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Full text of "Essays on men, things and events, historical, personal and political, including essays on Roscoe Conkling, Thaddeus Stevens, Matthew H. Carpenter"

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ESSAYS ON MEN, THINGS AND EVENTS 
HISTORICAL, PERSONAL AND POLITICAL 



ESSAYS ON MEN, THINGS 
AND EVENTS 

HISTORICAL, PERSONAL AND POLITICAL 

Including Essays on 



ROSCOE CONKLING, THADDEUS STEVENS 
MATTHEW H. CARPENTER, ANDREW JOHNSON 
JOHN J. INGALLS, SEARGENT S. PRENTISS 
OLIVER P. MORTON, LUCIUS Q^ C. LAMAR 
SAMUEL J. TILDEN, THE FAMILY OF FIELD 
MARCUS A. HANNA, THOMAS B. REED 
BENJAMIN H. HILL, GEORGE F. HOAR 
FRANK WOLFORD, STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 
THOMAS C. PLATT 



BY 

SAVOYARD 



LLUSTRATED BY A FRONTISPIECE PORTRAIT 
TO EACH ESSAY— SEVENTEEN IN ALL 



NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON 

THE NEALE PUBLISHING COMPANY 

1904 



Two Cp(ii«s "tfto-ueij 

JUL 26 1904 

0«oyn«ri< Entry 
CUASS> .'?^ XAc Na 
' COPY .' 



55 



Copyright, 1904, By 
The Neale Publishing Company 



DEDICATION 

This book is published for the benefit of intelligent boys. My 
object is to impart to them, so far as I am able, a taste for read- 
ing and a thirst for knowledge. There is no more desired bless- 
ing than the ** reading-habit." It frees us from irksome 
hours and introduces our understanding to the best and greatest 
of all ages. 

In the fullness of time, in the order of nature, youths of 

today must come to be the future public servants of our great 

country. To them this book is inscribed, with the admonition . 

that only the Right ever really succeeds and, in the end, nothing 

but the Right is popular. 

SAVOYARD. 
Washington, May i, 1904. 



'//v-C^LX- 



-je-<a. . 



CONTENTS 

Essay Page 

I. ROSCOE CONKLING, 9 

II. Thaddeus Stevens, 54 

III. Matthew H. Carpenter, 68 

IV. Andrew Johnson, 79 

V. John J. Ingalls, 89 

VI. Seargent S. Prentiss, 115 

VII. Oliver P. Morton, 128 

VIII. Lucius Q. C. Lamar, 138 

IX. Samuel J. Tilden, 149 

X, The Family of Field, 159 

XL Marcus A, Hanna, 168 

XII. Thomas B. Reed, 185 

XIII. Benjamin H. Hill, 195 

XIV. George F. Hoar, 223 

XV. Frank Wolford, 232 

XVI. Stephen A. Douglas, 246 

XVIL Thomas C. Platt, 280 




ROSCOE CONKLING 



SAVOYARD'S ESSAYS 



ROSCOE CONKLING 

Parliamentary government, as it is practiced in 
England and America, was evolved out of the feu- 
dal system of the Plantagenet. Its history is the his- 
tory of the Anglo-Saxon race. It is the result of the 
tremendous struggle between prerogative and liberty 
that began before King John confirmed the great 
charter on the banks of Runnymede, and con- 
tinued through the centuries until prerogative was 
shorn of every flower possible, without the sacrifice 
of order, and the right to life and liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness were secured to the humblest 
and the greatest alike. Its germ was in the polity of 
those barbarians who resisted Caesar, Agricola, and 
Germanicus, and afterward overthrew and did their 
utmost to obliterate 

"The glory that was Greece, 
And the grandeur that was Rome." 

We find that embryo in Germany, France, and 
Spain ere the dark ages receded before the renais- 
sance ; we find it weak, languid, helpless, indeed, even 
in Russia, abode of completest absolutism. 



lo ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

In the British isles parhamentary government has 
existed in greatest vigor and brought forth the most 
abundant and prohfic harvest of hberty — hberty of 
action and hberty of conscience. The revolt against 
the Plantagenet in 121 5 was by and for the Nobles; 
the revolt against the Stuart in 1688 was by and for 
the Commons. It was not until King James found 
a throne without a kingdom at Saint Germains that 
the English people actually and ostensibly began to 
rule and conferred absolute power upon the Com- 
mons House of Parliament, a power that created and 
settled dynasties, held the purse, subordinated the 
military establishment, enacted the bill of rights, 
governed with a firm hand, and maintained liberty, 
restrained by order, in a realm barbarian, until il- 
lumined by the literature of the Elizabethan era, and 
quickened to civilization by the action of the Crom- 
wellian era. 

Since the will of the House of Commons has been 
the British constitution Anglo-Saxon England has 
been governed by a debating society, clothed with 
both executive and legislative power — a debating so- 
ciety that wounded France at Ryswick, and humili- 
ated France at Utrecht ; that planted the cross of St. 
George in every clime, that lost the most loyal of de- 
pendencies when our forefathers rebelled in '76, that 
again humiliated France in 181 5, when France's 
master combined "more than the power of Louis the 
Great with more than the genius of Frederick the 
Great," that established a sound credit in 1694, and 
from that day England became the world's banker, 
as she afterward became mistress of the seas and the 
sea's commerce. Each in his turn — Halifax, Somers, 
Montague. Bolingbroke, Walpole, Carteret, Pitt, 



ROSCOE CONKLING n 

father and son, Fox, father and son, Burke, Sheri- 
dan, Grey, Canning, Brougham, Peel, Palmerston, 
DisraeH, and Gladstone, was the persuader of Eng- 
land, and so in America, for these names have had 
their prototypes among us, just as our government is 
an offshoot of the English polity. We, too, have had 
our statesmen who ruled America by ruling the 
American Congress — the American Debating So- 
ciety. 

There are two classes of statesmen — the active and 
the speculative. Chatham was the leading executive 
of his day, as well as the leading orator. On the 
other hand, Burke was the first thinker of Europe, 
but his finest speeches, perhaps the greatest since the 
golden age of Athens, were delivered to empty 
benches, and though he was a much greater in- 
tellect than either of them, he in turn was content to 
be a follower of both Fox and Pitt. There may be, 
and often there is, a wide distinction between a great 
intellect and a great man. Bacon had a far superior 
intellect to Cromwell, yet few will dispute that Crom- 
well was a far greater man than Bacon. In our 
country some of the leading active statesmen have 
been Hamilton, De Witt Clinton, Jackson, and 
Thaddeus Stevens. The speculative and expounding 
American statesmen of the first rank have been Jef- 
ferson, Webster, Calhoun, and Marshall. Sometimes 
the two are combined in a single individual, but not 
in superlative degree — not even in Chatham's case. 
In our country Clay, Benton, Douglas, and Lincoln 
were not only men of action, but men of thought. 

But after all the rule is that a parliamentary repu- 
tation is fleeting. When we reflect upon the great part 
that Roscoe Conkling played on the stage of Ameri- 



12 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

can politics for the double decade beginning with 
1 86 1 and ending with 1881, and contrast the place 
he held in the public eye in the day of his grandeur 
with the place his name occupies at this time in the 
minds of those of ordinary intelligence and average 
information we have a vivid conception of how 
ephemeral is the fame of the parliamentary leader, 
even when that leader was such a forceful and bril- 
liant man as Mr. Conkling certainly was. Without 
being in the first rank of American statesmen, that 
rank that can be numbered on the fingers of the two 
hands and perhaps on the fingers of one, he is cer- 
tainly among the elite of the second rank, along with 
Benton, Douglas, Seward, Stephens, Chase, Sum- 
ner, Fessenden, Toombs, Thurman, Carlisle, Ben 
Hill, and Blaine. Douglas himself, who played even 
a greater part than Conkling, is almost forgotten. 
He was the Blaine of the Democratic party at the 
time the Democratic party had been as long domi- 
nant as the Republican party had been when Arthur 
surrendered the Presidency to Cleveland. We know 
that he was affectionately and admiringly styled the 
"Little Giant" ; we know that he was the first debater 
of his day; we know that his speeches in the two 
Houses of Congress would fill volumes ; we know 
that he dreamed of and schemed for the Presidency; 
we know that his nomination for that great dignity 
sundered his party as the nomination of Blaine, a 
quarter of a century later, divided the Republican 
party, and that is about all the average man knows 
of Stephen A. Douglas. Nobody quotes him, as few 
quote, or will quote, Blaine, except as all speakers of 
Congress are quoted, though Blaine wrote a book 



ROSCOE CONKLING 13 

and has written volumes of diplomatic dispatches, 
to say nothing of his speeches. 

Take Thomas Ewing, of Ohio, and his State must 
be mentioned to locate him. In his day he was a 
leading Senator and an admirable Secretary, but the 
National House of Representatives, with a member- 
ship of three hundred and eighty-six, now sitting 
in the Capitol, might be polled, and it is extremely 
doubtful if a quorum could answer correctly whether 
Ewing was Whig or Democrat. Take George Evans, 
and, like Ewing, he is forgotten. I doubt if fifty 
men in the Fifty-eighth Congress could tell what 
State he hailed from. Yet for mental virility, for 
breadth of intellect, for depth of understanding, for 
forceful logic, for capacity as a parliamentary de- 
bater, he was the foremost man Maine ever pro- 
duced, above Reed, above Blaine, above even Fes- 
senden. Take McDuffie, the fiery Rupert of debate, 
the Mills of his day, the leader of the free traders, 
and a triumphant leader, as the final result showed, 
and who remembers him outside of South Carolina 
and Georgia ? And so with Conkling, next to Sam- 
uel J. Tilden, De Witt Clinton, and Alexander Ham- 
ilton, the greatest New York statesman that had ap- 
peared on the stage when he left it, above Burr, 
above Van Buren, above Wright, above Marcy, 
above Seward, and who will remember him when 
he shall have been dead as long as Evans, or Doug- 
las, or McDuffie, or Ewing? A writer with half the 
genius, in his field, these men displayed in the Sen- 
ate would be immortal. Not only is the pen mightier 
than the sword, but it is infinitely mightier than the 
tongue. 



i4 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 



The Conkling family came from Nottinghamshire, 
England, and it is a saying in that country to this 
day that the Conklings were there when the Con- 
queror came, gained the day at Hastings, seized the 
crown, and took possession of the realm. Not only is 
the name Saxon, but the Senator was Saxon. Saxon 
in strength and length of limb, in beauty and grace 
of person, in color of eye and hair. The father of 
Benjamin Franklin likewise came from Nottingham- 
shire. When the first Conkling came to America 
he settled in New England, driven from his ances- 
tral home in old England doubtless by the tyranny 
of the last Stuart. That was in the seventeenth cen- 
tury. The father of Roscoe was a leading lawyer. 
judge, and member of Congress during the second 
quarter of the present century, and lived to witness 
the legal and political triumphs of both of his sons. 
Roscoe was born October 30, 1829. A few months 
later Blaine was born, and a year and a month later 
still Garfield was born. As a lad Conkling gave little 
promise of what he afterward became, the most per- 
sistent and the most untiring of students. He loved 
play more than books, but he refused to play unless 
he led, and his associates instinctively accorded him 
the leadership. At an early age his father placed him 
at Albany Academy, where he soon developed a 
fondness for studies, and, as in the Senate later, he 
would be content with nothing but first place, and 
before he was sixteen he was head boy in the school. 

His father was the intimate personal friend of 
such men as Chancellor Kent, President Van Buren, 
John Quincy Adams, Governor Throop, Smith 



ROSCOE CONKLING 15 

Thompson, and Thtirlow Weed, and those gentlemen 
were frequent guests at the home of the elder Conk- 
ling, where the boy was admitted to their presence 
in terms of familiarity and even equality, and this 
circumstance, doubtless, first lighted the spark of 
political ambition in his breast. Even at that early 
age he was celebrated for his wonderful memory and 
splendid diction. When he had acquired all the 
knowledge that could be obtained at the academy 
he refused to enter college for the reason that he had 
determined to enter politics and would lose no time. 
His father placed him in the law office of Spencer & 
Kernan, the latter a Democrat, whose Romish faith 
possibly cost him the nomination for Governor in 
1874, when Tilden was chosen. In 1862 he defeated 
Conkling for Congress and was defeated by him in 
1864. He was his pupil's colleague in the Senate 
from 1875 to 1 88 1, when Piatt succeeded him. 

Conkling was admitted to the bar before he at- 
tained his majority, and at the age of twenty years 
he became prosecuting attorney of Oneida County. 
He acquired but one language, but he was a most 
perfect master of that. He was fond of the English 
classics, and his favorite poet was Byron — as he was 
Greeley's — many of whose most elaborate produc- 
tions he was able to repeat from beginning to end. 
He knew the Bible from lid to lid, and was very fond 
of quoting it. After he resigned from the Senate 
he found himself opposed to Benjamin F. Butler in a 
trial at nisi prius, and the two fell to quoting Scrip- 
ture against each other, which continued for a long 
time, much to the edification of the court, bar, jury, 
and spectators. 



i6 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

While yet a student in the office of Spencer & Ker- 
nan young ConkHng obtained possession of Good- 
rich's "British Eloquence," a collection of speeches 
never surpassed in the English tongue. He devour- 
ed the book, and it is said by his biographer that he 
could repeat whole pages of it, and thus it was that 
the eloquence of the Pitts, the Foxes, Burke, Sheri- 
dan, Erskine, Curran, Grattan, and others of like ilk, 
became the models of the wonderful speeches Conk- 
ling afterward delivered on the stump and in both 
Houses of Congress. In 1852, young as he was, he 
canvassed New York for Gen. Scott, and established, 
even that early in life, a State reputation. He was a 
follower of Seward, and it was in his school he mas- 
tered those political methods by which he was enabled 
to dominate the Empire State for a score of years. 
He joined the Republican party the year it was 
formed, and in 1858, at the age of twenty-nine years, 
he was elected Mavor of Utica. This seems to be a 
favorite office with New York politicians. De Witt 
Clinton resigned a seat in the United States Senate 
to become Mayor of New York when that city was a 
village compared with the Baltimore or the Boston 
of to-day. Wright and Marcy were Mayors, Fer- 
nando Wood was a Mayor, Seward was a Mayor, 
Cleveland was a Mayor, and so was David B. Hill. 

In 1858 Conkling was nominated for Congress. 
He did not desire the office ; he felt that he was too 
poor to enter political life at the National Capital, 
and he had resolved to acquire a fortune at the bar 
before he embarked on that larger theater where he 
was destined to play so great a part. Asked by a 
friend why he was a candidate for Congress if he did 
not want it, he replied : "Because some men object 



ROSCOE CONKLING 17 

to my nomination. So long as one man opposes me 
I shall stand for Congress." There is the key to his 
character. He was a good fighter, a good hater, and 
the best mark for what Thomas B. Reed called "good 
old-fashioned envy" of his day. He was elected, 
though his brother-in-law, Horatio Seymour, spoke 
and voted against him. He took his seat in Con- 
gress in December, 1859. 

It was the famous "Helper Book" Congress, the 
Congress that investigated and discussed the John 
Brown raid. It was months before a Speaker 
was chosen, and that Speaker belonged to 
neither of the dominant parties. It was the 
last Congress that sat and wrangled before ar- 
mies were encamped on the Potomac, the Cumber- 
land, and the Osage to seam the land with graves 
and fertilize the soil with blood. The war of words 
was to give place to the war of swords. There were 
Justin S. Morrill, Charles Francis Adams, and An- 
son Burlingame; Henry L. Dawes, Daniel E. Sickles, 
and John Cochrane; F. E. Spinner, R. E. Fenton, 
and William Pennington, the latter the Speaker; 
Thomas B. Florence, John Hickman, and Thaddeus 
Stevens ; G. A. Grow, John Covode, and Henry Win- 
ter Davis ; Roger A. Pryor, Thomas A. Bocock, and 
"Extra Billy" Smith; A. R. Boteler, Zebulon B. 
Vance, and L. M. Keitt; James L. Pugh, L. Q. C. 
Lamar, and George H. Pendleton; C. L. Vallandig- 
ham, John Hutchins, and J.M.Ashley; Thomas Cor- 
win, S. S. Cox, and John Sherman; John A. Bing- 
ham, Horace Maynard, and W. S. Holman; E. B. 
Washburn, Owen Lovejoy, and John A. Logan; 
John Young Brown, William E. Simms, and Emer- 
son Etheridge. Of all that Congress — Senate and 
House — no one is now in the National Councils. 



i8 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

II 

Conkling's first speech was upon the all-absorbing 
slavery question, and it might be characterized with- 
out any very violent assumption as a plea for nullifi- 
cation. It was an able and savage attack on the fugi- 
tive slave law that had been approved by a free-soil 
President and had been adjudged constitutional by 
the Supreme Judiciary of the Federal Government. 
In truth, nullification is patriotism or treason accord- 
ing to the standpoint whence it is viewed, and so it is 
with the whole gamut of right and wrong. In i860 
Conkling was re-elected to Congress. He had served 
his novitiate and now began to assume a leadership 
for which nature had designed him. He was one of 
the most trusted of all the lieutenants of Thaddeus 
Stevens. It was the Congress that adopted the Crit- 
tenden resolutions of July, 1861, the day after the 
first Bull Run. It was the last apology made by the 
Federal Government, but it was an apology that did 
much to preserve Kentucky to the Union, encourage 
the Union party in West Virginia, Maryland, Mis- 
souri, and Tennessee, and prevent Southern unity. 
Next to Stevens and Henry Winter Davis, Conkling 
was the most conspicuous man on the Republican 
side. In 1862 there was a reaction at the North. 
Up to that time the war had been a failure. Not only 
had Richmond not been taken, but Lee and Jackson 
were in Maryland ; Bragg and Kirby Smith were in 
Kentucky; Price and McCullough were victorious 
in Missouri, and Southern arms triumphed every- 
where. Scores of Northern Republicans lost their 
seats in Congress, and among them was Conkling. 
He was defeated by his old preceptor, Francis Ker- 



ROSCOE CONKLING 19 

nan, and he had already made some enemies for 
whom he was admired; but enemies who afterward 
snarled at him when his self-respect forced his resig- 
nation from the Senate. In 1864, however, the po- 
Htical tide turned again, and Conkling defeated Ker- 
nan for re-election. 

When he came to Washington in 1865 he found 
there James G. Blaine, and thereby hangs a tale. 
Secretary Stanton had employed Conkling to prose- 
cute Army officers who had been dealing in substi- 
tutes and had administered the draft laws in the in- 
terest of those communities that had bribed them. 
One Haddock, a major in the Regular Army, was 
provost marshal of the Western District of New 
York. He was an unmitigated scoundrel, and no 
man took more delight in exposing and punishing a 
scoundrel than Conkling. He cited Haddock before 
a military commission and prosecuted him with ex- 
traordinary vigor. The commission found the ac- 
cused guilty, and he was dismissed the service, re- 
quired to pay a heavy fine, and sentenced to a long 
term of imprisonment. Had not the war closed about 
that time (the findings were promulgated in the sum- 
mer of 1865), Haddock would have been shot. 
Conkling discovered that draft speculation extended 
to many of the States, and it was charged, whether 
truth or slander, that Blaine lost nothing by draft 
speculation. In his closing remarks in the Haddock 
trial, Mr. Conkling said : 

When I die I wish it lettered on my tomb, "He did his 
utmost to gibbet at the crossroads of pubhc justice all those 
who, when war drenched the land with blood and covered it 
with mourning, parted the garments of their country among 
them, and cast lots upon the vesture of the government, while 
they held positions of emolument and trust." 



20 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

In the spring of 1866 Conkling delivered a pow- 
erful speech on the Army appropriation bill, in which 
he criticised the provost marshal general, General 
Frye, in terms almost savage in their severity. He 
declared that the bureau was reeking with corrup- 
tion, and that its administration was a disgrace to the 
Army and the government. The speech was mingled 
eloquence and sarcasm, argument and invective. A 
short time after, Mr. Blaine constituted himself the 
special champion of General Frye, and had a long 
communication from that officer read at the Clerk's 
desk. He then made a speech defending Frye from 
the assault of Conkling, and attacking Conkling in 
turn. This was the beginning of that hostility be- 
tween the two rival young statesmen that had such 
momentous consequence years later. Conkling re- 
plied to Blaine, and was characteristically lordly and 
insufferably contemptuous. He began as follows : 

If General Frye is reduced to depending for vindication 
upon the gentleman from Maine, he is to be commiserated cer- 
tainly. If I have fallen to the necessity to taking lessons from 
that gentleman in the rules of propriety, or of right, or wrong, 
God help me. 

He spoke at considerable length, and in the course 
of his remarks said something about being personally 
responsible for what he uttered and did "here and 
elsewhere." The following morning this part of 
the speech was revised so as to make the meaning 
more emphatic and perhaps lend additional euphony 
and emphasis to the sentence. Blaine seized on this 
circumstance to rise to a personal explanation in 
which he reproached Conkling for substituting 
words other than those he had uttered. It was the 
merest quibble, as one can see by reading the whole 



ROSCOE CONKLING 21 

proceedings. Conkling, with that unspeakable con- 
tempt for which he was so famous, used the follow- 
ing language in the course of the debate that sprang 
up: 

It was rather a cheap mode of clawing off from an un- 
gentlemanly passage in the debate for the member from Maine 
to rise here and pretend to this House that he understood I 
meant to talk in the language of the duelist, or to intimate in 
any way that I sought a personal controversy with him. I beg 
to assure him that my observation of him, if nothing else, 
would remove far distant from me the impression that in that 
way, or in any other, it was worth while to attempt to get out 
of him any such controversy as that. ♦ * * And I will 
submit whether I will be compelled to sit at the feet of the 
gentleman from Maine and derive from him instructions as to 
what is gentlemanly and honorable. * * * The time will 
be far hence when it will become necessary for him to dispense 
to me any information or instruction with regard to those 
rules which ought to govern the conduct of gentlemen. * * * 
A member of this House, capable of doing precisely that which 
upon four marked occasions during this session I have 
detected in the gentleman from Maine is capable of saying 
what he has said here, and putting me in a position when I 
answer it which makes me feel I owe an apology, if not to 
myself, to the members of the House, for detaining them one 
moment on such a matter. 

Stung to the quick by this terrific assault, Blaine 
delivered himself of that famous sarcasm that is so 
often referred to as Blaine's castigation of his rival. 
It would seem that Blaine had subsidized the press, 
so frequently has his language been printed and so 
seldom has Conkling's. 

Here is what Blaine said in reply : 

As to the gentleman's 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, superimminent, overpowering turkey gobbler strut 
has been so crushing to myself and all the members of this 



22 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

House that I know it was an act of the greatest temerity for 
me to venture upon a controversy with him. But, sir, I know 
who is responsible for all this. I know that within the past 
five weeks, as members of this House will recollect, an extra 
strut has characterized the gentleman's bearing. It is not his 
fault. It is the fault of another. That gifted and satirical 
writer, Theodore Tilton, of the New York Independent, spent 
some weeks recently in this city. His letters in that paper em- 
brace, with many serious statements, a little jocose satire, a 
part of which was the statement that the mantle of the late 
Winter Davis had fallen upon the member from New York. 
The gentleman took it seriously, and it has given his strut ad- 
ditional 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 profanity of that jocose satire. 

The Speaker admonished Blaine that his remarks 
were not parHamentary, and he proceeded no further. 
ConkHng merely remarked that nothing the gentle- 
man from Maine could say would have the effect to 
stir the slightest emotion in his breast. Years after 
they served together in the United States Senate. 
Only two seats — those of Hamlin and Ingalls — 
separated them ; but Conkling could not have seem- 
ed more oblivious of Blaine's presence if no such per- 
son had existed. So far as the general public knows, 
Blaine was entirely dismissed from Conkling's con- 
sciousness except on the single occasion, the politi- 
cal campaign of 1884, when he gave utterance to that 
cauterizing and corroding sarcasm : "I am not in 
the criminal practice." The above encounter oc- 
curred April 24, 1866, and the seed that day planted 
produced the Democratic harvest of eighteen years 
later. There is a beautiful story related by some of 
Mr. Blaine's followers to the effect that during the 
campaign of 1884 Conkling expressed a willingness 



ROSCOE CONKLING 23 

to make a speech for the RepubHcan ticket if Blaine 
would only make the request in person, and that 
Blaine responded : "No, a thousand times no ; I will 
carry New York without him, and in spite of him." 
It is a cock-and-bull story. In the first place, Conk- 
ling would have gone to the stake before he would 
have made such a proposal, and in the second, 
Blaine would have welcomed his aid as the famished 
man welcomes food. 

At Conkling's instance a committee was raised to 
investigate the provost marshal's office and inquire 
into the injurious statements against himself in 
Frye's letter that Mr. Blaine had read at the Clerk's 
desk. That committee was composed of some of the 
leading members of the House, and at its head was 
Samuel Shellabarger, one of the most eminent law- 
yers in the whole country. Their report not only 
vindicated Conkling, but it severely condemned Frye 
and reflected on Blaine. It was reported unani- 
mously and adopted by the House with only four 
dissentient votes. Thus the victory was clearly with 
Conkling, and for that victory Blaine never forgave 
him. 

Ill 

When the Fortieth Congress convened in its first 
session Conkling appeared as a Senator. Mr. Ed- 
munds took his seat for the first time a few months 
before, and Judge Thurman came in two years later. 
There were Fessenden and Sumner, Sherman and 
Trumbull, Morton and Schurz, Grimes and Howe, 
Wade and Wilson, and other able and brilliant men 
already in their seats. Conkling was the youngest 



24 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Senator, and, though he came with a splendid repu- 
tation, nobody expected that he would attempt to do 
what he soon did do — shove aside the old leaders and 
assume the primacy for himself. It was the era of 
reconstruction. Andy Johnson had gone back to his 
first love — the Democratic party — and was vetoing 
bills as fast as Stevens and Butler could pass them 
through the House and Sumner and Wade could 
pass them through the Senate. Mr. Conkling was a 
radical of the Radicals. He later gave the name of 
"Stalwart" to his faction of the party in New York 
— a faction that had thrown aside Seward, Weed, 
Greeley, Fenton, and chosen the haughty and lordly 
young Congressman from Utica for its leader. 

In the Senate he scorned to serve a novitiate. Sen- 
atorial tradition meant little to him. He was a lead- 
er from the day he took his seat ; indeed, he could 
have been placed in no situation where he would have 
been a docile follower. Take all his speeches, and 
they are numberless, for he ate no idle bread, and it is 
to be deplored that in no one of them can be found 
a word of sympathy with the South that Greeley ad- 
mired, that Grant respected, and that even Sumner 
forgave. All those speeches by which we must judge 
of Conkling, Garfield, and Blaine as orators gave 
forth but one sound — Delenda est Carthago. True, 
Blaine posed as a friend of the South, and he be- 
friended Southerners, but each and every act of 
friendship was an anchor cast to windward. True, 
he defeated Butler's force bill, but it was not on ac- 
count of any friendship he had for the South ; it was 
because of his hostility to Grant's administration, 
which that bill would have clothed with such enor- 
mous power. Blaine's natural feelings toward the 



ROSCOE CONKLING 25 

South were revealed when he marched down the 
aisle and threw his shining lance full and fair in the 
brazen face of treason, and immediately got him- 
self unhorsed and maltreated by Ben Hill. Those 
feelings were also revealed in his Augusta speech, 
made when he heard that Jay Gould had given up 
the election in 1884. 

Early in Grant's term Thomas Murphy was nomi- 
nated Collector of Customs of New York. Conkling 
favored his confirmation, and Fenton, his colleague 
in the Senate, opposed it. The struggle occurred 
in executive session, and all the public knows of it is 
tradition; but tradition says that Conkling's speech 
on that occasion was one of the most remarkable 
ever delivered in either House of Congress. He se- 
cured the confirmation, drove Fenton into the Liberal 
Republican movement that collapsed with the nomi- 
nation of Greeley, and made himself the master of 
the Senate and the power behind Grant's throne. 
From that day until the inauguration of Garfield, 
twelve years later, he was master of the situation. 
He had no superiors in that forum, and few rivals. 

When Congress assembled in December, 1871, it 
was evident that there was a faction in the Republi- 
can party, which, if not considerable in number, was 
formidable in respectability and talents, that was op- 
posed to the administration of President Grant. In 
the movement were Sumner, Trumbull, Schurz, and 
Tipton, all able and conspicuous Senators. They 
were encouraged and supported by such editors of 
Republican newspapers as Horace Greeley, Joseph 
Medill, of the Chicago Tribune ; Samuel Bowles, of 
the Springfield Republican, and Murat Halstead, of 
the Cincinnati Commercial. In February, 1872, the 



26 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

attack on Grant was begun in the Senate. It was led 
by the Senators above named, and Thurman and 
Casserly, Democrats, ably assisted. During the 
Franco-Prussian war, then just terminated, the Rem- 
ingtons, a New York firm, who manufactured and 
dealt in firearms, had sold to the French government 
immense quantities of rifles, which, being contraband 
of war by the law of nations, a neutral country was 
prohibited from supplying to either belligerent. 

It was charged that the administration winked at 
this traffic, and that there was a job in it not at all 
creditable to Grant and Grant's friends. Perhaps 
never in the annals of the Senate was there a greater 
array of talent engaged in any single debate than 
upon this occasion, when the resolutions to investi- 
gate the French arms sale were considered. Sum- 
ner, Schurz, Trumbull, Thurman and Casserly sup- 
plied the law and the eloquence for the attacking 
party. Conkling supplied not only the law, but 
everything else for the defense. True, he was as- 
sisted by Edmunds, Carpenter, Sherman, Scott, Mor- 
ton, Howard, Howe, and Zach Chandler ; but it was 
Conkling who bore the brunt — Conkling who saved 
the day. 

When the future American Macaulay, if America 
ever have a Macaulay, shall come to read that great 
debate on the French arms sale, he will have as rich 
a field for his imagination, for his eloquence and for 
his rhetoric as the English Macaulay had when por- 
ing over the musty volumes in the British Museum, 
in which are preserved the debates when the British 
Commons was the first Senate the world ever saw or 
perhaps ever will see. The debate extended over a 
month of the session, and Conkling delivered three 



ROSCOE CONKLING 27 

elaborate speeches. Take them and read them, and 
one can form some estimate of the extraordinary 
powers of the man as a parHamentary debater. He 
was of magnificent presence; he looked the grand 
character Thomas H. Benton arrogated to himself, 
and nobody but himself, not even to General Jack- 
son. He had the air of a Spanish grandee and was 
as proud as the proudest one that stood covered in 
the presence of his sovereign. He was graceful of 
person, splendidly and tastefully dressed, without 
any jewelry whatever. Add to the figure of an 
Apollo and the face of an Adonis an intellectuality 
second to none of his day, the steadfast convictions 
of a fanatic, and a will of iron, and you have Roscoe 
Conkling. 

But if he excelled in any one accomplishment more 
than all others, it was his command of language. He 
spoke without premeditation as splendidly as John 
James Ingalls after consulting every synonym in 
Webster and Worcester. For facility, fecundity and 
felicity of expression no Senator that ever sat in that 
body has surpassed him, unless it was Rufus Choate. 
Thurman said he had never seen a man so thorough 
a master of the language. One of his speeches was 
characterized as "royal purple eloquence," and noth- 
ing better describes it. As a master of sarcasm, he 
excelled even Thad. Stevens, and he could pay as 
graceful a compliment when in the humor, a not fre- 
quent occurrence, as Blaine himself. For instance, 
the following : "Mr. President, when I speak of the 
law I turn to the Senator from Ohio (Mr. Thur- 
man) as a Mussulman turns to Mecca. I beg the 
honorable Senator to understand that I look to him 
only as I would look to the common law of England, 



28 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

the world's most copious volumes of jurisprudence." 
When Garrick was manager of Drury Lane The- 
ater there was in his company Mrs. Clive, an actress 
not second to Woffington, and scarce second to Sid- 
dons. She was no friend of the manager, as he had 
no friend in the profession. One night she was 
standing in the wings ready to go on when she got 
her cue. The play was "Lear," and Garrick was 
acting as only he could act. The tears were rolling 
down Mrs. Clive's cheeks, and she exclaimed, "Damn 
him, he could act a gridiron!" Some kindred 
thought must come into the mind of the intelligent 
reader who will procure Conkling's speeches on the 
French arms sale and his Rochester speech, and care- 
fully read them. 

The result of this debate was the Liberal Republi- 
can movement culminating in a national convention 
at Cincinnati that ought to have nominated Charles 
Francis Adams and was forced by Frank Blair to 
nominate Horace Greeley. About the only thing the 
movement accomplished was to give the Democratic 
party an opportunity to do a foolish thing, and there 
is no denying that that party sometimes avails itself 
of such an opportunity. Upon the issues of that 
campaign Greeley was as good a Democrat as Thur- 
man, and the Democratic party could have elected 
him; but it threw away the opportunity and thus it 
continued to hunger and thirst in the wilderness for 
many long and doleful years. 

On two different occasions Gen. Grant offered Mr. 
Conkling the Chief Justiceship, but he declined it, 
and he was one of two or three Americans who ever 
declined that exalted dignity. He declared that he 
would forever be gnawing his chains. 



ROSCOE CONKLING 29 

In 1876 President Grant desired to see Conkling 
the Republican candidate for President. New York 
supported him, but Morton divided the anti-Blaine 
strength with him. The convention wanted to nom- 
inate Blaine, notwithstanding the recent publication 
of the "Mulligan letters," and the sunstroke, and in- 
spired by the eloquence of Ingersoll, the convention 
would have nominated him if the lights had not gone 
out. Morton's friends, and some of Bristow's, ac- 
complished the nomination of Hayes after they were 
persuaded that the chances of their own favorites 
were hopeless. 

In the disputed succession the following winter 
Conkling greatly distinguished himself. His was 
the leading speech on the electoral bill, and to him 
was due its passage. He did not think either Tilden 
or Hayes was elected, and he expected the commis- 
sion to so find. If the exact truth and a plain tale 
could be told of all that occurred in political circles in 
Washington that season it would make a chapter as 
readable and as astonishing as any of the various 
chapters devoted to the English revolution of 1688. 
Conkling refused to sit upon the commission. Had 
he been a member of it the history of our country 
would have been far from what it is. Whether vol- 
untarily or not, he was not Warwick when he might 
have been Warwick. 

John Sherman governed Hayes and was a candi- 
date to succeed him. He made an attempt to create 
a machine in New York, but Conkling soon defeated 
that project. It was during Hayes' term that the fa- 
mous Rochester convention was held in 1879, in 
which occurred the oratorical and intellectual en- 
counter between Conkling and George William Cur- 



30 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

tis. This was the speech that Conkhng was content 
to rest his fame upon as a popular orator. It is ex- 
ceedingly severe, and bristles with sarcasm. It was 
here that he declared Curtis and his friends — the 
Mugwumps of a later period — to be the man milli- 
ners, dilettanti and carpet knights of politics. He 
said that had Dr. Johnson lived in this day he would 
have defined reform as the last resort of a scoundrel. 
"These gentry," said he, "forget that parties are not 
built up by deportment, by ladies' magazines or gush. 
A Republican convention should not be a chartered 
libertine of oracular and pedantic conceits." "Your 
votes in a convention," said he, "addressing Curtis, 
"are unique and delicate." 

As a robust and stalwart address this was the 
greatest of even Conkling's speeches, and when we 
read it the effect is only a more poignant regret that 
his ill-advised friends dissuaded him from delivering 
a kindred speech, two years later, that doubtless 
would have dwarfed the Rochester speech as that 
splendid effort dwarfs the eloquence of the average 
stump orator. 

The third-term movement, the nomination of Gar- 
field, the campaign of 1880, and the resignation and 
retirement deserve a chapter by themselves. 

IV 

During the four years of the Hayes administra- 
tion political life at the Capital was comparatively 
placid, except Secretary Sherman's attempt to organ- 
ize the Republicans of the Empire State from the 
Treasury Department, the Democratic attempt to 
lift off the South the heavy hand of Federal power 



ROSCOE CONKLING 3i 

and the schemes and counter schemes to control the 
RepubHcan nomination for the Presidential succes- 
sion. There had been a time when Mr. Conkling 
was a candidate for President. He would have wel- 
comed the nomination in 1876, but when the con- 
vention of that year adjourned, Conkling put away 
his personal aspirations so far as concerned the Chief 
Magistracy. Perhaps he was the only American 
who ever recovered from the bite of the tarantuli. 
There was no love lost between Conkling and Hayes' 
administration, but there were no actual hostilities 
after Sherman ascertained that Conkling was master 
of the situation in New York. 

Mr. Blaine, then in the Senate, was busy pushing 
his fortunes in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and 
the strong Republican States west of the Mississippi. 
It was said that at the Blaine headquarters a com- 
plete "Blue Book" was compiled and every office 
from premier to tide-water assigned to a Blaine 
man. Grant was making that triumphant tour 
around the world. The rank and file of the Demo- 
cratic party fondly hoped for the nomination of Til- 
den again in 1880, and Congressional cabals in that 
party were formed to defeat that nomination. The 
"great fraud" of 1876-7, and the vetoes of Demo- 
cratic amendments to the Army bill afforded themes 
for spirited debates in both Senate and House. All 
men, of both parties, were preparing for the tremen- 
dous struggle of 1880. Conkling and Carpenter, 
Cameron and Logan were the leaders of what is 
known as the "third term movement." Their fol- 
lowers were the "Old Guard." Blaine had for a fol- 
lowing "Young America," that had a very vague 
idea of what it wanted, but was sure it wanted some- 



32 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

thing done and done quickly, and that the "Plumed 
Knight" was the man to do it. It might have been 
the annexation of Ireland; it might have been the 
conquest of Canada ; but whatever it was, it was the 
very thing to do. Sherman depended upon the 
"bread and butter" contingent and that other broken 
reed, the loyalty of an Ohio delegation. 

Gen. Grant returned home at an inauspicious time. 
He came at least three months too early. Had he 
landed at San Francisco in the spring of 1880 in- 
stead of in the mid-winter previous, the enthusiasm 
would have been irresistible. As it was he was only 
defeated by treachery. 

The Republican convention of 1880 was the most 
notable political assembly that our country has yet 
known, surpassing that Democratic convention 
which was disrupted at Charleston twenty years be- 
fore, and that which nominated Cleveland twelve 
years later. The Republican convention of i860 
was the party in the twig; that of 1880 was the party 
in the tree. 

Gen. Grant was the most illustrious citizen of the 
Republic. He had served two terms as President; 
he had circumnavigated the globe, and wherever he 
had appeared, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in 
Oceanica, his progress was an ovation. Kings and 
subjects, lords and commons, yeomen and peasants, 
had vied one with the other to do him honor. He 
was the silent man, the strong man, the warrior, the 
statesman. He was the first, and perhaps the only 
commander on the Federal side, who had a just con- 
ception of the military problem involved in the war 
between the States. "I shall fight it out on this line 
if it takes all summer"; "It is a Kilkenny cat fight, 



ROSCOE CONKLING 33 

but my cat has the longest tail." That tells the story. 
If he could destroy one of Lee's regiments by sacrifi- 
cing a brigade the victory was his. Upon this princi- 
ple he acted, and while the slaughter of his army was 
frightful to contemplate it was actually an economy 
of blood, and a mercy to the survivors. The war 
would have continued a great deal longer had the 
policy of the Federal commander been a practice of 
that art of war with which Hannibal and Napoleon 
dazzled the world, instead of the simple policy of at- 
trition. Grant's plan was that of the great man 
rather than that of the great strategist. And what 
is more to his glory, he was a greater man under the 
apple tree of Appomattox than he was before the 
rifle pits of Petersburg, for at Petersburg he was 
only soldier, while at Appomattox he was soldier and 
statesman too. 

Early in June the Republican convention assem- 
bled at Chicago. The interests of Gen. Grant were 
in the keeping of Conkling, Cameron, and Logan. 
Blaine was represented by the Maine delegation, 
headed by Mr. Hale; by James F. Joy, who was 
drafted into his service, and by the recalcitrants of 
the New York delegation, instructed to vote for 
Grant, but determined to defeat Grant's nomination. 
They were potent enough to defeat Grant, but not 
strong enough to nominate Blaine. Garfield and 
Foster had Sherman's fortunes in their keeping, and 
how they kept guard history tells us. Windom was 
the choice of his State, and the sequel showed that he 
was no inconsiderable factor in the convention. 

The Republican party had enjoyed twenty years of 
absolute rule. It had created armies and navies ; it 
had expended billions ; it had waged to a successful 



34 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

issue the bloodiest and the most tremendous war of 
modern times ; it had given the country a new Con- 
stitution and enforced upon it a new pohcy; it had 
governed a proud, great, though overthrown, people 
by means of satraps ; it had reconstructed the South 
and the Union by taking into full co-partnership a 
race that had just emerged, in the midst of ruin and 
anarchy, from centuries of abject slavery; it had hes- 
itated before no obstacle; it had quailed before no 
adversary; the Constitution itself was to it as the 
seven green withes to Samson ; it had been terribly, 
frightfully, in earnest. But the Republican party of 
1880 was no more the Republican party of i860 than 
the Rome of that Brutus who slew Caesar was the 
Rome of that Brutus who banished Tarquin. The 
old leaders were gone, or were in opposition. Gree- j 
ley and Seward, Sumner and Chase, had died outside 
the party they had helped to form and aided in mak- 
ing so powerful and illustrious. There is reason to 
believe that Thaddeus Stevens himself would have 
abandoned the Republican organization had he lived, 
for he died with a threat upon his iron lips and dis- j 
trust in his heart of oak. Trumbull and Curtin were 
in the Democratic household, and a period of only 
four short years was to bring forth a new force in 
American politics, the Mugwump, "with an unfor- 
giving eye and a damned disinheriting countenance." 
But it was yet the dominant party. It had held 
power for twenty years, and the wealth of the coun- 
try looked to it for order and security against repu- 
diation and agrarianism. It still had the confidence 
of the Congregationalist Church of New England 
and the Puritan blood of the Western Reserve. The | 
Methodist Church of Northwest Illinois and of 



ROSCOE CONKLING 35 

Northwest Iowa was yet ready to die in the last ditch 
with the Grand Old Party, and for it. These lat- 
ter, with consciences pliant to every touch of divine 
grace, or what they decreed to be divine grace, 
which is the same thing for all practical pur- 
poses, were bent on regulating all the other 
consciences in the Union, and affecting this 
laudable purpose through the instrumentality of the 
Republican party. However, faction was doing the 
work it had done for all parties in all climes since 
Aristides was the Just and Alcibiades was a hero. 
The Stalwarts, the Featherheads, and what became 
the Mugwumps, were face to face at Chicago in 
1880. 

In that most brilliant political assembly that was 
ever gathered together on the western hemisphere, 
Roscoe Conkling was admittedly the first personal- 
ity. His splendid presence, his transcendent abili- 
ties, his lofty air. his spotless integrity, his iron will, 
commanded universal admiration and extorted ap- 
plause from foe as well as friend. Never did a leader 
have a more devoted following, for that following 
was the 306. Had he chosen to stoop he would have 
conquered ; for had he ordered forty votes frorn 
Grant's column to be bestowed as a compliment upon 
Windom the first five or six ballots — the stampede, 
set on foot by Windom, would have been to Grant 
instead of Garfield. But Conkling never stooped. 

The nominating speeches of Conkling and Garfield 
were the perfection and the climax of what has be- 
come known as convention eloquence. Conkling's 
was the abler ; Garfield's the more ornate. Conkling 
appealed to the common sense of the delegates ; Gar- 
field to their sentiments. But the great contrast was 



36 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

in this. Conkling was pleading for Grant ; Garfield 
was pleading for Garfield. Had Conkling repre- 
sented Grant as Garfield represented Sherman, Conk- 
line would have been the nominee, and not Garfield. 

"When asked what State he hails from, 
Our sole reply shall be, 
He comes from Appomattox, 
And its famous apple tree." 

Such was the beginning of that splendid oration, 
the central idea of which was that the nomination of 
Grant would make a certainty of that which the nom- 
ination of any one else would make an experiment. 
And he was right. It is not at all probable that the 
nomination of even Tilden by the Democrats would 
have availed to defeat Grant, while it is certain that 
his nomination would have defeated Garfield, or 
Blaine, or Sherman. On the evening before the 
nomination was made delegations from States 
enough to control the convention waited on Conkling 
and tendered him the nomination. To them he made 
the following memorable reply : 

Gentlemen, I appreciate your kind proposition. I could 
not be nominated in any event, for if I were to receive every 
other vote in the convention my own would still be lacking, 
and that I would not give I am here as the agent of the State 
of New York to support Gen. Grant to the end. Any man who 
would forsake him under such conditions does not deserve to 
be elected, and could not be elected. 

After a long and tedious series of roll calls extend- 
ing over two days the labors of the convention were 
concluded by the nomination of Garfield and Arthur. 
As Conkling went out of the building he said : 'That 
is my first and last national convention." 



ROSCOE CONKLING 37 

The moral character and mental endowments of 
James A. Garfield have been matters of discussion 
for many years. His admirers have ascribed to him 
the mind of Bacon, and affect to find his moral pro- 
totype in Hardwicke. His opponents say he had the 
mind of Halifax and the conscience of Sunderland. 
One is too much praise, the other too much detrac- 
tion. Certainly he was not a Bacon in intellect. 
Bacon was a pioneer, a leader, a creator, an original 
thinker. Garfield was a follower, a disciple, an imi- 
tator. He could not originate an idea, but he could 
master it after some one else had originated it, and 
clothe and present it as none of his fellows could. 
Bacon hewed the way through solid rock ; he was a 
sun that gave forth heat as well as light. Garfield 
trod paths others had hewed and planted both fruit 
and flowers by the way. He was a satellite — efful- 
gent, indeed, but the light was borrowed. He knew 
nothing originally; he knew everything at second 
hand. The falling of an apple would have sug- 
gested nothing to him ; but he would have been an in- 
valuable assistant to Isaac Newton. The flying of a 
kite would only have afforded him amusement; but 
even Benjamin Franklin would have profited by his 
conversation. He was a man of comparatively little 
wisdom — wisdom is the gift of nature ; he was a man 
of vast knowledge — knowledge comes from books. 
As a scholar, as an orator and as a debater he was a 
wonder, second to none of his day, and in proof of 
this we may cite the conclusive fact that after Blaine 
had gone down before the superb eloquence of Ben 
Hill, Garfield brought his chief off the field, restored 
the action and turned defeat into a drawn battle. He 
knew his powers and he knew his place when he said 



38 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

that if he could control his destiny he would be a free 
lance in the United States Senate. 

As to Garfield's moral nature, he was a weak, 
rather than a bad man. He was a minister of the 
Gospel, but he was the Peter of the night of Geth- 
semane, not the Peter of the day of Pentecost. He 
belonged to Rosecrans' military family, and was as 
much Rosecrans' friend as he was capable of being 
the friend of any man ; and yet he was weak enough 
to bite and tear the hand of Rosecrans in the dark. 
He belonged to John Sherman's political family, and 
was intrusted with Sherman's political fortunes, and 
yet he reaped for himself what he was set to reap for 
Sherman. He owed the Stalwarts the greatest debt 
a statesman can owe; but he had not warmed in his 
seat before he marked the greatest of the Stalwarts 
for slaughter. He presented some curious inconsist- 
encies. While a weak man, he could on occasion 
evince an obstinacy that looked like martyrdom. 
When a penniless tutor at Hiram, boyish man that 
he always was, he would play chess with the stu- 
dents. Bishop Rider was at the head of the institu- 
tion. He was a John Knox of a man, and would 
have been an ideal chaplain of the Cameronian Regi- 
ment. He thought chess an ungodly amusement, 
and ordered Garfield to cease to play himself or to 
permit the students to play. Though his food and 
raiment depended on his tutorship, Garfield refused 
and even defied the old Puritan. Strange to say, he 
was not removed from the faculty. Again, when he 
was first elected to Congress he fell under the 
influences of Benjamin F. Wade and Henry Win- 
ter Davis. The former dominated him by sheer 
force of will, the latter by his splendid attainments. 



ROSCOE CONKLING 39 

He embraced the sentiments of the Wade-Davis 
manifesto against Lincoln that resulted in the Cleve- 
land convention of 1864, and the nomination of Fre- 
mont and Cochrane by the more radical wing of the 
Republican party. This act of Garfield's created the 
greatest sensation in the old nineteenth Ohio district, 
the Giddings district, which he represented in Con- 
gress. Address after address came pouring in on 
him. He was besought and threatened in turn ; but 
he remained obstinate. When the convention as- 
sembled to nominate his successor, nine-tenths of the 
delegates were Lincoln men. He announced that he 
expected to be retired to private life and refused to 
apologize for his action. It was an obstinacy that 
looked like firmness. He was nominated, much to 
his surprise. Indeed, there is nothing so impervious 
as the obstinacy of a weak man except the obstinacy 
of a weak woman. Queen Anne, of England, was 
little short of an idiot, and her husband was nothing 
short of one; but of all the obstinate creatures of 
whom history gives an account. Queen Anne stands 
in the first rank. Her obstinacy greatly embarrassed 
King William ; it ruined Marlborough and his term- 
agant duchess, after it had made him the first captain 
and the richest subject in Europe, and just as Anne 
quarreled with William and Mary, John and Sarah, 
Garfield quarreled with Conkling, and no doubt 
would have quarreled with Blaine had he lived. 

The nomination of Garfield fell like a wet blanket 
on the country. The office-holders were disconso- 
late because Sherman was not nominated ; the cadets 
were disappointed because of the defeat of Blaine; 
the Stalwarts were outraged because of the rejection 
of the hero whose genius had saved the Republican 



40 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

party as well as the Union. Some days after the 
nomination Garfield journeyed to Washington and 
took rooms at the Riggs. He had not been there 
many hours before he saw a painful manifestation of 
the unpopularity of his selection. A stand was 
erected on the G-street front of the hotel and a rati- 
fication meeting was held. Garfield's speech on that 
occasion was all that the orator and the scholar could 
make it. It was premeditated, as were all his 
speeches. He had anticipated an ovation and had 
drawn on his always-responsive memory, and that 
inexhaustible store of acquired knowledge, and to il- 
lustrate what he had hoped the scene would be, he 
quoted from Tennyson's "Welcome" to the Princess 
of Denmark when she became Princess of Wales : 

"Saxon and Norman and Dane are we, 
But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee." 

