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Full text of "The Tragic Era The Revolution After Lincoln"

THE TRAGIC ERA 

The Revolution after Lincoln 




ANDKW JOONHON 



COPYRIGHT, 1929, BY CLAUDE C. BOWERS 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO REPRODUCE 
THIS BOOK OR PARTS THEREOF IN ANY FORM 



CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS 
MINTED IN THE U.S.A. 



PREFACE 

IF Hilaire Belloc is right IB his opinion that * readable history is 
melodrama/ the true story of the twelve tragic years that fol- 
lowed the death of Lincoln should be entertaining. They were 
years of revolutionary turmoil, with the elemental passions pre- 
dominant, and with broken bones and bloody noses among the 
fighting factionalists. The prevailing note was one of tragedy, 
though, as we shall see, there was an abundance of comedy, and 
not a little of farce. Never have American public men in responsi- 
ble positions, directing the destiny of the Nation, been so brutal, 
hypocritical, and corrupt* The Constitution was treated as a door- 
mat OB which politicians and army officers wiped their feet after 
wading in the muck. Never has the Supreme Court been treated 
with such ineffable contempt,, and never has that tribunal so often 
cringed before the clamor of the mob. 

So appalling is the picture of these revolutionary years that even 
historians have preferred to overlook many essential things. Thus, 
Andrew Johnson who fought the bravest battle for constitutional 
liberty and for the preservation of our institutions ever waged by 
an Executive., until recently was left in the pillory to which un- 
scrupulous gamblers for power consigned him, because the un- 
varnished truth that vindicates Mm makes so many statues in 
public squares and parks seem a bit grotesque. That Johnson was 
maligned by his enemies because he was seeking honestly to carry 
out the conciliatory and wise policy of Lincoln is now generally 
understood, but even now few realise how intensely Lincoln was 
Kated by the Radicals at the time of his death* 

A complete understanding of this period calls for a reappraisal of 
many public men. Some statesmen we have been taught to rever- 
ence will appear in these pages in sorry rdles. Others, who played 
conspicuous parts, but have been denied the historical recognition 
due them, are introduced and shown in action. Thus the able lead- 
ers of the minority in Congress are given fuller treatment than has 
been fashionable, since they represented more Americans, North 



VI 

and South, than the leaders of the Radical majority, and were 
nearer right on the issues of reconstruction- Thus, too, the brilliant 
and colorful leaders and spokesmen of the South are given their 
proper place in the dramatic struggle for the preservation of 
Southern civilisation and the redemption of their people, I have 
sought to re-create the black and bloody drama of these years, to 
show the leaders of the fighting factions at close range, to picture 
the moving masses, both whites and blacks, in North and South, 
surging crawly under the influence of the poisonous propaganda on 
which they were fed. 

That the Southern people literally were put to the torture is 
vaguely understood, but even historians have shrunk from the un- 
happy task of showing us the torture chambers. It is impossible to 
grasp the real significance of the revolutionary proceedings of the 
rugged conspirators working out the policies of Thaddeiift Stevens 
without making many journeys among the Southern people, and 
seeing with our own eyes the indignities to which, they were sub- 
jected. Through many unpublished contemporary family letters 
and diaries, I iave tried to show the psychological effect upon 
them of the despotic policies of which they were the victims. 
Brutal men, inspired by personal ambition or party motives* as- 
sumed the pose of philanthropists and patriots* and thus deceived 
and misguided vast numbers of well-meaning people in the North. 

lot the effort to re-create the atmosphere mid temper of the 
times* I have made free use of the newspapers of those times* In- 
valuable for this purpose has been my access to the unpublished 
diary of George W. Julian* which covers the entire period. Through 
him we are able to sit in at important conferences that hitherto 
have been closed to the historians. 

Much attention has been given to the amusements and the so- 
cial background because of the unprecedented prominence of 
women throughout these struggles. Gay ribbons and furbelows 
and flirting fans were not far distant from the %hting* The wo- 
men ranged in culture and character from the incomparable Kate 
Chase Sprague to the dusky sisters of the mixed salon in Columbia, 
South Carolina, Never had women lobbyists used their sex i& 
securing legislative favors for selfish groups so braomly -~ - or so 
cleverly. The tragedy of Mrs. BeUoiap is as significant of the 



vii 

spirit of the times as the Impeachment proceedings against John- 
son., 

The story of this Revolution is one of desperate enterprises, by 
daring and unscrupulous men, some of whom had genius of a high 
order. In these no Americans can take pride. The evil that they 
did lives after them. They changed the course of history, and 
whether for ultimate good or bad is still on the lap of the gods, 
The story carries lessons that are well worth pondering. 

CLAUDE G. BOWERS 



CONTENTS 

I. *THE KING is DEAD; LONG LIVE THE KING' 3 

Lincoln dies At the Kirkwood House Johnson in the streets Takes the 
oath Consternation in the South - Radicals see obstacle removed Their at- 
titude toward Lincoln Hopeful of Johnson Doubtful of Grant Sumner's 
call on Johnson A party caucus *His death a godsend to our cause' Con- 
ference to oust Lincoln's Cabinet Ben Butler for Secretary of State A Sunday 
conference with Johnson Ben Butler arrives 'Must not administer on the es- 
tate of Lincoln' -Sunday night with Stanton Butler's Eadical war-cry 
Johnson to visiting delegations Lincoln's funeral - Johnson's routine New 
faces Working on Johnson Sumner prefers him to Lincoln Doubt on negro 
suffrage - The Democrats and Johnson Master of the Back Stairs Demand 
for negro suffrage Fhillips's Theodore Tilton's The North Carolina Procla- 
mation Radicals turn on Johnson Sumner shocked Schurz goes South - 
Low estate of the Presidency A bad summer for former Presidents The 
Cooper Union meeting Logan supports Johnson Anti-negro feeling in North 

Eace riots General Sherman against suffrage Radicals organize Union 
League Club sends negro organisers South Boston mass meeting Julian tours 
Indiana against Johnson Morton replies Julian answers 'Hang liberally* 

Thad Stevens at Lancaster His speech * Confiscate' Johnson's busy 
days His receptions His health Negro suffrage gains The President of 
Vassar ~ Johnson's plain talk to negro committee Phillips's obscene comment. 

II, ANDBEW JOHNSON: A POETKAIT 24 

Henry Adams's impressions Charles Dickens's Charles Francis Adams's 
Johnson's dress His form and features His father An old bit of gossip A 
bitter boyhood His pride Goes to Tennessee Educates himself His class 
consciousness * Social distinctions at Greeneville His shop a Jacobin club 
Enters politics for democracy A Jeffersonian A Jacksonian Labor's candi- 
date In Congress Constructive ability His Homestead fight Battles for 
the Union Military Governor * Nominated for Vice-President as a Democrat 

His constitutional amendments - A social revolutionist His views on slavery 

Ou Brown's raid *I shall not worship at his shrine' His views of war pur- 
posesLike Lincoln His religion Fight against Know-Nothings His 
drinking His intoxication at inauguration A moderate drinker His oratory 

His courage His honesty His craftiness Nursed no resentments His 
tireless energy His intellectual power Tactlessness Tenderness to family 

Susceptible to woman's beauty Personal purity His two great passions. 

TIL WITH CHASE AMONG THE KUINS 45 

Chase starts South Desolate highways Homes in ashes Ruin in Charleston 

Jn Columbia The call to charity No money Plantation destitution 
The labor problem Former slaves and masters Turning negroes against old 
masters The work of Northern demagogues - Freedmen refuse work - Forty 
acres and a mule Following the army Flock to towns Religious frenzy 
God's chosen children ' We'se de wmnln' culler' Demanding the vote Army 
of occupation Playing on credulity of negroes Debauching colored girls 
Idle soldiers * Officers in best homes Conflicts of civil and military authority 

Effect of negro soldiers Acts of brutality The spirit of Southern women 



x CONTENTS 

A social tragedy at Chapel Hill Reports on the spirit of the South Chase's 
electioneering tour Urges vote for negroes Receives negro delegations His 
Charleston meeting A picturesque scene Raises false hopes Northern re- 
actions to Charleston speech * Incendiary talk '-Chase to Sen-Islanders ~~ 

* Roll, Jordan, roll ' In Savannah Desolation Chase talks politics to blacks 

Hears white protests on mixed schools Scenes at Jacksonville Talks suf- 
frage Reviews negro parade in Mobile - At New Orleans - Confers with poli- 
ticians - Attends negro party in former home of the Soules A burlesque scene 

Negro women have charms Chase resents North Carolina Proclamation 
Southern civilization in peril Southern legislation on negroes Radical reac- 
tion North * Convert Mississippi into a frog pond* - Professor Dunning's opin- 
ion of the Black (.odes Thad Stevens meditates action. 

IV. THADDEUB STEVENS: A POETRAIT 05 

In his Lancaster home His dandified youth - Careless old age His hunting 

days Daring in the chase Lusty swimmer Severe countenance Debili- 
tation and force His bitterness Wild gayety Ilia painful candor - A revo- 
lutionistLike Marat His childhood poverty Talleyrand hia father?* 
His mother At Dartmouth Early hatred of aristocracy - Against college 
fraternities At Gettysburg His hatred of Jackson Contradictory character 

Leader of anti-Masons The Buckshot War Moves to Lancaster Rela* 
tions with Whig machine First period in Congress Hatred of slavery Re- 
tirement - Returns to Congress Against Lincoln for nomination 'War'"" 
Opposes Crittenden Resolution * Who pleads the Constitution?' Would arm 
the slaves The Danton of the War Distrusts Lincoln" His character ~- 
Cynical of human nature Despises hypocrisy His bitter tongue Illustra- 
tions of his invective His oratory The jollity of Marat Compared with 
the French Revolutionists His wit and humor' * Would not steal a red-hot 
stove* A man's man His reading No social life His gambling Gam- 
bling stories Views on religion - His business ventures Ills honesty 
Relations with Lydia Smith, mulatto Her place in his household Mistress or 
housekeeper? Contemporary stories - The cemetery incident Charge of 

* Lancaster Intelligencer' Views on social equality No constructive ability 

His fight for public schools Uncompromising Greatest of congressional 
leaders. 

V. 'THE WAB GOBS ON* 85 
Colfax reaches Washington A Radical serenade Sounds keynote against 
Johnson * Stanton'a treachery begins Strainer protests to Johnson A party 
caucus Stevens in command Raymond fails to fight The Committee of 
Fifteen The opening fight Revolutionary scene in House Senate figures; 
Sumner, Ben Wade, 'Pcssendeu, TrumbulL Hendricks House figures: Stevens 
Brooks, Voorhces, Henry Raymond Tennessee representatives excluded *- 
Stevens's arrogance His fling at Beecher Insult to the President His men- 
sage Sumner outraged Grant reports South peaceful ~ Johnson moves with 
caution Stevens opens the attack Scones during the delivery Picture* 
Taney in hell Raymond's reply Voorhces outlines PemowiU* policy 
Bingham replies to Voorhecs The war goes on Effect on Washington society 

Mrs. Tayloe Kate Chase Sprague Johnson's receptions Politics In 
society French Minister suspected Hia brilliant function Society divides 

Ristori playing Handel's 'Messiah 1 Julia Ward Howe Statesmen and 
spiritualism At Cora Pamela's Demand negro suffrage for District of Colum- 
biaScenes in the debate Voorhees's amendment Stevens'* sneering wsply 

Baymond surrenders Stevens smiles Wild Radical jubilation on floor 



CONTENTS xi 

Frederick Douglass calls OB Johnson Johnson's talk Douglass's retort 
Continuing the Preedmen's Bureau An engine of party Johnson consults 
Cabinet - Their reactions Johnson's veto Trumbull replies Veto sus- 
tained Excitement In front of Willard Hotel Kage of Radicals Beecher 
praises veto Tilton reports on Beecher Scene in Senate General Sherman 
'goes with Johnson' Washington's Birthday Radicals pay tribute to Lincoln's 
enemy Street scenes A Johnson mass meeting Johnson serenaded His 
fighting speech Press reaction Seward delighted Raymond too Gar- 
rison denounces Seward Beecher reports an anti-Johnson lie Stevens's clever 
reply in House He moves forward. 

VI. THE FINAL BREAK 107 
Stevens forces the fighting - Plans a two-thirds majority Unseats Voorhees 

( That fatal two-thirds/ says Stevens The Civil Rights Bill The debate It 
passes Stanton urges Johnson to sign Johnson's veto Radicals unseat 
Senator Stockton Shocking discourtesies Stevens demands a Radical in 
Stockton's seat Excitement before vote on veto Street and hotel scenes 
Johnson in the fight Mrs. Clay unable to see him Radicals postpone vote 
Ben Wade rejoices over a Senator's sickness Carrying the sick into the Senate 
- Veto overridden Radical celebration Plan to monopolize Grant's reception 

* The President of the United States* Effect on Radical guests House over- 
rides veto Johnson urged to dismiss Stanton Stevens's amendment to Four- 
teenth Amendment His revolutionary speech Blaine protests And Garfield 

Stevens obdurate Raymond speaks against it Stevens's cynical reply 
Would *make a penitentiary of the South* Raymond again surrenders Negro 
cheers in galleries ~ Stevens's amendment killed in Senate Fourteenth 
Amendment made in party caucus Hendricks protests Stevens accepts Senate 
action- His bitter speech Johnson's courageous action New Freedmen's 
Bureau Bill Steedman-Fullerton report Bill passes Johnson's powerful 
veto The party whip applied Veto overridden Greed working behind the 
scenes Money-making mania- John Sherman pessimistic Jay Cooke 
Bribery talk Land grants Johnson warns of moneyed aristocracy The 
Northern Pacific lobby Trend to Hamiltonian centralization Agricultural 
depression Farmers protest against the tariff Republican insurgency 
Personalities increase Cabinet serenaded - Stanton's careful speech Tilton 
dissatisfied Johnson rebukes Forney He speaks at a fair 'Dead dog in the 
White House* Cabinet breaks Death of Preston King and Senator Lane 
Johnson's summer diversions Stevens's Military Reconstruction Johnson's 
friends plan National Convention protest The Philadelphia Convention 
Raymond in trouble Wild scenes in party caucus Reckless revolutionary talk 

Stanton caught * The Conventions. 

VII. PATKIOTS MOB A PRESIDENT 127 

The Memphis riots Terror in New Orleans Partisan interpretations John- 
son begins * swing around the circle' To speak for his policies Washington 
ovation sends him off Vain attempt to ignore him at Philadelphia Ovation 
there Scene at Union League Club Scenes of Philadelphia speech At 
Newark The New York triumph Street scenes Banquet at Delmonico's 
Johnson's patriotic speech Midnight crowds Drives in Central Park Races 
with Grant At Albany Rome Buffalo Introduced by Fillmore 
"Wearisome journey to Cleveland Scenes in train Grant in baggage coach 
Johnson worn Vast throngs in cloudy Cleveland Shouts and thunder of 
artillery Street scenes Hans to mob him "Cleveland Herald's' circulars 



xii CONTENTS 

Drunken hecklers paid Johnson's home thrusts at hecklers Ovation on mor- 
row The Norwalk mob Chicago The St, Louis mob Decent reception 
at Terre Haute- The Indianapolis outrage * Indianapolis Journal * apologizes * 
The spirit there General Custer denounces mob at New Market The Pitts- 
burgh mob - Grant orders mob home there Lies about the trip - Lowell's 
contribution - Stevens's satiric speech at Lancaster ~ The campaign Politics 
in the Soutb Carpetbaggers and demagogues working on negroes The Four- 
teenth Amendment Denounced over South The reason * Outrage mills * ~ 
The * bloody shirt' ' Public Ledger's* canard Morton's * bloody shirt 1 speech 
- Zack Chandler's * Eoscoe Conkling's Wendell Phillips demands impeach- 
ment Ben Butler joins in - Raymond retires Beecher surrenders la at- 
tacked by Cox Nast's cartoons Elizabeth Cady Stanton attacks Radicals 
Seymour's campaign speech - Radicals win Celebration in Cooke's bank 
England thinks the republic overturned. 

VIII. THE REVOLUTION HUBBIES ON 148 

Radical conferences Stevens feeble, but determined Congress hailed as the 
Government ~~ The civic procession The scenes in streets Ste vena's affront 
to the President Radicals meet marchers on East Portico The banquet at 
night The revolutionary scene - Busts and pictures Johnson with Hisfcori 
that day Stormy party caucus Like meeting of the Jacobins Tongues 
lashing the President' Stevens feels *too conservative* Raymond insulted *"~ 
Stevens lashes him *Put him out' ~- Stevcns's rooms crowded - Confers with 
carpetbaggers Military government or negro suffrage Suffrage voted in 
District Johnson's veto Stanton again hostile If in the District, why not 
in the South? The Washington atmosphere Jobless men Suspicions in so- 
ciety Johnson's receptions and levees Grant's receptions * ( -harles Sutnncr's 
marriage Mrs. Sumner Gossip * Separation Vinnic Ream's studio-""" 
Joe Jefferson playing And Forrest The Milligan decision -"* Stevens de- 
nounces the Court Submits his Military Bill 'I avow the party purpose* "" 
Raymond protests Elaine and Bingham would fk time limit Stevens attacks 
them And prevails 'Heaven rules as yet* Senate accepts Blaine-Binglnim 
amendment - Stevens enraged His motive Promises a confiscation bill 
The Tenure-of -Office Act Hendricks attacks it Johnson considiit ( labuiet on 
two bills - Stanton advises veto of Tenure-of-Office Act - Helps prepare it - 
Johnson's weariness and depression Masterful vetoes Passed over veto 
'Impeachment our only remedy * Caucus on impeachment - An impeachment 
resolution ~ Johnson charged with Lincoln's assassination A disgraceful scene 

The investigation a farce Character of Ashley Blaine doubts impeach- 
ment demand - Stevens replies Adjournment Democrats carry ( Connecticut 

Stevens uneasy at Lancaster Rebukes Henry Wilson's conciliation talk " 
Plans confiscation Interview with Southern editor Johnson's failing health - 
Grant harassed by politicians Johnson's journey to Raleigh Had a drink at 
Chapel Hill Putting Military Bill in operation Stanbery's interpretation - 
General Sheridan's insolent message Stevens urges quorum for extra s^imon "- 
Labor on rampage Johnson's Boston trip Thad Stevens'a lost interview with 
'New York Herald' How secured * Causes sensation Extra sfWMcm~ 
Stevens's debility Butler on murder charge - Congress acts on Military Bill 
Serenade for Stevens Johnson's veto Passed over veto The Cowover scma- 
dal Impeachment talk Stevens urges action Johnson octfl on Slanton 
His defiance -"Grant is going over*- Agreement with Grant Bheridan re* 
moved Disciplining of Grant begins Attacks on his presidential candidacy * 
Ben Butler's detectives Abuse of Mrs. Lincoln Democrats gain heavily 
Stevens loses Lancaster Celebration at Washington The Cookes depressed* 



CONTENTS xlli 

IX. THE GREAT AMERICAN FARCE 171 

Stevens tottering Johnson's reception Attends Jackson dinner Plans court 
appeal in Stanton case Grant breaks his word Surrenders office to Stanton 
Johnson's statement The Johnson-Grant correspondence Grant's poor show- 
ing Stevens's comment Grant joins the revolutionists Character of Stan- 
ton Senate gets notice of his removal Scene in Senate Declares removal 
illegal Crowds in streets Johnson appoints Thomas Stanton guarded in his 
office Talk of civil war Rush to the Capitol Scene in House Stevens's 
manner and appearance Offers impeachment resolution The scene at night 
Bitter debate Scenes on Sunday A snowy Monday Scene in House 
Stevens closes debate 'At grips with death' Impeachment by party vote 
Scene that night at White House Scenes in committee preparing articles Pro- 
fanity of Stevens and Bingbam Their quarrels Reactions Johnson attends 
Chase reception He chooses lawyers The infamy of Jere Black Base use of 
Black's action Demand for tickets Thad Stevens at home Is carried to his 
seat 'What will 1 do when you boys are dead?' Is carried to Senate His 
ghastly appearance Scene in Senate Date for trial fixed Stevens thought 
dead His lyrical speech His home pictured Johnson hears from friends 
Stanton barricaded Johnson's sizzling veto Butler's speech Clemenceau's 
criticism ~ Senate scenes the first week - Curtis speaks Testimony for de- 
fenseSuppressing material evidence Evarts rebukes Senate He confers 
with General Schofield, who accepts nomination for Stanton's place Events 
during the trial Dickens Maggie Mitchell Fanny Kemble Dan Rice's 
Circus Johnson's calmness and dignity Holds receptions Attends funeral 
of negro steward * Wade arranging his Cabinet Grosbeck's great speech 
Stevens's pathetic effort - Deathlike face Evarts's brilliant speech Stan- 
bery's Bad news for impeachers Fessenden Attempts to bully him 
Grant canvasses for votes Detectives follow Senators The persecution of 
Vinnie Beam Gambling on the result Bingham's dull speech and staged 
demonstration. - Five days of madness Ben Butler ready to buy votes In- 
timidation The G, A.R. M. E. Church Conference Johnson in touch 
Night conference with Grimes Senate behind closed doors Hysteria at the 
Willard Betting on results Grimes for acquittal A sad afternoon Night 
scenes at Capitol The terror stage Persecuting Miss Ream Abuse of Fes- 
senden and Trumbull The lash for Henderson Grant canvasses Frelinghuysen 

Church influence and Willey Chase's dinner Watched by spies Sunday 
scenes- A negro sermon -The fateful morning The night before Dan 
Sickles and Miss Ream Intimidation of Ross The galleries The scene 
below Howard on a stretcher Grimes carried in The roll-call Stevens 
black with rage Rush to the White House The grounds that night John- 
son serenaded The Butler 'investigation* Greeley's shameless comments 
Revenge on Vinnie Ream. 

X. CARPETBAGGERS AND A PROTEST 198 

Union League emissaries in South Consolidating negro vote The Union 
League Club Inciting blacks against native whites Organizing on plantations 

Fteedmon's Bureau agents* part Incendiary speakers Low types 
Preaching social equality for votes - Hunnicutt of Virginia Advises stealing 
Negroes better than Irishmen Brownlow of Tennessee Preedmen taught 
arrogance - Dangers to whites Women on plantations Riots in Virginia 
In New Orleans Use of the church Northern politicians on speaking tours 
Henry Wilson 'Pig Iron* Kelley His inflammatory Mobile speech Union 
League forms secret negro clubs It gets reports on progress Psychology 
of negro organizing Intimidating doubtful negroes' Negro women The 



xiv CONTENTS 

organizing in Texas Alabama Florida - North Carolina Negroes armed 
- A political catechism for the blacks Mrs. Stowc disgusted Organising 
Republican Party in South - The conventions and their personnel Longatrcct 
joins Republicans Lee declines The factional fight in Virginia The Union 
League as arbitrator - Hunnicutt wins Florida carpetbag leaders -~ Joe Brown 
of Georgia Effect of his apostasy Praised by Greeley - Depression and 
hopelessness in South Benjamin H. Hill steps forth His portrait His call to 
arms The Davis Hall speech His * Notes on the Situation' The South 
encouraged Registration under the sword Military outrages Military 
satraps feed party press Circulating Forney's paper at public expense Per- 
sonnel of constitutional conventions Humorous incidents Stealing begins - 
Organizing against ratification The result Carpetbaggers take possession* 

XI. A PASSING PHASE 

Stevens gags at treatment of Vinnie Ream Forces restoration of her studio 
Buchanan's death His relations with Stevens - Gestures of reconciliation - 
House refuses vote of respect 8tcvens's distress Refused permission to offer 
resolution Flickering flame Stevens on the bond question Last speeeli 
Too feeble to return to Lancaster Respect of his enemies His last day** -*" 
Deathbed scenes Guarded by colored Zouaves Taken to Capitol To the 
station Scene en route At Lancaster - His will His epitaph - Grunt 
doubts about nomination - Republican charges against him Phillips's sneer - 
Theodore Tilton's Satisfies the Radicals - Nominated The platform**- 
Joe Brown's Convention speech Democrats divided on money * The five- 
twenty bonds Johnson's hopes Chase's strength in Democratic Convention 

Canvassing the prospects Pendlcton's popularity ~ HendricktTs strength 
New York's position Convention scenes Street orators Vance's fling '* 
Seymour's nomination Effect on Johnson On Chase - A weird campaign ~*" 
Grant and Seymour compared No enthusiasm Seymour's organizing plan 
Buying Washington correspondents Slush funds Jay Cooke the Republican 
angel Nast's cartoons * Bloody Shirt* * What Answer?" and political u*e of 
the novel Anna Dickinson 'The World's* comments The * outrage mill* at 
work Republican demonstration in Philadelphia The Democratic in New 
York Whigs join Southern Democrats Painful process John Quincy 
Adams II His great speeches Hot fight in Georgia *- The Buah Arbor 
meeting Ben Hill's speech Frank Blair's letter - Grant elected Jolinon* 
children's party His New Year reception Morton attends Also Ben Bwt- 
ler The latter's explanation The brilliant last recaption White Hmtue 
scenes the last night Johnson does not ride with Grant Grant'it inaugural 

Cabinet speculation Mystery * Press praises independence of politicians 

The result Stewart Boric -*- The Cabinet Press comments ~ Julian's 

Henry Adams's- The case of Stewart Schxxws amazed Impossible ap~ 
pointments Embarrassment of Fish and Hoar Appointing *lanu dudes* 
Ashley rewarded Nepotism On gift-taking Johnson's journey home. 

XII. WASHINGTON: THE SOCIAL BACKGROUND 242 

Physical Washington Marks of war Mired on F Street - t Jnpaved streets * 

Street ears Street vendors Dearth of houses ~~ "Rich move in Tourfatf 
arrive Street scenes Favorite drivoa ** Bar-rooms " w Gambling^houAes *~ 

John Chamberlin's He takes the British -Legation His dinner* His gam** 

bling-rooms Midnight lunches for players John "Weleher* wwteurwit The 
host Headquarters of statesmen and lobbykts Fwitty women Hfetory 
made there -8am Ward's restaurant Its tone Host fit companion for 

Sheridan and Moore Wormley'a Hotel The Wilkrd Hotel hop * Mr* 



CONTENTS xv 

John B. Henderson's receptions 2ack Chandler sets dizzy pace Miss Chand- 
ler - Her marriage New social tone Much vulgarity Receptions an 
* epidemic* Crashing the gates Expenses Walt Whitman Ruined by 
* Leaves of Grass' His mode of living His Mend John Burroughs socially 
cut also Mark Twain's social season Julia Ward Howe Gail Hamil- 
ton Mrs. Southworth Anna Dickinson Vinnie Ream Forney's salon 
Shepherd's parties * As soon enter a house of prostitution' Peggy Eaton back 

Jessie Fremont Benton Mrs. John Tyler The Decatur house The 
Beale girls Henry Adams's idea of society Exclusives and the mob Mrs. 
Blaine's *odds and ends' Snobbery The pretty wife of an old Senator The 
social swirl A luncheon Reception nights Street scenes Scenes within 

Flirtations and huge fans Long trains Mrs. Schurz shocked Kate 
Chase Sprague Her brilliance and beauty Her father's devotion Belle of 
the town at twenty Deep in politics Her marriage Social leader at twenty- 
four Her gorgeous gowns and rich ornaments Outshines her adornment 
Her homes -Her dinners Her first baby a national event The grand 
lady One of her receptions Portrait of her Secret of her charm Mrs. 
Belknap the first Her triumph Death Second Mrs. Belknap Dashing 
Kentucky belle Gossip Her Parisian season Her extravagance Two 
natures Her receptions Her gowns Her equipage A Worth gown 
Description Mrs. Williams Appearance and charm Her ambition 
Snobbery Blunder - Mrs. Hamilton Fish Her regal carriage Social 
mentor of Mrs. Grant Grand manner Her home Lady Thornton Mme. 
de Noailles - Her cleverness Mme. Potesdad's beauty Mme. Flores, the 
exquisite Ecuadorian Mme. Garcia Her brush with Mrs. Fish Social bril- 
liance Appearance - - Minerva, not Venus Talks with Grant Her thirty 
thousand dollars in plate - Her novel Mme. Catacazy Description Her 
early scandal- Her home Her gambling Receives Grand Duke Alexis 
Supper on the lawn. 

XIII. A SEASON OF SCANDAL 263 
Death of General Rawlins Grant's first misfortune Death of Raymond 

Of Pierce, Kendall, and Robert J. Walker Fillmore writing Finding fault 
with Hoar Not a spoilsman Mrs. Stowe enlivens the summer defending 
Lady Byron Grant at Long Branch Scenes there Grant's life there 
Gould and Fisk Grant their guest- Tone of the time Rockefeller Jay 
Cooke Country money-mad Lobbyists Tweed Fenton Scandals in 
the West - Money power Johnson attacks corruptions Hits Grant 
Serenaded in Washington Benews attack on Grant A diplomat takes social 
equality of races too seriously Senator Sprague attacks money power His 
sensational speeches Attacks Cameron A near duel The Gold Corner 
The case of Corbin Grant dragged in Black Friday Fisk turns on ac- 
cusers Corbin caught Butterfield Henry Adams mystified about Grant 
Redemption of Virginia Grant helps The Mississippi campaign Grant 
joins Radicals there -Hia letter to Dent Latter's hot reply Mississippi 
passes to the carpetbaggers Bevels, negro, elected to Senate Johnson's 
campaigning in Tennessee His meetings described Loses Takes defeat 
gracefully John Quiney Adams Democratic candidate ia Massachusetts His 
speeches - Year end$ in melodrama. 

XIV. WEIRD SCHEMES AND NEW LEADERS 383 
Brilliant social season An unequaled lobby Women lobbyists Their 
methods Playing tip sex Corruption rampant Tariff demands Farmers 



xvi CONTENTS 

grumbling Railroad grafting Cooke and the Northern Pacific His lobby 
- Remembers statesmen with stock Fighting for a subsidy A hare! battle 
Blame helps Also Grant - Lobbies for Cooke's bill Insurgency in Cabinet 

Grant reports to Henry Cooke Passing of old idealists - New leaders - 
Morton Conkling Chandler Thurman Bayard The negro Senator 
appears His ovation Attends mixed parties - A social error at Forney's 
Revels's maiden speech Ratification of Fifteenth Amendment Grant sere- 
naded in honor of event Political expectations from Amendment ** The fate of 
a negro cadet at West Point Grant's San Domingo scheme Amassing blunders 

Military diplomacy Babcock How it was done Fiah shocked 
Grant calls on Sumner Mistakes his meaning Schurz startled by Grant's 
request Senate committee delays action Grant turns on Sumner An ad- 
verse report Grant lobbies at the Capitol Stunner's speech Grant lobbies 
again Fight grows bitter ~ Morton leads for Grant - Cracks party whip - 
Mass meeting at Cooper Union Fish calls on Sumner Offers him British 
mission Eatification defeated Motley recalled from England - Blow at 
Sumner * The story of "Revenge"*-- -The Georgia scandal Stealing there 

Governor Bullock seeks extension of term His lobbying - His luxury 
Bribes papers Gives costly dinners - Uses women to influence votes "** Pic- 
tured in the Senate Is defeated Hoar forced out - Mrs, Lincoln's pension 
denied Suicide of French Minister Chivalrous comment of German Minister 
1 Centralisation increasing Grant's conference with North Carolina Senators'- 
Plans to carry North Carolina through terror Grant * warmly approved/ 

XV. THE KLAN AND THE KIRK WAE 306 

The Ku-Klux Klan Its organisation and purpose -The experiment - The 
effect on freedmen On agitators Need for regulators * llape daughter of 
Reconstruction. Peril of white women Klan psychology - The, man killed at 
Shiloh- Blood-curdling * General Orders' The JKltm and the cotton tax 
Dealing with carpetbaggers ~~ The organization spreads General Forrest 
His leadership High types in command Spurious JKlans Personal revenge 

Radicals make political use of Klans General Forrest denounces lawleflttnww 
- Orders unmasking - Lawless Klans continue Offer excuse for carpctliag 
militias Brownlow's militia Scott's Holdexi of North Carolina Charts 
ter - Appearance - Ambition and weakness John Pool bis evil genius**-* 
Pool's power in Washington His domineering leadership Jeers at white wo- 
menGeneral Littlefield and railroad stealing -A scene in North Carolina 
Legislature Corruption and drunkenness - Pear of the election ~~ Holder) 
urged to terrorize State with militia - Hesitates Plan to use militia for party 
purposes Holden's correspondence - Conflicting currents Pool calls party 
conference The scene in Holden's office - Pool warns Holdeu that Washington 
is not satisfied Proposes an army, trials by military commissions, and no writ 
Says Grant favors it Pool suggests a pirate for coxnxnauder " One who would 
murder Holden excited - Pool turns it off Kirk made commander Pool 
hurries to Washington His campaign of misrepresentation Keeping Holctan's 
courage up He proclaims martial law Reaction in the North Republican 
protests in North Carolina Character ol Kirk and his men Their ignorance 
-The march of his army An undisciplined mob The terrorising of the 
people Defying courts Torturing prisoners ~ Denunciation by Turner of 
* Raleigh Sentinel* Breaking up Democratic meetings Denunciation by 
'The Nation' and 'New York World 1 Democrats sweep State Treatment of 
Turner Courts intervene Kirk arrested Allowed to escape- (Hwi 
position in Washington' Impeachment of Holden Light on 'outrage*' ~~ 
Alarm in Washington, 



CONTENTS xvii 

XVI. STJMNBR'S BACK TO THE WALL 37 
Cox driven from Cabinet Gossip about tlie women The McGarrahan claim 

Cox against it Grant would put it up to Congress Morton on Cox 
Adverse report Administration discipline Claim goes through Beck's 
attacks Garfield's disgust Nation on Grant's lost reputation Democrats 
win elections Grant revives San Domingo scheme He lobbies with Blame 
A Commission of Inquiry Greeley on San Domingo scheme Closing in on 
Sumner The gossips' work Summer's * Dance of Blood' speech Attacks 
Babcock Accuses Grant Scene in Senate Attacks on Sumner Morton's 

Chandler's Conkling's Garrison's indignation Sumner's unintentional 
affront to Grant Charles Sumner: a portrait Excuse for degrading him 
Caucus plans his removal The party lash Excitement in Senate Tipton 
lets cat out of bag Schurz*s speech TrumbulPs 'Make it Committee on 
Personal Relations" Faces of Senators during roll-call Sumner ousted 
Simon Cameron made chairman Summer's resolutions on San Domingo 
Scenes in and about the Capitol Sumner's philippic Loud talking Morton 
replies Serious dissensions within party Scandal reaches out for Orville 
Grant Julian's philippic against corruption Union League plans revival of 
wax hates Calls on Grant Morton's resolution on * outrages* Grant's re- 
ply Press propaganda The Ku-Khix Act Grant's Proclamation on * out- 
rages* in South Carolina Viciousness of Ku-Klux Act A brilliant, bitter de- 
bate Morton wants Act to extend until after election Martial law and no 
habeas corpus' John Quincy Adams on the Act Wendell Phillips's blood- 
thirsty speech - General Sherman's disgust Ben Butler waves * bloody shirt* 

*New York Herald' correspondent exposes the mockery Unable to get Ku- 
Klux Act to Supreme Court South Carolina corruptionists make it pay Val- 
landighanTs *New Departure' The reaction. 

XVII. LAND AND YEAR OF JUBILEE 348 
Columbia, South Carolina A drive through the old fashionable section 
Governor Scott His criminal group BVank Moses Belationa with negroes 

A degenerate Scott's infamy Scott and Pauline Markham * Honest' 
John Patterson His record The colored Madame Eoland of the Radicals 
Her salon The Bollin sisters described Their relations to the lobby A 
visit to the Legislature Dress of members Feet on desks Horse-play of 
statesmen. E. B, Elliott speaks Illiteracy of members Cracking of peanuts, 
stamping of feet ~ The bar-room - Champagne and liquor for members and 
friends - And cigars and hams And fine clothes for members' mistresses 
Moseft loses a bet House appropriates to cover the loss Night in Columbia 

Bribery *I stole it* *Let them prove it* Party press subsidized from 
treasury * Newspaper graft Corruption in State bonds Pay-certificate steals 

State money furnishes Moses* room at boarding-house Why South Carolina 
bad to submit- -The negro majority The ignorance How Charleston was 
disfranchised Persecution of Democratic negroes Daddy Cain rebels The 
case of James I*. Orr Appalling bitterness of whites Scott's militia and con- 
stables in elections He imports the Kerrigan Gang from New York Grant 
awur.es Scott Federal assistance - Easy to hold power At Tallahassee Little- 
field again His wholesale bribery of legislature Carpetbag leaders in Florida 

How they cultivated the blacks * Jesus Christ was a Republican' At 
Montgomery A legislative scene there A room set aside for bribery The 
scale for the leaders At New Orleans The city's life Governor Warmoth 
Character and career Saves one hundred thousand dollars on eight thousand 
dollars' salary Scenes in the legislature -- *My God!' Slumming parties to 
the legislature Bribery th rule The system of holding power 



xviii CONTENTS 

Warmoth's rivals Our Robespierre's Saint-lust Warmoth turns reformer ~~ 
Stops steals Casey and the Custom-House gang The fight For control- 

Casey asks Grant for troops Catling guns in a convention - Two convention*! 

Casey reports his side to Grant Warmoth committee goes to Long Branch 
Grant's hostile reception - The ruin of property-owners At; Jackson 
Bombastes Furioso in State House The native whites hopeless ~ Powell (lay- 
ton of Arkansas His methods Character All for the carpet I Diggers 
Clayton's militia- Its outrages * Make Arkansas Republican or a howling 
wilderness' Greeley 's warning. 

XVIII. THE RADICAL RANKS BREAK 371 

Cynical corruption in Washington Tom Scott, lobbyist de luxv Corruption 
in New York Tweed - The Custom-House Reformers get. Tweed - Cannot 

reach the Custom-House Collector Murphy ~ The General Order scandal-- 
How it began Protests of merchants Murphy at Grant's heelM Political 

necessity forces him out - Grant's tribute to his * honesty* Cluster A. Artbtir 
- Congressional investigation James Fisk dies Comments - "The Nation* 
turns on Grant- Grant gets persecution complex At Mrs. Blame's dinner* 
Investigation fruitless The arms sale to Franco The Seluirsa-Conklmg debate 

Opening guns of the campaign Morton's party speech- Morton write il- 
luminating letter Trumbull turns on the Administration GarfieUl fears effect 
of Grant's renomination The Liberal Party movement SehursB in open revolt 

Sentiment turns to Charles Francis Adams His fitness for the Presidency - 
Democrats favorable Trumbull and Davis Seiuiry.*H keynote - A motley 
convention Amateurs in charge - Theodore Til ton's relic " * What? w it'll these 
cranks?' The dinner 'over the Rhine '-Greolcy's nomination IteitTd sad 
feast of ratification * The Nation's" comment ' lloar\s joka-- Description of 
Greeley - *What will the Democrats do?' Simmer's attack on Grant * Terror 
in its truth*- Voorhees protests against Greeley 'a nomination by Democrat!* "< 
Repeats at Terre Haute Bayard's protest at Baltimore - O'Connor's reply-- 
Greeley nominated at Baltimore General Sherman amused -'- A sour conference 
of Liberals The Louisville regular Democratic convention Sunmor doclttwH 
for Greeley Is attacked by Garrison and Blame Southern negroes agninst ih 
old Abolitionist Grant strategy in North Carolina In Sotil.li Carolina " The 
depraved Moses for Governor Warmoth the Greeley candidate in Ixmtaiana ~ M 
Pinchback, the negro politician Lamar in Mississippi JohnHon in Tmnmm^ 

Ilesult in North Carolina - Campaign in the North ~~ Grunt's Tit we Musket- 
eers Conkling's campaign speech %tck Chandler KWHCS money "- Jay < !ook< 
again Blame's demands on Cooke Secretary of Navy dtmuindti ( ^ookc <ront.ri- 
bution for New Jersey - Because he had been given the naval account Power 
of money in the election *- Whiskey lllug busy Nast'N citrtotHts'-'C'tinipaiKW 
songs ~ Greeley on the stump Makes groat speeches Ilia wi!V fatal IlltttvHS 

Defeat and death Mosos wins- * Honest 1 John Palfcereon bny a senator- 
ship Another bought in Alabama, 

XIX. DBGBADATION AND DKFEKBBION 394 

Simmer's depression Ignored by party associates ~- Iliu flag resolution*-" Dis 
nounced by Massachusetts Legislature Whittier NtarU mov<muwt to n*noin<2 -* 

Divorces Mrs, Summer Her life in Europe Hii lonaliiwas 11 w Crfdlt 
Mobilicr The leaders involved Effect in Washington ~ fat ill 

memorandum Attempt to save the leaders Concentrating blame on - 

He turns on his confederates The case of Bingham Of Wilson Of Allltoii 
Of Dawes Of Garfield ami Kelley Committee f i finding la of 

The case of Brooks -01 Coif ax His muddling * Bizarre 



CONTENTS xix 

Eemembers a dead friend 'The Nation's' sarcasm Plan to exonerate all 
leaders of party in power To convict Ames and Brooks, the lone Democrat 
Nast shames press for attacking Credit MobUier statesmen Plan carried out 
Drama in House Ames's telling illustration A whitewash for the leaders 
'The Tribune's' comment Partisan phase transparent Resentment of the 
Democrats Treatment of Brooks The party at Henry Cooke's Mrs. 
Brooks's appearance there The fashionable audience at House debate The 
dying Brooks Ben Butler's cynical defense of Ames Voorhees's plea for 
Brooks Resolution to condemn all Ames's confederates voted down Julian 
thinks Ames most honest of all Brooks's death Ames's death Attempts to 
minimize the scandal Fear beneath the surface A hectic summer Demo- 
cratic division on tariff Industrial League interests itself in textbooks Col- 
leges solicit contributions Farmers in revolt Their condition They de- 
mand rate regulation The fight in Illinois They win They enter politics 
in other States Beecher's sneer at farmers and praise of money-making 
English markets closed to American railroad securities Causes of the panic 
Fall of the house of Cooke - Excitement in New York Pandemonium on the 
Stock Exchange Henry Clews fails Boutwell hurries to New York Rela- 
tion of Cooke and Clews to politics Government favoritism to Cooke dis- 
covered How he had been permitted to violate the law The case of Clews 
Crash of business A winter of suffering Placards of the jobless Johnson 
serenaded in Washington - *What kind of a government have we now?' Sig- 
nificance of Ames's election as Governor in Mississippi. 

XX. THE SLIPPING SCEPTER 415 

Eightoen-scventy-four opens darkly Grant's blunders on Chief Justiceship 
Recoups popularity by veto of inflation bill Silk-workers demand tariff re- 
duction Miners mobilize against organized wealth - Suffering of the jobless 
Poverty a matter for the police Police club a peaceful mass meeting What 

men were living on * The Prostrate State * appears The South's * Uncle 
Tom's Cabin 1 The Beecher-Tilton trial Death of Sumner His Civil 
"Rights Bill fails Denounced by Parson Brownlow Lanmr's famous tribute 

Elaine's tears The Sanborn contracts Ben Butler's connection Secre- 
tary of Treasury resigns to escape impeachment Is made a Judge Moses* 
saturnalia in South Carolina Mode of living Scenes in his home Euin of 
the taxpayers The Taxpayers* Convention, Issues a public appeal Its 
committee goes to Washington Congress ignores it Rebuked by Grant 
Republican State Committee replies to taxpayers - Fourteen of twenty-four 
bribe-takers Courteously received at the White House A * bloody-shirt* 
dMoapaigtt in the North Morton instructs party press in Indiana Alabama 
determines to be free A bitter campaign there The Hawley-Hays lie exposed 

The Government bacon scandal Federal officials try to terrorize Democrats 
Alabama wins over the carpetbaggers The fight in Arkansas The looting 
there Some novel methods of stealing Champagne and poker The Brooks- 
Baxter fight of 1872 Contested election Grant seats Baxter He turns re- 
former Joins Democrats for constitutional convention Democrats nominate 
Garland His character A, picturesque campaign Garland wins The 
carpetbaggers turn to Washington The heroism of Luke P. Poland of Vermont 

Grant declares Brooks Governor, Constitution and election void Congress 
Ignores the President Arkansas redeemed. 

XXI. MILITABY SATBABB AND REVOLUTION 436 
The contested Louisiana election of 187 Government by a drunken judge 
United States MarsM takes over the Government The Nation shocked 



xx CONTENTS 

Congressional committee finds McEnery, Democrat, elected Governor A dual 
government Pinehback, Republican, refused Senate seat Morton's fight- 

Establishes his leaderahip Prevents Grant from recognizing McKnery 
Recognizes Kellogg Conditions under Custom-House clique Caius Cwsar 
Antome, negro Lieutenant-Governor Taxes take property The appalling 
record of tax sales ~ Bitter poverty of the people North fed on 'outrage* stories 

White women in peril on streets Carpetbaggers plan to disarm whites The 
negroes armed The Black Militia -The Black League Whites organize 
White League to fight for legislature - Federal officials begin seizing guns of the 
whites Disarm hunters Protest meeting Demand Kcllogg's resignation - 
Lieutenant-Governor Penn calls on able-bodied to arm and expel usurper 
Kellogg's cowardice Barricades in the streets Longstrect leads metropolitan 
police against the people - The people prevail The police retire - The battle 
at the Custom-House People patrol streets Unconditional surrender of Kel- 
logg Officers elected in 1872 sworn in McEncry Legislature summoned 
Northern press justifies the rising Kellogg appeals to Grant He orders people 
to * disperse' Sends three men-of-war and troops Increases determination to 
win election Democrats' plan of campaign - Kellogg depends on the army 
"United States Marshal makes wholesale arrests -The alignment and relative 
strength of races The ability and power of Packard, Marshal and UgpubKcan 
chairman Imports negroes from other States ~~ False registrations What 
Charles Nordhoff found Another stolen election Two legislatures meet- 
Sheridan ordered to Louisiana Sherman ignored by Grant - Sheridan's ideas 

Democrats organize the House - Ask soldiers to clear corridors -~ They enter 
with bayonets and order five Democratic members out The Speaker's protest 
Demands use of force Democrats retire before force Sheridan's banditti 
telegram The Nation's wrath Protests from New Orleans Sheridan's 
slander * Garfield stunned 'The Nation' denounces the crime ~ Mass meetings 
in the North Evarts at Cooper Union The fight in the Senate -"- Grant asked 
for information His 'bloody-shirt* Message- The Wheeler ( bmpromwc* 
Morton in New Orleans *- Reaction in Mississippi Vieksburg * Sheridan 
orders troops there to sustain a government of criminals The Legislature 
Democrats elect city officials Tax: collector refuses to give bond Citizens 
force his resignation Ames to the rescue Advises summoning of negroes and 
use of force The battle of Vicksburg Sheridan restores the tax collector by 
force Unifies whites for election Confiscatory taxes-- Tlus Taxpayer*' 
Leagues Democratic Convention Lamar and George Ames forms wgro 
militia Whites arm A spectacular campaign Clashes Democrat* iwcHp 
State- Ames impeached Mississippi redeemed - Andrew Johnson in the 
Senate His attack on Grant His death. 

XXII. THE PALLING ov RQTTXGN FBOTT 401 

Election of Michael Kerr His character * Nast*s attacks on him The 
Amnesty Besolution Blame's amendment Ilia * bloody-shirt* speech-""" lien 
Hill's reply Blame's motive Morton revives war hates * Pinch, brothers*, 
pinch with care* Bristow in the Treasury The Whiskey Ittng ~~ General 
McDonald * How the BSng worked * Grant visits McDonald The gift; 
Bristow's discoveries -Henderson on the trail His attack on McDonald His 
dismissal Popular reaction * McDonald's tribute to Babcock BatxHwk 
demands military inquiry Grant grants it Babcock indicted * Attempt to 
head off informers The Attorney-General's instructions The President*! 
deposition Babcock acquitted His serenade and purse Remains private 
secretary His warm welcome in Senate The Emma Mine scandal Tlw 
of post-traderships Testimony of Marsh The fiwfc Mm Bclktmp 
Marsh She vamps the committee The conspiracy The second 



CONTENTS xxi 

Belknap Asks Marsh, to commit perjury Belknap hears of exposure He 
resigns - Grant accepts resignation How Grant was affected Scenes in the 
Senate when story came Bayard's comment The scene in the House Mrs. 
Belknap on her knees Debate in the House Sympathy for Mrs, Belknap 
Rage over Belknap A flight planned An arrest A fashionable house 
guarded The scene next door Mrs. Belknap recovers poise Interference of 
District Court Defiance of the House Fight in the Senate The trial 
The acquittal The future of Mrs. Belknap The Little Rock and Fort Smith 
Railroad Blaine's implication The investigation Mulligan Letters 
Blaine's defense Death of Kerr. 

XXIII. THE YEAR OF THE CENTENNIAL 482 

Blainc collapses Republican candidates Blaine's magnetic personality and 
popularity Not injured by revelations The Cincinnati Convention 
Hatred of Bristow Mrs. Blaine's view Ingersoll's nominating speech 
Hayes's nomination Nomination of Tilden The platforms Alignments of 
Liberals - Trumbull Julian Charles Francis Adams Schurz goes to 
Hayes Pulitzer's excoriation, Godkin of *The Nation' Bryant Chandler 
and slush funds Portrait of Tilden Character of Hayes Early prospects 
Tilden's activities - Mystery of Gramercy Park Hayes warned Alarm over 
Indiana - Morton wants money Attacks on Tilden, Corruption and privilege 
The money question Republican strategy The * bloody shirt* unfurled 
Religious prejudices The American Alliance Ingersoll His speeches 
At Bangor At Cooper Union At Indianapolis At Chicago Misrepresent- 
ing Vance - Voorhces protests - Mark Twain's blunder Alarm over the 
South Hayeses letters In North Carolina Character and career of Vance 
His debates with Judge Settle The two men compared Amazing meetings 
The State aflame Torchlight processions through woods Uneasiness in 
Washington. 

XXIV. THE RED SHIRTS RIDE 499 
The highways of South Carolina The case of Chamberlain - Turns reformer 

Is rebuked by Morton Chamberlain makes terms with * Honest' John Patter- 
son - Fusion or Straight-out General Gary Portrait Career Demands 
regular Democratic ticket Intensive organization The Hamburg riot 
Loses Chamberlain Democratic endorsement Waves "bloody shirt* Grant's 
campaign document on South Carolina Wade Hampton Chamberlain 
forced to divide time Effect At Edgefield At Abbeville Tilden ignores 
Hampton's letter Hampton in the saddle Wild enthusiasm Portrait of 
Hampton The Chamberlain ticket Patterson's promise for Grant Reliance 
of carpetbaggers Negro Democrats Mob them at Charleston Democratic 
plan of campaign Opposing views among Democrats on cultivation of blacks 
Negro Democratic clubs Hampton to the negroes Chamberlain refuses to 
debate A who! people march and ride Hampton's speeches The Red 
Shirts Pictured on the march A day of prayer in the churches > The Edge- 
field riots Used for political purposes At Cainhoy Soldiers break in on 
Hampton meeting Hampton holds his people down Martial law *Urge our 
people to submit* - Northern press on martial law Politicians worried Clos- 
ing meeting at Charleston Election day *By God, sir, I will not do it.' 

XXV. THE CEOWNING CHIMB AND BELEASE 

Tilden elected - Barnum's blunder -'The Times* action Chandler plans a 
reversal Claim Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina Troops to support the 
conspiracy 'Funds from Washington' Dishonesty of the Western Union 



xxii CONTENTS 

Visiting statesmen acnt South The claim In Louisiana Notorious corruption 
of Upturning Board --* No Democratic member- How the Hoard worked 
( Vimimils tabulate in secret -" Gurfield's part --The cane of Amy Mitchell Of 
Klim Pinkstott " Board Cor sale Grant's Visiting stutetjmen' charmed by nobil- 
ity and integrity of Board Proceedings in Florida*"" Sit ual ion in South Caro- 

Huu - Returning Boards do their work Threat of civil war Sent iment of con- 

ervativo "" Tilden's timidity and weakness ( 'oTiklitig's altilu<le -" - The Demo- 
cratic Hurrender Hayes flirts with Southern members ProgreHa of negotiations 
with Southern Democrats Scluirz proposes Southerner in Cabinet i - The bar- 
gain at Wormley's Hotel- (/oakling again- Kato Ohane Spragnc 'Hayed 

couutexl in Eeactions Olvarlen Francis Adams to Tilden ~- Conspirators re- 
warded - - W, E, ('handler neglected Blainc'a appeal for him -' A new policy 
No further need of old Final scenes in Columbia. 

MANUSCRIPTS, BOOKS, AND NEWSPAPERS (CONSULTED AND (JiTioo 541 

54l> 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

ANDREW JOHNSON Frontispiece 

Photograph in the collection of Frederick H, Meserve 

THADBBUS STEVENS AT THE AGE OF SEVENTY-FIVE 66 

From a woodcut 

THE HOUSE OF TIIADDEXTS STEVENS 82 

From a drawing 

LETTER FROM THADDEUS STEVENS TO CHARLES A, DANA 8 

KATE CHASE SPRAGUE 52 

Prom an engraving in Elizabeth F. Ellet's The Court Circks of the Republic, 
Hartford, 1870 

DEMOCRATIC LEADERS 29 

Photographs in the collection of Frederick H. Meserve 

Allen G. Tliurman 
Thomas A. Hendricks 
Thomas F. Bayard 
Daniel W. Voorhees 

NAST'H CARTOON OF REVELS IN THE SENATE 300 

From Harper's Weekly, April 0, 1870 

GBANT'B THREE MUSKETBEES 330 

Eoscoe (inkling 
Photograph in the Boston Athenamm 

Oliver P. Morton 
Photograph in the collection of Frederick H. Meserve 

Zachariah Chandler 

Photograph in the collection of Frederick H. Mcscrve 

SoimtBRN LEADERS 46 

Photographs in the collection of Frederick H. Mcaerve 

L. Q, C. Lainar 
Zebulon 11 Vance 
Wade Hampton 
Benjamin H. Hill 



THE TRAGIC ERA 

The Revolution after Lincoln 



THE TRAGIC ERA 

& 



I 

IS DEAD; LONG LIVE KING' 



/% DISMAL drizzle of rain was falling as the dawn came to 
XJL Washington after a night of terror. In the streets men stood 
in groups discussing the tragic drama on which the curtain had 
not yet fallen. The city was *in a blaze of excitement and rage. 3 1 
Then, at seven-thirty, the tolling of all the church bells in the 
town, and a hush in the streets. Lincoln was dead. 

At the Kirkwood Hotel 2 soldiers stood guard within and with- 
out, and before the door of a suite on the third floor an armed 
sentinel was stationed. The night before, Andrew Johnson, occu- 
pant of these rooms, had been awakened from a deep slumber and 
told of the tragedy at Ford's Theater. Shaken with emotion, he 
had clung momentarily to the fateful messenger, unable to speak. 
Then, disregarding the protests of his friends, he had turned up his 
coat collar, drawn his hat down over Ms f ace, and walked through 
the crowded streets to the deathbed of the stricken chief. There 
he had stood a brief moment, looking down with grief-corrugated 
face upon the dying man. 3 Thence he had hurried back to his 
closely guarded rooms. 

With the tolling of the bells, he had been formally notified by 
the Lincoln Cabinet that the chief magistracy had passed to him; 
and at ten o'clock, m the presence of the members of the Cab- 
inet, Senators, and a few intimate friends, he stood before Chief 
Justice Chase, with uplifted hand, and took the oath of office. 
He * seemed to be oppressed by the suddenness of the call upon 
him, 1 4 and yet, withal* c calm and self-possessed/ The sobering ef- 

i Julian, MS. Diary, April 15, 1865. 2 On the site of the present Raleigh. 

3 Sumuer to Brigbt, Fierce, xv, 4i. 4 Men and Measures, 376. 



4 THE 

feet of power and responsibility accentuated his natural dignity of 
mien. Kissing the Bible, his lips pressed the twenty-first vor.se of 
the eleventh chapter of EzekicL 1 

*Y0u arc President/ said Chase* *May God support, guide, and 

bless you in your arduous duties/ 

The witnesses pressed forward to take his hand, and he spoke 
briefly, pledging that his policies would be those of his predecessor 
'in all essentials/ 2 Then, requesting the Cabinet to remain, as the 
others filed out* he instructed them to proceed with their duties/ 
and *in the language of entreaty * asked them to *st&nd by him iu 
his difficult and responsible position/ 4 That very night Charles 
Sumner, bitterly hostile to the reconstruction plans of Lincoln, 
intruded upon the new President with indecent haste to discuss 
public business/ 6 and that very day one of the Radical leaders 
was complaining that Johnson *has been already in the hands of 
Chase, the Blairs, Hatleek, Grant & Co.' * 

it 

Nowhere did the murder fall so like a pall as in the South, *A 
canard!' cried Clay, of Alabama* in concealment with other Con- 
federate leaders ia the country home of Ben Hill iu Georgia, when 

the news reached him; and when the verification came he ex- 
claimed in tones of anguish, *Then God help us! II that is true, it 
is the worst blow that has yet been struck the South.* 7 Even the 

young Southern girls were horrified and instantly sensed the sig- 
nificance of the deed* Vallandigham, the 'copperhead/ thought it 
the 'beginning of evils,' since even those who had opposed Lin- 
coln's policy had come *to turn to him for deliverance/ because 
*his course in the last three months has been most liberal and 
conciliatory/^ 

It was this very policy of conciliation that so easily reconciled 
the party leaders ia Washington, to Lincoln's death. They 'had 
launched their fight against it long before; had sought to prevent 

* Chase's story, War4e, 040. Welle% n, 8D. 

s Ibid< 4 M&n and Mecuwrto, 370, 

Sumner to Bright, Ptoeo, IT, ML 8 Julian, MS. Diary, April 

* Bdk of the Fifties W* 

8 Confederate* Girl* a Diary, 480; Mrs. Brooks, MB, Diary, April II, 

9 Life of Fattandigham, 40<l. 



THE IS DEAD; LONG LIVE THE 5 

Ms nomination in 1864; and it was just a little while before that the 
Wade-Davis Manifesto had shaken and shocked the Nation with 
its brutal denunciation of Lincoln's reconstruction plan. At the 
moment of his death there was no lonelier man in public life than 
Lincoln. 

