that it covers ? Is there any Senator here who proposes 
to abandon the remnant that is left of the Republican party 
between the Potomac and the Rio Grande, and that it shall go 
down for the public good ? I do not propose either at the beck 
of Mr. Stanley Matthews or Mr. Evarts to say that the public 
good requires that the remnant of the brave men who have 
borne the flag and the brunt of the battle in the Southern 
States against persecutions unparalleled in this country shall 
retire for the public good. . . . The few innocent remarks 
which I made yesterday sounded to Mr. Bayard like fire-bells in 
the night ; they seemed destined to rekindle the fires of sectional 
aggression. That Senator and myself represent different 
schools in politics, . . . different ideas before the war, dur- 
ing, and since. I propose for myself, as long as I may be in- 
trusted with a seat on this floor, that, whoever else shall halt 
or grow weak in maintaining it, so long as I have the strength I 
will stand for Southern Union men of both colors ; and when I 
cease to do that before any presence, North or South, in official 
bodies or before public assemblies, may nry tongue cleave to the 
roof of my mouth and my right hand forget its cunning." 

Mr. Evarts immediately desired it to be stated that he did 
not endorse Mr. Stanley Matthews to the extent implied ; that 
the letter was presented him by Haskell, and he wrote upon it, 
substantially, that he had read it, that he desired to see the 
troubles in South Carolina composed and to hear from Governor 
Chamberlain upon the subject ; and the President was declared 
to be in nowise responsible for the letter. 

Nevertheless the work went on to completion. Under the 
irresistible pressure of the national administration, culminating 
in withdrawal of the federal troops, the Republican legislatures 
crumbled, the Republican governors withdrew, and the solid 
South was reestablished. 

It was a great surprise and a great grief to Mr. Blaine. One 
of the most ardent hopes which he had cherished was the res- 
toration of the South. One of the great possibilities of the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 413 

presidency was in this direction. It was entirely in line with 
his political course, though his discriminating treatment of the 
amnesty proposal led the "unthinking and the wrong-intending 
into a directly opposite interpretation. He believed that the 
general government could be so administered as to develop the 
material resources of the South, encourage a diversity of indus- 
try and interest, and elevate the moral standard of both races ; 
that it could peacefully, powerfully, and legitimately press for- 
ward the education of the ignorant classes ; the conciliation of the 
higher classes ; the independence, prosperity, happiness, and har- 
mony of all classes. He believed firmly in the protection of 
the blacks, but not in the nagging of the whites. His thorough 
sympathy with the first in its wrongs did not prevent his sym- 
pathy with the second in its woes, as real. He desired eagerly 
the withdrawal of federal troops, but he desired it as a sign of 
perfected patriotic reunion, not as a condition precedent to 
the relinquishment of projected rebellion. His standing with 
the Southern leaders was proof that his faith was not without 
reason. Many of them were his attached personal friends and 
daily associates. Perhaps by none was he more tenderly cher- 
ished than by some to whom he was in constant and active 
political opposition. All manner of cordial service and senti- 
ment were exchanged between men whose diverse public views 
did not interfere with private respect and social attraction, and 
he believed that they could be enthusiastically enlisted in the 
true up-building of the South. 

The Republican press rather languidly but rather largely 
accepted, if it did not uphold, the work of the Republican 
administration ; and Mr. Blaine's opposition was attempted to 
be dismissed as merely "factious" and "sore." So great is the 
power of the administration, in whose councils at that time Mr. 
Blaine stood substantially alone. 