The whole speech was a model; but its reception 
and his reception by that vast crowd, in which were 
found the very elite of the Republican party, were 
portentously chilling. As if to affront the nominee, 
the reception accorded John A. Logan, who appeared 
on the stand after a few little Congressmen from 
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio had spoken their 
little pieces, was an ovation. Logan represented 
Grant, and no President was ever so popular at the 
National Capital as Grant. The crowd went wild, 
and it was full ten minutes before the Black Eagle 
could proceed. 

While in town Garfield made repeated, though 
fruitless, attempts to see Conkling and have a private 
interview with him. He sent emissaries to him and 
wrote him gushing notes. Conkling avoided him. 



ROSCOE CONKLING 41 

"I am unwilling to trust to Mr. Garfield's imperfect 
memory of a private conversation, however unim- 
portant," was the explanation he gave his friends. 
Later he refused to be at the famous Fifth Avenue 
Hotel conference where the public came to believe 
Garfield mortgaged the earth and the fatness thereof. 
In September Garfield was hopelessly beaten. Even 
Maine, Blaine's State, and it was supposed Blaine's 
pocket borough, had gone against the Republicans. 
There was just one man who could restore the battle 
and snatch victory from defeat, and that man was 
Conkling. There was just one man who could pre- 
vail on Conkling to act, and that man was Grant. 
Before the Maine election it was calculated that if 
the Republicans could carry New York or Indiana 
all would be well. Garfield had been going about ut- 
tering some characteristic sentimentalities about how 
the Campbellite Church would carry Indiana for him, 
but the practical politicians — Dorsey and Dudley, 
and probably Ben Harrison — soon put that notion 
out of his head. The Maine election threw every- 
thing into confusion, and a panic and collapse were 
imminent. Instead of contending upon debatable 
ground it appeared that the very citadel of the party 
had been stormed and taken. An adverse verdict in 
November meant more than Republican defeat to 
Garfield. It meant disgrace and humiliation. The 
old charges against his personal integrity were 
brought forth, and Pavia meant that all was lost, and 
honor too. 

It was at this juncture, six weeks before the elec- 
tion, that Grant and Conkling entered upon the cam- 
paign. The effect was instantaneous. It was not 
without difficulty that Grant succeeded in inducing 



42 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Conkling to take the field. "There is no sand in 
him," said he, "but if you insist on my entering the 
fight I shall carry him through." Just as he was 
starting he remarked, "But for the disgrace I would 
rather spend the time required in Mohawk street jail 
than enter upon this campaign, for if this man be 
elected I will be humiliated in my own State." The 
first thing he did was to return $18,000 to his cli- 
ents, retainers he had received, for the service he was 
about to render Garfield made it impossible for him 
to meet his engagements in court. Nothing he ever 
did was more characteristic of the man. 

No sooner did Conkling and Grant appear upon 
the stump than the tide turned. It was the grand 
old party again, the party of i860, of 1868. It was 
irresistible. The great meeting at Warren, Ohio, 
was the signal. The fiery cross was unlifted on crag 
and in glen, summoning Lochiel, Keppoch, Clanron- 
ald, Glengarry and Maclan : 

"The standard on the braes o' Mar, 

Is up and streaming rarely! 
The gathering pipe on Lochnagar 

Is sounding lang and clearly ! 
The Highlandmen from hill and glen, 
In martial hue, with bonnets blue, 
Wi' belted plaids, and burnished blades, 

Are coming late and early." 

Dundee, "he's mounted," lead the clans. "Thor 
with his hammer — trip-hammer with ^Eolian attach- 
ment" — was in the forefront. "Sun, stand thou still 
upon Gideon, and thou. Moon, in the valley of Aga- 
lon." The tide was resistless, and swept over Ohio, 
Indiana and the whole West. Never before had one 
man wrought such a miracle in American politics. 



ROSCOE CONKLING 43 

Certainly that generation had never heard such pop- 
ular eloquence, not even when Horace Greeley, eight 
years before, was yielding up his life and breaking 
his heart preaching the gospel of amnesty and fra- 
ternity. 

As soon as the battle was restored at Warren, 
Grant dragged Conkling to Mentor, much against 
his will. When they arrived Garfield met them at 
the gate and gushingly exclaimed : ''Conkling, you 
have saved me ; what man can do for man, that will I 
do for you." That language, addressed by Garfield 
to an ordinary man, would have been meaningless ; 
addressed by the most dependent of men to the most 
self-reliant man in public life, it was worse than gib- 
berish. The party remained some hours at Mentor, 
and Garfield made futile efforts to have a private in- 
terview with Conkling, but the latter had urged U. 
H. Painter, in the most imperative terms, to remain 
by his side during the whole visit. From Mentor, 
Conkling continued his triumphal tour as far west as 
Lafayette, Ind. He delivered seven speeches, and 
they saved the West. He returned to New York 
and restored matters there, and, as a consequence, 
Garfield was elected President of the United States. 
The greatest political battle in American history had 
been fought and won, but the man who gained it was 
already marked for the slaughter. 

V 

We now come to the sickening story of ingrati- 
tude and treachery, the story of faction and cabal — 
the story of Garfield's administration. Conkling 
knew what the harvest would be ; he knew Garfield, 



44 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

and, knowing him, he determined to resign his seat 
in the Senate and devote himself to the practice of 
his profession. Only the importunity of his friends 
prevented him from taking this course. He was a 
man of almost infallible political instinct, and his 
mistakes were due to the persuasion of friends. 
Adamant to an enemy, to a friend he trusted, and 
when he trusted he fully trusted ; he was wax. In 
February, 1881, after urgent solicitation on the part 
of the President-elect, Conkling paid him a visit at 
Mentor. Mr. George C. Gorham, for years the ac- 
complished Secretary of the United States Senate, 
and the intimate personal and political friend of both 
Grant and Conkling, says that the invitation was in 
writing concealed within numerous envelopes, the 
innermost one of which bore some sort of legend 
which bespoke everlasting secrecy. And yet the seal 
had scarce been broken before Conkling ascertained 
that this inviolable secret had been imparted by Gar- 
field himself to a third person. There are many and 
obvious reasons why a man chosen to the Presidency 
should consult the leaders of his party before he en- 
ters upon his official duties ; there were special rea- 
sons why Garfield should consult Conkling other 
than that Conkling was the most conspicuous leader 
in the Senate. There could be but one reason for a 
solemn, mysterious, enigmatic and Jesuitic secrecy 
hedging the interview, and that reason was that Gar- 
field was afraid of James G. Blaine, and it is easy to 
infer that at the time the invitation to Conkling was 
penned Garfield meditated a severance of all close 
connection with Blaine. Conkling went to Mentor 
and had the interview, but nothing came of it. It 
was impossible for confidence to exist between two 



ROSCOE CONKLING 45 

men of such opposite characters and sympathies. 
We may well infer that the President-elect was hys- 
terically frank and the Senator rigidly austere. One 
minute Garfield was resolved to do for Conkling all 
that "man can do for man," and the next he was de- 
termined to send him to the block. Conkling knew 
he would do just what he did do. The public has 
heard that Garfield invited Conkling to remain until 
after tea, which was declined for want of time. 
Then Garfield wanted Conkling to tell him in confi- 
dence how much liquor Judge Folger drank before 
and during working hours. This is about all we 
know of what took place. 

The work of Cabinet-making began as soon as the 
result of the election was ascertained, and continued 
until midnight, March 3, at which hour everybody 
but William B. Allison was certain that he would be 
Secretary of the Treasury. If there be such a qual- 
ity as "logic" in matters of this kind Levi P. Morton 
was the "logical" individual for that portfolio. He 
was offered the illogical Navy Department and Fol- 
ger was offered the Department of Justice. Both 
declined. There is a tradition, with better founda- 
tion than mere traditions in general, that Blaine 
arrived at the Capital without a Cabinet gar- 
ment on, but Blaine was not cast in the 
Roman mold that Conkling was. It is proba- 
ble that the selection of Robert T. Lincoln for Sec- 
retary of War was all the hand Garfield had in 
the formation of the Cabinet. That appointment 
was dictated by the gushing and impractical senti- 
mentality that moved Garfield when he suggested 
that the Campbellite hierarchy organize themselves 
into a campaign committee and take charge of the 



46 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

political campaign. Had the President lived his 
Cabinet would have been hopelessly disrupted before 
it was a year old. 

On March 20 Conkling and the President had a 
long interview at the White House. The President 
was in excellent humor and characteristically play- 
ful. He was frank enough to say that he must make 
some recognition of the anti-Grant delegates from 
New York in the Chicago convention. Conkling 
had no objection to that, but suggested that it would 
not be prudent to place Robertson, the leader of the 
recalcitrants, in any position where a lack of personal 
and political integrity would operate injuriously to 
the government. In connection with the name of 
Robertson was discussed the District Attorneyship 
and the Consul Generalship at Montreal. Garfield 
asked the Senator to make out a list of places that he 
thought should be given to those New York dele- 
gates who had supported him. Conkling declined, 
with the remark that Gen. Arthur was better fitted 
for that sort of work than himself. They parted 
with the solemn assurance on the part of Garfield 
that nothing important in the matter of New York 
appointments should be done without consulting 
Conkling. Three days later, without notice to Conk- 
ling, the name of William H. Robertson was sent to 
the Senate as collector of the port of New York. 
And this was done by the man who said : "Conk- 
ling, you have saved me. What man can do for man. 
that will I do for you." And yet, when Garfield 
made that declaration he was just as sincere as he 
was capable of being. He was also sincere when he 
had the interview with Conkling three days before 
Robertson was appointed. Then how are we to rec- 



ROSCOE CONKLING 47 

oncile his actions with his professions. Nothing 
easier. Blaine was Secretary of State, and Blaine 
was of tougher fibre than his chief. Blaine had ren- 
dered him great services. They entered Congress 
together; they were chums for years. Blaine ad- 
mired Garfield for his attainments, and Garfield ad- 
mired Blaine for his parts. When Blaine became 
Speaker he was generous to Garfield in the matter of 
committee assignments. He was always ready to 
afford Garfield opportunity to distinguish himself 
and Garfield became the real leader of the House, 
even before Schenck had retired and before Kelly 
had become superannuated. But that was not all. 
There came some dark days in Garfield's Congres- 
sional life — Credit-Mobilier days, DeGolyer days — 
and the Speaker did not forsake him. The Speaker 
was his friend when the Speaker's enmity, when the 
Speaker's indifference, even, meant political annihila- 
tion. Blaine was a good hater, and Blaine hated 
Conkling, not because Conkling had wronged him, 
but because the committee raised on Conkling's mo- 
tion to investigate the provost marshal general fif- 
teen years before, had humiliated him ; we may for- 
give wrongs ; we cannot forgive humiliations. Blaine 
had force of character, which Garfield had not. It is 
altogether possible that Garfield had Blaine in his 
mind's eye when he said before his inauguration that 
a President-elect was reduced to the necessity of go- 
ing through bankruptcy, thus beginning his admin- 
istration without a solitary political or personal obli- 
gation. But Blaine had succeeded in collecting his 
debt ; he was in the Cabinet, and when he got there 
he dominated his chief. Here was the opportunity 
for which he had patiently waited for fifteen years. 



48 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Levi P. Morton was excluded from the Treasury, 
That was the first hostile demonstration. The nom- 
ination of Robertson was the next blow. 

Whatever Conkling was, he was no office-broker. 
There was not a Republican Senator who had not 
dictated more appointments than he. Nay, there 
were Democrats in both Senate and House who had 
received more favors in the way of patronage than 
he. He was far too lordly to hang around depart- 
ments and customs-houses holding out his hat for 
gratuities. Gen. Grant, who could refuse him noth- 
ing, complained that Conkling would give him no 
advice touching even important appointments, and 
that the Senator had asked for but one or two minor 
places under his administration. Collector Mur- 
phy makes a similar statement. And yet Conkling 
was supposed to be the most avaricious of patronage 
of all our public men. It was proclaimed that he was 
dictating to the administration, and that as he could 
not rule, he would ruin. As for Collector Merritt, 
whom Robertson was appointed to succeed, he was 
no active friend of the Senator. Indeed, Conkling 
had opposed his appointment, but unlike Robertson, 
Merritt was not an active and implacable enemy. It 
was to his implacable enmity to Conkling, Robertson 
owed his appointment. The appointment was made 
for factional purposes, to the end that Robertson 
might build up a machine that would oppose and de- 
stroy Conkling. There is no more doubt of that 
fact than that he was appointed at all. 

Robertson was nominated March 21, but the con- 
firmation was long deferred. The President threat- 
ened that those Republican Senators who dared to 
oppose confirmation must bring letters of introduc- 



ROSCOE CONKLING 49 

tion when tliey called at the White House, but it was 
not until the middle of May that the administration 
could reckon on victory, and even then victory was 
purchased at a dear price. The Democrats held the 
balance of power in the Senate, and Ben Hill was 
one of the Democratic leaders in that body. He dic- 
tated terms. Mahone had just become a Senator 
and had taken his seat on the Republican side. How 
Hill hated him is disclosed in that speech he made 
early in the session, that is, perhaps, the most terrific 
Philippic in our Senatorial annals. Hill feared that 
Mahoning would become fashionable in other 
Southern States, so he read the riot act to the ad- 
ministration, declaring that Mahone's head was the 
least price that could buy Robertson's confirmation, 
and though Garfield had bound himself in the most 
solemn manner to stand by Mahone, he complied 
wath Hill's demands, and thus made perpetual a 
solid South. True, Mr. Blaine, a short time after, 
when a candidate for President, proposed to turn 
the Federal Treasury into a Blaine campaign fund 
when he suggested that the Federal government as- 
sume the Virginia State debt out of which grew 
Mahoneism ; but the Old Dominion was not for sale. 
May 1 6 the New York Senators resigned their 
seats. It was Conkling's intention to go home and 
deliver a single speech in vindication of himself and 
in attack on the administration, and then wash his 
hands of politics forever. It is matter of everlast- 
ing regret that he permitted his friends to dissuade 
him from this course. A great English statesman 
declared that he would rather recall a speech that 
Bolingbroke made in the House of Commons, when 
the debates in that body were behind closed doors, 



50 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

than to discover the lost books of Livy. A kindred 
sentiment must possess the student of parliamentary 
history, when reflecting on what a sensation such a 
speech as Conkling contemplated would have cre- 
ated. It would have brought before the public for 
the last time his splendid presence, and a cause 
worthy that jury of many millions. The occasion 
would have been momentous and the effect as far- 
reaching and pronounced as any effort orator ever 
delivered. It was not to be, though the idea was 
not wholly abandoned until the death of Garfield, 
when Conkling mournfully said : "I cannot go into 
a grave for vindication." 

VI 

And thus after a service of twenty years in the 
National councils retired at the early age of fifty- 
two this remarkable man. He was poor, for he was 
not a man to grow rich off a Congressional salary. 
He was in debt, and debt was his abhorrence, as ob- 
ligation is the abhorrence of every proud spirit. He 
determined to return to active practice at the bar. 
He had long been one of the leading lawyers of the 
Senate — the Senate that contained Carpenter, Thur- 
man. Hoar, Hill, Trumbull Edmunds ; but Senators 
do not practice law in the Senate ; they expound it. 
It was his ambition to become as superior a lawyer 
practically as he was theoretically. Years before 
he had remarked to a friend : "My place is before a 
box with twelve men in it." And now he was to 
meet and contend with such practitioners as Choate, 
Butler, and Ingersoll, and it was only a few months 
before he was the peer of the greatest of them. For 



ROSCOE CONKLING 51 

seven years it rained retainers, and when Conkling 
died he was not only out of debt, but the possessor 
of an ample fortune. His death before he had at- 
tained three-score was a shock to the whole country, 
for great as he was in the Senate he was never so in- 
teresting as after he had left it. Thousands looked 
forward to the time when he should again enter pub- 
lic life and again be the Coriolanus of the American 
Senate. These hopes were blasted not quite seven 
years after he left the national stage in 1881. 

Powerful as was the mind with which nature had 
endowed him, firm as was his character and prodig- 
ious as was his memory, Conkling trod no royal road 
to greatness and to fame. He labored patiently and 
ceaselessly. Only such a physique could have un- 
dergone such labors, and only such labors could 
have impaired such a physique. A gentleman who 
roomed next him one winter at Washington de- 
clared that he had never known the hour, night or 
day, when Conkling was asleep. He was always a 
temperate man, eschewing stimulants and narcotics 
altogether. 

The chief charm of his eloquence was his marvel- 
ous fluency and his correct emphasis. When speak- 
ing in the Senate it was his habit at intervals to take 
from his desk a slip of paper — nobody ever knew 
whether it contained notes or not — tear it into frag- 
ments without glancing at it and then hurl the pieces 
to the floor with a most forceful yet graceful gesture. 
Soon he would repeat the operation with another 
slip, and the while his lips would pour forth eloquent 
sentences that brought to mind the passage, "that 
pure and magnificent diction such as flowed from 
the lips of Socrates, and which Cicero declared Jupi- 



52 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

ter would use if Jupiter spoke Greek." In the Old 
World Castellar was supposed to be the first of con- 
temporaneous orators, and the productions of Cas- 
tellar, spoken and written, bear a striking resem- 
blance to Conkling's more elaborate speeches. 

As a statesman Conkling was not an originator 
of measures ; neither was Webster, neither was Cal- 
houn, neither was Seward, neither was Jefferson 
Davis. Thaddeus Stevens and Ben Butler in the 
House and Lyman Trumbull and O. P. Morton in 
the Senate were the originators of the great meas- 
ures Conkling and Carpenter, Sumner and Ed- 
munds, Fessenden and Schurz, Thurman and Hill 
debated. 

Clay and Benton originated measures that Web- 
ster and Calhoun, Evans and Wright debated. Ste- 
phen A. Douglas originated the measures that Davis 
and Toombs, Benjamin and Wigfall, Seward and 
Chase debated. David Wilmot originated the pro- 
viso that proved the wedge that sundered parties 
and the germ out of which grew the Republican 
party, but no one pretends that Wilmot was the 
equal of any one of a dozen of his contemporaries 
that might be named. De Witt Clinton, the father 
of the canal system that connects the great lakes 
with the Atlantic, and Thomas H. Benton, the fath- 
er of our continental railway system that connects 
the Pacific with the Atlantic, were our greatest prac- 
tical statesmen judged by material results; but his- 
tory will place each of them below Jefferson, below 
Webster, below Calhoun. 

Conkling's pride was matter of discussion. His 
enemies said it was vanity, his friends believed it 
self-respect. He refused to do things that a vain 



ROSCOE CONKLING 53 

man would have delighted in, and he did other 
things that only a proud man could do. His was 
the lofty pride of a Vere de Vere whose blood had 
coursed ten generations of nobles when Howards 
and Seymours were plebeian. A characteristic story 
is told of him that when the proof of his maiden 
speech in Congress was sent him from the Globe of- 
fice the one correction he made was to strike out 
the word "Hon." before his name. No paste jewel 
for him ; no flash tinsel for the man who might have 
said with the proudest gentleman of France : 

"Nor prince, nor duke am I — 
I am the Sieur de Coucy." 



THADDEUS STEVENS 

Our country has produced many orators and 
debaters and a few parliamentary leaders of the first 
rank. When a free people have established a rep- 
resentative system, and in the process of human evo- 
lution that people is brought to face a condition of 
revolution, the leadership in Congress is almost as 
important as the generalship in the field. Richelieu 
and Bismarck were ministers of the crown ; the Pitts 
were ministers of the people. Frederick of Prus- 
sia was victor because of the genius of the first Pitt, 
and it was the genius of the second Pitt that rescued 
Europe from the clutch of Napoleon the Great. 

What Chatham was to the Seven Years' War, 
what Mirabeau was to the French revolution, Thad- 
deus Stevens was to the momentous American rev- 
olution of 1 86 1. What John Knox was in religion, 
what the Duke of Alva was in war, Stevens was in 
statesmanship. Greeley and Beecher hated slavery, 
but loved the slaveholder. Stevens hated the slave- 
holder even more than he hated the institution. "The 
dice of God are always loaded," and so the South 
found in the end, despite all the glory her valor 
had won on a hundred fields, and yet it can be imag- 
ined that even the overwhelming physical and finan- 
cial superiority of the North might have been una- 
vailing had not her energies been directed by the 
genius of this parliamentary Titan — this "Great 
Commoner," whose will was law to Congress. 




THADDEUS STEVENS. 



THADDEUS STEVENS 55 



Thaddeus Stevens was a native of Vermont, and 
first saw the light the year Louis XVI lost his crown. 
His family was poor and obscure, his father a failure, 
but his mother might have been wife to Hercules, 
Hers was a faith that never doubted, and hers a will 
that never wavered. The labor of her hands and the 
self-denial of her spirit enabled this noble matron to 
accumulate the means to buy for her gifted son all 
the education Dartmouth could then supply. In the 
beneficence of God she lived to realize that her off- 
spring was not ungrateful. 

At twenty-three young Stevens went to York, 
Pa., where he engaged in teaching, and read law. 
The members of the bar of that town resisted his call 
to the bar because he had engaged in other pursuits 
while prosecuting his studies, and that is how it 
came to be that Thaddeus Stevens was licensed to 
practice law by a judicial tribunal of Maryland, a 
slave State. 

He had a long struggle with poverty and adverse 
fortune while waiting for retainers that were tardy, 
but he had the will to grapple with adversity, and 
the self-denial to endure poverty. Domineering as 
he later became, he was modest to shyness when a 
briefless lawyer, and lived a recluse among his few 
books. Perhaps it was this opportunity for intro- 
spection that made him the great man he was in after 
years. Finally he got a brief, and with it came op- 
portunity — it was all he wished, all he required. 
Success came and distinction followed. The genius 
of the man asserted itself. The character of the 



56 iESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

man blossomed and fructified. He was a pillar of 
the State. 

He was not the great jurist as the term was il- 
lustrated in Marshall, Webster, and Story. He was 
not the learned lawyer that Pinkney, Black, and Car- 
penter were. He was not the marvelous advocate 
that Thomas F. Marshall, Rufus Choate, and James 
T. Brady were. But he had the legal mind, if not 
the judicial temper. At the bar he was much like the 
celebrated Ben Hardin, of Kentucky, superb in the 
trial of a cause at nisi prius. He knew the law ; he 
had a sense of the distinction between meitm et 
tiiiun; he was acquainted with the good impulses 
and the bad passions of men; he could drag the 
truth out of a stubborn and reluctant witness; he 
could cause a jury to see with his eyes and reason 
with his mind. 

Stevens was forty years old before he seriously 
engaged in politics. We first hear of him as a leader 
of the anti-Masonic party and a supporter of Wil- 
liam Wirt for President. It was then that he made 
a reputation as a fierce and vehement leader of that 
small faction in whose ranks were some able and 
adroit opponents of the Democratic party. We next 
hear of him as a Whig in the "Buckshot war," in 
which not a grain of powder was burned and not a 
drop of blood was spilled ; but the Whigs were de- 
feated, and all of them surrendered save Stevens 
alone. At the succeeding session of the Legislature 
he was instructed by an overwhelming vote of his 
constituents to support the repeal of the common 
school law of the Commonwealth; but he treated 
their instructions with contempt and carried his 



THADDEUS STEVENS 57 

point through both houses against great odds. Much 
of the fame of his remarkable speech on that occa- 
sion depends on tradition ; but after every allowance 
is made for all sorts of exaggerations, we are bound 
to conclude that it was one of the greatest efforts of 
any orator in any country in any age. 

It was as a member of the Thirty-first Congress 
that Thaddeus Stevens was introduced to the United 
States of America. John Quincy Adams was not 
long dead, and here was a greater than he. It was 
a memorable session. Webster announced his op- 
position to the anti-slavery agitation as it was then 
conducted. Calhoun's last speech was read to the 
Senate — that warning and prophecy, beseeching the 
South to prepare for the struggle now inevitable. 
Clay made his last compromise in the interest of 
union and fraternity. Giddings was there, resolute, 
and fanatic as the sternest Covenanter Scotland ever 
produced, and beside him was Robert C. Schenck, 
an abler man than Stevens himself. There was 
Robert C. Winthrop, conservative and patriotic, and 
with him were George Ashmun and Horace Mann, 
radicals. David Wilmot, a Democrat, and a promi- 
nent author of the revolution soon to come, was 
there. George W. Julian came from Indiana and 
was the most eloquent of all the abolitionists then 
in Congress. From the South were Toombs, 
Stephens, Cobb, Isham G. Harris, Andrew Johnson, 
and Humphrey Marshall. 

The contest for the Speakership was long and ex- 
citing and resulted in the selection of Howell Cobb, 
of Georgia. Stevens received the vote of the free 
soilers. Winthrop was the candidate of the Whigs. 



58 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Stevens took an active part in the debates. While 
not an orator in the vulgar acceptation of the term, 
for he was never persuasive, never spectacular, never 
rhetorical, his utterances were so emphatic and so 
bold, his positions so radical and audacious, his 
language so forcible and denunciatory, that he at- 
tracted the attention of the whole country. He was 
not so polished in expression as John Randolph, but 
he was as sarcastic. He was not as original in ex- 
pression as Ben Hardin, but he was as vigorous. 

The first time he rose to speak was in January, 
1850. After addressing the Speaker, he turned to- 
ward members from the North and said : 

Sir, for myself, I should look upon any Northern man, en- 
lightened by a Northern education, who would, directly or in- 
directly, by omission or commission, by basely voting or cow- 
ardly skulking, permit slavery to spread over one rood of God's 
free earth, as a traitor to liberty and a recreant to his God. 

The effect was startling, for it was known that 
the assault was directed against Robert C. Win- 
throp. 

Upon the admission of California, Stevens made 
an elaborate speech. It was as vigorous as any of 
his other utterances, and, in addition, contained clas- 
sic allusion and here and there a flower of fancy and 
an imagery of poetry. But invective was his weap- 
on, and he could be unsparing in its use. On one 
occasion, after a scathing rebuke of certain South- 
ern members, he turned to the Northern "dough- 
faces," a term he invented, and said : 

I entertain no ill-will toward any human being, nor brutes 
that I know of, not even the skunk across the way, to whom I 
just referred. Least of all would I reproach the South. I 
honor her courage and fidelity. Even in a bad, a wicked cause, 
she shows a united front. All her sons are faithful to the 
cause of human bondage, because it is their cause. But the 



THADDEUS STEVENS 59 

North — the poor, timid, mercenary, driveling North — has no 
such united defenders of her cause, aUhough it is the cause of 
human Hberty. None of the bright lights of the nation shine 
upon her section. Even our great men have turned her ac- 
cusers. She is the victim of low ambition — an ambition that 
prefers self to country, personal aggrandizement to the high 
cause of human liberty. She is offered up a sacrifice to pro- 
pitiate Southern tyranny — to conciliate Southern treason. 

They said there were men in the South — Yancey, 
Wise, Wigfall — who "fired the Southern heart." 
There were men at the North who put the torch to 
the Northern heart — Stevens, Lane, Lovejoy. 

"There are hills beyond Pentland and lands beyond Forth, 
Be there lords in the Lowlands, there are chiefs in the North." 

Even Webster did not escape his lash. After 
comparing him to Bacon and remarking on the dis- 
grace of that "most exquisite" of all human intel- 
lects and quoting Pope's celebrated line, Stevens 
continued : 

So now in this crisis of the fate of liberty, if any of the re- 
nowned men of this nation should betray her cause, it were 
better that they had been unknown to fame. It need not be 
hoped that the brightness of their past glory will dazzle the 
eyes of posterity or illumine the pages of impartial history. A 
few of its rays may linger on a fading sky, but they will soon 
be whelmed in the blackness of darkness. For unless pro- 
gressive civilization and the increasing love of freedom 
throughout the Christian and civilized world are fallacious, the 
Sun of Liberty, of universal liberty, is already above the hori- 
zon and fast coursing to his meridian splendor, when no advo- 
cate of slavery, no apologist of slavery, can look upon his face 
and live. 

That was Stevens' reply to Webster's seventh of 
March speech. Boston's reply was the closing of 
the doors of Faneuil Hall to her most illustrious citi- 
zen. One of the successors of Webster in the pres- 
ent Senate (Mr. Lodge) would walk backward and 
cover him with a bed quilt, and the other has written 



6o ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

a splendid chapter, and in the perusal of it we may 
speculate that Webster on March 7 postponed seces- 
sion ten years, during which the North waxed strong 
enough to successfully grapple with it when it could 
no longer be postponed. Mr. Hoar thinks that as 
Webster's vision was strongest and clearest he saw 
what men like Stevens could not see, and acted best 
for the country. At least, Mr. Hoar makes a sug- 
gestion of that import. 

At the close of the Thirty-second Congress Stev- 
ens abandoned politics and returned to the practice 
of law. The Kansas and Nebraska bill was enacted 
into law. The Dred Scott case was adjudicated and 
the decision promulgated. Nullification was rife at 
the North, and secession was rife at the South. Ac- 
tual war existed in Kansas. John Brown attempted 
a. servile insurrection in Virginia and died a felon 
on the scaffold. The debate between Lincoln and 
Douglas set the North to thinking, and the debate 
between Benjamin and Douglas nerved the South 
to revolution. The Democratic party divided and a 
sectional President was elected. Secession came, 
and war came with it — these things happened before 
Thaddeus Stevens again came prominently on the 
carpet. 

II 

What a splendid era it was, that decade of 1850- 
'60! James Buchanan came to be President of the 
United States, and Harriet Lane was the beautiful, 
accomplished and beloved mistress of the White 
House. It was when Stephen A. Douglas and John 
C. Breckinridge were favorite sons of a great party, 



THADDEUS STEVENS 61 | 

when Jefferson Davis adorned the American Senate, 
when Seward was the leader of a new and soon to 
be victorious party, when WilHam L. Yancey fired 
the Southern heart, when Wendell Phillips fed 
Northern fanaticism, when Jim Lane created the 
Western jayhawker. It was the era of Harper's 
publications and Bonner's Ledger. Mrs. South- 
worth and Fanny Fern and T. S. Arthur were fa- 
vorite authors. The "Benesia Boy" was an Ameri- 
can hero, and Paul Morphey an American con- 
queror. "Young- America" was abroad, and Walker 
led a band of adventurers to Nicaragua. Millions 
of young men and boys looked forward with long- 
ing to the next war with England. Minnesota was a 
Northern desert and Texas a Southern wilderness, 
Iowa and Arkansas were handfuls of farmers. Chi- i 

cago was a wooden town, and St. Louis little better. 
Many shrewd men thought Fort Smith would beat 
them both. There was no excise, and it was the era I 

of free trade. 

There was much strenuous politics, though. The 
Know-Nothing party had been put to death, and 
the John Brown raid would have been the last nail 
in the coffin of the new Republican party, if the 
South had only had the patience "to stand pat." As 
for slavery, it put dollars in Northern pockets where j 

it put dimes in Southern. It made the cotton that 
regulated the balance of trade and fed Northern 
looms and bought Northern goods. There was not 
one single Northern State that would have furnished 
a single regiment to fight for the freedom of all the 
negroes in the world. There was not a single North- 
ern community that did not regard an Abolitionist 



62 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

of the Garrison stripe as little less than a nuisance. 
Had the South dealt with the problem as Buchanan 
and Black advised, there would have been no war, 
and if slavery had died, it would have been a natural 
death, not a violent one. 

But the South refused "to stand pat." That elect- 
ed Lincoln. The South did not believe there was 
going to be a war, and if war came she was satis- 
fied she could lick the North. The North had no 
idea there was going to be any war, and Abraham 
Lincoln was a much astonished man when it came. 
There have been a thousand stupid books written 
about that period — the last days of Buchanan and 
the first days of Lincoln. They said that Toucey 
scattered the navy for the benefit of the secessionists. 
It was a very flourishing and thrifty lie, and there 
are simple-minded men, some of them editors and 
statesmen, who yet believe it. Then they said that 
Floyd put all the arms down South. That was 
another preposterous lie, for there was not a single 
Southern post or fort that had its full quota of the 
arms on hand. The South did not believe it would 
need any arms. 

Of all the victims of malice and detraction pro- 
duced by those times James Buchanan was the most 
cruelly used. There is not a fair-minded Republi- 
can living who can read his "Life" by Curtis with- 
out a blush. There is not a candid Republican who 
can read it without a regret that a public apology 
has not been made to the memory of an able and a 
pure man and sincere patriot. But history will do 
the blushing, and it will do the apologizing. His- 
tory is used to it. That is what history was made 



THADDEUS STEVENS 63 

for. Until the South fired on Fort Sumter the Lin- 
coln administration was drifting, and had that shot 
not been fired Lincoln could not have raised a regi- 
ment. The North sprang to arms to vindicate the 
flag. Had Buchanan been President instead of Lin- 
coln there would have been the same result. 

Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe had written a book 
about slavery. It was an extravagant fiction. Every 
Southern man knew it to be such. There were some 
short-haired women in the North, who ought to 
have been born men, and some long-haired men, who 
ought not to have been born at all, who believed the 
stuff, or affected to believe it ; but it was not until the 
flag had been fired on that Mrs. Stowe's absurd yarn 
got to be a classic and a gospel. It was not until the 
flag was fired on that that ignoble old ruffian, John 
Brown, got to be a martyr. The only greater folly 
than secession that has yet been invented by Ameri- 
can statesmanship was reconstruction. Fire is the 
test of gold ; gold is the test of woman ; woman is the 
test of man, so it is written. And it may be written 
that war is the test of patriotism. Ours had been 
tried in the blaze of battle, North and South, until 
we had the grandest citizenship on earth. But noth- 
ing would do the truculent victors but that our citi- 
zenship must be diluted with an inferior race. 

Ill 

In the Thirty-seventh Congress Stevens was 
chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, 
with all the powers and responsibilities attaching to 
the position, when that organ of Congress made the 



64 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

appropriations, provided for the coinage and regu- 
lated banking and currency, as well as raised the 
revenues. There was no cant in his nature, no hyp- 
ocrisy, no sham, no nonsense. He determined to 
crush the South, destroy slavery, make a freeman, a 
citizen, and a voter of the negro, and he set about the 
tremendous task with grim resolve. He was to the 
North what Cato was to Rome, and his hatred of 
the South was as Cato's hatred of Carthage. He 
ruled his party with an iron rod. In debate he was 
terrific, not alone because of his powerful mind, but 
because of his domineering personality and invin- 
cible individuality of character. He was one of the 
few men who realized what a job it was. Had all 
his fellows in Congress seen as far and as clearly, 
perhaps the war would not have been fought. When 
he brought in his first supply bill, appropriating 
$400,000,000 for the army and navy, Schuyler Col- 
fax spoke in opposition. He thought the amount 
preposterous, and doubtless believed with Seward 
that the war would be over in ninety days. Then it 
was the House realized what sort of fight it was 
when Thersites engaged Hercules. The old man 
took the future Speaker by the nape of the neck and 
shook him as a mastiff might a weasel. From that 
day nobody questioned his budget, and he passed 
bills appropriating hundreds of millions under sus- 
pension of the rules. One sarcastic sentence, one 
gesture of that long, bony finger, cowed all opposi- 
tion. When he introduced the first bill providing 
for reconstruction he announced that he had in mind 
every miserable little coward on the floor and chal- 
lenged all of them to vote against him if they dared. 



THADDEUS STEVENS 65 

And so Stevens and Butler "reconstructed." 
Henry J. Raymond was driven out of the Republi- 
can party. Andrew Johnson was driven back into 
the Democratic party. Kentucky, a loyal State, was 
made as Southern as South Carolina. Reconstruc- 
tion was a saturnalia of fraud, corruption, and crime 
during ten long and doleful years. It was the most 
disgraceful, disgusting, and revolting episode in the 
history of the Anglo-Saxon race. It was a cowardly 
thing to do — it was an infamous thing to do, and it 
was a failure. 

The wound rankled and festered for decades, and 
rankles and festers to this day. The bayonet re- 
moved, the Saxon asserted himself. The carpet- 
bagger went to the penitentiary or vanished. The 
negro returned to the cotton field. Then, in 1896, 
the North elected a President with a mind to see 
like Franklin and a heart to feel like L'Hospital. 
The wounds healed and cicatrized. The South hon- 
ored him and began to love him. She was become 
Cinderella at the ball. Loyal she had been for years, 
and war came to make her patriotic. 

Another leaf was turned in the book of history. 
The page looked bright and it was everywhere told 
that only Cinderella had a foot to swear by. Then 
the door of despair was opened and it was called 
the door of hope. Attempt was made to join together 
what Almighty God had put asunder, Charleston 
was not an equal with either Portland. At Charles- 
ton a Federal official is appointed, not because he 
is competent, but because he is offensive ; and this is 
called opening "the door of hope." Cinderella is 
sent back to the wash tub, and it will fail. 

Stevens was one of the managers on the part of 
the House of Representatives to conduct the im- 



66 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

peachment of Andrew Johnson. He was now old 
and feeble; but his speech in summing up is a pow- 
erful production, though he was physically unable 
to deliver it. It was read by Benjamin F. Butler. 

About a month before his death, Stevens delivered 
a most extraordinary speech in the House of Rep- 
resentatives on the bill to fund the public debt. He 
was a greenbacker and opposed to paying the public 
debt in coin. He even denounced the provision to 
pay the interest in coin. In his speech against the 
pending bill he declared that if he thought the Re- 
publican party would pass such a bill he would vote 
for Frank Blair, even though a worse man than Ho- 
ratio Seymour headed the ticket. The bill was not 
pressed ; but after the old lion was dead the bill was 
passed, and it was the first public measure President 
Grant approved. 

Perhaps the only time Stevens ever did anything 
that looked like dodging was when he failed to vote 
on the indecent motion to lay on the table a resolu- 
tion expressing respect for James Buchanan, one of 
the Presidents of the Republic, who had just died. 
And that recalls the history of that much-maligned 
man. If one will take the trouble to read the "Life 
of Buchanan," by Curtis, he will find a complete vin- 
dication of Mr. Buchanan, and he will see shattered 
some great big reputations that were made in those 
days. And that, even though Curtis remarks that 
he had withheld the worst. 

Mr. McCall, the accomplished Congressman from 
Massachusetts, has written an excellent narrative 
with Stevens for the subject, and relates this charac- 
teristic anecdote. 



THADDEUS STEVENS 67 

Mr. Lincoln consulted Stevens in regard to the 
composition of his Cabinet, and Stevens protested 
with characteristic vigor against the appointment of 
Simon Cameron as Secretary of War. 

"You don't mean to say," said Lincoln, "that 
Cameron would steal ?" "No," answered Stevens, "I 
don't think he would steal a red hot stove." Lincoln 
thought the joke too good to keep, and told Cam- 
eron, who went to Stevens in a rage and demanded 
an apology. Stevens tried to pacify him, but could 
not until he promised to go to Lincoln and set the 
matter right. He went to the White House and saw 
the President. 

"Mr. Lincoln," said Stevens, "why did you tell 
Cameron what I said ?" "I thought," answered Lin- 
coln, "it a good joke, and I didn't think it would 
make him mad." "Well," replied Stevens, "he is 
mad, and made me promise to retract. I will now 
do so. I believe I told you that I didn't think he 
would steal a red hot stove. I now take that back." 

Like Henry Clay, Stevens was called "the Great 
Commoner," but the two were not alike. Clay con- 
ciliated; Stevens assailed. Clay persuaded; Stevens 
threatened. Clay was loved; Stevens was feared. 
Clay was an orator; Stevens was a debater. There 
was something about Clay that brought to mind the 
admiration men had for Alcibiades ; there was some- 
thing about Stevens that caused men to think of 
Peter Romanoff. Both were brave, but Clay's was 
the courage of chivalry, while Stevens' was the cour- 
age of fanaticism. The Kentuckian was Ivanhoe. 
The Pennsylvanian was Tom Sayers. 



MATTHEW H. CARPENTER 

As Elijah returned on his way to the wilderness 
of Damascus he found Elisha, the son of Shaphat, 
and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon 
him. And so it is given us to imagine that when 
Matt Carpenter was a student in the law office of 
Rufus Choate the genius of that unrivaled advocate 
was grafted on the growing mind of his gifted disci- 
ple to develop and fructify in the then far West, and 
make of him the foremost lawyer and most eloquent 
orator of his time. He was not second to any man 
in Senates that knew Conkling and Blaine, Thurman 
and Lamar, Hoar and Ben Hill. He was not a great 
statesman, but he was the first lawyer, as well as the 
most engaging orator of the Senate, and when it 
came to a debate of a constitutional question he was 
as able as Robert Toombs or James S. Green, and as 
brilliant as Rufus Choate or Judah P. Benjamin. 
Not a great while after Carpenter entered the Senate 
James A. Garfield left off the line of political thought 
—the Southern question— that had engaged him so 
long and entered upon the study of economic issues, 
ancfwhen Garfield left Congress he was as well fitted 
to discuss such questions as any man in public life. 
Carpenter never made any study of economics. He 
had not the taste for them, but was content to drift 
with his party in all matters relating to revenue and 
taxation, coinage, banking and currency. But as an 
expounder of the Constitution he was submissive to 




MATTHEW H. CARPENTER 



MATTHEW HALE CARPENTER 69 

nothing save his own reason, and there has been no 
finer intellect in the Senate since Webster. 

In the Continental Congress Virginia had two 
sons, the most gifted orators of that period — Pat- 
rick Henry and Richard Henry Lee. Henry was the 
invincible torrent that swept all before it and made 
men mad for action and for battle. Lee was the lim- 
pid brook, pellucid, peaceful, pastoral — radiant as 
the scenery of Arnheim and redolent of the rose gar- 
dens of Bagdad. It made men satisfied with the race 
set for them to run. Carpenter's oratory was some- 
thing like Lee's, but it was much more. It was ad- 
dressed to the reason, which it wooed like an angel. 
His vocabulary was marvelous, not so exquisite as 
Roscoe Conkling's, not so splendid as Joseph Holt's, 
not so fecund as J. J. Ingalls', but superior to all 
others, and his voice — there was nothing like it. 
Once heard, it forever echoed. Nobody ever even 
made a stagger of a description of it. It reminded 
you of the laughter of children and the songs of 
the birds. It did not suggest the traditional silver 
trumpet, but you thought of the lute of Orpheus. It 
was not so commanding as it was tuneful. No bad 
man ever had such a voice. No bad man could laugh 
as he did. He was human ; but it was the order of 
the human Almighty God sent His Son to redeem. 
It was that order of the human Jesus so loved. 

As boy and man. Carpenter had a phenomenal 
memory. At the age of nine he committed to mem- 
ory Webster's reply to Hayne — seventy pages — did 
it without neglecting his other studies, and declaim- 
ed it verbatim, to the delight of his rural audience. 
Sumner and Conkling used to commit their speeches 
to memory, and in 1896 Mr. Carlisle wrote his great 



70 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

speech of that year and dehvered it with the change 
of a single word, which only emphasized the mean- 
ing. The speech was then in type and the enemy 
was ''holding copy" on him. Carpenter never wrote 
his speeches, but he carried more memorized matter 
in his mind than any of his fellows. He could re- 
peat whole books of the Bible and entire plays of 
Shakespeare. He could on the instant deliver every 
line of 'The Lady of the Lake." Probably no other 
lawyer ever read so many law books, and when he 
came upon a passage notable for the strength of its 
reasoning: he memorized it, then and there, never 
forgot it. and ever had it at instantaneous com- 
mand. He was blind for two years, about 1849- 
185 1. Perhaps it was a great advantage. It allowed 
a wholesome introspective, permitted a thorough di- 
gestion of his vast stores of reading, and gave disci- 
pline to his remarkable intellectual faculties. 

But this man had no royal road to first place at 
the bar that knew Black and Evarts. All his life 
that giant mind labored. When absorbed in a great 
case midnight found him at work. He had one se- 
cret — he was thorough. When he went to the bar 
he knew his case — all of it, every particle of it. He 
was not only a profound jurist, but he was unrivaled 
at nisi prius. He knew how to try a case. He knew 
how to prepare the pleadings, how to make his points 
to the bench, how to interrogate a witness, how to 
address a jury. As a practitioner, he was not in- 
ferior to Choate or Brady. It was that one secret, 
without which there never was, there never will be, 
any success — he worked. He took pains. He never 
let a job go until it was finished. It was never fin- 
ished till he had given it the best thought he had. 



MATTHEW HALE CARPENTER 71 

It is a lesson every young man should learn, and it is 
the one thing in all this wide world that ever did, 
or ever will, bring success in any calling that is 
honorable. 

I 

Some of the Conqueror's men-at-arms were of 
the name of Carpentier. The name is in Domesday 
Book. It was in England before Edward the Con- 
fessor, and it was prominent in the England of the 
Plantagenets, the Tudors, and the Stuarts. It got 
to America, and settled in New England in 1638. 

Matt Carpenter was of the ninth generation of 
the family in America, and was born December 22, 
1824. He was christened Decatur Merritt Ham- 
mond Carpenter, but changed the name to Matthew 
Hale Carpenter when he came to man's estate and 
had succeeded at the bar. As a boy he hated manual 
labor, and ignorant folk called him lazy. There is 
only one man in ten thousand who knows how to 
rear a child who is a genius. The elder Carpenter 
was not one of them. Matt began the study of law 
at the age of fourteen, and two years later he prac- 
ticed in a local court and beat his grandfather and 
another lawyer in a bitterly contested jury trial. At 
nineteen he became a cadet at West Point, where he 
remained two years, but in 1845 he was forced to 
resign on account of the state of his health. He re- 
turned to the law and went to Boston, where he en- 
tered the office of Rufus Choate, who was a second 
father to him. Choate saw what a genius he was, 
and was so delighted with the thorough manner 
Carpenter performed the first task set for him that 
he then and there called him "Judge." 



72 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Carpenter resolved to seek his fortune at the West 
and Choate saw to it that he had credit at Little, 
Brown, & Co.'s for books. He landed at Beloit,Wis., 
a New England community, in 1848, and opened a 
law office with books to the value of $1,000 and 
seventy-five cents in cash. Immediately he was the 
most popular man in town. His first case was hard- 
fought, which he gained, and that was not strange, 
and his fee was one dollar, which he collected, and 
that was strange. Then came that cruel stroke of 
blindness, which might have been a blessing in dis- 
guise. After the recovery of his sight, to restore 
which he was under the care of a specialist in New 
York City for nearly two years, he returned to Be- 
loit, and success came to him. He married the play- 
mate and friend of his childhood, the daughter of 
his first preceptor in the law, Paul Dillingham, and 
they two made a happy home. 

And now his practice expanded. His name was 
heralded all over the West, and he removed to Mil- 
waukee, though Chicago invited him. And so we 
find him at the State metropolis when the war came. 
Carpenter had always been a Democrat, though he 
had never bothered with politics. He made a speech 
for Cass in 1848, and supported Pierce in 1852, and 
Buchanan in 1856. He was an ardent admirer and 
devoted follower of Douglas, and this notwithstand- 
ing he disapproved of the compromise of 1850 and 
opposed the repeal of the Missouri restriction of 
1854. He believed Douglas could avert war, and he 
knew and declared that the election of Lincoln would 
make war inevitable. But when war came he was a 
war Democrat. 



MATTHEW HALE CARPENTER 73 

There was no abler constitutional lawyer in 1865 
than Matt Carpenter. He was never so radical as 
Stevens and Sumner, Butler and Wade, but he was 
radical enough. He declared that the "act of rebel- 
lion," as the super-loyal called it, worked a forfei- 
ture of all the rights of the seceded States as States, 
and that they were reduced to the condition of terri- 
tory bought from France or conquered from Mexico, 
and that they must submit to any government Con- 
gress imposed. His plan was to keep them in a ter- 
ritorial state for twenty-five years. 

Carpenter first became known to the nation in 
1866, when he appeared before the Supreme Court 
to argue what is known as the McArdle case. Judge 
Jeremiah Black was on the other side, and it is 
enough to say of his speech on that occasion that it 
was equal to anything that ever came from him, and 
of Carpenter's it may be said that it was a Roland 
for Black's Oliver. The case was never decided, 
for the Republicans in Congress, apprehensive of a 
defeat, repealed the law permitting an appeal to the 
Supreme Court in such cases, and the McArdle case 
fell. But from that day M. H. Carpenter was in the 
front rank of the elite of the American bar. 

H 

In 1869 Carpenter became a Senator in Congress, 
chosen to that high place simply because he was the 
foremost intellect in Wisconsin and over the protest 
of the political machine of the State. In the Senate 
he found Sumner, Edmunds, Schurz, Conkling, 
Thurman, Trumbull, Sherman, Morton, Bayard, 
and others of their class. It was no ordinary man 



74 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

who could cope with these men ; but Carpenter was 
not warm in his seat before he was recognized as the 
equal of the greatest of them in debate and the very 
first orator of that body. The reconstruction ques- 
tion was the paramount issue, and it was only a little 
while until Carpenter discovered a legal learning 
that was the admiration and the wonder of his fol- 
lowers, while the language of his speech was a per- 
petual delight. 

But Matt Carpenter was not made for statecraft. 
He belonged to the bar. He was not out of place in 
the Senate, either, for the Senate is always in need 
of all sorts of law that is sound, especially constitu- 
tional law. But Carpenter was not a statesman. His 
plan to keep the Southern States in a territorial con- 
dition for twenty-five years would have been the 
destruction of the Union. It meant chaos for the 
Southern States. It meant sectionalism forever. As 
for the negro, Carpenter had the vaguest idea of 
him. Some of Carpenter's ablest speeches only prove 
that the shoemaker should stick to his last and the 
lawyer to his brief. 

Carpenter voted for what was called the "salary 
grab," and when the storm came he and Ben Butler 
were the only two men brave enough to resist it. 
Carpenter's speech to his angry constituents was 
simply magnificent, but it cost him the senatorship. 
He was the frankest man in the world and wore his 
heart on his sleeve. All the honors and all the money 
in the world would not have bribed him to a mean- 
ness. He was deaf to public clamor. When Horace 
Greeley signed Jefferson Davis' bail bond there was 
an outcry against him, and let us be thankful for it, 
for it gave him opportunity to write that letter to the 



MATTHEW HALE CARPENTER 75 

Union League Club that must be a classic as long as 
political literature endures. In 1876 Carpenter was 
employed to argue the cause of Tilden before the 
electoral commission. How is this for the King's 
English ? 