This Manifesto was an accurate expression of the spirit of the 
congressional leadership of his party. It referred contemptuously 
to "the dictation of his political ambition 9 ; denounced his action on 
the Wade-Davis reconstruction plan as 'a stupid outrage on the 
legislative authority of the people"; warned that Lincoln had * pre- 
sumed on the forbearance which the supporters of his Adminis- 
tration had so long practiced'; and demanded that he * confine him- 
self to his executive duties/ A more outrageous castigation of a 
President had never been written. The exigencies of a presidential 
campaign had forced a semblance of harmony, but the feeling of 
hostility which bristles in this document was beating fiercely be- 
neath the surface when the assassin's bullet removed this concil- 
iatory figure from the pathway of the leaders. 'Its expression 
never found its way to the people,' wrote Julian, though in both 
branches of Congress there were probably not ten Republicans 
who really favored the renomination. of Lincoln in 1864. 1 Thus, 
among the Radicals, 'while everybody was shocked at his murder, 
the feeling was nearly universal that the accession of Johnson 
would prove a Godsend to our cause/ 2 

With a strange insensibility, these men, soon to dominate, left 
the Nation to bury its dead, while they turned instantly to de- 
vices definitely to end the Lincoln policies through his successor. 
That Johnson would fall in with their plans they had no doubt. 
Had any one surpassed the violence of his denunciations of the 
Southerners in 1864? Had he not talked of confiscation and punish- 
ment for treason? Thus, they reasoned, he would readily agree to 
a reconstruction imposed upon the South by the * Loyalists' there 
and the Radicals of the North. 3 Besides, they thought, Johnson's 
previous association with the Committee on the Conduct of the 
War would put him "onto the right track. 5 4 They thought, too, 
that Grant's was a descending star, because 'his terms with Lee 

* Julian, Recdlectimw, &44. 2 Ibid,, 255. 3 Sherman, Recollections, i, 859. 

* Mian, MS, Diary, April W, 1865. 



TRAGIC- ERA 

were too easy, 1 and Thad Stevens, speaking at Lancaster three clays 
before Lincoln's death, had denounced the terms with the declara- 
tion that he would dispossess those participating in the rebellion of 

* every foot of ground they pretend to own.' 2 
Scarcely had the body of the murdered President turned cold 

when, on the very morning of Ms death,, members of the war com- 
mittee that had been so obnoxious to Lincoln hastened to John- 
son, but they found him in no mood to discuss anything but the 
apprehension of the assassins, 3 This rebuff, however, did not deter 
Charles Sumner. That night, as we have seen, less than twenty- 
four hours after the murder, found him seated in the Kirkwood 
House urging negro suffrage upon Johnson. 

That afternoon, within eight hours of Lincoln's death* a cations 
of the Radicals was conferring on plans to rid the Government of 
the Lincoln influence. One of the participants, who Miked the* 
radical tone/ was "intolerably disgusted" with the "profanity and 
obscenity/ There, among others, sat Ben Wade, Zack Chandler, 
and Wiikeson, correspondent of the *New York Tribune, 1 who 
proposed * to put Greeley on. the war path/ IE the discussion as 
reported, 'the hostility for Lincoln's policy of conciliation and 
contempt for his weakness" was 'undisguised/ and *the univcraal 
sentiment among radical men* was that *his death is a Godsend to 
our cause/ Moving with revolutionary celerity, these practical 
men had agreed to urge on Johnson the reconstruction of his Cabi- 
net *to get rid of the last vestige of Lincolnism/ and Ben Butler 
was chosen for Secretary of State! 4 

Sunday was a wearisome day for the new President, Lincoln'** 
body was resting in the East Room of the White House, The city 
was silent and sad, with crape everywhere fluttering in a chilly 
breeze. Temporary offices had been provided Johnson in the* 
Treasury, and there, in the morning, he met his Cabinet in n 
general discussion of reconstruction plans, in, which Johnson's 
attitude was one of severity/ 

The members of the Cabinet filed out, the Radical Republican 
leaders filed in. "Johnson, we have faith in you,* exclaimed 

* Julian, MS, Diary, April 10, 1865. * Lwuxufa IntdKgtwtr, March , 1807, 

8 Life of Chandler, 70, 

4 Julian, MS. Diary, April 15, 1865. Welta, u, 001. 



IS LONG THE 7 

Wade, explosively. *By the gods, there will be no trouble running 
the government/ The presidential reply was such that the visitors 
applauded his declarations and parted after a very pleasant inter- 
view. 5 1 

Leaving the Treasury, the conspirators hurried to the Willard to 
meet Ben Butler, who had hastened to the city. He, too, had other 
fish to fry than to bow at the bier of Lincoln. Had he not been 
slated for Secretary of State? He was 'in fine spirits/ and that 
night he, too, had a conference with Johnson. No doubt in Butler's 
mind about the necessity for a new Cabinet. "The President must 
not administer on the estate of Lincoln/ he said with his squint. 2 

Sunday night found the conspirators nervously active. Sumner 
and a few Radicals were in conference with Stanton on the recon- 
struction plan for Virginia, and Sumner, listening, interrupted to 
inquire what provision was made for the negroes to vote. 3 : 

Clearly,, Stanton was no stranger to this Radical group. 

Thus, with events seemingly moving satisfactorily for the Radi- 
cals, nothing was being taken for granted, for there were skeptics. 
Grim old Thad Stevens, the genius of the group, was grinding his 
teeth impatiently in the red-brick house in Lancaster; and Pro- 
fessor Goldwin Smith, describing Johnson's accession as * an appall- 
ing event/ was calling for impeachment before he had been three 
days in office. Nor was Ben Butler taking any chances. Just three 
days after Lincoln's death, he was declaiming within hearing dis- 
tance of the White House that as for Virginia "the time has not 
come for holding any relations with her but that of the conqueror 
to the conquered/ 4 This denunciation 'of the noblest acts of the 
late President* and * inflaming excited crowds into senseless cheers 
for the policy which that Magistrate ever refused to approve/ by 
*ao, unscrupulous general whose cowardice and incapacity always 
left his enemies unharmed upon the field/ was attacked by the 
*New York World.' 6 The very day Butler was speaking, Johnson, 
a stenographer beside him, was addressing an Illinois delegation, 
and at the conclusion a copy of his remarks was handed to him. 
Glancing over the copy, and noting his pledge to continue the 
Lincoln policies, he asked if his meaning had not been slightly 

* Mian, MS, Diary, April 16, 1805. 2 Ibid. 3 Welles, n, 291. 

4 N&w York World, April 21, 1865. 6 April 22, 1865. 



8 THE ERA 

changed. Preston King, Intimate friend and adviser, suggested 
that all reference to Lincoln be omitted, and Johnson nodded as- 
sent. This incident encouraged the Radicals still more. 1 

Thus, with the body of the martyr still in the capital, the poli- 
ticians, and, for a time, the President with them, were engaged in 
the speedy burial of the programme of conciliation and concession. 
Thus the burial of Lincoln was left to the people, for the politicians 
were too busy with their plans to be diverted by a dead President, 
who, to them, was well out of the way. 

in 
Four days after the death of Lincoln,, his funeral was hold in the 

East Boom, During this period the city was in mourning; no 
smiles on the faces of the plain people in the streets. While the 
politicians were drinking, smoking, joking* boasting, planning, in- 
dulging in profanity and obscenity in many conferences behind 
closed doors, the men and women of no importance were* filing by 
the casket of the dead. No martial music now- Everything was 
swathed in black. Ben Wade, soon to become an idol of his Radi- 
cal associates, was decent enough to remain away. 2 The clay be- 
fore, crowds began pouring into the city, and all clay long the 
ordinary people had been struggling for admission to the White 
House. 3 

Two days more, and all that was left of the War President was 
removed from the capital, and we shall find that, for at least three 
years, Lincoln was dead indeed at the scene of his greatness. 

IV 

With the black-draped funeral train of Lincoln speeding west* 
ward, the enemies of his policy turned with increased determina- 
tion to the management of his successor. From m the morn- 
ing until five in the evening, he could be found at the Treasury, and 

hither hurried the Eadical leaders to cultivate him, and here dele- 
gations marched in processions. Johnson saw them all The doors 
were all but thrown wide open to the world. The luncheon hour 
found him with a cup of tea and a cracker. In the six weeks of his 
incumbency of his temporary quarters, there was certainly BO 

1 Blame, n, 9-11. * Life of Wade, 13. a Julian, MS, Dtay, April IB, 1865. 



IS DEAD; LONG LIVE THE KING 9 

whiskey In the room; and yet, so bitter were some of Ms speeches 
toward the Southern aristocrats and leaders that Secretary Me- 
Culloch c should have attributed them to the use of stimulants if 
he had not known them to be the speeches of a sober man/ 1 

Every evening he might have been seen, a little weary, driving 
to the comfortable home of Representative Samuel Hooper at H 
and Fifteenth Streets, which had been placed at his disposal until 
Mrs. Lincoln could conveniently leave the White House. There he 
lived in close communion with Preston King. 2 

Any one familiar with the Washington of the previous decade, 
with its lordly leisure and aristocratic elegance, would scarcely 
have recognized, in the city of the summer of 1865, the town he 
had known before. Society was dull, the doors of the finer houses 
closed. The long rows of grinning negro slaves had disappeared 
from the streets, and the pompously dignified and unctuous gentle- 
men who had lolled in the large armchairs of the lobbies and par- 
lors of hotels were no longer to be seen. A correspondent observed 
that *a crowd of bristling short-haired Puritans had pushed them 
from their stools. 5 8 Droves of strange negroes, flocking in from 
the South, laughing uproariously, and a bit too conscious of their 
freedom, jostled the pedestrians on the streets. The martial tread 
of army officers resounded on the pavements, and sharp-faced, 
furtive-eyed speculators and gamblers were seen everywhere, and 
women of indifferent morality, soon to become so familiar to the 
capital, had already begun their march upon the town with much 
swishing of skirts. 4 

It was in this atmosphere and environment that the Radicals 
intrigued and fought to mould the policy of Johnson. Their earlier 
talks with him indicated a sympathy so complete that they were a 
little concerned lest he go too far in the way of punishing the 
Southern leaders. Some gloomily foresaw a 'bloody assizes. 9 5 
Julian vacillated awhile from one view to the other. Accompany- 
ing the Indiana delegation on a visit to Johnson, and hearing 
Oliver P. Morton read * a 'Carefully prepared essay* to the effect 
that c there is no power to punish rebels collectively by reducing a 

a Mm md Memw0> S74. s New York Herald, June fc, 1865, 

Nm Y&fh World, June 6, 1865. * Destruction and Reconstruction, 241. 

g Elaine, n, IS; Sdrarz, B$minuemoe$, H, 150. 



10 THE ERA 

State to a territorial condition/ l Julian was puzzled by Johnson's 

apparent acquiescence. It was discouraging to hear him declaring 
himself opposed *to consolidation, or to the centralization of 

power in the hands of a few,' ^ Not so assuring, certainly, as the 
Illinois address, a few days before, to the effect that 4 the American 

people must be taught . . - that treason is a crime and imist be 
punished/ 8 And yet, a week later, following u conference with 
Johnson^ Julian recorded that the President " talks like a man on 
the subject of confiscation and treason. 9 4 Stunner, who lingered 
far into May to influence the presidential mind on the negroes and 
suffrage, was convinced of Johnson's sympathy, "lie accepted 
this idea completely/ wrote Sumner to John Bright/* *()ur new 
President accepts the principle and the application of negro suf- 
frage/ he wrote another. 6 *I am charmed with his sympathy, 
which is entirely different from his predecessor's/ he wrote an- 
other. 7 In his numerous contacts, Sumner found *his manner ex- 
cellent and even sympathetic' and on negro suffrage *well dis- 
posed'; and after conferring with him on the subject, Simmer and 
Chief Justice Chase had 'left him light-hearted." 

However, Carl Schurz was not so certain, thinking Johnson's 
statements on negro suffrage * betrayed rather an unsettled state 
of mind/ 8 Telling themselves over and over that Johnson was 
with them, the Radicals were becoming uneasy by the middle of 
May. It was disconcerting, maddening, to note the sympathetic 
tone of the Democratic press toward him, 9 and its suggestion that 
he would play a great r61e m history "by strictly adhering to the 
letter and the spirit of the Constitution and by a wise and con- 
ciliatory course toward the masses of the Southern people/ 10 It 
was manifestly dangerous to permit this to proceed uuehallenged, 
Stanton, always Master of the Back Stairs, bethought him of 
Johnson's admiration for Senator Fessendeu, and implored him to 
use his influence. 11 A conference was called to devise and 

means of saving the Administration from conservative 

1 PouUces, i, 440. * Moo Johnmi, 484 a JMt, 470, 

4 Julian, MS. Diary, May 4, 1805. * Fierce, iv, 841. 

g To Scheiden, Pierce, IT, 84. To Liebcr, Pierce, rv, fett. 

8 Schwa, Rminvwneu, n; 150, Nm York World. April 17. Iftftff, 

10 /M&, April 19, 1805. 11 Ufe of PMwwttn, it, 1*. 



IS DEAD; LONG LIVE 11 

and control There sat Wade, Sumner, Chandler, Julian, and 
others, but "nothing was done/ wrote Julian in his diary. 1 Both 
Stunner and Wade scouted the idea that Johnson was unfavorable 
to negro suffrage, and Julian and Chandler left, a little reassured. 

But not so all the old-line Abolitionists; and the very night the 
politicians were conferring in Washington, Wendell Phillips was 
declaring to a cheering crowd at Cooper Union, in New York, that 
the ballot for the negro was imperative. He was not opposed to 
State rights within limits. 'II we are ever to be saved from the 
corruption of power, it will be by these break-waters.' A strange 
mood possessed the orator that night he spoke even against a 
policy of vengeance. The audience sat sullen. But not for long. 
Up sprang a young man with long black hair and a poet's face, to 
declare that 'the punishment of treason Is death and not venge- 
ance," and the crowd stormed its approval of Theodore Tilton. 
Davis? he should hang! And, he added, the negroes are better 
entitled to the vote than white Irishmen. Cheers again. We shall 
hear such sentiments increasingly from now on. 2 

Thus the fight to determine the reconstruction policy shifted 
from the capital to the country. The leaders, thoroughly alarmed, 
hastened to their homes to take the field. Soon all over the coun- 
try could be heard the voice of orators and the shouts of multi- 
tudes, for with Ms North Carolina Proclamation Andrew Johnson 
definitely accepted the Lincoln policy and the fight was on. All the 
hate against Lincoln, half concealed, was now turned, by the poli- 
ticians, against his successor. 



In considering North Carolina with his Cabinet, Johnson had 
before him the plan approved by Lincoln, and after some divergent 
views as to suffrage had been expressed, the Lincoln plan was 
adopted. 3 Johnson had determined to hew as closely to the line 
laid down by his predecessor as possible. *I know he went to the 
White House with that determination,' wrote Thurlow Weed. 4 
The bitter quarrel between Lincoln and the leaders of his party 
had prevented the enactment of a law for Johnson's guidance, 



i May 13, 180$. 2 Nm York World, May 18, 1865, 

* Welles, n, $01* 4 Weed, Memoir, n, 450. 



n THE TRAGIC ERA 

Years later* John Sherman was to assert that *he did substantially 
adopt the plan proposed and acted upon by Mr. Lincoln." l 

Naturally enough, the North Carolina Proclamation opened 
the floodgates of abuse* When Sumncr heard of It in his Beacon 
Street home, in Boston, he was inexpressibly shocked. To think 
that the negroes had not been given the franchise., *thus excluding 
them as Mr, Lincoln had done/ Manifestly this new man was no 
better than Lincoln after all. 2 This exclusion of the negroes was 
'madness/ he wrote Bright. 3 The change was due to * Southern in- 
fluence' and *the ascendancy of the Blairs.' 4 Quite as disturbed 
was Carl Sehura, who wrote Johnson of his misgivings, and was in- 
vited to call; and thus he went forth at Johnson's suggestion on 
an inspection tour of the South. 6 This tour was not made without 
a consultation with Chase* Sumner, and Stanton, and he went 
forth to justify their position. It was a serious tactical blunder on 
Johnson's part. 

Having taken the bit in his teeth s Johnson proceeded vigor- 
ously along the line of his North Carolina Proclamation, and soon, 
under Provisional Governors of his selection, the work of presi- 
dential reconstruction was in progress* In every instance, with one 
exception, he appointed Governors who had been consistent Union 
men, and not one appointment was unworthy. In Tennessee, Vir- 
ginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana, where Unionist Governments pre- 
viously had been organised, the sitting Executives were recognised. 
Soon these men were calling Conventions to take the steps stipulated 
for the restoration of the States to the Union; and this wan Irritat- 
ing to the Radical leaders in the North, It was an assumption of 
the power of the President to reconstruct; and it offered no hope 
for immediate negro suffrage. 

VI 

Instantly the fight was on. The congressional 'smelling com- 
mittee* on the conduct of the war, by constantly encroaching on 

the powers of the Presidency, had been a source of constant annoy*- 
ance to Lincoln, Never has the Presidency meant less than during 
the years with which we are concerned. The contempt for the 

1 Sherman, Recottectitw, 301 * Pierce, II, 840, * /Ml, tv, 804, 

4 To Scheldt Fierce, it, 54, 8 Schwas, faminwxnwi, , U7 



THE IS DEAD; LONG LIVE THE KING 13 

Presidency disclosed itself during the summer in outrageous in- 
sults to the three former Presidents living in retirement. Bu- 
chanan, an old man in the beautiful country home of Wheatland 
at Lancaster* was the object of constant assaults, and the publi- 
cation of his s Vindication * overwhelmed him with abuse. When, 
on Lincoln's death, Fillmore, hovering about the sick-bed of his 
wife, and, ignorant of the request that private houses be draped, 
hung no crape, he awoke one morning to find his house smeared with 
ink. 1 At the same time the venerable Franklin Pierce, speaking at 
a memorial meeting, was interrupted with a yell, * Where is your 
flag? * and with scorn the old man flung back his answer, "It is not 
necessary for me to show my devotion to the stars and stripes by 
any special exhibition, or upon the demand of any man or set of 
men/ 2 The revolutionary era had begun. The terror had not long 
to wait. 

But the burning topic of agitation through the summer was 
immediate, unconditional negro suffrage. The supporters of John- 
son were first in the field to anticipate attacks, though the Custom- 
House crowd in New York planned to use the Cooper Union meet- 
ing to repudiate his policy. Having no doubt of its success, it 
wished to dignify the meeting with the presence of Grant, who, 
caring nothing for politics then, refused to see its committee. The 
committee then had recourse to Johnson, who, absorbed in work 
and not suspecting the design, gave them, a letter to Grant. There- 
upon hie received them and accepted the invitation. In the con- 
fusion, the conspirators rushed their resolutions through, but their 
triumph was short. John A, Logan spoke in vigorous support of 
the President's policy. 

*I disagree with those who think these States are but territories/ 
he said. *We fought . . . upon the theory that a State cannot 
secede/ As for negro suffrage, the President had no right to de- 
clare negroes may vote: *If he does, he does it in the teeth of the 
Constitution/ The States alone have the power, "and until they 
make such a decision in their sovereign capacity as a State, no 
President has the right to decide for them/ 

A few of the politicians hissed, but the hisses were drowned in a 
hurricane of cheers* And this, despite the distribution of circulars 

a Nm Y&fJe World, April ft& 1865. 2 IW., April 37, 1865. , " " 



14 THE ERA 

attacking Johnson and advocating immediate negro suffrage. 
Thus the President emerged with an endorsement, but we shall 
very soon find the orator of the occasion responding to the party 
lash and Joining in the hue and cry against him. It is well to bear 
Logan In mind as a type, for we shall meet him again as one of the 
managers to impeach the President because of the very policies lie 
so vigorously espoused that night at Cooper Union, 1 In truth, the 
politicians moved at first against a strong current of opposition to 
negro suffrage in the North. Even Lyman Trumbull for a time 
was not prepared to doubt the wisdom of the President's policy. 2 
This was two months after the bristling-bearded Secretary of the 
Navy had convinced himself that Johnson was "gathering to him- 
self the good wishes of the country." 3 

Meanwhile, disturbing antipathies to the negroes were disclos- 
ing themselves In the North, and even in the Nation's capital 
Two hundred rioting soldiers in Washington had smashed the 
furniture of saloons and disreputable houses frequented by the 
two raees with especial severity to the negro transgressors. 4 The 
slapping of a white woman by a negress in Salem, New Jersey, 
precipitated a race riot in which negroes fared badly/' 

Nor was this opposition to negro suffrage confined to the mobn. 
It was about the time John Sherman was poring with perplexity 
over some letters from his brother, the General % My belief is that 
to force the enfranchised negroes as "loyal" voters on the South 
will produce new riot and war/ he was reading, *and I fear Hum- 
Her, Wilson and men of that school will force it on the Government 
or prolong the war ad infinitum. . . , My army will not fight iu that 
war. The slaves are free, but not yet voters/ e Momentarily im- 
pressed, the politician replied that *the negroes are not intelligent 
enough to vote/ albeit we shall soon find him bowing to the party 
lash. 7 Not afraid to speak out publicly, the General in u banquet 
speech in Indianapolis denounced negro suffrage and *uuliticrinu~ 
nate intercourse with the whites/ 8 This aroused the fury of 

1 New York HetM, June 7, 8, % 1865; Nm York WwU, June 8, 1805. 

2 Welle*, u, 328. * IW&, , 300. 

4 New York World, June 1$, 1865; Nm York EwM, June U, 1805. 

B Salem Standard; quoted, N*w Ywk World, June 4, 1865, 

6 Sherman, letter^ MB. , 7 IWdL, 8*9. s New Ywk WwU, My 8 fc 



THE KING IS DEAD; LONG THE KING 15 

soon to become masters In the art of abuse and bulldozing. ' Never 
since he led the great army on the immortal march/ said the "New 
York World/ "has there been so good an opportunity for casting 
foul words atvthe most brilliant soldier of modern times. 5 * 

And "the casting of foul words' had begun. Ben Butler had 
been the first in the field. The Union League Club of New York 
demanded negro suffrage *in the late rebellious States/ 2 and soon 
this powerful club was sending organizers among the Southern 
negroes to incite their distrust of their former masters and bind 
them together as a race in secret societies. Charles Surnner was 
beside himself, talking suffrage incessantly in the streets, in clubs, 
at dinner-tables, and writing the wife of Commodore Eames im- 
ploring her to have her husband coax Welles into camp. 3 Bout- 
well joined Sumner in making speeches, and the agitation culmi- 
nated in a mass meeting in Boston demanding suffrage as the price 
of peace, 4 All over the land the extremists were on the march. 
Ben Wade, haunting the White House, was bitterly pronouncing 
the Government a failure and complaining of executive power. 5 
Sumner was writing the negroes of North Carolina to demand 
suffrage, and the *New York Herald' was saying he had 'just as 
much right to counsel the negroes of this State on that point as he 
has those of North Carolina/ 6 And Ashley of Ohio, Stanton's 
friend, and destined to some infamy, was telling his Ohio neigh- 
bors that the Radicals * intend under God to crush any party or 
any man who stands up against universal suffrage/ 7 It was soon 
evident to Welles that * prominent men are trying to establish a 
party on the basis of equality of races in the Rebel States for which 
the people are not prepared/ 8 

In Indiana the suffrage question was threatening the solidarity 
of the Republican Party. George W. Julian, with the fervor of his 
abolition days, was crusading over the State for negro suffrage and 
against the reconstruction policy of Johnson, and making some 
impression. 9 Soon Oliver P. Morton was forced to the platform to 
combat Ms views, and the * Indianapolis Journal/ the party organ, 

1 New York World, July 7, 1805. 2 Bellows, 87. 3 Welles, August 18, 1865. 

4 #6t0 York World, July 10, 1865. B Welles, n, S25* June 1, 1865. 

* New York EM 9 June 17, 1865. 8 Welles, n, 860, 
9 Julian, MS, Diary, September S, 1865., 



16 THE TRAGIC ERA 

was denouncing Julian In a long tirade. 1 It was under these con- 
ditions, with politicians conservative, the people confused, that 

Morton defiantly defended Johnson and attacked negro suffrage 
at Richmond, and Julian replied at the State House in Indian- 
apolis, 

VII 

The power of Morton was at this time supreme. He was the 
idol of his party and of returning soldiers, whom he assiduously 
cultivated* A consummate politician, dictatorial and domineer- 
ing, he brooktd no rivals. He was on the threshold of his na- 
tional career, and it is interesting to note that he signalized his 
entrance by denouncing the position he was almost immediately 
afterward to assume. 

Negro suffrage! he exclaimed, and without *a period of pro- 
bation and preparation'! Why, perhaps *not one in a thousand 
could read/ How * impossible to conceive of instantly admitting 
this mass of ignorance to the ballot ? ! And how dare Indiana pro- 
pose it? Indiana with twenty-five thousand negroes who can 
read and write, and who are refused the ballot or the right to 
testify in court whose children arc excluded from the schools* 
*With what face/ he asked, *can Indiana go to Congress and in- 
sist upon the right of suffrage to the negroes of the South?' And 
enfranchise them in the South, where through their numerical 
strength they would elect negro senators, governors! and judges? 
Preposterous! No, * colored State governments are not desirable 
. * . they will bring about a war of races/ 2 This speech attracted 
wide attention and the 'New York World" thought that the 
speaker * will in a short time make a tolerable Democrat/ B Two 
months later, when he called on Johnson, he was complimented on 
the speech as the strongest presentation of the Presidential poK* 
cies thus far made. In less than three years he was to wear the 
mantle of Thad Stevens! 

In exuberant spirits Julian replied in a rabble-rousing speech to 
a delighted throng of Radicals. Jeff Davis? *I would indict 
him , . I would convict Mm and hang him in the name of 
God/ And what an outrage that Lee was unmolested, running 

1 Julian, MS, Diary, November 4, 186& a Foulto, x, 444-$0, October &, 



IS DEAD; LONG LIVE THE KING 17 

up and down the hills and valleys of Virginia/ and taking over 
the presidency of a college 'to teach the young idea how to shoot *\ 
Hang him, too! And stop there? Not at all 'I would hang lib- 
erally, while I had my hand In/ And confiscate Southern aristo- 
crats' property, too. Take a rebel with forty thousand acres 
enough to make farms for many loyal men. 'I would give the land 
to them and not leave enough to bury his carcass in/ And negro 
suffrage? Why not? 'When the Government decided that the 
negro was fit to carry a gun to shoot rebels down, it thereby 
pledged Itself irrevocably to give him the ballot to vote rebels 
down/ l It was a slashing attack on the Republican machine un- 
der Morton and the party conservatives winced. Julian, said the 
* Indianapolis Journal/ 'has the temper of a hedgehog, the ad- 
hesiveness of a barnacle, the vanity of a peacock, the vindictive- 
ness of a Corslcan, and the duplicity of the devil/ 2 Julian was 
riding with the current and was content. 

But the authoritative voice of Republicanism was heard about 
this time, and from the moment Thaddeus Stevens spoke at the 
court-house In Lancaster one autumn day, the wise ones knew 
where the victory would He. When Jere S. Black said "the utter- 
ances of Mr. Stevens are the deliverances of his party/ he spoke 
with historical accuracy. 3 

Here we must pause to listen to the prophet and the master. 

VIII 

Through the spring and summer of 1865, Stevens had been 
unhappy. He had never been entirely happy over Lincoln's 
activities and views. We have seen that he had been chagrined 
because of the liberality of Grant's terms of surrender. During 
the greater part of the summer he had remained in the red-brick 
house in Lancaster, and there, in July, an emissary from the wife 
of an Imprisoned Confederate leader had sought him *on account 
of Ms Independence of character and official leadership In the 
house of Congress and of his party/ The grim old warrior had 
declared in the conversation that not even Davis could be tried 
for treason because *the belligerent character of the Southern 

* Julian, SptMhet, 36$-00. 2 Julian, MS. Diary, November 2$, 1865. 

3 Lammt^r XnteMgeMwr* October 11, 1805. 



18 THE TRAGIC ERA 

States was recognized by the United States.* He hinted of * pro- 
found questions of statesmanship and party* and requested that 
he be not quoted. 1 A month before had found him inclined to a 
sarcasm "without much sting/ 2 

It was a large and curious crowd that gathered at the court- 
house In Lancaster to hear the law laid down. That the speech 
was carefully meditated and prepared is evident In its almost 
immediate publication in pamphlet form for circulation among 
party leaders throughout the country. Strangely enough, it 
contained no reference to negro suffrage, but it expressed other 
views so extreme that an unfriendly reporter insisted that; the 
meeting was "sadly lacking in enthusiasm 1 and that *all present 
seemed bewildered and amassed at the troubles that were so 
plainly seen to environ their party/ :i The purport of the npecch 
was that the Southerners should be treated as a conquered, alien 
enemy, the property of their leaders seized and appropriated to 
the payment of the national debt. This could be done without; 
Violence to established principles' only on the theory that the 
Southern States had been * severed from the Union' and had been 
*an independent government de facto, and an alien enemy to be 
dealt with according to the laws of war/ Absurd, he said, to 
think of trying the leaders for treason. That would be acting 
under the Constitution; and that would mean trials in Southern 
States where no jury would convict unless deliberately packed, 
and that would be * judicial murder.* 

Getting to close grips with Johnson, he scouted the idea that 
either he or Congress could direct the holding of convention** to 
amend the constitutions. That would be 'meddling with the 
domestic Institutions of a State . . . rank, dangerous, deplorable 
usurpation/ Hence "no reform can be effected in the Southern 
States if they have never left the Union; and yet the vary founda- 
tions of their institutions must be broken up and relaid, or till our 
blood and treasure have been spent in vain. But by treating them 
as an outside, conquered people, they can be refused admission 
to the Union unless they voluntarily do what we demand/ 

Warming to his task* the bitter old man demanded 

1 Mrs. Clay, 9I. g Welles, n, 8*5. 

* Lancaster InMigen&r, September IS, 



THE IS DEAD; LONG LIVE THE 19 

for the most guilty but how? If the States had not been out of 
the Union, only through trials for treason that would miscarry; 
if a conquered people, a court-martial would do the work. Pro- 
perty must be seized but how? Only on the theory of a con- 
quered people and under the rule laid down by Vattel that the 
conqueror 'may indemnify himself for the expenses and damages 
he has sustained.' And what vast prospects presented by con- 
fiscation! Every estate worth ten thousand dollars and contain- 
ing two hundred acres should be taken. Consult the figures: 
465,000,000 acres in the conquered territory, of which 394,000,000 
acres would be subject to confiscation. This would dispossess 
only 70,000 people, and nine tenths would be untouched. And the 
894,000,000 acres? Give forty acres to every adult negro, which 
would dispose of 40,000,000 acres. Divide the remaining 354,- 
000,000 acres into suitable farms and sell it at an average of ten 
dollars an acre, and thus secure $3,540,000,000. And how use 
that? 'Invest $200,000,000 in six per cent government bonds 
and acid the interest semi-annually to pension thosq who have 
become disabled by this villainous war; appropriate $200,000,000 
to pay damages done loyal men, both North and South, and pay 
the residue of $3,040,000,000 on the national debt. 5 

And *what loyal man can object to that'? he demanded trium- 
phantly* Did some one object to the punishment of innocent 
women and children? "That is the result of the necessary laws of 
war/ Bevolutionary? *It is intended to revolutionize the prin- 
ciples and feelings of these people/ Of course it 'may startle feeble 
minds and shake weak nerves/ but *it requires a heavy impetus 
to drive forward a sluggish people/ This policy would mean 
equality in the South, impossible 'where a few thousand men 
monopolize the whole landed property/ Would not New York 
without its independent yeomanry c be overwhelmed by Jews and 
Milesians and vagabonds of licentious cities'? More: this would 
provide homes for the negroes. 'Far easier and more beneficial 
to exile 70,000 proud bloated and defiant rebels than to expatriate 
four million laborers, native to the soil and loyal to the govern- 
ment/ Away with the colonization scheme of the Blairs with 
which they had * inoculated our late sainted President/ 'Let all 
who approve of these principles tarry with us/ he concluded, 



20 

thus assuming the power of the dictator. *Let all others go with 
copperheads and rebels. Those will be the opposing parties/ l 

Easy to imagine the confusion, the fear, the awe of the followers 
of the stern old revolutionist, as they slowly broke up and returned 
to their homes. Even the 'New York Tribune' and the "Philadel- 
phia Press" were a little nonplussed. The Democratic "New York 
World* had an Interpretation of its own based on the conviction 
that *Mr. Stevens is no fool and knows better than to believe this 
stuff/ which is *a shabby mask to real purposes he wishes to con- 
aeal from the general public/ One of these was the mobilization 
of the Republican politicians against the policies of Johnson, who 
would be pounced down upon in a furious onslaught when Con- 
gress met. *The real leaders . . . see that unless the South can be 
trodden down and kept under foot for long years, or unless they 
can give the negroes the ballot, and control it in their hands, their 
present political supremacy is gone forever/ The other purpose 
was to < protect himself and fellow plunderers in their scheme for 
buying up the richest Southern land for a nominal price/ Thus 
'confiscation in his mouth means plunder for his purse/ * 

While Stevens was burnishing his arms for the conflict, another, 
who had been a thorn in the side of Lincoln and had insulted him 
with Ms Manifesto, was nursing his rising wrath in a sick-room in 
Maryland, and just before the pen fell from the lifeless of 

Henry Winter Davis, he sounded another call to battle in a letter 
against Johnson in *The Nation/ A demand for the immediate 
enfranchisement of the newly liberated slaves, it was a vicious 
attack on Johnson. *We remember his declaration that traitors 
should be punished/ he wrote, *yet none are punished; that only 
loyal men should control the States, yet he has delivered them to 
the disloyal; that the aristocracy should be pulled down* yet he 
has put it in power again; that its possessions should be divided 
among Northern laborers of all colors,, yet the negroes are still 
a landless homeless class/ 8 Within a few days Bavin was dead* 

Thus, long before Johnson made his attack on the congresaionid 
leaders, these, without personal provocation* were bombarding 

1 From original pamphlet printed in Lancaster In 

* September 11, 1865. 

3 The Natwn, November 80, 1865. 



IS DEAD; LONG LIVE THE KING 21 

Mm with abuse because he was carrying out the policies of 

Lincoln. 

IX 

Meanwhile Johnson, now in the White House after a long wait, 
was busy day and night with the solution of his problems. South- 
erners seeking pardons, petty politicians in pursuit of place, 
Union soldier deserters trying to escape punishment, and the 
merely curious wishing to shake his hand, pressed in upon him. 
Even departmental matters, passed upon adversely by the 
Cabinet heads, were carried to him. The anterooms and stair- 
cases were crowded with coarsely dressed men, bronzed with the 
sun of the battle-fields and smelling of tobacco. From nine in 
the morning until three, Johnson received the suppliants courte- 
ously, but not without impatience with the sluggish-minded. At 
three the doorkeeper, his hand full of unpresented cards, threw the 
door open, and with a wild scrambling for place, the motley crowd 
rushed into the room. Rising to facilitate the reception of each, 
Johnson hurried them by. Beside him at a table stood a secretary. 
In the center of the room was usually a pile of pardons, guarded 
by a young major in uniform. 1 It was observed that in these 
hurried conversations the President displayed tact and a marked 
capacity for the disposal of business. 2 Sometimes it was a woman 
appealing for a father, brother, sweetheart, and it was noticed 
that Ms cold dignity softened to gentleness. 

By June this torture called for the protests of the press. The 
*New York Herald" correspondent thought *if the pressure of the 
last few weeks is kept up it is doubtful whether he will be able to 
stand it/ a Members of the Cabinet thought it would * break any 
man down/ and Welles wrote that *if some means are not devised 
of protecting Mm from personal interviews by ... busybodies of 
both sexes, they will make an end of him/ 4 With the enervating 
heat wave and humidity of July, it was whispered that Johnson, 
still sick* was threatened with a stroke. 5 He had grown pale and 
languid, not having left the White House in a month. He was 
persuaded to take a river excursion on the Don, and though it 



t &Q4-05. s The Jhtffin Papers, Swain to Buffin, 87-39. 

8 Junes 87, 1805, 4 July 6, 1865. s WeEes, n, $27, 



22 THE TRAGIC EEA 

wax a cool, cloudy day ho was wracked with headache. After that, 

he took occasionally to the river,, hut the pressure was unabated. 
Warned that he should exercise, he took no heed. 1 'It is quite 
a marvel, 9 wrote a correspondent, c the President's health is not 
permanently impaired/ 2 and the assurance of a Tennesseean that 
*Andy is as hard as a knot and you can't kill him' did not con- 
vince. At length he succumbed, and asked if something could be 
done to protect him, and Seward drew up some orders which the 
Cabinet adopted. 3 After that he was enticed from the stuffy 
rooms for an occasional drive to Hock Creek and Pierce's Mill, and 
out on the Georgetown road, over which Jackson and 'Van Buren 
were wont to ride on horseback* 4 

But he was never free from care, for the favor-seekers were the 
least of his worries. Ben Butler had pushed his way to the very 
door of the sick-room to insist on the execution of Davis and Lee, 
and to urge severity. 5 The party bosses annoyed him by assessing 
Government employees for political purposes* The process of 
reconstruction in the South presented ever-recurring problems, 
and he was not unmindful of the conspiracy in incubation against 
him, and suspected the loyalty of Stauton, not without cause* 
Johnson had taken the position that suffrage was a matter for the 
States, and everywhere he was being attacked and misrepresent.**!, 

By early autumn the passion for negro equality had reached 
such a heat that the President of Vassar College was Maying that 
*God is gathering on this continent , . .the elements of a new 
and glorious nationality 5 meaning out of many races to mould one 
new one; and among the rent he has brought the negro.* lie was 
convinced that 'in a new land you ought to have no advantage of 
a negro 9 civil, political or social, simply because your skins are of 
a different complexion.* The s New York World f protested against 
having "'the peculiarities of that doctrine taught to young girls 
and budding women/ From the South came disheartening re- 
ports of the extravagant expectations of the freedxnen and their 
refusal to work. Thus, when in October colored soldiers appeared 
at the White House, Johnson sought to give them friendly advice, 
warning them against idleness, assuring them that liberty did not 

1 Wellea, ii, $40, $47, 2 New York World, August 8, 1865, 

3 Welles, n, 854. ML, it, 367. @ MUL, tt, $48-49, $ September 0, 1B6& 



THE IS LONG LIVE THE KING 28 

mean lawlessness, and urging them to adopt systems of morality 
and to abstain from licentiousness. He impressed upon them the 
solemnity of the marriage contract, advised them to control their 
passions, develop their intellect, and apply their physical powers 
to the industrial interests of the country. 1 This advice aroused the 
ire of the Radicals, and the answer was not long in coming. Even 
the scholarly 'Nation/ conceding the excellence of the admoni- 
tions, waxed sarcastic without apparent cause. 2 Not so mild the 
criticism of Wendell Phillips, stirring up sectional hate in Boston. 
He, like Stevens* was mourning over the "loss of the war/ Under 
the Johnson policies the South was victorious. But it was the 
advice to the freedmen that called forth his sardonic mirth. 
'Well/ he said, c he [Johnson] goes on in this speech and says, 
"work, work, work"; be very industrious; be very economical; 
stick to your families, reverence your wives [here the audience 
burst into scornful laughter] ; teach them to be chaste; be chaste 
yourselves; remember the great duty resting upon you; perform 
the great husband and wifely duties. * Here there were roars of 
laughter and rounds of applause. "That speech a hundred years 
hence/ continued Phillips, *the historian will hold in his hand as 
a miraculous exhibition of what America- could set at the head of 
her political forces to lead her in this great hour. Oh, God grant 
that no Swift, no Rabelais with his immortal pen hold up that 
speech to the indignation and scorn of the world/ 3 

Such was the spirit of the element soon to bludgeon its way to 
the control of the race problem at its most critical juncture, and 
Johnson understood its meaning. And yet John Sherman, writing 
to the General, observed that "he seems kind and patient with all 
his terrible responsibility.* 4 

Here we must pause in the recital of events to become more 
intimately acquainted with the man who was to become the storm- 
center of almost four tragic years of revolutionary hate and terror, 

1 McPherso 40-51. s October 19, 1865. 

Nmo Korfc JPorfA October 17, 1805, 4 Jbtor*, 359. 



11 

ANDREW JOHNSON: A PORTRAIT 

I 

NO one could have approached Andrew Johnson without a 
feeling of respect. Henry Adams, who had seen, first and 

last, a do&en Presidents at the White House, recalled ^this one 
many years afterward as 'the old-fashioned Southern'. Senator 
and statesman at his desk/ and concluded that he was * perhaps 

the strongest he was ever to see/ l About the same time a courtly 
and cultivated man of the world was writing that *he looks every 
Inch the President/ 2 When Charles Dickens was presented, and 

the two men 'looked at each other very hard/ the novelist, who 
was not given to the flattery of American politicians, thought 
him *a man with a remarkable face' and * would have picked him 
out anywhere as a character of mark/ 3 And Charles Francin 
Adams, diplomat, familiar with the manners of courts and of 
statesmen to the manner bora, was * impressed with his dignity/ 
his * quiet composure, 9 and the neatness of his clothes, 4 Still 
another, who attached much importance to manners, thought 
that & nobody could have been more courteous or punctiliou# or 
have borne himself with more dignity or decorum/ & Even Carl 
8churz> who was to join so lustily in the hue and cry against him, 
reluctantly admitted that *his contact with the world has taught 
him certain things as to decent and correct appearance/ f) These 
references to his neatness are important as measuring in it minor 
detail the enormity of the misrepresentations on which prejudice 
against him has been feel; for no less a writer than Rhodes* the 
historian, has given currency to the utterly indefensible story that 
he was slovenly in attire. The very opposite was true, &s Mr. 
Rhodes, who met him, must have known. He always in 

broadcloth, in perfect taste* and with meticulous care* In truth 
he was distinguished for exceptional neatness in person 

1 Haary Adams, &M * Old Day* at Gkapd Hill, letter of Governor Swalu, 117, 
* Jowter, in, 4*8, < Winston, 17$, Wiie, 110. * n, n. 



ANDREW JOHNSON: A PORTRAIT 25 

dress. 1 In outer appearance, at least, he was a gentleman, lacking 
nothing that Sumner had, except the spats. 

A stranger, meeting him standing expectantly at his desk, 
would have thought him a little below medium height because of 
the compactness of his build, but he measured five feet nine, and 
stood erect. The first impression would have been of unusual 
powers of physical endurance and sinewy strength. Interest would 
have been immediately awakened by his face, which Dickens 
found 'remarkable . , . indicating courage, watchfulness, and 
certainly strength of purpose.' 2 The large, shapely head with 
black hair, the dark eyes, deep-set and piercing, the mouth with 
lines of grim determination extending downward from the corners, 
which some associated with strength and others with cynicism, 3 
the strong nose, and the square cleft chin, all contributed to the 
powerful impression made upon the English novelist. The com- 
plexion, described as of 'Indian like 5 swarthiness, 4 did not serve 
to brighten the face which one, not friendly, thought dull and 
stolid, 5 and another, also hostile, thought * sullen . . . betokening 
a strong will inspired by bitter feelings.' 6 And yet a lady of fine 
culture who visited him was impressed with the smallness and 
softness of his hands, and "cheeks as red as June apples.' 7 We 
may well believe, at any rate, that it was a face with c no genial 
sunlight in it.' 8 If it lacked sunshine and denoted grim deter- 
mination and even some bitterness, it was not without reason in 
the hard and bitter battles he had fought, and the long-drawn 
torture of his pride, which was not least among his qualities. 

ii 

Like Lincoln, and Thad Stevens, who was to be his most in- 
veterate foe, he was born of lowly parentage and in poverty, in the 
little log shack now carefully preserved in Raleigh. Long after 

he had attained national prominence, it was whispered about that 
he was the illegitimate son of a gentleman of some distinction, 
and the gossips were able to name the man without being able to 

1 Jf0fM H*nry, x 162-154; 'Defence and Vindication,' by W. P. Brownlow, Taylor-Trot- 

ittQQd Magazine, September, 1908. 

a Fowler, in, 4S8. 3 Wise, HO. * Crook, 81. 8 Wise, 110. 

Sebum, n, 95, 7 Mrs, Clay, 311. 8 Sehura, 11, 05. 



THE TRAGIC 

agree on Ills Identity. 1 When, In the second year of bis Presidency* 
he attended the ceremonies at the dedication of his father's monu- 
ment, he was reported to have referred to him doubtfully as 'the 
man who is said to be my father,' mid that story persists to this 

day. Standing uncovered at the grave, he really said: 4 1 have 
come to participate in the ceremonies of dedicating a monument 
to a man you respected, though poor and of humble condition. 

He was my father, and of him 1 am proud. He was an honest,; and 
faithful friend - a character 1 prixe higher than all the worldly 
fortunes that could have been left me/ 2 And there was justifica- 
tion for this pride, for this father porter, sexton, janitor was 
respected by all the people, chosen city countable, nnd made 
captain of a militia company. An accommodating man, he was 
always in demand at barbecues and banquets for the basting of 
young pigs, and he was an excellent caterer. A passion for com- 
1 panionship held him to the town when he could have bettered 
himself in the country ^ and he was lacking in ambition. Plunging 
into an icy stream, to save two lives, he contracted au illness from 
which he died, and during his illness *he was visited by the 
principal inhabitants of the city, by all of whom he was esteemed 
for his honesty, industry, and humane and friendly disposition/ 3 
Thus, at the age of four he was left a penniless orphan, bound 
out as soon as possible as an apprentice to a tailor, to be fed and 
clothed for his services until he attained his majority, This 
period is naturally shrouded in obscurity. We have u momentary 
glimpse of him holding the horse of the elegant John Branch, 
while the latter was having a fitting in the shop* and refusing pay 
for the service. 4 Sensitive, imaginative* strangely proud* he may 
have brooded over the comparison ol ! his lot with that of other 
children more happily placed It is of record that in a childish 
prank he broke a window, ran away in fear of arrest, and was 
advertised as a runaway apprentice; that he lingered awhile in 
a near-by town, which memorializes the sojourn with a momiment; 
and pushed on to South Carolina, where, at Laurans Court~House 
he worked at Ms trade for a year; that he returned to work out 

* Mane Jfrnry, x, 155. New Forfe World* June 4 1807* 

8 RaMgh 8tor, fcxuifury W 181$; quoted, Jones, Ifije, 13, 

4 Haywood, John Brandt pamphlet. 



JOHNSON: A PORTRAIT 27 

Ms apprenticeship,, to find the tailor gone; and, finding himself 
under a cloud as a result of his flight, determined to test his fortune 
in. Tennessee. Thus one autumn day an eighteen-year-old boy, 
accompanied by a woman and a man, entered Greeneville, after 
days of hardship in crossing the mountains in a cart drawn by a 
blind pony. 

That he was sensitive and proud is evident in his determination 
never again to wear the collar of an employer. Soon married to 
a woman of character and some attainments, plain but of good 
family, 1 he became the proprietor of a small shop; and by honest 
work and assiduous application prospered so well that he had 
attained a competent fortune before he was thirty-four. It was 
in this mountain town that his political character was moulded. 

HI 

Soon able to read and write, through the tutelage of his wife, 
the printed page opened to his eager mind a world of wonders he 
was keen to explore. During the day he employed men to read to 
him at fifty cents a day; and, plying his needle often far into the 
night, he listened to the reading of his wife. His partiality ran to 
books on politics and government; he pored with delight over a 
collection of orations, and after that followed the speeches of 
contemporary statesmen through the newspapers, for which he 
had a fondness similar to Lincoln's. Soon the little tailor shop 
became the clubhouse of laborers of the aspiring sort who had 
ambitions of their own. Born with a genius for controversy and 
an impulse toward expression, he was soon participating in the 
town debates, manifesting more than ordinary resourcefulness in 
verbal combat. To cultivate his natural gift, he walked time and 
again, regardless of the weather, to the college, four miles distant, 
to match his wits against those of the more favored students. 

By this time he had developed a belligerent class consciousness, 
inevitable in one of his pride, and under the social organization of 
the community. First in the scale came the aristocrats, who owned 
slaves; then the merchants, who had money; and then the poor, 
who were the laborers. Excluded from the first two, he made a 
virtue of belonging to the last. Thus it was the carpenters, brick- 

1 Mane Hewry, i, 



28 THE ERA 

layers, plasterers, shoemakers, and small farmers with whom he 
associated; and it was these who frequented his shop to discuss 
polities and the grievances of the submerged. Thus the shop 
became a small Jacobin club, fired with the revolutionary spirit 

of democracy. Among the members were a few robust souls who 
fanned the flames of his discontent. A little while, and these 
determined upon a minor revolution in the governing forces of 
the community. The aristocrats, in the minority, had dominated 
the city government; it was time for the plebeians, in the majority, 
to assert themselves. Thus, with the issue clear-cut between the 
plebeians and the patricians, he was pushed forward as the for- 
mer's candidate for alderman, and won. That was the spring 
Andrew Jackson entered the White House. In his twenty-seventh 
year, Johnson's followers proposed him for the legislature, and* 
running against a Whig aristocrat noted as an excellent speaker, 
he prevailed, and amazed even his friends by his prowess on the 
platform* 

Holding aloof from party organisations, he was, at this juncture, 
a Jeff ersonian outspoken in his attacks on centralisation. 
Soon he was numbered among the most ardent of the Jaeksoni- 
ans. While not binding himself by partisanship, he hated the 
Whigs, representing the slave-owning aristocracy, who looked 
down upon the workingincn with indifferent scorn. Soon lie had 
won the favorable notice of Jackson and Polk, and in 1840, in 
his thirty-second year, and after eleven years in politics, he be- 
came a regular Democrat for the first time and canvassed the 
State as an elector at large for the Van Buren ticket. 

Thus, while all his instincts were fundamentally Jeffersonian, 
he had been accorded position in the "Democratic Party primarily 
because he had made himself the idol of the working classes and 
of the mountaineers. It was to these that he appealed when lie 
made his race for Congress. His platform was personal -- a pledge 
to reduce tariff taxes on necessities and shift them to the luxuries 
of the rich, to fight the battle for the homeless. Were there not 
vast stretches of unoccupied lands in the West? He already had 
a vision of his homestead law. Taken at his word ? he was elected 
and served ten years/ 

If his career in the House was not scintillating, it was serious 



ANDREW JOHNSON: A POKTRAIT 29 

and useful. Living simply in a boarding-house on Capitol Hill, 
any visitor would have found upon Ms table the writings of 
Jefferson, Plutarch's 'Lives/ works on the Constitution and 
political subjects. No one made a more intelligent use of the 
Congressional Library; no one was more pathetically eager for 
self -improvement. 1 Frequently he might have been seen haunting 
the little Senate Chamber listening to the eloquence of Webster, 
Clay, Calhoun, and Benton. 

It was then /that he began his fight for his Homestead Act, 
which, after many vicissitudes, was to be written into law. 

When, after a term as Governor, he reached the Senate, the 
Nation was heading for war, and no one displayed a saner states- 
manship. Thenceforth his was a struggle for the Constitution 
and the Union, in the Senate, on the platform, in the caucus. 
When war came, he imperiled his life at the instance of Lincoln 
and left the politicians to the safety of the Senate house, to under- 
take the desperate duties of the Military Governor of Tennessee, 
In the unrolling of the story before us, we must keep this in mind 
always: no leader, civil or military, was subjected to such hard- 
ships and deadly dangers, and it was in recognition of his services 
that he was nominated on the ticket with Lincoln in 1864. Such, 
rapidly sketched, was the previous career of the new President. 

IV 

Since we shall find him constantly assailed as a traitor to 'the 
Party that elected him,' we must get an accurate impression of 
his politics. There is no possible palliation for this misrepresenta- 
tion, A Democrat all his life, he was not nominated by the Repub- 
lican Party nor as a Republican. He was chosen in a Union Party 
Convention, as a Southern Democrat, and expressly because he was 
a Democrat. *He was always a Democrat/ wrote Greeley at the 
time of Ms nomination; *he was a Senator from a slave State; he 
supported Breckinridge for President; but he never wavered or fal- 
tered in his devotion to the national cause; and he has carried his 
life in Ms hand from the outset/ Years after the hysteria of recon- 
struction days had passed, one of the leaders of the movement to 
impeach him wrote that *Mr, Johnson never identified himself 

* Winston, 41. 



SO THE ERA 

with the Republican Party*; that * neither in Junt% 1864> nor at 

any other period of his life had the Republican Party a right to 
treat him as an associate member'; and that Mie was , . , what 
he often proclaimed himself to be a Jadksoniau Democrat/ 1 
Indeed, four months before his nomination with Lincoln, while he 
was fighting the Union's battles in the fiery furnace of Tennessee, 
he told a political acquaintance that *if the country is ever to be 
saved it will be done through the old Democratic Party/ ^ He 
held through life to the Jeffersonian doctrine that 'stands "firmly 
by the combined and recorded judgment of the people until 
changed or modified by them/ and had faith *m the Integrity and 
capacity of the people to govern themselves/ * This declaration 
of fundamental faith, expressed ia his inaugural address as Gover- 
nor of Tennessee., was fiercely denounced by the reactionary forces 
of the State. * Instead of the v r oiee of the people being the voice 
of a demon/ he said on another occasion, M go back to the old 
idea> and 1 favor the policy of populating all our free institutions 
. . . and bringing them nearer to the people/ 4 Indeed, his attitude 
toward two tendencies that were to be pronounced in the yeans 
immediately following the war would have made impossible his 
affiliation with the politicians who were soon to call for his cruci- 
fixion. He was an uncompromising enemy of centralisation ~ as 
much so as Jefferson. Your States/ he said* *. , are .sinking into 
mere petty corporations . , . mere satellites of an inferior character, 
revolving around the great central power here in "Washington. 
There is where your danger is. It is not in centrifugal power being 
too great, but in the centripetal influence all drawing here/ 

And he was as bitterly hostile to privilege mid monopoly as 
Jackson. *The tendency of the legislation of this country IB to 
build up monopolies/ he said* *. . . to build up the money power 
* . . to concentrate power in the .hands of the few. The tendency 
is for classes and against the great mass of the people/ Through- 
out his life we find him constantly giving utterance to expressions 
that might have flowed from the pen of Jefferson* *I believe that 
governments are made for men and not men for governments/ * 

J Boutwett, n, 07* 

s Evidence of St&aiey Matthew* in Impoacbment Trial, 

8 Moore, Uf and JMW&, 77, 4 /WdL, M. 5 /MA, 471, 



JOHNSON: A 31 

*I am opposed to consolidation or to the concentration of power 
in the hands of the few/ 1 

Thus his proposed constitutional amendments further to de- 
mocratize the Government through the voting of presidential 
electors by districts instead of by States, for the popular election 
of Senators, and for definite long-time terms for Justices of the 
Supreme Court. Thus, a radical in his democracy, he had nothing 
in common with the forces soon to take possession of the Govern- 
ment. Nor was this devotion to the masses a demagogic simula- 
tion. One who knew him well and spared not his faults has re- 
corded that 'his sympathies were easily stirred by rags in dis- 
tress/ 2 Nor, despite the popular clamor raised against him, did he 
ever lose faith in the people. * Cherish always the support of the 
common people,* he advised young Benton McMillin, just entering 
public life. *I have found them a never-failing or faltering element 
of strength/ 3 

v 

It was in keeping with this feeling for the plain people that he 
fought his long-drawn stubborn battle for his homestead law 
providing one hundred and sixty acres to every head of a family 
who would migrate to the public domain and cultivate the soiL 
To this, despite discouragement and defeat, he clung with a 
passionate tenacity because he knew the misery of the homeless 
wanderer and something of the longing for one's own vine and 
fig-tree, The moment he accumulated a little money, he bought 
a hundred acres of farm land. 

There was something of the social revolutionist in this man's 
temper. He bitterly resented the enormous landholdings of the 
aristocracy while thousands of industrious men were unable to 
own the roof above their heads. * I am no agrarian/ he once said, 1 
*but if through an iniquitous system a vast amount of land has 
been accumulated in the hands of one man . . . then that result is 
wrong/ 4 Elaine thought his resentment against land monopoly 
amounted to hatred. He denounced the landed aristocracy as 'in- 

* Moore, Lift and Spe&ches, 484* 2 Harse Henry, i 152. 

11 Told tfae author by Governor McMillin. 
4 Address at NaslwHIe, October 24, 1864. 



I THE TRAGIC ERA 

flated and heartless/ and warned of such agrarian struggles as in 
Ireland. 1 His congressional speeches, however, were sane and 
forceful. Did some one say it was impossible to give public land 
away? *If you can grant your public lands as gratuities,* he re- 
plied, 'to men who go out and fight the battles of the country . . , 
is it not passing strange that you cannot grant land to those who 
till the soil and make provision to sustain your army?" 2 .More; 
4 Do you want cities to take control of the government? 9 Are not 
the 'rural population, the mechanics ... the very salt of it?" 
Yes, 'they constitute the mud sills. 5 3 This fight for free lands in 
the unpopulated territories of the West was strongly opposed by 
the pro-slavery element as tending to the ultimate loss of con- 
gressional power, and from this time on Johnson was looked upon 
as a renegade to the South. And yet there is no evidence on which 
to justify the bizarre theory that he was aiming at slavery. Dis- 
liking it, not on moral but on economic grounds, ever and anon 
in the bitterness of debate this hostility would flash forth in a biting 
phrase; but we shall see that he was not interested in the emanci- 
pation of slaves. He accepted the institution as established. 

VI 

There was no justification for the Southern theory that Johnson 
would interfere with slavery through congressional action, *My 
position/ he declared in the Senate, 4 *is that Congress has no power 
to interfere with * . . slavery; that it is an institution local in its 
character and peculiar to the States where it exists, and no other 
power has the right to control it.' He had no sympathy with the 
programme or methods of the abolitionists. *He always scouted 
the idea that slavery was the cause of our trouble [the war] or 
that emancipation could ever be tolerated without immediate 
colonization/ wrote Julian, the abolitionist, *At heart a hater 
of abolitionism/ 6 Speaking in the Senate at the time of the 
John Brown raid, he excoriated those who stirred up sectional 
strife, to the peril of the Union., on the slave question, 'John 
Brown stands before the country as a murderer/ he said, *Thc 
time has arrived when these things ought to be stopped; when 



1 Blame, n 5, 2 Moore, Life and $$wcto, $4, 3 Ibvl,, 

* .fane 5, 1800, 



ANDREW JOHNSON: A PORTRAIT S3 

encroachments on the institutions of the South ought to cease; . . . 
when the Southern States and their institutions should be let 
alone; . . . when you must either preserve the Constitution or 
you must destroy this Union.' 1 John Brown compared to Christ? 
What blasphemy! *I once heard it said that fanaticism always 
ends in heaven or in hell ... I believe it true/ John Brown a god? 