But there was wide, earnest, and even bitter opposition, find- 
ing voice in the country papers rather than in the larger metro- 
politan press. Captain, now Representative Boutelle, held up 
the new policy in his Bangor " Whig and Courier " to every blast 
and whiff of censure and contempt. Mr., now Senator, Chandler, 
pierced all its joints and sutures with his sharp satires poison- 
tipped ; and when the people spoke authoritatively, they spoke 



414 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

with no uncertain sound. Pennsylvania, which gave Hayes 
nearly 20,000 majority, lost 140,000 Republican votes at the 
next election and gave the State to the Democrats. Ohio, the 
President's own State, exchanged her 7,000 Hayes majority for 
a 27,000 Democratic majority by keeping back nearly 90,000 
Republican votes ; while Iowa, which had repudiated the policy 
of the administration, kept her State vote well up to her presi- 
dential vote. In the Maine State Convention of August 9, 
1877, a resolution approving President Hayes's policy was offered 
only to be met by a sharp counter-resolution of censure ; and it 
required all Mr. Blaine's power of personal persuasion and reas- 
oning to convince the convention that it was organized for 
State and not National matters. Harmony was restored by not 
referring to the President at all, and by greeting Mr. Blaine 
with " deafening applause." 

Washington, June 12, 1876. 
Mr. Blaine had seemed unusually bright and well Sunday morning ; said 
he was hungry at breakfast, which he has not been before for weeks. A 
telegraph wire is on the library table, and Mr. Hale sent a despatch from 
Cincinnati, and Mr. Blaine replied to it that everything was looking well 
here, brighter than it had for a month. Mrs. Blaine wanted to drive 
to church, but he wanted her to walk with him. They walked together 
a part of the way, and then he took TVs hand and walked with her and M. 
But as usual we were forming and breaking line, and when we were close 
to the church, he was ahead of us and we noticed that he was holding his 
handkerchief to his eyes as if wiping something away from them. H. said, 
"Anything in your eye, father?" He did not answer, and she repeated, 
" Have you got something in your eye ? " Then he just turned as if to lean 
on the fence, and said, " No ; my head ! my head ! " and sank down on the 
step. H. sat down instantly and held his head. He did not fall, but sank 
down, and I thought instantly lapsed into unconsciousness, but H. said 
that he said he feared it was a sunstroke. Some gentlemen from the 
church lifted him into an omnibus that chanced to be near by, and brought 
him home. They wheeled the parlor sofa into the hall to lay him on, but 
H. told the men to push that aside and lay him on the lloor. Then a bed 
was brought down into the parlor, because it would be so much cooler — 
and there he lies. The doctors say that his symptoms are all favorable, 
and that he is steadily improving, but I cannot see it. There is no sign of 
apoplexy or paralysis. He uses all his limbs, turns in bed strongly, takes 
beef -tea with relish, but he does not come out of his veil wholly. But he 
recognizes and calls "Mamma, 11 says "A. 11 sometimes when he looks at 
me, looked around the parlor very inquiringly this morning and asked why 
he was there ; asked H. what was the matter, and when she said, " Nothing, 11 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 415 

he said, " Crying? " But to think of his great, strong, splendid mind so 
locked up — only forty-six, and of magnificent health. They say the 
trouble is cerebral depression, caused first by the great mental strain upon 
him, and immediately by the excessive heat. He has suffered much from 
the annoyance of this investigation. Work has not hurt him. All political 
opposition, all the duties of the speakership, and all the daring of his bat- 
tles this winter, he entered into with zest ; but this standing up and parry- 
ing assassin-stabs upon his character in a committee-room, fighting curs like 
Mulligan, this was mortally disgusting to him. Oh, how many times the 
poor darling has expressed his loathing of it ! but he said he must go, or 
everything would be distorted and twisted to his defamation ; and as soon 
as one charge was disproved they brought up another, and when all who 
knew anything about it had sworn to his integrity, they brought up the 
villains and gossips who knew nothing about it to bear false witness 
against him. ... I think I am more hopeless about him than is any one 
else, so you must make some allowance. His nomination looked so sure, 
that they had to devise some extraordinary way to defeat him. Then came 
his splendid speech, and the tide was turned and promised to take him into 
port bravely ; but now he sails with God the seas. Do not think I care for 
the nomination. It is the man only who lies on the bed, helpless and 
innocent and sweet as a little child. I can never be thankful enough that 
this did not come till after his splendid Monday. Nothing in his life was 
ever so magnificent and overpowering. . . . More than death is to be 
feared for him a shattered life; but we cannot see a handbreadth before 
our eyes, and can only wait and meet what comes. The doctors say he 
needs chiefly rest and silence, and that he will recover entirely. 