Permit me to state in the outset why I appear here. It is 
not because Mr. Tilden was my choice for President, nor is 
my judgment in this case at all affected by friendship for 
him as a man, for I have not the honor of a personal acquaint- 
ance with him. I voted against him on the yth of November 
last, and if this tribunal could order a new election I should 
vote against him again, believing, as I do, that the accession of 
the Democratic party to power at this time would be the great- 
est calamity that could befall our country except one, and that 
one greater calamity would be to keep him out by falsehood 
and fraud. I appear here professionally, to assert, and, if pos- 
sible, establish the right of 10,000 legal voters of Louisiana, 
who, without accusation or proof, indictment or trial, notice or 
hearing, have been disfranchised by four persons incorporated 
with perpetual succession under the name and style of "the re- 
turning board of Louisiana." I appear also in the interest of 
the next Republican candidate for President, whoever he niay 
be, to insist that this tribunal shall settle principles by which, 
it we carry Wisconsin for him by 10,000 majority, as I hope 
we may, no canvassing board, by fraud, or induced by bribery, 
shall be able to throw the vote of that State against him and 
against the voice and will of the people. 

Volumes might be quoted from his speeches, and 
every word so quoted an example of the correct use 
of words. He knew always just exactly what he 
wanted to say, and exactly how to say it. When he 
hurled at the electoral commission the declaration 
that if they found for Hayes they thereby adjudged 
that a fraud was as good as a majority, it was a 
powerful argument — one that went to the mind and 
the conscience of every American citizen. 



76 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Jn a speech in the Senate Carpenter spoke as fol- 
lows of Rufus Choate, and the description serves bet- 
ter for Carpenter himself than any one else has ever 
described him : 

Mr. Choate has been a member of this body; he stood at 
the head of the legal profession of his native State and had 
no superior at any bar, English or American. As an advo- 
cate he had no peer. In this department of his profession I do 
not believe his equal ever lived. A mass of uninteresting facts, 
the tedious details of the dryest subjects, touched by his magic 
wand stood forth to the quickened apprehension of court or 
jury with the beauty and freshness of spring, and his nervous 
oratory and magnetic eloquence moved the tenderest emotions 
and strongest passions of men, as the wind sways the forest. 
With international and municipal law, and especially with con- 
stitutional law, he was entirely familiar. He was full of learn- 
ing, but not incumbered by it, for the details of his knowledge 
were not attached to him like the merchandise strapped to a 
dromedary, but were digested, assimilated, made part of him- 
self by the fusing power of his transcendent genius. 

The figure of the dromedary was a sarcasm aimed 
at Charles Siminer, with whom he frequently clash- 
ed. Again he said of Sumner: "My friend from 
Massachusetts, once a sound and upright lawyer, has 
been degraded by public life to the blase purlieus of a 
common statesman, as may be observed by the un- 
sound views he is advocating." When he got into 
the discussion of the disposition of the proceeds of 
the Geneva award, he clashed with Blaine in a very 
brilliant debate. It was a purely legal question, and 
Blaine discussed it with all the lawyers in the Sen- 
ate. When the latter advanced some legal point that 
startled Carpenter, the latter spoke of the Senator 
from I\laine as "beyond all comparison a distin- 
guished and learned attorney." The excellent things 
Carpenter said at the bar, in the Senate, and on the 
stump would fill volumes. 



MATTHEW HALE CARPENTER 77 

Indeed, he would sometimes resort to humor in a 
pleading. When Carpenter was a very young law- 
yer he one day appeared in court and made a five 
minutes' speech on a motion for a county license. 
There was a stranger present, who was so struck 
with the beauty and lucidity of that little speech that 
he resolved that should he ever have any legal busi- 
ness out West, Carpenter should be his counsel. The 
stranger was Newcomb Cleveland, of New York, a 
capitalist, and he did have legal business out West, 
and a great deal of it. It was in order the better to 
attend to Cleveland's business that Carpenter moved 
from Beloit to Milwaukee. There was one case 
Cleveland was a party to that became a regular 
Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce. The style of it was Cleve- 
land versus The Marine Bank of Milwaukee. It 
was on the docket after both Cleveland and Carpen- 
ter were dead, though it began in 1859, and may be 
pending to this day. 

Here is the conclusion of one of Carpenter's plead- 
ings. He prayed the court for an order to compel all 
the creditors of the bank to contribute to the ex- 
penses of the suit, asked for a receiver, and closed 
with this general and particular prayer : ''That such 
other orders, regulations, special proceedings and 
unheard-of remedies may be from time to time in 
this action invented, ordered and had, as the nature 
of the case may require, and that this plaintiff may 
from time to time and always (for he never expects 
to see the end of this action) have such other and 
further new and extraordinary relief as the nature 
of this action may require, and that everybody else 
may have all the relief they are entitled to in this ac- 
tion, according to law and according to the decisions 



78 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

of the Supreme Court, made or to be made, and that, 
too, as fully and amply as anybody can hereafter 
sugg-est, and as the plaintiff may hereafter have oc- 
casion to ask when he sees how this thing works." 

The man who can't get humor out of that is fit for 
treason, stratagem and spoils. 

Perhaps it would be too much to say that Carpen- 
ter got as much reputation out of the French arms' 
sales discussion as Conkling or Schurz, but his 
speeches on that question were marvels of logic and 
eloquence. His defense of Belknap in the impeach- 
ment proceedings was another great triumph, and 
added much to his fame. 

He died in his intellectual prime, the greatest of 
lawyers and the best of men. He never had a wicked 
thought. Big as was his heart, it had no place for 
envy or for hate. He was a remarkably handsome 
man, his smile the sweetest in the world and his 
laugh the most cheering in the world. Children 
loved him, and he loved them, and many was the tear 
he dried. 

Some years ago there died in Louisville. Ky., an 
opulent merchant. He was fond of baseball, but he 
could never sit out a game with the knowledge that 
urchins were on the outside longing to see the sport, 
and it was his custom to go down, make a contract 
and bring the whole squad in to hear the umpire or- 
der "Play ball!" And he did it regardless of the 
numbers and the cost. 

John M. Robinson and Matt Carpenter are neigh- 
bors and friends in the "Sweet By and By." and not 
far off is He who said : "Suffer little children to 
come unto me, and forbid them not." 




ANDREW JOHNSON. 



ANDREW JOHNSON 

On one occasion Alexander H. Stephens made a 
somewhat curious speech in the Congress of the 
United States on the subject of demagogues, and it 
was a very excellent contribution to the political lit- 
erature of this country, and will repay the reading 
by old and young to this day. Mr. Stephens made a 
classification of demagogues, and the pick of them 
he declared to be the best patriots in the world. 
Chatham, Mirabeau, and Patrick Henry were all 
demagogues, but they were no common, vulgar, self- 
seeking demagogues. They were the creators of pub- 
lic opinion, not its creatures. They would not have 
flattered Neptune for his trident, nor Jove for his 
power to thunder. Chatham demonstrated to the 
King of England that the people were His Majesty's 
masters. Mirabeau demonstrated to the King of 
France that privilege led to revolution. Henry 
sounded the tocsin that called his country to rebellion 
and to independence. 

Then there is that contemptible sort of demagogy 
that never kept a straight backbone in the sound of a 
hiss, that crawls on its belly and eats dirt, and loves 
the dirt better when it is the garbage of politics; 
that takes orders and bloats itself with stultification 
and talks cant and boasts a patriotism that it does 
not have and cannot feel. These are the slaves of a 
free country, the petitioners for the release of Bar- 
abbas, the doughfaces of politics, the hypocrites of 
religion, the lepers of society. 



8o ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Andrew Johnson was a demagogue in the higher 
and nobler sense. He was a demagogue because he 
believed in the people. He was of a generation that 
was in being when Jackson won immortal renown 
for himself and unfading glory for Tennessee at 
New Orleans — a generation that was the sons of 
those who resisted Cornwallis, Rawdon, and Tarle- 
ton. followed the line of duty under the commatid 
of Green and Morgan, Marion and Sumter, and got 
drunk on victory at Kings Mountain. Like Lincoln 
and Garfield, Johnson was the child of poverty and 
born to toil. He was of that indomitable Scotch- 
Irish race that builded such noble Commonwealths 
in North Carolina and Tennessee. He had imagina- 
tion ; he was full of patriotism ; he could tread the 
thorny path of duty; he had the will to work and 
the patience to wait and the heart to be honest, in 
thought as well as in deed. There were French 
grenadiers who found the marshal's baton in their 
knapsacks. Andrew Johnson found the highest civic 
distinction on earth in line of civic duty in humble 
station in the mountain region of East Tennessee. 

He was a tailor by trade and diligent. He began 
to read when he had attained to man's estate. He be- 
came an elder in our political Lsrael, and a priest at 
the altar of his country, and he never forgot that he 
was one of the common herd, that he had come up 
from the lowest seat in the sanctuary, and had been 
a wood-hewer and a water-drawer. Li the toga of 
a Senator he was a tribune of the people. With 
none of the graces of the orator, with no claim to 
el<K|uence except earnestness — not to be compared 
with Toombs and Benjamin and Fessenden and 
Chase as a disputant in the higher field of statesman- 



ANDREW JOHNSON 8i 

ship — yet Andrew Johnson had no peer when it 
came to talking- to the common people from the 
stump. His speeches in the two Houses of Con- 
gress are forgot, and were surpassed by the utter- 
ances of a hundred of his colleagues who are forgot; 
but there was a something in the character, some- 
thing in the attitude of that sturdy form, or the 
glance of that open eye, or the general air of the 
man that caused the plain people of Tennessee to 
discover in him their friend, and they gave him their 
hearts and their votes, just as they had given them 
to Andrew Jackson. They selected him as their 
champion and loved him and trusted him and lean- 
ed on him. The polished invective of Gustavus A. 
Henry and the fierce contumely of William G. 
Brownlow could not prevail against him, but served 
the more effectually to enshrine him in the hearts of 
the plebeians. He never courted the smiles of the 
patricians, and their aversion to him w^as pro- 
nounced. Not long ago honor was done to the 
"Father of the homestead law" over in Pennsylva- 
nia. Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, was the father 
of that legislation, and offered a bill for it before 
Galusha A. Grow was in Congress. If he had no 
other title to public gratitude this should give it 
him, Pelion on Ossa. 

Andrew Johnson was repeatedly elected to Con- 
gress, and sometimes after the fiercest contests. That 
race when he defeated the eloquent Landon C. 
Haynes will be a delightful tradition in East Ten- 
nessee generations hence. He was a marked man at 
the National Capital his first term. Indeed his 
strongly marked individualitv would have made him 



82 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

an important factor in any conventicle of leaders. 
He was a Southern man, but a mountaineer. If he 
had any ideas of African slavery as it existed at the 
South, they were in accord with those advanced by 
Parson Brownlow in his debate with Prime. The 
corner-stone of his political principles was devotion 
to the Union. He believed that the future welfare 
of the people who worked with their hands de- 
pended on the preservation and the perpetuation of 
the Union. 

He was twice elected Governor of Tennessee, and 
each time after a memorable campaign. He defeated 
Henry and he defeated Gentry, each after a contest 
as vehement as those between Polk and Jones. Less 
polished and less eloquent than either, he was yet 
superior to even Henry himself on the stump, and 
carried the people with him. 



Like Scotland, Tennessee is highland and low- 
land, and for generations there has been as much dif- 
ference between him of the valley and him of the 
mountain as there was between the clans Montrose 
led to glory in the highlands and the soldiery Crom- 
well marched to victory on the moors. Gains Mar- 
cius was no less like Sicinius Dentatus than Isham G. 
Harris was like Andrew Johnson. The one of these 
was from East Tennessee, the other from the West. 
Parson Brownlow was from the East; Bishop Polk 
was from the West, and John Knox and Pope Leo 
X were not less alike than were these churchmen of 
the generation that fought the big wars of i86i-'65. 
It was to such antagonistic classes that Johnson and 



ANDREW JOHNSON 83 

Henry appealed. Henry was a magnificent orator, 
the pride of the Whigs, and the canvass he made 
was a reminder of James C. Jones, who defeated 
James K. Polk for the same office for which Henry 
was now a candidate. It was a great State for ora- 
tors, and Henry was the pride of the State, and the 
"Eagle of Tennessee." 

Johnson was a plebeian, and now he sought the 
support of that proud Democracy of the West, the 
disciples of John C. Calhoun and the friends of Jef- 
ferson Davis. 

"Envie is lavender to the court alway, 
For she ne parteth neither night ne day- 
Out of the house of Csesar." 

Maybe there was something of that sort in the 
way the Democrats of the Lowlands looked on this 
Democrat of the Highlands. 

Before an audience of what Lincoln called the 
plain people, and Johnson himself called the plebe- 
ians, Johnson was invincible. He could not make 
men go to war as did Demosthenes and Patrick 
Henry, and he could not set Senates a-thinking as 
did Burke and Webster, but he could get just a little 
closer to a poor man than another, and that poor 
man believed in him. He had eaten the bread of 
poverty ; he had worked with his hands. The poor 
man hearkened to him because his voice rang true. 
He was a demagogue, but an honest and a brave and 
a patriotic man, who took orders from no other man. 
He was no mere self-seeker. He would not de- 
ceive. His one ambition was to advance the inter- 
ests of the lowly. That is how it came that Andrew 



84 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Johnson beat Gustaviis A. Henry and Meredith P. 
Gentry for Governor of Tennessee. 

After serving two terms as Governor, Johnson 
was elected to the Federal Senate, and he was in that 
body when the great war came. He was drunk with 
patriotism from the moment Beauregard fired on 
Sumter. The Union was in his thoughts by day 
and in his dreams by night. He became military 
Governor of Tennessee, and no doubt his admin- 
istration of that trust advanced the Union cause in- 
calculably. He was the first man among Southern 
loyalists, for it is only since the smoke of war has 
cleared away that men have begun to see the colossal 
figure of George H. Thomas. And so it was for 
both political and military reasons Andrew John- 
son was elected Vice-President in 1864. 

And now the war was over. The Union was 
preserved — but not restored. The President was 
assassinated, and Johnson was President. No other 
American statesman ever had so delicate a task, and, 
unfortunately, Johnson was not a very delicate man. 
He wanted to punish the Southern leaders, but he 
wanted to acknowledge the Southern States as en- 
titled to every constitutional right Ohio had, or Mas- 
sachusetts had. He declared the ordinances of se- 
cession were void, ab initio, and that the States were 
never out of the Union. 

That did not suit Thad Stevens and Ben Wade, 
who declared that the Southern States had forfeited 
every right they had under the Constitution, and 
should be held as conquered territory, and in support 
of it they quoted Vattel. Of course, that was bound 
to lead to a quarrel, for Johnson was as firm of con- 



ANDREW JOHNSON 85 

viction as any man then living. The radicals pre- 
vailed. The South was declared to be out of the 
Union by virtue of void ordinances of secession. 
Reconstruction came on, and there was enacted some 
governments down South that would have been ex- 
aggerations of infamy even when Alva was a pro- 
consul. 

There was an impeachment of the President by 
the House of Representatives and his trial by the 
Senate. It was the work of Edwin M. Stanton, one 
of the colossal figures of that epoch ; but a man ut- 
terly without principle and without shame. When 
James, Duke of York, besought his brother Charles, 
King of England, to increase his guards, the "Merry 
Monarch" answered : "Nobody is going to kill me, 
James, to make you King." It was a thing like that 
that defeated the impeachment. There were too 
many Senators who did not want to see Ben Wade 
President of the United States. Had one of the im- 
mortal seven voted for conviction, his place in the 
column of the "not guilty" would have been supplied 
from those who had voted "guilty." It would re- 
quire a heap of imagination to conceive the calamity 
that ten months of Ben Wade in the White House 
would have brought at that time. Had Fessenden, 
or Trumbull, or Sherman, or Wilson been President 
pro tempore of the Senate in 1868, it is altogether 
probable that conviction would have been had, 
though it is now universally admitted that it would 
have been an outrageous thing from a legal stand- 
point. If one would spend a profitable evening, let 
him secure a copy of the "Trial of Andrew John- 
son," by De Witt. It is an excellent narrative. 



86 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

When he left the White House, Johnson returned 
to East Tennessee and again entered poHtics. He 
had a rival in the Democratic party, Isham G. Har- 
ris. A very great man was Isham G. Harris. He 
had fought in the Confederate army; he had recruit- 
ed, armed, equipped, clothed, and fed thousands of 
soldiers. He did not have a dense population and 
boundless resources to draw from, as did Morton, 
Andrew, Curtin. Yates, and other ''war Govern- 
ors" of the North ; he was not far and safe in the 
rear, as they were; his State was overrun by the 
enemy. One-third of it was intensely loyal to the 
Union and sent more than 30,000 men to swell the 
Union legions. More than one-half the geographi- 
cal extent of the State was held by the enemy, and 
yet Tennessee's quota was always full in the South- 
ern armies, and Tennessee always did more than her 
fair share of the fighting on the field of battle. This 
was due to the indomitable spirit of the great war 
Governor of the old "Volunteer State." 

Harris had been a refugee in Mexico and an exile 
in England ; but the quarrel between Brownlow and 
Senter was his opportunity. Carpet-baggery and 
scallawaggery were overthrown and Harris and 
Johnson came to the front and began a struggle for 
the mastery of the Democratic party. 

II 

For four years Johnson had combated the radicals 
in the two Houses of Congress. He had issued a 
proclamation of general amnesty. He had striven to 
make the loyal governments of the Southern States 
something other than so many dens of thieves. He 



ANDREW JOHNSON 87 

had been arraigned before a radical Senate as a 
criminal and denounced all over the country as a 
traitor. He was even more bitterly hated by the 
irreconcilable Republicans than he was by the un- 
reconstructed secessionists. Now he was a candidate 
for the United States Senate, and the Democrats of 
all the loyal States were practically unanimous for 
his return. Not so Harris. The eyes of the whole 
country were on Nashville. The balloting continued 
for weeks, and Johnson needed just one additional 
vote. Harris was resolved that he should not have 
that vote, nor did he get it. Finally, Henry Cooper 
was elected, and a groan went up from every Demo- 
cratic camp in the North. 

The next year, 1872, the Democratic State con- 
vention wanted to nominate Johnson for Congress- 
man-at-large ; but Harris forced the nomination of 
Gen. Frank Cheatham. Johnson ran independent, 
and both were beaten. If Harris taught Johnson 
that he could not get preferment over his opposition. 
Johnson taught Harris that the Democratic party of 
Tennessee could not get along without him; and 
thus matters were when another race for United 
States Senator came — 1874-'75. It was a repetition 
of 1 87 1, except that Johnson, after weeks of ballot- 
ing, got the one vote required and was elected. It 
was Isham G. Harris' one political defeat. After 
the death of Johnson he was supreme in the State till 
his own death, twenty-odd years later. When 
Brownlow, then Governor, offered a reward for the 
apprehension of Harris, here is how he described 
him : "Tall, straight as an Indian, red on the top of 
the head, red face, a little profane, and inclined to be 
dictatorial." 



88 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Johnson died in 1875, a few weeks after he be- 
came a Senator. He made but a single speech at the 
extra session, and it breathed a fervent patriotism. 
His fame was under a cloud for a generation, but 
posterity will see in him a pure patriot and an en- 
lightened statesman. His fame is growing and will 
be bright. It was meet that the flag of his country 
should be the winding-sheet of such a man. 




JOHN J. INGALLS. 



JOHN J. INGALLS 

Kansas is the child of Revolution and Fanaticism, 
and was cradled in Massacre and Terror. Sharp's 
Titles and Bibles were among its early settlers. It 
was the field where contended the crusaders against 
that rehc of barbarism that is in most measure trace- 
able to Yankee thrift— the exchange of rum for 
slaves on the coast of Guinea, the exchange of slaves 
for tobacco on the coast of Virginia, the exchange of 
tobacco for fabrics in the marts of Liverpool, the ex- 
change of fabrics for sugar in the marts of Havana 
the conversion of sugar into rum in the distilleries 
ot balem and Bedford, and repetitions of these ven- 
tures, to the end that "gayneful pyllage" might re- 
ward the diligent, the provident, and the elect of 
God. For this New England forced into the Fed- 
eral Constitution the clause protecting the African 
slave trade until the year 1808. 

Kansas was the State of John Brown and the 
Bender family. The truculent James H. Lane and 
the sanctimonious Samuel C. Pomeroy were exem- 
plars of its paramount and triumphant idea It is 
the home of isms, but the population is leavened 
with an individuality that preserves. 

Another generation came on the scene, and Kan- 
sas politics was chaos. Soxless Simpson was its 
Luther and William A. Pfeffer was its Melanchthon 
Carrie Nation prescribed its conduct and regulated 
Its appetites. The other Kansas stole negroes in 



90 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Missouri to colonize them in Canada; this Kansas 
had other uses for the man and brother, and sought 
to solve the race problem by means of the stake, the 
fagot, and the torch. 



John James Ingalls was an extraordinary man. 
By no means the ablest, he was perhaps the most bril- 
liant Senator in Congresses conspicuous for excep- 
tionally brilliant men. He was born in New Eng- 
land, of Puritan, not Pilgrim, parentage ; of the En- 
dicott, not the Carver, exodus ; of the Salem, not the 
Plymouth, regime. In a sort of mirage of tradition 
the family is traced back to the Scandinavian kings 
and peoples who grafted Dane and Norman on 
Briton and Saxon. The name is in Domesday Book. 
President Garfield and Chief Justice Chase had like 
origin; indeed, the same origin. Edmund Ingalls 
founded the town of Lynn in 1628. His descend- 
ants are numerous and help to compose that banyan 
tree of which Senator Hoar makes so excellent a 
figure. 

The son of a shoe manufacturer, John J. Ingalls 
was born December 29, 1833. His father was a cul- 
tivated man and the friend of Whittier. His poli- 
tics was progressive, in turn Whig, Democrat, Free 
Soiler and Abolitionist. Haverhill was his home, 
and John J. Ingalls' affection for that old town was 
a part of his genius. The boy was endowed with a 
remarkable memory and made rapid progress in his 
studies. He entered Williams College in 1851, and 
was graduated from that excellemt institution in 

1855- 



JOHN J. INGALLS 91 

Now Ingalls engaged in the study of law, and in 
1857 was admitted to the bar. He went West and 
located at Sumner, about as fraudulent a town in 
1857 as Wichita became in 1887. When a cyclone 
destroyed Sumner, Ingalls pitched his tent at Atchi- 
son, and engaged in law and politics. It was the era 
of passion, of strife, of violence, of blood. As in 
all such quarrels, the harlot victory adhered to the 
stronger side, and Kansas became the banner Repub- 
lican State. 

Kansas' first Senators were Jim Lane and S. C. 
Pomeroy, the first a ruffian, the other a hypocrite. 
Both were products of the times. Lane had fought 
in Mexico, and had been a successful Democratic 
politician in Indiana. He was a turbulent man and 
could only live in an atmosphere of strife. There 
must have been something of the remarkable about 
him, however, to create the impression and achieve 
the ends he did by the series of orations he deliv- 
ered in Chicago against the Lecompton constitution. 
He was part knight and part bully, and gravely pro- 
posed to leave the issue to battle — himself to head 
one hundred free State combatants against one hun- 
dred pro-slavery champions, led by Senator Atchi- 
son. 

In 1859 Ingalls was a delegate to the Wyandotte 
convention that convened to form a State constitu- 
tion, and the instrument thus made bears the im- 
press of his pronounced ideas and exuberant vocabu- 
lary. In i860 he was secretary of the Territorial 
Council, and later he was a member of the State 
Senate. During the war of 1861-1865 he was the 
judge-advocate of Kansas volunteers and editor of 



92 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

the Atchison Champion. He was never a prolific 
writer, but from a literary standpoint whatever he 
wrote was excellent — not a dull line in a whole vol- 
ume of it. In 1865 he was married to the excellent 
woman who was for so many years companion and 
friend as well as wife and mother. 

Ingalls rose to be one of the chief figures in 
American politics, and success came at his command. 
He never courted it. He was a poet, and never so 
lonesome as when in a crowd. Lamar was another 
of that order of man. Ingalls was not "a man of the 
people," emphatically not, and could not success- 
fully employ the arts of the vulgar demagogue. He 
could just as easily have uplifted the club of Her- 
cules or stricken with the hammer of Thor. Honors 
came to him grudgingly and churlishly and solely 
because he was the first intellect and the one genius 
in the Kansas that knew Dudley C. Haskell and 
Preston B, Plumb. 

Samuel C. Pomeroy was a statesman who be- 
lieved in loyalty, religion, and subsidy, and of these 
he held subsidy to be the chiefest. Wherever he 
went he planted a Sunday-school, unfurled the Stars 
and Stripes, and set on foot an appropriation. He 
prayed while Jim Lane fought. He could ear an- 
other's field, and scandal said he often did. In the 
winter of 1872-1873 the Kansas Legislature was 
busy trying to choose a Senator in Congress. Pom- 
eroy was a candidate for re-election, with excellent 
chances of success, when in the midst of the ballot- 
ing Senator York, a brother of Dr. York, vic- 
tim of the Benders, marched down the aisle and de- 
posited on the Speaker's table six thousand dollars 



JOHN J. INGALLS 93 

in currency, which, he declared, had been paid him 
to vote for Pomeroy. 

The scene was dramatic in the extreme. Every 
virtuous solon on the ground was indignant, and 
every unvirtuous one was in terror lest his unvirtue 
were uncovered. The result was the undoing of old 
"Subsidy Pom," but to this day a high-minded man 
must have a trace of pity for the old reprobate, even 
as such a man has pity for the Parolles that half 
shamed his captors with "Who cannot be crushed 
with a plot ?" 

II 

Upon the exposure of Pomeroy, John James In- 
galls was elected Senator, and was twice re-elected, 
closing a distinguished and conspicuous career in 
the Senate of the United States of eighteen years' 
duration March 3, 1891. It was a great epoch, 1873- 
'91, and Ingalls was one of the very brilliant men 
who made our political history during that period. 
He was not a great lawyer, did not have a judicial, 
or even a legal, mind. He was not a great lawgiver, 
not even a debater of the first rank. But he was a 
Senator of the first rank. Intellectually, he was in- 
ferior toConkling and to Garfield ; as a parliamentary 
gladiator, he was inferior to Thurman and to Ben 
Hill ; as practical legislators, Sherman and Edmunds 
were greatly his superiors ; Hoar excelled him in ac- 
quired knowledge, and Reed surpassed him in wit. 

But Ingalls was a poet and had more imagination 
than any one of them except Garfield and Lamar. 
He was the wizard of English speech, and his vo- 
cabulary was the most gorgeous, if not the richest 



94 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

of all his fellows. His sarcasm was terrible, and no 
man since John Randolph has been more feared. 
He was a partisan, but he could be candid, and fre- 
quently was, and he could be cruel and remorseless 
in his uncharity for a section that was prostrate and 
a people that were beaten. The defect in Ingalls' 
speeches and writings is the effulgence of the dic- 
tion. It becomes monotonous, and we seek for a 
strength that is wanting amid so much expression 
that dazzles. How different the productions of John 
Marshall. The great jurist had a limited vocabulary. 
He groped in the dark for the word to be laid in the 
concrete of his inexorable logic and become an ashler 
of a massive, an imposing, an everlasting edifice. 
The style of Ingalls is nothing if not brilliant; the 
sentences are exquisite, but there is an absence of 
that simplicity which is the glory of letters and of 
eloquence, written and spoken. You read him with 
delight, and you forget him with facility. 

Perhaps there is no tariff beggar of the whole lot 
more pertinacious and more rapacious than that 
which calls itself our "fisheries." It sets up for the 
"nursery of the navy," and levies a tax on every 
breakfast in the land. Some fifteen years ago this 
mendicant got into a row with Canada about bait, 
and there was something that looked like a war 
cloud on the international horizon. If one will take 
the trouble to search the debates of the Senate on 
that question he will be struck with the dissiniilarity 
in the speeches of Ingalls and Edmunds, and of the 
speeches of the former it may be remarked that they 
were artistic and strenuous twistings of the British 
lion's tail, and, in that behalf, equal to anything 



JOHN J. INGALLS 95 

American eloquence can show. It was in the days 
when no poHtical platform was complete without its 
Irish plank. In "Catfish Aristocracy" and "Blue 
Grass" Ingalls had exhausted eloquence and sarcasm 
in denunciation and ridicule of pork as an article of 
food ; but his utterances and votes on the bait ques- 
tion had a tendency to discourage the consumption 
of fish, a palatable and wholesome substitute for 
bacon and pork. 

In his famous interview in the New York World 
Ingalls thought we would never have another war 
unless it was with England ; but before he died we 
were at war with Spain, and it was fear of England 
that prevented the powers of continental Europe 
from interfering to our injury in that quarrel. 

Ill 

The speeches of Ingalls that will live longest are 
the eulogies he pronounced on Beck, Hill, and 
Burnes. Here were eloquence and rhetoric. Here 
was Ingalls, the wizard of the English tongue. Not 
the poet Poe, not the advocate Choate, not the ora- 
tor Ingersoll produced finer word painting. There 
were some thoughts, too, that startled. For in- 
stance : 

Ben Hill has gone to the undiscovered country. 

Whether his journey thither was but one step across an im- 
perceptible frontier, or whether an interminable ocean, black, 
unfluctuating and voiceless, stretches between these earthly 
coasts and those invisible shores — we do not know. 

Whether on that August morning after death he saw a 
more glorious sun rise with unimaginable splendor above a ce- 
lestial horizon, or whether his apathetic and unconscious ashes 
still sleep in cold obstruction and insensible oblivion — we do 
not know. 



96 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Whether his strong, but subtle, energies found instant exer- 
cise in another forum; whether his dexterous and discipHned 
faculties are now contending in a higher Senate than ours for 
supremacy, or whether his powers were dissipated and dis- 
persed with his parting breath — we do not know. 

Whether his passions, ambitions and affections still sway, 
attract and impel ; whether he yet remembers us, as we remem- 
ber him — we do not know. 

These are the unsolved and insoluble problems of mortal 
life and human destiny, which prompted the troubled patriarch 
to ask that momentous question, for which the ages have given 
no answer, "If a man die, shall he live again?" 

Every man is the center of a circle whose fatal circumfer- 
ence he cannot pass. Within its narrow confines he is poten- 
tial ; beyond it he perishes, and if immortality is a splendid, but 
delusive, dream ; if the incompleteness of every career, even 
the longest and most fortunate, be not supplemented and per- 
fected after its termination here, then he who dreads to die 
should fear to live, for life is a tragedy more desolate and in- 
explicable than death. 

Then he painted Ben Hill, the orator, the fierce 
debater, the statesman, fanatic in his patriotism ; the 
victor over James G. Blaine in the most ferocious 
bloody-shirt discussion preserved in Congressional 
literature, and the painting was in phrase even richer 
than the exordium. The speech attracted attention 
everywhere, commanded admiration, and provoked 
criticism. It was a tinge of agnosticism, and it may 
be remembered that Kansas was very strong on or- 
thodoxy. No doubt that speech had something to 
do with the political undoing of Ingalls when agra- 
rianism swept the State. 

Read it, splendid eloquence that it is, and then 
turn to the followinsf : 



'fc> 



"There were ninety-and-nine that safely lay 
In the shelter of the fold. 
But one was out on the hills away, 

Far off from the gates of gold ; 
Away on the mountain wild and bare. 
Away from the gentle Shepherd's care." 



JOHN J. INGALLS 97 

And the hymn tells the rest of the story — how 
the Shepherd toiled and suffered in the search, but 
persevered and found the lost one and restored him 
to the fold. 

IV 

Distinguished as was Ingalls' career in the Sen- 
ate, it would have been better had he given the time 
and the thought to letters that he gave to legislation. 
His essays on Conkling, Garfield, and Blaine are ex- 
cellent contributions to our literature, and perhaps 
they would have been greatly improved had he never 
come in contact with these eminent men. He was 
not a statesman, not a lawgiver. He could not di- 
vine, as every true statesman must. Nor did he have 
the quality of insight. His name is connected with 
no great measure, and no speech he made on any 
great political question will survive. In the world 
of politics he was an orator of a scorpion tongue; 
among scholars he was a poet with a brilliant ex- 
pression. 

Here is an excellent passage that he loved to em- 
ploy, and is found in both his speeches and writings : 

The world has no more conspicuous illustration of the 
truth that nothing is so unprofitable as wickedness. The thief 
robs himself. The adulterer pollutes himself. The murderer 
inflicts a deeper wound upon himself than that which kills his 
victim. Behind every criminal in the universe, silent but re- 
lentless, stands, with uplifted blade, the shadow of vengeance 
and retribution. 

That is a passage that every youth ought to read 
and digest. It is a profound and an awful truth — 
as the apostle of the Gentiles expressed it, "The 
wages of sin is death." 



98 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Ingalls did not clearly see the political storm com- 
ing to engulf him, and it was already upon him when 
he prepared to meet it. It would have been better 
for his fame had he defied it. His friends must ever 
regret the speech of January 14, 1891 — ''The Image 
and the Superscription of Caesar." He was not a 
political economist, and the speech is as wild as the 
wildest. He was making an argument for fiat 
money. There are many excellent things in it, many 
eloquent passages. He could not be dull or com- 
monplace, even when denouncing and bewailing "the 
crime of 'j^i'' declaring that money is the creature 
of law, and asserting that it is the stamp of the gov- 
ernment that makes the dollar. But it would be a 
bold agrarian who would advance the doctrine of the 
speech of January 14 in the present Senate. 

He was casting an anchor to windward, and he 
was a landsman. 

Another casting of anchors to windward was the 
speech — "Fiat Justitia" — delivered in the Senate 
January 23, 1890. It was on the race question, and 
he discussed it with a great deal of ignorance and a 
great deal of prejudice, as must ever be the case 
when a brilliant man addresses himself to a parti- 
san political question that he knows very little or 
nothing about. The speech was on a bill appropria- 
ting a large sum to defray the expense of transport- 
ing negroes from Southern to Northern States. The 
proposal was that our colored fellow-citizens should 
be removed from communities where they were en- 
couraged to work and forbidden to vote, and set 
down in communities where they were encouraged 
to vote and not allowed to work. Politically, that 
might have been a prosperous venture; economi- 



JOHN J. INGALLS 99 

cally, the result would probably have been disas- 
trous. There ought to be a law forbidding a North- 
ern man to discuss the race question until a Northern 
constituency returns a negro to Congress. And it 
ought to be contrary to law, as it is contrary to good 
taste, for a Republican President of the United 
States to appoint a negro to office until a Republican 
national convention nominates a negro for Vice- 
President of the United States. 

In the course of the speech was this refreshing de- 
livery of candor: 

The conscience of New England never was thoroughly 
aroused to the immorality of African slavery until it ceased to 
be profitable, and the North did not finally determine to de- 
stroy the system until convinced that its continuance threat- 
ened not only their industrial independence, but their political 
supremacy. 

The speech would have set Kansas afire ten years 
earlier, for it was one of the most brilliant even he 
ever delivered; but the Kansas of 1890 was deep in 
political economy — "of a certing kind." 

Nor did his vigorous and ornate waving of the 
bloody shirt at Gettysburg that year save the Sena- 
torial toga. Kansas was reading "Coin" Harvey. 

V 

And now years after Ingalls is gathered to his 
fathers we have the race problem with us. Only 
last summer two United States Senators — one from 
Kansas and another from South Carolina — "dis- 
cussed" it at the North. 

Mrs. Jordan, of the English stage of Garrick's 
time, was an accomplished actress, but was some- 



LofC. 



loo ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

times jealous of other favorites, her rivals in the pro- 
fession. On one occasion she excitedly exclaimed: 
"I am tired of filling the theater for Mrs. Siddons 
to run away with the applause!" One can but won- 
der if that unique elocutionist, Senator Burton, 
wearied of filling the Chautauqua for Senator Till- 
man to run away with the applause. It is not prob- 
able — it is hardly possible — for any good to^ come 
from a public discussion of what is called the "negro 
problem" by these two men. Senator Burton knows 
nothing in the world about the subject, and unless 
Senator Tillman has mended his manners, he tells 
what he knows about it in such intemperate lan- 
o-uage and assumes such provocative attitudes as to 
render his knowledge w^orthless. 

Tillman is not the first Southern orator who dis- 
cussed the negro question before Northern assem- 
blies. William L. Yancey, a far more eloquent man, 
and Robert Toombs, a far abler man, carried South- 
ern ideas into Boston in the days when "Bleeding 
Kansas" gave the Union a perpetual nightmare, and 
they got applause, too, though they convinced no- 
body. Tillman has been on the national carpet some 
eight years. He has learned something. He no 
longer thinks that he is the only honest man in public 
life; but it is evident that he believes he is the lion- 
estest man of the lot. As for Burton, he is about 
as fit to discuss a political question as Carrie Nation 
is to discuss the temperance question. Indeed, Car- 
rie is a better judge of whisky than Burton is of the 
negro. 

There is a negro problem, a rankling and fester- 
ing ulcer on the body politic. The fourteenth and 



JOHN J. INGALLS loi 

fifteenth amendments to the Constitution were the 
harvest of revenge. Enhghtened statesmanship had 
nothing to do with them. Hell and Utopia — Stevens 
and Sumner — brought them forth. Ignorance and 
malice rocked their cradle. Stern necessity came 
along and nullified them. Now the question is, 
What are you going to do about it? The Republi- 
can party is cogitating about that. Whatever it con- 
cludes is best for the Republican party it will pro- 
ceed to do. 

All the unselfish wisdom of the country, North, 
South, East, and West, is agreed that it is no job 
for a partisan Northern Congressman, and some of 
us do not believe it is a case for an itinerant North- 
ern newspaper correspondent, though we acknowl- 
edge the candor and patriotism of the latter. Grover 
Cleveland expressed the wisdom of the situation 
when he declared that those who were next the 
weight must lift it. Crumpacker says, 'Tut the 
negro back into politics." Experience says the ne- 
gro is not fit for politics. Correspondent Patterson 
says the Federal Government must drop into pater- 
nalism and educate the negro. Experience answers 
that the educated negro will not grow cotton, and 
that it is more desirable to grow a crop of cotton 
than to have a crop of learned negroes. 

Has there ever been a condition of mankind, po- 
litical or social, where two races, one inferior to the 
other, lived on a plane of equal rights ? Where and 
when did such a condition exist? It is useless to 
answer that it is wrong for the superior to oppress 
the inferior. There were the twins, and of them it 
was written, "J^cob have I loved, but Esau have I 



I02 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

hated." The Caucasian is the highest type of man, 
and the Anglo-Saxon is the highest type of the Cau- 
casian. It is the nature of the Anglo-Saxon to take 
the best for himself. He is not going to divide the 
best with another, especially if that other is of an in- 
ferior and despised race. American citizenship is 
about the best product of Anglo-Saxon civilization, 
and there never was more fatuous folly than to im- 
agine that it would be shared with the former slaves 
of the South. 

Neither has it ever been so shared at the North. 
There never was a Northern constituency that would 
have put up with the late Frederick Douglass as its 
representative in Congress. The veriest hobo could 
have defeated him in a district every constituent of 
which was a Harvard man and subscribed to the 
philosophy of Emerson and had sat entranced by 
the eloquence of Phillips. There is no American 
statesman better satisfied with his job than Henry 
Cabot Lodge, but how many minutes would he hold 
it if a negro was his colleague in the Senate? No 
doubt Mr. Lodge would be very glad to have negro 
Senators from the Southern States to help him 
solonize; no doubt he would be willing to drive a 
coach and four through the Constitution of the 
United States in order to force negro Senators into 
the seats of Tillman and Money and McEnery ; but, 
politically speaking, Mr. Lodge is a child of Cain 
and not his brother's keeper. In his philosophy 
South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana are step- 
daughters to be bitten, not kissed ; to be cuffed, not 
caressed. He believes the negro is good enough to 
represent Southern constituencies, but the only thing 
a negro is fit for at the North is to vote the Repub- 



JOHN T. INGALLS 103 

lican ticket. It is true that Mr. Lodge, with con- 
scious self-righteousness worthy of the chief priests, 
scribes, and pharisees of Pontius Pilate's day, told 
the Senate last session that a negro had been appoint- 
ed district attorney in Massachusetts ; but he was not 
candid enough to say that so little negro blood was 
there in the man's veins it would take a search-war- 
rant from a chemical laboratory to find a drop of it. 

Political equality means negroes on the bench, in 
the executive chair, in Congressional seats, at Cabi- 
net councils, in the diplomatic service. A party may 
declare for political equality until it is blue, black, 
and mulatto, but it will be a hypocrite all the time 
until it acts political equality. Mr. Booker Wash- 
ington has intellect, culture, and executive capacity 
enough to administer the Interior Department of our 
government; but if Mr. Roosevelt, after his nomina- 
tion, should appoint Mr. Washington Secretary of 
Interior, Mr. Roosevelt would not carry a State in 
the Union, not even Vermont. If Mr. Roosevelt 
were to appoint a negro to the next vacancy on the 
Supreme Bench, not a single Senator in Congress 
would vote to confirm him. 

The antipathy between the two races is instinctive, 
and it is constitutional. It is even more pronounced 
at the North than it is at the South. The negro lost 
his political rights at the South simply and solely 
because his political equality there meant the making 
of San Domingos of several Southern States. 

VI 

There is some dissatisfaction expressed on the At- 
lantic Coast with the character of some of our for- 



104 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

eign immigration, while on the Pacific Coast the 
fruit growers of CaHfornia are wilHng to admit the 
heathen Chinee to the number of twenty thousand 
per annum. There are men in New England, and 
even in Illinois, where people ought to know better, 
who are disconsolate and refuse to be comforted be- 
cause the South declines to be represented at our 
grand inquests of the nation by negro Senators and 
negro Representatives, yet they say they see great 
danger to our institutions in the immigration from 
Southern and Southeastern Europe, where dwell 
peoples who have survived the misrule of man more 
than twenty centuries. There used to be just as loud 
and clamorous outcry against what our fathers call- 
ed ''the Irish and the Dutch." A big political party 
was formed to keep out the men of ''the rich Irish 
brogue and the soft German accent," as General 
Scott expressed it. Now we lament that too few of 
our new citizens are Irish and Dutch. Fashion is 
very whimsical and very arbitrary. 

Take down your Gibbon and you will find that the 
south and southeast of Europe and round about are 
peopled with races that made histories. That part of 
the world was the cradle, if not the womb, of civili- 
zation. Those races hewed wood and drew water 
for a hundred Roman Csesars, and withstood the 
ravages and assimilated the bloods of a hundred bar- 
barian tribes. It was the land of Belisarius and of 
Narses, and it was hoary with the ages even in their 
day. Nay, to think of it recalls the voyage and the 
crew of Jason. It is the land that gave birth to Al- 
exander and Hannibal, Ccesar and Napoleon. Peri- 
cles and Demosthenes, Cicero and Tacitus were of 



JOHN J. INGALLS 105 

Southern Europe. Homer and Phidias, Dante and 
Michael Angelo dreamed and sang and wrought on 
the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Greece and 
Italy are the very aristocracy and the pre-eminent 
splendor of history. 

During the ages those peoples were oppressed and 
harried. That they survived is a very miracle. That 
they are superstitious is true, and that they are igno- 
rant is undeniable. That they have no respect for 
law, or little respect for it, is also true, but the law 
they have known was not fit to respect. It visited 
on them a thousand odious and onerous duties, and 
brought them not one single precious right ; yet they 
survived. 

This tide of immigration from Southern and 
Southeastern Europe is Latin, Greek and Slav. This 
country offers them a law that has rights as well as 
duties, and opportunities that never came to their 
fathers, and that their fathers' gods never dreamed 
of. Can we assimilate them ? The answer is : They 
are Caucasian. May we not hope that our language, 
our law, and our customs shall make them Ameri- 
can, and that they shall contribute to our citizenship 
an admirable tinge of blood ? Some of these people 
are in the cotton and sugar and rice belts of two or 
three of the Gulf States. That land and its people 
must be a revelation to them, and they a revelation 
to our people. We have good report and bad report 
of them, and more that is good than is bad. It is 
the second and the third generations that must make 
the test. They will be born in a free country and 
reared in a land of law, and of schools, and if their 
forefathers were not utterly extirpated by such Em- 



I06 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

perors as Trajan and Probiis, why should not these 
people grow into a grand civilization away from the 
haunts and the memories of more than two thousand 
3'ears of oppression and misrule ? 

And their presence at the South suggests what is 
very popularly called "the negro problem." Nearly 
everybody, except some foolish men at the North, 
confesses that it is a question difficult of solution. 
Mr. Booker Washington, a negro, and the most 
eminent member of his race, proposes that the negro 
go to work, produce, and save. That is good advice 
for white as well as black men. But so far as I 
know, Mr. Washington has not said anything of 
what the negro's place in society is to be after he 
goes to work, makes a fortune, and saves it. And 
there is the danger in this whole business. The 
worthless negro gives the South no very great con- 
cern. We all know what is to become of him. We 
all know he has no political rights the white man is 
going to respect, or is expected to respect. His 
doom is already pronounced. 

But what is to become of them when they all get 
to be Booker Washingtons ? There's the rub. Theo- 
retically, it is supposed they are to be full partners 
in the gigantic business of American citizenship. 
That means that they shall sit in Cabinet council 
with the Presidents, shall be judges on the Federal 
bench, shall be members of both Houses of Con- 
gress, shall represent the first of Caucasian peoples 
in European courts, shall be Governors of States, 
and members of the State judicatures. Mr. Wash- 
ington does not expect anything of that sort in his 



JOHN J. INGALLS 107 

day. But he is trying to lay the foundation for that 
sort of thing. He leaves a vital factor out of the 
calculation — the prejudice called caste that is 
stronger and infinitely harder to deny than ten times 
ten thousand principles. For many centuries it has 
been the office of the Anglo-Saxon to command, and 
for even more centuries it has been the custom of 
the negro to serve. It is not only foolish, but it is 
wicked to try to conceive that these two will fuse or 
be partners. 

Then, there is Bishop Turner, another eminent 
negro. He sees no hope for the negro in partner- 
ship with the white man, and his advice is for the 
negro to seek his fortunes in Africa. He does not 
believe that the educated and frugal negro will stand 
any better show than the ignorant and thriftless 
negro in the grand lottery of the survival of the fit- 
test in a trial of fitness against the white man. 
Bishop Turner knows that no numerical superiority 
will enable the negro race to control a single county 
in any State of the Union. That is a bad state of 
case. It is more a menace to the white than to the 
black, for the white has everything to lose and the 
negro nothing to lose. Instinct teaches the white 
that political equality is inseparable from social 
equality. There is the secret — there the main cause 
of lynchings. and it is ineradicable. "But," we are 
admonished by some transcendentalists, and the dilet- 
tante statesmen of the North, "your prejudice is ir- 
rational, we have no respect for it, and will not put 
up with it." To such as they Paul wrote a letter that 
had this passage : "Nay, but, O man, who art thou 
that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed 



io8 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me 
thus?" 

Maybe this immigration from Southern and 
Southeastern Europe may work a settlement of the 
negro problem. In a game of the survival of the fit- 
test these be mighty players — experts of a thousand 
years' constant practice. The javelins of the Pre- 
torians and the scimitars of the janizaries did not 
extirpate them. In the sweat of their faces have 
they eat bread in the midst of perpetual and peren- 
nial revolution. Anarchy could not destroy them, 
and fanaticism left them vigorous and prolific. 

These people come to us for some great purpose 
of God, who works in mystery. Who knows but 
their mission is to work out the plan of Bishop Tur- 
ner? 

VII 

The negro problem will not down. It is vital, 
concerns the government, and concerns our civiliza- 
tion. It is a charge on our people that will not be 
denied. The negro was forced into the Constitu- 
tion by New England and the extreme South — the 
African slave trade and the fugitive slave clause. 
The North abolished the "institution" and laid it on 
conscience, though conscience had no hand in it. 
The South found authority for it in the Bible, and 
doubtless the South would have found authority in 
that sacred volume for anything else that was at 
once so convenient and so profitable. The North 
came to conclude that slavery was sin, and the South 
declared it was virtue. Was there ever better base 
of quarrel? 



JOHN J. INGALLS 109 

And quarrel they did. Every time a free State 
was admitted to the Union a slave State came in to 
neutrahze it in the United States Senate. Maine and 
Missouri came in together. They called the admis- 
sion of Missouri a "compromise," and it was sup- 
posed to settle forever the negro question. The in- 
stinct of self-preservation prompted the South to an- 
nex Texas and spoil Mexico. The negro question 
was on hand, and they called it the Wilmot Proviso. 
It almost resulted in war, and war would have come 
had not Henry Clay made the "compromise of 
1850." Then everybody except a lot of Northern 
fanatics rejoiced, for the negro question was now 
settled for good and all. 

But it would not stay settled. The Kansas-Ne- 
braska bill, the Dred Scott case, the Lecompton con- 
troversy, the John Brown raid, the split of the Dem- 
ocratic party at Charleston, the election of Lincoln, 
the secession of the South, the war, and the emanci- 
pation proclamation all follow — 1854- 1862. Then 
comes the exhaustion and surrender of the South, re- 
construction, and the three amendments to the Con- 
stitution. Again everybody said the negro question 
was now settled. He had become not only the man 
and brother, but he was a free man, a citizen, and an 
elector. It required the evolution of many centuries 
to make Anglo-Saxon citizenship, and in reality it 
was not half done at that ; but a few years of Ameri- 
can slavery had transformed the most hopeless bar- 
barian in the world into the family of the most ad- 
mirable citizenship in the world. 

But that did not settle the negro question. He 
was not strong enough for citizenship. He could 



no ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

not bear the load. As soon as the novelty was over 
he would have thrown it away had not the whites 
in the South taken it from him before he was tired 
of it. It was bound to be so. Negro citizenship was 
born of sectional hate — it was wicked in that it 
vainly assumed to join together what Almighty God 
had put asunder. Of course, it was a failure, and 
the whole North — all but a few blind men — see and 
acknowledge the failure. The fifteenth amendment 
did not elevate the negro — it only cheapened Ameri- 
can citizenship. It was exactly right to nullify it. 

Mr. Patterson, of the Chicago Tribune, a very ex- 
cellent gentleman, a man of good instincts, a diligent 
seeker of the truth, has made an inspection and a 
study of the negro. It bewildered Mr. Patterson, 
as it has bewildered every other Northern man. He 
proposes book-learning — just a little of it — to cure 
a corruption of blood not due to a bill of attainder 
enacted in the parliaments of man, but to a decree of 
the infallible and immutable court of God. Mr. Pat- 
terson saw the negro the happiest laborer in the 
world, and he thinks education will make him the 
most fortunate laborer in the world. Mr. Patterson 
saw in the black belts the problem as it now exists, 
and it is a fearful and a threatening sore on the body 
politic. The fruit of the tree of intellectual knowl- 
edge will not cure the sore — only exasperate it. 