* Those may make him a god who will, and worship him who can 
he is not my god and I shall not worship at his shrine/ 2 

Fighting desperately as the war clouds lowered for the Union 
he loved and the Constitution he revered, he was not concerned 
with slavery. * The constitutional guarantees must be carried out ! ' 
he thundered. And then, turning to agitators of the slavery ques- 
tion, he continued: * We do not intend that you shall drive us out 
of this house that was reared by the hands of our fathers. It is our 
house . . . the constitutional house/ Having thus defied the dis- 
unionists of the North, he turned to those of the South. *Are we 
going to desert that noble and patriotic band who have stood by 
us in the North?' he asked. Lincoln elected? Ah, 'a minority 
President by nearly a million votes; but had the election taken 
place upon the plan proposed in my amendment to the Con- 
stitution by districts, he would have been this day defeated/ 
Run, away because Lincoln enters? *I voted against him; I spoke 
against him; I spent my money to defeat him; but still I love my 
country; I love the Constitution: I intend to insist upon its 
guarantees. There and there alone I intend to plant myself, with 
the confident hope and belief that if the Union remains together, 
In less than four years the now triumphant party will be over- 
thrown/ 3 

With the war clouds thickening a month before Lincoln's in- 
auguration, Johnson still stood in the Senate passionately fighting 
for the Union and against the radicals on both sides the line. 

* There are politicians/ he said, 'who want to break up the Union 
to promote their personal aggrandizement; some desire the 
Union destroyed that slavery may be extinguished/ He, instead, 
would * wrest it from the Philistines, save the country, and hand 
it down to our children as it has been handed down to us/ And 

1 Congressional Globe, December 12, 1859. 2 Ibid. 

8 Ibid., December 18, 19, I860, 



34 THE ERA 

then, an impassioned denunciation of the abolitionists. * Thank 
God I am not in alliance with Giddings, with Phillips, with 

Garrison, and the long list of those who are engaged in the work 
of destruction, and in violating the Constitution of the United 
States/ x Never to the hour of the Emancipation Proclamation 
had Johnson sanctioned any interference with slavery. His plan 
to throw the Western country open to settlement would have 
strengthened the congressional forces against slavery but he 
was thinking of the benefits to the poor whites. When lie favored 
the admission of California with slavery he was not seeking to 
serve that institution but to open more; opportunities to the 
homeless whites? Thus he voted against Southern sentiment for 
the admission of Oregon but he was thinking of homesteads 
and not of slavery. 

Yet he disliked the institution, and, like Lincoln, hoped for its 
extinction through colonization. Tims he spoke in favor of the 
admission of Texas. To increase the slave dominion? No; beeause 
Texas would "prove to be the gateway out of which the sable 
sons of Africa are to pass from bondage to freedom, 5 3 lie disliked 
slavery beeause of its degrading effect on white labor always 
he was thinking of that. Thus, speaking of Lincoln's Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation, he declared that *the emancipation of the 
slaves will break down an odious and dangerous aristocracy/ and 
*free more whites than blacks in Tennessee/ 

Nor can it be charged that he changed his views a# to the pur- 
pose of the war when he took issue with the Radicals on the spirit 
of reconstruction. Scarcely had the war begun, when Johnson, in 
the Senate, proposed resolutions setting forth the spirit and pur- 
pose as he saw it. The war should be prosecuted in no spirit of 
oppression, * nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor 
purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or es- 
tablished institutions of those States, but to defend and maintain 
the supremacy of the Constitution and, all laws made in pursuance 
thereof/ And there was another clause which foreshadowed hi$ 
own policy of restoration the purpose was to * preserve the 

1 Congressional <7fo60> February 5, 9 1801, 

* JKd, House, June 5 1850. 

n House, January 1, 



JOHNSON: A 35 

Union with, all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several 
States unimpaired.' l 

Thus, like Lincoln, he did not like slavery; like Lincoln, he 
recognized the constitutional rights of slavery; like Lincoln, he 
did not care for the abolitionists; like Lincoln, he was more inter- 
ested in the preservation of the Union, with or without slavery; 
and like Lincoln, he thought the. war was waged for the preserva- 
tion of the Union and for no other purpose. 

VII 

In the misrepresentation of Johnson during the contests of his 
life, he was accused of being a Catholic in some quarters, an atheist 
in others, and he was neither. He affiliated with no church, but he 
put his belief on record: *So far as the doctrines of the Bible are 
concerned, or the great scheme of salvation, as founded and taught 
and practiced by Jesus Christ, I never did entertain a solitary 
doubt, 9 2 It is probable that in his earlier life he was restrained 
from affiliating with a church because of the discriminations he 
found there between the rich and the poor. He was temperamen- 
tally incapable of submitting to such discrimination in the house 
of God. At times he disclosed a certain partiality to Catholicism, 
and this has been ascribed to his admiration of its policy of recog- 
nizing no distinctions in worship. Not only did he occasionally 
attend Catholic services in Washington, but he entered one of 
his sons in a Catholic school. 

This contributed less, however, to the charge that he was, in 
spirit, a Catholic than his robust battles against Know-Nothing- 
ism and the religious intolerance of his times. He had been at- 
tacked on the false ground that he had put his daughter in a 
Catholic school in Georgetown. She had really attended Mrs. 
English's Seminary for Young Ladies, which was non-sectarian. 
But Johnson was intolerant of intolerance. He was as firmly con- 
vinced as Jefferson of the injustice and tyranny of any sort of 
interference with the freedom of conscience. On one occasion in 
the House, when a speaker had given utterance to a prescriptive 
thought, Johnson had flamed with wrath. *Are the bloodhounds 
of proscription and persecution to be let loose on the Irish?' Is the 

1 Congreanmal Globe, Senate, July 6, 1861. 2 Winston, 40. 



36 TRAGIC 

guillotine to be set up in a republican, form of government?* It 
was Ms devastating crusade of defiance against this spirit that 
first established his leaderships by right, of the Tennessee Demo- 
cracy in 1854. "Show me a Know-Nothing/ he shouted to bigots, 
pale with fury, and to the sound of the cocking of pistols, *and 
I will show you a loathsome reptile on whose neck every honest 
man should set his heel/ l In replying to an attack on Catholics 
charged with responsibility for the defeat of Clay in 1844, he 
left no doubt of the liberality of his views, "The Catholics had the 
right secured to them by the Constitution of worshipping the God 
of their fathers in the manner dictated by their consciences, , 
This country is not prepared to establish an inquisition, to try 
and punish men for their religious beliefs/ 

To measure the depth of his feeling on religious liberty and 
against proscription, it must be remembered that he represented 
a district containing but few Catholics and permeated with a 
prejudice against them. Nothing could better illustrate the 
courageous intellectual honesty of Andrew Johnson. 

vnt 

*But Andrew Johnson was a drunkard' ~ - and he was nothing of 

the sort. This slander grew out of his unfortunate condition at the 
time of his inauguration as Vice-President. There were extenu- 
ating circumstances to the incident that reduce a scandal to a mis- 
fortune. 

Previous to the inauguration, he had been so ill that he deter- 
mined to take the oath at Nashville, but Lincoln, wishing the 
psychological advantage in the North of a Southern man being 
sworn in at the capital, urged him to reconsider. Under these 
conditions he reached Washington one or two days before the 
ceremonies. 2 The night before, lie attended a party given by 
Colonel Forney., where there must have been some drinking. 3 A 
short time before the hour for the inaugural ceremonies the next 
day, he entered the office o! Vice-President Hamlin, complaining 
of feeling faint and asking for a stimulant. A messenger was 

* Winston, 72. 

2 * Defence and Vindication/ Taylor-TrohDQod Maganw* September, 

3 B, O. Truman, Century Maga&me, January, 



ANDREW JOHNSON: A PORTRAIT 37 

dispatched for some brandy, and Johnson drank a glass, and, in 
the course of conversation while waiting,, two more. When he rose 
to enter the Senate Chamber, he was perfectly sober, but the 
heat of the crowded room had its effect, and when, after much 
delay, he was sworn in, he was in a befuddled state of mind. 1 
One witness writes that Lincoln sat facing Johnson with an ex- 
pression of * unutterable sorrow/ but that he did not join in the 
condemnation of others. We have it on reliable authority that 
he had sent an emissary to Nashville to report on Johnson's 
habits. 2 c lt has been a severe lesson for Andy,' he said, 'but I do 
not think he will do it again.' 3 Another talked with Lincoln 
about the incident. *I have known Andy Johnson for many 
years/ he said. "He made a bad slip the other day, but you need 
not be scared. Andy ain't a drunkard.' 4 While it was an age of 
hard drinking among public men, and a drunken Senator on the 
floor of the Senate was not unusual, there was a simulation of 
outraged dignity among Senators, and Sumner even suggested 
impeachment. 

Such was the unhappy incident, and out of this was created the 
myth of Johnson's habitual drunkenness. A penniless and obscure 
youth, without family prestige or influential friends, who, within 
a few years, accumulated a modest fortune, and through sheer 
ability rose to a position of authority, could not have been a 
drunkard. However, his enemies made the most of the 'slip/ 
and within two weeks of his accession to the Presidency a London 
paper was referring to him as *a drunken mechanic.' This im- 
pelled the * London News' to publish the result of its investiga- 
tion. * We are assured/ it said, *by those who cannot but know the 
facts . . . that that incident cannot without injustice ... be taken 
to represent Mr. Johnson's character. Those who know him well 
describe him as a man of real capacity and temperate habits/ 5 
From Benjamin C. Truman, who sat with him at the same table 
in Nashville at least once a day for eighteen months, we have it 
that he never took wine or liquor with a meal, ' never drank a 

1 JK/e of Hamlin, 497; Sherman, Recollections, i, 351. 

2 Truman, Century, January* 191$. 3 Forney, i, 177. 
4 Men and Measure 37$. 

8 London News, April 7, 1865; quoted, New York Herald, May 11, 1865. 



38 THE ERA 

cocktail in his life, never was in a barroom, and did not care for 
champagne/ He did, however, "take two or three or four glasses 
of Robertson County whiskey some clays; some days less, and 
some days and weeks no licpor at all. 3 1 A White House attache 
who served through five administrations testifies that, while 
the cellars were always stocked with fine wines and liquors 
which were served to guests, Johnson * never drank to excess/ 2 
* Except in the time of his absence in the fall of 1865,* continues 
this dependable witness, "1 saw him probably every day . * and 
I never saw him once under the influence of liquor/ 2 In reply to 
a direct question by Chief Justice Chase concerning Johnson's 
reputation for sobriety in Tennessee, Parson Brownlow, his 
most vituperative foe, replied that, while he was not a total ab- 
stainer from liquors, * nobody in Tennessee ever regarded him an 
addicted to their excessive use 5 ; and that while the speaker had 
denounced him for everything of which he was guilty he *had 
never charged him with being a drunkard because lie had no 
grounds for doing so/ 4 To this the Chief Justice replied that with 
the one exception he had never seen Johnson intoxicated. *I 
knew him in the Senate before the war/ Chase continued, 'and 
then I knew he was not a dissipated man. While ho was President 
I saw him very often, frequently late at night, and sometimes on 
Sunday, but 1 never saw him under the influence of spirits in the 
slightest degree/ 6 To the testimony of his foes we may properly 
add that of a member of his Cabinet, * For nearly four yours 1 hud 
daily intercourse with him/ said Secretary McCulloch, 'frequently 
at night, and 1 never saw him when under the influence of 
liquor/ The fact that he was habitually described in the press 
and from the platform through the bitter struggle;* of his regime 
as a * drunkard' measures the appalling turpitude and reckless 
dishonesty of his enemies. 

Thus we have brushed aside a few favorite falsehoods used 
against hiwa in his time and preserved by some historians sinco. 
He was not a traitor to the Republican Party, for he never be- 
longed to it; he was not slovenly in his dress, but the direct 



1 Century, January, 1 9 IS. s Crook, S3. 

4 * Defence and Vindication/ Taybv^Tfotwood M&gaxm^ September* 

6 Ibid. 9 Mm and Mwwm* $74 



A 39 

opposite; lie did not change Ms view of the purpose of the war,, but 
held to it; and he was not a drunkard. 

IX 

The oratory of Johnson was that of the frontier, elemental, 
without finesse* graceless, void of humor, overcharged with in- 
tensity, but often overpowering in its sincerity, and persuasive in 
its downright honesty. Only his finely modulated voice suggested 
art, and it was natural. "No man spoke at critical moments with 
more tremendous power. In youth he had read over and over the 
orations of Pox, Pitt, and Chatham, and no one knew the qualities 
of a great oration better. If he failed to attain the highest stand- 
ards, it was due, in a measure, to the limitations of his education. 
Thus he fell into occasional grammatical errors, but, when not 
overwrought by feeling, he was a master of forceful rhetoric. To 
read his early congressional speeches is to marvel that one unable 
to read well at the time of Ms marriage could have spoken, with 
such flowing fluency or have mastered such an extensive vocabu- 
lary. 

The weakness of his speeches, the lack of humor and the lighter 
t^neSj was, in a sense, his strength in most of his tremendous 
struggles on the stump and in Congress. No audience ever heard 
him, to doubt the depth of his convictions or the sincerity and 
absolute candor of his utterance. Throughout his life it was his 
destiny to speak generally on subjects that fired human passions 
and involved profound fundamental principles that were, to him, 
as sacred as the Gospel. Fighting his early battles in a section 
where men took their politics in deadly earnest and carried them 
to the limits of personalities, he was forced to master the art of 
the rough-and-tumble repartee. Time and again he was to speak 
at the peril of his life, and he never faltered or moderated his tone. 
More than once Ms speaking was interrupted by the cocking oi 
pistols. Speaking once under such sinister conditions, lie was 
warned that the repetition of Ms speech would injure Ms party* 
6 1 will make that same speech to-morrow/ he replied, 'if it blows 
the Democratic Party to hell/ A difficult orator, if you please, but 
an honest one. Told that he would be assassinated if he spoke in 
one community that teemed with enemies, he appeared upon the 



40 THE TRAGIC ERA 

platform with the comment that he understood shooting was to be 
one of the preliminaries, and that decency and order dictated that 
these be dispensed with first. Drawing a pistol from his pocket, he 
paused expectantly. There was a dead silence. * Gentlemen, it 
appears I have been misinformed/ he said, quietly returning the 
pistol to his pocket, and launching forthwith into an uncompro- 
mising speech. 

He was familiar with mobs long before he made his * swing 
around the circle/ He met them when thundering against the 
Ordinance of Secession in his canvass of Tennessee in the midst 
of frenzied crowds mustering into the service of the Confederacy. 
It was his fighting speeches that captivated the North until he 
turned them against the disunionists of that section. Speaking 
often in Indiana during the war, he was greeted by enormous 
throngs of wildly enthusiastic men* 1 This, however, should be kept 
in mind he was never a demagogue. This breed does not bare 
its breast to bullets. Nor were his speeches frothy and unsub- 
stantial things they were packed with substance, Laborious 
and exhaustive research preceded his public appearances. In 
Congress he haunted the Congressional Library in search of facts, 
He had a passion for evidence. When preparing for the stump, his 
offiec had the appearance of a factory at the clo.se of day. It was 
filled with pamphlets, works on economics, speeches, histories and 
always at hand a copy of the Constitution. A huge scrapbook 
preserved newspaper clippings that might prove useful* Ills 
method strangely resembled Lincoln's. 

The height of his eloquence wan reached in the impassioned 
appeals for the Union and the Constitution in the Senate on the 
verge of war. No one then approached him in sheer eloquence, for 
there was a heart-throb in every word* Strong words ami luuxi, 
biting phrases and harsh, and yet through all something wry like 
a sob. 

Thus, with his insight into the heart of the masses his great 
personal magnetism, his musical voice and fighting presence, his 
rapidly marching sentences a little undisciplined and tmdecorated 
like the citizens' army of the French that marched to the protec- 
tion of the frontier against the embattled world, he was im 

1 Men and Measww, S7S, 



ANDREW JOHNSON: A 41 

presslve and effective. The critical sneered at his grammatical 
errors and jeered at his stinging sentences, but there never was a 
time that his enemies did not fear their effect upon a crowd. 
That is the reason, as we shall see, that they organized mobs to 
howl him down on his memorable journey to Douglas's tomb. 

x 

He was unfashionable among public men of the period of his 
Presidency because of his meticulous honesty. His declination of 
a fine equipage with a span of horses proffered by a New York 
City group, on the ground that he had always made it a practice 
to refuse gifts while in public station, 1 was criticized as not without 
vulgarity. Handling millions as Military Governor of Tennessee, 
he was poorer on leaving than on taking office, and this was in- 
tolerable stupidity to not a few patriots of the time. 2 His absolute 
integrity made an impression on Benjamin R. Curtis, who came 
to know him intimately in the days of the impeachment, 3 A 
member of the Cabinet, of notable personal integrity, found that 
"in appointments money was not potent, offices were not mer- 
chandise/ and that he * never permitted himself to be placed under 
personal obligations.' His enemies were to subject his character 
and career to a microscopic examination for three years, without 
finding a single incident on which so much as to hang an insinua- 
tion. Scarcely one among his traducers could have stood the test, 
and this itself made him impossible. 4 Nothing depressed and 
alarmed him more than the moral laxity in public life; and he 
foresaw that the railroad grants would mean * nothing but a series 
of endless corrupting legislation.' Thus he was thought vulgar 
in the house of Cooke. It were bad enough to be a plebeian and 
champion of labor; it were intolerable that he should be an enemy 
of favor-seeking capital. 

By instinct he was the soul of candor, but, surrounded all his 
life with enemies, he had acquired a touch of craftiness. One of 
his most trusted friends found that "he gave his confidence 
reluctantly/ 5 Dickens thought his manner * suppressed, guarded, 

1 New York Herald, May 25, 1805. 2 Winston, 289. 

3 Quoted by Woodbum, SSO. 4 Men and Measures, 877. 

6 Ibid* 405. 



42 THE TRAGIC ERA 

anxious/ l and a famous journalist found him 'crafty to a de- 
gree/ * Thus, while assuming a haughty indifference to personal 
criticism, he was, at heart, supersensitive to abuse or snubs. At 
times in. utter depression he wished that *we [himself and family] 
were all blotted out of existence and even the remembrance of 
things that were.' Then he could unbosom himself to an intimate 
with appalling bitterness and strike back at his enemies in Greene- 
ville as *the God-forsaken and hell-deserving, money-loving, 
hypocritical^ backbiting, Sunday-praying scoundrels of the 
town/ 3 And yet he seldom whined; he was too combative for 
that, and he fought with a ferocity and ^est which never failed to 
inflict wounds. He gave no love-taps in battle, but used the 
battle-axe. One of his most inveterate foes conceded that *his 
courage passed far beyond the line of obstinacy/ 4 He would 
side-step neither man nor devil; and yet he nursed no resentments 
and could grasp the proffered, hand of Ben Butler after the im- 
peachment fiasco, offer his hand to Morton, who had deserted his 
standard to become one of the most ferocious of his foes, and 
speak kindly of Parson Brownlow, who had called him *'the dead 
dog in the White House/ 5 He flared in a fight, but his momentary 
bitterness died with the occasion; and this was to be denounced 
as a vice by his enemies when his bitterness toward the men of 
the Confederacy turned to sympathy when they fell 

Nor was he merely a creature of prejudices and emotions* We 
have seen his method of preparing speeches. One of the soundest 
historical scholars of the period found that, *in the formation of 
his opinions on great questions of public policy/ he was * as diligent 
as any man in seeking and weighing the views of all who were 
competent to aid him/ A tireless worker all his life* the attaches 
of the White House were to be amassed at the industry of u man 
who kept six secretaries busy, and 'except for an hour or so in the 
afternoon and at meal times rarely left his desk until midnight/ 7 
On his tremendous tasks he brought to bear an, intellect far beyond 
the average. His worst enemies reluctantly conceded that *he 
was not deficient in intellectual ability/ 8 and, as an old man* 

1 Porster, m, 4@4. * If aw ffwry, i, 151 

s To Blackstone McDanid, Winston, 6d W, 4 Boutwcll, H, 100, 

& Crook, 7, 6 JDwmlng, 19. 7 Crook, 84, 85, f Boutweli n. 104, 



ANDREW JOHNSON: A 4S 

Henry Adams, who was a super-Intellectual with, a background of 
intellectual snobbery, recalling his youthful prejudices, was 
4 surprised to realize how strong the Executive was in 1868 
perhaps the strongest he was ever to see/ 1 One of the financiers 
of the war, a member of the Cabinet in position to judge* was 
convinced that c in intellectual force he had few superiors.' 2 
It was not lack of ability, but an incurable deficiency in tact that 
was to curse him through life; and on this there is a general agree- 
ment. Secretary McCulloch found him utterly tactless, and one 
of the great lawyers and jurists who defended him in the impeach- 
ment was impressed with the fact that *he has no tact and even 
lacks discretion and forecast.' 3 Tactless with men, he was the 
heart of tenderness with his family and toward women and 
dependents. His daughter, recalling his relations with a slave, 
his bodyguard in Greeneville, thought her father more the slave 
than the master of the negro. Toward the invalid wife he was 
ineffably tender, and in his moments of excitement a soft * An- 
drew, Andrew, 5 from her calmed him instantly. With his daughters 
he was ever indulgent, proud of them and their attainments. He 
loved children, and these understood him intuitively. An attache 
at the White House found his grandchildren 'an important interest 
in the President's life/ 4 

There was to come a time when the immeasurable meanness 
of his enemies was to charge him with unfaithfulness to his wife, 
but this slander failed to convince. He appears to have inspired 
confidence in women, even in the highest circles of society prone 
to feel that nothing but vulgarity could emanate from a man of 
the people. The wives and daughters of the stricken South were 
to make their innumerable appeals to him and to be received with 
the deepest sympathy. Most of these had worthy causes; some 
women sought him on less meritorious missions, and observers 
felt that "he found it hard to believe that anything but merit and 
need could lurk behind a pair of beseeching woman's eyes/ In- 
deed, he had c an amiable weakness for women, particularly for 
pretty women/ 5 When the fashionable Mrs. Clay sought him 
in behalf of her imprisoned and threatened husband, and met the 
charming widow of Stephen A. Douglas in the corridor, the latter 

1 Henry Adams, 4-25. 2 Men and Measures^ 400, 

3 Woodbwn, S$0. 4 Crook, 87. 



44 THE TRAGIC ERA 

volunteered to accompany her to see 'the good President/ The 

haughty Southern belle at first was doubtful of Ms goodness, for 
he was coldly composed in his civility, but she was quick to note 
him * softening under the ardent appeals of Mrs. Douglas," * 
Beset with enemies seeking an opening against him, he was forced 
to move with circumspection in granting favors to Confederate 
leaders* and Mrs. Clay was clearly unable to understand. But 
when, weeping, she begged him to promise not to turn Jefferson 
Davis and Clay over to a military commission, he earnestly 
replied, *I promise you, Mrs. Clay; trust me/ And when, thought- 
less of the implied reflection upon his word, she asked him to take 
an oath, he solemnly raised his hand and repeated the promise, 
He kept his word. 2 

One day a woman, daughter of a former member of the Senate 
and of Jackson's Cabinet, entered to beg him for the restoration 
of her home, in possession of military officers* He told her with 
some emotion that as a boy in Ealeigh he had often held her 
father's horse and been kindly treated, and that he had not for- 
gotten. Her property was ordered restored. Where suffering and 
sorrow were concerned, he was as tender as Lincoln. 

This delicacy of the man who had emerged from the depths 
was manifest in his conversation. A courtly gentleman was 
impressed by the care and exactitude of his diction in familiar 
talk, and by the fact that he never used an oath nor told u rlsqu6 
story. He was clean-minded. 3 lie was not a polished conversa- 
tionalist, and his range of interest was deep rather than wkle 
but on subjects that interested him, he talked with fluency and 
force. He has been described as *a man of few ideas/ which were 
* right and true/ for which *he would suffer death sooner than 
yield up or violate one of them/ 4 

Such was the vivid character and personality of the man who 
was to fight a memorable battle for constitutional rights and 
liberties and to suffer contumely for generations because of the 
slanders of his enemies* Honest, inflexible, tender, able, forceful, 
and tactless, his was a complex nature. But it was fortunate for 
the Republic that he had two passions the Constitution and 
the Union. 

* Mm Clay, $11. 2 Ibid., $#MH). 

* Mane Emry, i, 154-55. 4 B, R, Curtis, Woodbtim, $80, 



Ill 

WITH CHASE AMONG THE EUINS 
I 

THE smoke had scarcely ceased to curl above the smouldering 
ruins of the South, and Lincoln had not yet been buried, 
when Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase set forth into the stricken 
region, accompanied by journalists, on a political mission. Before 
following him on his journey, let us take a hasty survey of the 
country through which he will pass. 

For some time now a straggling procession of emaciated, crip- 
pled men in ragged gray had been sadly making their way through 
the wreckage to homes that in too many instances were found to 
be but piles of ashes. These men had fought to exhaustion. For 
weeks they would be found passing wearily over the country roads 
and into the towns, on foot and on horseback. It was observed 
that tf they are so worn out that they fall down on the sidewalks 
and sleep/ l The countryside through which they passed pre- 
sented the appearance of an utter waste, the fences gone, the fields 
neglected, the animals and herds driven away, and only lone 
chimneys marking spots where once had stood merry homes. A 
proud patrician lady riding between Chester and Camden in South 
Carolina scarcely saw a living thing, and "nothing but tall black- 
ened chimneys to show that any man had ever trod this road be- 
fore'; and she was moved to tears at the funereal aspect of the 
gardens where roses were already hiding the ruins. 2 The long thin 
line of gray-garbed men, staggering from weakness into towns, 
found them often gutted with the flames of incendiaries or sol- 
diers. Penniless, sick at heart and in body, and humiliated by de- 
feat, they found their families in poverty and despair. * A degree 
of destitution that would draw pity from a stone,* wrote a North- 
ern correspondent. 8 Entering the homes for a crust or cup of wa- 
ter, they found the furniture marred and broken, dishes cemented 
*iii various styles' and with 'corn cobs substituting for spindles in 

1 Mrs. Brooks, MS, Diary. 2 Diary from Dixie, 884. 

8 Annual Encykopcedia, 1865, S92. 



*6 THE TRAGIC EEA 

tho looms/ l The houses of the most prosperous planters were 
found denuded of almost every article of furniture, 2 and in some 
sections women and children accustomed to luxury begged from 
door to door, 3 

In the larger towns the weary soldier found business prostrate 
except with the sutlers, in full possession now that the merchants 
were ruined, and these were amassing fortunes through profiteer- 
ing without shame. In Charleston the shops were closed, the 
shutters drawn. There was no shipping in the harbor, where the 
piers were rapidly decaying. Cows were feeding on the vacant lots 
and grass was growing between paving-stones in the principal 
streets. Warehouses were deserted, and the burnt district looked 
*like a vast graveyard with broken walls and tall blackened chim- 
neys. 1 4 The once aristocratic clubs were closed, along with the res- 
taurants, and it was noted that *no battle blood' mantled 'the 
face of the haggard and listless Charlestonians one meets/ f> One, 
who momentarily rejoiced in what he saw, found that 'luxury, re- 
finement, happiness have fled from Charleston and poverty is en- 
throned there/ e Columbia was one mass of ruins, and only the 
majestic columns of what had once been Wade Hampton's hall of 
hospitality remained. There, the prostration complete, intellec- 
tuals of the college faculty in rags were supplied with undercloth- 
ing by a benevolent society of women. 7 Thus it was in towns and 
cities generally. Everywhere destitution^ desolation, utter hope- 
lessness. IE some of the cities brave attempts were being made to 
restore something of business prosperity, but this rested almost 
wholly on the speculators from the North. The natives were liter- 
ally without money, their Confederate paper and bonds now 
worthless. The banks had closed their doors ruined- The in- 
surance companies had failed. The one hope for the restoration of 
the cities was the resumption of normal activities in the country, 
the cultivation of the plantations as of old. 

But in the country the situation was desperate, for the herds 
cattle, sheep, and horses had been driven away. The master of 
one of the best plantations in Mississippi had returned to find only a 



* Keicl, 3*4. * Mrs. Bmedes, 88. a Annual Enwctopodfa, JNWMf, 8ft, 

< Schuw a, 164. * Held, 06. 6 Welles, n, 315. 

880. 



AMONG RUINS 47 

few mules and one cow left. 1 Houses, fences, and barns, destroyed, 
had to be rebuilt and there was no money. Farming Imple- 
ments were needed and there was no credit. But the gravest 
problem of all was that of labor, for the slaves were free and were 
demanding payment in currency that their old masters no longer 
possessed. The one hope of staving off starvation the coming 
winter was to persuade the f reedmen to work on the share, or wait 
until the crops were marketed for their pay. Many old broken 
planters called their former slaves about them and explained, and 
at first many agreed to wait for their compensation on the harvest. 
Many of them went on about their work, 'very quiet and serious 
and more obedient and kind than they had ever been known to 
be.* 2 It was observed that with the pleasure of knowing they had 
their freedom there was a touch of sadness. 3 Some Northerners, 
who had taken Mrs. Stowe's novel too literally, were amazed at 
the numerous 'instances of the most touching attachment to their 
old masters and mistresses. 3 4 One of these was touched one Sun- 
day morning when the negroes appeared In mass at the mansion 
house to pay their respects. *I must have shaken hands with four 
hundred/ she wrote. 5 Something of the beautiful loyalty in them 
which guarded the women and children with such zeal while hus- 
bands and fathers were fighting far away persisted in the early 
days of their freedom. Old slaves, with fruit and gobblers and 
game, would sneak Into the house with an instinctive sense of 
delicacy and leave them in the depleted larder surreptitiously. 8 
Occasionally some of these loyal creatures, momentarily intoxi- 
cated with the breath of liberty, would roam down the road 
toward the towns, only to return with childlike faith to the old 
plantation. But for the suggestions of soldiers and agitators, the 
former masters and slaves might easily have effected a social re- 
adjustment to their mutual benefit, but this was not the game 
intended. The negroes must be turned against their former mas- 
ters; it was destiny perhaps that the carpetbagger should be 
served. Quite soon an extravagant notion of proper compensa- 

* Mrs. Smedes, m 2 Ibid., m 

8 WJdlM and Blacks under the Old RSgime, 152. 

4 Scirarz, Ept., Ex, Doc. , S9th Cong., 1st Sess. fi Mrs. Leigh, fcl. 

Mrs, Smedes, 246, 



48 THE TRAGIC ERA 

tion for services was to turn the frccdmcn adrift. 1 Soon they 
were drunk with a sense of their power and importance. 

II 

One day a South Carolina woman wrote in her diary that 
* negroes are seen in the fields plowing and hoeing corn/ and a 
month later that *the negroes have flocked to the Yankee squad.* 
The revolution had been wrought, 2 The first evidence that outside 
influences had been at work upon the freedmen was furnished in 
their bizarre notions of labor., that under freedom all system 
ceased* At all hours of the day they could be seen laying down 
their implements and sauntering singing from the fields. If free- 
dom did not mean surcease from labor, where was the boon? a 
And since they had changed their condition, why not their names? 
Former owners, meeting negroes born on their plantations and ad- 
dressing them in the familiar way, were sharply rebuked with the 
assurance that they no longer responded to that name. *If you 
want anything, call for Sambo/ said a patronizing old freednian. 
*I mean call me Mr, Samuel, dat my name now/ 4 Had the intoxi- 
cation of the new freedom worked no more serious changes in the 
negro's character,, all would have been well, but he was to meet 
with influences designed to separate him in spirit from those who 
understood him best. 

Very soon they were eschewing labor and flocking to army 
camps to be fed, and here they were told, with cruel malice, that 
the land they had formerly cultivated as slaves was to be given 
them. Accepting it seriously* some had actually taken possession 
and planted corn and cotton. 5 The assurance was given them 
solemnly that when Congress met, the division would be made.* 
Quite soon they would have it on the authority of Thaddeus 
Stevens/ Convinced of the ultimate division, they could see no 
sense in settling clown to toil for the meager wages the impover- 
ished planters could afford to pay. There was pathos in their faith 
in the blue coat, and their congestion about the army posts soon, 
tested the patience of the commanders* Even the negro women 

1 Wort!*, to WMttlesby, i, 451. 2 Mrs, Chestnut, SR4, 804. 

3 Mrs, Leigh, n. 4 Mrs. Chestnut, $80, 8 Mrs. Lefcli, 37. 

6 Doc. Hist., quoted, Ala. Hist, See., Letter $ of 8amford t IY. 1 Lancaster 



AMONG RUINS 49 

were wont to array themselves In cheap, gaudy finery, and carry 
bouquets to soldiers In festive mood. 1 When military orders drove 
them from the camps, they flocked to villages, towns, and cities, 
where, In the summer of 1865, they lived in Idleness and squalor, 
huddled together in shacks, and collecting in gangs at street 
corners and crossroads. 2 So sinister was the tendency that he who 
was to become their political leader In North Carolina on their en- 
franchisement warned them against f crowding into towns and 
villages, subsisting on Government rations, contracting diseases, 
and Incurring fearful risks to their morals and habits of industry/ 3 
But warnings and pleas were of no avail to turn them back to the 
fields. They were to become the owners of the land, their former 
masters dispossessed, and while waiting for the possession of their 
property they could depend on Government rations, and their 
wits. Hearken to the advice of their former masters and mis- 
tresses? Had not their new friends from the North been at pains 
to teach them these were enemies? Freedom it meant idleness, 
and gathering In noisy groups In the streets. Soon they were liv- 
ing like rats in ruined houses, in miserable shacks under bridges 
built with refuse lumber, in the shelter of ravines and in caves in 
the banks of rivers. 4 Freedom meant throwing aside all marital 
obligations, deserting wives and taking new ones, and In an in- 
dulgence In sexual promiscuity that soon took its toll in the vic- 
tims of consumption and venereal disease. Jubilant, and happy, 
the negro who had his dog and a gun for hunting, a few rags to 
cover his nakedness, and a dilapidated hovel In which to sleep, 
was In no mood to discuss work. 5 

All over the South that summer the negroes held their jubilee. 
A weird wave of religious fervor swept them into a crazy frenzy, 
and day after day they gathered in groves where imported preach- 
ers worked on their emotions. Shouting, praying, howling, they 
turned their backs on the old plantation preachers, who disap- 
proved of the methods of the visiting evangelists, who in many 
instances turned out to be unscrupulous organizers for the North- 
era Radicals. At night the vicinity of the revivals was pillaged of 
poultry and vegetables on the theory that the Lord should pro- 

1 Mrs. Chestnut, 304. 2 Fleming, 271; Memmrs of HoUen, 85. 

* Holden in the Ral&igh Standard, April 24, 1805. 4 Fleming, 73. 5 Ibid. 



SO THE TRAGIC ERA 

vide. 1 Great black multitudes stood shouting OB the banks of 
streams as preachers converted and immersed. * Freed from slav- 
ery/ shouted an old woman emerging, dripping, "freed from sin. 
Bless God and General Grant/ - 

And with it all went the feeling that the topsy-turvy world had 
just been righted, and that they, as God's chosen children, were to 
be the proprietors of the land and the favored of paradise. Thus 
groves rang with song: 

* We'se nearer to <Ie Lord 

Dan to de white folks an <la knows it, 
See de glory gates unbarred. 
Walk in, darkles, past de guard. 
Bets yer dollah he won't close it. 

'Walk in, darkies, troo de gate* 
Hark de cullid angels holler, 
Go way, white folks, you're too late, 
We'se de winnln' culler. 1 3 

Soon celebrations of a more threatening sort were being held, de- 

manding suffrage a forerunner of much that was to come. For 
under the patronage of the new friends from the North, the negro 
had already become the equal of the white in blue and the poten- 
tial master of the man, in gray* Even their vocabulary had ex- 
panded in the light of freedom. * Where are you, going?* asked a 
white man of a neighbor's former slave as he was striding mili- 
tantly down the road, *Perusin* my way to Columbia/ he replied, 
for * peruse* had a royal sound* 4 Everywhere they were on the 
march. * My sister-in-law is in tears of rage and despair/ wrote a 
lady in her diary. *Her servants have all gone to a big meeting at 
Mulberry though she made every appeal against their going/ 5 

They were free waiting for the master's land, assured of 
heaven. 

HI 

If the negroes caused some uneasiness, many of the aimy of 
occupation were more disturbing. When the soldiers marched into 



* Ftaning, $73; DM. Kui, x, 9g 9& 2 Fleming, &7S. 

3 JNto York World, Augtut ft, 1S65. * Mr* Chestnut, $94, /&. 409. 



AMONG THE RUINS 51 

a community, visions of rapine and rape terrorized the women. 1 
Unfounded as were these fears, there were instances where sol- 
diers, unworthily officered* maliciously frightened women and 
children by pushing into houses and jeering at the faithful negroes 
who stood by to protect them. 2 But the meanest offenses of sol- 
diers were committed against the blacks who gathered about them 
in childish faith, to be worse maltreated than by former masters, 
who, in numerous instances, interfered to protect them from the 
cruelty of their 'deliverers.* 3 Even more cruel was the persistent 
effort of soldiers to instill into the negro's mind a hatred of the 
men with whom he would have to live after the army should 
march away. The correspondent of *The Nation * ascribed the 
labor and race troubles to the bad influence of the negro's North- 
ern friends, * particularly soldiers/ 4 Emissaries of radicalism 
were constantly inflaming the f reedmen with a false sense of their 
importance,, turning them against the native whites, encouraging 
their indolence with wild tales of the inevitable division of the plan- 
tation lands among them. 5 Young colored women, gayly making 
their way to camps to * enjoy mah freedom/ were frequently used 
for immoral purposes. 'The negro girls for miles around are gath- 
ered to the camps and debauched/ wrote an indignant citizen to 
General Sherman, in protest. *It surely is not the aim of those 
persons who aim at the equality of colors to begin the experiment 
with a whole race of whores.' e Officers, waiting to be mustered 
out, regaled themselves with women, cards, and whiskey, for there 
was an enormous sale of liquor in the vicinity of the camps. 7 In 
Charleston, where only the taverns thrived, * flushed and spend- 
thrift Yankee officers* were found by WMtelaw Reid * willing to 
pay seventy-five cents for a cobbler/ 8 Abandoned white women 
trailed the camps, and disreputable houses sprang up in the vicin- 
ity of the posts. 9 

Other irritating features of the occupation there were in abun- 
dance such as the requisition of the finest private houses for 
the use of officers. 10 And to this was added an unnecessary offen- 

* Mm. Brooks, A School Girl's Diaxy, MS. 2 Mrs. Chestnut, 385-86. 
Wallace, 87. 4 Vol. 1,107. 

6 The Negro in Smith Carolina under Reconstruction, 26-7, 6 Thompson, 188. 

* Fleming, 268. 8 Eeid, 66. d Fleming, 268. Reid, 46-47. 



52 THE ERA 

siveness toward the Southern whites taking the amnesty oath. 
Ati editor who wrote a harmlessly amusing editorial about it was 
pompously denounced by the commander of the post as * neces- 
sarily a bad man, incendiary in his character 5 and guilty of *a high 
crime/ and he was arrested, his office seized, his paper suppressed. 1 
Thus the Southerner who was sober was meditating treason, and 
he who smiled was guilty of its commission. When, in taking the 
oath, one man laughingly asked if the clog that accompanied him 
should take it, too s he was arrested and thrown into jail. 2 

Inevitably, under such conditions, conflicts between civil and 
military authorities were not rare. From every quarter protests 
poured into Washington against the high-handed tyranny of some 
of the military commanders. Ordinary thieves were wrested from 
the civil authorities, to be tried, or released, by military tribunals. 
Such incredible stupidity or tyranny as the release of a grafting 
treasury agent arrested for various crimes, on the ground that 
State courts had no authority over these petty officials, aroused 
the wrath of thousands. 8 

It only remained for the ."Federal Government to drive the dis- 
armed people to the verge of a new rebellion by stationing negro 
troops in the midst of their homes. Nothing short of stupendous 
ignorance, or brutal malignity, can explain the arming and uni- 
forming of former slaves and setting them as guardians over the 
white men and their families* Even the patient Wade Hampton 
was moved to fury; and he wrote hotly to Johnson denouncing 
c your brutal negro troops under their no less brutal and more de- 
graded Yankee officers' by whom 'the grossest outrages were 
committed . . with impunity.* 4 This is not an exaggerated pic- 
ture. Even Northerners, not prone to sympathize with the pro- 
strate foe, were shocked and humiliated by the scenes they saw* 
In streets and highways they took no pride in the spectacle of 
thousands of blacks with muskets and shimmering bayonets 
swaggering in jeering fashion before their former masters and 
mistresses. These colored soldiers were not so culpable as the 
whites who used them to torture a fallen enemy* These were chil- 
dren, acting as children would under the circumstances. M.arch* 

1 Awry, 345. The case of A, P, Burr, of the Utwon Journal & ML, 840. 

8 HiunaddL 8; Gamer, 98-100. 4 Do* flirt., x 47. 



AMONG 53 

Ing four abreast In the streets, they jostled the whites from the 
pavements. In rough and sullen tones the sentries challenged old 
crippled and emaciated men in tattered gray. So insolent did 
their conduct become in some communities that women no longer 
dared venture from their doors, and citizens in the country no 
longer felt it safe to go to town. 1 Noisy often, when intoxicated, 
dangerous they gave the freedmen refusing to work a sense of 
racial grandeur, and encouraged the dream of the distribution of 
the white man's land. 

Worse than the men were the degraded white officers who com- 
manded them. 2 From every quarter appeals reached Washington 
for their removal, for the fears of the whites were not of the imagi- 
nation. Thus, at Chester they clubbed and bayoneted an old 
man; at Abbeville white men were ordered from the sidewalks; in 
Charleston they forced their way into a house, ordered food, and, 
after partaking, felled the mistress of the household. In retaliation 
for the blow of a white man entrusted with the guardianship of a 
young woman who had been insulted, negro soldiers dragged him 
to catnp, murdered him in cold blood, and danced upon his grave. 3 
These are not carefully selected cases to make the picture black 
the evidence is overwhelming that they do not exaggerate the 
peril thus placed at the doorsteps of the whites. Here and there 
were colored troops, under the discipline of decent white officers, 
who conducted themselves with propriety and without offense. 
There was such a regiment in Florida. 4 But always, with these 
newly freed negroes armed and in easy reach of liquor, the shadow 
of an awful fear rested upon the women of the communities where 
they were stationed. 

IV 

Nothing could have been finer than the spirit and courage with 
which the wometi faced defeat and misfortune, and yet, despite 
their simulated smiles in that spring that came unusually early in 
1865, there was bitterness and sorrow in their hearts. 5 Not only 
had they lost husbands, sons, brothers, and sweethearts, but they 
were impoverished and their cause had failed. Even so there was 

1 Reid, i, 48. 2 Garner, 105. 8 Reynolds, 5-6. 

4 Wallace, 19. s Schurz, 11, 181. 



54 THE TRAGIC ERA 

no beading of their pride. A correspondent traveling in South 
Carolina noted their * superior presence* and a 4 certain, air of 
vehemence or pertness/ l Disaster and poverty could not rob them 
of their charm. For the sake of the returning warriors, humiliated 
by defeat, they made merry over the makeshifts imposed upon 
them in matters of dress, wearing their homespun and their calico 
with a regal grace. And though it was observed that * hardly any 
one at church is out of mourning/ by one who thought * it piteous 
to see so many mere girls' faces shaded by deep crape veils and 
widow's caps/ ** they turned bravely to the soothing of the 
wounded spirits of their men. Within two weeks of the surrender,, 
a traveler was amazed to see the young people at Winnsboro gayly 
celebrating May Day amid the still smoking ruins* 3 In midsum- 
mer a young girl was writing in her diary that 4 we are trying to 
help our soldiers forget, and are having picnics and patties all the 
time/ 4 Popular were the * starvation parties/ where no refresh- 
ments were served, and picnics where young folks danced to the 
music of fiddles. 5 Soon they were turning to tournaments where 
riders, armed with hickory lances, rode past posts collecting rings 
suspended to them on the end of the lance for the glory of their 
ladies. There was billing and cooing, even among the graves. 

But toward the conquerors they were implacable. The rumor, 
false, no doubt, that General Sherman had boasted he would bring 
every Southern woman to the washtub, intensified their hatred of 
the army of occupation. Sometimes soldiers would amuse them** 
selves by sitting on back fences to jeer the former mistress of 
slaves as she washed the family linen. Thus the attempts of the 
younger subordinate officers to enter the social circles of the com- 
munities where they were stationed were rebuked. The Southern 
men treated the soldiers and Northerners, ocking into the South 
to profit OB the necessities of a stricken people* with courtesy in 
business, but the women were the rulers of the homes. Many of 
the soldiers were undeserving of social courtesies. When women 
crossed the street to evade them, or swept their skirts aside in 
passing, they were met with insulting comments on their clothes 



Twk World. lune 8> 185. 2 Mw. Leigh, I*. 

Mrs, Chestnut, 384-8$. 4 Mm Brooks, MS, Diary, 

Dr. J. N. White, MS, Retttntoenoetf. s Mrs, Smectei, 



CHASE AMONG RUINS 55 

and ankles. 1 And woe to the woman who succumbed to a North- 
ern officer in romance. When the daughter of a former;, Governor 
of North Carolina married a dashing Yankee officer who had 
entered her village at the head of cavalry, the wedding invitations 
were generally ignored, and when the bride departed for her 
Northern home, it was said that a daughter of the South had gone 
away loaded with jewelry and finery that had been stolen from 
women in States farther south. 2 

With the women moved by emotions, memories of the dead, 
pity for the living, the Southern men, facing realities, had accepted 
defeat as final, and asked nothing better than a speedy removal of 
the soldiers and the restoration of normal conditions. Here and 
there could be heard the defiant cry of an irreconcilable; ever and 
anon the thoughtless gave utterance to a foolish thought; but 
among men of sobriety and judgment there was a general acqui- 
escence in the verdict of the battle-field. Carl Schurz, eager to jus- 
tify the policy of the Radicals, treasured up every idle gesture and 
foolish word of irresponsible and unimportant men as proof that 
the mailed hand could not be withdrawn with safety. But Grant, 
with a better understanding of the people, was 'satisfied that the 
mass of thinking men . . . accept the present situation in good 
faith'; and Watterson found 'unmistakable evidence of a determi- 
nation to renew in good faith their former relations. 5 3 More im- 
pressive and conclusive to the President and posterity was the re- 
port of Benjamin P. Truman, which was a sharp contradiction of 
the extravagant partisan findings of Schurz. In truth, nothing was 
more remote than politics from the minds of men threatened with 
economic ruin. * Politics are never mentioned and they know less 
of what is going on in Washington than in London/ wrote Mrs. 
Leigh. 4 



And it was into this section, with the smoke still curling from 
the ruins, that Salmon P. Chase sallied forth on a mission of poli- 
tics. His purpose was not unknown to the Radical politicians, and 
not unguessed by the people generally. 'The chief justice started 

1 Fleming, 820. * Old Days at Chapd Htil, 94-99. 

8 Doc, Hi*L, i, 51. 4 Mrs. Leigh, 13. 



56 THE ERA 

yesterday on a visit/ wrote Sumner to Bright, * , . , and will on his 

way touch the necessary strings* so far as he can. 1 anticipate 
much from this journey/ 1 A clever young journalist was with 
him to chronicle the story of his progress. 2 

The party entered the black belt obsessed with the primary im- 
portance of negro suffrage, and the amazement of the Southern 
whites imparted the zest of amusement to the visitors. 3 Chase 
heard of the refusal of the negroes to work, and saw them living in 
idleness and squalor and lolling in the sunny streets, but this did 
not impress him unfavorably. Everywhere he was received with 
the courtesy and reverence due his rank, but this did not touch 
him. Local leaders called upon him with flowers and strawberries 
and sought information as to their probable fate. They were re- 
conciled*, and not bitter and they were threatened with negro 
suffrage, 4 At Wilmington, where Chase delivered a 'lost speech' 
from the spacious home of an evicted family, he found it necessary 
to sow a little seed. Already the negroes, loitering in the streets 
and about saloons, were talking politics. The Union League Clubs 
of New York and Philadelphia had been busy with their emissaries 
in the organization of political negro clubs, and delegations of 
these filed into the presence of the Chief Justice, made their bow, 
and had their hopes encouraged. With judicious solemnity he 
listened to the spokesman: C I tell you sah we ain't noways safe 
long as dem people makes cle laws. We's got to hab a voice in the 
pinting ob de law makers. Den we knows our freus and whose bans 
we's safe in/ 5 The visitors heard that the freedmen were refusing 
to work, but if the Chief Justice, in giving copious advice, ever 
suggested the necessity for industry, it was not recorded by the 
Boswell at his elbow. 

Passing on to Charleston, the Chase party picked its way among 
the ruins and witnessed the terrible depression and poverty of the 
people, but the Chief Justice was not there to study ruins. A great 
negro mass meeting was organized in his honor. There he faced 
* certainly the blackest faces, with the flattest noses and the wooli- 
est heads the mouths now and then broadening into a grin or 
breaking out into that low oily chuckling gobble of a laugh no 

1 Pierce, iv, 242. * Whitelaw Reid. 3 Reid, 

4 !Md,> 82-8S. 8 JTW&, 51-52. 



CHASE AMONG RUINS 57 

white man can ever imitate.' The negro women, gaudily dressed, 
and wearing kid gloves, were even more enthusiastic than the men. 
And Chase was in fine fettle. His judicial robes had been thrown 
aside, and it was a politician and partisan, eager for presidential 
honors, that faced the black swaying crowd. As he poured forth 
his promise of the vote, the black faces beamed and glowed. 'Dat's 
true foh shore!* shouted an old woman. The younger women en- 
joyed the entertainment less vocally, contenting themselves by 
giggling, slapping their hands, and peering over at the men to see 
how they were acting. 1 'If all the people feel as I do/ said the 
Chief Justice, 'you will not have to wait long for equal rights at 
the ballot box; no longer than it would take to pass the necessary 
law/ 2 This Charleston speech, delivered five weeks after the sur- 
render, did not meet with unalloyed delight in the North. The 
'New York Herald/ which had charged, on his departure, that 
Chase was on an electioneering tour, 3 denounced the Charleston 
speech as "an incendiary talk' and found 'the whole tenor of the 
speech that of a firebrand thrown into a complicated and difficult 
situation/ It thought him * prompted solely by an inordinate 
ambition to set himself up in opposition to the Government and to 
promulgate theories and dogmas which, if followed up in the same 
spirit, will plunge the whole Southern country into a social war 
more dreadful in its results than the rebellion/ 4 The 'New York 
World' failed 'to perceive how it either comports with the dignity, 
or is consistent with the proprieties of that great position [the Chief- 
Justiceship] to be perambulating a disquieted portion of the coun- 
try making harangues on a disturbing question which the authori- 
ties have not yet decided/ 5 But Chase was undisturbed, and was 
making progress. 

Thus, while lingering in Charleston, he passed over to the Sea 
Islands, inhabited by the most primitive and ignorant of field work- 
ers in cotton and rice. Here again, a meeting was arranged in his 
honor; and here, too, he found potential voters entitled to the 
ballot. Reid the Boswell was a little shocked at the abysmal igno- 
rance of this audience and thought perhaps too much was being 
said by some of the Chief Justice's platform companions of the 

1 Reid, 80-82. 2 lUd., 81-36. 3 New York Herald, May 0, 1865. 

4 lUd., June 1, 1865. 6 New Y&rJc World, May 22, 1865. 



5B THE ERA 

escape from the tyranny of wicked masters. But there was no re- 
buke from, Chase. A strange spectacle he presented that hot day, 

facing this Congo crowd chanting In his honor: 

* Me4-ta-ah Che-a-ase a-sittiu* on <le tree oh life, 
Me-is-ta-ah Che-a-ase a-sittm" on de tree <>b life, 
Roll, Jordan, roll; 

Me-is-ta-ah Che-a-ase a-sittiu" on de tree ob life, 
Roll, Jordan, roll; 

Me-is-ta-alx Che-a-ase a-ittiu' oix do tree ob life, 
Boll, Jordan, toll. 
Roll, Jordan, roll 
Ro-o-oll, Jordan, ro-o-oll.* 

Thereupon the Chief Justice descended from Me tree ob life,' to ad- 
dress those whom he would introduce into the body of American 
citizenship without delay. *A few words of calm advice/ recorded 
BoswelL Among other things he advised study. 1 Sitting in his 
room at Charleston, he wrote at length to Johnson. He had, found 
the largest classes of the whites eager for the restoration of the old 
order, without slavery. But there were the 'progressives' who be- 
lieved *that the black man made free must be allowed to vote/ and 
the 'progressives' were *men of sagacity and activity/ though few 
had been in conspicuous positions. 2 It is significant that ho did not 
indicate whether these "progressives' were natives or immigrants 
from the North from whom the carpetbaggers were to be recruited. 

On to Savannah. People in the streets in the rags of poverty. 
The famous shell road was gone, and Chase's carriage wheels sank 
deep in sand. There he found eighty-five hundred negroes unwilling 
to work, but eager for the ballot, and a committee of these filed into 
his room to make their plea. * Suppose you were permitted to vote," 
asked Chase the politician, 'what guarantee would the Government 
aave that you would know how to vote, or that your influence would 
not be cast on the side of bad morals and bad politics? * The negroes 
grinned in toleration. *0h, Judge, we know who our frenu are/ 
And that was promising. 8 

More discouraging was the committee of leading white citizens 
who called to protest against mixed schools* This shocked the 
Chase party* albeit no mixed schools were tolerated in the North. 

1 Hold, 105-08. 8 Sehttctas, JWHBS. * limd, 141 



AMONG THE RUINS 59 

Quite as shocking, to hear these men who had seen cherished rela- 
tives perish on battle-fields speaking In- kindly fashion of Lee and 
Stonewall Jackson., and the men in faded gray, 1 And yet the 
chronicler, thus shocked., observed that 'the bearing of the rebel 
soldiers was unexceptionable/ 2 and he was disgusted when a 
drunken Northern sergeant f insisted on cutting the buttons from 
the uniform of an elegant gray-headed Brigadier who had just come 
in from Johnston's army/ s 

On ? now* to Jacksonville. A negro guard pacing along the wharf 
negroes in uniforms sauntering through the streets a West- 
Pointer in charge of the army post established in the finest house in 
town, while his staff loafed about the billiard rooms. And there, at 
night, an old colleague of the Senate? Yulee, called for a chat-, to be 
saddened and astonished at Chase's reference to immediate suffrage. 
While polite, the Chief Justice apparently enjoyed the discomfiture 
of Ms guest. 4 

Thence on to Mobile. Here, business in a state of torpor sol- 
diers everywhere shops and warehouses along the levee closed. 
Chase drove out the old shell road and found unchanged in the 
villages the hedges of the Cherokee rose, and the arbors of scup- 
peraoag grapes, and orange trees, and the glossy leaves of the mag- 
nolia, It was in Mobile that the military forces staged a review in 
his honor, and negro troops marching under his approving eye 
* brought curses to the mouths of nearly all on-lookers/- 5 A stub- 
born people, these MobUians! They were insisting they would not 
tolerate negro suffrage. No doubt it was Johnson's North Carolina 
Proclamation, thought the visitors, 6 

And then on to New Orleans, happy hunting ground of Northern 
speculators, and home of Radicals whose language the Chief Justice 
could understand. A tall, thin, sallow man, with a cadaverous, 
saturnine face, called at once Durant, Kepublican leader, bril- 
liant speaker, untamed fanatic. 7 He shared Chase's obsession OB 
the ballot for the blacks. And it was in New Orleans that Chase had 
what seemed to him a beautiful experience. In the once elegant 
home of Pierre Soule, he attended a fair given by the negroes. 



1 Beid, 

4 Reid, m* ScHuctes, Chase to Sumner, 583, * Heid, 21$, 

8; T. J. Durant. 



60 THE ERA 

Negroes selling Ice-cream from Soule's tables; raffling articles of 
finery In Soule's parlors the tables liacl turned. Not unnoticed 

by Chase's party were the negro women. "Beautiful/ thought Bos- 
well. And how they pounded on Soule's piano., and shook the books 
of Soule's library with their songs ! The charms of the evening went 
to the head of at least one member of the party, who found the 
negro women *as handsome, as elegantly dressed, and hi many re- 
spects almost as brilliant* as any white women Soule himself had 
ever entertained. 1 

With pleasing memories of the Soule house party, Chase passed 
on into Mississippi and Tennessee, where, at Memphis, he was 
shocked on reading the President's Mississippi Proclamation, *It 
disappoints me greatly/ he wrote Kate Chase Sprague. *I shall be 
glad if it does not do a great deal of harm/ To which he added in 
righteous mood, "I shall stick by my principles/ That these princi- 
ples and this campaign tour in the South could do infinitely more 
harm to whites and blacks alike than any or all the proclamations 
of Johnson, never occurred to Chase. 

VI 

Meanwhile the Southern people were fighting for the preserva- 
tion of their civilization. The negroes would not work, the planta- 
tions could not produce. The freedmen clung to the illusion planted 
in their minds by demagogues that the economic status of the racea 
was to be reversed through the distribution of the land among 
them. 2 This cruelly false hope was being fed by private soldiers, 
Bureau agents, and low Northern whites circulating among the 
negroes on terms of social equality in the cultivation of their pro- 
spective votes. * Nothing but want will bring them to their senses/ 
wrote one Carolinian to another. 3 At the time, however, the negroes 
were warding off want by prowling the highways and byways in the 
night for purposes of pillage. In one week, in one town in Georgia, 
one hundred and fifty were arrested for theft. 