3 P.M. I feel very much encouraged this afternoon. Surgeon -General 
Barnes and all three of the other doctors concur in saying that every group 
of symptoms is favorable, and that all he needs is building up. When he 
wakes, he almost always says, " Church," because I suppose there is where 
he left himself. He also said, " Telegraph to Mr. Hale." And when he 
had taken all he wanted of something, he said, " That'll do," as naturally 
as possible. . . . The President has just been in to inquire; only heard 
of it at eleven when he returned from Annapolis. Walker came this morn- 
ing at six. The Postmaster-General sent a special message to have an en- 
gine bring him down from New Hampshire in season to take the New York 
train. I hope to be able to send you better news to-morrow. If you hear 
nothing, you may suppose he is going on in gradual improvement, just as I 
hope he is at present. 

From John G. Whittier : 

13th, 6 Mo. 

. . . The news of the sudden, severe illness of Mr. Blaine reached 
me last night. Nothing for a long time has so saddened me. The paper 
this morning says he is improving. God grant it may be true ! If I were 
a member of the Cincinnati Convention and before inclined to some other 
candidate, I would vote for him now, sick or well, as a rebuke to hired 



416 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

slanderers and ex-Rebel investigators. The sympathies of the whole 
country must be with him. 

I never doubted Mr. Blaine's perfect right to attend to his business mat- 
ters and buy and sell R.R. stocks while a M. C. I was only sorry because 
his enemies could use it against him. That he has been honest in his 
transactions I have no doubt. His very letters to Fisher show his delicate 
sense of honor, and his solicitude that no one should lose by him. These 
letters seem to me to be his best vindication. 

Dear friend, I can well understand thy grief and anxiety. . . . Long 
ere this I hope he has so far recovered that your hearts are full of thank- 
fulness. God bless you all! 

Washington, June 14, 1876. 
I suppose you got my letter, written at about the lowest ebb, just as 1 
was feeling at the highest. The change yesterday was marvellous, and 
seemed like a miracle. One moment he was asking, "Where am I?" 
and, " What day is it ? " and the next he was talking as naturally as ever 
in his life. But really there was a marked change even in the morning. 
He seemed to me a new man, but he spoke with difficulty, hardly more 
than single words, and that in a whisper that you had to put your ear 
close to his lips to hear. Monday, when he was beginning to arouse, he 
would say half a dozen times during the day, evidently after a great effort 
to satisfy himself, " Church ? " His mind seemed to be going feebly back 
to what it knew last. Then he would ask, " What day is it? " and " Is it 
Sunday ? Is it dark yet ? " etc. But yesterday almost everything lie said 
was coherent, though he did discourage me once by asking, " Where am 
I ? " But in the afternoon his mind came fully back, and he is now pre- 
cisely as he always was, only weak. He is even getting impatient of the 
doctors. He told me this morning, that these homoeopathic doctors are so 
enamored of the case that they can't let it go. He says that all yesterday 
and before, he knew perfectly well what was said, but found difficulty in 
replying. He said it seemed as if the wires that go to himself from others 
were all in good working order, but the wires that go from himself to 
others were down. The only anxiety now is, that he shall not over-exert 
himself. He wants all the telegrams and papers read to him, and will 
take hold and read himself, but not much, as it would hurt his eyes. 
Emmons got here Monday about 4 P.M. The sun was not out when we 
went to church, and it was not particularly uncomfortable, yet it was a 
very warm day, but very likely the heat would not have caused it had he 
been in full strength. I count his foes just as much to blame as if there 
had been no sun. Everything looks favorable to-day to his nomination. 
The house has been full of excitement, of course, and will remain so until 
after the nomination. New England has behaved shabbily. . . . Massa- 
chusetts is wabbling all over Cincinnati, frittering away her own strength, 
and doing no one any good so far as I can see. The idea of her forces strag- 
gling across the country to Kentucky, and losing all the credit and influence 
she might get by consolidating the New England vote upon the New England 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 417 