And that is not the worst of it. When the negro 
gets an education ; when he practices thrift; when he 
becomes a good citizen and a Christian — right then 
the negro question will be more threatening than it 
is now, or ever was. I care not what advancement 



JOHN J. INGALLS m 

the negro may make, the white man is not going to 
share this government with him, and the Northern 
white man is as much opposed to it as the Southern. 
A negro may have the genius and the attainments of 
Burke, but he will be a negro still. Political equality 
will never be for him. He may be a janitor; he will 
not be a judge. He may be a messenger; he will 
not be a Cabinet officer. He may be a soldier; he 
will not be a general — no ; not if he were Csesar, and 
he is not going to be either Cresar or Burke. 

Does Mr. Patterson suppose that American citi- 
zenship can stand a population of millions who have 
no political rights the whites intend to respect? It 
is innately bred in the white to practice his tyranny 
on the negro, and it would be done if every white 
man was a Theodore Roosevelt and every negro a 
Booker Washington; but it is even more injurious 
to the white to practice the tyranny than to the negro 
who is the victim of it. There is your problem. 
There is but one solution. 

When there was strife between the herdsmen of 
Abram's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle, 
Abram and Lot agreed to separate. Lot went to 
Sodom and made a fortune, and Abram continued 
to dwell in the land of Canaan and became the father 
of Israel, the founder of a people, and to him the 
promise of God was made. 

There is infinitely more reason why the whites 
and blacks of this country should separate than there 
was that Abram and Lot should part. 

Nobody dreams that all the negroes shall leave. 
Nobody anticipates that a greater percentage of them 



ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 



Shan n,ig.ate than ^^f^^^^^'^^ ^li;^!^ e|al 
native land the •='=.V'rind o them may be added 

the crmunal classes, lor « . xhere need be 

„e provided i" rVt'the m gSn of the decent ne- 

nothing harsh about ''!« "'* ^ ^kion. The igno- 

•oes. There must be no comp ^^^^^^ 

fant should be kept at hom^- ^^ ^^^ye 

.vhat to do ^"'h h,m He ^s not^^. ^^, ^^_^^^^^^ 

about votnig. He ,«''' ^^^ the folks to 

Booker Washmgton s g adua e^ ^^ ^^^^,^_ 

leave, and the g°y<="™J"' " "« Buy him a coun- 
niake it to the.r interest to lea™. ^ ^ ,,„„e, 

trv in Africa. Give h>m %*f "^' ""'' ^^j tools of 
pr'ovide him in^P'^^f ^,l,^e fbou-X on his prod- 

-v^irr'^iiittt^t T> s^^^^^^^^^^ 

will kick up a row, ^f P"^^P ^^g be taught better 
keep the negro a home, bt he^m-t ^^^^ . ^^^^ 

manners, and will oe i ^^^ ^^^Q^e 

Southern fields and shops ^^^°^^^^' ^' J' -.^niigration. 
than supphed by ^^^^f^V^treTsef rather than di- 
The cotton yield would be ^^^^^^'l^^^^^^^rth would 

finished. The dairy "^^^^\^f ^ f^jl^^ ,t the South, 
pack up and be a welcome c^^rp^t^^^^^^^^ ^^^ 

Intensive ^\"^"?g ^I^^^^^ ^^^tL .vonW cease to be 
den of our hemisphere i^o/^^^^^ '' ^q be a 

insane and become rational-would cease 
ruffian and become a gentleman^ 

Men and brethren, it has got to be tnat, o 
Gulf States have got to be Haiti. 



JOHN J. INGALLS ii3 

VIII 

In 1 89 1 Ingalls retired. For eighteen years he 
had been one of the great figures in public life and 
he was yet one of the very interesting characters in 
the world of eloquence and of letters. There was a 
fortune in his pen and another on his tongue. Every- 
thing he wrote was greedily read, and everything he 
said was eagerly heard. The presence of the impos- 
sible Pfeffer in the Senate recalled this passage from 
the writings of a greater Ingalls who played a 
greater part two centuries earlier : 

Cato lost the election of praetor and that of consul, but is 
any one blind enough to truth to imagine that these repulses 
reflected any disgrace on him? The dignity of those two mag- 
istracies would have been increased by his wearing them. 
They suffered; not Cato. 

Ingalls' reflections on Happiness has been well 
characterized as a gem. It is admirable and he got 
the idea and some of the expression from Boling- 
broke on Exile. He closes it with a quotation from 
the "Essay on Man," which embraces the same idea 
and was the production of Bolingbroke turned into 
verse by Pope. But the idea was hoary with age 
long before Bolingbroke and Pope. Shakespeare 
expressed it : 

"Sweet are the uses of adversity. 
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, 
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head; 
And this our life exempt from public haunt 
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, 
Sermons in stones, and good in everything." 

And John James Ingalls wrote this, which is as 
immortal as the imagination and the heart of man : 



114 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

OPPORTUNITY. 

"Master of human destinies am I ! 

Fame, love and fortune on my footsteps wait. 
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate 

Deserts and seas remote, and passing by 
Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late 
I knock unbidden once at every gate! 

If sleeping, wake; if feasting, rise before 
I turn away. It is the hour of fate. 
And they who follow me reach every state 

Mortals desire, and conquer every foe 

Save death ; but those who doubt or hesitate, 

Condemned to failure, penury and woe. 
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore, 
I answer not, and I return no more !" 

Every youth who hopes to play a part in the world 
will profit by committing that to memory and heed- 
ing its teaching and its warning. 




SEARGENT S. PRENnsS. 



SEARGENT S. PRENTISS 

As long as there is intelligent and aspiring youth 
in this country everything said of this man will have 
interest, for he was an extraordinary character, and, 
as is true of Patrick Henry, his fame rests mostly on 
tradition. In his walk he was much like Poe in the 
realm of letters and vStonewall Jackson on the field 
of Mars. He was a meteor on the sky of public life 
— a man of genius, and a man of magnetism. He 
was something after the mold of Lord Byron, and, 
like Roscoe Conkling, was passionately fond of 
Byron's poetry. No one can read the history and 
the tradition relating to the man without agreeing 
that genius is to madness near akin. 



Seargent S. Prentiss was born on the coast of 
Maine, in the town that, thirty-one years later, was 
to be the birthplace of Thomas B. Reed, who was 
also the son of a seafaring man. The elder Pren- 
tiss, a kinsman of John Hancock, who wrote his 
name in such conspicuous place and in character so 
indelible, commanded a vessel in the merchant serv- 
ice, and had escaped many a danger that comes to 
them who go down to the sea in ships. He had been 
shipwrecked and chased by pirates, and boarded by 
British men-of-war. Doubtless his stories of his 
venturous life on the sea early excited the exuber- 



ii6 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

ant imagination of his gifted son and stimulated the 
poetry of his nature. The father died when Searg- 
ent was yet a youth. 

The family had slender resources, but every one 
had faith in the extraordinary qualities of young 
Seargent, and, by the practice of rigid and self-de- 
nying economy, he took the course at Bowdoin and 
was graduated at the age of eighteen. He studied 
law at Portland, but soon went West and settled at 
Cincinnati, where he continued to pursue his legal 
studies. But success did not come. and. like that 
other genius from New England, he drifted to the 
land of cotton, and we find him one of the household 
of an elegant and refined woman, Mrs. Shields, a 
widow, who was possessed of an extensive library 
of excellent books, including the law books her hus- 
band possessed at the time of his death. 

Prentiss had a powerful mind as well as a wonder- 
ful imagination. His memory was prodigious, and 
what he read he digested and assimilated. He liter- 
ally devoured books, and Coke on Littleton he mas- 
tered as readily as he did an entertaining novel. He 
read with the rapidity of Scott or Macaulay, and 
his memory was so extraordinary that he could re- 
peat whole books of the English Bible, all of the 
"Lady of the Lake," all of "Paradise Lost," many 
of Shakespeare's plays, and many of Byron's poems. 
If he had been endowed with the taste of that other 
orator, Charles James Fox, and daily read and ab- 
sorbed Pericles and Demosthenes in the original, 
tradition of him might have taken on even more of 
the wonderful. 



SEARGENT S. PRENTISS n? 

Before he was admitted to the bar, Prentiss was a 
student in the law office of that other Northern man 
in the cotton country, a great lawyer and a great 
statesman. What a different history mankind in our 
hemisphere might have had if Robert J. Walker 
had been a secessionist and had possessed the confi- 
dence of Jefferson Davis. He would have been Sec- 
retary of the Treasury of the Confederacy. He had 
a genius for economics. The worthlessness of the 
currency of the South was nearly, if not quite, as 
great a factor in determining the result of the war 
as the prowess of Grant's arms. 

Emerson says that all history resolves itself very 
easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest 
persons. A history of the world is a history of the 
world's great men, and perhaps of all the public men 
in the country who were actors in tlie political 
drama extending from 1836 to 1857, the man who 
had most to do with shaping a governmental policy 
was Robert J. Walker. He was born in Pennsyl- 
vania and was graduated from the University of 
Philadelphia in 18 19, while yet a youth. Two years 
later he was admitted to the bar, andl at the age of 
twenty-six he became a citizen of Mississippi. Like 
Prentiss, Slidell, and Pike, he was a Northern man 
honored by a Southern constituency. But he was 
never a Southern man in the sense that the others 
named were Southern men. When he became an 
emigrant he had passed the days of his youth and 
was as old as Napoleon when the battle of Lodi 
proved his genius, when he astonished the world 
at Areola, when he successfully closed the most bril- 
liant of even his military operations by the capture 
of Mantua. While Walker was a magnificent, popu- 



118 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

lar orator and a great lawyer, it was with the pen 
that he influenced the thoughts of men and gained 
his victories. He was to his age what Frankhn and 
Payne were to theirs. The day of pamphlets had 
not expired in 1840, and the day of magazines had 
just dawned. As a powerful and forcible writer 
\\'alker was unsurpassed by any of his contempora- 
ries, and it was by his pamphlets, his editorials and 
his reports that he should be judged. When he had 
been a citizen of Mississippi ten years he was elected 
a Senator in Congress. His speeches in that body 
were masterpieces ; but they were essays, not decla- 
mations. He was a profound political philosopher, 
and had the happy faculty of making his reasoning 
red hot on paper. As an essayist he was what 
Charles James Fox was as a parliamentary orator. 

It was Robert J. Walker who prepared the coun- 
try for the annexation of Texas. His luminous 
mind saw that unless that new Republic became a 
State in the American Union, it would fall a prey 
to one of the European powers, involving us in com- 
plications that would keep the country in a constant 
state of turmoil. As early as 1835, he published an 
essay upon the subject that attracted wide-spread 
attention and set the public to thinking. He fol- 
lowed it up with others, and one of his greatest 
speeches in the Senate was in advocacy of John C. 
Calhoun's scheme for annexation. He knew that 
the State would never be admitted with a President 
from the North in the White House, and he was 
chosen a delegate to the Democratic convention of 
1844 with the single aim to defeat the nomination 
of Martin Van Buren, to whom a majority of the 
delegates were pledged. In that convention Walker 



SEARGENT S. PRENTISS 119 

became a central figure. It was upon his motion 
that the two-thirds rule was adopted. Benjamin 
F. Butler, of New York, who had been Jackson's 
Attorney-General, a very able man, was the leader 
of the Van Buren forces, but the young man from 
Mississippi proved more than a match for him, and 
carried the convention by storm and secured the 
nomination of James K. Polk ; nor did he stop there. 
Polk would have been defeated as certainly in 1844 
as Cass was in 1848, if Walker had not been dip- 
lomat enough to induce Silas Wright to be the 
Democratic candidate for Governor of New York, 
thus securing the future "Barn-burners" and their 
influence for the National ticket, and electing it. 

Walker was the master spirit of Polk's adminis- 
tration. He administered that office with as much 
success as Hamilton or Gallatin before him, or Guth- 
rie or Sherman after him. His reports to Congress 
are not only as able as any that ever emanated from 
that department, but their literary excellence and in- 
cisive style render them exceedingly entertaining 
reading. On paper he was at once logical and bril- 
liant. He was the author of the tariff of 1846, under 
which this country prospered as it never did under 
any other system of taxation. He was the relentless 
enemy of the dogma of protection and the system of 
specific duties. His report upon those subjects is one 
of the ablest papers on the tariff ever penned, and has 
afforded basis for innumerable speeches in Congress 
and editorials in newspapers and articles in maga- 
zines. He treated the subject like a philosopher, a 
statesman, and a scholar. 

Walker was made Governor of Kansas by Bu- 
chanan and sided with Douglas in the Lecompton 



120 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

controversy. When the war broke out he became an 
intense Union man, and was sent by Mr. Lincohi 
upon a diplomatic mission to England. When the 
Confederate Commissioners arrived in Europe they 
published an address to the English and French Gov- 
ernments, which Walker answered in the London 
Times. For four years he remained at the English 
capital writing essays and editorials upon the great 
conflict from a Northern standpoint. He, above 
all other Americans, had most to do in shaping pub- 
lic opinion in Europe and preventing interference 
by the great powers in behalf of the South. 

After the close of the war he returned to America 
and received the thanks of Congress for his labors 
in Europe. He appeared no more in public except 
to publish several masterly essays upon the ques- 
tions of banking and commerce and revenue and 
taxation in the magazines, but the country was so 
much interested in the question of reconstruction 
that they attracted little attention, though they were 
repul)lished and exerted an influence to which their 
faultless reasoning and great literary excellence en- 
titled them. No other political writer in our his- 
tory exercised a greater influence upon the minds 
of statesmen of his generation, unless it be Thomas 
Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. 

When Prentiss left the tutelage of Walker he 
opened an office at Natchez, and immediately dis- 
tinguished himself. It was said of him — and per- 
haps it was not true — that he never lost but a single 
cause, and that was one in which he was personally 
interested to the extent of his whole private fortune. 

Joseph Holt, sometime a protege of Amos Ken- 
dall, was a leading lawyer of the then Southwest. 



SEARGENT S. PRENTISS 121 

He had been district attorney in Kentucky and in 
that office his astonishing powers as an orator had 
been first developed. His success as a prosecutor 
was so great that the Executive refused to reappoint 
him on the ground that no one accused of crime 
could have a fair trial when the eloquence of Joe 
Holt was the accuser. He gained a national repu- 
tation in one of the conventions that nominated 
Martin Van Buren, in a powerful speech defending 
Richard M. Johnson from the assaults of his ene- 
mies. It was the beginning of what is now known 
as "convention eloquence" and probably has never 
been surpassed. He practiced law in Mississippi 
at the zenith of "flush times" and accumulated a con- 
siderable fortune, and, while never a candidate for 
office, he took an active part in politics as a Demo- 
crat. 

It was the golden day of eloquence in our land — 
the day of Clay, of Webster, of McDuffie, of Mar- 
shall, of Menifee, of Wise, of Corwin, of Haskell, 
of Polk, of Choate, and of Holt, and of Prentiss. 
For beautiful, stately, and symmetrical sentences, for 
chastity, purity, and elegance of expression, Joseph 
Holt was without a master in that splendid age of 
American oratory. Holt charmed, and he con- 
vinced, and his speech was English uncorrupted — 
"the tongue that Shakespeare spake." Prentiss over- 
whelmed his audience with the dramatic fervor of 
his periods, the commanding tones of his voice, the 
captivating magnetism of the man. Holt was the 
chiseled marble ; Prentiss was flesh and blood. It is 
praise enough to say of either that he was frequently 
the successful rival of the other. 



122 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

II 

When he was twenty-five years of age Prentiss ap- 
peared at Washington in an important case involv- 
ino- title to a large boundary of land in the State of 
Arkansas. He was opposed by very able counsel, 
including Reverdy Johnson and Mr. Meredith, and 
at the close of his masterly speech we are gravely 
told that Chief Justice Marshall paid him the ex- 
travagant compliment. "Young man, if you were 
not the greatest of orators I would pronounce you 
the ablest of lawyers." It is much to be doubted if 
Marshall ever said that. It was not the way he 
talked ; but the mere suggestion that the great Chief 
Justice so expressed himself is a tribute to the genius 
of Prentiss. By this time his fame was national, 
and the Whigs drafted him for the stump, and 
thousands hung on his words in every quarter of the 
Union as the Union then was. 

In 1836 he was elected to Congress, and the 
Democrats, who held that the election was void be- 
cause there was no vacancy, caused his seat to be con- 
tested. His speech in his own behalf before the 
House of Representatives was perhaps his greatest 
effort — at least, it has been most exploited. He was 
not yet thirty years of age, and the audience as select 
as the country could then produce. The opposition 
to him was led by eminent men of great talents and 
great place. In its ranks were Legare. of South Car- 
olina; Hunter, of Virginia; Cilly, of Maine; How- 
ard, of Maryland ; Bronson, of New York. Opposed 
to them were Thomas Corwin, Richard Menifee, 
Henry A. Wise. Millard Fillmore, George Evans, 
and Caleb Cushing. In the audience were Clay, 



SEARGENT S. PRENTISS 123 

Webster, Hugh L. White, Thomas Ewing, and John 
M. Clayton. Edward Everett was there, and so was 
John Ouincy Adams, who remembered Henry and 
Otis. In the presence was Mrs. General Eaton, who 
made a President, and was yet lovely in the charms 
that had disrupted a Cabinet. 

The speech of Prentiss surpassed expectation, and 
was a masterly presentation of the law, as well as a 
brilliant presentation of the politics of the case. 
Reading it more than three score years after its de- 
livery one is struck with the radical States' rights 
sentiment it breathes, and is even startled that he em- 
ploys the term confederacy when speaking of the 
Union of the States. There was no report of the 
speech, for the reason that the officials appointed to 
that duty declared that they were so thrilled by the 
voice and the manner of the man that it was simply 
impossible for them to do other than gaze on him 
and listen to his burning periods. Afterward he 
wrote the speech when his inspiration was gone, but 
the written speech is an extraordinary production. 
It has this for its closing paragraph : 

"You sit here, twenty-five sovereign States in judgment of 
the most sacred right of a sister State— that which is to a 
State what chastity is to a woman, or honor to a man. Should 
you decide against her, you tear from her brow the richest 
jewel which sparkles there, and forever bow her head in shame 
and dishonor. But if your determination is taken, if the blow 
must fall if the Constitution must bleed, I have but one re- 
quest on her behalf to make : When you decide that she can- 
not choose her own representation, at the same moment blot 
from the star-spangled banner of this Union the bright star 
that glitters to the name of Mississippi; but leave the stripe be- 
hind, a fit emblem of her degradation." 



124 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

The question was taken, and the result a tie. Mr. 
Speaker Polk gave the casting vote, and it was 
against Prentiss, who never forgave him; and in 
1844 he characterized the then Democratic candidate 
for President of the United States as "a blighted 
burr that has fallen from the mane of the war-horse 
of the Hermitage." 

Prentiss returned to Mississippi, and made an ex- 
haustive canvass of the district. He was triumph- 
antly elected, and served a single term in the Amer- 
ican Congress. 

After his term expired Prentiss visited Boston and 
accepted an invitation to make an address in Faneuil 
Hall. It was a place sacred to liberty long before 
the embattled farmers resisted the invading British 
at Concord, and had resounded to the eloquent 
words of Otis and the stern admonitions of Sam 
Adams before the repeal of the stamp act. It was 
the rostrum upon which had appeared most of the 
great men of New England and some of the great- 
est men of America. Here Storey, Webster, and 
Choate had pleaded for the Constitution ; here Park- 
er, Phillips, and Andrews had denounced African 
slavery, for which New England was, more than a 
fair share, responsible; here Sumner, Wilson, and 
Ashum had baptized the new-born Republican party 
that was to hold the reins of government many dec- 
ades, recruit, organize, equip, discipline, feed, clothe, 
and pay armies more puissant than those of the great 
Napoleon, and overthrow the most formidable mili- 
tary force that ever menaced a government. 

But it was the hall that refused a funeral to Lin- 
coln, a son of Boston, a child of New England, who 



SEARGENT S. PRENTISS 125 

fell for his country at Chapultepec, and the hall that 
barred its portals to Webster, the greatest of the 
great. 

Ill 

Prentiss was a child of New England, who had 
gone among a high-spirited and reckless population 
on the confines of civilization, fascinated them by his 
eloquence, and captivated them by his courage. He 
had carved his name high — he had succeeded. He 
was but thirty years of age, and the spoiled child of 
his party and the spoiled child of his section. He 
was the champion of the political sentiment that had 
long maintained in Massachusetts, and he was the 
victim of Democratic injustice. It is small wonder 
that Boston wanted to hear this orator speak from 
the platform that Rufus Choate and Fisher Ames 
had held. 

The speech vindicated all expectation, and it is 
ample praise of it to say that during its delivery Ed- 
ward Everett asked Daniel Webster if he had ever 
heard it equaled, and the response was, "Never, 
except by Prentiss himself" — a compliment not 
much dissimilar to that his rival paid him when Jos- 
eph Holt said : "Prentiss is the only man I ever saw 
whose performance equaled his reputation." 

Henry A. Wise tells the story of the great Whig 
gathering at Havre de Grace in 1838, and Prentiss, 
Menifee, and Wise were the orators. The crowd 
was immense, the heat intense, the political excite- 
ment at fever heat. Wise was the first to speak, and 
failed to meet expectations. He was followed by 
Menifee, who also made a partial failure. Then 
Prentiss appeared as fresh as the dawn, with his 



126 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

matchless voice in splendid tune and every nerve 
ready for the strain. It was then that he uttered 
what ten thousand school boys have since declaimed. 
"Fellow Citizens, by the Father of Waters at New 
Orleans I have said Fellow Citizens ; on the banks 
of the beautiful Ohio I have said Fellow Citizens; 
here I say Fellow Citizens, and a thousand miles be- 
yond this. North, thanks be to God ! I can still say 
Fellow Citizens." Mr. Wise says that he never saw 
such magic effect as that which attended those open- 
ing words and from that exordium to the close the 
audience was under the spell of the man. 

After his great speech at Nashville in 1844, he re- 
turned to Mississippi, and it came to be that he par- 
ticipated in a joint discussion, his adversary, a dis- 
tinguished Democrat, who spoke first and closed 
with a reference to the scandal with which the name 
of Mr. Clay was associated when he became Secre- 
tary of State in the younger Adams' Cabinet. Pren- 
tiss rose and advanced to the front of the platform. 
His face was a thunder cloud and he shook his in- 
vincible locks like a lion before he roars. For some 
moments thus he stood, every nerve strung, every 
muscle quivering, every indignant emotion playing. 
It was eloquence silent, and the loftiest. The audi- 
ence was thrilled and held captive. Demosthenes 
said, oratory is action. 

Prentiss was the great star of the occasion of that 
historic Whig meeting at Nashville in 1844. Per- 
haps that s])eech sur])assed all his other efforts on 
the stump. As he closed in a peroration that thrilled 
twice ten thousand, he fell in a swoon in the arms of 
James C. Jones, himself a magnificent orator, who 



SEARGENT S. PRENTISS 127 

hugged him to his bosom and exclaimed in an ec- 
stasy : "Die, Prentiss, die ; you will never have an- 
other so glorious an opportunity !" 

Traditions of this man would double the reason- 
able limits of this article. He was of a generation 
that is gone. He must have been a prodigy. A 
Yankee from Maine, he twice appeared on the field of 
honor with that stormy petrel, Henry S. Foote, for 
adversary. Prentiss could be a man of infinite jest. 
On one occasion he visited a sick man, down with de- 
lirium tremens. The doctor said that if the patient 
could sleep he would recover. "O, damn it, give him 
Foote' s book on Texas ; if he can read, that will put 
him to sleep." Imagine that tale borne to Henry S. 
Foote. Of course a fight came of it, and, in this case, 
two fights resulted. 

He was convivial in his habits, and frequently tar- 
ried at the wine and had grievous wounds without 
a cause. He was addicted, too, to card-playing, 
though he was not an inveterate gamester. It is re- 
lated that on one occasion he was a passenger aboard 
a Mississippi River packet, and became engaged in 
a game of poker. Fortune was his. The cards ap- 
peared to obey his wish. After a while he had won 
all his adversaries had to stake. The wine had free^ 
ly circulated. When the game closed he rested his 
head upon his hands prone on the table, and appear- 
ed to be in profound thought. Suddenly he aroused 
himself and said: "If the archangel Michael would 
come down from heaven and play poker against me 
at a star ante, I would obliterate the firmament be- 
fore midnight." 

He was an exaggeration even when he blas- 
phemed. Take him all in all he must have been a 
very remarkable man. 



OLIVER P. MORTON 

Napoleon Bonaparte gave it as one of the elemen- 
tary principles of the art of war to do what the 
enemy does not wish you to do. The rule ho ds 
good in the game of chess, and it is an excellent play 
to have a piece on a square that gives embarrassment 
to your adversary. And so in politics— do what the 
oi^posing party would not have you do In the 
spring of 1861 the seceding States of the South held 
the vantage. They made a wreck of the Buchanan 
administration, doing things that administration 
would rather they had left undone. They were rap- 
idly making a wreck of the Lincoln administration 
by pursuing the same tactics. If one would see 
things as they actually were, let him read the letters 
of Edwin M. Stanton to James Buchanan, m which 
he bitterly reproached the new administration for 
folly and impotence. The Republican party in Con- 
gress did not know whether it was standing on its 
heels or its head, and was willing to make all sorts of 
concession and all sorts of compromise. All the 
South had to do was to "stand pat." 

But the South would not "stand pat." She must 
needs fire on Fort Sumter. That piece of audacity 
and aggression — act of war that it was— fired the 
Northern heart, roused a dormant patriotism, con- 
solidated a resistless nationalism, and recruited mil- 
lions of men for the Union armies. The South 
might have got a lesson froni Brigham Young, two 




OLIVER P. MORTON. 



OLIVER P. MORTON 129 

or three years earlier. President Buchanan sent the 
army against the Mormons. When the troops got 
to Sah Lake they could not find anybody to fight. 
On the contrary, there were the wives and daugh- 
ters, and other womankind, if there were any such, 
of the Mormons, with milk, butter, eggs, bread, pie, 
cake, fruits, and so on, to sell to the tired and hungry 
soldiers, and ere the sun had thrice run his daily 
course they got every cent the poor army had. It is 
a great piece of literary and histrionic neglect that 
some comic opera man has not put that war on the 
stage. 

The South did not dream that the North would 
fight, and the North did not think that the South 
was in earnest, and the North would not have 
fought if the South had not fired on the flag. What- 
ever one may believe as to the right of secession, 
there can be no two opinions as to the folly of the at- 
tack on Fort Sumter. It disbanded and dispersed 
and practically destroyed the peace party of the 
North and turned peace Democrats into war Demo- 
crats by the tens of thousands. It gave opportunity 
and vantage to the administration of Lincoln. If 
the North had been of the same humor in November, 
i860, as she was in February, 1861, Lincoln would 
not have received a handful of electoral votes, and 
the South had the game in her hands had she forced 
the North to fire the first shot ; but we always have 
more wisdom than patience after the fact. The first 
lick struck by the Lincoln administration would have 
solidified the South and divided the North. The 
shot at Sumter made Maryland. Kentucky, Missouri. 
West Virginia, and East Tennessee loyal. It saved 
the Union. 



I30 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

There were three "war Governors" of the North 
of the first magnitude — Andrew, Curtin, and Mor- 
ton — and of these Morton was the greatest. His an- 
cestor in New England was the friend and com- 
panion of Roger VVilhams. The family went West, 
and in February, 1815, the father of the future 
statesman married Sarah Miller, at Springfield, O. 
She was a native of New Jersey, and her family was 
of the faith and kirk of John Knox, and Scotch to 
the marrow. Oliver P. Morton was born in Wayne 
County, Ind., August 4, 1823. His mother died 
when he was a child of 3 years, and the boy was sent 
to Springfield, O., where he was reared by two 
maiden aunts, sisters of his mother. Here he was 
taught morality and instructed in religion, and here 
was laid the foundation of the overshadowing and 
commanding character he became. About the last of 
the Church of England in our country was a clergy- 
man named Weemes. Perhaps he had some differ- 
ences with the State and got somewhat worsted and 
turned his attention to letters. He wrote a life of 
Washington that was very popular, served a very 
excellent purpose, and was very worthless as a his- 
tory, but it did our fathers and grandfathers a 
])ower of good. The cherry tree episode was in it, 
and it was gospel truth to unnumbered thousands. 
He also wrote a life of Gen. Francis Marion, a 
charming book, a delightful narrative — a book for 
intelligent boys. Perhaps it is out of print, but the 
publisher who would deserve well of the coming 
generation and serve his country should print a big 
edition of it. 

"The Life of Marion" was the first volume of his- 
tory Oliver P. Morton read. It was his constant 



OLIVER P. MORTON 131 

companion. He read it over and over and over 
again. Every line of it breathes a wholesome patri- 
otism, and it was never yet read by boy or man with- 
out pleasure and profit. It is one of the strange coin- 
cidences of human life that Oliver P. Morton when 
Governor of Indiana had to contend against the 
Marion of the Southern Confederacy — a greater 
Marion because his operations were on a grander 
scale. 

I 

Young Morton was apprenticed to an apothecary. 
I believe Apollo was for a while among the swine- 
herds. His master undertook to chastise the boy for 
reading a book. They had a fight and parted com- 
pany. Then young Morton was "bound out" to 
learn the hatters' trade, but before the term expired 
he inherited a few hundred dollars from his grand- 
father's estate, bought his release, and went to 
school. He was two years at Miami University, 
and then he studied law. He was a laborious stu- 
dent. He was no genius. He rose by slow degrees. 
He carved out his fortune. He stood at the head of 
the Richmond bar, but he got there inch by inch, not 
by leaps and bounds. In 1852 he was appointed 
judge of his circuit, and he was a faithful and just 
judge. At the age of 2^ he married the excellent 
woman who was an inspiration and a helpmeet the 
remainder of his life. When he had been married 
seven years he was not satisfied with his standing at 
the bar. He knew his knowledge of the law was de- 
ficient, and with characteristic resolution he deter- 
mined to go to a law school, and thus we find this 
mature man and ex-judge of a circuit a fellow-stu- 
dent of youths in their teens. 



132 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Every day he acquired a bit of knowledge, and 
when he got hold of it it was the grip of a giant. He 
read Sir Walter Scott, and it is not strange that his 
favorite of the Waverly novels was "Old Mortality." 
"Ivanhoe" is the favorite of many who have read 
Scott. It is the favorite of unnumbered thousands 
who never read it, or any other of that invaluable 
contribution to literature ; but among cultivated men, 
who have read Scott a hundred times, "Old Mor- 
tality" is probably a more general favorite than any 
other. It must have had especial charm for Oliver 
P. Morton. "John Balfour of Burley" was a some- 
what kindred spirit, resolute unto death, intense, un- 
conquerable. And so Morton was the stout cham- 
pion of his conviction : 

"Ours is no sapling, chance — sown by the fountain, 

Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade ; 
When the whirlwind has stripped every leaf on the mountain, 

The more shall Clan Alpine exult in her shade, 

Moored in the rifted rock. 

Proof to the tempest's shock." 

Morton was a Democrat. In his earlier years he 
does not seem to have cared much about slavery. He 
was for the compromise of 1850, fugitive slave law 
and all, and refused to vote for George W. Julian. 
a Free Soil Man, though endorsed by the Demo- 
crats in convention. These two could never get 
along very well together. Morton was such a virile 
character, so strong, so commanding, that he had 
little use for a man who would not take orders from 
him. Julian wrote a book, in which he complains of 
Morton's methods ; but there never was an Oliver P. 
Morton, born to rule, who did not do just exactly as 
this Oliver P. Morton did. Had he lived, Walter 



OLIVER P. MORTON i33 

Q. Gresham might have been President; but Ben 
Harrison would not. Harrison was the greatest in- 
tellect Indiana has given to statesmanship ; but Mor- 
ton was the greatest man. Morton was for the 
annexation of Texas, though Free Soilers re- 
garded it as the next thing to treason. He did an 
immense part in the destruction of slavery, and he 
did his devoir in this behalf like a giant, and yet he 
was opposed to the Wilmot Proviso, which received 
the vote in Congress of Allen G. Thurman. There 
never was a man who had greater contempt for con- 
sistency. He would do today a thousand things to 
attain an end, though each and all of them belied 
everything he did yesterday. He was an opportunist 
with convictions, and so inveterate and so intense 
was he that he would do evil that good might come. 
That was the mistake and the defect of the man — 
good is never born of evil. 

II 

In our political nomenclature we come across the 
term "Missouri Compromise." There never was any 
such thing. It is an imposter and a rank misnomer. 
The real name of it is Missouri Restriction. It was 
a sort of bargain in this : Maine came into the 
Union as a Northern State, and Missouri came in 
as a Southern State to balance things ; but that "com- 
promise" was voidable on the part of the South for 
lack of consideration, and any court of equity in all 
civilization would have dissolved it as an uncon- 
scionable contract had it been entered into by guard- 
ian and ward. 



134 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Stephen A. Douglas brought in his Kansas-Ne- 
braska bill, and Archibald Dixon, of Kentucky, 
brought in the repeal of the "Missouri Compro- 
mise." Douglas adopted it, and it was made a part 
of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. A hundred American 
"historians," from Henry Wilson and James G. 
Blaine down, have tried to tell that story and made 
a botch of it. Mrs. Susan B. Dixon, the widow of 
Senator Dixon, wrote a book on the subject, and it 
is the only real history of the "Missouri Compro- 
ise" that has yet appeared. The enormous mass of 
public ignorance of this subject was the most valua- 
ble asset the Republican party had prior to the at- 
tack on Fort Sumter. 

No sooner was the Kansas-Nebraska bill enacted 
than the North was in a rage and Morton and thou- 
sands of Democrats like him left the party. From 
the standpoint of the constitutional doctrinaire the 
Kansas-Nebraska bill was exactly right, and it was 
so adjudicated by the Supreme Court of the United 
States, but it was opposed to, and defiant of, the 
"higher law," and unfortunately for the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill, the "higher law" got more votes in 
the electoral college than the Constitution could mus- 
ter. The result was a President — the first in our 
history — chosen by a section of the country. That 
would have made secession if there had not been a 
slave between the two oceans. 

Secession came and war followed. Then it was 
that Oliver P. Morton came on the stage and made 
one of the grandest figures of that tremendous era. 
In 1856 he had been defeated for Governor by Ash- 
bel P. Willard. It was a splendid canvass between 
the orator and the debater — the rapier and the ham- 



OLIVER P. MORTON i35 

mer, the man who said things deHghtfully and the 
man who was to do things gigantically. In i860 
Henry S. Lane was elected Governor with the un- 
derstanding he should go to the Federal Senate, and 
that Morton, on the ticket with him as a candidate 
for Lieutenant-Governor, should succeed him as 
Governor. The Republicans were victorious. Lane 
became Senator and Morton became Governor. 

There were greater States than Indiana at the 
North. She was inferior in population and in wealth 
to Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
and Illinois, but in the field Indiana asserted herself 
in that tremendous struggle as no other Northern 
State did. Not a great while ago a book was printed 
that had a statement like this, "John J. Ingalls was 
Kansas incarnate," a rather startling expression, 
and an ill-natured reviewer might make fun of it. 
When one writes of the struggle of 1861-65 he is 
tempted to borrow that definition of Ingalls and put 
it this way, "Indiana was Oliver P. Morton incar- 
nate." The war developed greater statesmen than 
Morton, but, save Lincoln alone, it produced on the 
Northern side no greater man. A life of Morton is 
a history of that war in field and in council. He had 
vast resources and he employed them with lavish and 
strong hand. Wherever an Indiana regiment was, 
in camp, on the march, or in battle, the mighty spirit 
of the heroic Governor attended it. His eye was 
everywhere, and wherever Indiana troops were in 
need of succor he carried it or sent it. 

At the end of four years of war the South was 
exhausted and beaten. The heaviest battalions 
had prevailed. The blockade had sent want to 



1^,6 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 



Southern homes and battle had thinned the ranks 
of the incomparable Southern soldiery until the 
Southern line was too weak for resistance. Then 
came the surrender. What w^as to be done w^ith the 
conquered States ? At first Morton was exceedingly 
conservative; but in time he became the radical of 
radicals. He was an Andy Johnson man until John- 
son's policy was opposed by the great leaders of the 
Republican party. Then he went with his party. 
He was never a fanatic on the negro question and 
made a powerful speech against negro suffrage, but 
he reconsidered the matter and was one of the fath- 
ers of the fifteenth amendment. The fact is that the 
whole process of reconstruction was a punishment 
visited on the South, and O. P. Morton was one of 
tlie most truculent of executioners. One single word 
or act of magnanimity never came from him. He 
was an abler Wade, a stronger Stevens, a more repu- 
table Butler. 

He became a Senator in Congress in 1869 and he 
was a great force in that body. He was not an ora- 
tor, and he was wanting in that always mysterious 
and sometimes dangerous quality, imagination, and 
without which no man is a genius. He w'as not mag- 
netic like Blaine, nor lovable like Carpenter, nor re- 
vered like Thurman. He was not a thinker like Fes- 
senden, nor a scholar like Sumner, nor an orator like 
Conkling. As a lawyer he was inferior to Edmunds, 
and as a practical statesman he was inferior to Sher- 
man. But it is hardly too much to say that Oliver P. 
Morton was the greatest man in the Senate every 
day he was a member of that body. 

It is impossible to follow his career in a paper like 
this. His history for eight years is a history of the 



OLIVER P. MORTON 



137 



Senate. He stamped his personality on every act of 
that body. He made Hayes President, and wore his 
Hfe out in the work. He saved the Pacific Slope to 
the Republican ticket, and he was virtually a dead 
man when he was put aboard the car for the journey 
to California the night of the October day "Blue 
Jeans" Williams was elected Governor of Indiana. 
He made possible the theft of the presidency, and 
spent the remainder of his strength in the fight for 
the fraud before the electoral commission, of which 
he was a part. He had no doubts. In a cause he 
was enlisted in Oliver P. Morton would have han- 
dled and hurled the coals of hell. 

His last words were meet — "I am worn out." 



I 



LUaUS Q. C. LAMAR 

Take him all in all, he was the foremost public 
man of the South of the post-bellum period — a 
statesman and a patriot, a thinker and a poet, a 
dreamer and an orator, a student and a teacher. Lu- 
cius Q. C. Lamar possessed what few men are en- 
dowed with — genius. Taught in the school of Cal- 
houn, he was a follower of Jefferson Davis, and a 
greater than Wise or Wigfall. He was a gentleman 
of the old South, and her most eloquent champion 
in the theater of polemics. He was second to no 
man in the American Senate when that body was ex- 
ceptional for the transcendent abilities of its mem- 
bers. 

The Lamar family is French, the French that 
were beaten at Jarnac, and the French that were 
victorious at Ivry — Huguenot French. Driven 
from France by Richelieu or Maintenon, the Lamars 
settled in the English Catholic colony of Maryland, 
where religious liberty first had birth, and whence 
some of the family went to Georgia, and it was in 
that State that L. Q. C. Lamar was born, Septem- 
ber 17, 1825. He was a nephew of Mirabeau B. 
Lamar, whose name is forever linked to the early 
and heroic history of Texas. He was bred to the 
bar, and settled at Oxford, Miss., where he was 
teacher, lawyer, planter, and eminent citizen. 

In 1857 Mr. Lamar took his seat in the Thirty- 
fifth Congress. He was very young for so great a 




LUCIUS Q. C LAMAR. 



LUCIUS Q. C. LAMAR i39 

place, but he was soon to prove himself one of the 
first men of even that day. He was no apologist for 
slavery as it then existed at the South, but its advo- 
cate, and he looked upon it as a conservative factor 
that was to save the people from despotism and pre- 
serve society from chaos. He saw in the landed gen- 
try of England the prop and the glory of the realm, 
and he saw in the planters of the South the prop and 
glory of the Union. His speeches were brilliant ora- 
tions and powerful arguments, and will repay the 
reading even to this day, though the issue upon 
which they were made is as obsolete as the Pelopon- 
nesus dispute of ancient story. 

With the South holding to the views it did, and 
the North asserting the views it did, war was as cer- 
tain to follow as effect follows cause. When it came 
Lamar was a volunteer, but he possessed none of the 
attributes of a soldier except dauntless courage and 
fervent patriotism. Soon he was ordered from the 
field of arms to assume a diplomatic mission to Eu- 
rope. He failed, and when the war was over he re- 
turned to his home in Mississippi, and, like Robert 
E. Lee, became a teacher of Southern youth. In 1866 
he was professor of political economy and social 
science in the University of Mississippi, and the fol- 
lowing year he was law professor in that institu- 
tion. He continued this work until elected to Con- 
gress in 1872, and the next year he took his seat as 
a member of the Forty-third Congress. 

The Republican party was in the saddle and rid- 
ing roughshod over the prostrate South. Treason 
was odious. Loyalty was profitable. Butler and 
Morton ruled Congress and forged chains for the 



HO ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

beaten section. No Republican put aparticle of con- 
fidence in any protestation of good faith on the part 
of any Southern man who remained outside the Re- 
pubHcan party. The work of reconstruction was in 
complete until the South crawled on its belly, ate 
dirt, and cried "Unclean ! Unclean !" — that was Re- 
publican doctrine. 

Charles Sumner was of the very aristocracy of 
Northern intellect and Northern opinion. He was 
not Peter the Hermit, and yet he was something like 
that fanatic ; he was not Marcus Cato, for he could 
forgive. The old South had looked upon him as 
everything that was revolutionary, everything that 
was fanatical, everything that was despicable, and 
hatred of him drove brave men to condone a brutal 
assault that was a shame and a disgrace. Sumner 
was a problem. The ordinary man cannot under- 
stand him. There never was a moment that he 
would have inflicted the slightest physical punish- 
ment on Preston Brooks, even had opportunity 
offered. He never bore one particle of malice against 
the man who inflicted such cruel humiliation upon 
him, and contributed to greatly shorten his days. 
Perhaps the most curious piece of political literature 
in our annals is the letter of Sumner challenging 
James G. Blaine for bringing the Brooks assault into 
the campaign of 1872. As a magnanimity it stands 
alone among political transactions. If this was not 
Christian charity, who shall escape condemnation? 

A greater son of New England than Sumner 
wrote, "Never a magnanimity fell to the ground." 
Nor did this. L. Q. C. Lamar clasped it and took it 
to his heart. Sumner died in 1874, and in April of 



LUCIUS Q. C. LAMAR 141 

that year Mr. Lamar delivered an eulogy upon him 
in the American Congress that challenged the 
patriotism, the Americanism, and the manhood of 
the whole country. It was wholly unexpected and it 
astonished and electrified all America. For the 
moment it drowned the morose, churlish, brutal 
voice of discord that had been clamorous in Con- 
gress for half a century, and from that day Lamar 
was the favorite son of the South and one of the 
most interesting public men in the country. 

Grant and Lee had made the soldiery of the North 
and the South acquainted on stricken fields ; Lamar 
made the statesmanship of the North and the South 
acquainted in this eulogy, worthy a Demosthenes or 
Cicero of ancient day, worthy a Burke or Bossuet of 
modern day. It was the first and the loftiest plea for 
union, the union of hearts. The dying song of Grady 
was but its echo. It awoke a responsive chord at 
the North, and even the bloody shirt was dipped in 
admiration and applause. 

In the succeeding Congress Lamar was rein- 
forced by Ben Hill — the former the Athos, the latter 
the d'Artagnan — the heart and the brand of the 
South. They two faced Blaine and Garfield of the 
North, and if one would know what journalists 
mean by "field days" in Congress, let him read the 
debates between these men that January of 1876. 

As a specimen of Lamar's style, the following 
may be aptly quoted : 

Sir, the Southern people believe that conquest has shifted 
the Union from the basis of compact and consent to that of 
force. They fully recognize the fact that every claim to the 
right of secession from this Union is extinguished and elimi- 



142 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

nated from the American sj^stem and no longer constitutes a 
part of the apparatus of the American government. They be- 
lieve that the institution of slavery, with all its incidents and 
afiinities, is dead, extinguished, sunk into a sea that gives not 
up its dead. They cherish no aspirations nor schemes for its 
resuscitation. With their opinions on the rightfulness of slav- 
ery unchanged by the events of the war, yet as an enlightened 
people accepting what is inevitable, they would not, if they 
could, again identify their destiny as a people with an institu- 
tion that stands antagonized so utterly by all the sentiments 
and living forces of modern civilization. 



Mr. Lamar was a follower of Jefferson Davis. 
Strong men loved the Southern chieftain as few men 
have been loved by brothers in a common cause. 
Noble women loved him as patriot has rarely been 
loved by woman, and at the South mothers to re- 
motest generations will teach their children to re- 
vere him as hero, patriot, and sage. His very name 
recalls trial, struggle, defeat, humiliation — every- 
thing but dishonor. And if the Southern people had 
not loved him, they would be unworthy to stand 
among a brave, a free, and a magnanimous race. 

When the Mexican pension bill was considered in 
the Senate Mr. Hoar offered an amendment exclud- 
ing Jefferson Davis from the benefits of it. In an- 
swer to him Mr. Lamar made a speech that is one 
of the finest specimens of indignant eloquence to be 
found in the annals of Congress. After asserting 
tliat Davis was no more culpable than himself or the 
humblest personage who engaged in the war on the 
Southern side — that insult to him was insult to a 
whole pco])le — he coupled the name of Davis with 
that of llamjKlen and that of Washington, and 



LUCIUS Q. C. LAMAR 143 

closed with the following that must take rank among 
the finest retorts in parliamentary history: 

Now, sir, I do not wish to make any remarks here that will 
engender any excitement or discussion, but I say that the Sen- 
ator from Massachusetts connected that name with treason. 
We all know that the results of this war have attached to the 
people of the South the technical crime of rebellion, and we 
submit to it; but that was not the sense in which the gentle- 
man used that term as applied to Mr. Davis. He intended to 
affix — I will not say he intended, but the inevitable effect of it 
was to affix — upon this aged man, this man broken in fortune, 
suff'ering from bereavement, an epithet of odium and imputa- 
tion of moral turpitude. Sir, it required no courage to do 
that ; it required no magnanimity to do it ; it required no cour- 
tesy. It only required hate, bitter, malignant, sectional feeling 
and a sense of personal impunity. The gentleman, I believe, 
takes rank among Christian statesmen. He might have learned 
a better lesson, even from the pages of mythology. When 
Prometheus was bound to the rock it was not an eagle — it was 
a vulture — that buried his beak in the tortured vitals of the 
victim. 

Lovers of gossip will be interested in John J. In- 
galls' description of the scene. He says that Lamar 
pretended to forget the name, and, pausing after 
uttering the word "mythology," he leaned over and 
asked, in an undertone, "Who was chained to the 
rock?" Thurman answered "Prometheus," and La- 
mar finished the figure. 

Roscoe Conkling was a wonderfully gifted man, 
and the real leader of the Senate of 1879, though the 
Democrats had organized that body. He was per- 
haps the strongest man there, and his command of 
language was simply the despair of all his rivals. 
There were others as fluent, some of them much 
more verbose ; but it was Conkling who had no rival 
— not in Blaine, nor Hoar, nor Ingalls, nor Carpen- 



144 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

ter, nor Lamar — when it came to bringing into play 
the exact word to make his speech magnificent and 
his argument invincible. His friends said he was 
lordly and his enemies thought him arrogant. He 
was both — his lordliness was arrogant, and his ar- 
rogance was lordly. Lamar had very great admira- 
tion for him, and considered him the foremost intel- 
lect in the Senate and the first orator in the country. 
It was in June, 1879, that the encounter occurred 
between Lamar and Conkling. The Senate had had 
an all-night session, and after an intermission of 
nine minutes the body convened for another legisla- 
tive day. Blaine, then in the midst of his campaign 
against the third-term movement led by Conkling, 
•Cameron, Carpenter, and Logan, was in ful accord 
with his party. He knew that to succeed he must 
gain such radical States as Kansas and Iowa in the 
national convention. That night he was more than 
usually aggressive and audacious even for him. He 
had a bout with Beck, another with Vance, another 
with Withers, and another with Voorhees. He then 
took a whack at the whole Democratic side en bloc. 

About 6 o'clock Conkling undertook to adjourn 
the Senate to give Carpenter a chance to speak on 
the army bill the next day. He failed, though With- 
ers, who had charge of the bill, ought to have been 
generous and courteous enough to accede to his re- 
quest. Conkling was very angry and lectured the 
Democratic side and was exceedingly offensive to 
Lamar. Beck, and Voorhees, charging them with bad 
faith in not complying with what he asserted to be a 
virtual understanding, and insinuating a charge of 
bad taste against them for long and dull speeches. 



LUCIUS Q. C LAMAR 145 

Lamar was as angry as Conkling and said this : 

With reference to the charge of bad faith that the Senator 
from New York has intimated toward those of us who have 
been engaged in opposing these motions to adjourn, I have 
only to say that if I am not superior to such attacks from such 
a source, I have Hved in vain. It is not my habit to indulge in 
personalities, but I desire to say here to the Senate that in in- 
timating anything inconsistent, as he has done, with perfect 
good faith, I pronounce his statement a falsehood, which I re- 
pel with all the unmitigated contempt that I feel for the au- 
thor of it. 

Conkling was very greatly disconcerted. He had 
not encountered anything like this before. And he 
was much at a disadvantage. A duel was out of the 
question, hailing as he did from the State of Aaron 
Burr and Alexander Hamilton, and the year 1805 
three-quarters of a century behind him. But he felt 
that something was required of him, and this was 
his answer : 

Mr. President, I was diverted during the commencement of 
the remark, the culmination of which I heard from the mem- 
ber from Mississippi. If I understand him right, he intended 
to impute and did in plain and unparliamentary language im- 
pute, to me an intentional misstatement. The Senator does not 
disclaim that I understood the Senator from Mississippi to 
state in plain and unparliamentary language that the statement 
of mine to which he referred was a falsehood, if I caught his 
word aright. Mr. President, this not being the place to meas- 
ure with any man the capacity to violate decency, to violate the 
rules of the Senate, or to commit any of the improprieties of 
life, I have only to say that if the Senator — the member from 
Mississippi — did impute, or intend to impute to me a falsehood, 
nothing except the fact that this is the Senate would prevent 
my denouncing him as a blackguard and a coward. Let me 
be more specific, Mr. President. Should the member from 
Mississippi, except in the presence of the Senate, charge me 
by intimation, or otherwise, with falsehood, I would denounce 
him as a blackguard, a coward, and a liar! And understand- 
ing what he said as I have, the rules and the proprieties of the 
Senate are the only restraint upon me. 