More serious than this annoying petty stealing was the wholesale 
pillaging by Treasury agents, who swarmed over the land like the 
locusts of Egypt following the order confiscating all cotton that had 

* Reid, 245,' Doc, HuL, r, 

3 Ritffin Papers, Cameron to Euffin, S5. 



AMONG RUINS 61 

been contracted to the fallen Confederacy. 1 It mattered not 
whether the cotton had been contracted for or not; these petty offi- 
cials rumbled over the roads day and night in Government wagons 
with soldiers, taking whatever they could find. One agent in Ala- 
bama stole eighty thousand dollars' worth of cotton in a month. 2 
The burden of proof was put upon the owner, and the agent in 
Arkansas enforced rules of evidence no planter could circumvent. 3 
When, in Texas, agents caught red-handed were indicted, the army 
released them. 4 When, as in Alabama, the stealing was so flagrant 
that prosecutions were forced, proceedings were suddenly stopped 
as the trail of crime led toward politicians of importance. 5 

This, then, was the combination against the peace of a fallen 
people the soldiers inciting the blacks against their former mas- 
ters, the Bureau agents preaching political and social equality, the 
white scum of the North fraternizing with the blacks in their shacks, 
and the thieves of the Treasury stealing cotton under the protec- 
tion of Federal bayonets. And in the North, demagogic politicians 
and fanatics were demanding immediate negro suffrage and clamor- 
ing for the blood of Southern leaders. Why was not Jeff Davis 
hanged; and why was not Lee shot? 

The gallant figure of the latter had ridden quietly out of the pub- 
lic view. No word of bitterness escaped his lips, and he sought to 
* promote harmony and good feeling.* His own future was dark 
enough, the fine old mansion at Arlington gone, and he had no 
home. Sometimes, astride old Traveller, he cantered along country 
roads looking for a small farm. 7 "Some quiet little home in the 
woods/ he wrote, declining the offer of an estate in England. 8 June 
found him settled in a four-room house in a grove of oaks near 
Cartersville, with his wife and daughters. 9 Then came the offer of 
the presidency of Washington College. Should he accept? Was he 
competent? Would it injure the institution? He would like to * set 
the young an example of submission to authority.* 10 One September 
day, his decision made, found him mounted on old Traveller riding 
toward Lexington. The ladies of the town helped furnish Ms lit- 
tle office, and admirers sent articles of furniture for his house and 

1 LeConte, 230. 2 Doc. EiM., i, 25H&7. 8 Staples, 89. 

4 Ramsdell, 44. * Fleming, 299. Recollections and Letters of Lee, 162-68. 

7 Ibid., 160-67. im., 170. Ibid., 174. w Ibid., 181. 



* THE ERA 

the family took possession. In old letters we have a vision of Lee, 
the sinister conspirator pictured in. the Northern papers, proudly 
displaying to his wife and daughters the pickles, preserves, and 
brandicd peaches the neighbors had sent in, and the bags of wal- 
nuts, potatoes, and game the mountaineers had given. 1 But the 
patriots of the North were not to be deceived by appearances. * We 
protest/ said *The Nation/ "against the notion that lie is fit to be 
put at the head of a college in a country situated as Virginia is/ 2 
And Wendell Phillips was exclaiming to a cheering crowd at Cooper 
Union that *if Lee Is fit to be president of a college, then for 
Heaven's sake pardon Wirte and make him professor of what the 
Scots call "the humanities/ 



" 



VII 

Such was the spirit of the North when the Southern Conventions 
and Legislatures began to meet* Mississippi led off with a hundred 
delegates, all but two of whom were able to qualify, since ninety- 
eight had opposed secession. Seven had been members of the Seces- 
sion Convention and six had voted against the ordinance. Having 
nothing to conceal, it was decided to report the debates in full to 
satisfy the North that the results of the war had been accepted in 
good faith. But when a few, discussing abolition, proposed some 
form of compensation, the skeptics above the Ohio cried *AhaP 4 
The proposal was thereupon abandoned, 5 Moving with the utmost 
circumspection, the action of the Convention was a challenge to 
the fairness of the foe, but Charles Stunner denounced it as *a rebel 
conspiracy to obtain political power/ 

Then came the election, with the legislative candidates called 
upon in the canvass to define their position on negro testimony in 
the courts. 'Aha 1 / exclaimed the Radicals, their eyes glued upon 
the scene, * Negroes as a class must be excluded from the witness 
stand/ declared the * Jackson News/ Mf the privilege Is ever 
granted, It will lead to greater demands, and at last end In the ad- 
mission of the negro to the jury box and ballot box/ 7 'Aha!' 
screamed the Radicals, advocating suffrage- True, the * Jackson 

1 RmoUectiom and latter* of Lee, &0&-04. 2 September 14, 1865* 

3 Th& Nation, November & 1805, 4 Garner* 87. g IWdL, 88*89. 

6 Ibid., 94. * IMdLp 91 



AMONG RUINS 63 

Clarion" favored negro testimony, but It was only the adverse atti- 
tude that Interested Thad Stevens and Suniner. And when a Con- 
federate Brigadier who had voted against secession was elected 
Governor, and the opponents of negro testimony carried the Legis- 
lature, a howl of derision came down on the winds from the North. 

Came then the Legislature, and the attempt to find laws to meet 
the new conditions bom of emancipation, Negroes were forbidden 
the use of cars set apart for the whites, and the Stevenses and the 
Sumners ground their teeth. When the races intermarried, they 
could be imprisoned for life. It was made a crime to give or lend 
deadly weapons, ammunition, or intoxicating liquors to the freed- 
men, and this was denounced as discrimination. Negro orphans 
could be apprenticed, under rigid court regulations, and the 
abolitionists pricked up their ears and heard the rattle of chains. 
If the apprentice ran away, could he not be apprehended and re- 
stored just like a slave? More: when a freedman broke a con- 
tract to labor, could he not be arrested and taken back? If he 
could no longer wander whistling at noonday from the field, and 
leave his work to witness an immersion, what a mockery would be 
his freedom! Laws against vagrancy, against adultery , the latter 
bearing harder on the whites than on the blacks, 'tis true, but still 
aimed at freedom all bad. 1 

Instantly the Northern politicians, bent on the exclusion of the 
Southern States until negro suffrage could fortify their power, were 
up in arms. 'The men of the North will convert . . . Mississippi 
into a frog pond before they will allow any such laws to disgrace one 
foot of soil/ thundered the * Chicago Tribune.* 2 

During the fall and winter, the Southern Legislatures proceeded 
with similar enactments to meet a similar social and economic 
crisis. The vagrancy laws, so desperately needed and so bitterly de- 
nounced, were little different from those of Northern States. 3 Nor 
were they so severe as those enforced by the military authorities 
seeking the same end the ending of idleness and crime and the 
return of the freedmen to the fields. A Southern writer has de- 
scribed these military orders as 'tyrannical as ukases of a czar. 9 4 

1 Doc. Hist., i, 282-89. 2 December l f 1865; Garner, 115. 

3 Such as those of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Indiana. 

4 Avery. 



04 THE EEA 

These provided severe punishment for negroes using disrespectful 
language to a former master, forbade them going from one planta- 
tion to another without a pass, and ordered daily inspections of 
negro cabins to discourage stealing. At Milledgeville, all who could, 
and would not, work were set to compulsory labor in the street 
without pay. At Atlanta, a curfew law was put into operation* 1 In 
Texas the negroes were told that unless they returned to work on 
the old plantation, they would be forced to work without wages* 
and they were denied the right to travel the highways without the 
permission of their employers. 2 Thus the higher army officers on 
the ground, familiar with conditions, sought to serve both races 
through the rehabilitation of industry. This, too, was the intent of 
the Black Codes of the South. An eminent historian has pro- 
nounced these laws for the most part *a conscientious and 
straightforward attempt to bring some sort of order out of the 
social and economic chaos/ and in principle and detail * faithful on 
the whole to the actual conditions with which they had to deal/ 8 

But there was nothing judicious in the attitude of the Radical 
politicians. Sitting m his little office in Lancaster, grim Thad 
Stevens, meditating a plan of reconstruction of his own, and gird- 
ing his loins for a death struggle with Johnson, chortled in sardonic 
glee* These hated men of the South were stocking his arsenal. 
And he was whetting his knife. 

Let us journey clown to Lancaster and meet him, 

1 Avery, 34$; Thompson, 4!). s Ramsdell, 4H 3 Dunning, 57-58, 



IV 
THADDEUS STEVENS: A PORTRAIT 

i 

MORE than one stranger to Lancaster appeared that summer, 
to find his way up a narrow, tree-lined street in the old 
section to a three-and-a-half -story red-brick house with two front 
doors, one opening into the home and the other into the office of 
Thad Stevens. In the same block was an old hotel, and at the 
corner was a beer saloon. For a generation, politicians had fre- 
quented the office day and night, and in the home the master had 
spent many years with his books. On summer evenings he might 
have been seen frequently sitting on the steps, which were directly 
on the street, or walking along leisurely under the trees, or examin- 
ing the fruit trees in the back yard. Perhaps a comely mulatto 
woman would respond to the knocker and usher the visitor into 
the presence of the grim old man in an easy-chair. 

If the visitor had seen the portrait of Stevens by Elcholtz, 
painted when the old man was in his thirty-eighth year, he would 
have been shocked at the face and figure before him in the room. 
He would have expected a handsome and patrician face, with 
bright, beaming eyes denoting some softness and sentiment, and 
some elegance of apparel, with ruffled shirt-front and black stock, 
and would have been disappointed. The charm of those earlier 
years had long since fled. The softness, suggesting sentiment, 
was gone. The old man in the chair was much thinner of face, his 
lips no longer full, but hard and set, the cheeks pale rather than of 
a healthy glow, and albeit the hair was black, it was but a wig 
imitation. 1 If he rose to meet the guest, it would have been ob- 
served that his movements were stiff and angular, for this was an 
old man of seventy-three. He now availed himself of the privilege 
of old age to be less careful of his appearance, and he was clearly 
not concerned with the concealment of his defects. When an old 
abolitionist woman impulsively requested a lock of his hair, the 

* Calender, 144, 



66 THE TRAGIC ERA 

old man handed her his wig with a sardonic grin. 1 An illness had 
left him bald as a plate, but It was a luxurious mass of black hair 
that covered his nakedness. 

Despite a crippled foot, he had, in earlier years, been an impres- 
sive figure, almost six feet in height, and with the fine muscular 
development of an athlete. In truth, he had been a famous 
horseman in his time, and he abandoned the saddle and the 
pleasures of the canter only when old age decreed. As a young 
man at Gettysburg, he kept his own hunters and rode to hounds, 
and long afterward old mountain men loved to tell of his daring in 
the chase. 2 And he had been a lusty swimmer, too, boasting in 
his prime that he could have swum the Bosphorus as easily as 
Byron, who also had a club foot. But the canter, the chase, the 
swim were no longer for the bitter old man who sat that summer 
in his house in Lancaster meditating war. His mouth was large 
and expressive of his biting tongue and sarcastic nature. The 
upper lip was thin, A prominent aquiline nose gave him the look 
of an angry eagle a dominating, if not a domineering aspect. 
His head was large and well-formed. *His countenance had more 
the stony features of authority than sweetness/ said a friend. 3 

After an hour's conversation, the visitor would have left with 
an unsatisfied curiosity as to the character of this amazing man. 
Despite the debilitated body, he would have been ins pressed with 
the tremendous force that flowed from it, and with the bitterness 
of its spirit* And, in a sense, it was the most disturbing bitterness 
imaginable, for there was something of a wild gayety about it. 
Here, surely, was an untamed eagle, or an old man strangely im- 
softened by the years. Had he not said with a chuckle that he 
intended to die "like Nicanor, in harness/ and *die hurrahing 1 ? 4 
And such candor! Cunning this old man might possess, but It was 
not the cunning of concealment. His worst enemies were to ad- 
mire and respect him for his frankness; and however offensive to 
reason some of his convictions, he had the courage to express them 
without a qualm, He had, said a journalist who often disagreed 
with him, "opinions of his OWE* and a will of his own, and he 



1 Hensel, 8Uvm$ t the Country Lawy@r* 26, 

2 Dickey, Congrwnond Globe, December 17, 1808, 

* Merrill, Cmymnond Globe, December 18, 1808. 4 McCall, S50, 




THADDEUS STEVENS 
At the Age of Seventy-Five 



STEVENS: A 67 

never flinched from the duty of asserting them/ 1 This man in his 
den was as much a revolutionist as Marat in his tub. Had he lived 
in France in the days of the Terror, he would have pushed one of 
the triumvirate desperately for his place, have risen rapidly to the 
top through his genius and audacity and will, and probably have 
died by the guillotine with a sardonic smile upon Ms face. Living 
in America when he did, he was to become the most powerful 
dictatorial party and congressional leader with one possible excep- 
tion in American history, and to impose his revolutionary theories 
upon the country by sheer determination. 

II 

His had been a bitter and an abnormal life. Born in poverty in 
a Vermont village severity-three years before Andrew Johnson 
succeeded to the Presidency, he had but a slight remembrance of 
his father, who was also a mysterious character. A village shoe- 
maker who seems to have taught his young son how to make the 
family shoes, he enjoyed a local notoriety as a wrestler. Then he 
passes out of the picture. Some say that he was killed in the War 
of 1812; others that he just tired of the chains of domesticity and 
wandered away never to be heard of any more. Just as gossip has 
explained Lincoln's genius by giving him various fathers among 
the great, and accounted for Andrew Johnson's power in the same 
graceful manner, it was sometimes said that Talleyrand, meander- 
ing about America in 1791, was Stevens's father. Whoever the 
father, the mother evidently was a woman of strong character, 
for she appears to have been the one love of Stevens's life. We 
get glimpses of her flitting about from one sick-room to another 
ministering to her neighbors and dragging the child along. 

It has been suggested by Professor Woodburn it was at these 
sick-beds that he learned to sympathize with suffering, though ten- 
derness was never to be an obtrusive part of his character where 
his prejudices were touched. Living remote from wealth and fash- 
ion, lie early formed an incurable contempt for aristocracy, and 
this was to determine his political views to a considerable extent. 
Even at Dartmouth College, where he was an assiduous student, 
his class consciousness was awakened. 'The democracy rule in 

* The Nation, August 20, 1808. 



68 THE TRAGIC ERA 

the fraternities,' lie wrote a benefactor after leaving college. 
"The aristocracy make threatening grimaces, but it is only sport 
for us poor plebeians.' l It was about this time that Andrew 

Johnson was making a virtue of his plebeian blood* 

Beginning the practice of law at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, 

he concentrated on his profession until his forty-first year, It was 

a delightful region, broken enough to be beautiful and yet with 
fertile fields, with farms and* forests alternating, and with the 
distant hills and mountains clothed with woods from base to 
summit. Scattered about near by were quaint little villages, and 
along the streams were a number of nulls. Life in such a com- 
munity made him familiar with the hopes, fears, and prejudices, 
and the hearts of ordinary meu* He was in the full {lower of his 
maturity when he entered the Legislature, to take rank instantly 
as a leader through his genius in debate and his intense hatred of 
Jackson and the Jucksonians* This enemy of aristocracy fairly 
frothed with rage against the Jacksouian Democracy, and fought 
with fervor for the moneyed aristocracy represented by Nicholas 
Biddle and the Bank. In his earlier years he had been as fervent in 
the support of the Hamiltonian aristocracy. It is these marked 
contradictions in his character that make him so difficult of 
analysis. 5 It was at this time that he became the field marshal of 
the Anti-Masonic Party of his State, denouncing the Masonic 
order as *a secret, oath-bound, murderous institution that en- 
dangers the continuance of Republican government/ 4 In the 
national convention of this prescriptive party in 1832, lie loomed 
large, and in a bitter speech declared that members of the order 
had most of the political positions through intrigue* In the 
characteristic extravagance of his partisanship^ he sought the 
passage in the Legislature of a resolution of inquiry into the 
desirability of making membership in the order cause for per- 
emptory challenge in court, when one and not both principals in 
a suit were Masons, He would have excluded all Masons from the 
jury in criminal trials where the defendant was one, and have 
made it unlawful for a judge belonging to the order to sit In such 
a case. So stubbornly did he fight for this resolution that it was 

1 Woodbwm, 7. % Buckataw* Congressional Globe, December 18, 1808, 

8 McCall, 81. 47* 4 Woodbum, 14. 



THADDEUS STEVENS: A PORTRAIT 69 

barely defeated. 1 In Ms forty-second year, he sponsored a measure 
for the suppression of Masonry; and the next year, following the 
trail like a bloodhound, he succeeded in securing a legislative 
inquiry into the ' evils' of the order. The resolution was adopted, 
but, because of the failure to provide for contempt proceedings 
against witnesses refusing to answer, it was futile. Nevertheless 
he filed a report painting a gloomy picture of the subversive and 
sinister purpose of the lodge. Carrying his fight to the finish, 
he spoke in Hagerstown, Maryland, on the proposition that 
* wherever the genius of liberty has set a people free, the first 
object of their solicitude should be the destruction of Free Mas- 
onry.' 2 Thus he rose rapidly to the unquestioned leadership of 
the proscriptive party; and, effecting a coalition between his 
party and the Whigs, he succeeded in electing an Anti-Mason 
Governor and became the most potent member of his board of 
advisers. Through the pressure of patronage and the pull of 
power, he forced another investigation of Masonry under his 
chairmanship, and witnesses were arrested for contempt and im- 
prisoned until the Legislature tired of the farce. 3 

By this time his hatred of Masonry had become an obsession. 
When the stage was set for the nomination of Harrison in 1836, 
Stevens rejected him because of his toleration of Masonry and 
supported Webster; and when the State Convention endorsed 
Harrison, he and his followers withdrew in high dudgeon, and 
he issued a bitter address in support of another convention to 
name another candidate. The people were cold, the project 
failed; and Stevens's hate of Jackson literally lashed him into the 
support of Harrison. This Masonic madness has been ascribed by 
some of his biographers to a hate of privilege; and, drolly enough, 
this 'hate of privilege* could not interest him in Jackson, who was 
then fighting the most bitter battle against privilege in American 
history only another of the inexplicable twists in this strange, 
strong man. 

It was in this period, too, that he became the leader in the fa- 
mous Buckshot War which grew out of an election dispute in 
Philadelphia. With his usual ferocity of expression, he denounced 
the Democrats of that city as roughs and toughs. The result was 

1 Woodbwn, 16. 2 Rid., 19. 3 Ibid., 23. 



70 

two Legislatures and the threat of civil war. A hair-trigger situa- 
tion was thus created and bloodshed was imminent when the 

Stevens faction was forced to capitulate. This was a foreshadow- 
ing of the extremes to which lie would go in a party struggle. 

in 

When, disappointed and embittered by the failure of Harrison 
to accord him official recognition, he retired from the Legislature, 

he was both admired and feared by friend and foe alike. Even 
among his political associates, he was thought erratic and un- 
reliable as a leader; and, disgusted with politics, ami impelled to 
recoup his fortunes, he moved to Lancaster, where the professional 
field was more fertile. Here for six years he engaged, in a lucrative 
practice, ever and anon making sallies into the political field, but 
with little encouragement. His own party felt him unsafe. The 
local organization set its face sternly against him. When, a year 
after his change of residence, he attempted to revive the anti- 
Masonry issue, and, by electing Democrats, force the Whigs to 
take him into their inner counsels, and failed, he found himself 
more than ever ostracised. 1 Then he retired to his tent in sullen 
mood to await an invitation. The most effective orator of his 
party in the State, this promised better, and he did not have long 
to nurse his grievance in solitude* In the Clay campaign of 1844, 
he was desperately needed, and he lingered in his tent* Ail local 
appeals were ignored, and it was only when Clay himself made 
personal appeal that he put ou the armor. We have a picture of 
him speaking with Webster in Philadelphia and drawing the 
latter's crowd to his stand.* Thus, forcing his party In Lancaster 
to come to him, he was elected to Congress in 1848, as a Free- 
Soil Whig of the extreme sort. And thus he began his congressional 
career at the age of fifty-seven, albeit not with the obscurity of 
the average new member. His fame was nation-wide among the 
Radicals, and when he found that the extreme Whigs and Free- 
Soilers held the balance of power, he was put forth by his group 
as a candidate for Speaker in the prolonged contest which finally 
ended in the election of a pro-slavery Southern Democrat* 
He soon qualified as the most bitter and vituperative enemy of 



STEVENS: A 71 

slavery In the House, His speeches were philippics. But when the 
Compromise of 1850 temporarily closed the door on slavery dis- 
cussions, he soon tired of the protective tariff, which he discussed 
in his second term with more picturesqueness than economic 
.intelligence, and retired in 1852. 

He was now in his sixtieth year. He turned again to his pro- 
fession, taking little interest in politics until the Kansas-Nebraska 
Act drew him from his retirement, and he entered upon the last 
phase of his career. He was the moving spirit in the meeting of 
twenty at Lancaster which launched the Republican Party locally 
in 1855; was a delegate to the Convention of- 1856, when he sup- 
ported Justice McLean, with whom he had flirted in Anti-Masonic 
days, and in 1858, he returned to Congress. He was now sixty-six 
years old. 

IV 

Here in the very beginning we encounter another of the mys- 
teries of his motivation he supported a North Carolina slave- 
owner for the speakership. His biographer explains this inconsis- 
tency on the ground that the slave-owner was also a high-protec- 
tionist. 1 Stevens was personally interested in iron. Thereafter, 
however, he threw himself with youthful energy and with the bit- 
terness of an old man into the struggle against slavery. In 1860, 
he supported Simon Cameron, whom he despised, as a State 
obligation, albeit he really favored McLean, and certainly was 
not impressed with Lincoln. 

Then came the war, and this old man of sixty-nine, a realist to 
the core, sat back and smiled pityingly and contemptuously on 
those who predicted a speedy victory. He knew that it would be 
long and bloody-, and he sounded the warning. 2 When Crittenden 
offered his resolution defining the purpose of the war as the 
preservation of the Union without emancipation or the subjuga- 
tion of the South, he voted against it. Henceforth we shall find 
him brutally consistent. To him the war was an opportunity to 
free the slaves, to punish the South, to crush its aristocracy. *I do 
not say that this war was made for that purpose/ he said. 3 * Ask 
those who made the war what its purpose is.* 

1 Woodbura, 188. 2 Jleply to Colfax, Congressional Globe, July 24, 1861. 

8 Conscription speech, Congressional Globe, August , 1861. 



72 THE TRAGIC 

"When in the early days men measured their steps by the Con- 
stitution, lie scouted tlie idea that the Constitution was operative. 

'The laws of war, not the Constitution/ lie growled; and we are 

to hear this growl from him until the end. "Who pleads the Con- 
stitution?' lie demanded with a scowl 'It is the advocates of 

rebels/ l When men drew back before the proposition to arm the 
slaves and turn them against their masters, he jeered at their 
sensibilities. "I for one shall be ready to go for it arming the 
blacks horrifying to gentlemen as it may appear/ 

A little longer, and we find him formulating a resolution for 
emancipation. Idle talk, thought the 'New York Times/ 8 No 
one knew better than lie that the proposition was premature 
he was sowing seed, he could await the harvest. la the mean 
while he could fertilize and tend the field with the propaganda 
of sectional hate. In and out of season this old man fulminated 
against the South and its leaders. Haag the leaders - crush the 
South arm the negroes confiscate the land. And the radicals 
everywhere thrilled to the impassioned voice of the revolutionist. 
The Abolitionists had cared nothing for the Constitution, little 
for the Union, and they responded with a cheer. What a weak and 
cowardly waging of war! said Stevens, *No sound of universal lib- 
erty has gone forth from the capital Our generals have a sword in 
one hand and shackles in the other." 3 Thus, recognizing the at- 
mosphere as revolutionary, he pushed to the fore arid oissc<I the 
banner of the Radical Republicans to hold it until it fell from his 
lifeless hands. 

Whatever may be said in criticism, he was the vitalising force 
in the House, and he energ&ed the whole country. Likes Diuiton 
thundering from the tribune * audacity, audacity , audacity* 
he was the perfect leader to ride on the whirlwind and direct the 
storm- Toward Lincoln, sitting patiently and lonegomely in the 
White House, he cast scornful glances. What a Cabinet! he 
thought "an assortment of rivals whom the President has 
appointed from courtesy* a stump speaker from Indiana, and two 
representatives of the Blair family/ When the elections in 180 
showed Republican losses, he thundered, * Without a new Cabi- 

* Called 111. 8 January 5, 1803. 

* Cmgreitdmid (Mob, Janwy $& 1861 



THADDEUS STEVENS: A PORTE AIT 73 

act there Is no hope/ The repudiation of Fremont's amazing 
military emancipation only confirmed Stevens's opinion of Lin- 
coln's impossible weakness. 1 Then came the President's plan of 
compensation, * The most diluted milk and water proposition ever 
given to the American nation/ he snorted. And so on for months, 
with criticisms of Lincoln's policies and methods. Just a momen- 
tary flare of enthusiasm for the patient, weary man in the White 
House when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. But after 
the fashion of revolutionists, Stevens was pushing ahead. Emanci- 
pation was not enough. The South must be punished under the 
rules of war, its land confiscated, the slaves made equals of the 
whites nothing less. These off ending States were out of the 
Union and in the rdle of a belligerent nation to be dealt with by 
the laws of war and conquest. 2 Yes, and Congress, not the Execu- 
tive, must deal with them. Thus, in 1864, Stevens was forcing 
the fighting against Lincoln, culminating in the Wade-Davis Bill, 
its passage, and the pocket veto and the President's proclamation 
of explanation. 'What an infamous proclamation! 5 wrote Stevens 
to a friend. 

At the 'moment the bullet of Booth closed the career of Lincoln, 
he was less the leader of his party than Thad Stevens. 



Such the background of the old man meditating, in Lancaster 
in the summer of 1865, a war on Johnson. This was his career: 
what of his character? Like all human beings, he was not all white 
nor black. 

His political character was that of a misanthrope, and he could 
have smiled indifferently upon the parliamentary methods of 
Walpole. He once replied to a fellow partisan who said his con- 
science would not permit him to take a certain course: * Conscience, 
indeed! Throw conscience to the devil and stand by your party/ 3 
Having little faith in his fellow men, he was convinced that all 
were governed by their baser and more selfish instincts. He was 
the perfect cynic. Reproached for a parliamentary trick de- 
nounced as a 'most outrageous thing/ he was so much the cynic 

1 Woodbum, 188. 2 Congressional Globe, January 8, 1863. 

3 Philadelphia Ledger*, quoted, Lancaster Intelligencer, January 17, 1866. 



74 THE ERA 

that he was not In the least annoyed. "You rascal/ he replied 

with his .dry grin, shaking his fist playfully under the nose of his 
accuser *if you had allowed me to have my rights, 1 would not 
have been compelled to make a corrupt bargain in order to get 
them/ l It was characteristic of him not to deny the trickery. He 
despised hypocrisy. His worst faults- were not concealed. 

This frank indifference to the morals of his strategy made him 
a dangerous foe in political and congressional struggles. His 
tremendous power as a party leader lay in the biting bitterness of 
his tongue and the dominating arrogance of his manner, before 
which weaker men shriveled. When a colleague dared question 
the wisdom of his policy, he replied with studied contempt that he 
did not * propose either to take his counsel, recognise his authority, 
or believe a word he says/ 2 His flings were consuming flame, his 
invective terrible to withstand. *The Almighty makes few mis- 
takes/ he once said in court, inviting attention to the countenance 
of the defendant* *Ixx>fc at that face! What did he, ever fashion 
it for save to be nailed to the masthead of a pirate ship to ride 
down unfortunate debtors sailing on the high seas of commerce/ 
One who observed him well thought that "the intensity of his 
hatred was almost next to infernal/ 4 There were no neutral 
tones in his vocabulary* *I could cut his damn heart out/ he 
once exclaimed, referring to Webster, after his 7th of March 
speech. When a friend, conveying the news of John Brown's raid,, 
lamented that he would probably be hanged, Stevens replied, 
c Damn him, he ought to hang/ fl Ho had, no sympathy with fail- 
ure. Thus there was a hardness about him that made men dread 
him. Time and again, he was to enter a party caucus with senti- 
ment against him to tongtie-kush his followers into line. It was 
easier to follow than to cross him. Ho had all the domineering 
arrogance of the traditional boss. He brooked no opposition, 
Sehuns noted even in his conversation* * carried on with u hollow 
voice devoid of music , . . a certain, absolutism of opinion with 
contemptuous scorn for adverse argument/ He was a dictator 
who handed down his decrees, and woe to the rebel who would 
reject them. 6 

1 Boutwell, n 9, s Reply to Bfogham, (Itmgrmwml Ufabe> Jiwatmry 8, 1807. 
1 Hensd, JS4. 4 Cox, Thm Ihcadm* #06. 6 f fanal, & 6 Bdnixz, n, 314. 



STEVENS: A PORTRAIT 75 

On his feet, speaking, there was much about him to awe the 
spectator. A master of robust Anglo-Saxon speech, he spoke with 
pith and point, but as a stern master laying down the law. Despite 
his lame foot, he stood straight as an arrow until extreme old age, 
and firmly poised. There were few purple patches in his speeches, 
and yet at times there were flashes of supreme eloquence. The 
general impression, however, was rather that of force and fire. 
The coldly stern face, the beetling brows, his underlip protruding 
with an intimidating defiance, he was neither graceful nor ap- 
pealing to the sympathies. His power on the platform or In the 
House was in his awe-inspiring earnestness that and the im- 
pression he conveyed of dignity and authority. He spoke, too, 
always for a purpose, and went directly to the point. Here a bolt 
of wit, there of irony, and then a glow of humor but these were 
flashes, and he was deep again in his argument or invective. There 
was a suggestion of cruelty in his wit and something clammy In 
his humor like a surgeon joking at his job. Something like the 
jollity of Marat, it was. *It smacked of Voltaire.' 1 Gestures he 
had but few, and these were angular, graceless, jerky, but when 
he accentuated the intensity of his passion by clasping his long 
bony hands together in front of him, the effect was dramatic. 
Thus, unconscious though it may have been, he had art in his 
delivery - he dramatized himself and his subject. His was 
distinctly the eloquence of a revolutionary period. An orator 
who served with him In the House said that 'in the great French 
struggle, his oratory would have outblazed Mirabeau/ 2 Charles 
Sumner, with whom oratory was an art, hesitated whether to 
describe him. as an orator or as a debater of the school of Charles 
James Fox. There was nothing in the Stevens of debate that 
remotely resembled Fox, and his oratory was so individualistic 
as to puzzle the imitator of Cicero and Burke. 3 

Staggering on the verge of the grave in the last years of his life, 
he remained the reigning wit to the end. Even on his death-bed 
he replied to a visitor's observation on his appearance with the 

1 Cox, 865. 

2 Sdbmrz, n, &14; Mian, Recollections, 309; Congressional Globe, Donnelly, December 17, 
1868; ibid., Senator Morrill, December 18, 1868. 

3 Congressional Globe? December 18, 1868. 



76 THE TRAGIC ERA 

comment that "It Is not my appearance but my disappearance 
that troubles me,' l Unlike Lincoln, he was not a story-teller. His 
wit and humor were inspired by occurrences about him. He 
scattered them with a reckless prodigality. Many of his best 
mots were spoken in running undertones in the course of debate, 
as the old man moved about the floor, and audible chuckles 
followed him In his meanderings, to the annoyance of the speaker. 
s He daily wasted, in this private and semi-grotesque distribution 
of mirth, sense, and satire, a capital sufficient, could it have been 
preserved* to rival almost any of the acknowledged masters 
among the colloquial wits of this or any other age/ thought 
Senator Morrill. 2 There was a bitter Voltairian flavor to his fun. 
1 They ask us to go it blind/ a speaker in the House was saying, 
when Stevens convulsed the members with the interpolation, *It 
means following Raymond' one of his pet aversions, 3 Dodg- 
ing an ink bottle thrown at him in Lancaster in a tavern brawl, he 
dryly said, c You don't seem competent to put ink to better use/ 4 
A perambulating speaker in the House pacing the aisles arrested 
his attention. *Do you expect to get mileage for that speech?* he 
asked, and, turning his back, walked away. Yielding reluctantly 
to a tiresome member, he fired a Parthian shot: ( I now yield to Mr. 
B., who will make a few feeble remarks/ 

The best and most pointed illustration of his humor is found in 
his apology to Lincoln for an unkind observation on a trait in 
Cameron. c You don't mean to say you think Cameron would 
steal? ' asked Lincoln. *No ? 1 don't think he would steal a reel-hot 
stove/ Finding the reply too good to keep, Lincoln repeated it to 
Cameron, who indignantly demanded a retraction- Stevens went 
forthwith to the White House. *Mr. Lincoln, why did you tell 
Cameron what I said to you? ' he asked. *I thought it was a good 
joke and didn^t think it would make him mad/ 'Well, he is very 
mad and made me promise to retract, I will now do so. I believe 
1 told you he would not steal a red-hot stove. I now take that 
back/ 

Thus, in his wit and humor there was always something of a 
sting. He was amusing with his bow, but his arrows hurt. The 

1 Forney, x, 87. 2 Congressional Glob December 18, 1808, 

8 Henry J. Baymond, Boutwell, n, 10. 4 Hensel, 15, 



THADDEUS STEVENS: A 77 

waggery, however, contributed not a little to Ms prestige In the 
House. He was picturesque and colorful, able, eloquent* and 
resourceful, dominating and domineering. 

VI 

In Ms daily life he was essentially a man's man, with a sprink- 
ling of the masculine vices and virtues. In his home at Lancaster, 
he was conspicuously absent from the social affairs of the com- 
munity. Engrossed in his profession and in politics, he found 
other means of recreation. Though not given to the vice of 
quotation, some of his speeches disclosed a mind in contact with 
the literary classics. He read history and the classics, but little 
poetry or contemporary fiction. 1 It was said that *he loved Pope's 
"Essay on Man" more than Siderfin's Reports.' 2 In his sleeping- 
room, on a table by the bed in which he was wont to read, were 
usually found copies of Shakespeare, Dante, Homer, Milton, and 
the Bible. 3 But it is easier to imagine him in the midst of his 
cronies in his office in the evening, chatting with neighbors in 
the tree-lined street, or gathered about a table in a smoke-filled 
room, with cards. Very old men remember that he never visited 
the homes of the city. His friends knew where to find him. The 
son of one of his warmest admirers and political lieutenants re- 
calls that his father 'never admired his tastes and companion- 
ships/ and that he *was a gambler and had no social side/ 4 
Whenever it was necessary for him to entertain visiting celebrities, 
he would summon the wife of his close friend Dr. Carpenter, 
across the street, to receive for him. 5 

His biographer, while conceding that he gambled, playing poker 
and other games for money, denies the popular impression that 
he was an inveterate gambler. There was, nevertheless, long a 
tradition around Gettysburg that the gambling proclivities of 
the young there were due to the example Stevens set while living 
in the community. An unmarried man, with no social life or 
inclinations, with few if any close associations with women, and 
living in a town where there was little entertainment outside the 

1 Hensel, $5, 2 Globe, December 17, 1868, Woodward. 

8 Ibid., Dickey, 4 Author's notes at Lancaster. 

6 Author's Lancaster notes recollections of Carpenter's daughter. 



78 THE TRAGIC ERA 

homes he did not visit, it would have been remarkable had he 
not toyed with the vixen of chance. There are too many stories of 
his gambling floating about Lancaster to this day to leave any 
doubt about it. No one knew better the value of money, for 
poverty had taught him. But he had the spirit of the gambler 
which was to manifest itself in his political life. He played and 
often played high and recklessly, but he played fairly, and when 
he lost, he paid without grumbling. 1 The story is still told of one 
of his all-night sessions at a faro table in the basement of a hotel 
in Lancaster. In the early morning a farmer from whom he had 
ordered hay called down the stairs to him. 'Well, what do you 
want? 3 thundered the weary Stevens. "I have a load of hay here; 
what shall I do with it. 5 "Go back and put it on the ace of spades/ 
rumbled the voice down the stairs. 2 This gambling propensity 
did not pass with old age or the period of his heaviest political 
responsibilities in Washington, which was thickly studded with 
gambling-houses. He was wont to invite congressional associates 
to his house on New Jersey 'Avenue, where a cold lunch would 
be served in prolonged sessions with the cards. 3 One morning 
Elaine met him coming down the steps of a fashionable gambling- 
house, where he had spent the night. As the two men paused to 
exchange greetings, a negro preacher approached with a request 
for a contribution toward the building of a church. Reaching into 
his pocket, Stevens drew out fifty dollars in bills and gave them 
to the suppliant; then, as the latter bowed himself away, Stevens 
turned wryly to Elaine with the comment that 'God moves in a 
mysterious way his wonders to perform.' Thus he played for 
money to add spice to the game, and not from motives of gain; he 
played like a gentleman; lost like one; and with his earnings he 
was often generous as a prince. 

Whatever Ms views upon religion may have been, he kept them 
to himself. His tolerance of all religions might have been due to 
his divorcement from all creeds. He attended no church, which, 
within itself, would have colored the general impression of his 
character in the community in which he lived. For the Baptists 
he had a certain sentimental regard due to the fact that it was the 
church of his mother, but he was probably a free-thinker- The 

1 Hensel, 12. 2 Author's Lancaster notes. 8 Stewart, Reminiscences, $05. 



STEVENS: A 79 

Lancaster Intelligencer/ commenting on a statement In the 
Lancaster Express \that Stevens f never made any special pro- 
fession of religion/ said that it might 'have said with truth that 
he had been all his life a scoffer at religion and a reviler of sacred 
things/ l That "his mind was a howling wilderness, so far as his 
sense of his obligation to God was concerned/ 2 was the opinion 
of Jeremiah S. Black; and Senator Grimes disliked him as *a 
debauchee in morals.' 3 Even so, one of his best friends was a 
Catholic priest in Lancaster, with whom he liked to talk and walk; 
and he was tenderly fond of children, and extremely sensitive to 
the appeals of the poor, to whom he was unvaryingly generous. 4 
As a business man, he was both a success and a failure. His 
professional income, large for the time and place, the absence of 
a family, and his gambler's instinct made him more or less of a 
plunger in Investments. As Canal Commissioner of Pennsylvania, 
a position calling for business judgment and methods, he was so 
unsuccessful that he never outlived the charge of using public 
money to advance the interest of his party. All his undertakings 
here were failures, owing, according to Simon Cameron, to his 
* impatience of details operating against him in everything of a 
business nature outside his profession/ 5 In the Iron and other 
Industries In which he invested he amassed a fortune, only to lose 
everything and find himself two hundred thousand dollars in debt 
through the failure of a partner. Appalling though the debt then 
was, he sternly set himself to the task of discharging every penny 
through his professional earnings, and within six years he had 
wiped out all but thirty thousand dollars of the obligation. 6 It 
was with this Incubus still resting upon him that he entered 
Congress in 1848; and before he returned to Congress for his sec- 
ond service, ten years later, he had liquidated it all and accumu- 
lated another fortune, which was wiped out through the destruc- 
tion of his foundry by the Confederate troops on their dash into 
the State. When he died, he left a comfortable but comparatively 
small fortune. He sought money in the spirit of the gambler for 

* July O t 1867. 2 Hensel, 27. 3 Welles, n, 447. 

4 Congressional Globe, December 17, 1868, Woodward; ibid., Morrill, December 18, 1868. 
8 Congressional Gkle, December 18, 1868. 
, 58, 



80 THE TRAGIC ERA 

the love of the game of making It, but it does not appear that his 
various losses greatly depressed him. 

VII 

Because of his obsession on negro rights to absolute equality, and 
his inveterate hatred of the Southern whites, his relation for many 
years to Lydia Smith, a mulatto, and until his death his house- 
keeper, cannot be ignored. It was the fashion of his enemies in his 
time openly to charge that there was an intimacy between them 
much more personal than that of employer and employee. The 
charge was made publicly in the newspapers of the country and 
of Lancaster, and Stevens never entered a denial. Indifferent and 
contemptuous as he was of public opinion, none but one with the 
most callous sensibilities could have remained silent under the 
attack. That she was his housekeeper, devoted to his interests, 
there can be no doubt; that she was his mistress is not susceptible 
of legal proof. This much is undisputed: In the rear of his house in 
Lancaster, among the fruit trees, stood a little house, occupied by 
Lydia Smith and her husband, a very black negro barber, with 
their two children, likewise black. Mrs. Smith was a mulatto, and 
was engaged as housekeeper for the bachelor lawyer. After a 
time the husband died, and the widow moved into the master's 
house, and there she lived for many years. - When Stevens went to 
Washington, she accompanied him there. Wherever he was, there 
she was also. There are old people in Lancaster to-day, .who, as 
children, remember her as one who was liked and respected by the 
white people of the community. She was neat and comely, ac- 
commodating and kindly, and the best white women of the neigh- 
borhood frequently invited her assistance in preparing for parties. 
That she was devoted to Stevens was evident to all. In time, as he 
grew feeble, she became indispensable, acting as a buffer between 
him and those who would unnecessarily sap his strength. When, 
in the house on New Jersey Avenue near the Capitol in Washing- 
ton, he entertained his friends among public men at cards or con- 
versation, it was she who met them at the door, and prepared and 
served the lunch. 1 One of those who was a frequent guest con- 
cluded from his host's manner that he ' seemed quite fond' of her, 

1 Stewart, Reminiscences, 205, 



STEVENS: A 81 

and was convinced that Ms regard for her was 'not entirely 
platonic/ 1 It would not have been discreditable to Stevens to 
be "quite fond of her 5 in view of her maternal kindness in min- 
istering to his comfort in the home and nursing him in sickness. 
However, this visitor, a member of the Senate, says that the 
relationship of the statesman and the mulatto * created some 
scandal 9 in Washington. 

This assumption that she was Stevens's mistress was not con- 
fined, however, to undertone gossip, which is never impressive. It 
was current in the press, and in no instance was the publisher re- 
buked or threatened with a libel suit. In the summer of 1867 the 
editor of a Southern paper, the 'Union Springs Times/ called at 
Stevens's house in Lancaster to inquire as to his seriousness in 
proposing the confiscation of the great Southern estates. In writ- 
ing of his visit, he said bluntly that Stevens 'lived in open adultery 
with a mulatto woman whom he seduced from her husband/ 
This 'seduction* was manifestly untrue. The housekeeper lived 
with her husband until his death, and many years later was buried 
by his side in the Catholic cemetery in Lancaster. 'The mulatto 
manages his household both in Lancaster and Washington/ the 
editor continued, and this was true. 'She receives or rejects 
visitors at will/ he went on, 'speaks of Mr. Stevens and herself as 
"we/' and in all things comports herself as if she enjoyed the 
rights of a lawful wife/ The editor had 'no word of unkindness or 
abuse of her/ describing her as 'a neat, tidy housekeeper who ap- 
pears to be as polite as well-trained negroes generally are/ This 
article was republished in full in the 'New York World/ 2 and was 
never challenged by Mr. Stevens; nor did he cease to treat the 
Washington correspondent of the 'World' with courtesy. 

A more impressive illustration of his indifference to, or acqui- 
escence in, these published stories of his intimacy with Lydia 
Smith is found in an editorial in the 'Lancaster Intelligencer/ 
This grew out of an interesting incident showing his absolute 
fidelity to the idea of equality between the races. He had pur- 
chased a lot in a new cemetery, and later, on reading the deed, and 
noting that the burial of negroes was forbidden, he returned the 
deed on the ground that he preferred to be buried in a cemetery 

1 Stewart, Reminiscences, 205. 2 June 20, 1867. 



82 THE TRAGIC ERA 

where no such discrimination was made. The 'Lancaster Express/ 
Republican, commenting on his action, thought it conclusive 
evidence of his sincere belief in absolute equality. To this the 
* Intelligencer' replied editorially: 1 * Nobody doubts that Thad- 
deus Stevens has always been in favor of negro equality, and 
here, where his domestic arrangements are so well known, his 
practical recognition of his pet theory is perfectly well under- 
stood. . . . There are few men who have given to the world such 
open and notorious evidence of a belief in negro equality as 
Thaddeus Stevens. A personage, not of his race, a female of dusky 
hue, daily walks the streets of Lancaster when Mr. Stevens is at 
home. She has presided over his house for years. Even by his own 
party friends, she is constantly spoken of as Mrs. Stevens, though 
we fancy that no rite of Mother Church ever gave her a right to it. 
It is natural for men to desire to sleep their last with those they 
loved in life. If Thaddeus Stevens insists on being buried side by 
side with the woman he is supposed to have taken to his bosom, it 
is entirely a matter of taste. But why did he not purchase a lot in 
an African burying ground at once? There no white man's bones 
would have jostled his own, and she who has so long been his most 
intimate associate might have been gathered to his side without 
exciting public scandal.* This was published in the leading paper 
of the small city In which Mr. Stevens lived and at a time when he 
was in town. There was no demand for a retraction, no suit for 
libel. The editorial was afterwards copied In papers throughout 
the country, Lydla Smith, continued to live with Mm in the r61e of 
housekeeper and was to stand weeping at Ms bedside when he 
died, and to be a beneficiary of his will. These are the facts, and 
from these the reader must draw his own conclusions. 

There is not the scintilla of a doubt that he pushed to the ut- 
most limit Ms ideas of absolute equality, socially and politically, 
between the races. In the summer of 1867, subscriptions were 
being solicited for the support of the Home for Friendless Children 
in Lancaster, and Mr, Stevens was approached for a contribution. 
He refused a penny without a guarantee that colored children 
should be received on equal terms with the white a proposition 
shocking enough at the time. No such assurance could be given, 

1 July 6, 1807, 




THE HOUSE OP THADDETTS STEVENS 



2. * *-// & e_ 



LETTER FROM THADDEUS STEVENS TO 

CHARLES A. DANA ' 



THADDETJS STEVENS: A 83 

and Stevens, the most generous of men, a lover of children, par- 
ticularly of cMldren in distress, refused to contribute. 'There is 
boldness and consistency in this act of Old Thad/ said the * Lan- 
caster Intelligencer/ publishing the story. 1 The 'Harrisburg 
Telegraph' applauded Stevens's position. 2 That one holding such 
extreme views should have demanded the immediate enfranchise- 
ment of the freedmen, an absolute equality of civil rights, and the 
confiscation of the land of the Southern aristocrats and its division 
among the negroes in forty-acre tracts, is not surprising. Many 
ascribed his deep-seated hatred for the Southern whites to the in- 
fluence of Lydia Smith. 3 His fondness for her is shown in the fact 
that there is in Lancaster to-day a portrait of this comely mulatto 
from the brush of Eicholtz, a prominent painter who also did a 
portrait of Stevens. 

VIII 

The mind of Stevens was not formed for constructive work. 
He achieved no distinction in the Constitutional Convention of 
Pennsylvania because of the lack of constructive capacity. 4 God- 
kin, in a dispassionate survey of his career, could not find that he 
had so * associated himself with any public measure or series of 
measures as to make it a memorial of him personally. 3 5 That 
distinguished journalist apparently failed to realize that Stevens 
was the father of reconstruction measures, albeit time was soon to 
show that these were more destructive than constructive. 

Perhaps the most distinguished and useful work of his career 
was his brilliant fight in the Legislature for the preservation and 
extension of the public school system. Because of the cost of 
maintenance, there was a popular clamor against the schools. 
That this would have prevailed but for the remarkable speech of 
Stevens, all contemporary authorities agree. It was a superb 
piece of lofty eloquence, and his peroration, expressing the hope 
that 'the blessings of education shall be conferred on every son of 
Pennsylvania, shall be carried home to the poorest child of the 
poorest inhabitant of the meanest hut of your mountains,' liter- 
ally saved the schools. He himself thought this his greatest service, 

1 June 6, 1867. 2 June 8, 1867. 3 Stewart, Reminiscences, 05. 

4 Hensel 11. 6 The Nation, August 20, 1868. 



84 THE TRAGIC ERA 

and lie once said that lie would feel abundantly rewarded ( If a single 
child, educated by the Commonwealth, shall drop a tear of grati- 
tude on my grave/ l He spoke effectively in favor of the establish- 
ment of an art school in Philadelphia, and for the endowment of 
the academies and colleges of the State. 2 This, however, was the 
work of the advocate. Success In that capacity achieved, he 
stepped aside and took no part In the creative work. He could 
defend, he could attack; he could not construct. 

And he could not compromise that was at once his strength 
and weakness. It made him a leader while he lived, and a failure 
In the perspective of the years. He held no council, heeded no 
advice, hearkened to no warning, and with an iron will he pushed 
forward as his instinct bade, defying, If need be, the opinion of 
his time, and turning it by sheer force to his purpose* 

A striking figure on the canvas of history stern, arrogant, 
intense, with a threatening light in his eye, and something between 
a sneer and a Voltairian smile upon his thin, hard lips. Such was 
the greatest party and congressional leader of his time. 

We shall follow him now into the fight and note his character in 
his actions. The summer of 1865 has passed, his plans are made, 
and he takes the train for Washington to cross swords with Andrew 
Johnson. 

1 Woodbum, 51. 2 j^tf,, 53, 



CHAPTER V 
'THE WAR GOES ON' 

i 

WE have seen that during the summer of 1865 the Radical 
group under Stevens and Sumner had been mobilizing their 
forces for a mass movement against all the policies of Johnson. A 
few days before the opening of Congress, the members began to 
pour into the capital, and before the gavel fell the enemies of the 
President had struck the first blow. Among the earliest arrivals 
was Schuyler Coif ax, Speaker of the House, whose advent was not 
unheralded. Of statecraft he had partaken daintily, but a fluency 
of expression, added to a pleasing personality and a perpetual 
smile, had made him a popular figure on the platform. In debate 
the nimbleness of his tongue stood him in good stead. In speech 
he was the master of the obvious. 

This was the man who entered the capital to the roll of drums, 
sent on ahead to sound the keynote of opposition to Johnson in 
anticipation of the latter's Message. The crowd that assembled 
before his lodgings on the night of his arrival was not a spontane- 
ous tribute to the great; the audience had been provided in ad- 
vance. And when the 'Smiler' appeared, to acknowledge the 
homage, it was not an extemporaneous, but a carefully premedi- 
tated speech that was delivered. It was a pro-negro speech, a 
declaration of the invalidity of presidential reconstruction, a call 
for the political proscription of the natural leaders of the South; 
and by its tone and manner it served notice that Congress, and not 
the President, would determine the future of the conquered terri- 
tory. That night the speech was flashed over the country, to be 
read the next morning at the breakfast tables. 

This was the first gun fired by the Radical group, and there was 
no misapprehension as to its meaning. It meant war. The 'Na- 
tional Intelligencer' thought the speech in bad taste; 1 a member 
of the Cabinet recognized it instantly as 'the offspring of an in- 

1 Hollister, 87. 



86 THE ERA 

trigue, and one that is pretty extensive 3 ; l but the Radical group 
hailed it with jubilation. Blaine thanked the orator 'for having 
given, a good keynote for the rallying of our party/ and Sumner 
wrote delightedly that he had hit between wind and water" and 
that "the public has been longing to find some way of escape from 
the Presidential experiment/ 2 A Methodist Bishop, representing 
the political preacher destined to some notoriety, wrote him to 
'stand by the sentiment expressed and depend upon it the coun- 
try will stand by you/ 3 Long afterward, Coif ax was to exult in 
the feeling that his speech was 'the initiation of the Congressional 
policy.' 4 

Busy as swarming bees were the conspirators in the few days 
preceding the falling of the gavel. Hardly had Boutwell of Massa- 
chusetts reached the city when he was slyly summoned to a private 
room by Secretary Stanton, to be warned against the latter's 
chief. Orders 'had been given the army without Stanton's know- 
ledge. He was afraid that Johnson would attempt to reorganize 
Congress' and give control to the Southerners and the Northern 
Democrats. There ought to be a law to deprive the President of his 
constitutional rights as Commander~in~Chief; and the one pro- 
mised was afterwards passed. 8 Thus, in the beginning, the mys- 
tery drops from Stanton, revealing him as a spy in the Presi- 
dent's household. 

Sumner 3 having insulted Johnson during the summer* with that 
strange insensibility born of inordinate vanity, hastened to the 
White House to remonstrate against the President's policy, and to 
pour forth a recital of * Southern crimes/ When, Johnson called 
the roll of Massachusetts murders and Boston assaults, the Senator 
was pained by his "prejudices, ignorance, and perversity/ The 
two-and-a-half -hour conference convinced Sumner that the Presi- 
dent was 'changed/ 6 

The very night Sumner was quarreling with the President, the 
Republicans met In caucus with Thad Stevens In control. The de- 
termined old man had the advantage of having a definite pro- 
gramme to propose. He demanded a joint committee of fifteen to 
whom the question of the admission of Representatives from the 

* Welles, n, 885. 2 Hollister, 274. s Bishop E. E, Ames, MM., $78. 

., 272. 5 Boutwell, n 107-08. 6 Pierce, iv, 286; 289. 



GOES ON 87 

States recently In rebellion should be referred without debate* 
There was some dissent, a little grumbling, and then a rumbling 
in the throat of the infuriated Stevens, before which weaker men 
recoiled timidly. When he threatened to leave the caucus, the 
3pposition collapsed. He had won the vital point without a fight! 
Henry J. Raymond, champion of the presidential policy, was a 
sentinel asleep on duty. The constitutional provision that each 
louse should be the judge of the eligibility of its members had been 
trapped. And when the caucus designated Stevens as the spokes- 
nan of its purpose, it placed the scepter in his hands. 1 The man in 
Jae White House heard the news and chuckled in* expectation of 
;he discomfiture of his foes. Wait until Tennessee should be 
eached on the roll-call, and Maynard, a loyal member of the 
"louse since the war, and a Radical himself, should present him- 
;elf they would not dare deny him 1 2 

Long before the hour of meeting, the galleries were packed to 
capacity. The city then, and for some years thereafter, teemed 
vith men with no ostensible means of support who used the 
Capitol for entertainment, shuffling through the corridors, and 
;aking possession of the privileged seats in the galleries in violation 
>f rules. These were to cheer and hiss; if Dantons and Marats on 
he floor, why not sans~culotte$ in the galleries? Thus, when the 
javel fell on that opening day, the diplomatic gallery was filled 
vith the riff-raff, and correspondents found their seats in the press 
ection occupied by lolling loafers from the streets. Moving about 
amiliarly on the floor, office-holders and petitioners for patronage 
huffled over the bright new carpet. The buzz of conversation, 
he chuckle and the laugh, in an atmosphere charged with ex- 
pectancy. 3 

ii 

Let us look down for a moment from the crowded galleries and 
;et a glimpse of the leaders of the drama. In the Senate we shall 
rant first of all to see Sumner, for he has been an object of curios- 
by ever since an irate South Carolinian struck him down with a 
ane. There he sits, soberly, senatorially, a rather handsome man 
idth a conceited countenance, sartorially impeccable, and among 

i Ufe of Hayes, I, 78; Welles, n, 888. 2 Welles, n, 388. 8 Barnes, 1. 



88 TRAGIC 

his colleagues something of an exotic for does he not affect the 
English style and wear spats? He is busy with some papers, for he 
has many resolutions to offer. Not far away, quite the opposite 
type, aud yet as radical as Sumner a rough, domineering man 
of evident vulgarity, with crudely carved features, and an insolent 
expression Ben Wade, possessing all of Sumner's vices and 
none of his virtues. 

On the same side, two men conversing. The one with sparse 
gray hair and side whiskers, of slight figure and thin, academic 
face, who seems so self-effacing, is attracting attention because 
his power, if not apparent at a glance, has long been felt. His face 
denotes suffering and weariness. A remarkable man, this Fessen- 
den, whose mind moves with the precision of logic, and whose 
speeches, packed with solidity, captivate without eloquence, 
though spoken in the conversational tone. There was cold science 
in his analysis of sophistry. The Democratic leader across the 
aisle (Hendricks) thought him the greatest debater he had ever 
heard. 1 He has the pride of Sumner without his pomp. He is talk- 
ing with a serious man whose manner suggests something cold 
and unsympathetic, his countenance everything of intellect and 
high-mindedness. He possesses Fessenden's qualities in debate 
no humor, no ornament, machine-like logic, the self-possession of 
innate dignity. This is Lyman Trumbull, who, with Fessenden, 
had felt bitterly on slavery and rebellion, but hopes to reconcile 
the factions, unite the party, and thwart the extreme views of 
Stevens. 2 

Let us mark well the handsome man of commanding presence 
with the suave expression at the head of the little group of Demo- 
crats, for during the next three years he is to speak the verdict of 
history in debate, to be strangely slighted by historians, Thomas 
A. Hendricks was the moral and intellectual equal of any man on 
the floor. His fine ability and rare political sagacity had marked 
him for the highest honor years before, when William Maxwell 
Evarts first met him in the Supreme Court, 3 It is in the years 
with which we are now dealing that Evarts thought that * among 
the eminent men who took part in debate no man appeared better 
in his composure of spirit, in his calmness of judgment, in the cir- 

1 Schurz, n, 217. White, Trumbull. 3 Evarts, Arguments, in, 313. 



ON ' 89 

cumspect and careful deliberation with which, avoiding extreme 
extravagances, he drew the line which should mark out fidelity to 
the Constitution as distinguished from addition to the supremacy 
of party Interests and party passions/ * Another statesman of fine 
discrimination and intellectual attainments was later to recall the 
fact that during the Johnson Administration he was 'the acknow- 
ledged champion of that great conservative sentiment . . . that 
brought about the return of the people of the seceded States/ 2 
Others were to recall the purity of his character, the courtesy of 
his manner, Ms fidelity to duty. 3 Able in debate, meticulously 
cautious as to the accuracy of his statements, logical in his 
methods, at times eloquent, and always impressive, he saw from 
the beginning what TrumbuH and Fessenden discovered too late, 
and, unlike Reverdy Johnson, was never to compromise with the 
foe. * Certainly his eloquence was persuasive and effective/ said 
Evarts. * Certainly his method of forensic address was quite ad- 
mirably free of all superfluity/ 4 

But since the real drama Is in the opening of the House, let us 
hurry there and locate the leaders before the gavel falls. About 
halfway back from the Speaker's rostrum, and near the center 
aisle, where he can easily catch the Speaker's eye, sits Stevens, 
grim, and with the fire of battle in Ms eye. Not far away is the 
Democratic floor leader, James Brooks, courteous, suave, plausi- 
ble, editor of the 'New York Express/ long prominent in the coun- 
cils of the Whigs, who through some strange twist in war days was 
sent to Congress by Tammany as a Democrat. A good parliamen- 
tarian, he was not an orator; but close at hand, awaiting the sum- 
mons to oratorial combat, we see one of the most imposing figures 
in the House, of commanding stature, and with the eye, head, and 
manner of the natural orator, Daniel Wolsey Voorhees. Famous 
for his speeches in defense of John Cook, one of John Brown's men, 
and of Mary Harris, there surely never was a voice more musical or 
more finely modulated to every feeling, never an eye more eloquent 
than those hazel orbs that changed colors with varying emotions. 
For thirty years he never was to lose the power to fascinate the 
blas6 galleries of House and Senate. 5 

1 Evarts, Arguments, ui, 214. 2 Turpie, Sketches, 235. 3 Men and Measures, 73. 
4 Evarts, Argument*, m, 216. * Turpie, Sketches, 384r40; Men and Measures, 74. 