man, and taking all his honor to herself ! Sunday night I was awaiting 
every moment the possibility of a change for the worse. The doctor has 
stayed every night so far, and Mrs. Blaine sleeps what she can on the sofa 
in the parlor. Mr. Blaine's appetite is good, and the rest may be beneficial 
to him. He seems as quiet and unexcited as possible ; says he rather 
dreads than desires the nomination ; but if he gets the nomination, would 
rather like to get the election ! Do you see how differently Republicans 
treat the Speaker from Democrats the ex-Speaker? As I write, we are 
constantly getting news from Cincinnati on the library table by telegraph. 
" Curtis is reading the Reform Club address amidst great applause. 1 ' 
" Committee out," etc., etc. ; so that we know what is going on all the 
time. It is not very soothing, but nothing so exciting as if nothing had 
happened. I suppose that editorial was the one that called forth more than 
a thousand letters of protest from Maine, saying that the subscribers meant 
to have a Republican newspaper, and if that paper was not going to be 
one, Maine proposed to have one that was. As it has large circulation in 
Maine, it hauled in its horns instantly. The convention must be in high 
spirits, for pretty much everything that is done is received "with great 
applause," the telegraph ticks out. Walker and Emmons will go back 
probably the last of the week, if their father continues to mend. Q. and 
T. had a high fight of words this morning, because Q. said " papa did not 
know me so good as he did Q." If possible, I will send you a telegram if 
Mr. Blaine is nominated, if I can get the wire, but if it is any one else you 
may whistle for it. Mr. Blaine has just announced his determination to 
go out to drive, and has sent for Mr. Fish's carriage. Three telegrams 
were sent from Washington yesterday, saying he was dead. I suppose 
there are people who wish he were. Still the sympathy and friendliness 
manifested for him were very widespread. Dr. Verdi said he never has 
seen anything like the interest shown in this since Seward was attacked, 
whom he attended. The doctors are elated, and especially the homoeopaths, 
who were at variance with the old school. Still, each one seems to be 
satisfied that he was right, so I do not think we need mind. The street has 
been barricaded at each end, the entrance to the house barricaded, a bul- 
letin put up three times a day, and a policeman stationed to keep off the 
crowd, and a servant at the door to answer inquiries. I have held a good 
many levees myself at the front door, and in the vestibule, and on the 
steps. There is the queerest mingling of politics and medicine. I believe 
if his attack had not been so public, if people had not seen him lying in 
his terrible unconsciousness, the whole thing is so quick and " dramatic," 
that his foes would say he made it all up. 

Washington, June 16, 1876. 
Mr. Blaine is as bright and calm as ever, and seems quite content. He 
has the relief of not having the campaign on his shoulders, and undoubt- 
edly the years will be freer and happier than they would be had lie got 
the nomination and election, and it is undoubtedly better for his health ; 
but I do not deny that it is a risk which [ would gladly have taken ! 