146 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Slowly and deliberately Lamar rose and gave this 
stinging retort : 

Mr. President, I have only to say that the Senator from 
New York understood me correctly. I did mean to say just 
precisely the words and all that they import. I beg pardon of 
the Senate for the unparliamentary language. It was very 
harsh ; it was very severe ; it was such as no good man would 
deserve, and no brave man would wear. 

Ingalls tells the story with some satisfaction. It 
is evident he had no love for Conkling, and for this 
occasion Conkling was unquestionably defeated. 

II 

It was the year before that Lamar made the 
speech against the Stanley Matthews resolutions de- 
claring the national debt payable in standard silver 
dollars at a ratio to gold of i6 to i. The peroration 
of this speech surpasses any other public address of 
this accomplished orator. There is something grand 
in the way he marshaled the Senators of the old 
South, who had upheld the honor of the country in 
a more elder day — Hammond, Mason, Hunter, Ben- 
jamin, Slidell, Toombs, Clement C. Clay, and A. G. 
Brown. And he continued : 

There was another— Jefferson Davis. Mr. President, shall 
I not be permitted to mention his name in this free American 
Senate, which has been so free to discuss and condemn what it 
has adjudged to be his errors? One who has been the vicari- 
ous sufferer of his people, the solitude of whose punishment 
should lift him above the jibe and jeer of popular passion; but 
whose words will stand forever upon the record of history; not 
in defiance, not in triumph, but in the sad and grand memo- 
randa of the earnest spirit, the lofty motives of the mighty 



LUCIUS Q. C. LAMAR i47 

struggle, which, however mistaken in its ends and disastrous in 
its results, was inaugurated by those who believed it to be in 
the interest of representative liberty and constitutional gov- 
ernment. 

And then he turned to that magnificent peroration 
of George F. Hoar in summing up for the House of 
Representatives in the impeachment of Belknap, and 
read its disconsolate and accusative sentences as the 
answer the North had given to the proud and lofty 
boast of Hammond. 

Though it was the greatest speech Mr. Lamar 
ever made, it enraged his constituents, who not only- 
withheld applause but thanked his colleague, the 
negro Bruce, for voting for repudiation. Mr. Lamar 
not only spoke against the Matthews resolutions but 
voted against them, though instructed by the State 
legislature to vote for them. In that he incurred the 
displeasure of Mr. Davis himself, who, though a 
firm supporter of the public credit, yet adhered to the 
doctrine of instruction, as Stephen A. Douglas had 
done years before. Lamar preferred to follow the 
course of Burke. 

Ben Hill also opposed the Matthews resolutions in 
a powerful speech. These were the two ablest men 
the cotton States have sent to either House of Con- 
gress since the war, and when we read their speeches 
on the silver question one is tempted to say, "It 
might have been." How different would have been 
the fortune of the Democratic party had the South 
hearkened to the teachings of Ben Hill and L. Q. C. 
Lamar. 

Mr. Cleveland made Lamar one of his Cabinet, 
but his place was the Senate, as it was Bayard's. 



148 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Later, Mr. Cleveland appointed him to the Supreme 
bench. He died an associate justice of the Supreme 
Court of the United States. 

Chief Justice Fuller pronounced his eulogy and 
cited his gifts in the sentence : 

"His was the most suggestive mind I ever knew, 
and not a one of us but has drawn from its inex- 
haustible store." 




SAMUEL J. TILDEN. 



SAMUEL J. TILDEN 

He was the profoundest political thinker and the 
ablest practical statesman of his generation. He 
was the wisest American since Jefferson. His writ- 
ings and speeches are more valuable to the student 
of statecraft than Webster's. He was a consum- 
mate administrator, and had he chosen arms for a 
profession, and had opportunity offered, he would 
have been a great commander. He was a genius, 
and it was that virile order of genius that comes 
from taking pains, and after vast and stupendous 
labor. He was a sagacious politician and a match- 
less party leader. He believed in organization and 
had the patience that can wait. He was a man of the 
people — not a noisy and active and vulgar and offen- 
sive demagogue, nor yet the man of magnetism ; men 
did not adore him as they did Clay and Blaine, nor 
admire him as they did Douglas and Breckinridge; 
he never split the ears of the groundlings; but he 
believed in the people and put his trust in them. He 
was an infallible judge of human nature, knew men 
from crown to heel and could exactly tell what every 
one who came under his notice was fit for. He 
never made a mistake in dealing with individuals. 
He was a Democrat. 

In his case nature seems to have played one of her 
tricks. His was a frail and sickly body, and he never 
knew a well day from the time he was a child of 
three years. And this was the tenement of a robust 



150 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

and commanding mind. Bonaparte had the genius 
to concentrate his veterans at the point of attack. 
That is the secret of Tilden's success as a thinker — 
he brought all the energies and all the resources of 
his mind to the subject under consideration. That 
is why his writings and speeches are so valuable. No 
young man who hopes to serve the State can afford 
to neglect his published works, whether he agree 
with their preachments or not. He had no vocabu- 
lary. He groped about for words. Language did 
not pour from him as it does from Col. Bryan, or 
as it did from Senator Ingalls ; but you can readily 
understand him, for he never spoke unless he had 
something to say, and he never said anything, nor 
wrote anything, that his hearers or readers did not 
remember, reflect upon, and profit by. 

Mr. Tilden never had any boyhood. He was a 
statesman ere he was twenty, and a sage ere he was 
thirty. His father was the friend and follower of 
Martin Van Buren and a familiar of the famous Al- 
bany Regency, and thus the boy Tilden was born 
into a political world. William Cullen Bryant was 
surprised at the deference the elder Tilden paid to 
the advices of the boy in roundabouts, but came to 
acknowledge the profundities of his suggestions. 
When he was a youth he wrote a paper that was at 
once a campaign tract, and so able was it that Thur- 
low Weed laid its authorship at the door of Martin 
Van Buren. He never dreamed that it was the pro- 
duction of a young man of eighteen, but from the 
day that paper was first printed that boy was a 
trusted adviser of that most sagacious leader of a 
great party and future President of the United 



SAMUEL J. TILDEN 151 

States. A very great curiosity in literature is the 
chapter on Experience in "Vivian Grey." One 
wonders how so young a man as DisraeH then was 
could have written such philosophy. It was nearly 
a miracle that a young man without experience 
could so brilliantly define that which ordinary men 
can only learn by years of observation, and — there is 
no other word for it — experience. When one reads 
the earlier political papers of Samuel J. Tilden the 
same sort of wonder comes to him, and we ask, 
Where did this boy get his wisdom ? 

Tilden began the study of the works of Jefferson 
almost as soon as he learned to read, and at his 
father's house he met and conferred with such lead- 
ers as Martin Van Buren, Silas Wright, William L. 
Marcy, Edwin Croswell, and Comptroller Flagg. 
The very atmosphere was redolent of politics, De- 
mocracy, and Jefferson. All these leaders consulted 
the boy and weighed his suggestions. He studied 
the works of Adam Smith, and that profound 
thinker doubtless gave cast to his knowledge of 
political economy. It is curious to contemplate the 
tricks the tariff has played many of our leaders. Van 
Buren, Wright, and Tilden were all victims of it. 
They were originally protectionists, and Wright 
voted for "the tariff of abominations," but all of 
them outgrew protection and helped to shape the 
tariff policy of the Democratic party on honest and 
constitutional lines. When twenty-four years old 
young Tilden met in debate Nathaniel P. Talmadge 
and completely discomfited him. Talmadge was a 
leading Senator in Congress and a very formidable 
debater, but here was disastrously overthrown by 
a young man the general public had never heard of 
before. 



152 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 



The Tildens came from Kent, and the family is as 
Saxon as Cedric and can be traced for many centu- 
ries. In 1634 Nathaniel Tilden came to America 
and settled in Massachusetts, and from him the fu- 
ture statesman descended. Samuel J. Tilden was 
born February 9, 18 14, the son of Elam Tilden and 
Polly Younglove Jones. The child became an inva- 
lid at three years of age and continued an invalid 
until his death, some three-score and ten years later. 
It is one of the whimsicalities of human life that this 
sanest of men in the contemplation of great affairs 
of the human economy was as credulous as a child 
touching medicinal remedies, and was ready at all 
times to swallow any nostrum recommended for the 
cure of his ills. He was at Yale in the class of Wil- 
liam M. Evarts and Chief Justice Waite, but ill- 
health forced him to leave the institution even be- 
fore the close of his first scholastic year. He wrote 
regularly to his father, and one is astonished at the 
wisdom of his suggestions. Here is a passage : "A 
permanent currency of irredeemable paper is a more 
intolerable curse than war, pestilence, or famine, and 
one to which, I hope and trust, the people will not 
long submit." That was penned during the panic of 
1837, when there was universal suspension of specie 
payments. It was Democracy stark-naked then, and 
had the party never departed from that preachment 
and all it implies, it would have been saddled with an 
infinitely lighter load of the tribulations of defeat 
than it has lugged around for forty years, with the 
exception of eight years when the Democratic leader 
was a sound money platform in the flesh. 



SAMUEL J. TILDEN 153 

Tilden studied law in New York City. Benjamin 
F. Butler, Jackson's Attorney General, was one of 
his tutors. He came to the bar, but he never lost in- 
terest in politics. As early as 1844 "Manifest Des- 
tiny" obtruded in our affairs. Texas was knocking 
at the door of the Union for admission, and would 
not be denied. Mr. Van Buren was opposed to it, 
and that fact destroyed him. The party had long 
considered him the logical candidate, and he had a 
majority of the delegates, but the two-thirds rule 
was invoked, and James K. Polk was nominated. But 
Polk could not be elected without the support of Van 
Buren, and that aid was given. New York was the 
pivotal State, and its vote decisive of the result. 
Silas Wright was induced to run for Governor. If 
one would be acquainted with a conspicuous exam- 
ple of the pathos and the cruelty of politics, let him 
read that lofty and magnanimous letter of Gov. 
Wright reciting his aversion to accepting the office. 
Never did soldier go to battle with a sublimer sense 
of duty than did Silas Wright enter upon his can- 
vass for governor in 1844. He was elected, and he 
pulled the national ticket through by one half his 
own plurality. Had David B. Hill only done that 
forty-four years later ! 

No sooner was Polk in office than he turned to the 
faction opposed to Van Buren. Marcy was chosen 
Secretary of War and controlled the New York pa- 
tronage. It split the party — Marcy headed the 
"Hunkers" and Wright the "Barn-burners." His- 
tory repeated itself in 1880 — Conkling elected the 
Republican ticket, and was treated as Wright had 
been, and the party was split into "Stalwarts" and 



154 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

"Half-breeds." The results were disastrous to the 
Democrats in 1848 and to the Republicans in 1884. 
Tilden was a "Barn-burner," and in 1848 he sup- 
ported Van Buren, who ran for President on the 
Free Soil ticket. Thurlow Weed has an excellent 
chapter on that campaign, and one that will well re- 
pay the reading. Had Clay been the Whig candi- 
date in 1848 nothing would have induced Van 
Buren to run. Some ex-Whig would have been the 
Free Soil candidate, and New York would have 
gone for Cass as she went for Polk. That is why 
Weed strove so earnestly for the nomination of Tay- 
lor. 

Tilden now abandoned politics and devoted him- 
self to his legal practice. He was the equal of any 
lawyer in the country. His management of the con- 
tested election case of Giles against Flagg stamped 
him as one of the very first practitioners of that or 
any other day. Soon his matchless skill in the con- 
duct of the famous Burdell-Cunningham case put 
him at the very head of the profession. As a cross- 
examiner he had no peer. His practice grew until 
it absorbed his whole time, and it is said that at one 
time or other one-half of the railroad corporations 
of the country were his clients. He made the lar- 
gest private fortune ever gained at the bar that any 
one individual ever accumulated. But Tilden was 
even a greater financier than he was a lawyer. Of 
all the men our country has produced he would have 
been the ablest Secretary of the Treasury. 

II 

Tilden was opposed to the extension of slavery, 
and had his ideas prevailed slavery would have died 



SAMUEL J. TILDEN i55 

a natural death. He saw that slavery could not exist 
without more slave States. That was why he op- 
posed the annexation of Texas. But his plan was to 
vote slavery to death. He argued that slave labor 
would soon impoverish the lands of most of the 
slave States, and without new lands to impoverish 
slavery would die. He hoped that the more popu- 
lous North, reinforced by the immigration from 
Europe, would surely make every new State free. 
But it was not to be. He opposed the Republican 
party because it was sectional, and warned the peo- 
ple that any ticket elected by Northern votes alone 
would bring war. But when the war came he was 
for the Union and did a great deal to make the 
cause of the Union triumphant. Had Mr. Lincoln 
made him Secretary of the Treasury the war would 
have cost about one-half what it did and would have 
been brought to a successful issue much sooner. 

The war over, Tilden contended that the seceded 
States had all the rights under the Constitution the 
loyal States had. He opposed reconstruction, and 
reorganized the Democratic party. It was claimed 
that he defeated the nomination of Chase by the 
Democrats in 1868, but that he always denied. 
There is no doubt that Mrs. Sprague believed he 
forced the nomination on Seymour, and there is his 
tory for it that it was Mrs. Sprague who influenced 
Senator Conkling in the winter of 1876- 1877 to the 
extent that he refrained from delivering a speech in 
the Senate against the counting of the vote of Lou- 
isiana for Hayes. 

Tilden's fame as a statesman of the practical 
order is founded on his prosecution of the Tweed 



156 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

ring in New York City and the canal ring in New 
York State. No other American statesman has ever 
wrought anything hke such work in the jfield of re- 
form. As a practical reformer, he stands unap- 
proachable. And there never was one word said 
against the man's fame until he was a candidate for 
President of the United States. He was the chief 
figure against Tweed and against the canal ring. 
There were others ; but there was none to deny him 
first place. His messages as governor of New York 
are the equals of any state papers ever penned by an 
American. 

In 1876 the Democratic party nominated this man 
for President and elected him. There were 379 votes 
in the college, and 203 of them were rightfully Til- 
den's. But nineteen votes were for sale. The three 
States of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina 
held their votes to ransom. One of these votes, a 
single one, was all Tilden required to make 185, or a 
majority. Mr. Hayes required the whole nineteen. 
There is no dispute that the votes were for sale. Mr. 
Hayes got the votes. The banditti who held the 
votes to ransom were rewarded. There was a gov- 
ernor of Louisiana. He was a governor by injunc- 
tion — the order of a drunken and disreputable judge. 
That governor and his returning board by fraud and 
perjury and forgery secured the vote of Louisiana 
for Mr. Hayes. First they disfranchised thousands 
of legal voters. To do that fraud was substituted 
for a majority. There had to be some sort of excuse. 
Mistress Eliza Pinkston swore to the excuse. Then 
there had to be some legal forms. These were ab- 
sent, and others were forged. 



SAMUEL J. TILDEN 157 

They sent the fraudulent vote to Washington. 
The certificate was fatally defective. There was not 
time to get another ; but there was plenty of time to 
forge another, and they forged it. Indeed, the elec- 
tion was stolen in twenty different sorts of ways. 

They created an extra constitutional election com- 
mission. Tilden called the Democratic assent to 
that "a panic of pacificators." The commission pre- 
tended to hear the case, and then they adjudicated, 
by a vote of 8 to 7, that they were only the "fence" 
to hold the plunder the burglars had stolen. The 
greatest nation in the world looked on in amazement 
and shame. It was the crowning political infamy 
of our history. 

Had Tilden controlled, he would have confound- 
ed and defeated the conspirators. He would have 
simply put the Constitution to them. The Constitu- 
tion says Congress shall count the vote, and Con- 
gress would never have counted the nineteen stolen 
votes for Hayes. Even when it was irrevocably de- 
termined to have the commission, the Democratic 
cause would have been saved if Tilden's advice had 
been followed to impose on the commission the duty 
of thorough investigation. 

Having robbed him, they proceeded to slander 
him. When we do a man wrong it helps our poor 
little consciences to show that he was a bad man 
anyhow. So they said Tilden tried to buy what was 
already his. They sent Tom Reed to question him 
about it. When Tom got back he could have told 
them how it felt to catch a Tartar. Tilden had the 
money. The votes were offered him. If he was in 
the market why did he not buy them ? Their charge 



158 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

was founded on the offer of the burglars to sell the 
Presidency to Tilden's nephew. 

Then, as though they thought they could make* 
their theft respectable, they sued Tilden and laid 
charge that fifteen years before he had made a false 
income tax return, and they kept that suit on the 
docket as long as, and no longer than, he was a pos- 
sible candidate for President. It was the only suit 
of the kind ever instituted. Mr. Blaine was thought 
to have something to do with it, for Blaine expected 
to be the candidate against Tilden in 1880, and the 
one scorching sarcasm of Tilden's public utterances 
was directed against Mr. Blaine — it was that anec- 
dote of the discussion of James II and Nell Gwynn's 
son on the subject of conscience, or rather the lack 
of it on the young man's part, and the redundant 
supply of it on the part of the young man's party. 

As soon as Tilden got out of politics his enemies 
began to abuse the public patience and disgust the 
public conscience with praise of him. 

His fame is the greater because of the robbery. In- 
telligent generations yet to be will ask. Why is not 
the name of Samuel Jones Tilden among the names 
of the American Presidents ? 




Rev. DAVID DUDLEY FIELD, D. D. 



THE FAMILY OF FIELD 

"Truth is its handmaid; Freedom is its child; Peace is its 
companion ; Safety walks in its steps ; Victory follows in its 
train. It is the brightest emanation of the Gospel ; it is the 
greatest attribute of God. It is that center around which hu- 
man interests and passions turn, and Justice, sitting on high, 
sees genius and power and wealth and birth revolve around 
her throne, and marks out their orbits and teaches their paths 
and rules with a strong hand and warns with a loud voice 
and carries order and discipline into a world, which, but for 
her, would be a wild waste of passions. 

That is a celebrated divine's eulogium of justice, 
and it is a splendid example of mingled argument 
and eloquence. In the 10,000 moral and intellectual 
victories the Anglo-Saxon has achieved, the chiefest 
is seen in his administration of the laws he has made. 
Only the other day the prime minister of the Brit- 
ish Empire, by many esteemed the highest civic sta- 
tion on earth, was arrested, brought before a justice 
of the peace, tried, convicted, and fined for violating 
a local ordinance against fast driving. That was the 
triumph of the law. It is what is meant by justice 
for high and low alike — what Jefferson had in mind 
when he declared equal rights to all, exclusive privi- 
leges to none. One of the finest figures in English 
eloquence is that of the humble cottage of the laborer 
wherein the King of England himself may not set 
foot without the assent of the cotter. That is law 
and the glory of the English system. Other coun- 
tries have made laws that were equally as whole- 



i6o ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

some, but there was the fault of maladministration, 
or rather of non-administration. Spain had divers 
excellent laws, even when Lerma was chief minister, 
but justice was a stepdaughter on whose blanched 
cheek the harlot privilege had implanted a step- 
dame's bitter and biting kiss. Of no avail was a bill 
of rights on the continent. We can imagine the fate 
of the seven bishops had the trial been at Versailles 
or Potsdam. 

American liberty did not begin with July 4, 1776. 
The truths that day declared were hoary with age, and 
the rights that day asserted existed in the law, if they 
were not always respected by the rulers, even when 
the proudest Plantagenet wore the purple. There 
was Edward III, hero and tyrant, and yet he gave 
utterance to preachments that are a better Demo- 
cratic platform than either the Chicago manifesto of 
1896 or the Kansas City reaffirmation of 1900. Had 
there been no Matthew Hale there would have been 
no Patrick Henry. Had not Somers disclosed 
English liberty, Jefferson would not have declared 
American liberty. Law does not make liberty, but 
preserves it, and law without liberty is better than 
liberty without law. 

Government with us is executive, legislative and 
judicial. Each is designed to be, and is supposed to 
be, independent of the other two departments. In 
the old day it was understood that government came 
from the kings. That is an old-fashioned id^a that 
yet maintains in many powerful nations. With us 
government comes from the people. Our establish- 
ment is partly national and partly Federal. The 
executive partakes of both, though it is mostly 



THE FAMILY OF FIELD i6i 

national, as but ninety votes in the electoral college 
are Federal. The legislature is both national and 
Federal, the House of Representatives being entirely- 
national and the Senate entirely Federal. The 
judiciary is mostly Federal, appointed, as it is, by 
the Executive and confirmed by the Senate, the first 
mostly national and partly Federal, and the other 
altogether Federal. 

Happily for our country, the people have reposed 
implicit confidence in the judiciary. Had we been 
other than Saxon, some of the adjudications of the 
Supreme Court would have occasioned revolutions 
in our country ; but we come of a race that had long 
taught and observed respect for the law as inter- 
preted by the courts. While John Marshall's 
decisions were making a government for our people, 
Napoleon Bonaparte's sword was making a govern- 
ment over yonder. Where is Napoleon's govern- 
ment today? Yet Marshall's government stands, 
though assailed by braver and more puissant armies 
than destroyed the first or the second empire. 

We reserved one right that must be held sacred by 
every free people — the right of criticism. Our 
fathers exercised it freely, and so do we. The Dred 
Scott decision enraged a great political party and 
brought volumes of abuse upon one of the purest 
and ablest jurists who ever sat on the bench. We 
remember the decision in the case of the disputed 
Presidential election, and, more recently, we saw the 
outburst that greeted the final adjudication of the 
income-tax cases. But our people have great respect 
for the Supreme Court, and so long as that tribunal 
shall maintain the high character it has made in the 



11 



i62 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

114 years of its existence, American liberty may be 
regarded as secure. 'The law allows it, and the 
court awards it." 

David J. Brewer came from one of the most 
eminent families of America — less remarkable for 
gifted sons than Marshall or Adams, yet, in achieve- 
ment, perhaps, no single household has equaled that 
of David Field, the grandfather of Mr. Justice 
Brewer, of the Supreme Bench. It is New England 
stock and Puritan to the marrow. It had a religion 
that tested faith by works. It believed in morality 
and trusted in the efficacy of prayer. It read the 
Bible and strove to practice its teachings. It abomi- 
nated idleness and shunned vain things. In its phil- 
osophy life was a serious thing, and duty the master 
over all. 

David Dudley, Stephen J., Cyrus W., and Henry 
M. Field were sons of this household, and there were 
others, less eminent, it is true, but men who played 
well their parts on the stage of life. They left the 
parental roof early and made adventures in far-off 
lands. They were in Asia and Europe and South 
America. They were clergymen, jurists, scientists, 
merchants, financiers. They bore the Word of God 
and preached the faith of Christ in alien tongues to 
alien peoples. They reformed the law and made 
justice ride in simpler chariot and speak a plainer 
language. They added another tie to the marriage 
of the old hemisphere to the new, and one that bound 
secure by daily converse and instant touch. In short, 
the family Field is of the very aristocracy of Ameri- 
can citizenship. It illustrates the possibilities of the 
human race. 



THE FAMILY OF FIELD 163 

David Dudley Field was the eldest born of Rev. 
David Field, and his wife, Submit Dickinson, and 
this first born was father, as well as brother, to the 
other children of that family. He was college-bred 
and chose the law for a profession. He settled in 
New York and achieved signal success. He was one 
of the leading lawyers of America, contemporaneous 
with Charles O' Conor, Samuel J. Tilden, William 
M. Evarts, James T. Brady, and men of that caliber. 
He was a Democrat in political belief, but never a 
politician. He could not change his convictions, 
and frequently they interposed between him and 
preferment. He was an anti-slavery man and acted 
with the Republican party in its earlier history, and, 
with Tilden, had supported Martin Van Buren, the 
Free Soil candidate for President in 1848. He was 
at Chicago in i860, and it was David D. Field, as 
much as David Davis or Horace Greeley, who con- 
tributed to the victory of Lincoln over Seward. He 
supported Lincoln's administration and did much 
to bring the Democratic party of the North to the 
support of the war. In 1876 he voted for Hayes 
aeainst his fellow-Democrat and fellow-bolter of 
1848, Tilden; but he believed Tilden was elected, so 
expressed himself, and was sent to Congress to 
uphold Tilden's cause. He was of that matchless 
array of counsel that pleaded for Tilden before 
the Electoral Commission. Before that he had 
denounced the reconstruction infamies the Republi- 
can party visited on the South and had proclaimed 
with a loud voice the supremacy of the law over the 
bayonet. 

But David D. Field has a title to fame above and 
superior to any of these things. He was the father 



i64 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

of the code of practice, a legal reform of incalculable 
advantage to the English-speaking peoples of both 
hemispheres. He drove technicality from the prac- 
tice, and opened a great profession to minds too 
downright for riddles and puzzles and jargon and 
the artificial reasonings and arbitrary precedents of a 
dozen or so forms of pleading that had for nomen- 
clature Michaelmas term and Hillary term and 
things like that. Nearly all the American States 
have codes of practice, as have England, and most, 
if not all, of her dependencies. This fine old New 
York lawyer, the dean of the profession at the legal 
metropolis of America, bequeathed this great reform 
to law and justice. 

Stephen J. Field was taught by his brother, though 
he had been a pupil of his brother-in-law. Brewer, in 
Asia. For a while he resided in Europe, and on his 
return to America he was a "Forty-niner" in Cali- 
fornia. There he practiced law, and was a politician 
and judge. It would take a Robert Louis Stevenson 
to tell his career in that frontier in that pioneer day. 

He, too. was a Democrat, but adhered to the 
Union in 1861, and may be it was his effort, more 
than any other individual, that held the Pacific Coast 
true to the Union. 

Mr. Lincoln put him on the Supreme Bench wuth 
Davis and Miller, and he was associate justice of the 
United States Supreme Court for a longer period 
than any other man, and a period some weeks 
greater than John Marshall's service as Chief Justice 
of that tribunal. 

This country owes Stephen J. Field a great debt. 
He wrote the decision in the Millikin case. He adju- 



THE FAMILY OF FIELD 165 

dicated the Slaughter-house case. He subordinated 
the sword to the law. He gave civil liberty to a 
whole people. He opened the door of hope to the 
South. And the Democratic party came very near 
to making him President of the United States for it. 
What an Iliad of woes his party and the country 
would have escaped if his opinion of the greenback 
had remained the interpretation of the Federal Con- 
stitution ! 

Cyrus W. Field achieved more than any other of 
the brothers. Early in life he accumulated a for- 
tune, and spent it all in the novel and seemingly 
impossible enterprise of the ocean telegraph. His 
efforts in that behalf were as heroic as the struggles 
of Bruce before the day of Bannockburn, but a score 
of defeats and disappointments were ultimately 
crowned with victory. Cyrus Field was the pioneer 
and the soul of that great venture that required all 
the faith and courage that sustained Christopher 
Columbus. Men would have made an ocean cable 
had Cyrus Field never lived, and Europe would have 
discovered America had Columbus never been born, 
but the name of Columbus is linked to one enterprise 
and the name of Field must ever be associated with 
the other. 

Emilia Ann Field was the second child and eldest 
daughter of David Field. She became the wife of 
Rev. Josiah Brewer, and to them were born seven 
children, among them David J. Brewer, born June 
20, 1837, at Smyrna, Asia Minor, where his parents 
were then stationed as missionaries of the Church of 
Christ. He was educated at Wesleyan University 



i66 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

and at Yale, and when a youth he read law in the 
office of his uncle, David Dudley Field, in New York 
city. Subsequently he was graduated from the 
AllDany Law School. 

When a very young man he located' at Leaven- 
worth, Kan., and opened a law office. It was just 
before the war, and it was troublous times, and it a 
turbulent people. He was on the probate and crim- 
inal bench at the age of twenty-five, and two years 
later he was district judge. At thirty-three he was 
on the Kansas Supreme bench, where he continued 
till 1884, when he was appointed judge of the Eighth 
Federal Circuit. In 1889 President Harrison selected 
him to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Bench occa- 
sioned by the death of Justice Stanley Matthews. 

Thus, Justice Brewer has been a judge for many 
years. His life has been one of labor and of thought. 
He has startled nobody, and he is by no means what 
the callow reporter would call a "picturesque" man. 
There is little of the John J. Ingalls about him, and 
less of the James H. Lane. We cannot say of him 
that he is "Kansas incarnate," as has been said of 
Ingalls. 

Judge Brewer has rendered some opinions that 
attracted considerable attention. One was that rail- 
road case from Texas, in which it was held that 
Federal courts had the right to restrain rates fixed by 
a State commission if they were unreasonable, which 
amounted to saying that the power to confiscate was 
not lodged in a State railroad commission. 

Then there was the Debs case — Judge Brewer 
decided that. It was held that the Federal court had 
power to restrain by injunction any interference with 



THE FAMILY OF FIELD 167 

interstate commerce, and punish by fine and impris- 
onment one disobeying the injunction. 

In the Fairbanks case Justice Brewer held that the 
government had no power to impose a stamp tax on 
a foreign bill of lading. 

In the Holy Trinity Church case he held that the 
statute prohibiting contracts for bringing into this 
country foreign laborers, did not apply to ministers 
of the gospel, and the court said in that decision that 
ours is a Christian nation. 

These are a few of the cases he adjudicated, and 
they testify to the strength and originality of his 
mind. He dissented in the insular cases. He has 
long been considered one of the ablest judges on the 
bench, and his fine mind is yet at the zenith of its 
powers. 



MARCUS A. HANNA 

When Salmon P. Chase and Benjamin F. Wade 
were contending in the Senate of the United States 
against Stephen A. Douglas and Robert Toombs 
half a century ago, Marcus A. Hanna was a grocery 
clerk in the then comparatively small town of Cleve- 
land, Ohio. When John Sherman, the opportunist, 
was the first practical economist of the United States 
Senate, and Allen G. Thurman, the doctrinaire, was 
the dean of Senatorial excellence, Marcus A. Hanna 
was an ironmaster of the Lake region. When James 
M. Ashley tried to impeach, and John A. Bingham 
did impeach, the President of the United States, 
Marcus A. Hanna was no politician. When Robert 
C. Schenck was making a tariff and James A. Gar- 
field was astonishing and delighting the American 
Congress with a thousand varied accomplishments, it 
was little that Marcus A. Hanna thought that a day 
would come when he would be a leading Senator in 
the National Legislature. When John Brough, the 
war Democrat, and Clement L. Vallandigham, the 
peace Democrat, were opposing candidates for gov- 
ernor of Ohio, Marcus A. Hanna did not dream that 
ere he was three-score he would conduct one of the 
greatest political campaigns his country has ever 
seen and become the most powerful individual politi- 
cal factor of his epoch. 



We have not yet seen the American. He is not 
yet come. He is not yet made. He will be Cauca- 




MARCUS A. HANNA. 

From a photograph, copyright, 1900 
by J. E. Purdy, Boston 



MARCUS A. HANNA 169 

sian, indeed; but a blend of divers bloods of that 
superior family. The premier people of Europe in- 
habit the island of England, Scotland and Wales — 
"Saxon and Norman and Dane are we." Mayhap 
Marlborough, its greatest soldier, came of an ances- 
tor who was a blend of an all-conquering Roman and 
"Boadicea, standing loftily charioted," just as Far- 
nese, Prince of Parma, another first captain of an 
epoch, might have traced his line to Alaric, or Attila, 
or both. Dante, we can imagine, was the blood of 
Virgil and Horace mingled with Goth and Vandal. 
Who knows that the bloods of Hannibal and Csesar 
did not find their confluence in Napoleon Bonaparte ? 
Blake and Nelson came from the Vikings, who gave 
to England Canute the Great and William the Con- 
queror. Bacon might have descended from some 
Roman satrap who had heard Julian discourse of the 
learning he got at Athens. Shakespeare was of all 
the bloods of England, as he was of all the intellects 
of all the ages that were before him and of all the 
ages that have come, and shall come, after him. 

These were mixtures of pure bloods. Wherever 
man has amalgamated with an inferior the product 
has been degenerate — morally, mentally, physically 
degenerate. The laws of God execute themselves. 
Mankind cannot sin and escape punishment. The 
wages of sin is death. 

The future American will be Teuton, Latin, Slav, 
and Celt. In greater or lesser degree he will be 
English, Scotch, Welsh, Irish, German, Swede, 
Dane, Norwegian, French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, 
Hun, Bohemian, Croat, Pole, and Russian. He will 
not be African ; he will not be Malay ; he will not be 
Mongolian. There will be an imperceptible trace of 



lyo ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

the American Indian. Perhaps there will be an im- 
perceptible trace of the Christian tribes that came 
from about ancient Damascus. 

The dominating blood will be Anglo-Saxon 
because the language, the literature, the law, the 
customs, the sports, the economies, and most of the 
religion we have, and shall continue to have, are 
English. We shall have, too, our quota of that 
marvelous race which had for patriarch, Abraham; 
for legislator, Moses ; for king, David ; for prophet, 
Elijah — which gave to Christianity its divine 
founder, to the church her first Pope, and to religion 
the Apostle of the Gentiles. It is the only genuine 
blue blood in the civilized world, and it may be true, 
as it is fascinating to imagine, that Edward VII 
came from the house of David and that the naval 
genius of England had its germ in the tribe of Dan. 

No State is richer in blood than Ohio. It has all 
the aristocracies in that particular — Cavalier, Puri- 
tan. Scotch-Irish, Dutch, German, and there, too, are 
the Quaker and the Jew. They are robust and they 
are comely and they are fitted to the battle of life — 
even strenuous life. 

Senator Hanna was of Virginia ancestry. He was 
Scotch-Irish — of the blood of Stonewall Jackson 
rather than of the caste of Philip H. Sheridan. It 
is a hardy race — that Scotch-Irish. It defended 
Londonderry. It drove the Stuart from the British 
Isles. It believed in prayer, and it believed in works. 
It had faith and it could fight. It came to these 
shores and we find it in New Hampshire, in Pennsyl- 
vania, in Virijinia, and in the Carolinas. It was at 
Cai)e Breton and at Quebec. It was in the Con- 
tinental Congress and in the Continental army. It 



MARCUS A. HANNA 171 

was in the infant navy and in the adult navy. It 
sailed with Preble and fought with Decatur. It was 
with Farragut at Mobile and roved with Semmes on 
strange seas. It gained the victory at Kings Moun- 
tain and saw the surrender at Yorktown. It helped 
to make the Constitution and did more than its share 
in winning the West. George Rogers Clark was of 
its blood, and the victor of New Orleans was one of 
its heroes. It was with Stonewall Jackson at Chan- 
cellorsville and with George H. Thomas at Chicka- 
mauga. It triumphed with Grant and it surren- 
dered with Lee. It believes in the family and in the 
home, in the church and in the school, and when it 
has girded on the sword it has put the Bible in the 
knapsack. It is a Presbyterian, and representative 
government, in church and in State, is part of its 
religion. It is for the Sabbath that God ordained. 
It is mighty nearly the clotted cream of American 
citizenship. 

II 

Marcus A. Hanna was born in Ohio in 1837, and 
in 1852 his father became a citizen of Cleveland, 
where the son resided until his death. He was edu- 
cated in the common schools and spent a year in col- 
lege. ■ Then he was a clerk in a grocery store. C. P. 
Huntington, the greatest captain of industry since 
Stephen Girard, said that it was in a hardware store 
that he learned how to build and operate a transcon- 
tinental railroad. The now president of the New 
York Central Railway learned how to successfully 
operate that great system by an intense and a pro- 
found study of the time tables and the freight tariffs 
of a little railroad in Texas. Mark Hanna learned 



172 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

how to lead the Repubhcan party when he was study- 
ing and mastering the details of a retail grocery 
store. No man is fit to rule over many things who 
is at all unfaithful over a few things. Gustavus 
Adolphus would have been an admirable man-at- 
arms. Paul Jones would have been first among able 
seamen. 

It was in that grocery store that Hanna's Scotch- 
Irish asserted itself. He mastered the business, and 
he did better than that — he mastered himself. He 
had no wheels in his head. He was a practical man. 
He could buy and he could sell, and, what was more 
important, he knew the man it behooved him to buy 
from, and he was an excellent judge of the customers 
he sold to. 

By and by Mark Hanna married, and when his 
wife's father retired from the coal and iron business, 
Hanna took his place. He had learned the coal and 
iron business in that grocery store. He formed the 
company that yet exists. He accjuired iron mines in 
the Lake region and coal mines in the Hocking Val- 
ley. He bought railroads and steam craft. He car- 
ried the ore to the coke, and did it at the least possi- 
ble cost, and with the most possible dispatch. Thus 
he was an ironmaster. Soon he was a rich man — a 
capitalist, as well as a merchant and a manufacturer. 

He had many dealings with labor. Report is that 
he and the men who were on his pay rolls were rarely 
in discord. If that be truth, it speaks volumes for 
the man. He was one among a thousand. 

It is impossible to discuss Marcus A. Hanna with- 
f)ut a mention of William McKinlev. He, too, was 



MARCUS A. HANNA i73 

Scotch-Irish, but of the Western Reserve instead of 
Virginia. His history is typical of his country — 
school teacher, soldier, lawyer, statesman, the most 
beloved of the Presidents, a great man, and better 
than he was great. Lincoln maintained the physical 
and political union of the North and South. Mc- 
Kinley cicatrized the wound that had festered for a 
generation. I charge thee, Cromwell, that if thou 
hast not more tact than impulse thou hadst best get 
thee to a hermitage. Lay not thy rash hand on 
Pandora. 

In 1876, McKinley, then a young lawyer, and a 
veteran soldier, was elected to Congress. Thomas 
B. Reed was first elected that year also, as was John 
G. Carlisle. McKinley at once became the friend 
and disciple of William D. Kelley, and years before 
that famous man died, he bestowed his mantle on 
his pupil. It was with all the pride that Socrates 
felt for Alcibiades that the eloquent Pennsylvanian 
saw the eloquent McKinley go to battle against such 
men as Morrison and Carlisle, Mills and Hurd. 

Napoleon Bonaparte said that but for the mistake 
of a captain of a French ship he would have changed 
the map of the world and revolutionized the history 
of Christendom. Had William McKinley been 
unfriendly to silver in 1889 he would have been 
Speaker of the Fifty-first Congress. Had he been 
Speaker, it is altogether probable that Thomas B. 
Reed would have been President, for events coming 
as they did, it was inevitable that the chairman of 
Ways and Means of the Fifty-first Congress would 
be the nominee for President of the Republican party 
of 1896. But had not the Speaker of Congress 
stopped the silver crevasse with the Sherman silver 



174 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

law the President would have had a free coinage bill 
put on his table, and then the devil would have been 
to pay, and not enough hot pitch on hand to do it. 
Nobody knows what would have happened, but the 
field for conjecture is broad and expansive. 

In 1888 McKinley presided over the national con- 
vention at Chicago, and Hanna was of the Ohio dele- 
gation. It was the last attempt John Sherman made 
to be President of the United States — the man above 
all others of his generation fitted' for that great office, 
from a Republican standpoint, and the man who 
would have been President had he been something 
less fit for it. The convention of 1888 wanted to 
nominate Blaine. There was a time when it was 
ready to nominate McKinley. When it heard defi- 
nitely from Blaine it nominated Harrison, as the con- 
vention of eight years before had nominated Garfield 
at the dictation of Blaine. Thrice was it in the 
power of James G. Blaine to nominate John Sher- 
man for President. Had Blaine known Harrison 
as well as he knew Sherman, Harrison would never 
have reached the White House. He knew Sherman 
would be President. He found that Harrison was 
President. If the Hanna of 1888 had been the 
Hanna of 1896 things might have been different. 

And now it was that all political news from the 
State of Ohio had something to say of this man 
Hanna. The general public supposed he was some 
lawyer or other, anxious to come to Congress and 
mending fences to that end. He figured in local 
politics all through Harrison's term. He discounted 
the defeat of 1892. He saw the coming of the panic 
of 1893. He did not foresee the whirlwind of 



MARCUS A. HANNA 175 

agrarianism and the hurricane of repudiation that 
came in 1896. The reincarnated Democracy may 
have some rather pronounced opinions, and it will 
endeavor to make the Congress that dallied with the 
silver question, the long session of 1889- 1890, tote 
the heavy end of the responsibility that it made. 
There will be a deal of eloquence and much argu- 
ment in that behalf. 

Cleveland was nominated because of the McKinley 
tariff law, and elected because of the Sherman silver 
law. Business wanted a man in the White House 
who would not compromise with repudiation and 
who would have vetoed the Sherman law. That is 
what elected Grover Cleveland. The panic came. 
The purchasing clause was repealed. The Wilson 
bill was enacted. Bonds were sold. The seignior- 
age bill was vetoed. The public credit was main- 
tained. The Democratic party was demoralized and 
decimated. The Republican party was ready to run 
away. The Democrats met at Chicago. It was the 
scheme of the leaders to nominate Teller. It was the 
plan of the masses to nominate Bland. What they 
did is history. 

Silver was paramount. The country was upside 
down and inside out. The Republicans had nomi- 
nated McKinley, and had prepared to talk tariff. In 
Van Buren's time there was an issue — What shall be 
done with the proceeds of the sales of the public 
lands ? The country would have listened to a speech 
on that old issue in 1896 as patiently as it would 
have listened to tariff. Nothing but silver would do. 
The craze would not down. Bryan was interesting. 
That he was a charlatan everybody suspected, but he 



176 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

was a most charming charlatan. He was aggressive. 
It was the most dehghtful blend of eloquence and 
ignorance since the Athenian Democracy. He 
orated in Tammany Hall and filled Madison Square. 
Women named their babies for him. Men strove 
for place that they might touch the hem of his sack 
coat. He was the happiest man since Archilochus 
surpassed his fellow bards at the celebration of the 
Olympic festival. 

Ill 

The political campaign of 1896 in one of its 
aspects reminds us of Napoleon Bonaparte's first 
Italian campaign, perhaps the most brilliant exploit 
of military genius since Hannibal. For three cen- 
turies Italy had been "the grave of the French." 
The wickedest of Popes gave Milan to a worthless 
King of France, and to conquer and occupy the prin- 
cipality, France poured out rivers of blood, lavished 
millions of treasure, and made epics of valor. In 
twenty campaigns she gained all but honor and lost 
all but chivalry. Bayard fell in the quarrel. Bour- 
bon was a traitor in it. Francis was a victim of it. 
The greatest of the house of Guise met failure in it. 
Eugene and Vendome fought in it in another 
generation. 

And now an army of the republic, a creation of 
Carnot, and under the command of a youth, a 
stranger, an alien and an adventurer, sought to wrest 
Italy from the clutch of the Caesars of the Danube. 
It was an army clothed in rags and patriotism, armed 
with bayonets and enthusiasm, sustained by crusts 
and heroism. A marshal's baton was in every 



MARCUS A. HANNA 177 

knapsack. It was at Montenotte and Rivoli, both 
inclusive — eleven pitched battles and eleven glorious 
victories. 

The stake of the campaign was Mantua. If Bona- 
parte took and held that city, Italy ceased to be 
Austrian and became French. After he had separ- 
ated the Austrian army from the Piedmontese and 
beaten each in detail, the Corsican laid siege to 
Mantua, trusting that Moreau and Jourdan would 
engage all the other Austrian forces in the Black 
Forest. But the Aulic Council willed to the con- 
trary, and sent Wurmser to drive the French out of 
Italy. 

Of the campaign, an eminent historian narrates 
and speculates : 

But in order to occupy the point of the lake, he must call 
away all the troops from the Lower Adige and the Lower Min- 
cio toward the Lake of Garda ; he must withdraw Augereau 
from Lagnago, and Surrurier from Mantua, for it was impos- 
sible to guard too extended a line. It was a great sacrifice, 
for he had been besieging Mantua for two months, he had 
brought thither a great train, the place was about to surrender, 
and, by allowing it to revictual itself, he should lose the fruits 
of long toil and an almost certain prey. Bonaparte did not 
hesitate. He had the sagacity to seize the most important of 
two objects, and to sacrifice the other — a simple resolution, 
which indicates not the great captain, but the great man. 

Mark Hanna displayed a similar genius in 1896. 
He hoped and expected to make a tariff fight of it, 
and it was the tariff that was paramount in the 
national convention. His heart was on the tariff as 
Napoleon's was on Mantua ; but the day came when 
he had to let the tariff drift. The legionaries of free 
silver, under the lead of Bryan, were bearing down 
on him, even as the forces of Wurmser were bearing 



178 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

down on Bonaparte. With great reluctance Hanna 
shifted the paramount ; but it was not until the last 
half of October that the candidate was made to 
abandon Mantua — not till then that he pronounced 
the word gold, and then in parentheses. But when 
Hanna redressed his lines he did for Bryan what 
Bonaparte did for Wurmser. 

The silver question was something like the ques- 
tion of secession — it came to be paramount the very 
earliest moment it was possible to defeat it. Had 
secession come in 1820 not a drop of blood would 
have been spilled. Had it come in 1850 it would 
have prevailed on the field of battle. And so with 
silver. Had free coinage been paramount in 1880, 
or 1884, or 1888, or 1892, it would have prevailed. 
A man like Carl Schurz will in the end drive out of 
the public mind all the error a man like "Coin" 
Harvey plants; but it takes time. You can't eradi- 
cate all the sassafras sprouts in a single season. 
And silver would have prevailed in 1896 had not 
Hanna shifted from Mantua to the Lake of Garda. 
The fact is that until late in the campaign the Palmer 
and Buckner folks were the only genuine sound 
money layout in the land. 

The Republican party can always be depended on 
to know what to do with a victory; so could the 
Democrats in old Jackson's day. Had Grover Cleve- 
land convened an extra session of Congress the day 
he was inaugurated in 1893, there would have been 
no talk of party perfidy and party dishonor. As 
soon as it was definitely ascertained that McKinley 
was elected, the Fifty-fourth Congress set about 
making a tariff. The Fifty-fifth Congress met right 



MARCUS A. HANNA 179 

off and passed it. Recently that tariff has been dis- 
cussed in the Senate of the United States. It was 
Senatorially determined that the late Nelson Dingley 
did not mark his taxes so high as he did for the pur- 
pose of playing a game of reciprocity, and from some 
things said the public infers that the Senate hardly 
ever puts amendments on House bills with a view to 
jockeying a conference committee. 

Frederick the Great one day discovered a placard 
on a wall in Berlin denouncing him up hill and down 
dale as a many sort of tyrant and usurper. That dia- 
demed old miscreant merely smiled, and remarked : 
"Myself and my people are at a perfect understand- 
ing. They say what they please. I do what I 
please." All of us know that Senator Aldrich will 
do what he pleases. Will Senator Dolliver be 
allowed to say what he pleases ? 

IV 

And here it may not be out of place to have a 
glance at another leader of the Senate, and a truly 
strong man. 

In 1 88 1 four members from New England entered 
the Senate of the United States, and they are mem- 
bers of that body even to the present. Nelson W. 
Aldrich was one of them, and for more than twenty 
years he has exercised a powerful influence upon the 
legislation of the American Congress. He is not a 
lawver, not a scholar, not an orator. He is a man 
of business and a man of affairs. He leads men. 
He controls things. He is acquainted with manu- 
facture and commerce. He knows the office of capi- 
tal and the potentiality of labor. He understands 



i8o ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

supply and demand. He distinguishes between 
value and price. He discerns what it is to produce 
and to consume. 

Burke's wonderful speech on the nabob of Arcot's 
debts. Fox assailing Pitt's breach with the First 
Consul, Webster and Calhoun discussing the consti- 
tutional limitations of the Federal government, 
Douglas' argument for the repeal of the Missouri 
restriction, Sumner's Utopian orations, Trumbull's 
reasoning on the constitutional power of Congress to 
reconstruct the seceded States, Conkling's stately 
eloquence, Lamar's perfect sentences, Ben Hill's 
powerful logic. Carpenter and Thurman elucidating 
a perplexing legal question, Hoar's scholarly 
addresses, Blaine's delightful oratory, Ingall's classic 
invective — these would not interest Nelson W. 
Aldrich half so much as the broken and confused 
sentences of a mill operative at Pawtucket announc- 
ing that he had discovered a process by which a bolt 
of cotton cloth could be produced for one mill less 
per yard than it is now produced. 

Senator Aldrich is a practical statesman. Things 
interest him more than principles. He believes in 
doing things more than in saying things. Academic 
discussion has little charm for him. He rarely 
addresses the Senate, and when he does it is to talk, 
not to give an exhibition of elocution. He deals in 
facts, facts, facts — figures, figures, figures. 

One of the most powerful thinkers the Senate has 
ever known is John G. Carlisle. In the debates of 
the wool schedules of the McKinley bill. Carlisle and 
Aldrich met in a grapple of the giants, and every 
man who expects to legislate intelligently upon the 
subject of the tariff — its practical workings — will 



MARCUS A. HANNA i8i 

profit by turning to that discussion, reading it care- 
fully and digesting its arguments thoroughly. 

Senator Aldrich had charge of the Dingley bill in 
the Senate — at least he was chairman of the Finance 
Committee and opened the debate. He has a single 
gesture and that not very graceful — the same the 
late William S. Holman used to employ — the open 
hand going out from the waistband like a housewife 
scattering breadcrumbs before chicks. His voice, 
too, is somewhat like Holman's. If one will examine 
Aldrich's speech presenting the Dingley bill to the 
Senate, he will find a very simple exposition of the 
practical side of the tariff. It is no such handling 
of the subject as is found in the speeches of Henry 
Clay, George Evans, William D. Kelley, John A. 
Kasson, and William McKinley. It is more after 
the method of John Sherman, Justin S. Morrill, 
Robert C. Schenck, and Nelson Dingley, and yet 
different from these, too — more simple and direct, 
more practical. There never was a more marked 
contrast of parliamentary discussion than is found 
in the speeches of Aldrich and Vest upon that occa- 
sion. Aldrich does not undertake to persuade or 
even to convince an adversary ; he leaves that for the 
orators and lawyers. He contents himself with find- 
ing and presenting facts and figures for the justifica- 
tion of men who believe as he does touching a great 
economic question. 