90 TRAGIC 

Second only in Interest to Stevens on the Republican side Is the 
fashionably dressed, thick-set, bearded man, who* though nearly 
fifty, seems scarcely forty, and who exudes geniality as he moves 
about the floor. This Is Henry J. Raymond, Republican Chair- 
man, founder and editor of the *New York Times/ champion of 
Johnsonian policies. With a brilliant mind, sparkling social graces, 
great capacity, and tireless Industry, with a rare mastery of both 
the written and spoken word, he was soon to find that there was 
no place for such as he In the new order of things. There was an 
easy-going complacency about him that did not harmonize with 
revolutionary days. He loved society, liked to drive his span of 
bays in the parks, enjoyed good company, especially if composed 
of good listeners. But he had two qualities that disqualified him 
for political leadership he saw both sides of every question and 
was Incapable of hate. *If those of my friends who call me a 
waverer could only know how Impossible It Is for me to see but 
one aspect of a question, to espouse but one side of a cause, they 
would pity rather than condemn me/ he once said. 1 With his eye- 
glass and small gold-headed cane ? . he could fit In with a company 
of cultured gentlemen In one of their drawing-rooms, but in a revo- 
lutionary age he was as a cork bobbing on the angry waves. 2 

in 

The gavel falls. The clerk, born in Gettysburg, where Stevens 
began the practice of the law, editor for a while of a paper in Lan- 
caster where Stevens lived, had his orders from the caucus through 
Stevens himself, and began to call the roll. 'When Tennessee was 
passed, Maynard sprang to his feet, waving his certificate of elec- 
tion. *The clerk cannot be interrupted while ascertaining whether 
a quorum Is present/ said the clerk severely, and Maynard re- 
sumed his seat. At the conclusion, Brooks rose to protest and to 
demand the authority for ignoring Tennessee. 

*I can give my reason if necessary/ said the clerk. 

And then, from the seat halfway back, the contemptuous tones 
of Stevens: *It is not necessary. We know all/ 

Yes, retorted Brooks, the resolution of a party caucus. And 

1 Life of Raymond, 225. 

2 Life of Raymond, 215-18; Sunshine and Shadow in New York, 688-89. 



ON 91 

could the gentleman from Pennsylvania Inform Mm when he in- 
tended to press this resolution? 

' Stevens seemed bored. 'I propose to present it at the proper 
time/ he drawled. The galleries chuckled loudly and clapped 
hands. The revolution had begun. 

Proceeding to the election of officers, Stevens rose to nominate 
for chaplain a minister described as 'the most eloquent man in the 
United States since the fall of Henry Ward Beecher/ Again the 
galleries chortled at this thrust at the clergyman who had espoused 
the cause of Johnson. It was the beginning of Beecher's troubles, 
from which he was to extricate himself by crying *mea culpa, mea 
culpa/ to the revolutionists. 1 

That day, after Suinner in the Senate had introduced a series of 
impossibly extreme resolutions on reconstruction, the two Houses 
adjourned without the customary naming of a committee to in- 
form the President that they were ready for his communication. 
e I am most thoroughly convinced that there was design in this . . . 
to let the President know that he must wait the motion of Con- 
gress/ wrote Gideon Welles. For henceforth, through the revolu- 
tion, Congress was to assume supremacy in the affairs of govern- 
ment. 2 

IV 

The Committee of Fifteen, the Committee of Public Safety of 
this revolution, was named on the motion of Stevens. The Message 
of Johnson, a powerful, dignified, and sound State paper, which 
Welles thought Seward had touched up, but which was in fact 
written by Bancroft, the historian, was read. 3 The reaction of the 
country to this forceful Message chilled the hearts of the extre- 
mists. "Full of wisdom/ said the 'New York Times/ "Force and 
dignity* was noted by 'The Nation/ which thought it 'certainly 
clearer' than Lincoln's, and assuredly 'the style of an honest man 
who knows what he means and means what he says/ 4 Sumner 
was hysterical. 'The greatest and most criminal error ever com- 
mitted by a government/ he declared. What is a republican gov- 
ernment? he demanded of Welles. Sumner knew, for he 'had 

i Congressional Globe, December 5, 1865. 2 Welles, n, 392, 

3 Ibid. 4 December 14, 1865. 



92 THE TRAGIC ERA 

read everything on the subject from Plato to the last French pam- 
phlet. 3 And here negroes were being excluded from the State 
Governments outrageous! Had not a general officer from 
Georgia just informed him that 'the negroes . . . were better quali- 
fied to establish and maintain a republican government than the 
whites ?* And how could Welles, a New England man, support 
the President? Had he read Sumner's Worcester speech? "Yes/ 
the Connecticut Yankee replied, but * I did not endorse it/ "Stan- 
ton does,' said Sumner. He had thought it *none too strong' 
and * approved every sentiment, every opinion and word of it. 5 l 
Thus Stanton's treachery unfolds. 

Meanwhile Stevens, infinitely stronger and more practical than 
Sumner, was planning to force the issue. In the interval, one 
bitterly cold day, Grant stood before Johnson reporting on his 
observations in the South. Sumner had been deluged with letters 
from strangers in that section, charging butchery and outrages 
against the blacks; and Grant reported conditions satisfactory, 
the people loyal, and was asked to make a written report. 2 This 
intensified Sumner's annoyance, and he fumed and fretted. 

In the White House, Johnson, calm, busy with conferences, not 
unmindful of the treachery about him, moved with caution and 
awaited events. He had begun to suspect Stanton, but when that 
official returned after an absence to speak sneeringly of Sumner, 
the mystery deepened. 'Some one is cheated/ wrote the Cabinet 
diarist. 3 

But there was nothing cowardly or underhand about Thad 
Stevens. The old man, shut up in Ms house, was forging his thun- 
derbolt, and on December 18, with galleries packed, with a sprin- 
kling of negroes, the floor crowded, he rose to challenge the Ad- 
ministration. An historical moment. Here spoke a man who was 
determining the immediate destiny of a people, and he spoke with 
the decision and force of an absolute monarch laying the law down 
to a cringing parliament. 

Who could reconstruct? he demanded. Not the President, he 
said, for Congress alone had power. "The future condition of the 
conquered power depends on the will of the conqueror/ he con- 
tinued. 'They must come in as new States or come in as con- 

1 Welles, n, 394. 2 IW 9 H, 397. * Ibid., n, 406. 



THE ON 93 

quered provinces/ Thereafter lie referred to them as provinces 
"provinces that would not be prepared to participate in constitu- 
tional government for some years/ Then what? *No arrange- 
ment so proper for them as territorial governments/ where they 
*can learn the principles of freedom and eat the fruit of foul re- 
bellion/ And when consider their restoration? Only when the 
Constitution had been so amended 'as to secure perpetual ascend- 
ancy to the party of the Union 5 meaning the Republican Party. 

That was the persuasive feature of Stevens's amazing pro- 
gramme that was intended to overcome the momentary scruples 
of the more conservative of his fellow partisans. Negro domina- 
tion before it the conservatives drew back shocked. But such 
domination in the South, or the loss of the loaves and fishes 
that was different. The old man was a good psychologist. He was 
really thinking primarily of the negroes, for whom most of his 
party associates cared not a tinker's dam; but they were interested 
in power, and how so certainly perpetuate that power as by deny- 
ing these States a vote in the Electoral College until they agreed to 
grant suffrage to the freedman. 

Yes, negro domination in the South or the loss of power. * They 
[Southerners and Democrats] will at the very first election take 
possession of the White House and of the halls of Congress/ And 
then, ruin! But there were no pious poses in the bitter old man 
now speaking. Make the South enfranchise the negroes, and 'I 
think there would always be Union men enough in the South, 
aided by the blacks, to divide the representation and thus continue 
Republican ascendancy/ This a white man's government? 'Sir, 
this doctrine of a white man's government is as atrocious as the 
infamous sentiment that damned the late Chief Justice [Taney] to 
everlasting fame and I fear everlasting fire/ 

When Stevens sank wearily into his seat, he had planted the 
most attractive of ideas in the minds of his fellow partisans who 
had held back. He had conducted them to the mountain-top 
and offered them the indefinite power they sought. 'The Nation 9 
found his reference to Taney in hell something *we can hardly 
trust ourselves to commend/ and concluded that 'many people 
will be ready to believe that a person who uses such language in 
debate is hardly in a fit state of mind to legislate for . . . any State 



94 THE TRAGIC ERA 

or Territory/ l But the politicians In the cloak-rooms* the hotels, 
and bar-rooms were deeply interested in the suggestion. 

Three days later the galleries again were packed when the ele- 
gant Raymond replied in defense of the President's policies. To a 
conservative audience of judicious men the speech of Raymond, 
finely phrased, sanely tempered, and logical, would have appealed, 
but not to the crowd in the galleries. Restating the theory on 
which the war was fought, that the Southern States had not been 
out of the Union and certainly not a separate power, he said: 
'They were once States of the Union that every one concedes 
bound to the Union and made members of the Union by the 
Constitution of the United States. . . . They did not secede. They 
failed to maintain their ground by force of arms - in other words, 
they failed to secede/ 

And talk of "loyal men in the South'? Loyal to what? ' Loyal to 
a foreign Independent power, as the United States would become 
under those circumstances? * Certainly not. Simply disloyal to 
their own government and "deserters from that to which they owe 
allegiance. 3 More: If an independent power, they had the author- 
ity to contract debts, ' and we would become the successors and in- 
heritors of Its debts and assets, and we must pay them.' And why, 
having fought for the Union, now forbid reunion? *I am here/ he 
concluded, 4 to act with those who seek to complete the restoration 
of the Union. ... I shall say no word and do no act and give no 
vote to recognize its division, or to postpone or disturb its' rapidly 
approaching harmony and power/ 

Raymond had courageously and handsomely discharged a 
patriotic duty, but he had signed his political death- warrant. He 
had joined the Gironde when the Mountain, backed by the mob, 
was in the ascendant. 



There was a third party to this debate whom it Is the fashion to 
ignore, albeit he spoke for more white men IE the country than 
either, though representing a party with a meager representation 
In the House. He spoke for the 1,835,985 men who had voted the 
Democratic ticket in the election of 1864, and for all the whites of 

1 December 8, 1865. 



THE ON 95 

the South, and these men are entitled to their word In this debate, 
Daniel W. Voorhees spoke on the proposition embodied In resolu- 
tions he had previously offered in behalf of the Democracy that 
'no State or number of States . . . can In any manner sunder their 
connection with the Federal Union except by a total subversion of 
our present system of government.' 

When Voorhees, a favorite orator, rose, the galleries were 
crowded: The little group of Democrats gathered about him. 
Thad Stevens had business outside, but Raymond found a seat 
close by. 1 If he was embarrassed by the support of the brilliant 
orator, he made no sign. This was easily the oratorical master- 
piece of the three; and, read to-day, seems as the voice of pro- 
phecy. Beginning with a reference to the Radical pose of friend- 
ship for Johnson during the summer, he described it as 'the con- 
spiracy to assail him with the masked face of friendship and the 
treacherous sword of Joab.* He analyzed the purpose of the Col- 
fax speech as intended to pave the way for the select committee 
" created by the magic wand of the conscience-keeper of the major- 
ity [Stevens] . . . that potent wand which has evoked from the 
vasty deep more spirits of evil and malignant mischief than gener- 
ations will be able to exorcise and put down.' Seizing on Stevens's 
reference to the States as dead carcasses, he continued: "He knows 
that dead carcasses are more easily carved to pieces, torn limb from 
limb and devoured by the hungry maw of confiscation, than living 
States.' Yes, *it Is safer and less troublesome to rob a corpse than 
to pick the pockets of the living.' Hurrying on to the painting of a 
picture of the carpetbaggers in the offing, he paid tribute to the 
Provisional Governors, and said: 'But then what a military gov- 
ernor of South Carolina, for instance, that idol of the Radicals, 
Ben Butler, would have made! Aye, there is the rub. What fat, 
unctuous, juicy pickings have been lost to the faithful by this cruel 

policy of the President All the wolves and jackals that wait 

till the battle Is over to mangle the dead and wounded snarled 
their disappointment and rage at the President, but will now open 
in full chorus over the delightful vision which arises before them 
from the formation of the committee of fifteen. 5 Rebel debt? 
* Every one knows, of course, that it will never be paid. All history 

i New York World, January 12, 1866. 



96 THE TRAGIC ERA 

tells us that the debt of a defeated revolution Is always lost/ And 
what did Stevens's theory mean? 'It is a notice that the war to 
restore the Union was an utter failure that the war is over and 
yet the Union is rent in twain/ 

Pleading for a speedy restoration of the Union, he passed on to 
the wrongs of Government thriving unnoticed behind the smoke 
screen of sectional prejudice and hate* "How long/ he asked, 'can 
the inequalities of our revenue system be borne? . . . We have two 
great interests in this country, one of which has prostrated the 
other. . . . The agricultural labor of the land is driven to the count- 
ers of the most gigantic monopoly ever before sanctioned by the 
law/ Then on he hurried, to favors to the bondholders, through 
their immunity from taxation. *The Nation's gratitude takes a 
strange turn/ he said. 'It lavishes its gifts, its garlands, and its 
favors on the money-changers of the temple, and causes the de- 
fenders of the Government at the cannon's mouth to pay tribute 
to their monstrous greed/ 

This speech foreshadowed the policies and effects of the next ten 
years with marvelous prescience. 1 The merciless lashing so pic- 
turesquely given the extremists goaded them to fury, and Bing- 
ham of Ohio replied with personal abuse. 2 'One of the most bril- 
liant and polished efforts ever delivered by the gentleman ... a 
masterly effort/ said the 'New York World' of Voorhees's speech. 3 
Many years later, Elaine recalled it as a 'powerful speech/ 4 The 
Republican press was unanimous in abuse, the Radical papers be- 
cause they had been stung, the conservatives because they had 
been embarrassed at the outset of their contest with the Radicals 
by the approval of the Democrats. The Voorhees resolutions were 
voted down by a strict party vote, but the Democrats had defined 
their position and taken their stand. And the Radical group had 
served notice on the conservatives in the Republican Party that 
no quarter would be given. The war was on. 

1 Congressional Globe, January 9, 1800. 

2 New York World, January 12, 1806; Blame, Twenty Years in Congress. 

3 January 10, 1860. * Twenty Years in Congress. 



THE ON 97 

VI 

Society Immediately felt the effect of the tightening political 
Hues, It was not notably brilliant that winter, albeit the war was 
over, and* with it, much anxiety. None of the old houses that had 
flourished and sparkled before the war were thrown open to enter- 
tainment. It was the boast of Mrs. Ogle Tayloe, dwelling in the 
fine old mansion on Lafayette Square, that she had not crossed 
the threshold of the White House since Harriet Lane went out. 1 
Old friends calling informally that winter found the pictures cov- 
ered, the chandeliers wound with protective wrappings. The 
palatial home of Mrs. A. S. Parker at Four and a Half and C 
Streets which, with its fine conservatories, spacious parlors, and 
glistening dancing-floor, had been a favorite rendezvous in the 
days of Pierce and Buchanan, was quiet now. The old aristoc- 
racy, partial to the social leadership of the South, resented the new 
pushing crowd and gave it a wide berth. True, Kate Chase 
Sprague, unsurpassed in beauty, elegance, or charm by the haugh- 
tiest of the ante-bellum belles, was reigning now, but this winter 
she had laid aside the crown. The President's receptions were 
crowded, and throngs shoved and jostled in the drawing-rooms of 
Cabinet members, but entertaining on a large scale was confined 
to those whose official positions prescribed parties. 

It was not long until political differences, bordering even then on 
hatreds, divided society into groups. Even the French Minister's 
party was under suspicion. *0n Friday night went to the party at 
the French Minister's, 9 wrote Julian, 2 * which was the grandest 
display I ever saw. I never knew before how much wealth could 
do in dazzling the eye and charming the senses. . . . French all 
over . . . dancing and waltzing perfectly charming . . . music su- 
perlative. . . . About half -past eleven a lunch was served con- 
sisting of choice fruits of all kinds, dainties and drinks, and 
when I left at midnight a regular supper was being prepared/ 
Merely a diplomatic function? Old Gideon Welles, scanning the 
horizon eagerly for signs of storm, was not so sure. 'Last night 
at ... a large party given by Marquis Montholon, the French 
Minister, 9 he wrote. * Am inclined to believe there was something 
political as well as social in the demonstration.' 3 It was just a 

1 Mrs. Clay. 2 MS. Diary, February 11, 1806. 3 Welles, u, 430. 



98 THE TRAGIC ERA 

little before that Welles had been impressed by the large number of 
fashionable folk who had been former playmates of the Southern- 
ers who were frequenting his wife's receptions. * So many who have 
been distant and reserved were present as to excite suspicion/ he 
wrote. No doubt, he thought, they took this method of manifest- 
ing sympathy with the Johnson policies. Indeed, he had noticed 
quite a sprinkling of these people at the last White House recep- 
tion. And why not? "If professed friends prove false and attack 
him, he will not be likely to repel such friends as sustain him/ he 
said. *I certainly will not/ l Thus society was dividing into the 
camps of the red and the white in the war of the roses, and with 
hostesses a bit timid, statesmen turned to such entertainment as 
they could find. Ristori was playing, and the playhouse was neu- 
tral ground where all could gather in safety. 2 And there was Han- 
del's 'Messiah' with a chorus of a hundred voices, 'and the cele- 
brated Miss Houston 'of Boston/ 3 And there were the parlor 
readings at the home of Julia Ward Howe, where one might meet 
Chase, Guroski, and some Radical Senators and a few ladies. 4 Or 
one could find gayety enough at the official receptions and see tf the 
new style of wearing the hair turning it loose.' 5 But when it 
was possible to meet congenial political company at a stance, the 
entertainment was at its best. At the moment, spiritualism was 
fascinating the country, and some nervous editors were denounc- 
ing it as a free-love movement, but what would you have when the 
town was dull? Thus quite a gathering of Radical statesmen as- 
semble now and then, at 27 Four and a Half Street 'to hear the 
spirit of Theodore Parker through Mrs. Cora V. Daniels as me- 
dium/ The lady drifts into a trance, and 'after a very pretty 
prayer' invites the Nation's rulers to ask questions about *the 
state of the country/ Serious? Listen to the lady conveying the 
message of Parker: In less than eight weeks Johnson will arrest 
the leading Republicans . . . convoke a Congress of Southerners 
and copperheads . . . and the "patriots/ like Stevens, will hold an- 
other Congress, probably in Ohio . . . and a bloody conflict will fol- 
low, * extending this time into the Northern States/ but in the end 
the Radicals will prevail. Thus Cora was less medium than mind 

1 Welles, II, 421-22. 2 Grimes, $08. 3 Ibid., 322. 

4 Julian, MS, Diary, February 24, 1866. e Ibid., January 26, 1860, 



GOES ON 99 

reader. Of course these statesmen knew that Parker was not pre- 
sent and had sent no silly message, but It was the kind of message 
for the audience and so the statesmen hurry out into the 
night/ * 

vn 

And now began the great push for negro suffrage with the 
District of Columbia for the first experiment. In the referendum 
election on the Bending suffrage bills, Washington and George- 
town had cast 7369 votes against them and 36 for them, but no 
matter. The party whip began to swish in the air and cut the 
shoulders of the skeptics. General Sherman was writing his em- 
barrassed brother that to place the ballot in the hands of an illit- 
erate majority 'of blacks fresh from slavery would produce more 
convulsions/ 2 The Northern intellectuals and literati, along with 
the politicians with an eye on votes, were earnest in the cause. 
William Cullen Bryant thought it would be setting a noble ex- 
ample to the Nation to force suffrage on the helpless District. 3 

Thus, one January day, the galleries of the House were packed 
to suffocation with whites and blacks. The debate was long and 
fervent. The opposition fought for time, but all motions for post- 
ponement were promptly voted down. VoorHees, from the Demo- 
cratic side, moved a recommitment with instructions for the fram- 
ing of a bill admitting all to the vote who could read the Constitu- 
tion, or who were assessed for, and paid, taxes in the District, or 
who had served in, and been honorably discharged from the mili- 
tary or naval service. One or two Republicans proposed changes 
in these instructions. Thad Stevens turned and glowered. 

C I hope we will not make these instructions any better than 
they are/ he rumbled; 'they are bad enough at best/ 

The recommittal motion failed; the roll was called. When 
Henry Raymond's name was reached and he voted for suffrage, 
*a benignant smile seemed to pass at that moment over old Thad 
Stevens's face' 4 he was dragging Raymond into camp by his 
whiskers. With the announcement of the result to a House and 

* Julian, MS. Diary, March. 6, 1866. 2 Letters, 261-62. 

3 Godwin, Life, Letter to Mrs. Watterson, xr, 241. 

4 New York World, January 19, 1866. 



100 THE TRAGIC EEA 

galleries tense with suppressed excitement, the chamber fairly 
rocked with cheers and shouts from floor and gallery. Radical 
members, in high glee, moved about the floor grasping each other's 
hands, and whites and blacks in the galleries and in the corridors 
later fraternized as brothers, and in the eyes of many were tears of 
joy. 1 The pounding of the Speaker's gavel made no impression on 
the galleries, and Colfax, in resentful tones, shouted his inability 
to maintain order in the galleries if members would not on the 
floor. 2 

Thus the bill passed to the Senate, to be lost in the congestion of 
the closing hours, but notice had been served upon the South, and 
that was marking progress. 

vm 

A very little while, and Frederick Douglass, mulatto orator, 
leading a delegation of blacks, filed into the White House. Sumner 
had just made one of his extravagant speeches in the Senate, and 
it was not a humble orator who approached the President, to be 
courteously received, and stepped forward to make his demands 
for suffrage in the South. Johnson stood at respectful attention 
through the speech, and then made reply. He had opposed slavery 
as a monopoly with the slave-owners in a minority controlling 
political power. During the days he was opposed to slavery, the 
negroes had looked with contempt upon the working white man. 
* Where such is the case/ he said, *we know there is enmity, we 
know there is hate/ The poor white was opposed both to the slave 
and the master, for the two combined to hold him in economic 
bondage. 'Now/ said Johnson earnestly, 'the query comes up 
whether these two races, situated as they were before, without 
preparation, without time for passion and excitement to be ap- 
peased, and without time for the slightest improvement, whether 
the one should be turned loose upon the other at the ballot box 
with this enmity and hate existing between them. The question 
comes up right here whether we do not commence a war of races/ 
This was a prophecy, almost immediately to be fulfilled. Johnson 
concluded by saying that the franchise was a matter for the States. 

While he was talking, the attitude of Douglass, smiling con- 

1 Julian, MS. Diary, January 19, 1866. 2 Congressional Globe, January 18, 1866. 



ON 101 

descendingly, had been one of studied insolence, considering the 
station of the speaker. As the negro turned to leave at the head of 
his delegation, he uttered a threat : 

*The President sends us to the people, and we go to the people/ 

'Yes/ said Johnson, keeping his temper, *I have great faith in 
the people. I believe they will do what is right/ * 

This frank exposition of his views invited a deluge, and it de- 
scended. The 'Chicago Tribune* hysterically insisted that the 
negro had more ability, logic, and eloquence than the President; 
and Phillips, addressing a bitter crowd at the Brooklyn Academy 
of Music, denounced Johnson as a traitor and demanded his im- 
peachment. Julian thought that 'his late speech to the colored 
people dooms him/ and was sure he was 'a very small man, and . . . 
a slave of the bottle/ 2 

Meanwhile the Senate was brilliantly debating TrumbuIFs bill 
continuing the Freedmen's Bureau indefinitely, extending its 
operations to freedmen everywhere, authorizing the allotment of 
forty-acre tracts of the unoccupied lands of the South to negroes, 
and arming the Bureau with judicial powers to be exercised at 
will. Trumbull and Fessenden bore the brunt of the defense, and 
Hendricks, leading the attack, assailed the judicial feature, the ex- 
tension of the Bureau's power throughout the country, and the 
creation of an army of petty officials. 'Let the friends of the ne- 
groes be satisfied to treat them as they are treated in Pennsylvania 
... in Ohio . . * everywhere where people have maintained their 
sanity upon the question/ said Cowan of Pennsylvania. 

With some moved by a sincere interest in the freedmen's wel- 
fare, the average politician was thinking of the tremendous engine 
for party in the multitude of paid petty officials swarming over 
the South, for its possibilities had been tested. 3 It was a party 
measure, and as such it was passed. 

While still pending in Congress, the bill had been carefully 
studied in Administration circles and found *a terrific engine . . . 
a governmental monstrosity/ 4 Such was the opinion of Johnson, 
who calmly prepared to meet it with a veto. 5 Thus one day he sat 
three hours with the Cabinet discussing his Message and taking 

1 McPherson, 5S-55. 2 MS. Diary, February 11, 1866. 

3 Pierce, Freedmen's Bureau, 161. 4 Wellea, n, 433. B Ibid., n, 433. 



102 THE TRAGIC ERA 

.its opinion. There was a clear division of sentiment. "Speed was 
disturbed/ Harlan 'apprehensive/ Stanton "disappointed/ The 
insurgents must have squirmed under Johnson's discussion of the 
conspiracy against him, though it could not have been news to 
Stanton. 

In tense excitement, and a little dazed, the Senate sat listening 
to the Message. Merciless in its reasoning, simply phrased, there 
was no misunderstanding its meaning. The Bureau's life had not 
expired; why pass the bill at all? it asked. And no juries in times 
of peace! No indictment required! No penalty stipulated beyond 
the will of members of the court-martial ! No appeal ! No writ of 
error in any court! 'I cannot reconcile a system of military juris- 
diction of this kind with the Constitution/ said the President. 
Where in the Constitution is authority to expend public funds to 
aid indigent people? Where the right to take the white man's 
land and give it to others without *due process of law'? More: 
the granting of so much power over so many people through so 
many agents would enable the President, 'if so disposed, to con- 
trol the action of this numerous class and use them for the attain- 
ment of his own political ends/ The Message closed with the 
Johnsonian proposition that with eleven States excluded from 
Congress, the bill involved "taxation without representation/ 

The next day Trumbull replied, the vote was taken, and the 
veto sustained. A prolonged hissing in the colored galleries, some 
cheers in the others, and the visitors were expelled. When Voor- 
hees in the House sought to announce the action of the Senate, his 
voice was drowned with cries of 'order/ 1 But great crowds with 
a band of music celebrated in front of the Willatd, listening to 
orators praising Johnson, and the 'New York Tribune' declared 
that 'the copperheads at their homes were firing guns in honor of 
the presidential veto.' 2 

*The President stands squarely against Congress and the peo- 
ple/ wrote the indignant Julian. 3 'Neither Jefferson nor Jackson 
. . . ever asserted with such fearless fidelity and ringing emphasis 
the fundamental principles of civil liberty/ said the *New York 
World/ 4 'I confess/ said Henry Ward Beecher lecturing in Brook- 

1 New York World, February 21, 1866. 2 February 1, "1866. 

3 MS. Diary, February $Q, 1806, , * February $0, 1866, 



THE ON 108 

lyn, 'that reading his message has left a profound impression upon 
my mind that he urges most serious and weighty reasons why . . . 
it [the bill] should not at present become the law of the land. 5 x 
But Theodore Tilton was assuring Julian that 'three fourths of 
Beecher's congregation are against him' which was serious 
enough for the highest paid minister in the land; 2 and the Rever- 
end Doctor Cheever of New York was piously praying that the 
Lord would take Johnson 'out of the way/ matching Phillips's 
reference to him as c an obstacle to be removed/ 3 And the New 
Jersey Legislature adopted a resolution denouncing the veto, 
offered by Thad Stevens's friend Scovel, who said Johnson had 
c made the worst investment of his life/ 4 

But many were delighted, and laughing scoffers went about 
Washington describing the Senate scene Sumner, dark but 
dignified, busy with 'the arrangement of his hair and Ms papers'; 
Ben Wade, e bloated with bottled wrath 5 ; Henry Wilson, nervously 
running through his scrapbook 'to see if he could find another 
" Southern outrage/' * 5 In the midst of the gloom, John Sherman 
sat reading annoying letters from the General. * I am a peace man/ 
he read. *I go with Johnson and the veto/ 6 And a great crowd 
made merry at Cooper Union in New York, where Seward and 
Raymond spoke aggressively in defense of Johnson's policies. 
* Any section with men in it fit to live/ said Raymonds * would be- 
come exasperated and goaded into rebellion within one year after 
such a policy [as the Radicals'] had been inaugurated/ 7 It seemed 
for a moment that Johnson was on the top of the world, but the 
watchful Welles was dreading "the dark revolutionary intrigues of 
Stevens/ 8 

IX 

The drama of factional hate was now hastening to a climax. On 

Washington's Birthday, the Radicals had arranged ceremonies at 
the Capitol in memory of Henry Winter Davis, who had insulted 

Lincoln with his Manifesto and Johnson in his letter to 'The 

1 New York World, February 21, 1866. 2 MS. Diary, March 19, 1866. 

8 New York World, February 26, 1866. 4 Ibid., February 23, 1866. 

B MM,, February 24, 1866. 6 Letters, 263. 

7 Life of Raymond, 175-84, 8 Welles, n, 435. 



104 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Nation. 5 Some thought it was 'Intended to belittle the memory of 
Lincoln and Ms policy as much, as to exalt Davis, who opposed it. 5 * 
It was a charming, sun-flooded day, and the Avenue was crowded 
with promenaders such as had not been seen since the days when 
the sutlers and contractors had swarmed over the thoroughfare 
during the war. The wires hummed with messages, commenda- 
tory and condemnatory, of the veto. 2 After the mass meeting at 
Grover's Theater, addressed by Hendricks, "Sunset 5 Cox, and 
Montgomery Blair, in approval of Johnson's action, a serenade for 
the President was proposed and the procession marched. 

Emerging from the north door, Johnson faced a surging crowd 
of wildly excited partisans a fighting crowd, and Johnson caught 
the spirit. Provocation enough he had had, Sumner had been 
denouncing him with fierce invective, and Stevens had said that 
for one of his actions he would have lost his head a few centuries 
before. 3 There was no longer any doubt as to the character of the 
Committee of Fifteen a revolutionary body as dictatorial as the 
Directory of the French Revolution. 

As Johnson passed to the portico, he had no thought of an ex- 
tended speech, having half promised Secretary McCulloch merely 
to make acknowledgments, but he was flushed with victory and 
he threw discretion to the winds. He attacked the Committee as 
*an irresponsible central directory' a true description and 
said it had assumed all the powers of Congress, as it had. He de- 
clared that the war was fought on the theory that the States were 
not out of the Union and this was true. And then, falling into 
the frontier oratory which had been so popular with the Radicals 
until now, he went on: 

*I am opposed to the Davises, the Toombs, the Slidells ... but 
when I perceive on the other hand men still opposed to the Union 
... I am still for the preservation of these States/ 

At this, the crowd, having tasted blood, called for names. 

*I look upon as being opposed to the fundamental principles of 
this Government and as now laboring to destroy them, Thaddeus 
Stevens, Charles Sumner, and Wendell Phillips/ 

* Forney/ cried a voice, referring to the editor, 

1 Welles, H, 438. New York World, February M, 1866. 

s Congressional Globe, January 31, 1866. 



ON 105 

4 1 do not waste my time on dead ducks/ he continued. 

The Radical press was beside itself with fury, the 'New York 
Tribune* describing the crowd as such as is found at the prize ring 
and in * drunken ward meetings/ and Johnson as having spoken 
'in loud, excited tones, gritting his teeth, and accompanying his 
words with violent gesticulation.' l Forney's paper was scandal- 
ously abusive, and Johnson's enemies were busy as usual cir- 
culating the story that he was drunk. The rather boorish Count 
Gurowski was reported around "repeating the dirty scandal/ 2 
and Julian in his diary referred to the speech as a * drunken speech 
to the copperhead mob/ 3 'The Tribune/ however, exonerated 
Johnson of intoxication. 'The accounts given by the most trust- 
worthy witnesses/ it said, 'are that he was entirely sober/ 4 

But Johnson was quite as vigorously approved. 'The Union is 
restored and the country safe,' wired Seward from New York to 
some one in Washington. 'The President's speech, is triumphant 
and the country will be happy/ 5 Raymond in 'The Times' 
thought the speech 'strong, direct, and manly/ and 'The Herald' 
observed that Johnson had taken 'plain issue with. Stevens & Co. 
in honest and homely words/ But Garrison, speaking in Brook- 
lyn, denounced Seward's commendation. 'It would have been far 
better/ tie said, 'for thee to have died beneath the knife of the 
assassin/ 6 The 'New York World' recalled that *we have had a 
Tennessee President before whose intrepid openness made the 
nincompoops and red tapists of his day stare and gasp/ 7 The 
'Chicago Times' proposed that Johnson have Stevens, Sumner, 
and Phillips arrested, and forcibly dissolve Congress. 8 

Thus Johnson had forced the fighting into the open, and the 
scandal mill was working on him. A Senator was whispering that 
he was often drank and kept mistresses in the White House, and 
Beecher was warning a Cabinet member of the tale. 9 

And Thad Stevens? He rather respected a two-fisted fighting 
man, and it was some time before he took notice, and then in the 
lighter vein. 

* February 26> 1866. 2 Welles, n, 489. 3 February 24, 1866. 

4 February 24, 1866. 5 New York Tribune, February 26, 1866. 

8 Ibid., February 8, 1866. 7 February 24, 1866. 

8 Quoted, The Nation, March a 1866. Welles, n, 454. 



106 THE TRAGIC ERA 



does the gentleman suppose for a single moment/ he 
asked In the House, 'that the speech was a fact? (Laughter.) . . . 
What I say now I do not wish to have reported. It Is a confidential 
communication and I suppose none will violate the confidence I 
repose In them. (Laughter.) Sir, that speech was one of the grand- 
est hoaxes ever perpetrated, and has been more successful than 
any except the moon hoax, which I am told deceived many astute 
astronomers. (Laughter.) It is part of a cunning contrivance of 
the copperhead party who have been persecuting our President 
since the 4th of last March. Why, sir, taking advantage of an un- 
fortunate incident that happened on that occasion (Laughter) 
they have been constantly denouncing him as addicted to low and 
degrading vices/ l 

But Thad Stevens was not through, as we shall see. It was In 
that speech that he declared for a reapportlonment Intended to de- 
prive the South of members, to put a tax on cotton, to treat the 
Southern States as conquered territory. He was moving forward 
pushing his party with him. 

1 Congressional Globe, March 10, 1866. 



VI 
THE FINAL BREAK 

i 

THE day after the serenade speech, Thad Stevens and the 
revolutionists put all compunctions behind them in their 
determination to pass their Radical measures over presidential 
vetoes with a two-thirds vote. Some time before, the Committee 
on Elections in the House, sitting on the contested seat of the 
eloquent Voorhees, had voted unanimously, with the exception 
of Dawes, the chairman, that the orator was entitled to his seat. 
When the news reached the floor, there was much scurrying 
about among the Radicals and no little storming on the part of 
Stevens. The committee had acted? No matter, it could act 
again; and in the second action all the Republican members voted, 
under the lash, to unseat the supporter of Johnson. 

When the report was submitted, Voorhees'took the floor, stated 
the facts, and on Dawes's bold denial, asked him directly if the 
committee had not on a specified date voted unanimously in his 
favor. Dawes sanctimoniously pleaded the secrecy of the com- 
mittee room amidst general merriment, and Ingersoll, Repub- 
lican, demanded the truth before the putting of the question. 
Banks solemnly dwelt on the awfulness of a disclosure of commit- 
tee deliberations, and after Ingersoll had vainly asked for the 
minutes of the meeting, Voorhees rose to quote Stevens's com- 
ment that 'one vote may prove of great value here,' and to charge 
that in disregard of the evidence he was to be denied his seat in 
the interest of a two-thirds vote to deal with Johnson's vetoes, 

A bit perturbed, Dawes again rose to explain what had hap- 
pened in a statement violative of the truth, when Marshall, a 
member of the committee, disgusted at the mockery, declared 
that Voorhees had stated the original action of the committee 
with absolute accuracy. The roll was called, and, with Ingersoll 
excepted, the Republicans voted to unseat the premier orator of 



108 THE TRAGIC ERA 

the Democrats. 1 It was the first of many crimes to be committed, 
Meeting Stevens on the floor, Voorhees took him to task, half in 
jest, half in earnest. "Oh, no/ said Stevens, shaking his head 
waggishly, 'your case was good enough, but it was that two- 
thirds vote that killed you that fatal two-thirds* and, with 
a peculiar chuckle, he turned and hobbled off. 2 Whatever his 
faults, there was no pious pretense in Thaddeus Stevens. 

II 

A little before, Trumbull had introduced his Civil Rights Bill, 
providing against discrimination in civil rights or immunities on 
account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, and the 
debate had turned upon the constitutional power of Congress to 
pass laws for the ordinary administration of justice in the States. 
Adopting the machinery of the Fugitive Slave Law, the last clause 
authorized the use of the land and naval forces in the enforcement 
of the act. Senator Hendricks, leading the attack, chided the 
Republicans for adopting the features of the Fugitive Slave Law, 
giving the marshals the right to summon whomever they saw fit 
to assist in its execution. Trumbull and others rather gloated over 
the turning of the tables. The Opposition was especially hostile to 
the use of the land and naval forces. *This bill is a wasp/ said 
Hendricks, moving to strike out the last section with this pro- 
vision. 'Its sting is in its tail/ In the House the frail, bearded 
statesman Michael Kerr, made the most powerful speech in oppo- 
sition. Its passage was a foregone conclusion. 

It was the claim of Trumbull that he had consulted Johnson in 
an effort to meet his views in the framing of the measure, and, in 
the absence of contradictory evidence, this must be accepted as 
the truth. But it was never the intention of Johnson to approve 
the bill. On the morning of the delivery of the veto, he laid his 
Message before the Cabinet. Stanton urged him to sign. 3 The next 
afternoon the veto was read in the Senate to a full chamber, with 
the galleries packed. * Feeble as it was villainous, and we hope 
to override it,' wrote Julian in his diary. 4 

'In all our history/ ran the message, *. . . no such system as 

1 Congressional Globe, February $8, 1866. * Callender, 155. 

3 Welles, n, 464. 4 MS, Diary, March 28, 1866. 



FINAL 109 

that contemplated by the details of this bill has ever before been 
proposed or adopted. They establish for the security of the 
colored race safeguards which go infinitely beyond any that the 
General Government has ever provided for the white race. In 
fact, the distinction of race and color is, by the bill, made to oper- 
ate In favor of the colored and against the white race. They inter- 
fere with the municipal regulations of the States, with the rela- 
tions existing exclusively between a State and its citizens, or 
between inhabitants of the same State an absorption and 
assumption of power by the General Government which, if 
acquiesced in, must sap and destroy our federative system of 
limited powers, and break down the barriers which preserve the 
rights of the States. It is another step, or rather stride, to centrali- 
zation and the concentration of all legislative power in the Na- 
tional Government/ 

In anticipation of such a veto, the Senate, after the passage 
of the bill, had unseated Senator Stockton, Democrat, of New 
Jersey, on a technicality of the most contemptible character. 
This crime was committed under the party lash. Trumbull had 
reported Stockton entitled to his seat, and the committee, with 
one exception, had been unanimous. But moral scruples had been 
conveniently shed, and when the vote on the report sustained it 
with a majority of one, Senator Morrill, who was paired with a 
sick Senator, promptly dishonored his pair and voted, to create 
a tie. At this, Stockton, who had not voted, cast a vote for the 
report. The next day, Charles Sumner, whose moral sense was 
never keen where his prejudices were concerned, moved a recon- 
sideration because of Stockton's vote and the motion carried. 

With a new vote impending, the sick Wright of New Jersey, 
whose pair with Morrill had been so shockingly dishonored, wired 
a request for a postponement until he could arrive on the morrow. 
The request was refused. Stewart of Nevada, who had voted for 
the report before, dodged, the Jersey Senator was thrown out, 
and a disgraceful act consummated. That it was a brazenly parti- 
san performance was not doubted at the time. Julian referred to 
it as the 'gratifying vote ousting Senator Stockton'; 1 and two 
days later, we find Thad Stevens wiring his Radical friend James 

1 MS. Diary, March 28, 1866. 



110 THE TRAGIC 

M. Scovll in the New Jersey Legislature, 'By all means hurry up 
your election . . . give us no conservative ... a Radical like your- 
self or nothing/ because c a copperhead is better than a twaddler/ 1 
Welles was disgusted with Sumner, Fessenden, and Morrill for 
their part in 'a high-handed, partisan proceeding/ 2 
The revolution was hurrying on. 

in 

Even after stooping thus, the Radicals were not at all certain 
they could override the veto. The death of the venerable Senator 
Foote offered an excuse to postpone the test of strength and thus 
give time to whip the scrupulous into line. *It is very sad that we 
should be tried this way/ wrote Sumner in martyr mood to the 
Duchess of Argyll. 3 In the midst of the cracking of the whips, 
the funeral of Foote brought all the contestants together in the 
Senate Chamber, for Johnson joined in paying tribute. 4 In the 
interval the excitement in streets, lobbies, and hotels was electric* 
Wild talk was heard of overthrowing the Government, and John- 
son concentrated all his energies and resources on the struggle. 
Mrs. Clay, calling repeatedly, was met with hastily scrawled 
cards from the President. 'It will be impossible for me to see you 
until too late. I am pressed to death/ * There is a committee here 
in consultation; I cannot tell what time they will leave/ It was at 
that time that Mrs. Clay wrote her father that Johnson * will fall, 
if fall he must, battling/ His fine fighting spirit had won her over, 
and she turned to diversions, visiting the studio of Vinnie Ream, 
then in vogue, with Voorhees. 5 

Even with the beginning of the debate, no one was ready for the 
test. Stevens was interesting himself in postponing action until 
Foote's successor, hurriedly named, could arrive. The next day 
postponement was pressed by Administration supporters because 
of the serious illness of Wright and Dixon. The day before, Dixon 
had ridden out to gather strength for the ordeal. When Hendricks 
pleaded for a postponement because Wright's physician had 
warned that it would be dangerous for him to appear, and Trum- 
bull, with characteristic decency, had agreed, Ben Wade objected. 

1 Lancaster Intelligence April IS, 1866. 2 "Welles, n, 464-65. 

3 Pierce, nr, 276. 4 Welles, n> 466. Mrs, Clay, 369. 



THE FINAL 111 

'If God Almighty has stricken one member so that he cannot be 
here to uphold the dictation of a despot, 1 thank him for his inter- 
position and I will take advantage of it if I can/ This elevating 
sentiment was lustily cheered by the galleries with their whites and 
blacks. That night Dixon was ready to be carried in. Infuriated 
by the brutality of Wade, the supporters of Johnson prepared to 
filibuster through the night, after the brilliant but dissipated 
McDougall of California had delivered an extraordinary rebuke. 
The Senate thereupon adjourned. 

Meanwhile the whip was falling cuttingly on the weaklings, 
and the aspiring Stewart of Nevada decided his bread was but- 
tered on the Radical side; so also, Morgan of New York. The next 
day, Wright, desperately ill, reached the Capitol, at the peril of 
his life, and was carried into the chamber but Dixon could not 
attend. Had he been present, Johnson would have won; without 
him, the veto was overturned by one vote. The galleries exploded 
with enthusiasm, and jubilant Radicals, having tasted blood, 
swarmed into the streets, red-faced, vociferous, triumphant. It 
was the beginning of the end. 

That night the Radicals marched in battalions to Grant's 
reception, to make him a part of their celebration and appropriate 
him to themselves. There were Stevens and Wade, grimly exul- 
tant, and there ? too, the boyishly enthusiastic Theodore Tilton, 
over from New York, mingling excitedly in the group, and gloating 
over the accession of Morgan. And then, like a thunder clap ; 

'The President of the United States.' 

Johnson, smiling, his daughter on his arm, entered early, to be 
received cordially and to linger long. If his equanimity was dis- 
turbed, there .was no outward evidence. But the poker face of 
Stevens reddened, Wade glowered, and Trambull was manifestly 
astounded. And then came Montgomery Blair and some of his 
ladies, and Alexander H. Stephens, the man with puny body and 
robust mind, and the Radical plan for the monopolization of 
Grant was wrecked. 1 

A few days later the House overrode the veto without debate, 
Bingham, who had bitterly denounced the bill, crept to the storm 
cellar and dodged, and Stantoa's friends had been notably active. 

1 Welles, n, 477-78. 



112 TRAGIC 

Henry Raymond voted to sustain the veto* but bis influence had 
been frittered away. 1 

It was at this juncture that the friends of Johnson began urging, 
upon him the dismissal of Stanton, but he was clearly annoyed. 
*I ana breasting this storm/ he replied. He would be ready to act 
at the proper time. 2 

IV 

And Stevens was pushing forward. Within a few days he 
offered his Amendment, which was to be the nucleus of the Four- 
teenth. The crux of it was the third section, disfranchising all 
who had adhered to the Confederacy until July 4, 1870, which 
would have excluded the overwhelming majority of the Southern 
people. Apropos of Sumner's attack upon the Fourteenth Amend- 
ment as it originally went to the Senate, the unforgiving old man 
lunged at him savagely, in beginning. 'It was slaughtered/ he 
said, by a puerile and pedantic criticism, by a perversion of 
philological definition which, if, when I taught school, a lad who 
had studied Lindley Murray had assumed, I would have expelled 
him from the institution as unfit to waste education upon.* 

The second section of the pending Amendment was not so good 
as that 'sent to death in the Senate/ providing for confiscation. 
* Forty acres of land and a hut would be more valuable to him [the 
freedman] than the immediate right to vote/ Yes, failure to give 
It would invite 'the censure of mankind and the curse of heaven/ 
Turning to his, disfranchising section, and conceding a difference 
of opinion, he declared it 'the most popular of all/ Even so, it 
was 'too lenient/ Better far to extend the exclusion until 1876, 
*and to include all State and municipal as well as national elec- 
tions/ 

Blaine reminded him of Lincoln's pledge of pardon and amnesty 
written into law. Stevens shook his head. Garfield asked if he 
were willing to make the South 'a vast camp for four years more/ 
Stevens was willing. 3 Raymond sought to argue with a prejudice 
and a fixed idea. Would not Stevens's section create the impres- 
sion that the Republicans were seeking a method *of influencing 
and controlling the presidential election of 1868?* Stevens smiled 

1 Welles, n, 479. 2 Ibid., n, 48$. 8 Congressional Globe. May 8, 1866. 



FINAL 113 

sardonically at the simplicity of Ms foe. Raymond thought 
Stevens's section designed to make impossible the South's adop- 
tion of the Amendment. Why, it would make the South another 
Ireland. This charge of a desire to prevent adoption was heard 
frequently in the debate. 1 

These academic moralists had irked the practical politician 
from Lancaster intolerably, and in closing the debate he shocked 
them with frank admissions. Adopt the third section, he said, or 
'that side of the House will be filled with yelling secessionists and 
hissing copperheads. 5 This section or nothing! Party motive? 
*I do not hesitate to say at once that section is there to save or 
destroy the Union [Republican] Party. 5 Better were it the year 
18,070 instead of 1870, for until that remote future ( every rebel 
who shed the blood of loyal men should be prevented from exer- 
cising any power in this government.* Clawing with bony fingers 
among his papers, he found and held up a report 'the screams 
and groans of the dying victims of Memphis.' 

A colleague interrupted to ask if Stevens could build a peniten- 
tiary big enough to hold eight million people. 

'Yes' and Stevens's voice cut the air like a saw *a peni- 
tentiary which is built at the point of the bayonet down below, 
and if they undertake to come here we will shoot them down/ 2 

The roll was called, and Raymond, a bit shamefacedly, fol- 
lowed Stevens his master and the House smiled and cheered. 
With the announcement of the vote passing the measure, there 
came a pandemonium of jubilation in the galleries, white and 
black. *I do not want our proceedings interrupted by the nigger 
heads in the gallery/ shouted a member 3 and the galleries 
hissed, unrebuked by Colfax. 4 

But short shrift was made of Stevens's section in the Senate, 
and Howard's substitute was accepted, excluding all participants 
in the rebellion from national office, but with the provision that 
Congress, by a two-thirds vote, could remove the disability. A 
tragic blow to Stevens, who was stricken and confined to his 
house, feverish with disappointment and rage. 5 

i Congressional Globe, May 9, 1866. 2 IUd. t May 10, 1866. 

3 Eldredge of Wisconsin. 4 Ibid, 

8 New York World, June 4, 1866, 



114 THE TRAGIC ERA 

The Fourteenth. Amendment was perfected in a party caucus in 
the Senate, and Senator Hendricks made the most of it. Here was 
a measure touching the Constitution itself actually withdrawn 
from open discussion in the Senate to be passed upon *in the secret 
councils of a party/ Yes, c for three days the Senate Chamber was 
silent . . . the discussions transferred to another room'* . . with 
closed doors and darkened windows where party leaders might 
safely contend for a political and party purpose/ l Four days 
after Hendricks spoke, the measure passed. 

And five days later, Thad Stevens, pale and feeble from his 
fever, made one of the most pathetic speeches of his career, worthy 
in eloquence of a better cause. In his * youth, in manhood, and in 
old, age' he had 'fondly dreamed 9 that when 'any fortunate chance 
broke up for a while the foundations of our institutions/ they 
would be so remodeled c as to have freed them from every vestige 
of human oppression, of inequality of rights, of recognized degra- 
dation of the poor, and the superior caste of the rich/ 

The old man's voice trembled, and, after a pause, he resumed: 
'This bright dream has vanished "like the baseless fabric of a 
vision/' I find that we shall be obliged to be content with patching 
up the worst portions of the ancient edifice, and leaving it in many 
of Its parts to be swept through by the tempests, the frosts, and 
the storms of despotism/ 

Why, then, did he accept the measure? * Because I live among 
mortals and not among angels/ Too many men anxious 'to em- 
brace the representatives of rebels/ Too many ambitious 'to dis- 
play their dexterity in the use of the broad mantle of charity/ 
Too much of 'the unscrupulous use of patronage/ Too many *oily 
orations of false prophets, famous for sixty day obligations and 
protested political promises/ 2 

Thus the Amendment passed ; and Andrew Johnson, submitting 
it according to law, clearly indicated his dissent from amending 
the Constitution in the absence of eleven States. *A noble proof 
of his strength of character, and his immovable fidelity to the 
Constitution/ commented the Democratic organ. 8 

1 Congressional Globe, June 4, 1866. 2 Ibid., June IS, 1866* 

3 New York World, June 3, 1866, 



THE 115 



The day after the failure of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, a new 
measure was introduced; and about that time Johnson sent 
J. B. Steedman and J. S. Fullerton, reliable men, into the South 
to investigate the operations and effect of the Bureau activities. 
After four months of intensive and conscientious investigation, 
they submitted a report, a separate one for each State, containing 
serious charges, few without substantial foundation. 1 Time was 
to prove that they had shown marked moderation. 2 The move- 
ments of the investigators were followed with sleuth-like vigilance 
by the Radicals, and the 'New York Tribune/ attacking Fullerton 
at New Orleans on the basis of a letter from that city, charged 
that he had been * welcomed like a Rebel Brigadier General/ and 
had not been in town twenty-four hours * before he was seen 
walking the streets ,arm in arm with a signer of the Louisiana 
Ordinance of Secession/ 3 The Radicals were not interested in 
facts they were moving sternly forward to a purpose the 
perpetuation of their power. The second Freednten's Bureau Bill 
was pushed to passage, and Johnson returned it with a veto more 
powerful than the first. Many Republicans were sadly shaken, 
and it required a vigorous application of the party whip to force 
them into line, but they yielded, and the measure passed over the 
veto. 4 

The Revolution had gained momentum. 

VI 

Throughout this session, sinister figures were seen moving 
about, and behind the smoke screen of the sectional conflict, men 
of acquisitive passions, who knew precisely what they wanted, 
were busy sowing and reaping. The reconstruction of the North 
was not being overlooked. Agents of interests seeking special 
governmental favors were swarming lobbies and corridors, half 
concealed in the dust of the more dramatic struggle. A mania for 

1 Pierce, Freedmen's Bureau, 65. 

2 House Ex. Doc., 89th Cong. Session, No. 120. 

3 June 15, 1866. 

4 Professor Burgess (page 89) says on the merits of the question the veto could not have 
been overridden. 



116 THE TRAGIC ERA 

rapid accumulations of fortunes by fair means or foul was ap- 
parent to the observant, and, while the masses of the people were 
Intoxicated with their hates and passions, a few statesmen under- 
stood the significance of the new day. 'The truth is/ wrote John 
Sherman to the General, c the close of the war with our resources 
unimpaired gives an elevation, a scope to the ideas of leading 
capitalists, far higher than anything ever undertaken in this coun- 
try before. They talk of millions as confidently as formerly of 
thousands/ l The house of Jay Cooke in Washington, presided 
over by his amiable brother, was a favorite resort of not a few 
statesmen; and Mr. Cooke was interested in railroads and in the 
speedy resumption of specie payments. It was common gossip 
that members of Congress were not above the persuasion of the 
dollar in the determination of their course. *I am more and more 
disquieted by the signs of bribery I see/ wrote Julian in June, 2 
The scrupulous Senator Grimes was expressing his disgust at the 
liberality with which the national domain was being doled out. 
* Nearly all the grants of lands to railroads and wagon roads find 
their way into the hands of rich capitalists/ he declared in the 
Senate, 8 * and in eighteen months or two years after this grant is 
made, the script will be in the hands of the wealthy of the coun- 
try.' Voorhees In the House, and Hendricks in the Senate, had 
solemnly warned of the tendency, but their politics was unpopular 
and they were put down as * demagogues/ 1 Even *The Nation' 
was concerned over the Influence of the railroads, *the most 
formidable In any community/ and thought they were tending to 
the poisoning of politics and to the domination of the State. 4 
Very soon Andrew Johnson was to grieve the judicious with the 
open declaration that *an aristocracy based on nearly two billion 
and a half of national securities has arisen In the Northern States 
to assume that political control which the consolidation of great 
financial and political interests formerly gave to the slave oli- 
garchy/ and to predict that * the war of finance is the next war we 
have to fight/ 5 And at that moment he added another corps to 
the army of enemies, recruited from the moneyed class, 

1 Letters, 258. * JJJS. Diary, June 4, I860. 

8 Congressional Globe, February 7, 1866. 

4 April 27, 1866. Interview with Halpine, McPherson, 141-42. * 



THE FINAL 117 

The *New York World 5 was denouncing the lobby of the 
Northern Pacific as a gang of "plunderers/ and describing it in the 
4 galleries, looking down on the scene like beasts of prey/ 1 

The spirit of Hamiltonian centralization was dominant in the 
councils of the ruling party. Johnson had called attention to it in 
his first veto; Welles had commented on it in his diary; and the 
'New York World' was saying that 'the bummers section are to- 
day just what the Federalists were in 1797/ and insisting that it 
"fight under its true colors, and without trickery/ 2 It had now 
become easy to confuse the public mind as to the meaning of 
State Rights for had not the war shot that to death forever? 

Out in the agricultural sections there was uneasiness and con- 
fusion. During the war a tremendous industrial development had 
resulted from war conditions and high tariffs, and the industrial- 
ists were aggressively asserting themselves in Washington. The 
log-rolling for higher tariff rates had been so impudent that God- 
kin in *The Nation' denounced the lobby and the unscientific 
method of fixing rates, * secretly as Congress does/ as c one of the 
most fertile sources of corruption ever opened in any age or coun- 
try/ 3 Many commercial organizations were hostile to the in- 
crease In rates, and the New York Chamber of Commerce pro- 
tested that it "would mar the prosperity of agriculture, by in- 
creasing the cost of its supplies without enhancing the price of its 
products/ 4 

The penetrating could readily see the significance of it all 
the passing of influence in government from the agricultural to the 
industrial element. One day an Iowa representative 5 warned 
Thad Stevens *of a great storm coming from the West/ 6 So 
stubborn was the protest of the farmers that a gesture of concili- 
ation was made to them by abandoning the plan to increase the 
rate on pig iron six dollars a ton. This so disgusted Stevens, per- 
sonally interested in iron, that he refused to vote. 7 But it was in the 
Senate where the most bitter battle between the industrialists and 
the agriculturists was staged, and there Senator Grimes of Iowa 
led for the farmers, strongly supported by the Mid- Western 

1 April 27, 1866. * June 4, 186$. 8 July 5, 1866. 

4 Signed by A. A. Lowe, Congressional Globe, July 9, 1866. 5 Wilson. 

8 New York W&rU t June 80, 1866. ZWdL. July 11, 1866. 



118 TRAGIC 

Republican press. When a tariff measure seemed certain of pas- 
sage, the 'Chicago Tribune' said, *If Andrew Johnson has a 
grain of political sagacity, he will veto the bill and set himself up 
as the champion of the people against extortion and robbery/ l 
With Hendricks interpolating, to encourage the rumpus, the 
Democrats sat back and watched the enemy clawing at one 
another. Henderson of Missouri ridiculed the argument that the 
tariff would help the farmers, who were then burning their corn 
because they could not find a market. 2 But it was Grimes of Iowa 
who bore the brunt of the battle. His insurgency enraged the 
protectionists, and scurrilous attacks on his personal integrity 
. were made by the "Iron Age. 3 British gold had bought him. *The 
Tribune/ hysterical in its abuse, sent its weekly edition free to 
every man of consequence in Iowa and the Northwest in the hope 
of ruining him. So indecent did some of these attacks become that 
Fessenden rose in indignant protest, and the leaders, becoming 
alarmed, postponed action until the next session. 