418 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

General Hurlburt said to me yesterday, " It is the last time for a century 
that the North-west will permit New England to have a President, and she 
does it now, not because of any regard for New England, but because she 
likes the man." And here was a man who had won the very first place in 
the country, and New England might have elected him on the first ballot. 
Instead of which she went against her own, and nominated a man that 
nobody ever heard of. Massachusetts might have elected him on the last 
ballot ; but she chooses rather to have an administration in which she has 
no influence. Mr. Blaine's friends stuck to him with unparalleled fidelity. 
Every one says the fight was most magnificent, — that never was a man so 
sustained to the end. Among his friends the feeling, which of course no 
outside person can have, is of enthusiastic admiration and sympathy for 
the splendid victory. He fought the whole field, without money, against 
the administration, without any clap-trap at all, — and he had ballot after 
ballot, as many votes as the three other highest candidates put together. 
And we have wasted all the enthusiasm which Mr. Blaine's nomination 
would have elicited. Who can enthuse for Hayes ? Mr. Blaine has just 
gone out to drive with Secretary Fish. Is this not a cruel blow coming 
just upon his sickness ? And yet it may be the best thing that could have 
happened. You may remember that Mr. Blaine has always prophesied 
the Great Unknown. Early this morning came a telegram that they had 
combined on Bristow ; but Mr. Blaine said no, that could not be true. 
They would combine on Hayes. The convention has nominated a man 
whom nobody wanted, and left a man whom so many do want. Bitter 
messages come in from all quarters by the telegram. If Mr. Blaine can 
only keep his health ! 

To Mr. Blaine, from Colonel Hay : 

Cleveland, Ohio, June 17, 1876. 

It is a bitter disappointment to all of us, but still we can see that you 
received the greatest personal tribute yesterday which has ever been given 
to a public man in this country. Without a single machine vote, in face 
of the most energetic machine work, you had not only your three hundred 
and fifty-one votes, but also the cowardly good-will of the Ohio and Penn- 
sylvania delegations, three-fourths of whom would have voted for you 
if they had dared defy the machine lash. 

I hope you will let me repeat what I said the other day, that your health 
should now be your first care. Don't let any overstrained ideas of honor and 
duty induce you to overwork yourself this summer. It is not necessary 
either for yourself or the ticket. 

Washington, June 19, 187G. 
. . . As soon as Mr. Blaine is able to travel, he will leave Washing- 
ton. . . . He is very well and in excellent spirits; ever so much better 
than before his attack. I think that really was a sort of crisis and did 
him good. I feared that after the nomination was really over and the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 419 

excitement gone, there might come a reaction, but there is none so far. 
He sees every one who calls, and their name is Legion, — all the returning 
delegates coming to make their reports, and their reports are all alike, — 
of a magnificent support in the convention, a splendid following, the 
greatest enthusiasm, three-fourths of the convention really wanting him, 
but cheated out of the nomination by the tricks of their leaders, who 
had the whole force of the administration, all the machinery and a great 
deal of money, all the treasury and the so-called reform element, besides the 
local feeling of Cincinnati and the newspapers. All this Mr. Blaine fought 
single-handed and under his sunstroke. They say that the only large paper 
in Cincinnati that was decent to Mr. Blaine was the "Enquirer," a Dem- 
ocratic paper. Blaine men paid no money, bought nobody, made no 
bargains, had no clap -trap, but just fought on the strength of his personal 
character. The news of his illness was a terrible blow, but they stuck to 
him right through ; said they would rather have Blaine's executor for 
President than any other candidate. They would listen to no second choice. 
Men stood up and voted for him in solid column, — after they knew Hayes 
was nominated ; and after Hayes's nomination was announced they cheered 
Blaine lustily. No one had any idea of his strength before ; that this 
defeat has developed it, and that he comes out of the contest far stronger 
than he went in ; that the way the votes stuck to him is unparalleled. 

From Walker : 

Yale College, June 21, 1876. 

. . . The more I think of tlie result at Cincinnati (I don't think 
very much of it, however), the better am I satisfied. . . . Tell father 
that I shall be disappointed if he doesn't make me his private secretary 
for the summer, as I think Tom needs rest, and I have no doubt some hard 
work would do me good every way. 

From Mrs. H. H. Greenough : 

Cambridge. 