He has a contempt for the epigrams of Bastiat, 
whose treatment of the subject of "the balance of 
trade" he considers arrant nonsense. He has no 
patience with such orators as William Jennings 
Bryan, who quoted the poet Moore, or Benton Mc- 
Millin, who quoted the poet Byron, as an authority 



i82 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

on the prosy and practical subject of the tariff. His 
is a subtle mind, but it is the subtlety of the counting- 
room, not of the closet, and hence he would give 
more heed to the practical testimony of a Rhode 
Island weaver than to the academic conclusions of 
Adam Smith. , 

V 

It is scarce too much to say that Humphrey Mar- 
shall was the most powerful intellect the Mississippi 
Valley has produced. One day he appeared at Glas- 
gow, Ky., and delivered a masterly speech that was 
the subject of laudation for a twelve-month. An 
old business man of that community, tired of hear- 
ing his praises as the Athenian tired of the meed 
accorded to Aristides, closed the discussion with, "If 
he is such a smart man, where in the hell is his 
money?" 

That is the way Aldrich looks at things. He 
judges economic policies by the tables of revenue and 
expenditures and the state of the public credit. He 
asks : "Are there ships in the bay, are there mer- 
chants in the mart?" "Where is your prosperity?" 

It is true that the Senate made ducks and drakes 
of his sugar schedule and that for a while he was in 
his tent, leaving Allison and Piatt to bear the brunt 
of Vest's last battle that was a glorious defeat, and 
enough to be the making of half a score Senators. 
But Aldrich was present when the conference was 
had between the two Houses, and when it comes to 
"conference" it is not too much to say that Nelson 
W. Aldrich is the most brilliant, the ablest, and most 
successful legislator the American Congress has ever 



MARCUS A. HANNA 183 

known. In conference he would be the match for 
Samuel J. Randall and Thomas B. Reed combined. 

VI 

When the people awoke from the terrible political 
nightmare of 1896, the Republican party was sur- 
prisingly dilatory in formulating and presenting a 
currency bill. The country was both amused and 
exasperated when Congress appeared to take seri- 
ously the bimetallic subterfuge of the Republican 
national platform. Congress sent somebody across 
the water for the fourth or fifth time to invoke the 
aid of Europe in the absurdity of nullifying the 
law of supply and demand, and Europe promptly 
declined, as she had frequently declined before. 
And England's reply was the establishment of the 
gold standard for the Indian Empire. 

When our men came back and reported that 
Europe was obdurate in her views, that there was a 
difference between value and price, the Republicans 
brought in a currency bill and Aldrich presented it to 
the Senate in a speech remarkable for its simplicity 
and clearness. The Senate listened and immediately 
saw that the bill was as far as the Republican party 
was willing to go at that time. There are many 
great achievements to the credit of the Republican 
party; but it has a way of treating symptoms. 
Originally the rag-money party, it was by many 
stages that it came to occupy the old Democratic 
position of sound money when Jackson, Benton, and 
Wright led the Democratic hosts. That position is 
very simple — a dollar is 100 cents — and as impreg- 
nable in its logic as the multiplication table. 

The Republican party is a parvenue and a hypo- 
crite ; also a pharisee. It is likewise a paradox. It 



i84 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

had perpetrated all crimes but cowardice, and ere the 
first session of the Fifty-eighth Congress concluded, 
it did that, too. It has shown all virtues but 
magnanimity, and there it draws the line. Paternal- 
ism is in every one of its cardinal doctrines, and out 
of that paternalism has grown nearly all the mean- 
nesses in American politics. Chief of these "doc- 
trines" is the dogma of protection — a miscreant of 
many colors. In the beginning it was the office of 
protection to establish infant industries. Next it 
was to make a "home market." Then it was to give 
American labor high wages. In 1890 it was to pro- 
vide cheap goods for the American consumer. Only 
yesterday it was to shield the little trusts from the 
big- trusts, and now it is to save America from the 
protection preachments of a man named Chamber- 
lain, who lives in another hemisphere. 

If that is not the rogue's progress, what is it? 

In 1897 Marcus A. Hanna succeeded John Sher- 
man as a Senator in Congress. It was supposed 
that he coveted the place as a plaything. Not so. 
On more than one occasion Mark Hanna discov- 
ered parliamentary talents of a high order. He was 
one of the strong debaters of the Senate, and had he 
been bred to it he would have been one of the leading 
orators of this generation. The man surprised the 
Senate and the country. He had never made a 
public speech until he was nearly three-score. Prac- 
tice is as necessary to the orator as it is to the athlete, 
as drill to the soldier. Of course, he was never able 
to discuss great questions of constitutional con- 
struction. He was no lawyer ; but when it came to a 
plain talk on practical questions he was about as 
good as any of them. 




THOMAS B. REED. 



THOMAS B. REED 

For twenty-two years Thomas Brackett Reed was 
a Saul among men — intellectually, morally, physic- 
ally. He was in the furnace of publicity and respon- 
sibility, and the smell of fire was not on his garments. 
He was one of the greatest leaders his party ever had 
in either House of Congress, but he led more by fear 
than by reason or principle, and never by love at all. 
Had he been a warrior men would have gone to 
death for him, as other men went to death for 
Tamerlane and Charlemagne and not as some men 
died for Washington and Lee. He was a proud 
man, yet it was not the pride of chivalry, but rather 
the pride of duty done. He could be as haughty as 
Vere de Vere or Howard, yet it was not the pride of 
blood or station, but a defiance of what he considered 
mean or error. 

"And the King said unto his servants. Know ye 
not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this 
day in Israel ?" 

Reed's argument was incisive, but his speech was 
not as clear as that of his some time rival, Carlisle. 
His statement was always striking, but he was not 
the orator William L. Wilson was. As a theoretical 
and as a practical statesman he was less than William 
Pitt Fessenden, but as a civic administrator his party 
never produced his superior — not even in Lincoln, or 



i86 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Stanton, or Grant. As a master of the King's 
English he was a wonder, but he was no such wizard 
of the Enghsh tongue as John James Ingalls or 
L. Q. C. Lamar. As a debater he was perhaps 
inferior to James A. Garfield or Benjamin H. Hill, 
and yet, all in all, he never met his master in debate — 
this John Balfour of Burley, from the State of 
Maine. As a platform speaker, W. Bourke Cockran 
was doubly his master — in expression and in dra- 
matic fervor — but there was never a day of his 
career that he could not have given more delight to 
an intelligent audience than the brilliant and elo- 
quent Irishman. He was without magnetism and 
without sham. He was without vanity and he 
despised flattery. He was a writer in the public 
press, and while his productions were possibly 
inferior to the late Judge Jere Black's, they were 
equally delightful productions. Did he have learn- 
ing? Doubtless ; but he refused to show it in public 
address. He was too imperious for that. His every 
utterance was, "I, Tom Reed, stand alone, and will 
lean on nothing and on no man." The one he most 
resembled was Roscoe Conkling, and he was little 
like Conkling. The one man he loved was Nelson 
Dingley. and he was less like Dingley than any other 
man. He would have been great as President. He 
might have been unjust as Chief Justice. He could 
not have been dishonest in any station, under any 
conditions, or under any circumstances. As leader 
of the most insignificant minority in point of num- 
bers he overthrew Charles F. Crisp, a kindred, but 
lesser, spirit, at the head of the greatest numerical 
majority in our national parliamentary history. Cer- 
tainly he was sometimes wrong. Certainly he was 
never little, base, or servile. 



THOMAS B. REED 187 

A writer competent for the task would confer a 
favor on the piibhc if he would compose an essay 
contrasting Thomas B. Reed and William L. Wil- 
son. Reed was as different from Wilson as he was 
from Dingley, except that Wilson was a very bril- 
liant man, which Dingley was not, and which Reed 
was. It is difficult to recall the two men — Reed and 
Wilson — without reverting to Dean Swift and Jo- 
seph Addison. If one thousand of the very best 
judges of the matter could be got together and re- 
quired to vote on the question, possibly 900 of the 
number would decide that Jonathan Swift was the 
greatest of the English men of letters since Shake- 
speare ; but not one would be found who loved him. 
Why? Because Swift refused to be loved. It would 
be further agreed that Addison was a most lovable 
man, and that Steele was a most delightful man. 
Swift was in a solitude — so great was he. Samuel 
Johnson, one of Carlyle's heroes, would not walk on 
the same side of the street the Dean of St. Patrick's 
trod. Thackeray, who knew more of that epoch than 
anybody else except Swift, positively hated Swift, 
though he loved drunken Dick Steele. Wilson was 
much like Addison, and would have been our Addi- 
son had he confined himself to letters. He had much 
of the genius of Addison, and possibly would have 
made as much fame had he been a Grub-streeter and 
let politics alone. And he did not have that weakness 
which Addison had, and which would have put Ad- 
dison out of a job had he come in our day. 

Reed was much like Swift, and tolerated a few, as 
did Swift — a striking resemblance could be made out 
by an ingenious man. Reed had no equal, in his time, 



188 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

in his own party, as Swift had none in his. Does the 
Washington monument require another monument 
to love it in order that it may stand ? Possibly not. 
Nelson loved Collingwood, but there was a heap of 
difference between Nelson and Reed. There was 
the heat of hell-fire seething in Nelson's veins, but 
Reed was, and kept himself, as cold as that icicle 
which, curded by the frost from purest snow, Shake- 
speare saw on Diana's temple. John Randolph 
Tucker used to throw his arms around James A. 
Garfield and hug him, and Garfield did return the 
embrace. Somebody said that the two were the only 
ones of modern times who could have held converse 
in his native tongue with Cicero, could that excellent 
orator have come out of the grave. 

No so with Thomas B. Reed and Bourke Cock- 
ran — men far more different than Tucker and Gar- 
field. There was no demonstration in the chumship 
of the man from Maine and the man from Tam- 
many. Reed could live with Balzac, and Cockran 
loved to discuss that matchless genius, and so this 
Catholic Irishman and the Yankee of the Yankees 
were inseparable. They drank water, but Poe's de- 
nunciation applied not to them. It is one of the cu- 
riosities of parliamentary history that after Cockran 
gave Reed his single serious discomfiture in debate, 
Joseph Henry Walker, that grand old Putnam of 
statesmanship, avenged him. 

Reed was of uncorrupted New England blood; 
Cockran is as Irish as Daniel O'Connell. Reed look- 
ed upon Oliver Cromwell as the ideal administrator. 
a man who would have de-Catholicised Ireland and 
made every community a Londonderry; Cockran 
must view Oliver's government of Ireland with fro- 



THOMAS B. REED 189 

zen horror. Reed believed the battle of the Boyne 
the triumph of virtue over original sin, and Cockran 
thinks it was the victory of anti-Christ. But they 
had this in common — they were endowed with 
genius. The chumship between Generals Sherman 
and Joseph E. Johnston is easy of explanation, and 
it was not altogether on the ground announced by 
Bulwer's creation, General Damas. They had a com- 
mon hatred — Jefferson Davis — and that is the clos- 
est bond of sympathy known to human life. Sena- 
tors Sherman and Hoar had a common ancestor — 
that was enough to make such men friends. But 
the chumship of Reed and Cockran was the strangest 
since James H fell in infatuation with Catherine Sed- 
ley. 

Reed positively hated the South when he first 
came to Congress, and had much contempt for 
things Southern when he left Congress. The man 
could take a question of debate by the throat and 
smite it as we are told Othello smote the malignant 
and the turbaned Turk who beat a Venetian and tra- 
duced the state; but Mr. Reed had no imagination 
and no sympathy. When the American Waverley is 
written its heroes will come from the South — the 
South that got the glory and left to the North the 
victory. James G. Blaine could not have read this 
passage from the "Lay of the Last Minstrel" with- 
out a thrill of overpowering emotion : 



igo ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

"Low as that tide has ebbed with me, 
It still reflects to memory's eye 
The hour my brave, my only boy, 
Fell by the side of great Dundee. 

Why, when the volleying musket played 
Against the bloody Highland blade. 
Why was I not beside him laid? 
Enough— he died the death of fame ; 
Enough — he died with conquering Graeme!" 

Reed had a sarcasm for that. Could he have thrill- 
ed to it as Blaine did — for he had other qualities 
greater than Blaine's — the solid North would have 
risen up and made him President of the United 
States. He wanted to be President, not that it 
would make him greater, but that it would give him 
opportunity for labor for mankind, and for battle 
against sham. He had nothing but contempt for 
what Napoleon said to Bourrienne in that talk about 
the encyclopedia, just before Marengo ; but had he 
been in Napoleon's place, with Napoleon's genius 
joined to his own, he would not have died at St. 
Helena. 

It was a day of the early February, 1894, and of 
it a veteran employe of the national House of Rep- 
resentatives made remark : "I was here when the 
President of the United States was impeached ; I 
was here when there was a disputed count of the 
electoral vote, 1876-77; I was here when all the stir- 
ring scenes of the Forty- fourth Congress were enac- 
ed ; but in all my time the close of the tariff debate 
in the Fifty-third Congress, last Thursday, sur- 
passed them all as an exhibition of parliamentary 
pageantry." 



THOMAS B. REED 191 

There were no gaudy trappings, no garter king- 
at-arms, no sashes of crimson and gold and silver, 
no heralds and pursuivants — it was the grand 
inquest of a plain, free, sturdy people making an 
effort to conclude the deliberations of a generation. 
The scene attested the interest the American people 
take in their government and its laws. Thousands 
looked on, while other thousands were turned away. 
Not only were the galleries and corridors and lobbies 
overflowing, but the floor of the house itself was 
invaded. Had the roll of the Senate been called from 
the clerk's desk, a quorum was present to answer to 
their names, and of a full House membership, only 
eleven were absent, and some of theni had supped 
with the worms that fed on Polonius. All classes 
were there. There were Cabinet ministers, judges 
of Federal and State courts, army and navy ofiicers, 
governors of States and Territories. The clergy 
were there in conclaves and chapters and synods and 
associations and class meetings from the cardinal of 
the Roman hierarchy to the colored exhorter, fresh 
from a long-protracted ''hell-and-damnation meeting 
of six months' continuous shouting and glory-halle- 
lujahing." The diplomatic corps was there, from 
the Ambassador with affairs of State heavy on his 
brow to the embryo Metternich attached to the lega- 
tion to the end that he might do his utmost to marry 
some American beauty with more money than sense. 
The history of mankind would be beggared to show 
a grander audience than was at the south end of the 
American Capitol that day to hear Thomas B. Reed, 
Charles F. Crisp, and William L. Wilson close the 
long debate on the tariff. 



192 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Near the center of the Democratic side sat Wilson, 
perhaps as erudite scholar as Congress has known 
since Caleb dishing. Small of stature, frail of 
physique, he had a large head, a firm mouth and a 
thoughtful brow, and was that day to approve him- 
self one of the foremost of living orators. Cockran 
was near Wilson, and by his side was a lady, fairer 
than fair Rosamond, and soon to be the countess of 
the present viceroy of British India. Just in the rear 
was Henry G. Turner, who could fill the dignity of 
Lord Chancellor of England, or Chief Justice of the 
United States, with a grace, an ability, a character, 
that would be the despair of all his successors. 

And forty-eight years before, a man from Maine, 
a greater intellect than Reed, or Blaine, or even Fes- 
senden, had championed the cause of protection at 
the other end of the Capitol, when George Evans 
grappled with George McDuffie with the Robert J. 
Walker tariff for theme. 

When Richardson had reported the bill from the 
Committee of the Whole. Reed was given the floor 
to close the debate for the Republican side, and he 
had one hour and a half at his disposal for that pur- 
pose. He consumed all the time, and it was his 
longest speech, and as he discussed the question the 
veriest and Bourbonest Democrat of them all must 
have thought of the words the Marquis of Carabas 
applied to Vivian Grey — "Damn him, he can do any- 
thing!" It was a speech worthy the theme, worthy 
of the man — worthy of that splendid audience. 
Suffice to say, it met and fulfilled every expectation. 

Crisp came down from the chair and replied, but 
it was a defeat. 



THOMAS B. REED 193 

The triumph was reserved for William L. Wilson, 
who closed in an address of half an hour. No one 
there will ever forget it. When you looked at Reed 
the thought came that death would leave him long. 
When you looked at Wilson you concluded that soon 
his career would close. This frail man's speech on 
that occasion might have challenged the envy of 
Burke or Webster, and at the close Harry Tucker 
and W. J. Bryan bore him out of the chamber in tri- 
umph in their loving arms. 

Perhaps a man who is a Democrat for what he 
believes, and not for whom he votes, may be indulged 
a metaphor. 

In the dawn of human history we read of a 
woman, the Empress of the East — the sorceress of 
the Euphrates, more radiantly beautiful than that 
glorious sorceress of the Nile, whose infinite variety 
age could not wither nor custom stale ; more seduc- 
tively voluptuous than she who helped immortalize 
the chisel of Praxitiles and who disarmed the hostile 
and accusing elders of old Athens; lovelier by far 
than was that Helen, who — 

"Brought unnumbered woes on the children of ancient story." 

More than Magdalen, for she had more than Mag- 
dalen's charms and more than Herod's power ; hope- 
less of Rahab's redemption, for Rahab was a mother 
of Christ — even Semiramis of Assyria. 

At the head of her invincible guards this incarnate 
angel of what foolish youth would call Love was 
reviewing her conquering hosts when a rude soldier 
remarked to his comrades : 



13 



194 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

"I would lie in her embrace one moment, an' I 
knew she would condemn my carcass to the beasts 
before the close of day." 

She heard him and reined in her charger, and with 
a gesture so imperious that Fate would have halted, 
and a voice so imperious that Fate would have 
obeyed, she commanded : 

"To my palace ! To my palace ! Thou shalt have 
thy will!" 

And so it was. Before the sun again hid in gor- 
geous splendor in the West that soldier had lain in 
her arms and was now food for beasts. 

Opportunity comes to all of us to die as the fool 
dieth — to us as individual men. But why did it 
come to the Democratic party to die that way ? And 
why did the party seize it, the pregnant Congress 
Fifty-third, and pregnant year 1896? 




BENJAMIN 11. HILL 



BENJAMIN H. HELL 

"You may bury him under a mountain that will overtop 
Pelion and make Ossa a wart, and he will rise again more 
formidable than ever and more ready for the conflict. He is 
bound to succeed. He was born to excel." 

It was the good year 1855 a young man came out 
of Troup County, an Admirable Crichton, and made 
a political tour of Georgia. He was a Whig, and 
believed in the teachings of Madison, held to the 
interpretations of Marshall, and agreed with the 
expoundings of Webster. Perhaps he was not the 
superior of Toombs as a debater; perhaps not the 
superior of Cobb as an orator; perhaps not the 
superior of Stephens as a logician, but he was the 
inferior of none of them in any admirable attribute 
of the human character, or any great quality of the 
human mind, and he was a match for all of them as 
a statesman, as a patriot, and as a man. It was when 
he first heard him that Toombs paid him the splendid 
compliment and clothed it in the classic speech that 
is the quotation with which this paper opens. Such 
was Benjamin Harvey Hill at the age of thirty-two. 

Toombs, Cobb, and Stephens were a formidable 
triumvirate, and to them one may add the unique 
personality and complex character of Joseph E. 
Brown. All these opposed Hill and held the road 



196 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

of preferment against him. While Hill was not the 
child of poverty, his mother and a maiden aunt of 
his mother made such sacrifices as only good women 
can make to defray the expense of his education. 
"Mother," promised he, "I'll come back with the first 
honors of the university." And he did. He went 
to the battle of life and had for capital a splendid 
intellect, an indomitable courage, and a lofty aspira- 
tion. 

"' — Another morn 
Risen on mid-noon." 

That was Ben Hill in Georgia in 1855. Stephens 
positively hated him. Hill was a fighter, and that 
best of fighters, an aggressive one. Secure in 
Gibraltar, he would have scorned to receive attack, 
but would have sailed from his fortress and in placid 
seas, or on mountain waves, he would have striven 
with an adversary on even terms. Though the pass 
were Thermopylae, and the defenders Spartans, he 
would not halt or hesitate to attack and fight to the 
last. Jeff Davis called him "Hill the faithful," and 
he was to Davis all that Douglas was to Bruce. 

Perhaps it was a discussion of the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill that was the youthful Hill's first meet- 
ing with the veteran Stephens. Both had been 
Whigs and Hill was yet a Whig. Stephens was for 
the Kansas-Nebraska legislation, and Hill opposed 
it. Both were Southern to the marrow and both 
pro-slavery in sentiment. It was a battle of the 
giants, and there were not two opinions as to whom 
was the victor, and Stephens confirmed that opinion 
by his loss of temper. He was overmatched, and in 
revenge he 



BENJAMIN H. HILL i97 

"Not only hated David, but the King." 

So exasperated was Stephens that he engaged in 
a correspondence with Hill that he intended should 
lead to a hostile meeting, and, indeed, he did send a 
challenge. At that time in the South the code was 
the ''higher law." From the eastern shore of Vir- 
ginia to the western boundary of Texas gentlemen 
appealed to it for the settlement of personal dispute. 
The code was repealed at the North because the 
meeting between Burr and Hamilton was fatal. A 
like meeting between Jackson and Clay would have 
abolished it at the South. He was a very brave man 
who would refuse a challenge in Georgia the year 
1856, and he was an extraordinary man whom such 
refusal would not utterly and forever undo, but Hill 
was a brave man and an extraordinary man. In 
reply to Stephens he said he was a member of the 
Christian Church and no hypocrite, and had no dis- 
position to appear before his Maker with blood on 
his hands that he had deliberately shed ; that he had 
a wife and children to shield, protect and support, 
and a conscience to guard from remorse, while 
Stephens had neither family nor conscience, and the 
contest being thus unequal, he declined to engage in 
it. Stephens then posted him as a braggart, a liar, 
and a poltroon. He replied in a scorching letter, and 
his invective was as fierce as his ridicule had been 
irresistible. He closed with these significant words : 
"If any gentleman doubts that I have not the courage 
to defend myself anywhere and everywhere, there is 
a short and easy way to test it." It was not "tested." 
Georgia knew Ben Hill, and he did not have to fight 
to be a brave man. 



198 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

In 1857 the Democrats nominated Joe Brown for 
governor and the Whigs nominated Hill. They 
who heard them on the stump imagined they saw in 
Hill the Montrose who fought the battles of giants 
at the head of Highland clans, and when reconstruc- 
tion came there were those who thought they saw in 
Brown the Scot who sold his master for a groat. 
Hill was the lion, Brown the fox. Had Hill been an 
assassin, the dagger would have been his weapon; 
Brown would have employed the cup. Hill was a 
pronounced Union man ; Brown was an avowed 
secessionist. Georgia was Democratic, but Hill 
greatly reduced the majority. He was then but 
thirty-four years of age and the most interesting 
figure in Georgia. When secession came he and 
Stephens strove against it, but they were then and 
ever after bitter personal enemies. If all the South 
had hearkened to these two men, what an Iliad of 
woes would she have avoided ! 

Though he was a strong Union man, Troup 
County unanimously sent him to the State conven- 
tion that adopted the ordinance of secession over his 
solemn warning ; but when war came Ben Hill was 
the Southern Cato. We fondly called Allen G. 
Thurman "The Old Roman," but the most Roman 
of all American statesmen of that period was Benja- 
min Harvey Hill. He never despaired, and he was 
the reminder of that Roman Senate that exposed to 
sale the land on which the victorious army of Hanni- 
bal was encamped. In the Confederate Senate he 
was the champion of Jefferson Davis, and it is praise 
enough to say that he successfully sustained and 
returned the assaults William L. Yancey and Louis 
T. Wigfall made against the administration. 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 199 

And when the evil days came, when the incompar- 
able army of Northern Virginia was "slain valor," 
buried on the stricken fields from Bull Run to Peters- 
burg — when Heroism itself despaired and men 
shrank from Jefferson Davis, Hill was faithful 
found — 

" Among the faithless, faithful only he." 



The South was exhausted. Let us take a glance 
at some of the men who upheld the cause that was 
lost, and then let some churl deny it was a cause. 

All intelligent observers must admire Massachu- 
setts for her learning, New York for her commerce, 
Pennsylvania for her thrift. South Carolina for her 
intensity and Kentucky for her individuality. But 
all in all the Old Dominion is the grandest Common- 
wealth of the whole sisterhood. To the Revolution 
of 1776 she contributed Washington, Henry, Jeffer- 
son, Madison, Mason and Marshall. The tongue of 
Henry was the first to proclaim liberty throughout 
the land; the pen of Jefferson embodied it in the 
greatest of State papers; the sword of Washington 
achieved it in the most just of all wars. Madison 
was the "Father of the Constitution" ; Mason was 
the defender of local government, and Marshall but- 
tressed the inchoate Union with a jurisprudence the 
profoundest and most admirable ever given to men. 
To the war between the States Virginia contributed 
Lee and Johnston and Jackson and Stuart and Hill 
and Ashby. If you would see the Virginian as he 
is — the highest type of citizenship the world ever 
saw — go look for him in the pages of Thackeray. 



200 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

He is Henry Esmond transplanted to the Western 
hemisphere. 

There have been greater mihtary geniuses than 
Robert E. Lee, but in all profane history we have 
account of no nobler character than he. He knew 
but one word, and that word duty. He was a born 
soldier, and his genius was for the aggressive. In 
the pages of history we find well-matched command- 
ers in Henry of Navarre and Alexander Farnese. 
In the campaigns these two paladins opposed each 
other, Farnese foiled his adversary, it is true, but 
left in doubt the question of superiority of leader- 
ship. During the Fronde, Conde and Turenne were 
opposed, but it was never determined which of them 
was the most consummate commander. 

II 

The finest of all military schools would have been 
Richmond defended by George B. McClellan and 
attacked by Robert E. Lee. In 1862, by some whim 
of fortune, the ablest defensive strategist of the age 
was made the aggressor, and opposed to him, defend- 
ing his capital, was the first aggressive soldier of 
the age. After defeating, in turn, McDowell, Mc- 
Clellan, Pope, Burnside, and Hooker the old Army 
of Northern Virginia, in May, 1864, was confronted 
by the Army of the Potomac, under command of 
Ulysses S. Grant, and for eleven months there was 
a battle of giants. Grant's army had been taught 
the art of fighting by its grim adversaries of the pre- 
vious three years. His army was overwhelming in 
number, and had not only the dominant section of 
America as recruiting ground, but the whole of Con- 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 201 

tinental Europe was auxiliary. It was the best 
armed, best clothed, best fed, best paid, best equipped 
army in every respect the planet had ever known. 
Opposed to it was an army limited in numbers, 
indeed, but the bravest soldiery the world had ever 
seen — the veterans of Lee and Jackson and Long- 
street and Hill and Ewell and Early and Gordon and 
Stuart. Of them Lee said to Wolseley : "There is 
one occasion when I am not ashamed of my soldiers, 
and that is when they are in battle." Coming from 
the source it did, it was one of the highest compli- 
ments ever paid to men. And now this depleted 
army, bankrupt in everything except devotion, 
patriotism, glory and valor, was to defend Richmond 
against what was practically the world in arms. 

Ill 

Grant was the one Federal commander who com- 
prehended the problem his Government had tried to 
solve for three years. He threw strategy to the 
winds ; he felt that Lee would hurl him back to the 
Potomac, as he had McClellan and Pope, if he un- 
dertook any brilliant generalship. His plan was 
simple, great captain that he was. It was to destroy 
a Southern regiment at the cost of a brigade, or 
even two brigades, for well he knew that he could 
get another brigade, or brigades, and that Lee could 
not get another regiment. He was called a butcher 
for not exchanging prisoners, but it was the merci- 
ful policy and saved much precious blood. He was 
criticised for not complying with Lee's request to 
send surgeons and medicines, food and clothing to 
relieve Federal soldiers in Southern prisons on the 



202 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

guarantee of Lee's word that none of such supphes 
should be devoted to the Southern army; but Grant 
knew Lee was a Christian as well as a soldier and 
would share his scant supplies with his prisoners. 

But these seeming inhumanities were really mer- 
cies. They made war more terrible, and as a conse- 
quence hastened its end. Grant disclosed his con- 
ception of the w^ar in his response to a suggestion of 
Mr. Lincoln : 

"General," said the President, "would it not be 
advisable for me to order a fleet of transports up the 
James to bring back the army in case of disaster?" 

"Yes," replied Grant, "you might send a single 
transport. That will ' be sufficient to bring back 
what is left of the army in the event the campaign 
is a failure." 

And at Cold Harbor he hurled his legions against 
Lee's veterans and lost 10,000 men in ten minutes. 
It was reported that he grimly remarked at the close 
of that awful day : 

"At least this army has learned how to fight." 

It was only by aid of unlimited resources and by 
such methods that the old army of Northern Vir- 
ginia was finally overcome. And it thrills every 
Southern heart to know that its beloved commander 
was even grander in defeat than he had ever been in 
victory. 

If Robert E. Lee, the man, was as noble as Sidney, 
and if Robert E. Lee, the soldier, was as brilliant as 
Montrose. Albert Sidney Johnston, the man, was as 
heroic as Bayard and Albert Sidney Johnston, the 
soldier, was as formidable as Conde. This paladin 
of Northern, of pure New England parentage, 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 203 

though born in Kentucky, was the ideal cavaHer of 
the South as much so as Stuart, or Ashby^ or Mor- 
gan, possibly more so than either of them. His 
career in the Confederacy was only a few months in 
duration, and yet he was a colossal figure of the war. 
Thought upon him brings to mind Jason and the 
Argonauts. We see the knight errant in Texas ; we 
see him at Monterey, "in combat the most inspiring 
presence" of that epoch. We see him Colonel of 
that matchless regiment — the Second cavalry — with 
Robert E. Lee, Hardee, and Thomas his subordinate 
field officers. We see him in California starting 
overland for the command offered him by the Con- 
federate President, and everywhere, in peace as well 
as in war, he stamps himself a king of men. Perhaps 
not even in the history of that war did any other 
commander accomplish so much with means so 
inadequate. His career culminated and closed at 
Shiloh. It was a brilliant victory. No Southern 
man can read the story of that first day without clos- 
ing the volume with the thought : "It might have 
been." 

"Marshal, I greet you and recognize you as the 
first tactician in Europe," is what Napoleon said to 
Soult after the victory of Austerlitz. It has been 
said that Joseph E. Johnston was the first tactician 
of the War Between the States, and that Buell was 
his only rival. Johnston commanded in both the 
East and in the West, and he left the impression that 
he was an accomplished soldier and a superior Gen- 
eral. Blucher blundered into the support of Wel- 
lington at Waterloo ; Johnston supported Beaure- 
gard at first Bull Run because he was a better Gen- 
eral than Patterson. His genius was the opposite of 



204 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Lee's, and had his poHcy been pursued the war might 
have been prolonged for years, though the result 
would have been the same. Perhaps the only hope 
of the South was the Scipio Africanus policy. 

The campaign from Dalton to Atlanta is a fine 
school for the student of military operations. 
Napoleon's criticisms of Conde's battles must afford 
profitable reading to the soldier; though, if we had 
a criticism of the operations between Dalton and 
Atlanta by a Napoleon it might supplant Jomini as a 
text-book in military schools. But no one can read 
Johnston's book without speculating as to what 
might have resulted had Johnston been transferred 
to the East in 1864, where Fabius might have suc- 
ceeded, and Lee sent West, where Marcellus might 
have advanced the seat of war to the Ohio. In his 
book Johnston continually apologizes for not giving 
battle. Plenty of opportunity was afforded. The 
man who fought Gettysburg would have availed 
himself of Cassville. There never yet was an army 
more eager to fight than Johnston's, and it had there- 
tofore never felt that it had been whipped. 

IV 

Stonewall Jackson was as much of a Puritan as 
Albert Sidney Johnston was a Cavalier. He was a 
military John Knox, a Calvinist of the Calvinists, 
gloomy in his piety and sublime in his trust in God. 
There are schools and schools of warfare. Napoleon 
taught that the art of war consisted in having more 
men and more guns at a given place at a given time 
than his adversary. Frederick the Great, on the 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 205 

other hand, had a seeming contempt for numbers. 
His school held to the theory of striking the enemy 
wherever and whenever he was to be found, dealing 
a sudden and a staggering blow. There were just 
two commanders in our war between the States, each 
of whom was a consummate master of both schools, 
Stonewall Jackson and N. B. Forrest. It makes the 
flesh creep to reflect how nearly Jackson was lost to 
history. Judah P. Benjamin, then Secretary of war, 
gave Jackson an order, which was executed; but 
Jackson thought his dignity as a commander and 
his capacity as a soldier were reflected upon, and 
tendered his resignation. Benjamin teaching Jack- 
son how to command an army recalls Flomio lectur- 
ing Hannibal on the art of war. 

Jackson's valley campaign will always be regarded 
as one of the most startling prodigies of military 
genius. In conception and in execution it rivals 
Bonaparte's first Italian campaign. He opposed 
several armies, each equal to his own in numbers, 
and scattered them to all points of the compass. He 
threatened Washington and Baltimore and carried 
terror as far north as New York. He kept 50,000 
reinforcements from McClellan. His infantry, the 
best in the world, was called "foot-cavalry." Its 
rapidity of movement and prowess in battle bewil- 
dered the Federal commanders and before they had 
recovered from their stupor Jackson was on Mc- 
Clellan's flank, dealing those blows that made the 
first campaign against Richmond a lamentable fail- 
ure. 

Meanwhile Pope came with "headquarters in the 
saddle." He was going to astonish the world. The 



2o6 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

first thing he knew Jackson struck him at Cedar 
Mountain and gave him a foretaste of Second Bull 
Run. It was in the hottest of that engagement that 
a staff officer rode up to Jackson and reported that 
the rain had dampened the infantry's powder. "It 
has dampened the enemy's too," was the reply, "give 
them the bayonet." After this victory Jackson made 
that most daring maneuver of all the operations in 
the East — the flank movement that surprised and 
bewildered Pope and culminated in his crushing 
defeat and deserved humiliation. A little later we 
see him at Harper's Ferry and Antietam. And later 
still we see him proposing to Lee the night attack on 
Burnside the day of the victory of Fredericksburg, 
his men to be stripped to the waist for identification, 
though the frost was bitingly severe. Had Lee con- 
sented it might have resulted in the destruction of 
the Army of the Potomac ; but Lee thought Burnside 
would renew the attack, and how well Lee knew his 
former companion in arms is shown in the fact that 
Burnside did order his army to attack; but he was 
not obeyed. 

Trafalgar is described as that most glorious and 
most mournful of victories, and Chancellorsville may 
be designated as the most brilliant and most sorrow- 
ful victory of the Army of Northern Virginia. Fate, 
like Brennus of old, threw its sword into the scale 
and the death of Jackson was at the high-water mark 
of the Confederacy. Just before the delirium of his 
last moments struck him he said, "My men some- 
times failed to take a position they assailed, but they 
were never driven from one they held. I was placing 
my command between the enemy and the river, and 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 207 

it would have been for him to elect between sur- 
render or death." 

There are many intelHgent miHtary critics who 
beheve N. B. Forrest was the greatest genius of all 
the commanders on both sides of the war between 
the States. Certain it is that he was possessed of 
one secret of success that no other General on either 
side exhibited — the secret of Napoleon which none 
of his Marshals could acquire, the secret of Marlbor- 
ough which even Eugene never thoroughly learned — 
the secret of crushing the enemy after he was beaten. 
His death hides from us the fact as to whether Albert 
Sidney Johnston possessed it. Had Lee been as 
terrible the hour succeeding victory as he was the 
hour preceding it the Army of the Potomac would 
not have survived second Bull Run. 

The most distinctive Napoleonic feat of the whole 
war between the States was Forrest's expedition into 
Memphis. It reads like one of D'Artagnan's exploits, 
except that we know it is true. Over the protest of 
Joseph E. Johnston, Forrest was ordered to defend 
the "black lands" extending from Okolona to the 
Noxubee. It was the Goshen of the South, the 
granary of the cotton States. Opposed to him was 
a splendidly equipped army of overwhelming num- 
bers. Though Forrest, with his slender forces, per- 
formed prodigies, defeat stared him in the face. 
Then there came to him an inspiration of genius such 
as came to Bonaparte at Verona. It would have 
staggered Scipio Africanus and its execution was 
burdened with physical obstacles seemingly insur- 
mountable. When Bonaparte left Verona it was to 
gain the battle of Areola ; when Forrest abandoned 
the black belt it was to go into Memphis. The move- 



2o8 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

ment was the very exaggeration of reckless daring; 
but it saved the granary of the South. 

V 

John C. Breckinridge was a most engaging per- 
sonaHty in both civil and military life. He was em- 
phatically the man of magnetism — all that Blaine 
was, and more ; he was a high-minded man. Loved 
and admired as a statesman he became the idol of the 
army. No man ever had friends more devoted and 
no man ever deserved friendship more. In his youth 
he settled in Iowa. It is profitless to speculate as to 
what his career might have been had he continued a 
citizen of that State. When the Mexican war was 
over he was yet young, a hero and a popular favorite. 
No finer tribute has yet been paid an American than 
his two elections to Congress from the Ashland dis- 
trict. Though scarce past thirty years when he took 
his place in the national councils, soon all eyes were 
fixed on him, and veteran statesmen saw in him the 
pride and hope of the nation. He was the youngest 
man ever chosen Vice President of the United States, 
and the most admired presiding officer the United 
States Senate ever knew. It is become the fashion 
to say the office is a graveyard. If another John C. 
Breckinridge is chosen to it there will be a resurrec- 
tion. It is not that the office is a tomb so much as 
that the occupant is a corpse. 

No man in all America more regretted the war 
between the States than did John C. Breckinridge; 
no man sacrificed more — possibly no other man sac- 
rificed so much as he. On the eve of his departure 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 209 

from Frankfort, with a price upon his head, he dis- 
cussed the situation with friends, and was reported 
as saying that the uhimate result was bound to be 
the overthrow of the South; that by remaining in 
the Union he could secure high command in the army 
and become a trusted counsellor of the Federal 
Administration ; but that he loved the South and its 
people and was resolved to cast his fortunes with 
them, regardless of consequences personal to him- 
self. He went South, and the flower of the State 
gathered round him, and he and they illustrated 
Kentucky valor on many a stricken field. The 
charge at Murfreesboro was as brilliant and as des- 
perate as that at Gettysburg, and would be as famous 
but that the eastern battle was pivotal of the final 
result. He was Kentucky's best-loved son. 

It is the cause that is lost round which clings 
romance, glorious, poetic and sad. Balzac, Dumas, 
and George Sand show this in their admirable 
novels, the scenes of which are laid in La Vende, 
where the House of Bourbon held out against the 
Revolution, and the House of Stuart became doubly 
endowed with "divine right" under the wizard touch 
of Walter Scott; but neither France, nor England, 
nor even Scotland affords a richer field for the his- 
toric romancer than does our own country. Some 
day America will develop a Scott, or a Dumas, and 
he will picture for future generations the cavaliers 
of the Lost Cause — Stuart, Ashby, Hampton, Fitz 
Lee, Forrest, Wheeler, Mosby, and John H. Mor- 
gan. 

When McClellan was before Richmond in 1862 
Stuart made a cavalry raid completely around the 
Army of the Potomac and destroyed immense quan- 

u 



2IO ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

titles of stores. It is said that he lost but a single 
man. It was a wonderful exploit and deserved all 
its praise. But John H. Morgan was the inventor 
of that particular method of warfare in the war 
between the States. When in command of but a 
squadron he never hesitated to dash through the 
enemy's lines and carry confusion and panic into the 
enemy's camp. His men were the pick of Kentucky. 
They knew how to shoot and fight from boyhood. 
That command gave Buell,Rosecrans,and Sherman 
more trouble than many times their numbers in front 
of the Army of the Cumberland. Morgan was the 
Marion of the war of 1861. One of the most daring 
feats of the whole war was the Indiana raid, a bril- 
liant conception of the highest order of military 
genius. That movement, made in defiance of orders, 
and seemingly disastrous, made possible the victory 
of Chickamauga, a victory which, unfortunately, did 
not fructify in the recapture of Chattanooga, the real 
key to the Confederacy. Morgan was the ideal 
cavalier and his name will enrich historic American 
romance. 

VI 

Leonidas Polk, the prelate-soldier, was the mastiff 
of the Army of the West as James Longstreet was 
of the Army of the East. Where grim fighting was 
to be done they were to be found. Napoleon would 
have delighted in them and they would have been 
invaluable to him. A no less admirable soldier than 
either of them was A. P. Hill, who died a soldier's 
death — the death of Sidney and of Bayard, the death 
Claverhouse hoped for and met "with the shout of 
'/ictory ringing in my ears." A. P. Hill was the last 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 211 

name pronounced by Lee before death claimed the 
knightHest of soldiers and A. P. Hill was the last 
name uttered by Stonewall Jackson just before death 
summoned that demi-god to "cross over the river 
and rest under the shade of the trees." Both were 
fighting their battles over again in delirium, and 
both ordered the Ney of the army to attack. 

Isham G. Harris was the greatest of the **War 
Governors," North or South. It was very easy for 
Mr. Andrew to be a great War Governor. His was 
a rich Commonwealth, with a teeming population 
and remote from the scene of conflict. It was easy 
for Curtin to be a War Governor, and we may say 
the same of Dennison and Brough, of Ohio, and 
Morton, of Indiana, both of which States had Ken- 
tucky between them and danger. Northern War 
Governors were also assisted by bounty funds, by 
Sanitary Commissions, and so on. But Governor 
Harris had a State, at least a third of which was as 
loyal to the Union as Vermont, and a heap more 
anxious to fight than Vermont. More than half the 
remainder of the State was overrun by the enemy 
the last three years of the war, and yet from before 
first Bull Run until after Appomattox there was not 
a day that Tennessee's quota in the Confederate army 
was not full, and most of the time overflowing. 
There is just one man to whom the credit of that 
work is due. 

There might have been a different. story to tell had 
Harris been President. Jefferson Davis was a very 
superior man ; he had the greatest attribute of a great 
man — an attribute that was lacking in Marlborough 
and in Napoleon, in Richelieu and in Bismarck — a 



212 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

pronounced and exquisite sense of justice. Edmund 
Burke himself did not have a more intense hatred 
of tyranny than did Jefferson Davis, and in all the 
South Jefferson Davis was the most intensely South- 
ern man. Harris was of a less lofty and more prac- 
tical mold, and the chances were that Harris would 
have succeeded where Davis failed. 

VII 

Let those who have thought over this matter — 
those old Confederate soldiers who think victories 
were frittered away — ponder the following : 

Who has not felt how he works — the dreadful, conquering 
spirit of 111? Who cannot see in the circle of his own society 
the fated and foredoomed to woe and evil? Some call the 
doctrine of Destiny a dark creed ; but, for me, I would fain try 
and think it a consolatory one. It is better, with all one's sins 
upon one's head, to deem one's self in the hands of Fate than 
to think with our fierce passions and weak repentances ; with 
our resolves so loud, so vain, so ludicrously, despicably weak 
and frail ; with our dim, wavering, wretched conceits about 
virtue, and our irresistible propensity to wrong — that we are 
workers of our future sorrow or happiness. If we depend on 
our strength, what is it against mighty circumstances? If we 
look to ourselves, what hope have we? Look back at the 
whole of your life, and see how Fate has mastered you and it. 
Think of your disappointments and your successes. Has your 
striving influenced one or the other? A fit of indigestion puts 
itself between you and honors and reputation ; an apple plops 
on your nose and makes you a world's wonder and glory ; a fit 
of poverty makes a rascal of you, who were and are still an 
honest man ; clubs trumps, or six lucky mains at dice, make an 
honest man for life of you, who ever were, will be and are a 
rascal. Who sends the illness? Who causes the apple to fall? 
Who deprives you of your worldly goods? Or who shuffles 
the cards and brings trumps, honor, virtue and prosperity back 
again? You call it chance; ay, and so it is chance that when 
the floor gives way and the rope stretches tight the poor wretch 
before St. Sepulchre's clock dies. Only with us, clear-sighted 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 213 

mortals as we are. we can't see the rope by which we hang, and 
know not when, nor how, the drop may fall. 

And so let the Southern man when he reflects that 
the South would have succeeded had Johnston lived, 
or had Jackson lived — let him read the above. Then 
let him read the Ninth chapter of Romans. 

VIII 

These men had failed — they and their heroic fel- 
lows — and now it was that Ben Hill went among his 
people to preach the crusade of defense. Had Hill 
been in the United States Senate when Davis was 
there they would not have been in accord, for Hill 
was the disciple of Webster and Davis was the dis- 
ciple of Calhoun. But now Hill was closer to the 
fallen leader than a brother. He would not hear of 
surrender. He was never so eloquent as now, his 
oratory never so fervid, his patriotism never so 
ardent. Unrivaled as a debater, and matchless as 
an orator, in the late winter of 1865 and early spring 
— just before Appomattox — he made a tour of 
Georgia and delivered speeches to the populace call- 
ing to arms. Perhaps nothing equal to it came from 
other lips, Northern or Southern, during that 
momentous struggle. One who heard him repeated 
from memory to the writer of this a passage as 
follows : 

The army is our only safety. It is in the ranks, in the 
forefront of battle where independence is to be achieved. I 
discard all mere personality at this moment and place life and 
fortune on the altar of our country and offer them a free sacri- 
fice for the Sunny South. I could at this moment take in my 
arms and press to my heart the most hated foe I have on earth 



214 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

if he will but come to the rescue of our beloved and be- 
leaguered land. Nay, more. I could cover him with immor- 
telles, decorate him with garlands of flowers, and crown him 
with wreaths of laurel and of bay. Awake ! Arise, Ho, to the 
rescue every one! Our country is in danger! Let us conquer 
victory or welcome glorious death ! 

But it was unavailing. There was but one Jeffer- 
son Davis, but one Benjamin H. Hill, but one Isham 
G. Harris at the South. A levy en masse saved 
France. It might have saved the South. 

The South was overthrown and Hill was put in 
prison. The vultures and vermin of reconstruction 
preyed on Georgia. A satrapy was where a republic 
had been. Despotism was where liberty had been. 
Knavery was where honor had been. Vice was 
where virtue had been. Ignorance was where intel- 
ligence had been. Freemen were enslaved and made 
subjects and slaves were enlarged and made rulers. 
Since the invention of Magna Charta, there was 
never such a marriage of wickedness and folly. 

Now it was that Hill came from his prison and 
wrote the "Notes on the Situation," a series of 
papers, twenty-two in number, and each a political 
and literary classic. They roused the people and 
saved Georgia. In 1867 and in 1868 he made some 
speeches that were simply the grandeur of eloquence, 
logic and patriotism. At the close of one of them 
Robert Toombs threw his hat in air, and clasping 
Hill to his bosom, exclaimed, "Three cheers for Ben 
Hill !" The two had never been intimate, had long 
been rivals, but big as was the heart of Toombs, there 
was no room in it for envy. 

And now the work of reconstruction proceeded 
and a something happened in Georgia that reminds 
us of the medieval Italy that now applauded Colonna 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 215 

and now followed Ursini. When the work was 
done, when the amendments were a part of the Con- 
stitution, Hill advised their acceptance by the South. 
It alienated thousands. He further lost the hearts 
of the people by favoring a lease of the Georgia State 
Railroad, and the Bourbons did not like a speech 
that he made at a banquet given to one of President 
Grant's Cabinet. 

These things prevented his election to the United 
States Senate for the term beginning in 1873. He 
was refused the nomination for Congress in 1874, 
but the man who was preferred to him died after 
election, and a convention was held to nominate his 
successor. The two-thirds rule prevailed. Hill's 
friends were in the minority, but they refused to 
abandon him. The issue was referred to the people, 
and Hill was elected. In December, 1875, he took 
his seat in the Forty-fourth Congress. He was now 
fifty-two years old, the first lawyer and the first 
orator of the South. 

IX 

It was the first Democratic Congress in eighteen 
years. It was the ablest Congress of the last half 
of the nineteenth century. Randall and Morrison 
were there, representative of the Northern Democ- 
racy. Blaine and Garfield were there, representative 
of the Republican party. Lamar and Hill were there, 
representative of the newly-enfranchised South. At 
the last session of the preceding Congress, Mr. 
Blaine, the Speaker, had defeated Butler's force bill, 
that would have made Southern politics anything 
Grant's administration desired. That did not suit 



2i5 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Mr. Blaine, who was no favorite of that administra- 
tion, and the tradition is that he taught Randall, 
Beck and Lamar a parliamentary trick o' fence that 
sent to the boneyard General Butler's bill. The 
Republicans of States where Mr. Blaine was very 
strong resented that work, and muttered and 
threatened things. 

There is no place where the law of the survival of 
the fittest more inexorably obtains than in that tem- 
pestuous assembly — the American House of Repre- 
sentatives. There no quarter is asked; no quarter 
is given there. Age, nor youth, nor condition is 
there respected. Every Congressional debater is 'a 
son of Hagar — his hand against every man, and 
every man's hand against him. "Let the young man 
win his spurs," said one of the greatest of the Planta- 
genets, speaking of his son, and as the Black Prince 
won fame on the field of bloody warfare, so must 
every one win fame in that arena of intellectual, 
oratorical, and political warfare we call the House 
of Representatives. It is the forum of disputation, 
if not of deliberation ; it is the theater of hard and 
cruel blows, given and taken. It is the abiding place 
of genius and talent and tact and industry, and with- 
out at least one of these a member of Congress is as 
much an object of scorn and contempt as was the 
bat when the beasts of the fields and the birds of the 
air held that convocation at which they decided what 
was feather and what was fur. We are told neither 
side would own the bat, though each side strove to 
thrust him on the other. An empty bottle is said to 
be a doleful object the morning after a carouse. In 
that particular a fool in Congress can beat it all 
hollow. 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 217 

James G. Blaine was the George Canning of 
America, and what Greville said of the English 
statesman will apply to the American statesman: 
"If Canning had had a fair field he would have done 
great things, for his lofty and ambitious genius took 
an immense sweep, and the vigor of his intellect, his 
penetration and sagacity enabled him to form mighty 
plans and work them out with success ; but it is im- 
possible to believe that he was a high-minded man, 
that he spurned everything that was dishonest, un- 
candid and ungentlemanlike ; he was not above tricfe 
and intrigue, and this was the fault of his character, 
which was unequal to his genius and understanding." 