VII 

All the while the bitter drama of deadly personalities was 
gradually unfolding. One night a Johnson club in Washington 
went forth on serenades to the President and members of the 
Cabinet, with the view to forcing the hands of the latter. Speed, 
the Attorney-General, speedily rushing into the arms of the 
Radicals, ran away, and Harlan refused to appear. Welles, who 
disliked speeches, amazed to find 'perhaps a thousand people . . . 
with a band of music* before his door, merely expressed his ad- 
herence to the Administration. Dennison 'acquitted himself with 
credit/ according to the friends of the President, but it was Stan- 
ton these serenaders were after. 

Appearing at the door of his house, flanked on either side by a 
candle-bearer, he read a carefully prepared address. He was not 
yet ready to unmask must move with caution, and with 
caution he moved. 3 He had instinctively favored negro suffrage 
enforced by national authority, but had yielded to adverse argu- 
ments; had advised the approval of the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, 

1 Quoted, New York World. July 9, 1806, 

2 Congressional Globe, July 1, 1866. * Welles, n, 514-13. 



FINAL 119 

but that was past; so, too, with the Civil Rights Bill, but he 
dropped this Instantly; but he was opposed to the exclusion from 
suffrage of all who had adhered to the Confederacy Stevens's 
plan, which he knew would not be adopted. 

Forney, in the 'Philadelphia Press,' sneered at McCulloch for 
supporting Johnson with vigor, and found Stanton the incorrupt- 
ible patriot still. 1 Not so easily satisfied the fervent Theodore 
Tilton, of 'The Independent.' Stanton had disappointed this 
young-man-In-a-hurry . The speech ' did not express the true man, 
Edwin M. Stanton; It is without his soul, without his enthusiasm 
. . . his earnestness . . . his love of liberty. 5 Would that he had 
spoken more worthily! 

'So good-bye, Mr. Stanton/ chirped the 'New York World' 
with glee. 'He Is with reason disliked by the Democrats; con- 
servative Republicans have no reason to love him; and now the 
Radicals regard him as a backslider.' 2 

But Tilton did not understand the flexibility of Stanton so well 
as the real Radical leaders, and they were satisfied. 

Johnson went his way, reticent, lonely, grim, determined, but 
cautious. There was no chip on his shoulder. He merely stood 
on his rights and for his principles. But he forced no fighting 
not yet. This Irked the 'New York World/ which chided Mm 
gently because of 'his halting Infirmity of purpose during a crisis 
of the most Important conflict of opinion which has ever prevailed 
In this country.' 3 

And yet there was nothing of timidity in his attitude. When he 
spoke, It was with boldness, but he was being urged to speak not at 
all. Welles and Trumbull agreed that It was bad the latter was 
emphatic. 4 

Then suddenly Johnson's hand struck out, when Forney became 
too abusive of his policies, and the country was reading a letter 
from the editor written four months before, fulsomely praising 
these policies and soliciting a job for a friend! 5 Forney, in the 
meanwhile, had weakened under the lash and gone over to the 
enemy. Logan had defended Johnson's policies at Cooper Union 

1 Quoted, New York World, May 28, 1866. 2 May 81, 1866. 

8 June 16, 1866. 4 Welles, April 19, 1866. 

B New York World, July 2, 1866. 



120 THE TRAGIC ERA 

- and hie was going; and Morton had made a sweeping defense 
and lie was going, too. Principle everywhere was yielding to 
expediency. Patriotism was bowing to party. 

Watchful, but patient, Johnson went Ms way. One day, ap- 
pearing at the national fair for the benefit of the home for soldiers 
and sailors, he had made a really beautiful speech. * Yours is the 
work of peace, to pour the balm that healing may take place/ he 
said. 1 When Parson Brownlow, in a communication to Congress, 
described him as *that dead dog in the White House/ he was silent. 
But 'The Nation' thought it a cowardly attack and said so, 
Probably Johnson 'looks on Brownlow now as Prince Hal, after his 
father's death, looked on FalstafL' 2 

The crisis was coming on apace. Dennison, the Postmaster- 
General, had slowly cooled toward the President and went out 
quietly and decently in July, and a few days later, James Speed, 
Attorney-General, followed, with a strange fling of bitterness in 
view of his seemingly Conservative leanings before. It was good 
riddance for Johnson, who was enabled to replace them with' 
friends and supporters of capacity. 3 But Stanton held on. He 
was not the sort that resigns; and he was too valuable as a spy in 
the camp. 

That summer, tragedy came close to Johnson. Senator Lane 
of Kansas committed suicide, and Preston King drowned himself 
in the Hudson. The former had valiantly defended the President 
against Ben Wade's insults in the Senate; and the latter had been 
his most intimate adviser and personal friend. In the case of Lane, 
the suicide was due to miserable health; the secret of King's 
death died with him. But the Radicals instantly knew the rea- 
1 sons. Years later, with a smug hypocrisy that staggers credulity, 
Elaine explained that Lane had been 'profoundly attached to 
Lincoln' and that 'his strange course under President Johnson 
was never clearly disclosed/ Having been profoundly attached to 
Lincoln, it was a mystery to Elaine, who had not been similarly at- 
tached, why Lane should have supported the man who was fight- 
ing for Lincoln's policies. 4 In keeping with Elaine's version, we 



1 New York World, June 7, 1866. 2 j u i y $$, 

3 A. W. Randall for Postmaster-General, and Henry Stanbery for Attorney-General 

4 Twenty Years in Congress, n, 186. 



THE FINAL BREAK 121 

have the letter written to Coif ax. 'It was his participation in this 
destructive policy [Johnson's]/ he wrote with a touch of Uriah 
Heep. 'I sorrow for him, but I am not surprised/ l And so with 
King. It was because of Johnson's course, wrote Blaine. 2 God had 
touched the consciences of men so wicked as to have scorned the 
leadership of Thad Stevens and Ben Wade. 

Often that summer, Johnson, with a carriage packed with his 
grandchildren, would drive out to Rock Creek and rest at Pierce's 
Mill, or in a near-by meadow, where he loved to walk alone. Be- 
fore returning, he would pluck flowers for his invalid wife. Some- 
times he went to the peace of Glenwood Cemetery, and wandered 
among the graves. On one of these occasions an attendant was 
startled to find him laughing since he seldom laughed. The 
attache hurried to him, to find him sober as usual. 

VIII 

The announcement of Stevens's plan for military reconstruction 
convinced the President's friends that only an impressive appeal 
to the country could awaken it to the dangers. One morning in 
June at Welles's breakfast table, he and Senator Doolittle agreed 
on the necessity for action, and submitted their views to Johnson, 
who acquiesced and suggested a National Convention. Within 
a few hours both Doolittle and the venerable Frank P. Blair, at 
Silver Springs, were drafting the call. Even this task presented 
embarrassments calling for compromise and conciliation. The 
Blairs, knowing that the Democrats would have to be the back- 
bone of the movement, were fearful of the influence of Seward 
in the framing of the document. The first draft admittedly was so 
couched as to satisfy Henry J. Raymond, to the disgust of Welles. 3 
This was done for the effect of having his signature to the call as 
Republican National Chairman. The major objection to the draft 
was the omission of any reference to the constitutional changes, 
which might be interpreted as a capitulation on the part of the 
President, 4 but in a three-hour conference at the White House one 
fragrant June morning, the point was waived on Raymond's 
account. At least one of the conferees left * desponding and un- 

* Life of Colfax, 274. 2 Ibid., n, 186. 3 Welles, 11, 528. 

4 Ibid., n, 533. 



122 THE TRAGIC ERA 

happy/ because 'the cause Is In bad and over-cunning, if not 
treacherous hands. 3 1 It was noted, too, that "the Democrats, who 
in their way are the chief supporters of the President's measures^ 
are snubbed/ 2 This, too, was out of deference to Raymond. A 
week later, however, despite the opposition of the "New York 
World/ the Democrats in Congress agreed to swallow their pride 
and cooperate. 3 

Thus the call went out, and instantly the Republicans were out 
gunning for Raymond. On the night of July 11, a caucus was 
called, "venomous, reckless, the worst yet/ 4 in which all the hell- 
hounds of insane hate were let loose. Johnson was denounced. 
Most of the participants wanted to sit all summer to deal with any 
presidential appointments that might be made. A resolution was 
adopted depriving the President of the control of Government 
arms, and distributing these among the * loyal States/ 5 In the 
midst of the clamor, a noise was heard in the gallery, and the 
members discovered one lone negro looking on. Pandemonium! 
A spy! Worse, perhaps a reporter! 

'Damn him, bring him down here/ shouted the alarmed Stev- 
ens. 

The poor trembling black was dragged before the grave and 
reverend seigniors of the State and asked how he entered. 

*By de doY he answered tremulously. He did not know it was 
a caucus, he said, but thought it was the Congress. 6 

The negro ejected, Stevens offered a fiercely worded resolution 
denouncing the proposed Convention and reading out of the party 
all Republicans who might give it countenance. This was the 
signal for the pack to open up on the offensive Raymond, and the 
next day both the 'New York Tribune * and the *New York 
World 9 had it that he had expressed himself as in penitent mood, 
and had assumed that none but Republicans would be admitted 
as delegates to the Convention. 7 Whether he really went to the 
mourners* bench, we do not know. He always denied It; the 
members of the caucus insisted that he had; and the probability 

1 Welles, n, 583-85. 

2 Rid, n, 538. 8 Ibid., n, 542. 

4 Raymond to Weed, Weed, Memoirs, n, 452. 5 Ibid. 

6 New York Tribune, My 12, I860; New York World, July IS, 1866. 

7 Both of My 12, 1866, 



THE FINAL 123 

is that lie told the truth, since he was a prominent figure in the 
Convention. He gave his own version in the "New York Times/ 
expressing contempt for the attack upon him, 1 and startling sane 
conservative folk with a disclosure of the proceedings. The 
Northern States called upon to organize, drill, equip the militia, 
with two thirds of the arms, ammunition, and ordnance of the 
National Government to be turned over to them! *The first step 
toward the preparation of another civil war/ said the 'New York 
World/ 2 This version, borne out, too, in Raymond's letter to 
Weed, 3 called forth a defiant editorial from the Democratic organ. 
'Let them go on if they dare/ it said. 'The bullets and gibbets, 
however costly, which in that case would assuredly rid us of the 
inflamers of our first and the plotters of our second civil war may, 
after all, be the only way to a calm world and a long peace/ 4 
Meanwhile, with the Democrats allotted half the delegates to the 
Convention, to the annoyance of Raymond, 5 the Administration 
forces pushed on with preparations for the Convention, and Stan- 
ton again momentarily showed his hand. At a meeting of the Cabi- 
net, he volunteered that he had refused bunting asked, and sneer- 
ingly said that Welles might furnish it. 'I always show my colors/ 
replied the Yankee, *and it would be well that you showed yours/ 
"You mean the Convention? I'm against it/ snapped Stanton. 
Seward looked uneasy. *We cannot get along this way/ said 
Welles to Johnson. 'No, it will be pretty difficult/ replied the 
long-suffering man. 

Stanton was now beginning to feel strong enough to show his 
hand. It was the hand of treachery. 6 

IX 

The campaign of 1866 really began when nearly fifteen thousand 
people assembled in a huge wigwam in Philadelphia, August 14, 
in the National Union Convention for which the friends of the 
Administration had been making elaborate preparations. The 
spirit of sectional conciliation was dramatized when a Union and 

* July 18, 1866. 2 July 20, 1866. 3 Weed, Memoirs, n, 452. 

4 New York World, July 20, 1866. 
s To Weed, Weed, Memoirs, n, 452. 
6 Welles, H, 573-74. 



124 THE TRAGIC ERA 

a Confederate officer l marched down the center aisle arm in arm 
to a thunder of applause. Mai like Hendricks, Democrat, served 
on the resolutions committee with, men like Raymond, Republican. 
Seldom has a finer set of substantial and patriotic men sat down 
together in the interest of a cause. The opening speech of Senator 
Doolittle was dignified and able; the Address to the American 
People, prepared by Raymond, was a noble document, reiterating 
the right of representation, the constitutional right of the States 
to prescribe qualifications for the franchise, the traditional theory 
that amendments to the Constitution could be made only through 
the votes of two thirds of the States, and paying a tribute to 
Johnson. 2 The resolutions declared slavery dead forever, and the 
great crowd rose and cheered; and they repudiated the Confeder- 
ate debt. Generous, too, the cheering of the declaration that the 
negroes should have 'equal protection in every right of person and 
property/ 

Bubbling with enthusiasm, the delegates hurried to Washington 
personally to present the resolutions with their respects. They 
stood crowded in confusion in the East Room when Johnson and 
his party, which included Grant, descended from the library by 
the private stairway, and there was a wait for ten minutes until 
the visitors could be properly placed. 3 Welles thought Johnson's 
improvised speech, 'happily' done, but, alas, he referred to Con- 
gress as the Congress of only a part of the States, and the gossips 
had It on the wings of the wind that he meant by this to bring in 
the Representatives of the South with the aid of the army. Stan- 
ton was conspicuously absent. The criticism of Grant's presence 
by the Radical press was none the less bitter because the *New 
York World 5 suggested that 'its bearing OB the politics of the 
country was understood/ 4 

For a brief moment there was jubilation in the camp of the 
President, and pressure was brought to bear upon him to dismiss 
Stanton at once. 5 But with Raymond it was a sadder story. 
From that hour he was the target of abuse from the Radicals, his 
name was dropped from the list of Republican leaders, the Na~ 

1 Governor James L, Orr of Sotith Carolina and General Couch of Massachusetts. 

2 Life of Raymond has the address In ML 8 Welles, n 58$. 
4 August 20, 1866. 6 Welles, K, 581. 



THE FINAL 125 

tlonai Committee met and removed Mm from the chairmanship, 
and the State Convention of New York endorsed its action, 
Thad Stevens had his party in his pocket and was the cock of the 
walk. 

Meanwhile, the Radical group, with the connivance, if not 
through the initiative, of Stanton, arranged for a Loyal Union 
Convention at Philadelphia; l and thither a little later journeyed 
a nondescript crowd of men. James Speed, with the zeal that 
converts feel, attacked Johnson with ferocity in his opening ad- 
dress. In close touch, Stanton was given a momentary fright 
by the report that a resolution commendatory of his position 
would be adopted, and he hurried word to the leaders that such 
action * would be prejudicial to any good influence I may be 
able to exert.' 2 From the South flocked the carpetbaggers, and 
Frederick Douglass, the negro orator, appeared upon the scene to 
the discomfiture of Oliver P. Morton, who begged Theodore Tilton 
to persuade the black leader to take the first train home. In truth, 
it was not a happy occasion for Morton, who labored earnestly 
with the Southern delegates not to insist on a negro suffrage 
declaration. 3 The speeches were uniformly abusive, and the 
* bloody shirt* was waved with zest. Of the seven delegates from 
North Carolina, but two were natives, the others carpetbaggers. 
One of these was A. W. Tourgee, whose 'Bricks Without Straw' 
and other novels of reconstruction days had a long vogue; and 
there was a preacher from the North, a Freedmen's Bureau agent 
recently convicted of dishonesty by a military commission, and 
another minister, who began as a Confederate chaplain, and, being 
accused of treason, went over to the Union army and was later 
made a Bureau agent. 4 Stories the bloodiest created the keenest 
delight, and Tourgee solemnly declared no loyal man safe in 
North Carolina, and told of a recent discovery of fifteen murdered 
negroes in a pond, and of the migration from the State under 
threats to life and property of twelve hundred Union soldiers who 
had settled there. 5 "A tissue of lies from the beginning to the end,* 
wrote Jonathan Worth, an honest man; and he wrote a North 

1 Flower, 309. 2 Ibid. 

3 Told Julian by General Shaffer at Freeport, Illinois, November 4, 1866; MS. Diary. 

4 Hamilton, 179, note. 8 Worth, n, 774. 



126 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Carolinian who sat in the convention that sent Tourgee as a dele- 
gate, demanding the names of the twelve hundred men and the 
location of the pond where the fifteen murdered negroes had been 
found. 1 False or true, these stories served the purpose of the 
Radical propagandists, and scores of such fabrications floated out 
from the convention hall. 

The Union League Club of Philadelphia entertained lavishly for 
the delegates and the Union League Club of New York, which had 
sent delegates, invited the delegates to a mass meeting in New 
York City, their expenses paid; and the tribe of carpetbaggers, 
always found where something could be had for nothing, hastened 
to the metropolis to be wined and dined. 2 

Followed then the Johnson Soldiers' and Sailors' Convention at 
Cleveland, where the most dashing and picturesque of the dele- 
gates was General Custer, ardent in the support of the President. 
His presence was deeply resented by the Radicals, and because of 
his letter to John W. Forney, setting forth his views on national 
affairs, 'The Nation' pronounced him as much misplaced in 
politics *as the Viscount of Dundee would have been in the Arch- 
bishopric of Canterbury, or Murat on the Bench of the Court of 
Cassation/ 3 It was not that Custer was in politics most of the 
generals were but that he was in politics for Johnson. The most 
sensational incident of this convention was the able letter of 
Henry Ward Beeeher bestowing his blessing, but his wealthy 
congregation, then a political machine, paying him an enormous 
salary, growled ominously, and wrote him a letter of rebuke which 
*The Nation' thought 'grave and well written/ We shall soon- 
find the eloquent minister recanting publicly from the pulpit. 

There followed the anti-Johnson Soldiers' and Sailors' Conven- 
tion at Pittsburgh, where it was not so absurd for generals to 
participate. This was personally conducted by Ben Butler, and 
the result was unmeasured abuse of the President. 

Meanwhile, blood had been shed in the streets of New Orleans. 

1 Worth, n, 77fc, 774. 

2 Bellows, 80, 3 August 26, 1866. 



VII 

PATRIOTS MOB A PRESIDENT 
I 

WITH both sides In savage mood, two bloody Incidents In 
the South played into the hands of the Radicals. In Mem- 
phis a group of boisterous drunken negro soldiers, recently dis- 
banded, interfered with the police in the discharge of a legitimate 
duty, shot an officer, and precipitated an indiscriminate slaughter 
of the blacks by the rowdy element in the community. 1 In New 
Orleans, the revolutionary plan of the Radicals to enfranchise the 
negroes for party purposes, by an illegal summoning of the dele- 
gates of an extinct Constitutional Convention of two years before, 
aroused the indignation of all and the murderous wrath of the 
lower classes, and culminated in a massacre. No one questions the 
conclusion of Professor Burgess 2 that * common sense and common 
honesty would hold that the Convention [of 1864] had been finally 
dissolved/ No one honestly doubted it then; but it was not an age 
of common sense or common honesty. The purpose was to seize 
on power and hold it with the army, for the negroes and the carpet- 
baggers. 8 The president of the defunct Convention refused to act 
because of the manifest illegality of the proposed call; and even he 
who agreed to substitute hurried to Washington to secure the 
countenance of the Republican leaders. He conferred with Thad 
Stevens, 'Pig Iron 5 Kelley, and Boutwell, the Puritan; and im- 
mediately thereafter the 'New York Times* announced that he 
'returned with the assurance that Congress will support the Con- 
vention/ Indeed, as the c Times' report of a Republican caucus 
proves, Boutwell had urged a postponement of adjournment that 
Congress might immediately give validity to the new Constitution 
when adopted. 4 In the congressional investigation reference was 
made to letters in possession of a Mr. Flanders, signed by members 
of Stevens's committee, sanctioning the desperate enterprise, but 

1 Testimony of Dr. S. J. Quinyy, H. E. S9th Cong., 1st Sess., Report 101. 

2 Constitution and Reconstruction, 93. 

8 K. K. Cutler, H, R. 89th Cong., 2d Sess., Report 16, p. 8$, * ffid. 9 MO, 



128 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Mr. Flanders was not summoned to the witness chair. 1 Stevens 
admitted he might have written him; and conceded that he had 
told the messenger from New Orleans that the Convention would 
be legal. 2 Had there been no convention, there would have been 
no massacre; and there would have been no convention without 
the encouragement of the Radical leaders in Washington. 

The conservatives and whites of character and property, at 
first incredulous, sought to persuade the Radical leaders in Louisi- 
ana to abandon their mad revolutionary project to be met with 
jeers. A judge who charged the grand jury on the illegality of the 
plan was arrested and charged with 'treason and endangering the 
liberty of citizens under the Civil Rights Bill.' 3 The Mayor and 
Lieutenant-Governor appealed to the military forces, to be in- 
formed, after a queer reticence, that the army would release the 
delegates it arrested on indictment in a court. 4 They appealed to 
Johnson and Stanton on that warning. Stanton did not reply; 
Johnson instructed that the military forces would be expected "to 
sustain, not obstruct or interfere with the proceedings of the 
courts/ 5 This telegram was shown the general in command, and 
the Mayor and Lieutenant-Governor understood the day before 
the Convention was to meet that soldiers would be on hand to 
preserve order. 

The night before the Convention was one of jubilee and defi- 
ance, two or three thousand negroes parading the streets with 
torches, shouting exultantly; and at a mass meeting they listened 
to Dr. Dostie, Radical leader, in an incendiary speech. The negro 
should have his vote and would ! Another meeting would be 
held. *I want you to come in your power/ shouted the half -crazed 
orator. *I want no cowards to come. . . . We have 300,000 black 
men with white hearts. Also 100,000 good true Union white men 
who will fight beside the black race against the hell-hound rebels. 
, . . We are 400,000 to 300,000 and can not only whip but extermi- 
nate the other party. . . . The streets of New Orleans will run with 
blood/ 6 

Thousands of white families did not sleep that night in New 
Orleans. 

1 R. .K. Cutler, H. B. 39th Cong., 2d Sess., Report 16, p. 850. 

2 Ibid., 489. 8 Ficklen, 163-66. * Ibid., 105, 
6 Ibid. 8 Annual Encyclopaedia, 1866, 



PATRIOTS A PRESIDENT 129 

Dawn came. A proclamation from the Mayor called on the 
people to preserve the peace. The police were mobilized at head- 
quarters for emergencies. General Baird agreed to have troops 
within easy call but fatally blundered In thinking the Conven- 
tion would meet at six o'clock In the evening and not at noon. The 
troops were at Jackson Barracks far away. Governor Wells, who 
had gone over to the Radicals, had hidden himself at home. 1 Thus 
the Convention met without molestation, and adjourned to per- 
mit the sergeant at arms to bring in the absent members. 

Then the rattle of a drum and down the street the flying of a 
flag and a procession of negroes, intoxicated with a feeling of 
triumph. On they marched until, at Canal Street, a white man 
jostled a marcher, who struck the white. On to Mechanics' In- 
stitute, where the Convention was to sit, and there they paused to 
hurrah. Some of the blacks were armed, and the first shot was 
fired by one of these at a policeman who had arrested a newsboy 
for stirring up trouble. The shot brought the police from head- 
quarters on the run, and they charged the procession. The negroes 
threw bricks and retired Into the hall. But all the fury of combat 
had been awakened, and some of the police fired into the blacks. 
Dostie, who would live by the sword, died from a sword-thrust in 
the stomach. In the massacre that followed but one member of 
the Convention was killed; but there were dead and wounded 
borne away on drays; and former Governor Hahn, attacked by the 
mob, was saved by the police fighting for his life. Not all the 
police turned beast by any means, and the Chief knocked down 
one of his own men engaged in brutal work. Whiskey played its part ; 
race feeling did the rest; but the better element was not involved. 2 

When the son of President Taylor, alighting from a tram, heard 
pistol shots and saw a crowd of roughs and negroes running, he 
sought to learn the meaning. He met no one he knew his kind 
were not abroad. He was Impressed by the great number of boys 
from twelve to fifteen, and stopped one youth, who, pistol in hand, 
was pursuing a fleeing negro. The boy explained that a convention 
was being held to take away his vote; and when Taylor asked him 
how long he had enjoyed that inestimable privilege, the youth 
sheepishly put away his pistol. 8 Baird's troops came up after the 

, 160, 2 JIM,* m a Pwtrwtiw ant fteconstruQtion, 248-49, 



130 TRAGIC 

riot was over, and then patrolled the streets with negro troops 
further to exasperate the people. 

General Phil Sheridan hastened back to his post from Texas, 
and hurried a report to the President, admitting the incendiary 
character of Dostie's bloody speech, conceding that one in ten of 
the marching negroes carried arms, pronouncing the instigators of 
the Convention 'political agitators and bad men 3 ; and then de- 
nouncing the press for opposing the Convention, and furnishing 
the Radicals what they wished in the sentence, * Northern men are 
not safe.' He was instructed by Johnson that pending an investi- 
gation he had full military power to maintain order. 

The 'political agitators and bad men' petitioned Congress on 
*the St. Bartholomew day of New Orleans/ and protested against 
being left to 'assassins/ General Baird, who had blundered, ap- 
pointed some of his officers to investigate, and they reported that 
it was a conspiracy to crush the Convention. 1 Johnson thereupon 
summoned Colonel Richard Taylor to Washington to get his ver- 
sion, and, on his recommendation, placed General W. S. Hancock 
in charge, and order was restored. 2 

The Congressional investigation brought the inevitable parti- 
san reports. 3 But an impetus had been given to the waving of the 
* bloody shirt/ which had commenced, and thenceforth for years 
the North was to be told that the Southern whites devoted them- 
selves mostly to the killing of inoffensive blacks. 

ii 

Meanwhile, Andrew Johnson had set forth on his historic jour- 
ney to the tomb of Stephen A. Douglas in Chicago, With him were 
Grant and Farragut; and, among members of his Cabinet, Seward, 
Welles, and Randall. In the party, too, were Mrs. Patterson, Mrs. 
Farragut, and Mrs. Welles. Arrangements were made to travel by 
day alone, and these were adhered to with the exception of the 
trip by steamer from Louisville to Cincinnati. 4 That Johnson pro- 
posed to advocate his policies en route there can be no doubt; it was 

* FicHen, 170. 

3 Destruction and Reconstruction, 851. 

8 H. E. 39th Cong., $d Sess., Report 10. 

4 Welles, n, 88. 



A 131 

just such a tour as Roosevelt and Wilson were to make in later 
years. As President, lie felt lie had a right, without the consent of 
Congress, to carry his fight to the people* 

Riding to the station in Washington through throngs of cheer- 
ing people, with flags and bunting flying from the buildings, he was 
to receive ovations all through Maryland and Delaware, and ap- 
pear on the rear platform introducing Farragut and Grant- It was 
not until Philadelphia was reached that the organized partisan 
mobbing of the President began. There the Radical city officials 
extended no official welcome, and attempts were made through 
trickery to prevent a demonstration by the people. False informa- 
tion as to the time of the train's arrival was broadcast, but the 
politicians failed in their conspiracy. Flags were everywhere, 
many factories were deserted, and when the train stopped at the 
station, the enthusiastic crowd broke the police lines to clamber 
upon the platform and to the top of the car. Laborers were strain- 
ing their throats with cries for 'the tailor President * and the "Sav- 
ior of the Union/ When, with difficulty, a lane was forced through 
the multitude for the passage of the presidential party, and the 
carriages were reached, the police lines were again crashed as men 
rushed forward to grasp the President's hand. The procession 
passed through two miles of welcoming tumult, and it was noted 
that the Union League Club was not decorated in honor of the 
head of the Nation. Smug, sour-visaged men within looked out 
from the windows contemptuously upon the scene. In one of the 
two speeches Johnson made, he sounded the intended keynote of 
the journey: *I trust that the day is far distant when the land we 
love shall again be drenched with brothers 9 blood. (Good.) I trust 
the country will return to peace and harmony and that reconcilia- 
tion will be brought about, and we be enabled to stand together, 
one people and one Union/ * 

The 'New York Tribune's* account was. one of studied insult. 
When a confused driver of a cart turned his horse into the crowd, 
and Johnson sought to quiet the people and prevent a panic, the 
incident was so described as to make him appear cheap, absurd. 
The correspondent boasted that the city was * perfectly bare and 
destitute of adornment/ The mobbing of the President had com- 

1 * New York World, August 29, 1866. 



132 THE TRAGIC ERA 

menced. 1 The next day, receptions were held at Camden and 
Trenton; and at New Brunswick, Johnson spoke again. 

'Now that the rebellion has been put down . . . there is an issue 
made that the States are still out of the Union, which is precisely 
what the rebels undertook to effect. . . . The States were never out 
of the Union. (Thunderous applause.) The Union is preserved, 
"one and inseparable." . , . Let us stand upon a common platform 
the Union of these States lifting ourselves above party and 
the shackles of party/ 

At Newark he stood on the platform at Market Street before a 
sea of faces, while guns fired a salute and twenty locomotives 
screeched. Pressed for time, he had but a moment to talk. 

tf lt has been my fate for the last five years/ he said, *to fight 
those who have been opposed to the Union. ... I intend to fight all 
opponents of the Constitution ... to fight the enemies of this 
glorious Union forever and forever.' It was a happy party at this 
stage, with Grant and Parragut bantering like boys and trying to 
push each other to the platform. 

Then came New York a veritable triumph. The streets were 
packed; at noon all work suspended; and from the Battery to the 
City Hall the streets were jammed from curb to curb with barely 
room for the carriages to pass. Alexander T. Stewart, the leading 
merchant, voiced the welcome of the reception committee. . *I 
thank you for your welcome/ said Johnson simply; *I appreciate 
it from the bottom of my heart, and' with a graceful bow to 
Stewart * particularly appreciate the spurce from whence it 
comes/ When, in the Governor's Room at the City Hall, he re- 
ceived official greetings, it was noted that he seemed deeply moved. 
A moment on the balcony, bowing to the shouting multitude in the 
park, and he returned to the open barouche drawn by six horses, 
and the procession moved up Broadway to Twenty-Third Street, 
a file of cavalry marching on either side to protect the carriage 
from the crush. At all the windows, ladies leaning out and waving 
handkerchiefs. Even 'The Tribune' was nonplussed. "So far as 
popular demonstration and enthusiasm is concerned/ it said, 
4 the ovation . . , forms a striking contrast to all other displays of 
the kind that have preceded it in this city.' 2 That night a civic 

1 New York Tribune, August 29, I860. 

2 August 80, 1866. This description based on accounts of the Tribune, Herald, and World, 



PATRIOTS A PRESIDENT 133 

banquet was given in Ms honor at Delmonico's, where lie stayed. 
It has not been fashionable to quote from, the wise and patriotic 
speech he made there, but it is necessary in order to understand 
the later occurrences at Cleveland and St. Louis, of which we 
have probably heard too much. 

'Let me ask you/ he said, 'are we prepared to renew the scenes 
through which we have passed? . . . Are we again prepared to see 
these fair fields . . . drenched in a brother's blood? Are we not 
rather prepared to bring from Gilead the balm that has relief and 
pour it into the wound? . . . They are our brethren . . . part of our- 
selves. . . . They have lived with us and been part of us from the 
establishment of the Government to the commencement of the re- 
bellion. They are identified with our history, with all our pro- 
sperity/ Admitting an ambition to contribute to a real reunion, he 
closed in a moving peroration. 'Then I will be willing to exclaim 
as Simon did of old of Him who had been born in a manger, "I 
have seen the glory of the salvation, now let thy servant depart 
in peace." That being done, my ambition is completed. I would 
rather live in history in the affections of my countrymen as having 
consummated that great end than to be President forty times/ 

At this point General Sandford sprang to his feet, calling for 
three cheers, and the diners rose in an ovation. 1 

That night, at midnight, crowds lingered before Delmonico's 
until Johnson appeared and bowed. The next morning in the 
early dawn found the presidential party driving through Central 
Park. Leonard Jerome, grandfather of Winston Churchill, the 
British statesman, had Grant behind a fine span of horses; and 
when the General, puffing his cigar, took the reins, some one sug- 
gested that the park police be summoned. Coming up behind 
Johnson's carriage drawn by four horses, Grant let his horses out 
in a spirited race until the Jerome team went thundering by, to the 
amusement of Johnson, who waved and laughed. 2 Leaving the 
city, the party stopped at West Point; thence on to Newburgh, 
Poughkeepsie, Peekskill, and to Albany, where, after a greeting 
from the Governor, a reception was held, and at night, in response 
to a serenade, Johnson spoke briefly. He here referred to the at- 
tempts of the Radical press to prejudice the people against Mm in 

1 New York World, August 30, 1866. 2 Ibid., August 31, 186$. 



134 THE TRAGIC ERA 

advance and expressed Ms contempt for enemies of the Constitu- 
tion, "North and South.' After a display of fireworks, Johnson re- 
tired, badly worn by the trip. 

The next day, at Schenectady, the 'New York Tribune' noted 
that his voice was failing and he was showing the strain; 1 but after 
a generous reception he spoke briefly. *I know no backward step/ 
he said. * I intend to go forward in my path of duty because I know 
it is right/ At Rome he spoke again. 'By the Eternal, the Union 
and Constitution must be preserved/ At Auburn, where he rested 
at the home of Seward, he declared "there is not enough power on 
earth to drive me from my purpose/ Thence on to Buffalo, where 
the venerable Fillmore, acting as chairman, endorsed Johnson's 
policy, and the latter, in reply, merely reviewed It In detail. 2 

The trip from Buffalo to Cleveland was wearisome, the train 
constantly crowded with committees, with scarcely standing room 
in the cars. Grant reclined on a trunk in the baggage car, using a 
carpetbag for a pillow. At every station crowds had assembled, 
and Johnson spoke a few words, though by this time he was sadly 
worn and not a little irritable. At Erie, an old woman boarded the 
train with flowers for Johnson and Grant; the former graciously 
received his, but the General did not appear. 3 

Thus, worn and weary, Johnson reached Cleveland. He had 
traveled many miles, spoken many times, and never in bad taste. 
His talks had been uniformly wise, just, patriotic, on one theme 
the sanctity of the Constitution and the Union. The response of 
vast throngs had been enthusiastic. General John A. Rawlins, 
with the party, commented on It In letters to his wife. 4 As the 
Radical chiefs observed the triumphant progress, they were In- 
creasingly enraged and disturbed. Johnson was making headway. 
And it was just at this juncture in the home State of Ben Wade 
that ruffians engaged to set things right. 

in 

On the afternoon of the day of the arrival of the presidential 
train, the streets of Cleveland were crowded beyond precedent, 
The skies, overcast during the day and threatening a rainy Bight, 

1 September I, 1866. 2 New York World, September 4, 1866, 

3 New York Tribune, September 4, 1866. 4 Life of Rawlins. 



A 135 

cleared toward evening, and long before the arrival of the train 
the lake-front by the station was thronged and the depot crowded. 
Throughout the day every train increased the multitude. 1 So 
powerful was the pressure of the crowd that the police were barely 
able to maintain an open space for the alighting of the party, and 
when Johnson appeared, the shouts were like the thunder of artil- 
lery. Ovations for Johnson, for Farragut, for Custer, and con- 
siderable disappointment at the absence of Grant, who had gone 
directly to the Detroit boat, much indisposed. 2 The streets from 
the station to the Kennard Hotel on the public square was a 
solid mass of humanity. The hotel was lively with its Chinese 
lanterns, and flags flying from every window, and near-by resi- 
dences were brilliantly illuminated. It was after an informal din- 
ner that the party was escorted to the Bank Street balcony, where 
Johnson was formally welcomed by the President of the City 
Council. 3 

That there had been a determined effort to organize a mob to 
heckle the President there can be no doubt. The day before, the* 
* Cleveland Herald/ a Radical paper, had distributed circulars 
bitterly attacking Johnson, accusing him of treason to Lincoln, to 
party, and country. While the vast majority of the mammoth 
crowd was decent and well disposed, it contained a sprinkling of 
the scum of the community, many of them drunk, and not a few 
there deliberately to insult the head of the Nation. A stone, 
thrown into the crowd, struck and disabled one of the spectators 
before the President appeared. 

Fagged and irritated by the pulling and hauling, it was John- 
son's intention to say but a few words and retire. Scarcely had he 
begun when the hecklers began shouting their insults, coarse and 
personal, and in his irritation, due to physical weariness, the fight- 
ing spirit of the man who had won the admiration of the North 
by facing and fighting mobs was aroused. That he was greatly ex- 
cited is well established. 4 Surrounded by enemies, there is not one 
scintilla of evidence that he was under the influence of liquor. In 
his give-and-take debate with the mob he made some of the most 

1 Cleveland Herald, Republican, September 4, 1866. 

2 Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 4, 1866. 3 Ibid. 

4 Testimony of D. C. McEwen, correspondent New York World, Impeachment Trial, 
Congressional Globe, 102. 



136 THE TRAGIC ERA 

telling points of Ms speech. Even the bitterly hostile c Cleveland 
Herald/ commenting editorially, said that 'the crowd was in- 
debted to these annoyances for some of the best points made. . * . 
Mr. Johnson was thoroughly aroused and showed that he could 
not only parry, but thrust, and he made some telling points that 
were enthusiastically enjoyed by the crowd, and gave some advice 
that sensible men can profit by. 3 1 Thus, a typical illustration of 
his thrusts: 

* You let the negroes vote in Ohio before you talk about negroes 
voting in Louisiana. (A voice, " Never.") Take the beam out of 
your own eye before you see the mote that is in your neighbor's. 
You are very much disturbed about New Orleans, but you won't 
let a negro go to the ballot box to vote in Ohio/ 

Such retorts were considered in very bad taste, and the party 
papers joined in the mobbing of the President without a word of 
criticism of the mobs. 

The next morning, great throngs in the streets wildly cheered 
Johnson as an atonement, but the Radicals now had their cue. 
Henceforth, mobs were part of the programme. At Norwalk, a 
rowdy gang was mobilized, and in the midst of Johnson's plea for 
a real restoration of the Union, one of the disturbers yelled 'New 
Orleans.' Johnson paused : * I should like to see the fellow who cries 
"New Orleans." 5 The crowd pushed forward a disreputable-look- 
ing creature. 'I thought you would look just about so/ said John- 
son, turning with a smile to accept a bouquet of flowers. 

At Chicago there was no untoward incident; and the party 
pushed on to St. Louis, where a scene similar to that at Cleveland 
was staged by the Radicals. Aside from a few hot-tempered retorts 
to insults, Johnson's speech here seems absolutely sound to-day. 
Homeward bound, a novel experience in the Mid- West awaited 
Johnson at Terre Haute, where he 'was received with the courtesy 
and hospitality due his station. Multitudes on horseback, in the 
rain, responded with shouts to his ringing defense of the constitu- 
tional liberties of the people. Not one insult; and not one sentence 
in bad taste from him. But this was only a gracious interlude, for 
at Indianapolis he was to meet the most shameless mob of the 
journey. Escorted to the Bates House by a torch-bearing pro- 

1 September 4, 1866. 



PATRIOTS A 137 

cession, lie appeared upon the balcony and before he could be in- 
troduced, the mob element began shouting for Grant. Before he 
had uttered a word, he had been greeted with groans. Ignoring 
the affront, the President of the United States began: 

'Fellow citizens [cries for Grant]: It is not my intention [cries of 
6 Stop ! ' c Go on ! ' ] to make a long speech. If you will give me your 
attention for five minutes [cries of "Go on!' 'Stop!' *No 5 no, we 
want nothing to do with traitors!' 'Grant! Grant!' and groans]. 
I would like to say to this crowd here to-night [cries of 'Shut up!' 
'We don't want to hear from you, Johnson']. 

Johnson paused, and then retired from the balcony. Fighting 
followed in the streets and a man was killed. 1 So shocking was 
this outrage that the 'Indianapolis Journal/ Radical Republican 
organ, ran a hypocritical apology the next morning. 'Had such a 
scene been anticipated, the most strenuous efforts would have 
been made by Union citizens to prevent it/ it said. But the 'In- 
dianapolis Herald' declared the scene carefully staged, 'rumors of 
a disturbance having been rife throughout the day.' 2 The atmo- 
sphere was just right for the mob. Governor Morton had hurried 
from the city on the approach of the President, and a short time be- 
fore a Radical orator had made an inflammatory attack on Joseph 
E. McDonald, Democratic leader, pointing to his house while the 
mob cried, 'Hang him! hang him! let's hang him!' 3 Sobered by 
the shameful incident, decent citizens gathered at the Bates House 
on the morrow in atonement again, and Johnson spoke from the 
balcony. 

Through Ohio, town after town turned out its ruffians. At New 
Market, Johnson was greeted with insulting placards and shouts 
for Grant and Custer. The latter responded. *I was born two 
miles from here/ he said, ' and I am ashamed of you.' 4 At 
Steubenville, such hooting and groaning that Johnson did not re- 
spond. Custer, furious, hurled defiance at the mob, and Johnson 
in one sentence paid his compliments to the decent part of the 
crowd and 'in a cat-o'-nine tails paid his respects to the black- 

1 New York Tribune, September 11, 12, 1866. 

2 Quoted New York World, September 14, 1866. 

3 New York World My 31, 1866. The speaker was W. P. FisMmck. 

4 New York Tribune, September 14, 1866. 



138 THE TRAGIC ERA 

guards/ and retired. 1 At Pittsburgh a hearing was denied, the 
mob groaning and shouting insults for an hour until Grant ap- 
peared and ordered the ruffians home. 2 

Never in history had a President gone forth on a greater mission 
to appeal for constitutional government and the restoration of 
union through conciliation and common sense; and never had one 
been so scurvily treated. City officials in Baltimore, Philadelphia, 
Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh had refused an official 
welcome; the Governors of Ohk> 3 Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, 
Missouri, and Pennsylvania had not appeared; and in the more 
than forty congressional districts traversed, but one Radical Con- 
gressman had paid a call of courtesy. 3 Trouble had been expected 
In Philadelphia,, but nowhere else. 4 Everywhere the mob was the 
aggressor; and nowhere was the President protected against its in- 
sults. Newspapers and magazines teemed with misrepresentations 
and falsehoods, and no one was more culpable than the cultured 
James Russell Lowell in the * North American Review/ He 
reached a rather low level in his characterizations of Seward as 
*a bear leader,' of Johnson as 'his Bruin/ and in describing the 
trip as "this indecent orgy.' The notable snobbery of the poet as- 
serted itself in his reference to Johnson's * vulgar mind, and that 
mind a Southern one/ 6 The reference to "this indecent orgy* was 
low and false. *As a member of the party/ wrote B. C. Truman 
years later, 6 'I can say that there was no drunkenness at all OB the 
trip. Johnson, who had given up whiskey for sherry, indulged in 
but little of the latter, and Grant drank not at all/ But the Radi- 
cals had become such adepts at lying that even Rhodes was con- 
vinced of the 'orgy/ One of the most nauseous of the tribe, J. M. 
Ashley, Member of Congress, crony of Stanton, was writing the 
latter of his "surprise and humiliation' because Grant was too 
drunk to appear at Cleveland and Johnson 'in such a condition 
that it would have been better if he had gone into seclusion"; and 
Stanton was accepting the slander with a sanctimonious sigh. 7 It 
was agreed by all the tribe that Johnson was undone; but what a 

1 New York Tribune, September 14, 1866. Ibid. * Welles, M, 588-96. 

4 Ibid. g North American Review, October, 1860. 

6 Century, January, 1913. 

7 Flower, Life ofStanton, StaEton to Ashley, September 14, 1860. 



A 139 

fright they had had until they hit upon that device at Cleveland! 

At Lancaster, Thad Stevens was chuckling in his unpleasant 
way, and making the most of the mobs in a talk to his neighbors. 
The trip had been a * circus/ Sometimes one * clown' (Johnson) 
performed and sometimes another (Seward). 'I shall not describe 
to you/ he said, 'how sometimes . . . they entered into street 
brawls with common blackguards; how they fought at Cleveland 
and Indianapolis. . . . They told you he [Johnson] had been every- 
thing but one. He had been a tailor I do not think he said 
drunken tailor no, he had been a tailor. [Laughter.] He had 
been a city alderman. [Laughter.] He had been in the Legislature 
God help that Legislature! [Great merriment.] He had been in 
Congress and now he was President. He had been everything but 
one he had never been a hangman and he asked leave to hang 
Thad Stevens. 5 

But when Johnson returned to the White House, he showed no 
chagrin. 'His manner was absolutely as when he first took upon ' 
himself the cares of office/ He made no reference to the trip, and 
"there was not an added line in his face/ l 

IV 

Meanwhile, with an election approaching, what were the South- 
ern people doing? Everywhere a feeling of utter depression and 
hopelessness. The mob groans from the North seemed curses on 
the South. With party politics few were concerned. Sympathy 
there was with Johnson, but few counted on his success. *If the 
policy of Thad Stevens is to prevail/ wrote Jonathan Worth to a 
prospective immigrant, "I could not conscientiously advise any- 
body to emigrate to North Carolina. That policy would degrade 
nine tenths of our adult population/ 2 Many were convinced of 
the settled purpose of the Radicals Ho subjugate the Southern 
people after the manner of Poland and Ireland under James I and 
Cromwell/ In carrying out such plans it was feared they 'would 
not scruple to call in the aid of the blacks/ 3 The rule of carpet- 
baggers was looming dark on the horizon. Even such men as 
Fessenden of Maine were demanding the right to appoint Govern- 

1 Crook, 112. 2 Worth, i, 591. 

8 Ruffin Papers, Edw. Conigland to Ruffin, 76. 



140 TRAGIC 

merit officials in the stricken States. 1 In North Carolina^ W. W. 

Holden, embittered by his defeat for Governor, was turning to the 
extremists and foreshadowing the use of military forces to sustain 
the Radical rule. 2 Given half a chance, the average Southerner 
would have eschewed politics to devote his energies to the eco- 
nomic rehabilitation of the country. 3 But the fear of the domina- 
tion of negroes and carpetbaggers could not be thrown off. The 
blacks were becoming intoxicated with the idea of acquiring politi- 
cal power and soon. Had they not assembled in the Methodist 
Church at Tallahassee to choose a Congressman and make a col- 
lection to defray his expenses to Washington? And while there 
was some merriment when he made a pleasure jaunt to Savannah 
and returned to give an account of his stewardships the incident 
was too suggestive for real enjoyment. 4 

Then there was the Fourteenth Amendment disfranchising the 
leaders of the people and demanding their degradation that was 
intolerable. Everywhere that was agreed. 'If we arc to be de- 
graded/ wrote Worth, 5 'we will retain some self -esteem by not 
making it self -abasement. ... If we were voluntarily to adopt this 
amendment I think we should be the meanest and most despicable 
people on earth.' The brilliant editor of the Mobile Register/ 
John Forsyth, wrote that * it is one thing to be oppressed, wronged, 
and outraged by overwhelming force; it is quite another to submit 
to voluntary abasement. 9 6 In Mississippi the sentiment was bit- 
terly against adoption. 7 In Texas the Governor denounced it. In 
Arkansas the Democrats were organized and fighting fiercely and 
effectively against * Old Imbecility/ as they dubbed Governor Mur- 
phy, and the Radicals there were broadcasting to the North that 
'Union men are being hunted down and shot by rebels.' 8 The Re- 
publican Party was being formed in all the States, and the Opposi- 
tion had not yet merged because of the inveterate hatred of former 
Whigs and Democrats. In Georgia, where the Governor had at- 
tacked the Fourteenth Amendment, the picturesque Joe Brown, 
Confederate War Governor, was going over to the Stevens crowd 

1 Worth, i, 469. 2 Hamilton, 171. 

3 Advice of Governor Jenkins, Thompson, 104. 4 Wallace, 38-89, 

6 To W. D. Hedrick, Worth, it, 665. 

6 Fleming, $94. 7 Lowry. 8 Staples, 108-00. 



A 141 

with recommendations of acceptance on the theory of a conquered 
people. This desertion was soon to unify the Opposition and ere 
long there would be fine fighting in Georgia. 1 Meanwhile, to serve 
the purposes of radicalism, weird tales of 'outrages' against blacks 
and carpetbaggers were being hurried to the Northern press. The 
Tourgee fabrication of the fifteen murdered negroes in a pond was 
being used with fine effect. Northern press correspondents were in 
the South mingling with the lowest elements in bar-rooms, broth- 
els, to pick up the meaningless mouthings of the vulgar for po- 
litical consumption. Silly stories of ' outrages' were telegraphed 
without investigation. Even General Swayne protested frequently 
against these slanders, but without avail. Reports went out that 
no man's life was safe on the highways of North Carolina. c A man 
may travel in North Carolina with as much security as in any 
State of the Union/ indignantly wrote Worth in reply to an in- 
quiry. * Cases of disturbance save in the chief towns are almost un- 
heard of, and in the chief towns they are much less frequent than 
in your cities.' 2 

As part of the propaganda, petitions were sent the President 
complaining of an alleged persecution and indictment of Union 
men for acts committed in the Union cause, and these were fea- 
tured in the Northern press; the fact that an investigation dis- 
closed but two indictments out of the fifty-six mentioned, and one 
of these for illegally selling liquor, was not permitted to reach the 
Northern people. 3 



Such were the conditions under which the important campaign 
of 1866 was fought. The Johnsonians, and Democrats supporting 
them, sought through serious constitutional arguments to reach 
the minds of the voters; the Radicals were concerned solely with 
their passions. Soon circulars were secretly circulating among the 
Irish attacking Johnson because of the performance of his duty 
apropos of the Fenian move on Canada. 1 Then appeared the 'Phil- 
adelphia Ledger' canard, charging that Johnson had asked his 
Attorney-General for an opinion on his right to send a message to 

i Fielder, Ufe of Brown, 4fcl-% 424. 2 Worth, i, 498. 

3 Hamilton, 182. * New York World, November 21, 1866. 



142 TRAGIC 

"an illegal and unconstitutional assemblage pretending to be the 
Congress of the United Slates/ and as to whether Ms oath of office 
required him c to enforce those provisions of the Constitution 
which give to each State an equal right of representation in 
Congress. 5 This was intended to create the impression that he 
planned a coup d'etat. It was not a new bugaboo, for had not the 
Radicals in caucus discussed means of preventing it? Sunnier was 
solemnly warning the Bostonians against the danger. *You may 
judge him [Johnson] by the terrible massacre at New Orleans/ 
he wrote Bright. 'Stanton confessed to me that he [the President] 
was its author.' 1 Ah, these "confessions' of Stanton! "The Ledger 5 
story was just a new eruption, denounced by the 'New York 
World 5 as instigated by speculators 'who wished to influence the 
gold market by playing on the fears of the country." 2 A little 
skeptical itself, after having spread the story, 'The Public Ledger' 
investigated and apologized. Some one c in office' had informed it 
that the paper had been seen on the Attorney-General's desk, 3 
More treachery some one c in office/ 

And what new banner is this fluttering from the hilltops where 
Radicals do congregate? Why, it is the c bloody shirt/ new flag of 
our Union, to render mighty service for more than a generation. 
Oliver P. Morton was its Betsy Ross. He is discussing reconstruc- 
tion and dare not stick to the text lest that Richmond speech rise 
to plague him. What can he say? Let us listen: * Every unregen- 
erate rebel . , calls himself a Democrat. Every bounty jumper, 
every deserter, every sneak who ran away from the draft calls him- 
self a Democrat. . . . Every man who murdered Union prisoners , . . 
who invented dangerous compounds to burn steamboats and 
Northern cities, who contrived hellish schemes to introduce into 
Northern cities . . . yellow fever, calls himself a Democrat. Every 
dishonest contractor . . . every dishonest paymaster . . . every 
officer in the army who was dismissed for cowardice calls himself 
a Democrat ... In short, the Democratic Party may be described 
as a common sewer and loathsome receptacle.^ 4 Thus the great 
man wandered on, while men actually cheered themselves hoarse 
over this 'exposS* of the infamies of Johnson's policies. At the 

1 Pierce, iv, 298. 2 October 11, 1866. October 15, 1806. 

* Foulke, life of Morton, i 474-75. 



A 143 

same time, Zack Chandler was touring in the West. "Every man 
who murdered and stole and poisoned was a Democrat 9 ; and 
Johnson was a tool of the rebels. And Roscoe Conkling, histri- 
onically, was holding forth as. well. 'The President . . . deceit- 
ful errand . . . imperial condescension . . . supercilious patronage 
which seems to ape Louis Napoleon . . . This angry man, dizzy 
with the elevation to which the assassination has raised him. . .' 
Was any one in doubt of the meaning of a Johnson victory with 
the aid of the Democrats? It was to restore rebels to power, to pay 
for the slaves, to make the Nation pay for damages done the South 
in the war, to make the United States assume the rebel debt. 

Thus Roscoe Conkling confirmed his right to the orator's crown, 
and men cheered such utterances to the echo. 1 Soothed by the 
sound, he warmed to his task. "Women and children shot down 
for decorating Union soldiers* graves . . . Now the rich traitor is 
courted and caressed and the poor Unionist butchered with the 
connivance of Andrew Johnson.' 2 'Are you ready to put your 
rights . . . property, and the honor of the nation to be raffled off by 
the murderers of your children?' 3 

Thus Wendell Phillips writes in the 'Anti-Slavery Standard 9 
that Johnson must be impeached, and the Government turned 
over to some one selected by the House pending the impeachment. 4 
Then, laying down his pen, he rushed to the platform of Cooper 
Union. fi This mobocrat of the White House/ he said to the fren- 
zied patriots impeach him ! Remove him during the trial ! Four 
years, too long for Presidents! Imagine * Andrew Jackson when 
once planted upon the Government lasted eight years.' 5 

Yes, echoed Ben Butler, not to be outdone. 'Impeach him and 
remove him now.* And how? Let the Senate sergeant at arms 
place him under arrest and tell him that unless he does as told *the 
boys in blue will make him.' More: if Johnson dare call on the 
standing army, these 'boys in blue' will sweep it away 'like cob- 
webs before the sun. 5 6 Thus Butler, squinting from the platform 
in Cleveland and Cincinnati. And while Butler was gasconading 

1 Life of Conkling, 370, 388. 2 JMdL, 278. 3 Ibid., 76. 

4 Quoted, New York World, September 27, 1866. 

6 Ibid., October 26, 1866. 

6 Ibid., October 9, 1866; The Nation, October 11, 1866. 



144 THE TRAGIC ERA 

against phantoms la the West, the scholarly Stunner, facing the 
Bostonians in Music Hall, was exclaiming: 'Witness Memphis, 
witness New Orleans* who can doubt that the President is the 
author of these tragedies ?* 

With such an onslaught of the political bravos and bullies. Re- 
publicans, keeping the company of their common sense, were 
either driven to silence or the mourners' bench. Henry Raymond 
refused another congressional nomination in a manly letter de- 
claring his adherence still to Johnson's policies, and retiring be- 
cause his opinions were not in harmony with the sentiment of those 
with whom he had been acting. 1 Henry Ward Beecher, who had 
been generously blackguarded for his .support of Johnson, was not 
of the stuff of heroes. His congregation paid him handsomely, and 
it was against him. For once in his life he had failed to line up 
with the heavy artillery and he was unhappy* Thus one night he 
made his recantation before a crowded audience at the Academy 
of Music, Brooklyn. "When in a matter of politics I am overruled, 
what shall I do? J he asked. * Shall I sulk and refuse to work?' It 
was not in his nature to refuse to work, and, plunging headlong, he 
rehabilitated himself in the esteem of the pew-holders by making 
what 'The Nation' 2 described as tf a savage onslaught on the 
Democratic Party as the enemy of all good causes. 9 It was so 
violently contradictory of his letter to the Cincinnati Convention 
of a month before that the Democratic organ made merry over the 
manifest absurdity. 'This seems the most maliciously cruel attack 
ever made on the reputation of a public man/ said 'The World/ 
referring to the publication of the recantation speech. * When Mr. 
Bennett whirls about, no one is surprised; when Mr. Raymond 
trims it is considered a matter of course; but Mr. Beecher is 
supposed to be governed by higher motives, and what would be 
venial m them would be infamous in him/ 3 There were a few un- 
happy days for the well-paid crusader of the Lord. * Sunset* Cox 
spoke Immediately afterward IB Brooklyn in a merciless excoria- 
tion, Beecher's speech, he said, reeked of party, party, party. It 
was full of hate and venom and slander. It was the voice of 
a trimmer, the turn of a weather-cock. 4 It required men of 

1 Life of Raymond, 189-90. 2 The Nation, October 18, 1866, 

3 The World, October 16, 1806. < Ibid., October 18, 1866. 



PATRIOTS A PRESIDENT 145 

stronger moral character than Beecher to withstand the fusillade 
of abuse turned on the supporters of Johnson. 

It was at this time that Thomas Nast wheeled Into the fight 
with cartoons in * Harper's Weekly 5 of bitterness and brutality. 
The gentle and conservative George William Curtis, the editor, 
was a bit shocked, thinking it bad policy c to break finally and 
openly with our own Administration/ and, in a letter to Nast, 
said the pictures suggested were such hard hits he hoped 'it may 
not be necessary to use them in these disputes'; 1 but Fletcher 
Harper disagreed. 'It is not necessary that all should agree. Mr. 
Curtis and Mr. Nast are personally responsible each for his own 
contribution'; and thus the pencil of Nast reenforced the tongues 
of Stevens, Butler, Phillips, Sumner, and Morton. 2 And just then 
Hannibal Hamlin, who had never forgiven Johnson for displacing 
him in the Vice-Presidency, although appointed Collector of Cus- 
toms in Boston by his successor, resigned in a bloody-shirt letter, 3 
and he was soon upon the stump demanding Johnson's impeach- 
ment, and accusing him of responsibility for the New Orleans 
massacre. 4 

Only from the women did the Radicals encounter opposition 
that really hurt. Elizabeth Cady Stanton had annoyed them per- 
sistently by asking why intelligent white women of property were 
not considered as much entitled to a vote as the semi-barbarous 
negroes of the islands off Charleston. 5 She made much of the 
claim that * James Brooks was the only Congressman last winter 
who had the nerve and decency to present the Woman's Suffrage 
Memorial to Congress' and he was the Democratic leader of 
the House, 6 

In the midst of the tumult and the shouting, the Democrats 
were trying to reason with people whose ears were attuned 
rather to abuse. Their efforts offered little hope of harvest. In a 
meeting at Cooper Union, Horatio Seymour was pleading for a 
policy of restoration speaking with the voice of prophecy: 
* There is danger from the growing corruption which festers when 
far-off States are put under the control of agents with unusual and 

1 Paine, Life of Nast, 123. 2 Ibid. 

* Hamlin, Life of Hamlin, 509-10. 4 Ibid. 
5 New York World, October 13, 1866. 6 Ibid., November 21, 1866. 