. . . I have never seen any expression of feeling so strong as that 
which was created by the announcement of Mr. Blaine's illness, since the 
hour of Lincoln's death. It seemed to strike a blow to every heart and 
to paralyze every other thought ; and it is a joy unspeakable that even 
at its most anxious moment he was able to use his vast influence to 
strengthen the safeguards of the country which it was the general wish 
to leave in his hands, so that whatever else might happen his patriotism 
was as remarkable as the power he wielded or could have wielded as its 
head. 

Your son Emmons is as worthy, dear Mrs. Blaine, of his father's fame 
as a mother could desire. Every reward will, I am sure, be his or found 
in him, and I am very thankful for my dear grandson's sake that they so 
early have chosen each other for friends. Mr. Longfellow, who was here 
when your son called, regarded him with a great deal of interest, and said that 



420 BIOQRAPHT OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Mr. Blaine was his candidate, his one choice, and that he deeply regretted 
the persecution which had led, possibly, to his illness and which might yet 
cause defeat to the Republican party. Of course he deplored the action of 
the convention, excepting that by your husband's approval of it. its wisdom 
must be taken for granted. 

From Hon. T. Ewing: 

St. Louis, June 30, 1876. 

I thank you for your very cordial letter received before leaving home 
for the convention here, and assure you that your family have as large a 
place in our hearts as we have in yours. 

You may perhaps notice in the platform adopted here a shameful attack 
on Mr. Blaine. I was a member of the Committee on Resolutions, and 
moved to strike out that clause of the platform which had been brought out 
from New York by the Tildenites, who controlled a large majority of the 
convention and ruled it absolutely from first to last. My motion led to an 
excited and angry debate of an hour and a half, and was lost at last by a 
vote of eighteen to twenty. I then prepared a resolution to offer in open 
convention to strike out that charge. But the Tilden men cut us off from 

© 

debate and amendments by the previous question, and carried the platform 
through in spite of all opposition. If I had supposed we were to be choked 
off so arrogantly, I would have made a minority report on that subject, as 
I did on the specie resumption law. The reason I did not was that I could 
get no one to join me in so pronounced an opposition to the action of the 
committee, and I thought an amendment offered from the floor and sup- 
ported by an appropriate speech would be more likely to carry than a 
minority report made by but one of thirty-eight members of the Committee 
on Resolutions. 

I sincerely hope Mr. Blaine will be restored to his pristine and amazing 
intellectual vigor. 

Thos. Ewing. 

To Mr. Blaine : 

July 3, 1870. 
Have you observed that the Faneuil Hall speakers, Thursday night, were 
quite as busy apologizing for not having nominated you as ratifying Hayes ? 
Mr. Goddard has brought over an Englishman with whom he fell in love 

© © 

abroad and whom they are lionizing in Boston. Talking politics, of course, 
some one censured your having sought office too much, etc. " What is 
that, what is that? 11 cried the Englishman. " That is not the way we do 
in England. We think it is the manly way to come out openly and honestly," 
and went on putting their cant to shame, and as the canters fall at John 
BulPs feet they speedily recanted. A blacksmith here is indignant at New 
England not taking a New England President. " If Blaine had been 

© © © 

nominated, I should have put on five more men and would have given him 
twenty-five votes. As it is I have already dismissed three men since the 



BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 421 

convention and shall send away two more to-morrow." B. says that the 
Saturday before Mr. Blaine was ill, a man in Lynn said to him, " No living 
man can stand the strain that is on him. If they don't kill him one way, 
they will another." Be sure you lie low and see that they don't. . . 
Mr. French saj^s Judge Hoar says if he ever is sent to another nominat- 
ing convention he hopes to carry a larger stock of wisdom with him ; 
that he took what little he possessed, but it did not seem to be enough to 
go round the delegation. . . . Dr. Smith was in the train; inquired 
for you with a great deal of feeling ; said he was glad you had grace given 
you not to murder Mulligan on the spot, as you had the right to do, — though 
I won't vouch for the exact words ; said he thought a large number were 
represented by a prominent man in his congregation who had not been an 
especial Blaine man till within a fortnight of the convention, but the events 
of that fortnight brought him out strong, though he consoles himself since 
the convention by saying that your time has not yet come, that you will go 
in with more 6clat in four years, or even in eight years, than now ; but we 
will not lend ourselves to any such folly, will we ? 