Mr. Blaine, who neither loved nor hated the South, 
now came to realize this sentence from George Eliot : 
"Our own safety sometimes makes grim demands of 
us." His political safety demanded of him a waving 
of the bloody shirt. The call was not in vain. He 
waved it and did it magnificently. Here is a passage : 

And I here, before God, measuring my words, knowing 
their full extent and import, declare that neither the deeds of 
the Duke of Alva in the Low Countries, nor the massacre of 
St. Bartholomew, nor the thumbscrews and engines of torture 
of the Spanish Inquisition begin to compare in atrocity with 
the hideous crimes of Andersonville. 

In another paragraph he said that Jefferson Davis 
was the author— knowingly, deliberately, guiltily, 
and willfully — of the gigantic murder and crime at 
Andersonville. 

It fell to Ben Hill to answer that bloody-shirt 
speech, and in the whole history of parliamentary 
eloquence there never was a completer nor more tri- 
umphant answer. It is a very quotable speech, but 



2i8 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

it is unnecessary to allude to but two points — one 
that there was no medicine at the South, and the 
United States Government was the first and only 
government on earth, not excepting the consulship 
of Alva in the Netherlands, to make medicine a con- 
traband of war. Imagine a fact like that in the hands 
of Ben Hill. 

Then he cited Federal statistics, and they were 
these : The report of Secretary Stanton showed 
that the Federal prisoners in Confederate hands dur- 
ing the war were in round numbers 270,000, while 
the Confederate prisoners in Federal hands were 
220,000, and yet but 22,000 Federal prisoners died 
at the South, while 26,000 Confederate prisoners 
died at the North — that is to say more than 12 per 
cent, of the Confederates in Federal hands died, and 
less than 9 per cent, of the Federals in Confederate 
hands died. There were further facts that he em- 
ployed remorselessly. So much of a partisan as the 
biographer of James A. Garfield admitted the defeat 
of Mr. Blaine in that discussion. 

Hill admitted that there were horrors at Ander- 
sonville, but he showed the same rations that were 
issued Confederates in the ranks were issued the 
prisoners at Andersonville, and quoted medical 
authority to the effect that the big death rate at 
Andersonville was in great measure due to the lack 
of medicines. 

He cited the fact that Captain Wirz was offered 
his life if he would only implicate Mr. Davis in the 
horrors of Andersonville. Wirz refused the bribe. 
Hill made this comment : 

Sir, what Wirz, within two hours of his execution, would 
not say for his life the gentleman from Maine says to keep 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 219 

himself and his party in power . Christianity is a falsehood, 
humanity a lie, civilization is a cheat, or the man who will 
not make a false charge for his life was never guilty of 
willful murder. 

Our generation is far enough away from that 
debate to discuss it on its merits. Blaine not only 
failed to prove his charge against Mr. Davis, but 
Hill proved his negative, completely and triumph- 
antly proved it. It is happy for this people that they 
have come to a time when this most famous speech 
of the most brilliant man and most beloved states- 
man the Republican party has produced would only 
call forth a jeer and a hiss if delivered even by a 
Blaine in a sitting of the Fifty-eighth Congress, 
while the last public utterance of Jefferson Davis 
would extort applause, perhaps compel a tear, from 
the most arrogant and most intolerant Republican 
of 1903. Here it is for all mankind to commend : 

The faces I see before me are those of young men ; had I 
not known this I would not have appeared before you. Men 
in whose hands the destinies of our Southland lie, for love of 
her, I break my silence, to speak to you a few words of re- 
spectful admonition. The past is dead ; let it bury its dead, its 
hopes and its aspirations ; before you lies the future. A future 
full of golden promise; a future full of recompense for honor- 
able endeavor; a future of expanding national glory, before 
which all the world shall stand amazed. Let me beseech you 
to lay aside all rancor, all bitter sectional feehng, and to take 
your places in the ranks of those who will brmg about a con- 
summation devoutly to be wished— a reunited country. 

X 

Hill served a single term in the National House, 
and was then elected to the Senate. He was four 
years in that body, and died before he was three- 



220 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

score. As a debater and an orator he was the equal 
of any man of his time. His great speech of May 
lo, 1879, is one of the finest expositions of the Con- 
stitution of the United States in the Enghsh lan- 
guage. However extravagant that statement may 
seem, it will be truth and soberness if the skeptic 
will but take the trouble, if trouble it can be called — 
and to the intelligent mind it can be nothing but a 
delight — to read it and ponder it, and see this lumi- 
nous mind unfold and light the inquirer to a realiza- 
tion of that wherein our government is national and 
wherein it is federal. That speech ought to be a 
text-book in every school. It ought to be in every 
lawyer's office and on every editor's desk. It is 
Madison and Webster combined. 

The discussion of the case of Kellogg by Hill and 
Carpenter must leave in doubt the question as to who 
was the first constitutional lawyer and ablest debater 
of the Senate — the Senate of Blaine, Edmunds, 
Hoar, Conkling, Thurman, Vest, Lamar, Ingalls, as 
well as the Senate of Hill and Carpenter. 

It was Hill who unmasked Mahone in one of the 
most terrific attacks in the history of the Senate. It 
was adroit, too, and threw the little man into an 
ecstasy of rage. The burden of it was something 
like this : Who is this man so anxious for the badge 
of infamy? And then he looked at Cockrell, at 
Harris, at Vest, at Beck, at Voorhees, as though it 
were one of them — never at Mahone, as though he 
was above suspicion. 

But Hill got Mahone's scalp. In the very nature 
of things Mahoneism was bound to die without 
official patronage. When the quarrel came between 
Garfield and Conkling, Hill served notice on the 



BENJAMIN H. HILL 221 

administration that Mahoneism must starve or 
Conkling should have Robertson's scalp. The result 
is history. Mahone did the Republican party incal- 
culable damage. Men at the North began to ask how 
far on the road to repudiation the Republican party 
would go if the patronage of the executive depart- 
ment was at stake, when, to save the miserable spoils 
of the Senate, that party made political alliance with 
one whose whole political stock in trade had been 
repudiation? 

Here is a specimen of Ben Hill's rhetoric — a pass- 
age from his eulogy of Robert E. Lee : 

When the future historian shall come to survey the char- 
acter of Lee he will find it rising like a huge mountain about 
the undulating plain of humanity, and he must lift his eyes 
high toward heaven to catch its summit. He possessed every 
virtue of other great commanders without their vices. He was 
a foe without hate, a friend without treachery, a soldier with- 
out cruelty, a victor without oppression and a victim without 
murmuring. He was a public officer without vices, a private 
citizen without wrong, a neighbor without reproach, a Chris- 
tian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a 
Caesar without his ambition, Frederick without his tyranny, 
Napoleon without his selfishness and Washington without his 
reward. He was obedient to authority as a servant, and royal 
in authority as a true king. He was as gentle as a woman in 
life, modest and pure as a virgin in thought, watchful as a 
Roman vestal in duty, submissive to law as Socrates and grand 
in battle as Achilles. 

Hill's was the shortest of all the great parliamen- 
tarian careers in our history — two years in the House 
and four years in the Senate — and yet his fame is as 
great as that of any of his contemporaries. What 
would it have been if his Senatorial career had been 
as long as Sherman's or Edmunds', or Cockrell's or 
Morgan's. True, he was four years in the Confed- 
erate Senate, but his career there is only tradition. 



222 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

He was the leader of the Gulf States bar, and the 
equal of any lawyer of his day. Some of his fees 
were enormous for the South — one $65,000. What 
he made at the bar he lost as a planter. He was 
always princely and his hand was ever open. 

His last days were heroic — like Grant's. Nearly 
his last words were, "I know my Redeemer liveth," 
and his very last words, "Almost home." 

When he died there was quenched a great spirit — 
the Bavard of the Senate, the lion of the South. 




GEORGE F. HOAR. 



GEORGE F, HOAR 

Whether by accident or design, three distinguished 
members of the United States Senate had seats 
together in the second row on the RepubHcan side of 
the chamber some years ago. They were descendants 
of a common ancestor of the Revolutionary period, 
and were sometimes known as the "Great Cousins" — 
John Sherman, Wilham Maxwell Evarts, and George 
Frisbie Hoar. Perhaps it is not impertinent to 
remark that John C. Calhoun might have gleaned 
some of his State's rights views from some of the 
preachments of Roger Sherman. These three Sen- 
ators were of the purest and bluest New England 
blood, and though the first named two are gone from 
the walks of men, Mr. Hoar yet lives to illustrate the 
virtues and the possibilities of American citizenship, 
and to shed luster on an American Senatorship. 

It is a wonderful race, that New England people, 
descendants of the Pilgrims and the Puritans. 
"There was a State without king or nobles; there 
was a church without a bishop ; there was a people 
governed by grave magistrates, which it had selected, 
and equal laws, which it had framed." They have 
gone far, and will go farther. They are in the 
North, the East, the West, the South. They sail the 
seas and carry their ideas to remotest climes and 
nations. They settled Northern Ohio, Northern 
Indiana, Northern Illinois. They are in Iowa and 



224 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Minnesota and Kansas. In the South they can be, 
and frequently are, intensely Southern. Everywhere 
they are builders and toilers. They people cities and 
possess the land. They are clergymen, teachers, 
physicians, lawyers, editors, statesmen, bankers, mer- 
chants, artisans, farmers. Always they are a push- 
ing, energetic, indefatigable, resourceful, irrepres- 
sible class. 

And, while they did much to make our nation rfch 
and powerful, our constructive statesmen were not 
from New England, not of New England. Wash- 
ington, Henry, and Jefferson were Virginians. The 
Constitution was the work of Virginia and Hamil- 
ton ; it was Madison and Henry and Mason who per- 
fected, and Marshall who vitalized, that great instru- 
ment. De Witt Clinton and Thomas H. Benton 
wrought with more powerful hands and more cun- 
ning than any New England statesmen. Lincoln 
had not one drop of New England blood in his veins. 
Clay was Virginian ; Webster was Scotch-Irish and 
the first of expounders, and never a constructor. 
John Quincy Adams is in history the parliamentary 
gladiator, the accomplished composer of dispatches, 
the creator of no great measure. Sumner was 
Utopian. 

But so provident of fame is the New Englander 
that he fills a larger place than the Scotch-Irish, 
Dutch, Quakers, English Catholics, English Cava- 
liers, and Huguenots, who settled New Hampshire, 
New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, 
North Carolina, and South Carolina. Take, for 
example, the episode of Bunker Hill, a British vic- 
tory, and New England has surrounded it with 



GEORGE F. HOAR 225 

tenfold the glory of Kings Mountain, a decided, 
the decisive, American victory. 

I 

George F. Hoar is a statesman and an eminent 
one. He is not of the order of Richelieu, or Chat- 
ham, or Bismarck, who could say, and perhaps not 
with truth, the whole truth — 

Oh, Abner, I fear God, and nothing besides. 

But he is rather of the order of Burke, or Webster, 
or Calhoun, who could say with truth, with the 
whole truth, what Plato said : 

We may endeavor to persuade our fellow-citizens, but 
it is not lawful to force them even to that which is best for 
them. 

Senator Hoar is a man of thought, not of action ; 
a speculative statesman rather than a constructive. 
He has been a conspicuous figure in the national 
councils for a third of a century; but his name is 
associated conspicuously with none of the great 
measures of that period, other than as an accom- 
plished debater, an erudite scholar, a learned jurist, 
a consummate master of his mother tongue, and a 
sincere lover of his country and his fellow man. 

The Forty- fourth Congress is famous for its able 
statesmen and renowned debaters. There were giants 
in those days. Who can forget the most brilliant 
parliamentary engagement of the post-bellum period 
between Benjamin H. Hill and L. Q. C. Lamar 
against James G. Blaine and James A. Garfield with 
amnesty and the "bloody shirt" for theme? It was 
the Congress that retrenched expenses, that investi- 



15 



226 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

gated Blaine, that created the electoral commission, 
that impeached the Secretary of War. Though over- 
whelmingly Democratic, the House appointed George 
F. Hoar one of the managers of that impeachment. 
The accused had for counsel the very elite of the 
American bar — Black, Carpenter and Blair — and the 
trial was second to but one of our state pageants, if 
we may so name it, and it is only truth to say that 
the most vivid memory of that trial, the finest thing 
connected with it, the one beautiful classic in that 
abundance of eloquent speech, is the closing sentences 
of George F. Hoar's speech summing up for the 
accusers. It has survived all else of that imposing 
spectacle. 

During the life of that Congress Mr. Hoar was 
one of the commission that decided the disputed 
Presidential election of 1876. He voted with the 
majority, and the Democratic "cardinal principle of 
State sovereignty" prevailed to seat a Republican 
President. Never did the irony of politics go 
farther. 

One of the greatest political convocations of his- 
tory was the Republican national convention at 
Chicago in 1880. Mr. Hoar was a member of that 
body and was chosen to preside over its deliberations. 
It was a splendid tribute to the man, a testimony to 
his parliamentary skill, high personal character, and 
judicial rectitude. The wavering balance was rightly 
adjusted. His was a clear head, his a tranquil breast, 
in that arena of human ambitions and human pas- 
sions. The grandeur of Conkling's wonderful elo- 
quence, the splendor of Garfield's perfect sentences, 
moved him not. No doubt he had a choice among 
those suggested for that first political station of the 



GEORGE F. HOAR 227 

world; but it was never apparent in his speech or 
conduct as president of that brilliant assembly. To 
have presided over such a body is a testimony of 
the most exalted character. 



II 

The golden age of American parliamentary elo- 
quence may be discovered in the Senates of the 
double decade 1840-60. The theme was worthy the 
debaters. The issue may be stated thus : Was the 
American system finished when the Federal Consti- 
tution became operative ; or is the system subject to 
the law of evolution? Greece in her glory and 
England at her zenith produced no abler and no more 
eloquent champions than they who sustained either 
side of that momentous controversy; but reason 
retired from the conflict in despair and the appeal 
was had to the sword. 

Webster, Evans, Davis, Choate, Everett, Sumner, 
Fessenden, Collamer, Hamlin, and Winthrop were 
some of the champions New England sent to do her 
devoir in the great parliamentary tourney. They 
were alien to the South ; the South was alien to them. 
Suppose these men had known the South of the then 
as Senator Hoar knows the vSouth of the now ; sup- 
pose Sumner and Fessenden had crossed the Poto- 
mac and greeted their fellow citizens of the other 
section as Senator Hoar greeted them at the annual 
convention of the Virginia Bar Association some 
years ago. when he addressed the successors of 
Marshall, Pendleton, Randolph, Tucker, and Epps 
in words like these : 



228 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

I am not vain enough to take this invitation from the fa- 
mous bar of your famous Commonwealth as a mere personal 
compHment. I Hke better to think of it as a token of the will- 
ingness of Virginia to renew the old relations of esteem and 
honor which bound your people to those of Massachusetts 
when the two were the leaders in the struggle for independ- 
ence. 

There is no more touching story of the magnificence and 
bounty of one people to another than that of Virginia to Mas- 
sachusetts when the port of Boston was shut up by act of Par- 
liament and by a hostile English fleet. I dare say generous 
Virginia has disdained to remember the transaction. Massa- 
chusetts will never forget it. 

Suppose Fessenden, Trumbull, and Chase had 
known Mason, Breckinridge, and Hammond as 
Hoar knows Vest, as Allison knows Cockrell, as 
Frye knows Daniel? There might have been no 
war. And yet it was better as it was. The war was 
worth all it cost, and more. The tree of American 
liberty, watered and nurtured by the blood of thrice 
ten times ten thousand heroes, Northmen and 
Southmen, like Clan Alpine's pine: 

"Ours is no sapling chance — sown by the fountain, 
Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade; 
When the whirlwind has stripped every leaf on the mountain, 
The more shall Clan Alpine exult in her shade. 
Moored in the rifted rock, 
Proof to the tempest's shock. 
Firmer he roots him, the ruder it blows." 

No other Senator can vie with Mr. Hoar in gems 
of English speech, and not since Rufus Choate has 
New England contributed such delightful sentences 
and such noble sentiments to the debates of Congress 
as have come from this grand old man. What can 
be finer than this on the resolution looking to war 
with Spain : 



GEORGE F. HOAR 229 

I confess I do not like to think of the genius of America 
angry, snarling, shouting, screaming, kicking, clawing with her 
nails. I like rather to think of her in her august and serene 
beauty, inspired by a sentiment, even toward her enemies, not 
of hate, but of love, perhaps a little pale in the cheeks and a 
dangerous light in her eyes, but with a smile on her face; as 
sure, as determined, unerring, invincible as was the Archangel 
Michael when he struck down and trampled upon the demon 
of darkness. 

Sir Edward Coke paid this tribute to the English 
system : 

The wisdom of all the wise men in the world, if they 
had all met together at one time, could not have equaled 
the British constitution. 

It is with a veneration much hke that with which 
George F. Hoar contemplates the American Consti- 
tution. One of the issues of our politics is the pro- 
posal to elect Senators in Congress by direct vote of 
the people, and it is become a Democratic "cardinal 
principle." That that party should tolerate the 
innovation one moment evidences the political chaos 
that seemingly has overwhelmed that organization 
which can look back on a history so great. The late 
Benjamin H. Hill was one of the foremost Demo- 
crats of his Senatorial career — as a Democratic 
champion not inferior to Douglas or Thurman. 
His speech on the national and Federal features of 
the Constitution is a masterpiece and as a construc- 
tion of that instrument worthy to rank with the best 
efforts of Webster or Calhoun. It was Democratic 
gospel when first uttered ; but the new evangel is a 
radical departure from the preachments of Hill — it 
is the open, bold, not the secret and insidious, en- 
croachment of the national feature of our govern- 



230 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

ment upon the Federal. It means Nation — the 
nation that Jefferson and Calhoun and Davis feared, 
that Hamilton and Webster and Lincoln never 
dreamed of. It recalls the warning of Madison, the 
father of the Constitution : "Although every 
citizen might be a Socrates, every Athenian assem- 
bly would still be a mob." 

Some years ago Senator Hoar delivered a speech 
on this subject that every American would profit to 
read. It is the answer deliberation makes to rash- 
ness, that wisdom makes to innovation, that char- 
acter makes to clamor. Here is argument and 
rhetoric, too. 



Every generation since the dawning of civilization seems 
to have been gifted with its peculiar capacity. The generation 
of Homer has left nothing behind but a great epic poem, which 
for thirty centuries remains without a rival. Italian art had 
its brief and brilliant day of glory, which departed and has 
never returned. The time of Elizabeth was the time of dra- 
matic poetry, which has been alike the wonder and the despair 
of all succeeding ages. The generation which accomplished 
the American Revolution had a genius for forming constitu- 
tions which no generation before or since has been able to equal 
or to approach. The features of the State constitutions framed 
in that day have been retained with little changes in substance, 
and have been copied since by every new State. 

Then follows a tribute to the founders of our sys- 
tem and a profound argument on the constitutional 
and philosophical aspect of the subject which to the 
ordinary mind is conclusive of it. The peroration is 
a tribute to the Senate and is simply magnificent. 

It is not the purpose to discuss Senator Hoar's 
present political attitude. Suffice it to say Quincy 
is an honored American name and Hosea Biglow a 



GEORGE F. HOAR 231 

favorite American poet, though each opposed the 
inexorable logic of his day. In the plenitude of 
God's inscrutable beneficence Senator Hoar's philos- 
ophy may be, and let us hope will be, as triumphantly 
confounded as was theirs. 

No man can look upon the benevolent countenance 
of this grand old man without a reminder of Horace 
Greeley, and without the reflection, "He is mighty 
nearly as great." 



FRANKiWOLFORD 

It was a Persian who said: "Every man is as 
God made him," and it is true of the Kentucky 
mountaineer, a creature of whom vohmies of history, 
romance and poetry have been written, and who is 
yet much of a stranger to his brother Kentuckian 
and brother American of other, and doubtless more 
favored, communities. He was born in a cabin and 
reared in the open. He is as poor as poverty and as 
free as the wirids that stir the treetops of his moun- 
tain forests. By nature he is brave and by habit he 
is cunning. He is clannish and will fight for kith 
and kin, and when they are destroyed he will avenge 
them. He is hardy and athletic, familiar with hard- 
ship and a stranger to comfort. He is ignorant of 
all books save the Bible and the book of nature, and 
was received into the church as soon as he was old 
enough for baptism by immersion. He was married 
early in life and it is a fecund race, and every cabin 
has its gang of children and pack of dogs. His food 
is corn bread, bacon and game, sometimes reinforced 
with fish from mountain stream, now and then sup- 
plemented with a potato, a cabbage, a bean, a turnip, 
and, on rare occasions, an onion. Coffee is as indis- 
pensable as whisky. He claims to be a farmer and 
raises some corn and some tobacco and digs ginseng. 
He may be a tenant in fee, a tenant for years, or a 
tenant at will. He is not unfrequently tenant in 
trespass, so to speak. Be that as may be, he looks 




FRANK WOLFORD. 



FRANK WOLFORD 233 

on the woods as his, and he is "logger" whenever he 
is able to screw his industry to the point of hard 
labor. 

The Kentucky mountaineer believes that the con- 
verting of corn into paleface whisky is a right prime- 
val, perennial and inalienable, and all the statutes of 
all the Congresses prohibiting it will not restrain 
him from the exercise of that "right." To maintain 
it he will risk life and limb, liberty and property. 
For it he will do murder without compunction. 
Alcohol appears to be necessary to his way of life — 
it is his one luxury. 

"Thou clears the head o' doited Lear; 
Thou cheers the heart o' droopin' Care ; 
Thou strings the nerves o' Labor, sair, 

At's weary toil ; 
Thou even brightens dark Despair 
Wi gloomy smile." 

The eminent and erudite author of the "Decline 
and Fall of the Roman Empire," in that splendid 
and eloquent chapter on the Saracens, relates that 
hell has no demon like the hate that stirs in the fiery 
heart of the child of the desert when reproved for 
the lack of the two cardinal virtues — hospitality in 
man and chastity in woman — "Your men know not 
how to give and your women know not how to 
deny." When that mortal insult is once hurled only 
blood will wash it out, and so with your Kentucky 
mountaineer. When his still has been raided, or his 
brother slain in feud, woe to the informer or the 
murderer. Like the gathering of the Clan Mc- 
Gregor, the word is passed — 

"If they rob us of name and pursue us with beagles, ^^ 
Give their roofs to the flame and their flesh to the eagles. 



234 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

The Scottish clans Montrose and Dundee and 
Prince Charh'e led to victory and to glory, at the 
touch of a great statesman, gave valor to British 
arms in every quarter of the globe, and to-day there 
is no finer citizenship in all the world than is to be 
found in the Scotch Highlands, if it may be per- 
mitted to designate a subject a citizen. There was 
no better soldier than the Kentucky mountaineer 
approved himself in the big wars of 1861-1865. 
Some of that people went to the South ; most of them 
adhered to the Union. They were at Camp Dick 
Robinson, and they saved Kentucky. 

Who has not heard of "Wolford's Cavalry?" It 
was the most famous regiment in the Federal army. 
Where the mountains kiss the bluegrass, and farther 
to the west, where the mountains descend into the 
"pennyrile," this splendid regiment of rough riders 
was recruited. Casey, Cumberland, Garrard, Pulaski, 
Wayne, Clinton, Madison, Marion, and Washing- 
ton counties all had a hand in making this regiment, 
and there is a trace of bluegrass in it ; but the glori- 
ous First Kentucky was mostly mountaineer, and a 
people who could make such a grand soldiery as 
that was, is fit for any task civilization can set it 
to do. 

I 

Frank Wolford is in Elysium this blessed moment, 
the favorite companion of Bertrand Du Guesclin. 
He was the Black Douglas of Kentucky in battle, 
and the gentlest hero of them all when the bloody 
work was not at hand. He knew not the passion 
hate, for he never experienced it. Though he was 
in frequent battles and the victim of cruel wounds, 



FRANK WOLFORD 235 

he never had the slightest conception of anger, for 
he was total stranger to that sensation. 

Born amid the foothills of the Cumberland Moun- 
tains in 1 81 7, he was the child of humble and honest 
parents, heir to no' estate except a good name and 
sturdy virtues. He acquired such education as the 
"old field school" afforded, and gained a considerable 
store of knowledge reading a few sterling books in 
the light afforded by pine knots, when the other 
members of the family were wrapped in slumber. 
He was endowed with a robust mind and an exuber- 
ant imagination. He was a natural orator, mag- 
netic and commanding, and his power over an audi- 
ence was simply marvelous. Early in life he was 
admitted to the bar, and did more pauper practice 
than any other man of his day. To him money was 
dross, and if he ever collected a fee its payment was 
volunteered. Few men defended so many criminals, 
and few men secured so many verdicts in desperate 
cases. 

But Wolford was a politician as well as a lawyer, 
and was soon to become a soldier. On the stump 
he was invincible. A Whig, he was as much a terror 
to the Democrats as he subsequently became to the 
Republicans. When the war with Mexico came on 
Wolford recruited a company, but it was rejected 
because Kentucky's quota was already filled. He 
then joined the ranks and was one of the gallant 
army that stormed Monterey and fought the battle 
of Buena Vista. His arms bore young Henry Clay 
off the field, and his bayonet saved that hero's dead 
body from mutilation at the hands of the barbarous 
lancers. And thereby hangs a tale, and of that anon. 



236 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Wounded at Buena Vista, and wounded desperately, 
he was sent home, and was at once chosen a member 
of the State Legislature, in which body he sat, 1847- 
1848. 

The next dozen years found him on the stump in 
political campaigns and in the court-house during 
Circuit Court, and when he was not on the stump 
persuading the populace, he was in the court-room 
persuading the jury. In 1855 he was a Know- 
Nothing and a power before the people, t.nd to his 
eloquence as much as to that of any other individual, 
the election of Morehead as Governor was attribu- 
table. And so was Frank Wolford employed when 
the tocsin sounded in 1861. 

II 

The consummate political craft of Abraham Lin- 
coln helped to save Kentucky to the Union, and with- 
out its exercise there is nothing more certain than 
that Kentucky would have gone South, and nine- 
tenths of the recruits she sent to sw^ell the ranks of 
the Federal army would have been on the Southern 
side. But Lincoln was powerfully seconded. There 
was the memory of Henry Clay, who so loved the 
Union. There was the emancipation contingent, 
who hated slavery, and there were Bramlette, Pren- 
tice, Crittenden, Wickliff, Underwood, and scores of 
other orators, including Wolford, who held the 
State in the Union by the fervor of their eloquence, 
and who were themselves held by the matchless 
political management of Abraham Lincoln. 

In August, 1 86 1, Wolford began to recruit the 
splendid regiment that bears his name, and it was the 



FRANK WOLFORD 237 

nucleus of the Federal forces at Camp Dick Robin- 
son. It contributed vastly to the victory of Wildcat 
Mountain, the first substantial Federal success of the 
war, the very first occasion that a Union force was 
made acquainted with the fact that it was possible to 
lick the rebels. The regiment was at Mill Spring, 
the first Federal victory that bore fruit. And now 
it was to go South and be a part of the army of 
invasion. 

It was said that the Colonel of the First Kentucky 
had some novel commands that he fired at the boys, 
such as "Huddle up thar!" "Scatter out thar!" 
"Form a line of fight !" etc. It is related that when 
certain West Point officers were sent out to investi- 
gate and report on the efficiency of certain volun- 
teer regiments, Wol ford's cavalry fell under the 
scrutiny, and they criticized it very severely. Wol- 
ford heard them patiently, and then made an ora- 
tion much like this : 

See them two rigiments over thar. One is a Michigander 
and the other an Ohier squad. You have just passed them as 
all right. Now I know nothing about your drills, your evolu- 
tions, and your maneuvers. My boys know how to ride, how 
to shoot, how to fight, and how to stand fire, and you take them 
two rigiments over thar I showed you. Station them whar 
you please, on any ground, in town or country, in field or in 
forest, and I will take my rigiment, and what we don't kill or 
cripple of them, me and my boys will chase out of the State of 
Tennessee before the sun is in the heavens tomorrow morn- 
ing. We came out to whip the rebels back into the Union, not 
to steal niggers. 

The old fellow then rode off and was not further 
molested by the West Point martinets. He fought 
so well that he was intrusted with an important 



238 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

cavalry command, and he it was who contributed so 
greatly to save Knoxville from the clutch of Long- 
street. He led the van in every advance and brought 
up the rear in every retreat. Many wounds attested 
his personal bravery, and will power alone gave him 
the last twenty years of his life. 

At Lebanon, Tenn., Wolford was defeated, des- 
perately wounded and taken prisoner by John H. 
Morgan. He and Morgan had been personal friends, 
and the Confederate cavalryman besought him to 
give his parole, but Wolford declined, saying: "You 
know, John Morgan, my boys will whip you and 
retake me before you can cross the river to save your 
lift." "But you will be dead by that time, ' replied 
Morgan. "That's none of your business," retorted 
Wolford, and so they argued while going at the 
gallop. Wolford was right. His boys did lick 
Morgan and retake him ; but he was invalided for 
many weeks, and declared that he would have cer- 
tainly died had he not, over the protest of the sur- 
geons, mounted his horse and rode again to the 
wars. 

When Morgan surrendered in Ohio, General 
Shackleford so far forgot himself as to heap personal 
abuse on his prisoner, who received it in dignified 
and scornful silence. Wolford reproached his 
superior officer and rebuked him by saying, "General 
Shackleford. John Morgan is a prisoner. As a 
soldier he was brave enough to command your 
respect. He is a gentleman and deserves to be 
treated as a gentleman." Shackleford saw his error 
and apologized to both Morgan and Wolford. Then 
something happened for the brush of the painter. 



FRANK WOLFORD 239 

Morgan was one of the handsomest and courthest 
men in the army, tall, graceful, symmetrical, ath- 
letic, and becomingly dressed. Wolford was the 
most ungainly man in the army, and certainly the 
worst dressed. Sometimes his boots were not 
mates, and they were ever innocent of polish. 
Sometimes he had one shoulder strap to indicate 
his rank, rarely two. Now its was that this talk 
passed between the two Kentuckians: 

Morgan — "General Wolford, I wear a pair of 
very handsome solid silver spurs, presented me by 
thie ladies of Richmond, Va. I would be glad if you 
would accept them as a token of my esteem for you 
as a gentleman and my admiration of you as a 
soldier." 

Wolford — "John Morgan, I know of no man who 
would not be honored by accepting a courtesy at 
your hands, and I will gladly comply with your 
request. You are a gentleman and a soldier, and in 
these times those terms express all of manhood." 

Morgan took the spurs from his boots and handed 
them over to Wolford, who proceeded to buckle them 
to his cowhide brogans. 

This man, hero that he was. participant in numer- 
ous bloody battles, is borne on the military rolls as 
"dismissed the service." In 1864, though an officer 
in the army, Wolford was chosen presidential elector 
for the State-at-large on the McClellan ticket. He 
made a series of speeches in Kentucky, doubtless the 
most remarkable political speeches ever delivered 
from an American stump. He was in the full pleni- 
tude of his remarkable natural oratorical gifts, and 
men went many miles to hear him. The excitement 



240 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

was intense, and those speeches would have cost any 
other man his hfe, and did cost him his hberty. By 
what amounted almost to a miracle he escaped 
assassination, and Wolford went to his grave in the 
belief that his murder was plotted and ordered by the 
ever-infamous Burbridge. 

The Federal authorities arrested him and sent him 
to Washington in chains and under guard. It was 
while in prison that he addressed a famous letter to 
Mr. Lincoln upon the rights of the citizen in matters 
of opinion and speech, and for learning, logic and 
eloquence it might have emanated from a Somers in 
England or a Jefferson in America. It was a mag- 
nificent state paper, equal in every respect to General 
Hancock's famous "Order No. 40." 

Ill 

After the close of the war Wolford was the first 
man in the country to declare for absolute and com- 
plete amnesty to the Confederates. Happily for 
Kentucky, a statesman was governor, and put in 
practice what Wolford preached. By the almost 
reckless use of the pardoning power Thomas E. 
Bramlette averted political feuds in Kentucky that 
would have cost hundreds of lives and made the 
vendetta universal. In 1865 Wolford announced 
himself a candidate for the Legislature on a platform 
of universal, complete and absolute amnesty. His 
district was composed of the counties of Casey and 
Russell, both of which together had not sent a dozen 
men to the Southern army, and each of which had 
contributed a regiment to the Federal army. His 
opponent was Silas Adams, the Lieutenant-Colonel 



FRANK WOLFORD 241 

of the First Kentucky Cavalry, and the successor of 
Wolford as commander of that famous regiment. 
He was a splendid fellow, a good lawyer, a fine 
orator, a knightly gentleman, the hope and the pride 
of the then infant Republican organization of the 
State. When Stoneman surrendered to Wheeler the 
First Kentucky was a part of the command. Adams 
rode up to his superior officer and demanded to know 
if he had surrendered. *'Yes," answered Stoneman, 

"there is nothing else to do." "By G d!" 

answered Adams, "I'll take my regiment out of 
here," and he did. For it General Sherman com- 
plimented him in general orders. He had a splendid 
army record and had participated in no battles and 
actions. He was opposed to amnesty, as were a 
large majority of the district. 

The opposing candidates held joint discussions in 
every school district of the two counties, and the 
welkin was vocal with fervid eloquence. On Satur- 
day before the election the following Monday an 
immense concourse greeted them at Liberty, the 
county seat of Casey County, and Wolford spoke 
first and created great enthusiasm. Adams rose to 
reply, and, after speaking a few minutes, turned to 
his competitor and said: "General Wolford, you 
claim to be for complete and unconditional amnesty 
for unrepentant rebels. Now, sir, no dodging; tell 
this people if you are willing to discharge that arch- 
traitor, Jeff Davis, from his prison quarters in For- 
tress Monroe ?" Wolford rose and said : ^ "Fll 
answer you. Colonel Adams, when your time is up." 
"I want an answer now," roared Adams. There 
was not one single Southern sympathizer in that vast 



16 



242 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

throng-. It was a crowd of Union men, Union at 
all hazards, and without conditions. They believed 
that secession was the sum of all villainies, and 
demanded that treason be made odious. His friends 
trembled for Wolford and feared that he was lost, 
however he answered, and certainly lost if he took 
counsel of his heart rather than his head in the 
answer he should give. But Wolford never wavered. 
Stepping to the front he thrilled friend and foe with 
the words : 

'Fellow citizens, I was at Buena Vista. I saw the battle 
lost and victory in the grasp of the brutal and accursed foe. I 
saw the favorite son of Harry of the West and my Colonel 
weltering in his blood. I saw death, or captivity worse than 
death, in store for every surviving Kentuckian on that gory 
field. Ever3'thing seemed hopeless, and was hopeless, when a 
Mississippi regiment, with Jefferson Davis at its head, appeared 
on the scene. I see him now as he was then — the incarnation 
of battle, a thunderbolt of war, the apotheosis of victory, the 
avatar of rescue. He turned the tide ; he snatched victory 
from defeat ; his heroic hand wrote the words Buena Vista in 
letters of everlasting glory on our proud escutcheon. I greeted 
him then a hero, my countryman, my brother and my rescuer. 
He is no less so this day, and I would strike the shackles from 
his aged limbs and make him as free as the vital air of heaven 
and clothe him with every right I enjoy had I the power. Put 
that in your pipe, Silas Adams, and smoke it. 

The efifect was electrical. Men cheered, laughed, 
wept. The sublime moral courage that thus bared 
his heart at the risk of political annihilation was not 
lost on that mountaineer assembly. Perhaps no- 
where else could be found a community with more 
vivid appreciation of such moral heroism. For one 
moment that crowd of stalwart mountaineers 
swayed. Then, altogether — friend of amnesty and 
partisan of rigor — they sprang forward, and taking 



FRANK WOLFORD 243 

the old scarred veteran on their shoulders made a 
progress through the town, singing and cheering as 
they went. As for Adams, his speech was ruined. 
The following Monday Frank Wolford was elected 
and his majority was just six. The tribute to Jeffer- 
son Davis elected him. In the Legislature he 
brought in the bill that restored Confederates to all 
the rights the State had deprived them of during 
the war. 

After his term expired Wolford went back to his 
former dual calling — jury-lawyer and stump 
speaker. About a dozen mountain counties were 
laid off and called "Wolford's Kingdom," and woe 
to the Republican orator who set foot in that terri- 
tory when Wolford was around. He could talk a 
parrot dumb, and an argument had no more effect 
on him than a sprinkle on a fish. Everybody 
remembers how he drove General Frye out of his 
"kingdom" by asserting and proving by some of 
his old soldiers that Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee, and 
Alexander H. Stephens were hanged by the Federal 
authorities. Wolford had a fine sense of humor, 
and Frye had about as much of that quality as Don 
Quixote. Those who knew the two could readily 
laugh at the joke. 

In 1882 the old hero was elected to Congress, and 
re-elected in 1884. In Congress he gave Horr of 
Michigan a very bad half an hour, and greatly dis- 
comfited Gen. Tom Browne of Indiana in debate. 
Indeed, he one day quoted some Scripture in an 
argument with Speaker Carlisle that disconcerted 
that gentleman more than all his logic could have 
done. Beck and Blackburn were then Senators, 
and thev found out that Wolford was a very ugly 



244 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

customer when they proposed to interfere with his 
appointment of an ex-Confederate postmaster at 
Glasgow, Barren County. One evening at a sympo- 
sium at Chamberlain's, after things had been said 
and food served, that would have been the despair 
of the chef of Lucullus, Wolford said : "The best 
thing in the world to eat is drap dumplin' and a biled 
hen." 

Frank Wolford was a nobleman from the plastic 
hand of God, and so was Silas Adams. They were 
mountaineers, and a type. There were others like 
them. Time will make a splendid civilization in 
the mountains of Kentucky, and the feud will be 
eradicated as it was in Scotland. 

IV 

The pen that traced Squire Western, and the pen 
that made "My Uncle Toby," would have found 
fertile theme in these two Kentuckians of a genera- 
tion now gone and cotemporary with Wolford. 

Down in Barren County, Ky., in years long ago, 
dwelt two men — playmates in childhood, school- 
mates in boyhood, friends in manhood, neighbors 
for more than three score years and ten. Though 
not of kin, they had eaten at the same board, slept in 
the same bed, and been lulled to sleep under the same 
clapboard roof as the gentle November rain pattered 
upon it. They had gone a-courting together, and 
each had taken to wife the sweetheart he would have 
chosen from all the daughters of Eve. Their wives 
were friends, and the friendship was beautiful. 
The children of each was at home in the household 
of the other. The purse of neither was ever empty, 
and the purse of either was ever open to the neces- 
sity of the other — 



FRANK WOLFORD 245 

"A man may take a neebor's part." 

That they ever did. Their lives were dehghtful 
and beautiful, and they illustrated all that is written 
in the CXXXIII Psalm. 

In the fullness of time, laden with years and spot- 
less in character, one of these two sickened and soon 
was gathered to his fathers. 

At his grave congregated that whole rural com- 
munity, men, women and children, white and black, 
bond and free, for when a good man dies humanity 
mourns. The coffin was deposited in the grave and 
the work of filling it was about to begin. The man 
of God had said a prayer, and the sweetest of 
women had sang a hymn, favorite of the departed : 

"Rock of Ages, cleft for me." 

It was suggested that the lifetime friend say a 
word. He had never spoken in public, but duty 
was the biggest word in his lexicon. He stood 
with uncovered head at the grave, his heart bowed 
down in sorrow, grief written all over that bold, 
strong, rugged countenance, and tears rolling down 
his weather-beaten cheeks, and he said : 

"My friends, thar lays as good a Dimmycrat as 
rain ever wet or sun ever dried." 

He said no more— he had exhausted eulogy. 

There was not even a smile in that congregation. 
They knew it was the unfeigned tribute of a heart 
that was breaking, and so it was, for before the 
moon had twelve times filled her horn, he, too, went 
to the undiscovered country to join the man he had 
loved with more than the love of a brother. 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 

From his first appearance in the national councils, 
in 1843, wntil his death, in 1861, Stephen A. Doug- 
las played a great part in American statesmanship 
and American politics. He filled the stage even 
more completely than did James G. Blaine, who 
came after him. There was much of similarity in 
the careers of these two extraordinary men. They 
were, in turn, the idol of young America ; they were 
men of magnetism, with following as devoted as 
rallied around the white plume of Navarre, or 
charged with Rupert in the forefront of battle. If 
Blaine was the "Plumed Knight," Douglas was the 
"Little Giant" ; if Blaine adopted as a child the 
policy of reciprocity, which was older than he, 
Douglas adopted as a child the principle of popular 
sovereignty, which was older than he. Had Blaine 
been nominated by his party for President in 1872 
he would have been elected, and had Douglas been 
nominated by his party for that transcendent dignity 
in 1852, or 1856, he would have been elected. 
When the nomination came to each, it was not until 
faction had rendered victory in the electoral college 
impossible. Both Douglas and Blaine were con- 
sidered our most conspicuous exemplars of what 
patriots, politicians and editors call "Americanism." 
Both were Jingos, and both loved to defy England 
and bait the British lion. Douglas would have 
annexed Cuba and fought for "fifty- four- forty"; 




STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS. 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 247 

Blaine would have de-Britishized and de-European- 
ized the hemisphere. Though Douglas was want- 
ing in the learning and accomplishments of Blaine, 
he was what Blaine was not, and owing to his mer- 
curial mental temperament, what Blaine could never 
have become — an enlightened and profound lawyer. 
Douglas died before he entered upon his intellectual 
prime ; Blaine died when he should have been at the 
zenith of his intellectuality. Douglas is almost for- 
gotten, and we cannot hope that Blaine's fame will 
be less ephemeral. A brief review of the career of 
Stephen A. Douglas might not prove uninteresting 
to those who take an interest in American political 
history. 

I 

Stephen A. Douglas was of Scotch stock, and 
had many of the characteristics of that wonderful 
race. For aught we know he was sprung from that 
black Jim Douglas, the friend, comrade, and lieu- 
tenant of the Bruce, and the best blade in Christen- 
dom. The family in America is sprung from two 
brothers, and as they settled among the Puritans of 
New England in that early day when religion and 
politics were twin, it is easy to conjecture that they 
left Scotland to escape the conquests of Montrose 
or the rigors of Claverhouse. However that may 
be, the family has been prolific and the Douglas is 
found in nearly all the States. In them the blood 
of Cavalier and Puritan is commingled, and it will 
be as difficult to distinguish between them as it 
would have been to separate Saxon, Norman, and 
Dane aboard Nelson's fleet. 

The father of Stephen A. Douglas was a phy- 
sician in rural Vermont, with a small practice and 



i4S ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

a slender estate. The son was born April 23, 181 3, 
when the country was at war with England, the 
glorious culmination of which he was to celebrate 
so eloquently thirty years later. The father died 
when the child was less than three months old, and 
young Douglas was left to the care and affection of 
his widowed mother. Her maiden name was Fisk, 
and she was of that race that has dominated the 
thought of America from the beginning of the last 
half of the present century. 

Like so many of America's first and noblest sons, 
young Douglas worked on the farm in summer and 
attended school in winter. Frail as was his delicate 
frame and tender as was his years, his labor was 
necessary to the support of himself and his mother. 
Disappointed in expected aid from a maternal uncle, 
young Douglas was fain to abandon all idea of a 
collegiate course, and at sixteen he was indentured 
to a cabinet maker. He worked two years at the 
carpenter's bench, and discovered great adaptability 
and skill. In later years, when he had measured 
the heights of success and sounded the depths of 
failure, when he had trusted man and been deceived, 
as all men must be who so trust, he declared the two 
years he used the plane and the saw, the hammer 
and the adz, the most satisfactory and the happiest 
of his life. And thus it is that disappointment, like 
death — 

"Lays the king's scepter beside the shepherd's crook." 

His health failed and to that circumstance is due 
some of the richest materials of the future historian 
of American politics. Had he been strong, athletic. 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 249 

robust, the chances are that Senates would never 
have been dominated by the gigantic intellectuahty, 
the sonorous eloquence, the matchless powers of dis- 
putation, the magnetic personality of Stephen A. 
Douglas. All his wealth of genius would have 
withered at the carpenter's bench. 

Leaving off work, he paid a visit to relatives at 
Canandaigua, N. Y., and there he attended school 
about two years, reading law at the same time. 
Like Horace Greeley, he was a veteran and formida- 
ble master of political discussion while yet in his 
teens. Whenever and wherever seen his pockets 
were stuffed with newspapers, and like the late war 
governor, O. P. Morton, he may be said to have 
obtained his political education by the constant 
perusal of the daily and weekly press. Here is a 
hint for every man in town or county, the father of 
a bright and intelligent son. Put newspapers in his 
way; they can do him no harm, and may make a 
Douglas, a Greeley, or a Morton of him. 

In his school days, as always throughout his 
career, young Douglas was a universal favorite per- 
sonally. There was an open, refreshing, engaging, 
fascinating candor in his presence and conversation 
that won admiration and cemented friendships every- 
where. So pronounced was this lovableness of dis- 
position that it was sometimes shown at the sacrifice 
of dignity. 

"Beverley, I love you; what shall I do for you 
when I am President," said Douglas one afternoon, 
in front of Brown's Hotel, in the early fifties, when 
he was, perhaps, the first personality in America, as 
he threw himself into the lap of Beverley Tucker, 
of Virginia. Such abandon was not evidence of 



250 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

lack of dignity so much as the possession of the 
most pronounced democratic spirit. He was of the 
people — as much so as Abraham Lincoln himself. 
He was no Jack Cade — far from it ; but a man who 
loved those who toiled and who suffered, and it was 
an intelligent love. 

At the age of twenty, young Douglas, with a few 
dollars in his pockets, a scant supply of clothing and 
a few books in his bundle, left Canandaigua for the 
West. All he knew was that he was determined to 
succeed and become one of the elders sitting in the 
gates. His first stop was at Cleveland, where he 
was a clerk in a lawyer's office till he was stricken 
with fever, and upon his recovering, instead of 
returning East, as he was advised, he boarded a canal 
boat for Portsmouth on the Ohio, and thence floated 
down to Cincinnati, where he remained several days 
undecided as to whether he should take up his resi- 
dence there or go farther West. It was not many 
years before that another New England youth, that 
prodigy of genius, Seargent S. Prentiss, was a neg- 
lected and starveling lawyer in Cincinnati. Leaving 
Cincinnati, Douglas proceeded to Louisville, but 
there, too, he saw no prospect of success. Thence 
he went to St. Louis, and was fortunate enough to 
make the acquaintance of Dr. Linn, then a Senator 
in Congress, and Edward Bates, afterward Attorney 
General in the Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln. The latter 
offered him office room free of charge ; but Douglas 
was not possessed of money sufficient to enable him 
to wait for clients, so he crossed the river into 
Illinois, where he was to find friends, fortune and 
fame. He had less than a dollar in his pocket, and 
he lacked six months of his majority. His frame 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 251 

was delicate and his physical constitution was not 
hardy enough to withstand privation ; but there was 
in him an indomitable will, a glowing and a mighty 
intellect and a serene confidence in his future. Like 
that other young man, Norval, of the Grampian 
Hills, he could boast naught but his desire to gain 
a name. His battle was already half won. 

Arrived at Jacksonville, Douglas subsisted for a 
few days on the proceeds of the sale of some of the 
books he had brought from Canandaigua, and seeing 
no prospect of bettering his condition, he packed all 
his worldly effects in a small bundle and started afoot 
he knew not whither. When he came to the village 
of Winchester in Morgan County, of which Jack- 
sonville was the capital, it was in the early forenoon ; 
the sheriff of the county had advertised for sale that 
day a stock of general merchandise, assets of a bank- 
rupt merchant. No one present appeared willing to 
act as clerk of the sale, and as Douglas approached 
the crowd, it was suggested that he might accept the 
job. He readily complied and was paid $2 a day 
for his service of three days. 

It was the Jacksonian era, when every man was a 
politician and a partisan. No body of Americans 
could get together that a political discussion did not 
result. That gathering at Winchester was no ex- 
ception, and in only a little while the youthful clerk 
was discovered to be a most formidable champion 
of the cause of "Old Hickory" and the vetoes. 
Already he was a statesman and could have taken 
a seat in either house of the American Congress and 
proved a leading member. His boyish appearance, 
his charming urbanity, his instructive conversation, 



252 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

his persuasive eloquence, his courageous frankness, 
made every man his friend. Before the close of the 
auction the old Democratic farmers had engaged 
him to teach a school and thus it was that Douglas 
began his career in Illinois as Prentiss did his in 
Mississippi. While teaching he borrowed law books 
of a local practitioner and appeared as counsel in 
justices' courts of Saturdays. It was characteristic 
of the man that years later, when a Senator in Con- 
gress, he secured the appointment of the local 
attorney who had loaned him the books as one of 
the Auditors of the Treasury. Gratitude, for other 
than future favors, is a plant of rare and slow 
growth, and he is a great man, indeed, in whose 
breast it flourishes. After teaching two months and 
studying diligently the State statutes he appeared 
before the Supreme Court, and upon examination by 
the judges, he was admitted to the bar. He was not 
yet twenty-one years of age and did not look to be 
eighteen. He took up his abode at Jacksonville, 
where he opened an office. 

At that time — 1833 — Illinois had a population of 
157,445, of whom 747 were negro slaves. Among 
Douglas' cotemporaries and his rivals were Lincoln 
and Hardin, Lamborn and Linder, Baker and 
Browning, Breese and Shields. In a few years 
these were to be reinforced by a younger crop, some 
disciples of Douglas — like Logan, Morrison, and 
Palmer; and some to be his antagonists, like Love- 
joy, Medill, Oglesby, Trumbull, Yates, Wentworth, 
and Washburn. It was among these he grew to be 
what Burke said of Charles James Fox, the most 
brilliant debater of his day. In a very short time be 
was a leading lawyer at the bar, but Douglas always 
subordinated thie law to politics. 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 253 

As stated above, it was the Jacksonian era, when 
pohtics was very much like war. What was known 
as the "money power" — the bank — was against the 
administration at Washington. The bank fight was 
raging, and Old Hickory was vetoing charters as 
fast as Clay, Webster and Calhoun could pass them, 
and removing deposits in the teeth of all opposition. 
Benton, who had sought Jackson's life years before 
in Tennessee, and whose life had been sought by 
Jackson, and, probably, would have been taken by 
Jackson had not Benton moved to Missouri, was the 
champion of "Old Hickory" in the Senate. As Jack- 
son said of him, "He labored like an ox," and hurled 
ten thousand defiances at that greatest intellectual 
triumvirate that ever appeared in American states- 
manship. 