146 TRAGIC 

undefined powers, meddling not only with public concerns, but 
with private business and family affairs. These agents, mostly ad- 
venturers and men unknown to the people, and beyond the reach 
of the eye of those who pay the cost of keeping them, are more 
tempted by love of power and lust for money to act corruptly. 
This form of government for the South, base and debasing, lives 
only by keeping up the passions and hates of the people of this 
country. 5 1 Samuel J. Tilden was speaking powerfully, too, sup- 
porting Johnson as possessing 'the qualities which yesterday we 
were wont to applaud/ and declaring his policy 'the true constitu- 
tional doctrine/ 

But this was crying against the wind. Beecher screamed "cop- 
perhead 3 ; Butler, rebel hounds'; Sumner, * defenders of the New 
Orleans massacre 5 ; and Morton's voice was reverberating still 
"every man who murdered Union soldiers was a Democrat.' The 
result was Inevitable. The Radicals won easily, and the doom of 
the South was pronounced. 'We may read our destiny In the indi- 
cations just at hand from the Northern elections/ wrote one 
Southerner to another 'utter ruin and abject degradation are 
our portion/ 2 

But there was jubilation In quarters not concerned with the 
punishment of the South nor with negro suffrage as such. The 
"Philadelphia North- American' rejoiced because "the present 
Chief Magistrate Is not a friend of domestic Industry/ and the 
'New York World 9 declared 'the Protectionists are hugely de- 
lighted. ... It gives them at least two years more to plunder the 
country/ 3 In the branch bank of Jay Cooke & Company at Wash- 
ington, presided over by the genial Henry Cooke, there was much 
festivity. 'Holding a regular levee/ he wrote his brother, 'Coif ax, 
Washburne, Spauldlng, Sherman, and others among the callers. 
. . . They all feel that as visitors they are masters of the situation 
and can, with their two thirds, run the machine of government 
themselves.' 4 The house of Cooke was wanting Government 
money for its private enterprises and the skies were as the skies of 
Italy. 

In England the London ' Telegraph/ Interpreting the election, 

1 Life of Seymour, 160-67. 2 Huffin Papers, Edwards to Buffin, 18$, 

8 November 1$, 1866 4 Oberholtzer, Cooke, H, 25. 



A 147 

thought the United States 'may remain a republic in name, but 
some eight million of the people are subjects, not citizens.' l It 
was In these elections that the old Republic of Jefferson went 
down and the agriculturists were definitely shunted aside to make 
way for the triumphant industrialists and capitalists. 

1 November 9; quoted, New York World, November 4, 1866. 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE REVOLUTION HURRIES ON 

i 

EAGER under the leadership of Stevens to press their advan- 
tage from the election, the Republican leaders were deep in 
conferences before Congress convened. The feeble old man had 
heavy work before him, and Nature warned him that his time 
was short. Never had he been more domineering; and while some 
resented the shaking of the bony finger of the tottering man 
whose life was flickering, these bowed obeisance at a glance from 
his piercing eye. 'Genius and audacity without wisdom/ wrote 
one observer; 'imagination but not sagacity, cunning but not 
principle.' I No matter he had power and he was prepared to 
use it without stint. 

One idea was firmly fixed in Stevens's mind that the revolu- 
tion had concentrated governmental power in Congress. What 
more proper, then, than a civic reception, to the members on their 
arrival, closing with a banquet? Instantly Colonel Forney was 
scurrying about, demanding the dismissal of Government clerks 
to lengthen the parade. Fifteen hundred marchers responded to 
the call mostly negroes and the spectator from the terrace 
beheld a dizzy scene, with freedmen in variegated costumes, 
negresses in bright turbans, blacks mounted on skinny cart- 
horses, politicians and placemen lolling in carriages. 2 Though 
Welles's negro servant thought the parade a fizzle, 3 the revolution- 
ists were content. The story sent abroad would stir the party 
fever in far places. 

The House met, and Stevens moved an adjournment without 
waiting for Johnson's Message. When Samuel J. Randall inquired 
if it were not customary to hear the Message, Colfax, with his 
fixed grin, refused to hear. The Message arrived, and some one 
moved a postponement of the reading, but this would have been 
too insolent, and the clerk began to read. A little while, and 

1 Welles, ii, 626. 2 New YorJc World, December 4, 1866. 3 Welles, H, 6S1. 



REVOLUTION ON 149 

Stevens Interrupted. 'Our friends are now in the east portico 
expecting us/ he announced. It was enough, and statesmen 
festively filed out to smile upon the turbaned heads, negroes on 
cart-horses, political overseers in carriages. 1 That night, in a barn- 
like structure* the welcomers greeted the statesmen at a banquet 
all but the negroes, who were denied admission. Little of 
grandeur in the scene, and yet had not other revolutionists met in 
a tennis court? The services of Fisk Mills, the sculptor, had been 
requisitioned even as were those of David in another age, and all 
about, as in the days of the French Revolution, were symbolical 
pictures and busts the stern features of Stevens., the set smile 
of Colfax, the patriarchal benignity of Greeley, the cold dignity 
of Trumbull. 2 And then oratory revolutionary too. 

That day at the White House, Andrew Johnson was bowing 
over the hand of Madame Ristori, the actress, and his daughters 
were showing her over the grounds and conservatory in the rear. 3 

The revolution had advanced by leaps and bounds. The Re- 
publican caucus just before Congress met had been as tumultu- 
ous as a meeting of the Jacobins. Orators tongue-lashed the 
President; Stevens proposed to instruct the Senate on presidential 
appointments, and when a bold spirit suggested that the Senate 
needed no advice, up sprang Stevens 'like an acrobat, 5 his follow- 
ers cheering. How dared any one question the power of the House 
6 fresh from the people * ? He did not know what might be the selfish 
motive of the objector this with a blasting look at the shrinking 
culprit. But there was more. Why not investigate Johnson? asked 
Boutwell. Splendid! said Stevens. When he returned home last 
summer he found the people complaining that he had been too 
conservative. 'They have got ahead of me/ he said; *I have got 
to catch up. 3 4 

And there sat poor Henry Raymond, stripped of honors, 
shunned and scorned, the circulation of 'The Times* slipping. 
Four days later in another caucus, Ashley, the vigilant patriot, 
observing him in the room, proposed that he withdraw. The 
deposed chairman of the party rose nervously to demand an 
explanation. He was a Union man and the caucus laughed. He 

1 New York World, December 6, 1866. 2 New York Tribune, December 6, 1866. 

4 Ibid., December 3, 1866. 



150 THE TRAGIC EEA 

had always been a Union man and more laughter. One toler- 
ant member, moved to pity, proposed that the determination of 
his course be left with Raymond. Then up sprang Stevens, and the 
caucus chuckled. A mere sardonic smile in Raymond's direction, 
and the caucus was convulsed. The dictator would never consent 
to a Johnson Republican sitting in, for there was no such species., 
but if Raymond were penitent, he might be accepted on probation. 

'Was not the Republican Convention an Andy Johnson Con- 
vention?* thundered the dictator. 'I did not think so when I 
went in/ Raymond meekly replied. "Do you still adhere to the 
Address of that Convention? 5 persisted Stevens. * According to 
my interpretation of it/ was the response. 

Tut him out/ shouted the extremists. 

The vote was taken on the motion to leave the decision with 
Raymond, and he escaped expulsion by a majority of two out of 
seventy-four votes cast. 1 

Stevens was ruling with a rod of iron, his rooms crowded with 
politicians, many from the South. To these he unfolded his plan to 
rule the South ten years by the sword, with Territorial Governors 
and Legislatures, and with the education ,of whites and blacks 
under the control of Washington. Thus would the freedmen be 
trained for citizenship. Otherwise negro suffrage at once. *In 
my county/ he said, * there are fifteen hundred escaped slaves. 
If they are specimens of the negroes of the South, they are not 
qualified to vote. Twelve months hence you will have reconstruc- 
tion acts with negro suffrage.' 2 In the Senate the conservatives 
were deprived of chairmanships and sent to the bottom. 3 The 
upper chamber speedily passed the House bill of the preceding 
session bestowing the ballot on the negroes of the District of 
Columbia. 

The day Johnson submitted his veto of the measure to his 
Cabinet, Grant was sitting in, and thought it * contemptible busi- 
ness for members of Congress whose States excluded the negro to 
give them suffrage in the District/ 4 Johnson read his Message 
refusing consent, because to give suffrage * indiscriminately to a 
new class, wholly unprepared by previous habits and opportunities 

1 New York World and Tribune, December 6, I860. 2 Holden, Memoirs, 85> 1M 

3 Welles, n, 637. 4 Ibid., m, 3-7. 



REVOLUTION ON 151 

to perform the trust which It is to demand, degrades it,* and tends 
finally *to destroy Its power/ The Cabinet approved all but 
Stanton, who read a carefully prepared statement in favor of the 
measure. 

The veto was promptly overridden, with frenzied enthusiasm in 
the House, 1 and soon the negroes, under the management of white 
demagogues, controlled the election. 2 The experiment had worked 
in the District why not in the South? 

ii 

Before following the course of the revolution, let us pause to 
sense the atmosphere in which the drama was staged. Never had 
there been so many idle men in the streets of the capital, the 
termination of the war having flooded it with a dangerous floating 
population that fought for places. Of the thirty thousand negroes 
two thirds did not average a day's work in a week. No matter 
they could furnish a gallery audience for the play. The poorhouse 
was so congested that only a fraction o the vagrants could be 
offered shelter. 3 The hotels were packed to capacity. 

In society, politics cast a shadow between the bright lights and 
guests. Deep down was a feeling of uneasiness, and hostesses 
moved in an atmosphere of treachery which was felt. Danton 
would still visit the salon of Madame Roland, but Madame would 
speak her mind about him when he was gone* On New Year's Day, 
the enemies of the President would mingle with his friends at the 
White House, trudging on foot or driving through the slush and 
melting snow to shake the hand of him they had marked for 
slaughter. As the hatred deepened, the presidential levees were 
to lose none of their popularity , and that in February, 'brilliant 
beyond precedent/ was so crowded that women fainted and a 
detail of police had to be summoned from the station. 'The 
largest reception ever witnessed at the Executive Mansion' 
and yet by this time the more rabid of the Radicals had th$ 
decency to remain away. 4 A restless impulse drove people to these 
receptions. Grant, living in the old home of Douglas, was receiving 

1 Welles, ni, 8. 2 Ibid., m, 10S. 

8 Washington Star, November 25; quoted, New York World, November 7, 1866. 

4 Ibid., February 21, 1867. 



THE TRAGIC ERA 

multitudes, and 'it took from one to two hours to pass from the 
street ... to the cloak-room upstairs/ * 

That was the winter that Suniner, having taken unto himself 
a young wife, was moving a little more jauntily in the drawing- 
rooms. The autumn before his marriage to the beautiful Mrs. 
Hooper had been one of palpitations between satisfaction and 
misgivings. *I tremble sometimes at the responsibility 1 assume/ 
he wrote George Bancroft. 2 Soon he was installed with Ms bride 
and her eight-year-old child in a home at 322 I Street, with a 
French tutor for the child, a family pew at the Epiphany, and the 
carriage and span of horses that had belonged to Lord Lyons. 
Despite the bitter battles at the Capitol, that winter found him 
more and more at dinners and balls. 3 Soon the gossips, noting the 
disparity in the ages of the two, were putting their bobbing heads 
together. A handsome young attache of the Prussian Legation 
was found so attentive to the lady that even John Bigelow thought 
'such an intimacy crowded rather close on the honeymoon/ 4 
Soon the whispers would be busy with the story of an amber 
necklace; soon a blight fell on the budding romance, and ladies 
were smiling behind their fans, and statesmen were discussing the 
story over their cigars. Bryant, the poet, thought the tragedy that 
of c a woman not content with a husband who is too exclusively 
occupied with himself and his own greatness/ 5 Others suggested 
more delicate reasons, but almost universally the blame was laid 
on Sumner. Thus the winter was sometimes chill for him, and he 
would return for the next alone, and more lonely than ever. 

But drawing-rooms and ballrooms did not monopolize the in- 
terest of those engaged in the somber drama at the capital A 
stream of fashionable ladies was pouring into the studio of little 
Viimie Ream in the basement of the Capitol, where she was work- 
ing on her Lincoln. 6 And at the theater, Ristori was appearing in 
her greatest rdles, Forrest in Shakespearean plays, and Joe Jeffer- 
son, playing c Rip Van Winkle/ was coaxing laughter from the 
grimmest of the Radicals. 7 Thus life was not without its lure. 

1 Julian, MS. Diary, February 9, 1867. 2 Pierce, iv, 304. 3 Ibid., 804-05. 
4 Retrospections of an Active Life, rv, 115-16. 6 Ibid., TV, 134. 

6 New York World, April 1, 1867. 

7 Julian, MS. Diary, December OS, 1866. 



THE REVOLUTION ON 153 

in 

Then came the Supreme Court decision In the MUligan case 
denying the right of Congress to suspend trial by jury where a 
court was sitting, and the ringing opinion of Justice David Davis, 
startling as a fire-bell In the night, was hailed by Senator Hen- 
dricks as ' among the landmarks of human liberty/ 1 Instantly the 
Radical batteries were turned upon the Court, even 'Harper's 
Weekly' proposing that it be 'swamped by a thorough reorganiza- 
tion and Increased number of judges. 9 

To Thad Stevens it was a golden opportunity. c That decision/ 
he exclaimed, 'though in terms perhaps not so Infamous as the 
Dred Scott decision, is yet far more dangerous in its operation 
upon the lives and liberties of loyal men. . . . That decision has 
unsheathed the dagger of the assassin and places the knife of the 
rebel at the breast of every man who dares proclaim himself ... a 
Union man.' Now, surely, every one could see the necessity for 
drastic action. 

That drastic action he now proposed a bill dividing the 
South Into military districts under a commander armed with 
arbitrary power, and with no date set for the termination of the 
military despotism. Never had Stevens seemed more vigorous or 
bitter. 'Every government is a despotism,' he said. tf Better for 
the black man if he were governed by one king than by twenty 
million. 5 Only the one king must not be Andrew Johnson. 'He 
and his minions shall Jearn that this is not a government of kings 
and satraps, but a government of the people, and that Congress is 
the people.' And why this bill? Because It 'would assure the as- 
cendancy of the Union [Republican] party/ And then, with a look 
of defiance, 'Do you avow the party purpose? exclaims some 
horror-stricken demagogue. I do.' Courage determines great 
events. Ripe scholars and reformers like Melanchthon fell below 
Luther because they lacked his audacity. 'We may not aspire to 
fame/ he continued. 'But great events fix the eye of history on 
small objects and magnify their meanness. Let us at least escape 
that condition.' 2 

The drooping spirit of Raymond momentarily soared again in 
a brilliant protest against 'handing over the control of [the South] 

1 Congressional Globe, February 15, 1867. z Ibid., January 3, 1867. 



154 THE TRAGIC ERA 

to the absolute and sovereign will of a brigadier-general of the 
regular army.' 1 Nor were the Johnson Republicans the only ones 
to recoil Elaine and Bingham urged a termination of the mili- 
tary despotism on the reconstruction of the States with negro 
suffrage and with little disfranchisement of the whites. But when 
the haggard old man, with ashen face and flashing eyes, applied 
the lash to the champions of "universal amnesty and universal 
Andy Johnsonism,' and pointed his long finger at the moderates 
as * hugging and caressing those whose hands are red and whose 
garments are dripping with the blood of our and their murdered 
kindred/ they cringed and crawled to camp. The Blaine-Bingham 
amendment was defeated, and the trembling old man, with exul- 
tant look and something of a leer, pulled himself to his feet. 

*I wish to inquire, Mr. Speaker, if it is in order for me now to 
say that we endorse the language of the good old Laertes that 
Heaven rules as yet and there are gods above? * 

Coif ax smilingly replied, 'It will be in order for the gentleman 
to say it/ and the galleries laughed and cheered, 2 

In the Senate the fight was renewed for the Blaine-Bingham 
amendment, and as confusion came with the multiplicity of plans, 
the Republicans went into caucus to force an agreement. They 
adopted the amendment, authorized the President Instead of the 
General of the Army (Grant) to name the military commanders, 
provided for Constitutional Conventions to be elected by both 
races, and the admission of the States on the adoption of Con- 
stitutions giving negroes the vote. All this relating to suffrage was 
done over the protests of Trumbull and Fessenden, and largely 
at the instance of Sumner. * Without the colored vote/ wrote that 
intellectual to John Bright, *the white unionists could not be 
organized. The colored vote was necessary. . . . It was on that 
ground, rather than principle, that I relied most/ a 

Stevens was enraged. He had purposely made no provision for 
negro suffrage because in the more radical Fortieth Congress, soon 
to convene, he had planned further legislation combining the 
enfranchisement of negroes, the disfranchisement of whites, and 
the confiscation of white men's property. In a bitter protest, he 

1 Congressional Globe, February 8, 1867. 

2 Ibid., February IS, 1867. a Pierce, iv, 3,19-20. 



THE ON 155 

touched on the sore spot in the Senate's action. *God helping 
me, and I live, there shall be a question propounded to this house 
. . . whether a portion of the debt shall not be paid by the con- 
fiscated property of the rebels. But, sir, this prevents it. 5 

The House again bowed to its master, but the Senate insisted 
on its bill, and after adding two minor amendments the meas- 
ure passed, and the way was opened for the pillaging of the 
South. 

IV 

But there was more to do. The Tenure-of -Office Act, forbidding 
the President to remove officials named by him with the Senate's 
advice, without that body's consent, must be passed. There was 
nothing mysterious in the purpose, as Hendricks's reference to 
the Cabinet implied, 1 but Sherman thought *no man of any sense 
of honor would hold a position as a Cabinet officer after his chief 
desired his removal/ 2 Within a year Sherman was to find the man 
with 'no sense of honor/ and to vote for the President's impeach- 
ment because of that man's removal. 

On Washington's Birthday, Johnson laid the two bills before the 
Cabinet, and Stanton, making the most of Beverdy Johnson's 
support of the Military Bill, urged him to sign. 3 The clear treach- 
ery of this advice was as a knife-thrust to the President, who, for 
the first time, manifested excitement and indignation. With 
flashing eyes he discussed the incident with loyal members of the 
Cabinet. Could it be, he wondered, that Stanton imagined he was 
not understood? 4 Four days later, Stanton advised the veto of the 
Tenure-of-Office Act. Good, said Johnson, would Mr. Stanton 
write it? Alas, he was so busy! Ignoring the pretext, Johnson 
asked Seward to prepare it with Stanton's assistance, and Seward, 
crossing the room to his colleague, suggested that they enter upon 
their duty. 5 

Meanwhile, Jeremiah S. Black, great constitutional lawyer, was 
so engrossed in the preparation of the veto of the Military Bill 
that he did not even raise his head when any one entered the 
Cabinet room, where he worked at the President's table. 6 Soon the 

* Congressional Globe, February 18, 1867. 2 Rid. 3 Welles, ra, 49. 

*Ibid. JfWdL, m, 51. 8 Rid. 



156 THE TRAGIC ERA 

veto Messages were read that of the Tenure-of -Office Act* the 
work of Stanton himself. 

The morning these Messages went to Congress, Johnson was 
more than usually depressed, the conferences of the preceding 
night having deprived him of his accustomed sleep, but he was 
calm and determined. 1 The Messages were powerful in reasoning 
and unanswerable in their objections. "To the publicist and 
historian of this day they are masterpieces of political logic, con- 
stitutional interpretation, and official style/ wrote Professor 
Burgess, thirty-five years later. 2 But when they were read, no 
Republican Senator pretended to listen, and John Bigelow, 
looking on in amazement, was so * shocked' that he * began to 
doubt whether the Constitution was in safer hands now than it had 
been when the South was in the saddle/ 3 Reverdy Johnson at- 
tacked the veto, Hendricks defended, the roll was called, the veto 
overridden* and the "galleries rejoiced. There was but mild ap- 
plause over the vote on the Tenure-of -Office Act. 4 'It is now per- 
fectly manifest/ wrote a Radical, 'that impeachment is to be our 
only remedy/ 5 And the next day the 'New York World' pub- 
lished the names of the two thirds in borders of black, with the 
comment: 'The time is coming when every man in the above list 
will stand accurst in our history/ 6 
It was unquestionably a wicked day's work. 



Obsessed with the idea of impeachment, the revolutionists 
caucused for two hours on the night of January 6, 1867, on a pre- 
text for such action, with Thad Stevens advising delay. tf Yes, sir* 
I think he ought to be impeached/ he said, 'but I am not willing 
to go into the matter hastily; when it is done, it ought to be done/ 
thoroughly and certainly/ 7 Unimpressed, the morrow found Loan 
of Missouri and Ashley of Ohio introducing resolutions charg- 
ing Johnson with every imaginable crime. Absurd as these were, 
Welles was fearful that 'infamous charges, infamous testimony, 

1 Wells, m 56. 2 Burgess, 126. 8 Retrospections, iv, 45. 

4 Congressional Globe, March 2, 1867. 6 Mian, MS. Diary, March 8, 1867. 

6 March 6, 1867. 

7 New York World, January 7, 1867. 



THE ON 157 

and Infamous proceedings could be produced as easily, honestly,, 
and legally as Butler could get spoons in New Orleans/ l 

And a week later. Loan gave a disgraceful exhibition insinu- 
ating that Johnson had Instigated the assassination of Lincoln! 
Next to Lincoln, he said, Johnson stood in direct line of succession, 
and "by birth, education, and association 5 he was a Southern 
man. Worse "a lifelong pro-slavery Democrat, 5 and 'influenced 
by all the grosser animal instincts 5 and a "towering ambition/ 
What more natural than that the "Jesuitical leaders of the re- 
bellion 5 should prefer such a man in the seat of power? And how 
easy! "But one frail life stood between them and the chief magis- 
tracy/ Thus "the crime was committed ... an assassin's bullet 
directed by rebel hand and paid for by rebel gold made Andrew 
Johnson President/ 

When an indignant member demanded that the words be taken 
down, Coif ax, smiling as usual, as though such charges were cus- 
tomary, ruled the language unexceptionable. Thus encouraged, 
Loan, pushed on, attacking the judiciary; and when a member 
asked if he did not feel his own self-respect and that of the House 
called for some particle of evidence "on which that charge, so 
grave, is founded/ Loan refused to answer, and Colfax smilingly 
announced that * the gentleman refused to answer further/ 2 
There was an appeal from the decision, which was sustained by 
a strict party vote. 

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Summer's personal attacks on John- 
son suggested to Welles "a demagogue filled with whiskey/ 3 and 
the London "Times 5 was commenting that "it is the Constitution 
rather than Mr. Johnson that is in danger/ 4 

The investigation dragged along, with nothing found on which 
to base proceedings, and it was agreed to postpone action until 
the more radical Fortieth Congress should convene. 5 But the 
depraved Ashley, counseled by Colfax, and encouraged by Stevens 
and Ben Butler, was out to get the evidence through purchase or 
manufacture. 

This delectable creature has been strangely slighted by histori- 

1 Welles, in, 12. 2 Congressional Globe, January 14, 1867. 8 Welles, m, 23. 

4 January 12, 1867; quoted, New York World, January 24, 1867. 
6 Julian, MS. Diary, January 27, 1867. 



158 THE TRAGIC ERA 

ans. He was a man of many points, with, a political position more 
than good; and, low and corrupt as he was, he enjoyed the com- 
radery of more circumspect leaders who loom large as respectable 
dignitaries on the page of history. He was an interesting creature 
in that he had skeletons in his closet. Only five years before., he 
had been caught soliciting a bribe for securing the appointment 
of F. M. Case as Surveyor-General of Colorado? and letters were 
found conclusively proving the charge. The price of his influence 
was to be the appointment of Ashley's brother as Case's chief 
clerk, and a share in all land speculations on town sites. A fortune 
In the job, wrote the itching fingers of the super-patriot. 1 Miracu- 
lously escaping damnation for this crime, Ashley persisted in his 
weird ways. Within a few days of Lincoln's assassination, he had 
domineeringly approached Johnson, demanding an appointment 
for the brother of a Congressman he claimed thus to have bought 
to vote for the amendment abolishing slavery. Enraged at John- 
son's refusal to be a party to any such bargain, he turned with 
venomous hate on the President. 2 

Thus Ashley's leadership caused some misgivings among the 
conservatives, and Henry Cooke warned his brother, Jay, of the 
plan to impeach 'as a political measure, to put Ben Wade in the 
Presidency, and pack the Supreme Court with tools of the Radi- 
cals. 5 3 

When the extra session merged with the regular, Ashley was 
still referring darkly to Johnson and assassination, and when Ran- 
dall inquired if there were an insane asylum near, the members 
were still able to laugh. But Ben Butler was fervently declaring 
that *if any man stands in the way of the great inarch of the 
country ... he must be taken out of the way.* 4 Soon Butler, 
brother to Ashley under the skin, was pushing Mm hard for 
leadership in the impeachment, declaring against adjournment 
since * Andrew Johnson is a bad man and this House and Senate 
should sit here to take care of his acts.' Blaine was skeptical as 
to the public demand for impeachment, insisting that out of 1700 

1 Ashley letters to Case, New York World, January 19, 1867, from Rochester Union; also, 
World, January 12, 1867. 

8 Interview with Johnson, Cincinnati Commercial; quoted, New York Tribune, July SO, 
1867. 

3 Oberiaolteer, Cooke, n, 5-'6. 4 Congressional Globe, March 7, 1867. 



THE ON 159 

or 1800 party papers, not twenty-five regarded the Impeachment 
talk seriously. Nonsense! snorted Thad Stevens, Had not a 
meeting in Sehuylkill County, Pennsylvania* within the last 
two weeks demanded it? * Nobody outside of Congress is demand- 
ing it now/ Elaine replied. Whereupon, casting scruples to the 
wind, Stevens retorted by quoting a private conversation of 
Elaine that there would be no impeachment, since c we would 
rather have the President than that scalawag Ben Wade/ 1 

With the revolutionists critical of the procrastination of the 
investigating committee, Butler was mysteriously promising 
them startling revelations soon; 2 for it was at this time that 
Butler and Ashley were hobnobbing with jail birds in an attempt 
to manufacture a case of murder against Andrew Johnson. 

VI 

The Democratic victory in Connecticut did not sweeten the 
mood of the revolutionists, and Horace Greeley was complaining 
that had the negroes there been given the vote, two hundred 
would have turned the tide. 3 Worn by the worries of the session, 
Thad Stevens was resting uneasily at Lancaster, seeing friends 
and transacting business daily, despite rumors that he was dying. 4 
Even at home, worries retarded his recuperation. There was 
Senator Henry Wilson making conciliatory gestures to the Vir- 
ginians, and the old man seized his pen to write a sizzling rebuke 
to the meddling Yankee. c Who authorized any orator to say there 
would be no confiscation? 5 he demanded. 'Who is authorized to 
travel the country and peddle out amnesty? ' 5 Nothing was 
nearer his heart than confiscation. His pen was busy. * We do not 
confiscate loyal men, nor rebels unless they are rich/ he wrote a 
Southerner. fi A few will suffer, not enough, I fear; some innocent 
men will, I fear.' 6 

Two days later, the editor of an Alabama paper called at Stev- 
ens's house to seek his real intentions as to confiscation. Ushered 
Into the library, he found a frail old man Very thin in. flesh/ 

1 Congressional Globe, March 3, 1867. 2 Ibid., March $9, 1867. 

3 New York Tribune, April 3, 1867. 4 Ibid., April 11, 1867. 

6 Lancaster Intelligencer, April 30, 1867. 

* To F. S. C. Summerkamp, May 21, 1867; quoted, New York World, June 10. 1867. 



160 THE TRAGIC ERA 

seated in an easy-chair. He smiled faintly for a moment, just a 
moment, and was grim again. 

Asked if he pursued Ms policy on principle or for party, he 
snapped back: C I do nothing merely for party purposes. I regard 
my proposed action as equitable and resting upon principles of 
law/ 

*But the Constitution/ remonstrated the visitor. 

'The Constitution . . . has nothing to do with it/ he said, *I 
propose to deal with you entirely by the laws of war/ 

6 And be satisfied with nothing less than confiscation? * asked the 
visitor. 

*No, sir, anything less would be unjust to those wronged by 
your crime/ 

Here, wearied by his passion, Stevens complained of being tired. 

But, persisted the Southerner, suppose Alabama enfranchised 
negroes, provided for their education, guaranteed their protection 
in courts and society, and sent good men to Congress who could 
take the test oath, would they be admitted? 

The tired man paused a moment, looked his visitor in the eye, 
and, with a thundering "No/ closed the interview, 1 

Meanwhile, in Washington, Johnson was struggling with his 
problems and against disease, 2 Grant 9 a bit more at ease* was 
worried over the presidential gossip. In his library lined with 
books presented by Boston admirers,, John Bigelow found him and 
spent an evening with him. Did Grant like Washington? He 
would like it better if there were a half-mile road on which he 
could drive fast horses. 3 

It was the summer Johnson journeyed to Raleigh to assist in 
the dedication of the monument to his father. Here he spoke 
feelingly of his youth, his devotion to the Constitution, the Union. 
'Let us repair the breaches made by the war and restore the 
Union/ he pleaded. 4 In the State House he greeted whites and 
blacks at a reception, and then rode to the cemetery and listened 
to tributes to his father. 5 Leading dignitaries of the State ac- 
companied him from the State capital to the University at Chapel 

1 Editor Drake, Union Springs Times; quoted, New York World, June 20, 1867. 

2 New York World, June 11, 1867. 3 Retrospections, iv, 58. 
4 New York World, June 4, 1807, 4 Ibid., June 5, 1867. 



REVOLUTION ON 161 

Hill, where lie was to dine with the president of the university 
on Commencement day. 1 It was observed that he was "sad and 
taciturn/ Addressing the students, he urged the study of 'the 
principles of the Constitution and free government/ 2 With some 
of his party he attended the students' ball, and seemed happiest 
with the young. Tired and depressed, it had made him none the 
happier to find that his host was a total abstainer. The day was 
hot. He was worn by the ceremonies. Finally breaking away 
from the dignitaries, he wandered over the beautiful campus with 
some of the students, and one of these suggested that there was 
a bottle of real Kentucky rye in the dormitory. Gladly enough, 
he trooped with the students upstairs in the Old South Building; 
there was a scurrying about for ice, sugar, and the 'makings/ and 
he drained two generous glasses. One of the boys thought after- 
ward that he was 'athirst, and the hospitality of the boys was 
uncritical/ 3 

Back in Washington, important matters were pending. Phil 
Sheridan was riding his high horse in New Orleans, and in the 
Cabinet there was a sharp division in the discussion of his re- 
moval. 4 After many Cabinet meetings, in which Johnson was 
* nervous and apprehensive,' Attorney-General Stanbery issued 
an interpretation of the Military Bill, liberal as possible to the 
South, to the effect that an applicant for registration as a voter 
taking the prescribed oath was entitled to go upon the registry, 
and that the Board could not question the oath. 'If he is right, 
then Congress is criminally wrong/ wrote Greeley in 'The Trib- 
une/ 'If right we can no more reconstruct the South under this 
bill than we could under . . . Mr. Swinburne's last poem/ 5 This 
editorial thrust was less intolerable to Johnson than the imperti- 
nent message of Sheridan to his superior that the Stanbery inter- 
pretation opened 'a broad and macadamized road for perjury and 
fraud to travel/ The 'New York Times* thought the insubordina- 
tion without parallel in recent military history, 6 but Greeley could 
find no insubordination. 7 Johnson could see that Sheridan was 
rapidly becoming the Field Marshal of the Radicals. 

1 Euffin Papers, Worth to Kuffin, 180. 2 New York World, June 7, 1867. 

3 Southern Exposure, 37-38. 4 Welles, ni, 104; 151-52; 153-56. 

5 June 17, 1867. 6 June 24, 1867. 7 New York Tribune, June 25, 1867. 



162 ,, THE TRAGIC ERA 

Instantly Thad Stevens wrote the "Washington Chronicle* 
urging that a quorum be present In July to deal with the situa- 
tion. 1 

VII 

In the mean time Johnson was off to Boston to the laying of 
the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple, and, passing 
through Philadelphia, where hospitality had not been offered, he 
found himself in the midst of ovations. Great throngs waved 
greetings in all the towns passed. In New York City he rode in 
an open barouche drawn by four horses from the Battery to the 
Fifth Avenue Hotel, along Broadway, packed with men and 
women in festive mood. In Boston the reception was so warm, the 
much-abused man was deeply moved. Flowers were thrown into 
his carriage. Returning, the Connecticut ovations were generous, 
and at Hartford he made his most telling speech in a paragraph; 
'The best efforts of my life have been exerted for the maintenance 
of the Constitution, the enforcement of the laws, and the preserva- 
tion of the Union of the States/ The 'New York World" editori- 
ally complimented Boston and excoriated Philadelphia* * A direct 
rebuke from Radical Boston to Radical Philadelphia/ 2 Johnson 
returned to the White House more confident of popular support 
than he had been in a year. 

VIII 

Awaiting his return to the battle-field, Thad Stevens sat one 
day in his house in Lancaster giving a strange interview to the 
'New York Herald.' He sat on a lounge, the correspondent in a 
chair, and there was a third party concealed in an adjoining room, 
unknown to the master of the house. This was a stenographer 
who had gone before to take the interview precisely. 3 Observing 
that the correspondent was taking few notes, the old man talked 
freely. The Military Bill had been botched by tf demoralized 
Republicans/ Sherman had interfered with his * usual meddle- 
some folly/ In truth, Congress itself was demoralized, *Some 

* New York WvrU, June 17, 1867, 

2 N&w York World, June 21, 22, 24, 25, 26; New YorJc Tribune, June 27, 1807, 

3 Lancaster Intelligencer, My 15, 1867, Thomas B. Cochran, the stenographer. 



THE ON 163 

members had their wives In Washington and their women at 
home, and others had their women in Washington and their wives 
at home, and it was impossible to keep them together/ Of course, 
no one but Congress had any power to interpret the Military 
Act. * Neither had the conquered people any right to appeal to 
the courts to test the * constitutionality of the law' for *the Con- 
stitution had nothing to do with them nor they with it.* Stan- 
bery's interpretation was mere usurpation. Impeachment? Cer- 
tainly! Stevens would propose it as a matter of 'duty and con- 
science/ Evidence? None needed. Johnson's official acts were 
enough. Confiscation? Assuredly and that not too mild. 
Blood-letting? Why not? Yes, he would have military com- 
missions look into the cases of those responsible for prison 
miseries. But the confiscation measure would have to wait, for the 
patching-up of the Military Bill would require all the time. The 
trouble with men like Schenck and Bingham was 'they have no 
bone in their back and no blood in their veins/ Could impeach- 
ment carry now? No, thought the old man 'on account of 
jealousy on the part of the opponents of Senator Wade/ The con- 
test between Fessenden and Wade for President pro tern, had been 
bitter *and personal motives and feelings will interfere to prevent 
Wade from occupying the Presidential chair/ And what did he 
think of New York Republicans? That State would be lost 'by 
the dish water which has been thrown around by Greeley and 
Gerrit Smith/ But Pennsylvania was worse. ' Cameron and his 
men with their hands full of greenbacks [in the senatorial election]* 
would 'certainly beat us here in the next election/ And what did 
Stevens think of Raymond? The worse failure he had seen in 
Congress. A pretty style, but sophomoric, and *in the midst of his 
most perfumed harangues a few words of common sense would 
knock him flat/ And Ben Butler? A 'false alarm,' at once super- 
ficial, weak, and impracticable. Indeed, a 'humbug/ 

The correspondent passed out of the house on South Queen 
Street, wondering if Stevens, even at his age, was not hungering 
for the Presidency. 1 This amazingly frank interview created a 
sensation without compromising Stevens's leadership. 

1 New York Herald, July II, 1867, five columns. 



164 THE TRAGIC ERA 

IX 

The July session convened with the picturesque old thunderer 
the cynosure of all eyes in the galleries, filled with women. The 
diplomatic corps was out in force. Down on the floor, Stevens, 
' apparently in the last stages of debility/ was seen * feeble and 
tottering on his cane or crawling from desk to desk.' l Julian 
thought him c more feeble than , . . ever before/ 2 The Radicals 
Were harmonious, and within five days Ben Butler had introduced 
his resolution to investigate Johnson's connection with the murder 
of Lincoln, and his committee was soon at work. *The Herald 5 
interview had not diminished Stevens's popularity with those he 
had charged with having their 'women/ and there was always a 
congestion of visitors before his door. 3 His weak denial of the 
personal portions of the interview had been accepted in the Pick- 
wickian sense, and when a member asked if he had really said 
that 'The Herald' was 'the only true Union paper during the 
war/ the flicker of a smile crept over the haggard face as he re- 
plied that 'this cross-examining is very dangerous, for it might 
bring me into difficulty with my friend Horace Greeley.' The 
House laughed and the incident was closed, 4 

The bill to declare the 'true meaning and intent' of the Military 
Act, apparently written by Stanton, was speedily passed. 6 It 
struck down every vestige of home rule and civil liberty. The 
debate found Oliver P. Morton vigorously replying to Ms own 
Richmond speech, for he had undergone a speedy transforma- 
tion since his denunciation of the radicalism of Julian. Because 
of his crippled condition, he spoke seated, and Hendricks was the 
first to congratulate him, though he later twitted him on his 
somersault. 6 

The night the bill passed, a large crowd with several bands 
marched to the home of Stevens, who, too exhausted to appear, 
was represented by a friend, and he was lauded as the supreme 
patriot. 7 

Johnson was prompt with a vigorous veto, and, as the House 

* New York Herald, July 4, 1867. 2 MS, Diary, July 4, 1807. 

3 New York Herald, July 8, 1867. 4 Congressional Globe. July 10, 1867. 

6 Gorham, n, S7S. 6 Foulkes, n, 87-38. 

7 New York World, July $2, 1867. 



THE REVOLUTION ON 165 

clerk read it in strangely ringing tones, the silence was sepulchral. 
Boutwell spoke bitterly, hinting at impeachment, and Stevens said 
unseen forces were at work to prevent that consummation de- 
voutly to be wished. This comment was on the tongues of the 
gossips that night. Did he mean the fight over the presidential 
succession or did he refer to the Masons? 1 But no matter 
Stevens had the votes and the veto was answered. 



Meanwhile, Sandf ord Conover, whose real name was Dunham* 
sojourning in the jail as a convicted perjurer, was receiving dis- 
tinguished callers, for he who had sought the murder of Con- 
federate leaders on his perjured testimony seemed promising to 
Butler and Ashley. Here was a man practiced in perjury, with the 
heart of an assassin, and Johnson's complicity in the murder of 
Lincoln must be established on manufactured evidence. Soon 
Ashley was sneaking to the jail to confer with the black-hearted 
scoundrel and his wife, explaining just what he and Butler re- 
quired in the way of evidence. They wanted witnesses to prove 
that Booth had conferred with Johnson more than once; that they 
had corresponded this to be shown by messengers who carried 
the notes; that Atzerodt had been sent armed to Johnson's hotel to 
disarm suspicion; and that Booth had told friends the murder was 
planned with Johnson's connivance. Soon the * witnesses* were 
produced, and the testimony they were to give gone over care- 
fully with Butler and Ashley. With lawyer-like caution, Butler 
amended, added to, subtracted from, the statements to make 
them more convincing. And the * witnesses 5 were assured they 
would be * splendidly rewarded.' 2 

This low conspiracy was to fail because of Dunham's refusal to 
proceed without a pardon, and soon, with the Republican press 
denouncing Ashley for his blunders, he was to write the 'Toledo 
Blade' denying he had publicly accused the President of murder, 
and defiantly defending his association with Dunham with the 

1 New York Herald, July 20, 1867. 

2 Dunham's letter to Johnson in the report of the Attorney-General on the former's peti- 
tion for pardon, published in full with Ashley's notes to Dunham, New York Herald, 
August 10, 1867. 



166 THE TRAGIC ERA 

statement that he would have called on a murderer on the eve of 
his execution to get evidence, if offered. 1 

Meanwhile, the impeachment plans dragged along, and Stevens 
sat listening to excuses for the delay, with a sneer. Six months, 
and nothing done, he grumbled. He knew the bad psychological 
effect of these failures to find evidence. *I should like to know/ 
he said, 'if they have finished taking the testimony of my friend 
Horace Greeley/ and the incident closed with a laugh. 2 Indeed, 
by the end of the session the absurdity had become grotesque, 
with the Democrats making sport of the proceedings. *We have 
seen the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts shake his 
head most seriously, saying that he hoped things might not be as 
bad as they might be, but that if they were as bad as they might 
be, he did not know what the consequences would be.' 3 

XI 

With the statesmen en route home on adjournment,, Johnson 
turned his attention to Stanton. With Chief Justice Chase he 
discussed his plan to substitute Hancock for Sheridan, and to 
displace Stanton with Grant. The wily politician of the Supreme 
Court advised against the disciplining of Sheridan, and thought 
Grant's appointment would satisfy the country but for the impli- 
cation in the removal of Stanton. 4 That very day the Cabinet had 
discussed the insubordination of Sheridan, with Welles and Ran- 
dall favoring his removal and McCulloch warning of his popularity, 
Johnson himself was in fighting mood. *What have we to expect 
from keeping quiet?' he demanded. Impeachment? *If I am to 
be impeached for this, I am prepared/ 5 

On the very day Chase was writing Greeley of his conversation 
at the White House, Johnson demanded Stanton's resignation. 
*It is impossible to get along with such a man in such a position/ 
he told Welles, *and I can stand it no longer/ 6 Stanton replied 
with a curt refusal, and there was a momentary lull, during which 
the press discussed the silent drama. Stanton was secluded in his 
office with his favorites and with a Chesterfieldian officer at the 

1 Toledo Blade, December 19, 1867; quoted, New York Herald, December n, 1867. 

2 Congressional Globe, July 10, 1867. 8 Noel, Congressional Globe, My 20, 1867. 

4 Chase to Greeley, Warden, 669-70. B Welles, m, 151-52. 8 IWd,, m, 157. 



THE ON 167 

cioor turning others away/ and Johnson., cheered by the crowd, 
attended the Schutzenfest of the Schutzen Verein, and, trying his 
hand at shooting, hit the bull's-eye three times running. 2 'The 
New York Herald 3 3 was denouncing Stanton's unprecedented 
insubordination, and Greeley,, puzzled, was comparing him to *the 
Man in the Iron Mask or the veiled Prophet of Khorassan. 3 4 

Meanwhile, Johnson, warned by Welles that * Grant is going 
over* to the Radicals, 5 had a satisfactory interview with the latter 
and announced his appointment to the War Department, 6 and 
Grant, puffing a black cigar, completely calm, sauntered lazily to 
Stanton's office, where the encounter was polite, and the change 
was effected. 7 Instantly, the Radicals began baying in a chorus. 
* To-day Grant is the staff that holds up the traitor President/ 
wrote Phillips in 'The Anti-Slavery Standard/ 8 'This is our St. 
Michael whose resistless sword was to mow down the Satan of the 
fallen hosts/ he wrote again. *He does not even know how to 
draw it/ 9 Theodore Tilton raged in *The Independent/ and 
Greeley could not restrain his fury. 

With the removal of Sheridan, the winds rose and howled. 
Thad Stevens, fighting physical collapse at Lancaster, denounced 
the Senate for striking out the provision in the Military Bill that 
would have saved Sheridan. All due, he said, to the Senate's pre- 
posterous scruples about the Constitution when Congress was act- 
ing 'outside* the Constitution, 'else our whole work of reconstruc- 
tion were usurpation/ 10 The 'New York World/ commenting, 
paid tribute to the 'logical consistency' and 'the courage of this 
frank avowal/ u And as the storm abated, Greeley wrote: 'The 
President means war. War be it, then, and God speed the right/ 12 

Immediately the disciplining of Grant began. After dangling 
the prize of the Presidency before his eyes for months, the revo- 
lutionists turned upon him with disconcerting fury; and this was to 
continue through the summer and fall. The 'New York Tribune* 
began demanding a candidate who embodied Republican princi- 

* New York Herald, August 7, 1867. 2 New York World, August 9, 1867. 

3 August 8, 1867. 4 New York Tribune, August 9, 1867. 5 Welles, m, 152-56. 

6 Ibid., in, 167. 7 New York Herald, August 13, 1867. 

8 Quoted, New York World, August W, 1867. 9 Ibid., September 7, 1867. 

18 Letter to Samuel Schock, Columbus, Pennsylvania, New York World, August 28, 1867. 

11 August 28, 1867. . M New York Tribune, August 28, 1867. 



168 THE TRAGIC ERA 

pies, avowed them, and was ready to stand or fall by them. 1 Soon 
it was denying that Grant was *a great man or even a great Gen- 
eral/ 2 Veering slightly, two days later, it thought he might be 
* a good Republican/ but it could not stand his backers. 3 And then 
it lunged at him again: *We have no relish for getting Presidents 
out of a grab bag; it is better to be beaten than to be betrayed/ 4 
Out in Ohio, Ben Wade was striking at Grant, too. His political 
views were unknown. *As quick as I'd talk politics, he'd talk 
horses/ he complained. 'In these times a man may be all right on 
horses and all wrong on politics/ 5 

Meanwhile, rumors were afloat that Ben Butler had detectives 
on Grant's trail, and there was a mild sensation in Washington, 
When Grant sent for the detective, he denied it, but it was true, 
as we shall see. 6 It was all very confusing and distressing to the 
simple-minded Grant especially with Montgomery Blair pre- 
paring an article for the 'New York World 3 urging his nomination 
by the Democrats. 7 

This press abuse Grant was sharing with Mrs. Lincoln, who, 
mentally unaccountable, had announced the sale of her wardrobe 
in a New York auction room in a letter to 'The World/ The 
* Albany Journal' was sure she had "dishonored herself, her coun- 
try and her husband/ The * Pittsburgh Commercial' knew she 
had been imposed on by designing Democrats. 'That dread- 
ful woman!' exclaimed the * Springfield Republican/ 8 The 'New 
York World' protested against the abuse, but 'The Herald' was 
sharper in its rebuke. 'The manner in which some Republican 
editors are assailing Mrs. Lincoln ... is disgraceful. The com- 
munity of the Five Points would have as much decency and more 
gratitude. ... If they have no sense of propriety and decency, the 
people have/ 9 

XII 

And in the midst of it all, the campaign and elections. The 
Democrats swept California, and reduced the normal Republican 
majority in Maine, in September. Put upon their mettle, the 

1 July 20, 1867. 2 find., November 6, 1807, 3 Ibid., November 8, 1867. 

4 Ibid., November IS, 1867. New York Tribune, November 9, 1867. 

6 New York Herald, July 29, 1867. 7 Welles, in, 184. ? 

8 Quoted, New York World, October 7, 1867. 9 October 10, 1867. 



THE REVOLUTION ON 169 

Radicals resorted to the "bloody shirt,* waving It hysterically from 
every hilltop; no one with more zest than Rutherford B* Hayes, 
running for Governor in Ohio, and side-stepping the issue of negro 
suffrage in that State. Not unmindful was he of Ben Wade's ex- 
periment in asking an audience if it would permit the negro to 
vote, without eliciting a single 'yes.' 1 General Sheridan, soldier 
out of work, was summoned to political duty, and was traversing 
the country making political speeches, and dancing with the girls. 
Sumner, lecturing in the West, was preaching more centralization 
in government. Did not great empires come from the extinction 
of petty States, he asked. Even Henry Wilson protested that 'the 
States are something yet/ and Parke Godwin, of the 'New York 
Evening Post/ refused to meet the orator after the lecture and 
hurried to his office to write a vigorous attack on the doctrine. 2 

In truth, the revolutionists were having their worries. The 
'Chicago Tribune' was still hammering the tariff as destructive of 
agriculture, in devastating editorials. 3 Worse still word flashed 
over the country from Lancaster that Thad Stevens, stricken with 
'dropsy of the chest,' was thought to be dying. 4 

Then the elections. Democratic gains were made everywhere. 
New York, New Jersey carried; Pennsylvania even Philadel- 
phia swept; Ohio close, and negro suffrage defeated. 'God bless 
Ohio,' wired Johnson. 'She has done well and done it in time.' 
And 'Bleeding Kansas' she, too, voted down negro suffrage; 
and Minnesota! Even Thad Stevens's home town was carried by 
the Democrats, who made a gain of a thousand in his home 
county. The stricken old man looked out upon the wreckage, set 
his jaw, and cried, 'Impeach now.' 

In Washington, cannon boomed, crowds marched, and a pro- 
cession with three bands moved to the White House, where 
Johnson, thoroughly happy, responded. 'The people sometimes 
may be misled by the lying spirit in the mouths of their prophets/ 
he said, 'but never perverted; and in the end they are always 
right/ 6 Most of all, perhaps, Jay Cooke, with all his irons in the 
fire, was deeply distressed. 'The sad lessons of the war are for- 

1 New York Herald, September 19, 1867. 2 Pierce, xv, 335. 

8 Quoted, New York World, September 15, 1867. 4 Ibid., September 24, 1867. 

5 New York World, November 14, 1867. 



170 THE TRAGIC ERA 

gotten,' he wrote gloomily to Henry. * 'Well, God reigneth.' l But 
Henry, less prone to prayer, replied that the Radical Republicans 
were responsible for the defeat. * Their policy/ he wrote, 'was 
one of bitterness, hate, and wild agrarianism, without a single 
Christian principle to give It consistency except the sole idea of 
universal suffrage.' 2 

1 Oberholtzer, Cooks, u, 27. 2 lttd. 9 n t 2a 



IX 
GREAT AMERICAN FARCE 

i 

T II THEN Congress met for the November session, Thad Stev- 
V V ens, strikingly pale and pitifully emaciated, fairly tottered 
to his seat. 1 It was evident that only an iron will kept Mm alive 
that, and a grim determination to destroy Andrew Johnson. The 
Boutwell articles of impeachment had been contemptuously voted 
down, when the Senate sat in sullen silence listening to Johnson's 
explanation of the suspension of Stanton, setting forth an ap- 
palling record of treachery. This was a direct challenge to the 
Senate* TJnawed by the rumblings, Johnson went his way uncon- 
cerned, and at the New Year's reception., more than ordinarily 
brilliant, it was observed of him that * there was no trace of care 
on his brow/ as he moved about kissing little girls who were pre- 
sented. 2 Grant was present, and almost gay, and later that day 
his own reception was a crush. Out on Capitol Hill, men with 
set jaws faithfully wended their way to the home of Stevens 
because 'anxious to inaugurate the new year thus.' 3 Within a 
week, Johnson, accepting a cane cut from the Charter Oak, wryly 
thanked the donors for bringing it to his support 'in these hours of 
trial/ 4 The next night he entered the hall where the devotees of 
Andrew Jackson were at dinner to listen to a letter from Franklin 
Pierce denouncing c theories outside the Constitution/ to receive 
an ovation, and make a brief response. 5 At that very hour the 
House was planning a measure to deprive the Supreme Court of 
power to pass adversely on the constitutionality of a law without 
a two-thirds vote. 6 

H Johnson's brow was clear, it was because he thought he could 
force a court decision on the constitutionality of the Tenure-of- 
Office Act, through an understanding with Grant; though all the 
while Grant was secretly hostile. 7 There was, however, a distinct 

i New ForJfc World, November , 1867. 2 New York Herald, January 2, 1868. 

a Ibid. 4 Ibid., January 8, 1868, e New York World, January 9, 1868. 

6 Ibid., January 14, 1868. 

7 Welles, Hi, 157; ibid., 196, 31; Grant's Letters to a Friend, 5; iUd., 55. 



172 THE TRAGIC ERA 

understanding between the two men as to the President's purpose. 
This was that Grant should hold on to the office and force Stanton, 
if reinstated by Congress, to go to court; or, should Grant shrink 
from the responsibility, to notify the President, who could name a 
successor who would assume it. 

The Senate acted for Stanton; and the next morning Grant ap- 
peared in Cabinet to announce that with the notice of the Senate's 
action he had locked the doors of his office, and turned the keys 
over to the Adjutant-General, from whom Stanton received them 
and resumed possession. Utterly astounded, Johnson demanded 
an explanation, and Grant rambled off in a vague and wholly un- 
convincing reply. 'But that, you know, was not our understand- 
ing/ protested the President; whereupon Grant, after more ex- 
cuses, retired in some confusion. 1 

Smarting under the sharp criticism of the friendly press for a 
slovenly management which failed to force Stanton into court, 
Johnson publicly disclosed the agreement which had been broken. 2 
That very night, the Radicals pressed en masse to Grant's recep- 
tion, causing such congestion that at one time it was impossible to 
enter the house. 3 Grant was no longer 'going over 3 he had gone. 

With Johnson's statement, the press took up the quarrel, the 
"New York World' denouncing Grant's action as unbecoming an 
officer and gentleman. 4 C A piece of turpitude that surprised even 
some of the Radicals who were not in on the secret/ it added, 5 
The 'New York Herald' urged Johnson to fight. 6 It was easy for 
Horace Greeley to understand Johnson's misapprehension 
Johnson had done the talking, and Grant had puffed silently at his 
cigar; and silence had not given consent. 7 

But Grant was writhing under the charge of treachery, and un- 
happily he was drawn into a correspondence from which he did not 
emerge with laurels. 

ii 

Johnson had said that on the Saturday preceding the Senate's 
action there was a distinct understanding with Grant that another 

1 Welles, m, 259-61. 2 New York World, January 16, 1868, 

8 Ibid., January 16, 1868. 4 January 16, 1868. 5 January 17, 1868. 

6 January 16, 1868. 7 New York Tribune, January 16, 1868. 



THE GREAT AMERICAN 173 

conference on Monday would determine the latter ? s course. 
Grant's failure to call on Monday had given currency to uncompli- 
mentary explanations of his action; and, his pride hurt, and fearing 
the effect on his prestige, he wrote the first of the letters bluntly 
denying he had agreed to call on Monday. 1 Johnson, no mean 
master in polemics, replied with the reminder that when Grant did 
call, he had excused himself in the presence of the Cabinet, on the 
ground that he had not expected the Senate to act so soon. 2 In 
his response, evidently worried. Grant expressed surprise that 
Cabinet members had corroborated Johnson; and then, at the 
instance of General Rawlins, 3 he added an unpardonable slur on 
his superior officer to the effect that his * honor as a soldier and 
integrity as a man have been so violently assailed' he was con- 
vinced 'this whole matter 5 was c an attempt to involve [him] in a 
resistance of the law/ 4 The reply of Johnson was a devastating 
submission of the signed statements of each Cabinet member, in 
complete verification of the President's version of the under- 
standing reached in Cabinet. 5 

Throughout, Johnson's letters had been dignified and direct; 
those of Grant were not such as to delight his friends. He had 
clearly been left in *a very equivocal position' 6 and the 'New 
York World' summed up in the comment that Johnson's 'last 
letter is a document which General Grant's reputation can ill af- 
ford to have pass into history.' 7 Even the wiser of the Radicals 
shared the opinion. A correspondent found Stevens at home, 
leaning back in an easy-chair alone, and * looking almost entirely 
exhausted.' "What the devil do I care about the question of ve- 
racity between Johnson and Grant?' he asked. 'Both may call 
each other liars if they want to; perhaps they both do lie a little, 
or, let us say, equivocate, though the President does seem to have 
the weight of evidence on his side. , . . If they want to settle the 
question between them, let them go out in any back yard and 
settle it.' 8 

Thus Grant, like Stanton, appeared thereafter, in the open, as a 
virulent enemy of Andrew Johnson. 

1 Letter of January 28, 1808. 2 Letter of January 81, 1868. 

3 Badeau, 114. 4 Letter of February 3, 1868. 

5 Letter of February 10, 1868. 6 Professor Dunning, 127. 

7 February 12, 1868. 8 New York World, February 14, 1868. 



174 <;THE TRAGIC ERA' 

in 

The position of Johnson had now become intolerable. Stanton 
had been a spy upon him from the beginning. It was a life habit. 
He was moulded by nature for conspiracy, if not treachery, albeit 
he had rendered Herculean service in the War Office under Lincoln. 
Even the latter found him trying, insolent, and domineering, and 
among the members of Lincoln's Cabinet he had no friends. To 
Grant he had been obnoxious because of his * natural disposition to 
assume all power and control in all matters that he had anything 
to do with,' l and because *he cared nothing for the feelings of 
others.' 2 Powerful as he may have been as a minister of war, it 
was Grant's opinion that 'the enemy would not have been in 
danger if Mr. Stanton had been in the field/ 3 Before the war, he 
had posed as an ultra-Democrat, and in the Cabinet of Buchanan 
his sycophancy was such that the worldly-wise old man in the 
Presidency wrote of him to his niece that *he was always on my 
side and flattered me ad nauseam.* 4 One of his associates thought 
him *in perfect accord with the Administration/ 5 And yet, such 
was his passion for double-dealing, that at the very moment his 
associates were convinced of his loyalty, he was establishing a 
secret connection with Seward, and communicating with him 
daily through an agent. That Stanton appreciated the nature of 
his treachery is evident in the pains he took to conceal it. 6 Flatter- 
ing Buchanan, he was stealing at one o'clock in the morning to 
Charles Sumner's home with weird tales of dangers he was hiding 
from his chief. 7 Still posing as a Democrat, we have it on the 
authority of Henry Wilson that he had 'put himself in communi- 
cation with the Republicans . . . and kept them well informed of 
what was going on in the councils of the Administration.' 8 

Then Buchanan retired to Wheatland, and Lincoln entered the 
White House. Presto, change! He who had spied for the Republi- 
cans now spied for Buchanan, and he was soon writing letters for 
the eyes of the old man at Wheatland abusing Lincoln. Again he 
was flattering the man he had been deceiving. 9 Entering Lincoln's 

1 Grant, Personal Memoirs, n, 37. 2 Ibid., n, 578. 

3 Ibid* n, 376. * Dewitt, 251. 

6 Ibid., 252. s jjfa 9 253, 

7 Ibid* 254. 8 Ibid., 255. 8 IUd., 260. 



175 

Cabinet, lie maintained Ms relations with, the Radicals who were 
Ms new chief's enemies these relations too intimate immediately 
after the assassination to admit of any other conclusion. We 
have noted repeatedly his treacherous course toward Johnson. 
Stanton was impossible. No self-respecting President could, or 
would, have tolerated him longer. 