House of Representatives, 

Washington, D.C., August 3, 1876. 
My dear Blaine : This has been a great day for you in the House. You 
have at last found not only an equal, but a superior in power to destroy 
one of your enemies. Said superior is Proctor Knott. He has smashed him- 
self even more completely than you smashed him. You will see it all in 
the " Record." I will only say that Frye and Hale covered themselves with 
glory. Scores of your friends were ready to go in if there had been any 
need. But those who did speak left nothing to be desired. 
Loving you as ever, T am, 

Your friend, 

J. A. Garfield. 
From John G. Whittier : 

Bear Camp, R. House, West Ossipee, N.H. 

9th Mo. 10, 1876. 
. . . The newspapers have located me in half a dozen places, and 
the last I heard of myself after leaving my " cottage at the Shoals," I have 
been reported as living " secluded and hermit-like" at Martha's Vineyard, 
the guest of a distinguished New Yorker. This State is now alive with 
political caucuses and flag-raisings, but all say that we lack the enthusiasm 
which is wanted in such a canvass. There can be no doubt that Mr. Blaine 
would have been a stronger candidate in most of the States. The real hope 
of the Republicans lies in the folly of the Democrats, which, from present 
appearances, is not likely to fail them. I am sorry that my dear friend 
Adams has allowed his name to be used by the Democrats, but he will not 
have a large following in Massachusetts. 



422 BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES G. BLAINE. 

Columbus, Ohio, September 14, 1876. 
My dear Mr. Blaine : How gloriously you have done ! I congratulate 
you, and thank you. This will give heart and life to our friends every- 
where. We need the encouragement. In this State and in Indiana the 
greenback heresy is strong. At the State elections all factions of the 
Dem. will be united against us. We shall be vastly stronger in Novem- 
ber. Our strong ground is the dread of a solid South, rebel rule, etc., etc. 
I hope you will make these topics prominent in your speeches. It leads 
people away from " hard times, 11 which is our deadliest foe. 
» Sincerely, 

R. B. Hayes. 

From Walker : 

Cincinnati, October 1, 1876. 

Dearest Mother : After we left Cleveland at seven o'clock Monday 
morning last we had a somewhat prosaic ride to Lafayette, arriving there 
about eight in the evening. Had to wait for dinner until we reached Fort 
Wayne, at 3.30 P.M., and then did not have very much of a meal. At 
Lafayette Mr. Orth met us and took us to his house. . . . Had supper 
after reaching there, and had a very comfortable night's sleep. Next day 
we went to the battle-ground, distant some six miles, and there was a very 
large meeting. Father spoke in the afternoon for about an hour and ten 
minutes. I timed him so that he should not speak too long. ... In 
the evening there was a reception at Judge Orth's, from which father 
was called away to speak in the square. Goodloe, who was the last 
speaker in the afternoon, and who spoke very well, was speaking when 
we arrived, and after he had finished in about ten minutes the crowd 
began to call for father ; but a little fellow who had been ' ' sj3 1 ilin 1 ,1 all 
day for a chance to speak had to be introduced. He spoke about five 
minutes and said nothing, and then they yelled "Blaine. 11 He plead 
with the crowd to hear him out, but they yelled ; then the chairman 
plead, and finally he gave it up and took his seat, saying as he passed 
me, " It's no use for anybody to try to speak to this crowd to-night. 11 When 
father commenced to speak, you never saw a better-behaved audience, and 
he spoke for three-quarters of an hour, and spoke magni