The Titanic debates of Congress were echoed in 
every town and village throughout the land, and 
Douglas at once became the leader of the Jacksonians 
in the town of Jacksonville. The Democrats were 
not united in support of Jackson. In many 
communities there were Democrats who advo- 
cated the re-charter of the bank and opposed the 
removal of the deposits ; but these resided in towns 
and cities. The Democratic farmers were for Jack- 
son to a man. Like the family embalmed in the 
history and romance of Scotland, Douglas was 
aggressive to the verge of rashness. In order to 
ascertain just who were for and who against Jack- 
son, among the Democrats of Morgan County, he 
concerted with the editor of the Democratic county 
organ and other Democrats, sterling Jackson men, 
and as a result a public meeting was called and every 
Democrat invited to participate. Douglas drafted 



254 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

resolutions indorsing the Federal administration, 
sustaining the vetoes, and approving the removal of 
the deposits. The meeting was largely attended; 
some old Democratic farmers traveled half the night 
in order to be present early in the day. Douglas, 
protesting in private that he was too young and too 
strange to that community to take a leading part, 
vainly sought to have some other and older man 
present and advocate the resolutions he had drawn. 
When he saw, however, that if he did not present 
them, no other would, he boldly came to the front 
and offered them with a few modest and pertinent 
remarks in advocacy of them. In the audience was 
Josiah Lamborn, an able lawyer, a veteran politician, 
a captivating, popular orator, a conspicuous Demo- 
crat, but a bank man. He took the floor in oppo- 
sition and attempted to overwhelm Douglas, as much 
by means of his overshadowing personality and large 
experience as by his conceded capacity as a debater 
and powers as an orator. He made no doubt but 
that day w^ould be the last of Douglas as a politician 
in that community. After he had eviscerated the 
young man to his own satisfaction and to the satis- 
faction of his partisans, he closed with a few remarks 
of sarcastic advice to his youthful adversary. Doug- 
las rose with the spirit of "old Bell-the-cat," raging 
in his bosom — another Norval : 



"Never till this hour 
Stood I in such presence ; yet, my lord, 
There's something in my breast which makes me bold 
To say, that Norval ne'er will shame thy favor." 

He delivered a speech such as had rarely been 
heard in that community before. It was Paddy 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 255 

pleading against the parsons over again, so trium- 
phant it was. Young as he was, he knew more of 
American history, he had a keener conception of the 
issues of American politics than any other man there. 
His speech would have done credit to the Senator 
E)ouglas of twenty years later. The crowd was with 
him, and the enthusiasm was infectious. Those old 
farmers knew they were for Jackson and against 
Nick Biddle, and now they knew why, and knew 
why for the first time. While he was in the midst 
of one of those plain, simple statements that rendered 
him so formidable in debate, an old countryman in 
the audience, in an ecstasy of satisfaction, cried out : 
"He is a little giant," and ''Little Giant" he was until 
the end of his days. 

The resolutions were adopted in a whirlwind of 
unanimity, and Lamborn left that court-room crest- 
fallen and defeated. When Douglas laid his head 
upon his pillow that night his fortune was made. 
Already he was one of the first men of that section 
of Illinois. This was in March, 1834, when he 
lacked more than a month of his majority. 

II 

From now on Douglas' career in Illinois was one 
continued triumph. The next year he defeated the 
brilliant John J. Hardin, who was to meet the death 
of Dundee on the bloody field of Buena Vista, for 
State's attorney, and in 1836 he was chosen a mem- 
ber of the State Legislature, in which body, young 
as he was, he bore a leading and conspicuous part, 
earnest of the greater part he was destined to ])lay 
on the broader stage of the national councils. In 



256 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

1838 he made a phenomenal race for Congress in a 
district having a large Whig majority. His oppo- 
nent was elected by a majority of five after the throw 
ing out of hundreds of votes cast by mistake for 
Stephen A. Douglas for the State Legislature, others 
cast for Steven Douglas, without the initial "A.," 
and others yet cast for Steven A. Douglass. He 
was too poor to engage in an expensive contest, and 
it was to this fact that Stewart, the Whig candidate, 
owed his seat. 

After this triumphant defeat Douglas settled down 
to the practice of his profession, and it rained retain- 
ers. His clientele was found in all parts of the State, 
but busy as he was in the courts he yet found time 
for political disputation. It is a curious fact in view 
of the history made the third of a century last past 
that in 1839 Douglas advocated the principle enun- 
ciated in the famous Virginia and Kentucky resolu- 
tion of ninety-eight. It was in the campaign of 1S40 
that he and Lincoln first met. In those days through- 
out the West, and as far south as Tennessee, joint 
political discussions similar to those theologistic 
debates in which Alexander Campbell used to 
delight, were held at central points and ofttimes were 
continued for a week. It was at one of these that 
Douglas and Josiah Lamborn, mentioned above, for 
Van Buren, and Lincoln and Edward D. Baker, for 
Harrison, met. It was a battle of the giants, and 
immense crowds attended every day. The State 
campaign was continued for seven months, and at 
the elections Illinois was one of the seven States of 
the Union, and one of the two States of the North, 
to cast her vote for Van Buren and Johnson that 
year of such tremendous disaster to the Democratic 
party. 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 257 

It was about this time that Douglas became one of 
the judges of the Supreme Court of lUinois, While 
sitting in that capacity the notorious Jo Smith, 
founder and head of the Mormon Church, was 
before him for trial upon indictment charging some 
crime or misdemeanor. The mob spirit was raging 
and threats were openly made that the culprit would 
be taken from the custody of the court and hanged. 
Proceedings to this end were on foot when Douglas 
ordered the sheriff to clear the court-room. That 
functionary was a timid man, and made but a feeble 
effort. The judge took the law into his own hands, 
and calling to a strapping six-foot Kentuckian in 
the audience, let that astonished individual know he 
was appointed sheriff of that court with orders to 
clear the room of spectators. This that worthy 
instantly proceeded to do by knocking down half a 
dozen rioters and pitching as many more out of the 
windows. Smith's life was preserved, and from 
that time the "Latter-day Saints" were friends of 
Douglas. 

A few years later a regiment of Illinois militia, of 
which John J. Hardin was colonel and Douglas 
major, was ordered to the scene of action to arrest 
the twelve apostles, then in open revolt and 
intrenched at Norvoo, with garrison fully armed and 
equipped and strong enough and fanatic enough to 
whip four such regiments. Douglas was ordered by 
Hardin to take 100 men, storm the works, and arrest 
the twelve. At his request the colonel permitted him 
to go alone, and in a little while he persuaded the 
apostles to surrender. 

In 1842 Douglas narrowly missed being chosen 
United States Senator, Sidney Breese beating him 



17 



258 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

by very few votes for the Democratic caucus nomi- 
nation. We have seen how it was that he did not 
secure a seat in the National House at Washington 
the year he was of the requisite age, and had he 
defeated Breese he would have become a Senat3r the 
year he was of the age nominated in the Federal 
Constitution. "Old Bill" Allen was the only man 
who became a Congressman at the age of twenty- 
five, and followed it up by becoming a Senator at 
the age of thirty. 

In 1843 Douglas was elected to Congress, defeat- 
ing O. H. Browning, and it is a coincidence that 
Browning was chosen to fill Douglas' unexpired term 
in the Senate in 1861. 

Ill 

And so, at the age of thirty years, after a struggle 
of ten years, he paid a visit to his relatives at the 
East with his certificate as Congressman in his 
pocket. He had grappled with and thrown the 
world, and thenceforth he was to take his place 
among the elders sitting in the gates and shaping the 
destinies of millions. 

Douglas took his seat in Congress in December, 
1843. It was the first session of the Twenty-eighth 
Congress, and a period of intense party rivalry. The 
Whig party had scarce begun to decay and the Re- 
publican party, of ten years later, was scarce an 
embryo. The country was just ready to adopt free 
trade, and the South was casting about for new 
territory to maintain the balance of power between 
the free States and slave. It was the golden age of 
American parliamentary history; it was the age of 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 259 

Clay, Webster, Calhoun, Benton, Wright, McDuffie, 
Evans, Allen, Corwin, Crittenden, Prentiss, Wise, 
Marshall, Adams and Mangum. Douglas served no 
novitiate. Before a single moon waxed and waned 
he made a most triumphant debut. It was January 
7, 1844, that he delivered his maiden effort, and even 
at this late day, when the issue has been dead half a 
century, that speech will thrill every student of 
political history who will take the trouble to read it. 
For several years there had been before Congress a 
bill appropriating money to reimburse General Jack- 
son the sum, principal and interest, he had paid in 
discharge of the fine imposed upon him by Judge 
Hall immediately after the battle of New Orleans. 
The matter had been debated over and over again. 
The Whigs were especially bitter in their hostility, 
and the Democrats painfully apologetic in their 
advocacy of the measure. 

Douglas took different ground. Indeed, through- 
out his career he never defended where it was possi- 
ble to attack. So far from apologizing for General 
Jackson, he vindicated him. Perhaps no speech he 
ever delivered was more characteristic of the man, 
and not even his memorable argument in the Senate 
March 3, 1854, better illustrates his wonderful 
powers of debate. General Jackson was yet living 
in retirement at the Hermitage. His was then the 
most illustrious name in our history after Washing- 
ton's. He was the hero, the sage, and his home was 
the Democratic Mecca. Just as the man and the 
hour sometimes meet, as in the case of Paul Jones 
and the battle between the Bon Homme Richard and 
the Serapis, to cite a single example of a hundred, 
so the hour and the man were in conjunction when 



26o ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Jackson met the British January 8, 1815. Perhaps 
no other man born of woman — not Hannibal, nor 
Napoleon — could have done what Jackson did at 
New Orleans. It was the man, not the general, who 
triumphed. Douglas pictured the scene with the 
cunning of the master, and then he spoke like a 
lawyer, and like a statesman, too. One could see 
the battle and the slaughter and feel the difficulties 
of the occasion, where the commander was con- 
fronted with the most serious of military problems, 
and the most delicate of political problems. Jack- 
son, with the promptness of genius, cut the knot, 
assumed the responsibility, imprisoned the Legisla- 
ture, transported Judge Hall, whipped the British, 
and saved the city. It was one of the most brilliant 
and the most signal victories in the annals of war; 
it was one of the most glorious occasions in Ameri- 
can history. 

Here is an extract taken at random from this most 
successful of maiden efforts. It admirably illustrates 
Douglas' style as a debater : 

But, sir, for the purposes of Gen. Jackson's justification, I 
care not whether his proceedings were legal or illegal, consti- 
tutional or unconstitutional, with or without precedent, if they 
were necessary for the salvation of the city. And I care as lit- 
tle whether he observed all the rules and forms of court, and 
technicalities of the law, which some gentlemen seem to con- 
sider the perfection of reason and the essence of wisdom. 
There was but one form necessary on that occasion, and that 
was to point cannon and destroy the enemy. The gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Barnard), to whose speech I have had 
occasion to refer so frequently, has informed us that this bill 
is unprecedented. I have no doubt this remark is technically 
true according to the most approved forms. I presume no case 
can be found on record, or traced by tradition, where a fine 
imposed on a general for saving his country at the peril of his 
life and reputation has ever been refunded. Such a case would 
furnish a choice page in the history of any country. 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 261 

The bill was passed by both Houses of Congress 
and received the approval of the President. 

That same year of 1844 Tennessee was a battle- 
ground upon which Whig and Democrat contended. 
It was Jackson's State, therefore the Whigs assaulted 
viciously, and the Democrats defended tenaciously. 
Polk, a Tennessean, was the Democratic candidate, 
and Clay, Jackson's bitter rival, was the Whig candi- 
date. The Whigs carried the State by a few hun- 
dred votes, and it went far to compensate for their 
loss of the Presidency. The State was contested as 
Indiana has been contested the past thirty years in 
national campaigns. The Whigs gave a great bar- 
becue at Nashville, which was attended by tens of 
thousands and addressed by the foremost orators of 
that party from every quarter of the Union. 

Of course, the Democrats, too, gave a barbecue 
at Nashville that year, and Douglas was one of the 
leading and most effective speakers. Before the 
close of the meeting, which probably continued two 
or three days, the distinguished visitors were taken 
to the Hermitage, where all were introduced to 
General Jackson. C. C. Clay, of Alabama, made the 
presentations, and when in the center of the long 
line Douglas appeared and his name was called by 
Mr. Clay, the old hero straightened up, the fire of 
former days enkindled in his eyes, his pale and 
shrunken cheek flushed, and, grasping the hand of 
Douglas, he asked : 

"Are you the Mr. Douglas, of Illinois, who deliv- 
ered a speech in Congress last winter on the bill to 
reimburse me the fine Judge Hall imposed on me ?" 

"I made a speech on the bill," was the modest 
answer. 



262 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

"Then take a seat beside me on this lounge," said 
the General. "I want to thank you; these other 
gentlemen can wait." And then the old hero told 
Douglas how that speech had removed the only 
doubt that had ever oppressed his mind, and made 
smooth his pathway to the grave; that his friends, 
good lawyers, had always contended that he could 
not have acted other than he did, but they admitted 
that he had violated the Constitution of his country, 
though it was necessary to save the city. "I never 
could understand it," he continued ; "it was a mys- 
tery to me, and I was in great doubt until I read your 
speech, completely vindicating my action and setting 
my mind at rest. I have it here preserved between 
the leaves of my Bible. Young man, I thank you. 
You have given me happiness." 

Douglas' eyes were suffused with tears, his heart 
was filled with emotion and he was incapable of 
utterance. He could only press the old hero's hand, 
and this was the only meeting and parting of Jack- 
son and Douglas. It was meet that Douglas, of all 
other men, should have been chosen as the orator 
upon the inauguration of Clark Mills' equestrian 
statue of Jackson, which was unveiled in Lafayette 
Square, opposite the White House, January 8, 1853. 

The next appearance of Douglas in Congress was 
when the questions of the Texas boundary and the 
Mexican war were discussed. It was then that he 
ran a tilt with John Quincy Adams, and greatly dis- 
comfited that theretofore victorious gladiator in that 
theater. Mr. Adams was a wonderful man, with a 
wealth of experience that none of his contemporaries 
enjoyed. He entered public life in 1782, at the age 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 263 

of fifteen, when he became secretary to the American 
envoy at St. Petersburg. Except short intervals, 
when he was attending colleges, or was one of the 
faculty at Harvard, he continued in office until his 
death in 1848. He had been President of the United 
States, Secretary of State in Monroe's Cabinet, min- 
ister to England and other European nations, and 
commissioner to negotiate the Treaty of Ghent ; but 
he was never so great as in the latter years of his 
long life, when he dominated the House of Repre- 
sentatives of the United States. Parliamentary 
history contains no more brilliant page than his fight 
for the right of petition. But touching the questions 
out of which grew the Mexican war, and touching 
that war itself, Adams was of the opinion of Hosea 
Biglow, and a rank blue lighter or rank copperhead, 
as one chooses to designate him. 

The speech of Douglas on the Texas boundary 
was a powerful effort, and at once became the key- 
note of the war party. In all his printed speeches, 
this is the only one the writer recalls in which the 
"Little Giant" dropped into declamation : 

Patriotism emanates from the heart ; it fills the soul ; it in- 
spires the whole man with a devotion to his country's cause, 
and speaks and acts the same language. America wants no 
friends, acknowledges the fidelity of no citizen, who, after war 
is declared, condemns the justice of her cause and sympathizes 
with her enemies. 

These are only a sample of his fervid sentences. 
The whole speech will well repay reading, though 
the issue is dead and gone these fifty years. 

In 1846 Douglas was again elected to Congress, 
but before the assembling of that body he was chosen 
as one of the United States Senators from Illinois, 



264 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

and took his seat in that body December, 1847, when 
a few months less than thirty-five years of age. 
Among his colleagues were Bradbury, Calhoun, 
Cass, Crittenden, Jeff Davis, Daniel S. Dickinson, 
Reverdy Johnson, Mangum, Mason, "Old Bill" 
Allen, Benton, Berrien, and Tom Corwin. Though 
so young, he soon proved himself worthy any man's 
steel in that body of giants. 

There were many matters of jingoism discussed 
in those days. It was the age of "Young America," 
when all intelligent boys and many grown-up men 
felt toward England as Cato felt toward Carthage. 
Nearly everybody wanted to whip England, and 
wanted to whip her right off. Allen, of Ohio, 
sounded the keynote in his inspiring "Fifty-four, 
forty or fight," and in the Senate and House it was 
the daily practice to twist the British lion's tail and 
make the Eagle scream. The discussion of the 
Clayton-Bulwer treaty, in which Douglas was more 
than a hand-and-a-half, gave ample scope for jingo- 
ism, and Douglas was one of the leading jingos in 
that debate, as he was later when "Young America" 
thought we wanted Cuba and all Central America. 
No arraignment of Great Britain by John James 
Ingalls surpasses the phillipics Douglas hurled 
against the England of Exeter Hall and the England 
that encouraged the circulation of "Uncle Tom's 
Cabin." He it was who coined the phrase "Ocean- 
bound Republic," and on his lips it was no impotent 
and empty vaporing. It was not strange, then, that 
Douglas was the idol of such men as George N. 
Sanders and William P. Corry; it was not strange 
that every ingenuous young Democrat enrolled him- 
self as a partisan of the "Little Giant." It was pub- 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 265 

lie opinion, molded by him, that occasioned that 
grave and ridictdous conference of James Buchanan 
American minister to England; John Y. Mason,' 
American minister to France, and Pierre Soule[ 
American minister to Spain, the result of which was 
the "Ostend Manifesto." It was a stealing of young 
America's thunder; it probably made Buchanan 
President, came near involving us in a war with 
France, and nearer bringing on a war with Spain. 

Douglas was one of the leaders in the compromise 
measures of 1850. Mr. Clay, who had returned to 
the Senate, disavowed the monopoly of credit for 
that great battle — the credit history has given him— 
and declared that to Douglas more than to any other 
individual, was due the fact that secession was 
averted and quiet restored to the land. His con- 
stituents appear to have been of Clay's mind, for 
upon his return to Chicago after the passage of the 
compromise, he was assailed in all quarters by those 
who condemned the fugitive slave law, one of the 
compromise measures, and a mob attempted to howl 
him down when he appeared to make a speech giving 
account of his stewardship. That spirit of fair play, 
found in every gathering of Americans, prevailed, 
however, after a time. Douglas made his speech, 
and at his close resolutions of confidence in him were 
adopted by acclaim. 

IV 

We now come to that epoch in the career of 
Douglas when he was not only a leader, but the 
leader of his party in Congress — the Kansas- 
Nebraska period. 



266 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Though forty-one years old — not yet by a double 
lustrum of that age when the human intellect is sup- 
posed to enter upon its zenith — he was the most con- 
spicuous statesman in America, the leader of a 
Senate which, for intellectuality, for learning, for 
statesmanship, for eloquence, for character, would 
compare favorably with any body of men who ever 
deliberated on matters of state in either hemisphere 
of the globe. 

Of Douglas, Horace Greeley, a competent, if hos- 
tile, critic, said: 'Tf he were only a student he 
would be the greatest debater the world ever saw." 
And he might have added that Douglas in the forum 
was what Horace Greeley was in the sanctum. For 
vigor and clearness of expression he was what Web- 
ster would have been had Webster never been grad- 
uated from a college and had Webster roughed it in 
the West; for strength and simplicity of statement 
John G. Carlisle is one of the few statesmen 
in our history who rivals him. Take any one of 
half a dozen of Douglas' greatest speeches, and not 
even John Marshall himself would have stricken out 
a word. No man, not even Carlisle, ever had less 
use for an adjective. Compare Douglas' speech to 
reimburse General Jackson the fine imposed on him 
by Judge Hall with Gov. J. Proctor Knott's eulogy 
of Jackson, itself an English classic and one of the 
most eloquent, ornate, and scholarly productions in 
American letters, and note the radical contrast of 
style. Douglas wields the mace of Richard; Knott 
cunningly severs with the scimetar of Saladin. 

Judged by his speeches, Douglas must have been 
a very ignorant man, except in two lines — he knew 
American history, political and eventful, as few 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 267 

other men knew it, and he was profoundly versed 
in law principles. We cannot tell if he knew whether 
Plantagenet or Tudor first sat on the English throne • 
whether Edward the Third or William the Third 
first wore the English crown. We cannot tell if he 
ever read Shakespeare, or Swift, or Bolingbroke. or 
Scott. We search in vain for a historic allusion 
other than American. He was a magnificent dia- 
mond in the rough ; had he possessed the erudition, 
the vast stores of knowledge Caleb Gushing acquired' 
the diamond might have been ruined in the cutting. 
One of the most fascinating of the Edinburgh 
Review Series of Essays is that on Franklin, in 
which Jeffrey ventures to speculate, that, had Frank- 
lin been a collegiate, he would never have amounted 
to anything; whereas he stands alone the wisest, 
though not the greatest, or most intellectual, of 
Americans. But this is only speculation. In one 
of the numerous introductory chapters in "Tom 
Jones," Fielding indulges the opinion that a writer 
would be no less successful and entertaining in his 
field if he acquainted himself with the subject in 
hand, and so, few men are worse off for being licked 
into shape by the faculty of a college. 

To illustrate Douglas' powers as a debater, the 
following estimate of his heroic lieutenant by 
Napoleon happily serves : 

Massena generally made bad disposition previously to a 
battle, and it was not until the dead began to fall about him 
that he began to act with that judgment which he ought to 
have displayed before. In the midst of the dying and the dead, 
and of balls sweeping away those who encircled him, Massena 
was himself, and gave his orders and made his dispositions 
with the greatest sang froid and judgment. It was truly said of 
him that he never began to act with skill until the battle was 
going against him. 



268 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

And so Douglas in the Senate. He frequently 
appeared in debate unprepared, but when prodded 
with questions and criticisms by Seward, Chase, 
Sumner, Trumbull, or later by his Southern adver- 
saries, Toombs, Mason, Benjamin, Green, he became 
himself; a single hint became a volume to his 
luminous and glowing mind, and when finally fully 
roused he was greater than any of them. 

Whoever first suggested the repeal of the Missouri 
restriction by a clause in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, 
Douglas became responsible for it. Probably the 
first man to conceive the idea, and certainly the first 
to offer it in the Senate, was Archibald Dixon, of 
Kentucky. Mr. Dixon was the last of the Whigs, 
and at the time he proposed the repeal of the 
Missouri restriction his party was dead, and though 
he was a very able and forceful man, of exalted char- 
acter and fine attainments, he was without a party, 
and in the very nature of things it was impossible 
that he should conduct a great and innovating move- 
ment. There are those who assert that repeal was 
first suggested by Senator Atchison, of Missouri, 
the "President of a day," and however that may be, 
certain it is that Douglas was the man who imparted 
virility to the movement and became responsible for 
its accomplishment. 

The late Harvey Watterson, probably as good 
authority as any man of his day, used to relate that 
when Douglas was perfecting the Kansas-Nebraska 
legislation, he called at the White House one morn- 
ing and in casual and general conversation with 
President Pierce, Secretary Marcy, Secretary Davis, 
and, perhaps, others, the discourse naturally drifted 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 269 

to politics. The Dixon amendment was mentioned, 
and some one — probably Mr. Davis — remarked that 
it would be a brave man who would champion that 
proposition in Congress. Instantly Douglas spoke 
up and said: "If this administration will sustain 
me I'll put it through." The administration did 
sustain him, and he did put it through. 

The repeal of the Missouri compromise hastened, 
but it did not cause, the war between the sections. 
That war was inevitable, and would have come had 
there been no slave and no negro on the American 
continent. There was an irrepressible conflict 
between the idea of Jefferson and the idea of Ham- 
ilton that could be settled only by the sword. It 
was inevitable that the debates between Webster and 
Hayne, Seward and Toombs, should have their 
sequel in the battles between Grant and Lee, Sher- 
man and Johnston. The wars between Leaguer and 
Huguenot were not more logical than the war 
between Unionist and secessionist. The English 
revolution of 1640 was bound to be supplemented by 
the American revolution of i860. America was 
bound to have her Jarnac, her Moncontour, her Ivry, 
her Edgehill, her Marston Moor, her Naseby, and 
bloodier they were in the New World, and more 
bravely fought, than in the old. 

Not in the history of parliamentary government 
in the Western world can be found account of a more 
brilliant debate than Douglas fought in 1854 when 
he had charge of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. He led 
the Southern forces, but that was not all ; he fought 
the Northern conscience. It is not my purpose to 
discuss slavery and secession. There were two sides 



270 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

to both, suffice it to say. Both have been finally 
settled — settled against slavery and in favor of 
Union. The forces Douglas contended with, from 
the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill till the 
debate on the Lecompton constitution, were North- 
ern intelligence, Northern wealth, Northern religion, 
as preached by the Northern clergy, and the over- 
whelming voting capacity of the Northern people* 
The decree had gone forth that not another slave 
State should be admitted into the Union, and even 
if the Union could have been preserved without war 
and without emancipation — Chase's plan — there 
would have been no more slave States and the 
District of Columbia would have been made free 
territory. 

But Douglas was that most potent factor in a free 
government — a brave and able man with convictions. 
He believed his dogma of non-intervention would at 
once settle the slavery question and cement the 
Union between North and South. He regarded the 
negro as an inferior being, whose proper sphere was 
a state of bondage. Indeed he declared that nobody 
but a fool or a knave would contend that Jefferson 
gave the slightest thought to the negro when he 
wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all 
men were created equal. There is no better way to 
illustrate his view on this subject than to quote a 
passage from Campbell's "Lives of the Lord Chan- 
cellors." In the life of Thurlow he narrates the 
following : 

A body of Presbyterians made application to Lord Thurlow 
to assist in repealing certain statutes which disqualified non- 
conformists from holding civil offices. He received the depu- 
tation with great civility, and hearing them out, said : "Gen- 
tlemen, I am against you, and for the established church, by 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 271 

G . Not that I like the established church a bit better than 

any other church, but because it is established. Whenever you 

can get your d d religion established, I'll be for that, too. 

Good morning to you." 

And SO it was with Douglas on the question of 
slavery. He cared not whether a Territory voted 
slavery up or voted it down. If slavery were voted 
up he was for it because it was voted up; if it were 
voted down he was against it because it was voted 
down. Almost his very words were that if the 
Territory could be depended on to legislate on mat- 
ters of property in live stock and inanimate chattels 
the Territory could be intrusted with legislation 
touching property in slaves. 

If the student of parliamentary eloquence is cu- 
rious to read a triumphant speech, a speech which 
ranks with that almost unrivaled reply of Charles 
James Fox to the speech of Pitt, explaining his rup- 
ture with Bonaparte, let him turn to the volume of 
the Congressional Globe contaming Douglas' mem- 
orable speech of March 3, 1854. He was at his 
best, his theme was altogether and entirely political, 
and that day he proved himself to be the foremost 
debater in the American Congress. In turn he paid 
his respects to Bell of Tennessee, Seward, Chase, 
Sumner, and Fessenden. It was Ivanhoe in the lists 
of Ashby de la Zouche. I quote a single passage 
to illustrate his force in a purely and altogether 
personal discussion : 

I wish the Senator from Maine (Mr. Fessenden), who de- 
livered his maiden speech here tonight, and who made a great 
many sly stabs at me, had informed himself upon the subject 
before he repeated all his groundless assertions. I can excuse 
him for the reason that he has been here but a few days, and 
having enlisted under the banner of the abolition confederates. 



272 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

was unwise and simple enough to believe what they had pub- 
lished could be relied on as stubborn facts. He may be an in- 
nocent victim. I hope he can have the excuse of not having 
investigated the subject. I am willing to excuse him on the 
ground that he did not know what he was talking about, and it 
is the only excuse which I can make for him. I will say, how- 
ever, that I do not think he was required by his loyalty to the 
abolitionists to repeat every disreputable insinuation which they 
made. Why did he throw into his speech that foul innuendo 
about a Northern man with Southern principles? And then 
quote the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Sumner) as his 
authority? Ay, sir, I say foul insinuation. Did not the Sena- 
tor from Massachusetts who first dragged it into this debate 
wish to have the public understand that I was a Northern man 
with Southern principles? Was not that the allusion? If it 
was, he availed himself of a cant phrase in the public mind, in 
violation of the truth of history. I know of but one man in 
this country who ever made it a boast that he was a "Northern 
man with Southern principles," and he was [turning to Sum- 
ner] your candidate for President in 1848. 

The Kansas-Nebraska bill became a law, and the 
dogma of non-intervention was the central idea of 
the Democratic platform of 1856 upon which 
Buchanan and Breckinridge were elected President 
and Vice-President. But the Kansas-Nebraska bill 
did more; it vitalized the Republican party and 
organized its future victory of i860. 

Douglas was one of the chief agencies in the 
destruction of Know-Nothingism. He, Henry A. 
Wise, Andrew Johnson, Elijah Hise, and Joseph 
Holt were the men who throttled that most formi- 
dable of all the mushroom organizations in our 
politics. 

He may also be said to have been the father of 
the Illinois Central Railroad. He it was who 
secured the land grant, not to the corporation, but 
to the State of Illinois in aid of the road's construc- 
tion. His action in the matter, his defiance and 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 



273 



defeat of the corporation was in radical and absolute 
reverse of the miserable Credit-Mobilier leHslation 
of scandalous memory. Every bantling in Conjjress 
should read this chapter of Douglas' history medi- 
tate on It, and, above all, follow his example. 

It was now that Douglas, the leader of the North- 
ern Democracy, and Jefferson Davis, the leader of 
the Southern, came to the parting of the ways. The 
Dred Scott decision was approved by both, but each 
construed that memorable construction after ideas 
of his own and they were antagonistic. This it was 
that disrupted the Democratic partv and precipitated 
the war of 1861-65. The North and South were 
face to face in Kansas, and both played unfairly, as 
well as sought to wrongly win. "Emigrant aid 
societies" and "blue lodges" recited the prologue of 
that tremendous tragedy upon which the curtain 
finally fell at Appomattox. The Lecompton consti- 
tution was a "snap convention" affair, founded on 
violence and fraud, but having the sanction of legal 
forms. The Buchanan administration and the 
Southern leaders upheld that constitution, while 
Douglas denounced it. and this was the signal for 
secession and war, to be followed by the emancipa- 
tion, citizenship and enfranchisement of the negro. 
The debates in Congress at this period show Douglas 
to have been as great when resisting Southern 
aggression as when battling against Northern higher 
lawism. 

In the summer of 1858 he returned to his home in 
Chicago, and though four years before, upon the 
passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, he was refused 
a hearing in that city, in 1858 he was greeted with 



18 



274 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

an ovation. A few days before his return the 
Republicans in State convention had nominated 
Abraham Lincoln to succeed Douglas in the Federal 
Senate, and he had accepted in a speech that was one 
of the most remarkable productions of that extra- 
ordinary man. It was in this speech Lincoln gave 
the famous quotation of a house divided against 
itself, and declared that the Union must become all 
slave or all free. "That young man believes what 
he says ; he will go far," said Mirabeau of Robes- 
pierre. The same might have been said of and pre- 
dicted of Abraham Lincoln. The fact is that Lin- 
coln was one of the greatest politicians this country 
ever produced. It was his mastery of the game of 
politics that saved the Union. Perhaps any other 
Republican leader in his place in 1861 would have 
lost the Union. 

Douglas was a candidate for re-election to the 
Senate, and he was also a candidate for President. 
He at once entered upon a canvass such as even he 
had never before made. He delivered over seventy 
speeches, seven of which were in joint debate with 
Lincoln, who challenged him to engage with him. 

At the first of these discussions Lincoln pro- 
pounded four questions to Douglas, only one of 
which was vital, the others being mere surplusage. 
That question was this : "Can the people of a United 
States Territory, in any lawful way, against the 
wishes of any citizen of the United States, exclude 
slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a 
State constitution ?" When Douglas read that ques- 
tion he realized that it forever closed the doors of 
the White House upon his ambition. If he answered 
in the affirmative he lost the South and the nomina- 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 275 

tion of i860; if he answered in the negative he 
gained the South and a barren nomination in i860. 
Affirmative answer saved him the Senatorship; 
negative answer lost it. Lincohi knew that his ques- 
tion made himself either Senator or President, and 
probably both. 

Douglas was not only courageous, but brave. He 
answered frankly, and as he had answered a hundred 
times before — yes. From that day he was a free 
lance tilting against Northern abolitionism and 
Southern secession. He was chosen Senator over 
Lincoln by eight votes on joint ballot, but the joint 
debate made Lincoln President of the United States. 

The next appearance of Douglas in public was 
his denunciation of John Brown's raid on Harper's 
Ferry, and no Southern man went further than he in 
that behalf. 

In the spring of i860, just before the assembling 
of the ever memorable Charleston convention, Doug- 
las disclosed the plan of his own campaign in a two 
days' speech in the Senate, of great force and power 
and characteristically aggressive. It was the com- 
pletest history of the slavery issue that had thereto- 
fore come from any man. It was during the 
delivery of this speech that he attacked Jeff Davis, 
announcing that he would give him no quarter, and 
thereupon Davis sprang to his feet, with all the pride 
of all the Vere de Veres in his heart and all the blood 
of all the Howards in his face, and haughtily 
exclaimed: 'T scorn your quarter!" This speech 
of Douglas was not exactly a bid for Southern sup- 
port, but an argument addressed to the Southern 
people. It was of no avail. Yancey, Benjamin, and 
Wigfall had fired the Southern heart and prejudiced 
the Southern intelligence against the "Little Giant." 



276 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

Only a mere mention need be made of the Charles- 
ton convention of i860, perhaps the most momen- 
tous assemblage of a political character since the con- 
vention that formed the Federal Constitution. Suf- 
fice it to say that convention was disrupted after 
numerous stormy sittings, and a few weeks after the 
greater faction nominated Douglas at Baltimore and 
the smaller faction nominated Breckinridge. 

It was characteristic of Douglas that he took the 
stump and was the first Presidential candidate to 
"swing 'round the circle." He went South and 
made a tremendous impression. It required all the 
commanding eloquence of Davis himself to dispel 
the effect of Douglas' speech at Vicksburg. The 
steamer from below, with Douglas aboard, arrived 
early in the afternoon. An immense crowd had 
assembled at the wharf to see and hear him. He 
addressed them from the hurricane deck and for two 
hours the crowd was all his own. His great name, 
his personal magnetism, his stentorian eloquence, his 
superb audacity, and the recollections of a hundred 
battles he had fought for the South — all these con- 
spired to extort from that most Southern of all 
Southern communities admiration, applause — even 
sympathy, and, in many cases, approval. As the 
boat steamed up the river on the way to Memphis 
cheer after cheer was given for the "Little Giant." 
The late train in the afternoon brought Jeff Davis. 
The same crowd that heard Douglas in the afternoon 
heard Davis that night. He was of their household ; 
the other was a stranger in their gates. He was the 
hero of Buena Vista and the proudest, the bravest, 
the greatest of Southern leaders. A few stately sen- 
tences from his lips, a few imperious gestures from 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 277 

his arm, a few haughty poises of his classic head, 
and all that Douglas had done was undone. One 
who was present and heard both speeches said to the 
writer: "I was always opposed to secession; I 
always loved the flag ; iDut under the spell of Davis' 
personality I was ready to do his bidding regardless 
of all consequences." 

When Douglas arrived at Nashville an immense 
concourse greeted him. He began a most powerful 
appeal with the words : "Sixteen years ago today, 
fellow citizens, I visited the city of Nashville, then, 
as now, battling for the success of the National 
Democracy and contending for the correct construc- 
tion of the National Constitution. Then I advocated 
the election to the Presidency of an illustrious son 
of Tennessee, and on that same day received the 
plaudit and the benediction of the hero of New 
Orleans, the Nestor of the Democracy, and the sage 
of the Hermitage." Perhaps this was the most 
florid language that ever fell from his lips. 

But his ambition, like that of Clay, Webster, and 
Calhoun, before him; like that of Seward, Chase. 
and Breckinridge, contemporaries with him, and like 
that of Morton, Blaine, and Logan, after him, was 
fated to be thwarted. Though he received a splendid 
popular support, nearly as great as Breckinridge and 
Bell combined, his vote in the electoral college was 
insignificant. 

Douglas and the Presidency would make an inter- 
esting chapter if space afforded. In 1852, when 
under forty years of age, he was the contending 
candidate for the nomination, in the later ballotmg 
receiving greater support than Cass, Marcy, Bu- 



278 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

chanan, or Houston. The same is true of the conven- 
tion of 1856, and on either occasion he would have 
been nominated and elected had his whole heart been 
set on it as it was in i860. He thought he was too 
young-, and preferred to add to his already overshad- 
owing reputation as a Senator. That the Presidency 
would come to him he never doubted until blood was 
shed in Kansas. 

V 

Little more remains to add. The election of Lin- 
coln was the signal for secession and war. During 
the winter of 1860-61 Douglas labored as he never 
had before to avert the inevitable struggle. He was 
an earnest supporter of the Crittenden compromise, 
which the South could have had, but refused to 
accept unless tendered by the Republicans in Con- 
gress, and this the Republicans refused to do. Zach 
Chandler was only one of many who believed "blood- 
letting" was the remedy for the ills of the Union. 

When war became inevitable Douglas cast his 
fortunes with his section. He added incalculable 
strength to Mr. Lincoln's administration in its 
earlier days. He was the greatest of the war Demo- 
crats. Unfortunately the herculean labors of the 
twelve months preceding compassed his death in 
June, 1861, a few weeks after he had completed his 
forty-eighth year. He died with the spirit of battle 
on his lips, and had he lived a few weeks longer his 
death might have been in reality the death of Claver- 
house. That he would have had high command in 
the Army there is no doubt; that he would have 
become a superb soldier there is just as little doubt. 
An abler man than Logan, equally brave, and with 



STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 279 

more magnetism, Douglas would have been the vol- 
unteer hero of the war had he survived. 

But what would his political future have been? 
Douglas was a born Democrat, and "once a Demo- 
crat always a Democrat." Would he have become 
a Republican and burned the bridges behind hmi like 
Logan, Butler, Dickinson, and Holt? Would he 
have returned to his father's house like Andy John- 
son, Trumbull, and Palmer? Would he have adhered 
to his party like McClellan and Buell? Who can 
telP Revolutionary times thwart all predictions. 
Chase, Greeley, Seward, Sumner, and Blair died out- 
side the Republican fold. Julian and Curtin again 
became Democrats. In view of these examples it 
is idle to speculate as to what Douglas would have 
done But had Douglas lived and proved a success- 
ful soldier, he would have exercised a greater mttu- 
ence in his latter days than in his earlier career. 
There is small doubt that the measure of his 
ambition would have been filled by an election to the 
Presidency, whether nominated by the one party o. 

^^ He M never been so popular as the day he died 
and he was just entering upon the prime of his great 
powers. 



THOMAS C PLATT 

Some ten years ago, in a city of the Ohio Valley, 
on a distressingly hot day, when the scorching rays 
of an August noonday's sun made the heat arising 
from the granite pavement almost unendurable, 
there was a disastrous wreck of a street car. It was 
a busy hour in a busy street, and at a busy season. 
Soon there were long strings of cars to the east and 
to the west of the wreck. Enormous drays, heav- 
ily laden with enormous hogsheads of tobacco, and 
intermixed with other vehicles, filled the space. 
Though traffic was not completely suspended, it 
was in great confusion. Teamsters were shouting 
and cursing, and horses and mules were backing and 
jumping. Men and women going along the street 
stopped to contemplate the disorder. Policemen 
came on the square to investigate and to restore 
order. A dozen men gave a dozen contradictory 
commands, and weak efforts were made to execute 
them. 

Now it was that another street car came on the 
scene. The driver came down, took command, is- 
sued his orders and was instantly obeyed. The 
crowd instinctively saw in him its master for that 
occasion. He laid hold himself and caused others 
to lay hold. His mien and his voice were impera- 
tive, and in an incredibly short time the track was 
clear, order was restored, and traffic was resumed. 
Had that man been a politician he would have been 




THOMAS C. PLATT. 



THOMAS C PLATT 281 

a boss. He can do things. He can get others to do 
things. 

In the "Western country," as our sires and grand- 
sires called it, the forests were cleared, and hence 
the "log-rolling." It was the heaviest of labor, and, 
viewed in connection with our present lines of trans- 
portation, a vandal waste of wealth. At every log- 
rolling, in every neighborhood, there was a leader, 
something after the order of that street car driver, 
who took command and by his strength of mind 
and force of will saved his fellows much sweat. He 
was a boss according to his opportunity. Stop at 
the corner of a vacant lot and see the boys at plav, 
and surely you will discover a leader whose com- 
mands his fellows instinctively obey. That boy is a 
boss and will make his way in any calling to which 
he may lay his hand. 

It is the economy of human life — the law of hu- 
man nature, 

Thomas Collier Piatt is what is designated in our 
political nomenclature a boss — that is to say, a 
leader of his party in the nation, and the leader of 
his party in his State. Bosses, so called, are as nec- 
essary to parties as generals are to armies. A bad 
general is a bad thing for an army, and a bad boss 
is a bad thing for a party. In both cases the test 
of goodness and badness is success, for war and 
politics are selfish games, and victory the goal all 
strive to reach. 

Perhaps "Tom" Piatt has not achieved in full de- 
gree the measure of success that came to Thurlow 
Weed, and perhaps Weed would not have achieved 
the measure of success that has come to Piatt had 
his field been as vast, his constituency as intelligent, 



282 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

and mugwumpery as prevalent and defiant. Weed 
studied and knew men, their ambitions, their vani- 
ties, their loves, their hatreds, their capacities for 
public life, and Weed could plow with the Demo- 
cratic heifer. These are tricks of the trade that Mr. 
Piatt comprehends thoroughly, and can employ dex- 
terously. Weed studied politics in a maple sugar 
camp ; Piatt studied politics at Yale College. Weed 
was editor of an organ ; Piatt was county clerk of 
Tioga County. Weed loved power, but refused of- 
fice; Piatt loves power and has not disdained office. 
Weed was the friend of Seward; Piatt was the 
friend of Conkling. Weed went down in defeat at 
Chicago in i860; Piatt suffered defeat at national 
conventions himself. Weed had an enemy in Hor- 
ace Greeley; Piatt had no very enthusiastic friend 
in Horace Greeley's successor. Weed made Zach- 
ary Taylor President of the United States; Piatt 
made Benjamin Harrison President of the United 
States. It would not be very difficult to extend the 
parallel. 

Piatt expected to be Secretary of Treasury, and 
give Tom Piatt that office, with a complaisant man 
in the White House, and he will make the nomina- 
tions, whoever makes the Presidents. John Sher- 
man was a superior politician, but with all the pa- 
tronage not only of the Treasury, but of all the de- 
partments, he could not nominate himself for Presi- 
dent. Ben Bristow failed. Daniel Manning did his 
political work before he entered the Cabinet. "Man- 
ning, you mortgaged me to the lips at Chicago, and 
I have paid the debt twice over," is the tribute 
Grover Cleveland is said to have paid the political 
work of his Secretary of Treasury. It would be 
worth the having of Piatt for Secretary of Treas- 



THOMAS C. PLATT 283 

ury if only to read what the Mugwumps would have 
to say about his appointment and his administra- 
tion. 

It is impossible to write of Thomas C. Piatt with- 
out taking a glance at the extra session of the 
United States Senate convened in March, 1881. 
General Garfield had been elected President after 
one of the most brilliant and desperate battles the 
Republican party ever fought. There were "Stal- 
warts" and "Featherheads." Conkling was the 
leader of the former, and Blaine was the leader of 
the latter. General Garfield was one of the most 
accomplished men who ever appeared in public life 
in this country. In a parliamentary debate he was 
Ajax; in the White House he was "Samson in a 
wig." It was inevitable that Blaine would domi- 
nate him. It is a long story — that campaign of 
1880 — and a many-tongued story; but there is as 
little doubt that Conkling elected Garfield as there 
is that Blaine nominated him. 

Grand and magnificent as was the Republican 
party, there was not room enough in its front rank 
for Roscoe Conkling and James G. Blaine. The 
issue was simple. Blaine was bound to reward Wil- 
liam H. Robertson for his work at Chicago; but Mr. 
Blaine could have shown his gratitude without grat- 
ifying his revenge. The appointment of Robertson 
to the office of collector of the port of New York 
was as much an assault on Conkling as it was a re- 
ward for the service rendered Blaine at Chicago. 
A dozen places could have been found for Rob- 
ertson, to either of which he might have been ap- 
pointed without serious demur from Conkhng. Giv- 
ing him the patronage of the New York custom- 



284 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 



house was notice served on Conkling that it was a 
fight to the finish. The tree of hate planted in 1866 
was yielding a harvest of revenge in 1881, a harvest 
that was completely garnered in 1884. 

The extra session of 1881 opened with a tactical 
blunder on the part of the Republicans. William 
Mahone, one of the fiercest fighters of Lee's heroic 
army, had been chosen a Senator by the Democrats 
of Virginia because he was both a Democrat and a 
repudiator, for appearance sake styled readjuster. 
A Quaker meeting would become hilarious hearing 
the utterances of the Republican Senators in ex- 
position of that term "readjuster." The argument 
was that it was bound to be respectable if opposed 
to the Democratic party, even if it was only an- 
other name for repudiator. Had Hancock been 
elected President, Mahone would never have thought 
of becoming a Republican. The thing was a trade, 
and a very bad trade for both parties to it. 

There were mutterings — ominous mutterings — in 
the great business circles North and East. Con- 
servative business men did not look with favor on 
this liaison with repudiation. If the party would go 
so far for the insignificant patronage of the Senate, 
how far would it not go for the boundless patronage 
of the whole Civil Service? 

Several sittings of the Senate were spent in the 
attempt of the Democrats to smoke Mahone out. 
The party that should receive his support would 
gain control of the Senate, and Mahone had not 
yet spoken. The Republicans confidently announced 
that they would organize the Senate — that they had 
the requisite votes — and this after David Davis, of 



THOMAS C. PLATT 285 

Illinois, had declared he would not vote with them. 
Thomas F. Bayard was the Democratic leader, but 
for this occasion Benjamin H. Hill came forward, 
and never a better man for such work. Sir Walter 
Scott makes John Balfour, of Burley, say that he 
had never met his match in single combat. And of 
Ben Hill it might be said he never met his master 
in parliamentary debate. 

That was a grandly eloquent oration — Robert G. 
Ingersoll's presentation of Blaine's name at Cincin- 
nati in 1876. It was a thrilling period — the plumed 
knight throwing his shining lance full and fair 
against the brazen face of treason, and all that. 
Perhaps Ben Hill was the "treason;" certain it was 
he was most of it. If one will take the trouble to 
cull from American oratory all the treason de- 
nounced by American orators, doubtless he will have 
on his hands the largest and completest assortment 
of patriotism and respectability that the Western 
Hemisphere could possibly show. And if one wdl 
take the pains to consult the "Life of James A. Gar- 
field," by A. G. Riddle, he will discover that, m the 
opinion of that author, intense Republican as he 
was, on the occasion to which Ingersoll referred 
the "plumed knight" was thoroughly and completely 
unhorsed by Hill. If you are of an inquiring mnul. 
get the Congressional Record, first session of the 
Forty-fourth Congress, read and judge for yourself. 
That debate was in the grand old days of the bloody- 
shirt and the outrage mill. Of a famous lord chan- 
cellor it is written : "In the history of the universe. 
no man has the praise of having effected as much 
good for his fellows as Lord Elden has thwarted 
The evil that Thaddeus Stevens visited on the Soutu 



286 ESSAYS BY SAVOYARD 

was tenfold more than all the good ten times ten 
Eldens could have thwarted. Hill was a protest 
against that evil — the strongest, and one of the most 
eloquent. 

Hill uncovered Mahone. He was not very deli- 
cate. Party spirit was high. Mr. Teller was then 
an intense Republican, and Hill put him in a rage. 
John A. Logan, the mad bull of debate, plunged 
forward, head down, admirable for his courage and 
ridiculous for his ignorance. Mr. Hoar bore a 
hand, and as a bloody-shirter he was second to none. 
Conkling repeatedly crossed swords with the great 
Georgian, and with 

The stern joy which warriors feel 
In foemen worthy of their steel. 

But now something occurred that made the Ma- 
hone episode forgotten. Garfield sent in the nomi- 
nation of William H. Robertson for collector of the 
port of New York. The country was startled. The 
time had come when Conkling and Blaine were face 
to face. The contest was unequal. The adminis- 
tration was new — in its honeymoon. Patronage 
was powerful. The issue was in the hands of the 
Democrats. The result is history. There is a story 
that Ben Hill served notice on Garfield and Blaine 
that he would have Mahone's head, or Conkling 
should have Robertson's. It may be true or false. 
It is certain that Mahoneism died of inanition, and 
that Federal patronage would have kept it alive. 

Conkling and Piatt resigned as Senators, and the 
shot that killed Garfield changed events. Plad the 
President lived, one of the most interesting political 
chapters of all history would have been that de- 
voted to his administration. 



THOMAS C. PLATT 287 

Senator Piatt is a politician — not the orator in 
politics, but the executive. He knows the state of 
the party pulse. His finger is on it always. He 
knows New York city and State. He knows what 
men hope and what men fear; what men love and 
what men hate. He is the head of his party in the 
Empire State. H there are Mugwumps there he 
can reckon with them. Awhile ago he gave them 
Tracey and they were not. Later he humored them 
with Low. They say it was a "sexless administra- 
tion, lacking in virility and fertility." Be that as it 
may, Piatt can be depended on to do the right thing 
at the right time from the standpoint of the stalwart 
partisan. He has fought Tammany, has beaten it 
and been beaten by it, and will again beat it and 
again be beaten by it. He is a successful business 
man, and it is inconceivable that such a man is in 
politics to put money in his purse. 

Doubtless he loves power, but it is altogether prob- 
able that he loves the game of politics best of all. 
That was an unique dinner — that "Amen Corner" 
affair. If some Boswell should give us the con- 
versations of the "Amen Corner" it would be the 
most valuable and the most interesting contribution 
imaginable to our political history of the last third 
of a century. 

Republics must be governed by parties, and it is a 
misfortune to our country that we do not have party 
government in the complete sense that England has 
it. Perhaps that will come. As long as ours is a 
republic we will have parties. As long as we have 
parties we will have Tom Platts. And as long as 
we have Tom Platts we will have Mugwumps. Pol- 
itics is not an exact science, and until it becomes so 
there will be bosses. 



JUL 26 1904 



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