IV 

When notice of Stanton's removal reached the Senate, there was 
pandemonium. Conkling was speaking when the news arrived, 
and Zack Chandler, examining the papers at the President's desk, 
hastened to Sumner with the intelligence. Soon a crowd of Sena- 
tors were grouped about the desk; soon a number of Radicals were 
rumbling over the rough street to the War Department, where 
they found Stanton reading a telegram from Sumner in one word 
/Stick/ Soon Stanton was writing Fessenden of imaginary 
threats, and of the necessity of immediate Senate action* This 
came forthwith a declaration that the removal was illegal. The 
senatorial bodyguard, having stiffened Stanton's resistance, 
hastened to Grant , for was he not the head of the army? Thad 
Stevens was in a fret and fury. 1 Soon the hotel lobbies were 
crowded, and Pennsylvania Avenue was thronged like Broadway 
during a great procession, and the 'tramping of many feet sounded 
already like the tramp oi an army. 9 

That night, strongly guarded, Stanton took up his long vigil in 
his office, and the gasconading General Thomas, named as his 
temporary successor, indulging in irresponsible boasting, so little 
understood the nature of the crisis that notice of the Senate's 
action was served upon him at a masquerade ball at Marini's. 
Johnson, dining the diplomats while the Senate deliberated., 
seemed * excessively preoccupied" and looked 'fagged and dis- 
couraged/ 2 

Morning found the streets pulsating with excited people, with 
wild rumors of civil war throbbing in the air. Hundreds break- 
fasted early to hurry to the Capitol, and the earliest street cars 
were packed. The day was gloomy, snow swirling through the 

1 New York Herald, New York World, Gorham, n, 489. 

2 Bigelow, Retrospections, n, 155. 



176 THE TRAGIC ERA 

bare boughs of the trees. Down the avenue one mass of humanity 
slushed through the soft melting snow. Men and women filled the 
galleries, congested the corridors, pushed into the press section, 
and the floor was opened to women, who appeared as at an opera 
in their finery and gayety. It was a drama, 

A rustling, and then a hush. TJiad Stevens, black, bitter, con- 
scious of the drama, entered and took Ms seat, and then,, in a 
desert-like stillness, rose, 'haggard and trembling/ to offer im- 
peachment resolutions. At length his day of jubilee! His enemy 
had played into Ms hands. The previous day, when the House was 
seething with excitement, the old warrior, ghastly pale, had moved 
about from group to group, leaning heavily on the arm of Bing- 
ham, f Didn't I tell you so? 5 he kept saying. *H you don't kill the 
beast, it will kill you. 3 1 And now all was ready for the killing, and 
to him had been accorded the ecstasy of dealing the first blow* 
Colfax stilled the galleries, and, in low tones, Stevens offered his 
resolution. He then sat glumly listening to Brooks 3 s impassioned 
protest and tribute to Jolmson as c one of the most illustrious of the 
lovers of liberty/ Then to Bingham, in a bitter partisan harangue; 
then to Farnswortb., calling the President c tMs ungrateful, des- 
picable, besotted, traitorous man 3 ; and so on until adjournment 
at seven. 2 

That night all faces turned toward the brilliantly lighted dome. 
The globes within the building cast a pale, eerie light on the Capi- 
tol grounds. A conglomerate mass, unable to reach the galleries, 
stood stubbornly in the corridors. 3 And oratory! 'Bloody chan- 
nels of Kobespierre . . . the unassailable virtue* of Stanton *. , . 
Johnson and ... Ms St. Arnaud 3 this from c Pig Iron* Kelley, 
The brilliant Beck of Kentucky made the one speech that can be 
read to-day without astonishment. It was Washington's Birth- 
day, and Holman of Indiana asked the reading of the Farewell 
Address, and the clerk began* Bang! went Coif ax's gavel the 
Farewell Address was out of order. *I suppose/ said Holman, *the 
Constitution would scarcely be in order and I shall not ask to have 
it read.' Then, fearing the outside reaction, the Radicals relented, 
the Address was read, the speeches droned on. 4 Agreeing to vote 

1 Clemenceau, 153. 2 Congressional Globe, February 22, 1868, 

3 New York World, February 2S, 1868. * Congressional Globe, February 23, 1'868. 



GREAT AMERICAN FARCE 177 

on Monday, the House adjourned at ten o'clock, and the politicians 
hastened to conferences, bar-rooms, gambling-dens, and hotels, 
while spectators streamed along the avenue talking in loud tones. 

Sunday was no day of rest the hotels jammed, buzzing, hum- 
ming; messengers hurrying with telegrams, Stanton barricaded 
still and sleeping on a sofa, bellicose statesmen, like Chandler and 
Logan, on guard in the basement of the War Department. The 
comical Thomas, arrested, had been speedily released, since other- 
wise he could get to court and test the constitutionality of the 
Tenure-of-Office Act. 

Monday dawned dark and stormy, with snow falling, streets 
sloppy, but every habitation poured forth its inmates for the show. 
The avenue was one slow-moving mass from building to building. 
A portion of the House was in shadow, for it was the low illumina- 
tion of twilight that struggled through the ground-glass ceilings. 
Conspicuous in the galleries, gay with colors, sat Kate Chase 
Sprague. 1 In a chair at the Speaker's desk half reclined Stevens, 
and there he sat through seven hours of debate, listening solemnly. 

At length his great hour came, and Stevens rose feebly, tottered 
forward a little, leaning heavily on his cane, and thus he stood in 
silence like an actor. All the Radicals had risen with him, and 
gathered about him, for his voice was weak. A correspondent 
noted that c a sensation passed through the crowd.' A ghastly face 
that of a man at close grips with death. Momentarily a light 
would flash across his countenance, and then die away to torpor, 
for he was very tired. The lips moved sometimes when there was 
no sound, and at length he turned his speech over for the clerk to 
read. 2 Yet there had been eloquence in the quivering of that sal- 
low face, and in 'the fire of his implacable spirit gleaming from 
sunken eyes with a half smile of triumph/ 3 

An event fraught with dire possibilities, he thought, in con- 
clusion. Strike down the e great political malefactor* and thus 
* perpetuate the happiness and good government of the human 
race. 9 No mere party triumph, but something *to endure in its 
consequences until the whole continent shall be filled with a free 

* New York World, February 25, 1868. 

2 New York Herald, New York World, February 25, 1868. 

3 New York World, iUd. 



178 TRAGIC ERA 

and untrammeled people, or shaE be a nest of skriaking^ cowardly 
slaves/ 1 

The roll was called a strictly party vote and Coif ax named 
a committee to prepare articles of impeachment. But it had been 
a day of wild alarms, for it was whispered that armed men were 
marching on the Capital from Maryland to sustain the President. 
And that night the great crowds at the White House reception 
found Johnson looking * wonderfully like a man whose mind was 
at ease and whose conscience did not torture him/ 2 

The next day, messengers at the Senate door announced the 
House Committee, the galleries swayed forward, and Stevens, re- 
linquishing the arm of an associate, dramatically cast Ms hat on 
the floor, passed his cane to the doorkeeper, and, with an air, un- 
folded a paper. 3 The Senate was informed the Senate many 
of whose members had worked zealously on the floor of the House 
for the impeachment in which they were to sit as judges. 

Meanwhile, the committee preparing the articles worked fe- 
verishly, Stevens and Bingham irritable and quarreling heartily. 
'Both are profane/ wrote Julian, one of the members, e biit Stevens 
is especially so. 5 4 There was jealousy and acrimony in choosing 
the chairman of the managers, the choice falling on Bingham, who 
had threatened to withdraw if defeated. 5 Stevens was passed over 
because of his condition, though Ben Butler insisted It was c on 
account of being so erratic/ e 

The managers presented eleven articles, nine revolving around 
the removal of Stanton, the tenth concerning Johnson's speeches, 
and the eleventh, conceived by the cunning Stevens as a catch- 
all, and thus explained to the House: "If my article is inserted, 
what chance has Andrew Johnson to escape? . . . Unfortunate 
man, thus surrounded, hampered, tangled in the meshes of his own 
wickedness unfortunate, unhappy man, behold your doom/ 7 



But the politicians were on edge, and when some nitroglycerine 
mysteriously disappeared from New York 5 the event was awe- 

1 Congressional Globe, February 24, 1868. 

a New York E&fdd, February 20, 1868; N<m York World, February 25, 1868. 

8 New York Wvrld, February 26, 1868. 4 MS. Diary, March 1, 1868. 

5 Boutwell, n, 119. 6 Butler's Book, 97. 

* Congressional Globe, March 2, 1&68. 



THE 179 

sonaely announced by Coif ax, and additional guards were stationed 
about the Capitol. 1 Stanton, still barricaded, summoned more 
soldiers for Ms protection. 

And yet the public was quite calm. A mass meeting at Cooper 
Union, New York, had protested against the proceedings, to the ' 
amusement of Greeley. 'They know very well/ he wrote, 'that 
Wall Street and Fifth Avenue are not with them. 9 2 General Sher- 
man, in St. Louis, found that 'the people generally manifest little 
interest in the game going on, 5 3 and warned his brother, the Sena- 
tor, that the Republicans * should act as judges and not as par- 
tisans' since 'those who are closest to the law in this crisis are the 
best patriots. 5 4 The everlasting clamor about 'law 3 ! Somehow 
the enthusiastic acclaim hoped for was not manifest. 

More serious was the discovery that the substitution of Ben 
Wade for Johnson gave no thrills outside a limited circle. 5 Even 
so, Wade and his cronies were arranging a Cabinet before the im- 
peachment trial began/ and the heir apparent, when not engaged 
in conferences, sat in Ms simple apartment on Four and a Half 
Street in an armchair before an open fire, in a dressing-gown., 
awaiting the call to power. 7 

VI 

And Johnson, calm and dignified, pursued the even tenor of Ms 
way. One night at a reception of CMef Justice Chase, the guests 
were startled by the master of ceremonies announcing 'The 
President of the United States 3 ; and Johnson, with Ms daughters, 
entered, smiling, to receive a cordial greeting from the host. The 
tongues of the gossips began to wag. Shameful effrontery! And 
could Chase now be trusted to preside at the trial? 'The Nation 5 
waxed facetious with the complaint that no one knew what Justice 
Field said at Mr. Black's party, and that 'a patriotic attendant at 
table, properly instructed by General Butler, could certainly, if he 
kept Ms ears open, pick up a good deal of interesting matter, and 

1 Welles, m, 297; New York Herald, February 28, 1868. 

2 New York Tribune, February 29, 1868. 

3 Sherman, Recollections, I, 423. 4 Sherman, Letters, 81$. 

5 Life ofGarfield, i, 425; Bigelow, Retrospections, iv, 156; The Nation, February 27, 1868; 
New York World, March 17, 1868. 

6 Julian, MS. Diary, March 8, 1868. 7 New York Herald, March 13, 1868. 



180 THE TRAGIC ERA 

perhaps * . . some startling facts about the political opinions of the 
monsters who now sit on the Bench of the Supreme Court/ l 
Little did Godkin know that even then detectives were on the 
trail of Senators, and would soon be watching the home of the 
Chief Justice from dark doorways. 

Meanwhile, Johnson, engaged in the selection of his lawyers, 
was having a revolting experience. He had turned naturally to 
Jeremiah S. Black, a distinguished lawyer, who had assisted in the 
preparation of some veto messages,, although Senator Hendricks 
had advised against the choice. 2 Scarcely had he been selected 
when he was mysteriously dropped; and enemies of the President 
circulated the story that Black's discoveries had been such that 
his patriotism had revolted against undertaking the defense of 
such a monster. Johnson's silence was all the more puzzling. This 
is what had happened: 

For some time Black had represented clients with a million- 
dollar claim to the island of Alta Vela, the property of San Do- 
mingo, and Ms request that a man-of-war be sent had been re- 
jected on the very grounds on which Black had refused a similar 
request when Secretary of State. Having become one of Johnson's 
counsel, he had placed in the President's hands an opinion favora- 
ble to his demand, signed by Butler, Logan, Stevens, and Bing- 
ham four of the managers in the impeachment. With this, Black 
renewed his importunities and was again refused. Enraged at the 
failure of his scheme, he announced that since Johnson had refused 
the way to an acquittal, he could no longer act as counsel. John- 
son had risen indignantly, and, looking Black in the eye, had said: 
'You try to force me to do a dishonorable act, contrary to the law 
as I see it, and against my conscience, and rather than do your bid- 
ding I'll suffer my right arm torn from the socket. Yes, quit . . . 
Just one word more: I regard you as a damn villain, and get out of 
my office, or, damn you, 111 kick you out.' 

Black stood not on the order of his going, but went at once; and 
then, relenting the next day, wrote Johnson offering to continue. 
*Tell General Black he is out of the case and will stay out/ was the 
curt reply. The President's silence under the misrepresentations 
of the incident by the Radicals was due to positive instructions 

1 March 19, 1868, 2 Welles, in, 304. 



AMERICAN FARCE 181 

from his Attorney-General and counsel to keep a padlock on his 
lips. 1 From that hour on during the remainder of the trial, John- 
son maintained a most dogged silence. It was not an easy role for 
him to play. 

VII 

In the mean while the hotels and boarding-houses were over- 
flowing with visitors eager for the spectacle in the Senate. The 
demand for tickets drove Senators to distraction, and the false re- 
port that Senator Anthony had charge of the distribution necessi- 
tated the stationing of police about his doors. 2 The life of Thad 
Stevens was flickering low. He was found 'ghastly and feeble/ 
sitting in a rocking-chair by a little writing-table in the simple 
brick house on B Street, but the excitement of the anticipated 
triumph brought c a very slight hectic flush to his cheeks.* His 
blue eyes, deeply sunken, were of the brightness of a consumptive, 
and there was little vitality in his handclasp. During the session a 
carriage had conveyed him to the entrance of the House wing, 
where two husky negro boys carried him in a chair to his room 
the 'Thad Stevens room,' as the Appropriation Committee room 
adjoining the House lobby was called. A little after three, he was 
taken back to his house, bearing his suffering like a Spartan, and 
with no fear of death. 3 Even in the valley of the shadows his sense 
of humor was keen. Turning a solemn face to the robust young 
negroes who bore him, he asked, * What am I to do when you boys 
are dead? * Thus through the buzzing corridors he was borne In his 
chair at the head of the procession as the House moved to the 
Senate for the trial a ghastly face, grim and slightly flushed, 
looming above the spectators and his associates. On the opening 
day he wore a sable suit and a black wig, and once or twice a sar- 
donic smile played faintly over his features. For the most part he 
sat half reclining, his brows knit, his color that of a corpse, his lips 
twitching, and a supernatural expression in his bright eyes. Mem- 
bers gathered about him, but the old smile of amiability was gone 
that day. 4 He sat with the managers of the House. 

1 Welles, in, 311. 2 Congressional Globe, March 12, 1868. 

3 New York World, March 7, 1868. 

4 New York Herald, March 14, 1868. 



182 THE TRAGIC ERA 

There, too, sat Ben Butler robust, belligerent, "bristling., 
pompous, Ms bald iiead with, its thin fringe of hair glistening, Ms 
squint .eyes half concealed by the pointed Hds sat sniffing 
nervously like a racer awaiting the signal, spasmodically puffing 
out Ms cheeks. The low-turned collar revealed a Danton-like 
throat. 1 These two, Stevens and Butler, dominated the group. 

At the counsel table of the President was the imposing figure of 
Benjamin R. Curtis, seasoned on the United States Supreme 
Bench, and now, though close to sixty, in the fullness of Ms powers. 
Beside Mm, pale and frail, but handsome beyond most men, and 
tense in the determination to save a friend as well as client, was 
Stanbery. There, too, sat William S. Grosbeck, of Cincinnati, soon 
to have Ms laurels. Evarts had not yet arrived. 

And presiding, the impressive figure of Chief Justice Chase, im- 

- posing with Ms great height and proportionate weight, huge head, 

massive brow, tMck lips, and blue-gray eyes. One of the most 

notable figures in American history, he was to preside with dignity 

and decorum. 

The articles are read; the defense asks time to prepare answers; 
the managers simulate indignation, Butler puffing his cheeks and 
calling the President a c criminal'; the Senate retires to deliberate 
on the request for forty days and returns to grant ten. 2 A dull 
enough beginning, and yet the next morning the negro servant 
accustomed to enter Stevens's room and receive a hearty * Good- 
morning * was startled to find the old man looking at Mm intently 9 
unable to recognize Mm. 3 The flame was fast flickering to the 
socket. 

VIII 

And the next day, when the Impeachment Committee assem- 
bled at Brady's for a group photograph, they found Stevens too ill 
to attend. *I doubt whether he can live another week/ wrote 
Julian. 4 And yet, such was the tenacity with which he clung to 
life, that only three days later he had himself carried to the House 
to make a fervent appeal for manhood suffrage. A lyrical speech it 
was, steeped in poetry, a rhapsody. He spoke seated, his voice 

1 Dewitt, 208. 2 Official Report, March 13, 1868. 

3 New York Herald, March 16, 1868. 4 MS. Diary, March 15, 1868, 



GREAT AMERICAN 183 

scarcely audible. 'Most of us/ lie whispered, e are separated from 
the dread tribunal ... by the narrowest isthmus that ever divided 
time from eternity. 5 1 And they carried him back to his rocking- 
chair by the little writing-table to husband his strength for the 
trial. With telegrams of anxious inquiry pouring in about his 
health, the 'New York Tribune' announced that 'It is better this 
week than it has been in a long time. 5 2 And that was the week 
Julian did not expect him to survive. 

Into the White House, letters were pouring upon Johnson 
offers of enlistment for the new civil war many expected. Over the 
wires from Washington flashed idle gossip, malicious slanders, in 
an attempt to arouse the torpid country. Senator Grimes warned 
a correspondent that these stories were * generally lies sent from 
here by the most worthless and irresponsible creatures on the face 
of the earth. 5 3 And yet the country was stubbornly calm, the 
masses having no fears and little interest, and John Sherman was 
almost shocked because the proceedings had had 'so little effect on 
prices and business. 5 4 The General, his brother, had warned Mm. 
that 'the trial is one that will be closely and sternly criticized by 
all the civilized world 3 and that was shocking, too. 5 Stanton, 
still barricaded, was sleeping on a sofa, having his meals brought 
in, while a guard surrounded him. 6 -Meanwhile, Johnson, un- 
guarded, was driving through the streets, and meeting his Cabinet 
in his library because in the Cabinet room his lawyers were bend- 
ing over papers spread out on a table, preparing his defense. 

IX 

On the morning of the resumption of the trial, Johnson, bare- 
headed, accompanied his lawyers to the portico, assured them of 
his confidence in their zeal, and, turning, reentered the mansion. 7 
That day the answer of the defense was read, and the real opening 
of the trial set for a week later; and two days thereafter, un- 
daunted, with flag still flying, his head unbowed, Johnson sent a 
sizzling veto of a bill intended to curtail the power of the Supreme 

1 Congressional Globe, March 18, 1868. 2 March 18, 1868. 

8 Life of Grimes, 336. 4 Letters, 315; Sherman Recollections, i, 425. 

5 Letters* 315; Sherman, Recollections, I, 424. 

6 Welles, m, 309. 7 Crook, 125. 



184 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Court. 1 The following day Hendrlcks spoke powerfully in support 
of the veto, declaring the Constitution contemplated that legis- 
lation should pass the test of the court. "Marshall thought so; 
Taney thought so; I cite the lights of the law/ And Stewart of 
Nevada made the all-sufficient answer: 'The Supreme Court must 
receive the law from the law-making power. 9 The roll was called, 
and only nine Democrats voted to sustain the veto. 2 Courage it 
took, in the midst of the trial thus to rebuke the judges, and at 
that moment not a member of the Cabinet hoped for an acquittal. 3 

In the mean time, Ben Butler, with a corps of stenographers, 
and notes made the previous summer on English State trials, was 
feverishly at work on Ms opening speech, sleeping but nine hours in 
three days. 4 To prevent a premature publication, he had it printed 
in disconnected parts while an agent stood at the elbow of the 
printer to distribute the type immediately. 5 

The day arrived. Haggard, sepulchral, Stevens was carried to 
the Senate, and Butler entered to suffer a momentary attack of 
stage fright. He had worked himself into the notion that he was 
to play an immortal part. Not unnoticed by him was the ladies 9 
gallery, * resplendent with bright beautiful women in the most 
gorgeous apparel/ 6 Able, cunning, endowed richly in demagogic 
tricks, he tried to speak the language of restraint, and read from 
printed slips, though with ease and little damage to his elocution. 
Denying that the Senate sat in a judicial capacity, with a view to 
converting the hearing into a political lynching party, he entered 
upon an extravagant amplification of the articles. The young 
Georges Clemenceau, writing for the Paris 'Temps/ thought the 
orator possibly right 'in clipping his wings/ but regretted he had 
6 shaved them so close/ 7 The press was not impressed, and 'The 
Nation 5 thought 'his invective . . . like the commingled screech- 
ing of a hundred circular saws and the rumbling of one gun carriage 
on a bad' pavement/ 8 Butler was exultant, and the Radicals 
generally were pleased. 

The week required to present the managers' evidence found the 
chamber packed, the ladies' galleries festive with ribbons, colors, 



1 Congressional Globe, March 25, 1868. 2 JfoU, March 26, 1868. 

3 Welles, m, 324. 4 Butler's Book, 928. * Ibid. 

6 Ibid., 929. 7 Clemenceau, 173. 8 April 2, 1868. 



THE FARCE 185 

feathers. Boisterous crowds thronged the hotel lobbies at night, 
and saloons and gambling-houses thrived. A newspaper corre- 
spondent in Jay Cooke's employ sent him daily cipher telegrams on 
the proceedings. 1 The flame of Thad Stevens was flickering more 
feebly day by day, and Garfield saw that he was 'reeling in the 
shadow of death/ 2 He sat almost in a state of collapse, slowly sip- 
ping brandy to feed the failing flame, and occasionally he lunched 
on tea and crackers. 3 His skin was like dried parchment. 

Immediately Chief Justice Chase found himself out of harmony 
with his new court. Did he rule evidence relevant? The Senate 
voted otherwise. Irrevelant? Usually by a party vote, he was 
overruled. There was neither rhyme nor reason anywhere; but 
Chase maintained his dignity by ruling for the record. The case 
against Johnson tottered on the first day, and was in a state of 
collapse before the defense began. The managers had shown that 
Johnson had removed Stanton and made some unhappy speeches 
at Cleveland and St. Louis. 

When Curtis had completed his speech opening for the defense, 
the farce was over. 4 The day he spoke was damp and gloomy, the 
chamber filled with somber shadows, relieved only by the bright 
colors of the ribbons of the ladies. 5 Absolutely serene and confi- 
dent, his impassive face betraying not the slightest anxiety, Curtis 
was the very symbol of dignity and urbanity, and he began in 
tones so low that they scarcely filled the chamber. Brushing aside 
the verbiage and sophistries, he showed there was nothing before 
the court other than the legality of the removal of Stanton. The 
constitutionality of the Tenure-of -Office Act aside, the question 
was whether it applied to the case of Stanton. It requires sena- 
torial approval of a presidential dismissal of an officer named with 
the Senate's consent, when the officer was serving * during the 
term of the President by whom he was appointed 5 and Stanton 
had not been appointed by Johnson. The evasion that Johnson 
was merely filling out Lincoln's term was not impressive in the 
light of the debate when the law was passed. At any rate, it was a 
matter of construction involving no turpitude. Did Congress in- 

* Oberholtzer, Cooke, n, 35. 2 Life of Garfield, i, 424. 
3 New York World, April 4, 1868. 4 Butler's Book, 930. 

* New YorJc Herald, April 11, 1808. 



186 

slst that the President could be forced, without recourse to the 
courts, to follow any law it might enact? Suppose it should enact a 
law forbidding the President to negotiate treaties? Thus., for three 
days, moving with relentless logic in the realms of history and law, 
he reduced the case against Johnson to an absurdity. * Lucid and 
powerful, worthy in every way of the best days of forensic argu- 
mentation/ was the verdict of *The Nation/ 1 

But Curtis had no illusions as to the attitude of Senators toward 
logic, and on the second day of his argument he wrote a friend 
that there were from twenty-two to twenty-five Senators deter- 
mined to convict,, and some hope that twelve or fifteen Republic- 
ans had 'not abandoned all sense of right and given themselves 
over to party at any cost/ 2 

The testimony of General Thomas, instead of revealing a de- 
sperate conspirator planning civil war, disclosed Johnson's pur- 
pose of getting the controversy Into court. The personal con- 
flict of Thomas and Stanton had been one of bantering over a 
bottle of liquor, with Stanton running his fingers playfully through 
Thomas's hair. ' Was that all the force exhibited that day? * he was 
asked. 'That was all/ Had Johnson ever instructed him to use 
force? *He had not/ 3 It was a hard day for the managers, and 
even General Sherman was not permitted to relate his conversation 
' with Johnson concerning Stanton's removal. Chase held it ad- 
missible; the Senate not. He was forbidden to answer the question 
whether Johnson had told him he sought to get the controversy 
into court. 4 Thereafter Ben Butler, in a towering rage, hung on 
like a bulldog, objecting to every question until reduced to writ- 
ing and argued. At times his conduct was intolerable. On one 
occasion he launched upon a harangue which reveals the spirit of 
the trial. Every mail brought him accounts from the South of 
*some murder or worse of a friend of the country. We want these 
things stopped! 3 he stormed. Union comrades were being 'laid in 
the cold grave by the assassin's hand 3 and ' threats of assassination 
were made every hour' against the managers. . . . Evarts rose with 
a contemptuous expression, which seemed to embrace the Sen- 
ate itself. *I have never heard such a harangue before in a court 

1 April 3, 1868. 2 Life of Curtis, to Ticknor, i, 416. 

3 Official Report, April 10, 1868. * Ibid., April 11 and 12, 1868. 



THE 187 

of justice; but 1 cannot say that I may not tear it again In this 
court/ he said* Even the Senate seemed abashed., and immediately 
adjourned. 1 So the mockery of the trial went on. Chase was 
shocked at the shamelessness of the Senate in excluding evidence 
fi appropriate to enlighten the court as to the intent with, which the 
act [of dismissing Stanton] was done. 5 2 

In the mean time the defense., wishing to reassure some hesitat- 
ing Senators that a worthy successor would be Installed In the "War 
Office, was negotiating with General John M. Schofield for per- 
mission to send in Ms nomination. Tlie arguments had not begun 
when Evarts began the conferences in his room at the Willard. 
The throngs In the lobby had no inkling,, but Grant was waiting 
for Schofield outside the door. Evarts reluctantly consented to 
Schofield's feeling Grant out, and the two soldiers discussed the 
proposal during a walk. Grant was disappointed,, but If Johnson 
remained, Schofield would be satisfactory. The conference was re- 
sumed In Evarts's room, the pledge was given that the President 
thereafter would send military orders through the usual channels, 
and thus in the closing hours of the trial the country knew that, if 
Stanton went out> Schofield would go in. 3 



Outside the Senate Chamber there was wining and dining as 
usual, and the usual zest for entertainment. True, Charles Dick- 
ens's readings had been abandoned because of the impeachment, 
but the ailing novelist, dragging himself from his rooms to the Ill- 
lighted and worse-ventilated Carroll Hall, where dogs barked and 
people coughed, and a drunken auditor mumbled audibly, was glad 
of an excuse. The bitterness of politics tad disorganized, or reor- 
ganized, society 3 with the families of the two groups no longer on 
speaking terms, 4 But pleasure-seekers were not dependent on din- 
ners and receptions. Anna Dickinson, of whom we shall hear more, 
was lecturing; Dr. Chapln, whom Julian thought 'the most elo- 
quent man I ever heard/ was speaking; Maggie Mitchell was play- 
ing in favorite r61es; Fanny Kemble was giving dramatic readings 
to packed houses; and merry groups were wending their way 

1 Official Report, April 16, 1868. 2 Schuckers, 577, to Gerrit Smith. 

* Life of Sctofiett, Ms memorandum, 413-18. 4 Welles, in, 78. 



188 THE TRAGIC 

nightly to Dan Rice's Circus. 1 It was easy to forget the politicians, 
listening to Fanny Kemble in 'A Winter's Tale' and "Othello/ and 
in sitting under the witchery of Ole Bull, who was also in town. 2 
Joe Jefferson was delighting hundreds in 'Rip Van Winkle/ and 
Mrs. Daniels, the spiritualist, was talking at Harmonial Hall 
'very wordy/ 3 Spring had come early, and on lovely days the 
promenaders strolled under the budding trees as joyously as 
though no crisis confronted the nation. 

Through all these days Johnson was calm and philosophical, 
happy in the fine loyalty of Mrs. Patterson, his daughter, and in 
that of the lovable Stanbery with his never-failing optimism. 
Addison's 'Cato' was often in the President's hands, and he 
amused himself tracing out the fate of the signers of the death 
warrant of Charles I. 4 Meticulously observant of routine duties, 
he did not even abandon his receptions, and at that given the night 
of the opening of the trial not a few of his enemies had the temer- 
ity to attend to 'see how Andy takes it/ They found him taking it 
standing, calm, unworried, unruffled. 5 It was at the time spirit- 
ualism was in vogue, and Johnson was both amused and annoyed 
by 'messages' sent 'from Lincoln' and others, Mrs. Colby being 
most determined in trying to make a convert by playing on his 
anxieties. 8 

Thus, reading, driving with his grandchildren, conferring with 
his lawyers, he went his way, making a profound impression by his 
dignity and faith on such men as Evarts and Curtis. 

XI 

And now came the hectic days during the arguments of lawyers. 
Ben Wade was preparing to move into the White House. There 
was no longer any thought of his refusing to vote, and Greeley, 
shocked at the idea early, was now reconciled to any indecency. 
In truth, Wade was making his Cabinet, having offered Julian the 
portfolio of the Interior long before. 7 Sumner had solemnly ac- 
cepted Wade's assurance that he had not spoken to a human being 

1 Julian, MS. Diary, March 31, 1868; New York Tribune, April 4, 1868. 

2 Julian, MS. Diary, April 5, 1868. s Ibid., April 4, May 3, 1868. 
4 Jones, Life of Johnson, 79. 5 Crook, 16. 

8 7 MS 



THE GREAT AMERICAN 189 

on appointments, which illuminates the veracity of Wade and the 
credulity of Sumner. 1 The day before the vote, Wade discussed 
the Cabinet with Grant, who listened silently, making no sug- 
gestions. 2 That very night the impeachers met in conference at 
the home of Senator Pomeroy and distributed loaves and fishes. 3 
In this Cabinet-making it was impossible for Jay Cooke to keep 
his fingers out of the pie, and he was expecting George Opdyke to 
succeed McCulloch, and was hearing from W. E. Chandler, in the 
midst of the arguments, that 'we shall have Ben Wade in about a 
week. 5 4 So complacent were the impeachers that the 'New York 
Herald 9 5 was suggesting that they practice on a new plantation 
melody: 

'Old Andy's gone, ha, na! 
And Old Ben's come, ho, hoi 
It must be de kingdom am. a-comin* 
In de year of jubilo.* 

The speakers slowly went through their parts, a few brilliantly, 
most without sparkle. Clernenceau thought Boutwell's speech 
'the longest, weakest, and dullest speech which has yet been 
made.' 6 Not until Grosbeck spoke did the galleries get a thrill. 
'The Nation' thought his speech 'perhaps the most effective if not 
the ablest that has been made for the defense,' 7 and the 'New 
York Herald' pronounced it 'the most eloquent . . . heard in the 
Senate since the palmy days of oratory.' 8 Two days afterward, 
Washington was still ringing in praise of it. 9 

And then came Stevens, literally dragging himself from the edge 
of the grave. He had labored over this speech as over no other in 
his life, writing, printing, and revising It three times. 10 Just as the 
hour struck, the negro chair-bearers bore the old man to his seat. 
Steeling himself for a mighty effort, he rose with difficulty, and 
stood erect at the Secretary's desk, reading. Soon his failing 
strength forced him to sit down, and he continued for thirty 
minutes until his voice dwindled to a murmur, when he turned his 

1 Pierce, to Lieber, w, 351. 2 Badeau, 136. 

8 Schuckers, 559, note. 4 Oberholtzer, Cooke, n, 35. 

6 April 26, 1868. * Clemenceau, 178. 

7 April 30, 1868. 8 New York Herald, April 26, 1868. 

9 Ibid., April 27, 1868. 10 Welles, m, 340. 



190 THE ERA 

manuscript over to Butler to finish. There he sat, silent with the 
rest, his eyes burning;, a faint flush on his parchment face. 1 More 
moderate than could have been expected, the old hate flamed in 
the conclusion with his bitter description of Johnson as 'this off- 
spring of assassination/ and his warning to any Senator daring to 
vote for acquittal that "dark would be the track of infamy 'which 
must mark his name and that of his posterity/ And then they 
carried the old man out, and took him home. 

A dull interlude, with Williams of the managers, and then be- 
fore a packed chamber William Maxwell Evarts began his four- 
day Ciceronian oration, moving like a giant trampling down the 
barbed- wired entanglements of prejudice and falsehood, at times 
a logician, always the forensic orator. His biting sarcasm, devas- 
tating wit, shamed and amused, and then, suddenly, a flash of 
eloquence that thrilled. Under his lash the managers writhed in 
silence, the audience sat in rapt attention, albeit Bancroft, the 
historian, old and depressed by the foul air, was seen to nod. 

Came then Henry Stanbery 3 rising in a still chamber charged 
with sympathy and admiration. Then in his sixty-fifth year, he 
was a man of commanding presence and "surpassing beauty of 
person, 5 2 of whom it could be said that *a more magnificent pre- 
sence never graced a court or adorned a public rostrum. 5 3 Seri- 
ously ill, and confined to his room, no one could dissuade him from 
the laborious preparation of his speech, and its delivery. 4 There 
was a hush, almost a shudder, when he began with an apology for 
his weakness and the consoling thought that "a single pebble from 
the brook was enough in the sling of the young shepherd/ 5 Heard 
sympathetically, no one did more to shame the spirit of hate and 
prejudice, and when, in closing, he spoke feelingly of his personal 
relations with the President, he paid the perfect tribute, since it 
came welling up from an honest heart. 

The defense had spoken its last word, and a day intervened be- 
fore Bingham closed for the managers in a speech with f rhetoric 
so rank and turgid that the argument has to be followed through 
it like a trail through a tropical jungle/ 6 Something had happened 

1 Official Report, April 27, 1868. 2 c ox> 578> 

3 IMd. * Welles, m, 341. 5 Official Report, May 1, 1868. 

6 The Nation, May 7, 1868. 



AMERICAN 191 

too something that made Julian describe the day as "this day 
of gloom. 3 1 Senator Fessenden tad let it be known that he would 
not vote to impeach on the showing made by the evidence. 

xn 

Then hysteria descended on Washington. Fessenden, clean and 
able, had been sickened by the scenes about him. A letter an- 
nouncing his intention to respect his oath 2 had caused the con- 
spirators to turn the thunderbolts of intimidation against him, A 
month before, he had sat in his room reading an amazing letter 
from General Neal Dow of Maine demanding that the Senate 
'hang Johnson by the heels like a dead crow in a corn field to 
frighten all his tribe. 5 Outraged by the insult to his integrity, 
Fessenden had sent a stern rebuke. "I wish you, my dear sir, and 
all my other friends, to know that I, not they, am sitting in judg- 
ment upon the President. I, not they, have solemnly sworn to do 
impartial justice. I, not they, am responsible to God and man for 
my action and its consequence/ 3 Early in May, with c aU im- 
aginable abuse' heaped upon him, he had grown tf utterly weary 
and disgusted 9 ; but he had not yet said he would vote to acquit, 
and the impeachers pursued him. 4 Even Justin S. Merrill, cog- 
nizant of the dishonorable nature of his request, was urging him to 
disregard the law and the evidence. 

Utterly shameless now, the impeachers had summoned the 
forces of intimidation to the capital, and politicians were inso- 
lently canvassing the judges for votes against Johnson, as in a 
party caucus. 5 Moving in and out, a little worried, and seemingly 
misplaced, the stocky figure of General Grant engaged in- the 
canvass. At his room, too, this work went on; 6 and in Stanton's 
office, guarded by soldiers, while he slept on the sofa, senatorial 
conferences were held to devise means of lashing the doubtful into 
line regardless of the law and the evidence. 7 

Meanwhile, detectives were dogging the footsteps of Senators, 
and spies in the social circles had their ears open for an unguarded 
word* 8 Because Senator Ross had a room in the home of Vinnie 

1 MS. Diary, May 5, 1868. 2 Fessenden, n, 185. 

5 Ibid., n, 187. 4 Ibid., n., 805. 5 New York Herald, April 19, 1868. 

8 Ibid., May 9, 1868. 7 Ibid. 8 Dewitt,5I7. 



192 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Ream, the sculptress, she was hounded In her studio In the Capitol 
basement by politicians demanding that she deliver the vote of 
Ross. Had not Congress given her a contract and a room in the 
Capitol? Listening in apprehensive silence, she went home in the 
evening in a state of nervous exhaustion. 

Mingling with spies and whip-bearers were innumerable gam- 
blers, changing their wagers day by day as the indications varied. 
On May 3, the odds were against Johnson, 1 and five days later the 
betting was even. 2 The day after Fessenden's views were known, 
the impeachers, more desperate, circulated the story that Senators 
were being bought, and that a huge slush fund for Johnson had 
appeared in the capital. 5 

Among Johnson's friends, hope rose, for Fessenden had heart- 
ened them, and in Administration circles it was hoped that Kate 
Chase Sprague would influence her husband, and that Miss Foote, 
daughter of the Commissioner of Patents, engaged to Senator 
Henderson, would have effect on him. 4 Every member of the 
Cabinet was now confident for the first time. 5 

It was under these conditions that all decency and decorum 
were thrown aside to stage a gallery demonstration for the close of 
Bingham's speech, intended to intimidate wavering judges. 6 A 
group of Southern carpetbaggers in one corner of the gallery di- 
rected the 'ovation/ 7 When Chase, enraged, threatened to clear 
the galleries, the offenders laughed, hissed, clapped; and when the 
order was given and the hisses increased, and Senator Grimes de- 
manded arrests, Simon Cameron unctuously hoped that nothing 
would be done. Lyman Trumbull was sternly insistent. Mobbing 
a President was one thing; mobbing a court was quite another. 8 

xm 

Then five days of utter madness the town jammed with 
political vultures eager to shake the plum tree. 9 Among these, the 
money-bearers, prepared to buy Senators as swine. 'Tell the 
damn scoundrel,' said Ben Butler of a Senator, "that if he wants 

1 N&w York H&rald, May 4, 1868. 2 Ibid., May 8, 1868. 

8 15wZ., May 6, 1868. * Welles, ni, 349. Ibid. 

6 Julian, MS. Diary, May 11, 1868. * New York Herald, May 7, 1868. 

8 Congressional Globe, May 6, 1868. 9 Ross, 151-52. 



THE GREAT AMERICAN FARCE 193 

money there is a bushel of it to be had/ l One of the persecuted 
Senators wrote years later in cold blood that the conspirators were 
ready for assassination. 2 

But intimidation that was the thing! The Grand Army of 
the Republic, then a political machine, was making flourishing de- 
mands, like the cadets of Gascony. The Methodist Episcopal 
Church, in General Conference in Chicago, was prevented from 
adopting a resolution for an hour of prayer for conviction only by 
the sanity and moral sense of an aged member, who reminded 
ministers of the sanctity of an oath. But Bishop Simpson, con- 
summate Republican politician, rose smugly to the occasion with 
an amendment for an hour of prayer 'to save our Senators from 
error/ This rankly dishonest act, unanimously agreed upon, 
aroused the unutterable disgust of Senator Truinbull Mean- 
while, Johnson, in close touch with the trend of the trial through 
an agent, who learned of informal discussions at the Capitol every 
night from Reverdy Johnson, had met Grimes at the former's 
house and convinced him that, in the event of acquittal, he would 
do nothing not in conformity with the Constitution. That night 
Grimes went over, and through him others were satisfied. 3 

And now the fateful hour the Senators discussing the evi- 
dence behind closed doors great throngs about the Capitol 
the Willard lobby packed with hysterical men, one pushing his 
way through waving five hundred dollars in bills and offering to 
bet that Johnson would be acquitted, and finding no* takers. The 
streets filled, the talk that of sporting men at race track or prize 
ring. A correspondent, studying these faces, found 'hope, fear, 
love, hate, elation, depression/ 4 

Alarming enough the news that trickled out, and the hopes of 
the impeachers darkened as the afternoon passed. That night 
many looked ill at the Capitol. *As I sat beside old Dr. Brisbane 
to-night/ wrote Julian, 'he said he felt as if he was sitting up with 
a sick friend who was expected to die/ 5 At the White House, cor- 
responding elation, though Grosbeck's warning against an exult- 
ing outbreak was rigidly respected. 6 Besides, the illness of Senator 

1 Ross, 153. 2 Ibid. 3 Cox, 591-93. 

4 New York Herald, May 12, 1868. 5 MS. Diary, May 11, 1868. 

6 Welles, in, 351. 



194 TRAGIC 

Howard gave the impeachers five days more, and there might be a 
change. 

And now the terror stage. Big, husky politicians with glowering 
faces forced their way to little Miss Ream. Ross must vote to con- 
vict or . Theodore Tilton was * flying around from one Senator 

to another busy as a bee in favor of impeachment/ and Fessenden 
snubbed him. 1 The Cato from Maine was being deluged with in- 
sults himself, one man writing to ask his 'price 5 ; and Philadelphia 
laboring men in mass meeting declaring his memory would be 
blackened if he did not convict the only President labor had* ever 
had. 2 Trumbull was threatened with hanging from a lamp-post if 
he appeared in Chicago/ but the Illinois delegation in the House 
did not dare approach him with instructions how to vote. The 
Missouri delegation had the insolence to attempt to dictate Hen- 
derson's actions, and he was deluged with impudent telegrams 
from St. Louis. To one of these he hotly replied in a message 
phrased by c Sunset' Cox: "As I am an honest man I will obey my 
conscience and not your will. I shall vote "not guilty."' 4 That 
night Cox called at the White House and a 'festivity was im- 
provised/ 5 

Meanwhile, work was found for Grant to do. He was sent to 
canvass Senator Frelinghuysen at his home, and to his influence is 
credited this one vote against Johnson. 6 

Both the West Virginia Senators, Willey and Van Winkle, were 
thought sure until the latter was seen talking with Trumbull and 
dining with Chase. It was dangerous for a conscientious man to 
talk with Trumbull. Van Winkle was lost. But there was hope for 
Willey, a pillar of the Methodist Church, and church influence was 
brought to bear upon him through 'Harlan, the Methodist elder 
and organ in the Senate/ at the behest of Bishop Simpson, 'the 
high priest of Methodism, and a sectarian politician of great 
shrewdness and ability* or so the rumor ran. 7 All the while, too, 
the wires were humming in response to the appeal of the Union 
League Clubs for telegrams threatening annihilation to the waver- 
ing. 8 

1 New TorJc Herald, May 13, 1868. 2 Fessenden, n, 208. 

3 Letter from Charles S. Spencer, President of the Republican Campaign Committee. 

4 Dewitt, 528; Cox, 524. Cox, 524. Badeau, 136; McCulloch, 398. 
7 Welles, in, 357; Dewitt, 533. 8 Dewitt, 530. 



THE AMERICAN 195 

And then, the climax. On the Saturday night before the vote 
on Monday, Chase gave a dinner attended by some of the waver- 
ing Senators, and a panic followed; spies in doorways took note of 
guests at the Chase home. 1 Sunday was a day of turmoil, the 
hotels a milling mass, bar-rooms crowded maledictions, quarrel- 
ing, betting, conferences in back rooms and at the home of Stevens. 
In the African Methodist Episcopal Church General Conference 
at Washington, the Reverend Sampson Jones fervently prayed that 
*de Lord would stiffen wid de grace of fortitude de doubtful back- 
bone ob de wavering Senators, and dat Andrew Johnson, de de- 
mented Moses of Tennessee, would be removed by de sanctimoni- 
ous voice ob de Senate to whar de wicked cease from troublin 9 and 
de weary am at rest.' 2 

And so the day passed and the dawn of the great day came. 

XIV 

Early that morning a great mass moved like an army down the 
avenue, the conspirators rather confident. Theodore Tilton, their 
whip, had reported the prospects pleasing. Grimes was lost, but 
he was sick and might be unable to attend the Senate, and there 
was hope for Ross. For days Ross had been persecuted beyond 
precedent, Ms rooms crowded with threatening constituents, and 
his life had been microscopically examined for flaws. Spies had 
attended at his meals, and Sunday night General Dan Sickles, at 
the instance of Stanton, had camped all night at his lodgings 
awaiting Ms return, and driving Miss Ream to the verge of hys- 
terics. Spies followed Ross Monday morning to his breakfast with 
Henderson, and that delectable purist and patriot, Pomeroy, Ms 
colleague, waited to pounce upon him when he entered the Senate 
Chamber. He had received a telegram from Kansas calling him a 
skunk. Could he stand that? and the bullying of Pomeroy? As 
the latter approached him ten minutes before the vote, the burn- 
Ing eyes of Thad Stevens watched the drama closely. 3 

Cloudy and dull was the dawn, but through the morning the sun 
seemed trying to break through, and then the skies darkened 
again. The congested galleries amused themselves during the 

i New York Herald, May 15, 1868. 2 IUd., May 16, 1868. 

3 Dewitt, 541, 543-45. 



196 THE TRAGIC ERA 

wait looking down on the celebrities. At the managers 3 table, 
Logan, Stevens, and Sumner, the last two in earnest conversation. 
At times Stevens shook his head violently and his wig bobbed; at 
times he laughed sardonically. 

In his seat sat Senator Howard, wrapped in a shawl, the 
stretcher that had borne him hence on the portico. 1 Soon the de- 
sperately ill Grimes was carried in on the arms of four men, his 
face pale and twisted with pain, and Fessenden sprang forward to 
grasp his hand and give Mm a * glorified smile* the sick man never 
was to forget. 2 

And now, the roll-call. In the galleries, faces tense with anx- 
iety; the faces of members pallid, some sick with fear. A death- 
like stillness with the calling of each name, and then a heavy 
breathing. When a doubtful Senator's name was called the spec- 
tators seemed to hold their breath, and then, with the vote, came 
a simultaneous vent. 

Fessenden "Not guilty/ 

That was expected. 

Fowler Grimes Henderson all known to be lost, and 
then 

Ross 'Not guilty. 5 

'Nearly all hope having fled, the last chance was with Van 
Winkle, and when he, too, voted to acquit, 'a long breathing of 
disappointment and despair.' The vote had been on Stevens's 
eleventh article, and, that failing, there was no hope for any 
other. 3 

Then, with adjournment, the excited throngs in the corridors 
looked upon an unforgettable spectacle Thad Stevens, carried 
by his negro boys, far above the crowd, his face black with rage 
and disappointment, waving his arms at friends and saying, 
'The country is going to the devil/ 4 

The crowds hurried to the White House at a quickstep, to find 
the doors closed, and that afternoon, with the grounds thronged, 
Johnson did not show himself. He had received the news quietly 
just a momentary filling of the eyes. That night, when sere- 

1 New York Herald, May 17, 1868. 2 Life of Grimes, 382. 

3 Julian, MS. Diary, May 17, 1868. 

4 Crook, 133-34. 



THE AMERICAN FARCE 197 

naded by a band, he appeared at the window to thank the play- 



ers. 1 



And then depravity the foul attempt to blacken the re- 
putations of Republicans who had voted to acquit, with Ben But- 
ler clawing among private telegrams, and private accounts at Jay 
Cooke's bank. 2 Even Greeley had the impudence to imply that 
men like Fessenden, Trumbull, and Henderson had been moved 
by dishonest motives. 3 Protesting against such indecency, 'The 
Nation 3 suggested that the impeachment trial 'ought to be drama- 
tized, for it would certainly furnish material for a "side-splitting 
farce." ' 4 The Butler investigation died with a squawk. 

But the conspirators in their rage were not without their vic- 
tory little Vinnie Ream was deprived of her studio in the base- 
ment of the Capitol. 

1 New York Herald, May 17, 1868. * Welles, m, 352. 

3 New York Tribune, May 14, 1868; May 18, and May 28, 1868. 

4 May 21, 1868. 



X 

CARPETBAGGERS AND A PROTEST 

i 

IN the autumn of 1866, and through the winter and summer of 
1867 strange men from the North were flocking into the black 
belt of the South, and mingling familiarly with the negroes, day 
and night. These were the emissaries of the Union League Clubs 
of Philadelphia and New York that have been unfairly denied 
their historic status in the consolidation of the negro vote. Or- 
ganized in the dark days of the war to revive the failing spirit of 
the people, they had become bitterly partisan clubs with the con- 
clusion of the struggle; and, the Union saved, they had turned 
with zest to the congenial task of working out the salvation of 
their party. This, they thought, depended on the domination of 
the South through the negro vote. Sagacious politicians, and men 
of material means, obsessed with ideas as extreme as those of 
Stevens and Sumner, they dispatched agents to turn the negroes 
against the Southern whites and organize them in secret clubs. 

Left to themselves, the negroes would have turned for leader- 
ship to the native whites, who understood them best. This was the 
danger. Imperative, then, that they should be taught to hate 
and teachers of hate were plentiful. Many of these were found 
among the agents of the Freedmen's Bureau, and these, paid by 
the Government, were devoting themselves assiduously to party 
organization on Government time. Over the plantations these 
agents wandered, seeking the negroes in their cabins, and halting 
them at their labors in the fields, 1 and the simple-minded freed- 
men were easy victims of their guile. One of the State Commis- 
sioners of the Bureau assembled a few blacks behind closed doors 
in a negro's hut, and in his official capacity informed them that 
the Government required their enrollment in political clubs. 2 Thus 
the Bureau agents did not scruple to employ coercion. 

Orators were needed as well as organizers, for open agitation 

1 Doc. Hist., n, 639. 2 Wallace, 42. 



AND A 199 

was as essential as quiet management., and soon the lowest types 
of the abandoned whites were being sent into the South to arouse 
the passions of the negroes with incendiary speeches. The Bureau 
agents summoned them to meetings in the fields at night. My 
friends/ the orator would say, 'youll have your rights, won't 
you?* *Yes! ? shouted the eager freedmen. 'Shall I go back to 
Massachusetts and tell your brothers there that you are going to 
ride in the street cars with white ladies if you please?* *Yes!* 
came the thundering response. 'That if you pay your money to go 
to the theater, you will sit where you please, in the best boxes if 
you like? 5 And the negroes would clap their hands and shout an 
affirmative reply. 1 In North Carolina, Holden, the former Gov- 
ernor, was exciting their cupidity with false hopes. The year be- 
fore, the State had raised one hundred thousand bales of cotton. 
'Whose labor made this cotton? Who got the money? 9 2 

More vicious, however, were the imported agitators c of the 
lowest character, destitute of principles/ such as 'Colonel* James 
Sinclair, the 'fighting parson/ a Uriah Heep of humility, mingling 
socially with the negroes, and promising them the division of the 
white man's acres among the blacks if they would vote the Re- 
publican ticket. One night 3 he urged the negroes to hate their 
former masters and treat them with insolence and contempt, and 
under the exhilaration of his harangue, a negro speaker said that 
within ten years the problem would be what the blacks would do 
with the Southern whites. 4 f li my colored brother and myself 
touch elbows at the polls/ cried a carpetbagger in Louisiana, 'why 
should not his child and mine stand side by side in the public 
schools?' 5 

No imported emissary of hate and sedition surpassed the notori- 
ous James W. Hunnicutt of Virginia, a South Carolina scalawag, 
long a preacher, and later editor of a religious paper, who once 
owned slaves, voted for secession, and deserted the army to be- 
come a party leader and editor of the * Richmond New Nation/ 
which exerted a dangerous influence over the negroes. 6 At the 

1 A Richmond meeting, Mrs. Leigh, 69-70. 

2 Worth to Ruffin, Ruffin Papers, 142; Worth, Correspondence (to Bedford Brown), II, 
865. 

3 At Shoe Heel, North Carolina. 4 Worth, from M. McRea, n, 952. 
5 J. R. G. Pitkin, PicMen, 188. 6 Eckenrode, 67. 



200 TRAGIC ERA 

moment the freedmen were refusing work, to meander about in 
threatening groups, and linger around the whiskey shops, it was 
Hunnicutt who advised them in a speech: 'There is corn and wheat 
and flour and bacon and turkeys and chickens and wood and coal 
in the State, and the colored people will have them before they 
will starve/ 1 The gaping audience liked the sentiment and 
cheered wildly. On another occasion Hunnicutt aroused enthusi- 
asm with another characteristic sentiment: 'Yea, we would turn 
over Africa right into America if necessary, and those thick-lipped, 
flat-nosed, woolyrhaired people that now swarm those sunny 
shores should be brought here as Irishmen from Ireland and in the 
same time be fitted [for suffrage] just as well.' What though the 
'New York Herald' 2 denounced such sentiments as "wicked and 
dangerous/ Hunnicutt was doing Ms work well. 

Soon the imitative negroes rivaled the instructors from the 
North in abuse and in exaggerated demands, and one of them, 
speaking for the Union League at Chattanooga, advised his race 
to e know the true thing in polities' from 'such men as Brownlow' 
and to *teach your children . . * that they may grow up big- 
mouthed Radicals/ 3 When it was not yet certain that suffrage 
would be granted, Hunnicutt had shocked the staid people of a 
Northern city with the unclerical declaration that 'if the next Con- 
gress does not give us universal suffrage we will roll up our sleeves, 
pitch in, and have the damnedest revolution the world ever saw/ 4 
And now that the revolution had come, the passions, cupidity, 
hates of the negroes were being aroused and constantly fed. 
Everywhere a new spirit of arrogance had been awakened. When 
an old plantation preacher told his race that the former masters 
were the blacks' best friends, a Radical paper noted that 'there 
was no little muttering in the crowd/ 5 Soon the whites, especially 
on remote plantations, were gravely apprehensive, and an English 
woman living in Georgia could see nothing but tragedy ahead with 
the governing forces 'exciting the negroes to every kind of insolent 
lawlessness/ 6 Then it was that the rioting began. At Norfolk, 

1 New York World, January 2, 1868. 2 October 11, 1867. 

3 Thomas Kane, McMinnvitte Enterprise, a Radical paper, April 20, 1867. 

4 New Yvrk World, January 1, 1867. 

5 McMinnmtte Enterprise, April 6, 1867. Mrs. Leigh, 67. 



CARPETBAGGERS AND A PROTEST 01 

when the negroes marched belligerently through the streets rat- 
tling firearms, the races clashed, with two fatalities on each side. 1 
In Richmond, the blacks, determined to ride with the whites, 
rushed the street cars, and troops were necessary to restore order. 2 
In New Orleans, where separate cars were provided, the negroes 
demanded the right to use the cars of the whites, who appealed to 
General Sheridan, without avail, and the blacks triumphed, and 
immediately demanded mixed schools and a division of the offices. 3 
It was under these conditions that the Union League was push- 
ing the political organization of the freedmen, with the active aid 
of Bureau agents and a flock of ministers from the North, and 
Methodist pulpits were being converted into political rostrums. 
"Old Methodist,' writing of the quarterly meeting, to the *Mc- 
Minnville Enterprise/ boasted that his church was as effective in 
making f loyal men' as the secret societies. 'Show me a Northern 
Methodist,' he wrote, 'and I will show you a loyal citizen. 5 Then, 
he concluded, let all the negroes and Radicals join the flock of 
Wesley. 4 

ii 

Soon the Northern demagogues were carrying their satchels into 
the paradise of the carpetbaggers, to accentuate the distrust and 
hatred of the races, and Welles was complaining that Senator 
Henry Wilson was * stirring up the blacks, irritating and insulting 
the whites/ 5 But Wilson was the least offensive of the visitors, 
having been sent on a mission of conciliation to obliterate, if possi- 
ble, the wretched impression made by the incendiary appeals of 
Hunnicutt. True, he appealed to the negroes to affiliate with the 
Republican Party, but he hoped also to gain the adherence of the 
old-line Whigs. 6 Unhappily the effect of his tour was to send others 
of less moderate views into the South, and soon "Pig Iron' Kelley 
was fleeing in deadly fear from a howling Mobile mob that resented 
his brand of incendiarism. He had spoken in the loose, violent 
manner of the Northern Radical, inflaming both races and pre- 
cipitating a riot he was afterward to trace to *a recreant North- 
erner.* 7 Returning North, a bit embarrassed by the notoriety, he 

iEckenrode^O. * Ibid., 72. 3 Ficklen, 188. 4 May 18, 1867. 

8 Welles, in, 87. 6 Eckenrode, 70. 7 McMinnnlle Enterprise, June 28, 1867. 



202 THE TRAGIC ERA 

had given glowing accounts of the superiority of negro genius and 
eloquence, for he had found among the blacks 'one of the most re- 
markable orators in the United States/ 1 and, in North Carolina* 
"the ablest popular orator in the State/ and had met a negro shoe- 
maker who 'had more sense than his master, though he was a 
Judge/ 2 This extravagance, republished by the carpetbag papers 
of the South, increased the growing arrogance of the blacks. 

Meanwhile, day and night, Union League organizers were rum- 
bling over the country roads drawing the negroes into secret clubs. 
There was personal persuasion in cotton fields, bar-rooms, and 
negro cabins, and such perfect fraternization that the two races 
drank whiskey from the same bottle, and the wives of some of the 
whites played the piano for the amusement of their black sisters, 
At every negro picnic, carpetbaggers mingled with the men and 
danced with the negro women. The time was short. An election 
was approaching. One July night in 1867, the fashionable Union 
League Club of New York, with the aristocratic John Jay in the 
chair, listened approvingly to a report from an organizer sent to 
Louisiana; and Mr. Jay announced that this was "part of the Re- 
publican programme for the next presidential campaign. 5 The 
organizer 3 in ninety days had established one hundred and twenty 
clubs, embracing 'whites and blacks who mingled harmoniously 
together/ It was an inspiration. Why, asked one member of the 
Union League Club, should not a club be established in every 
township in the South? 4 

A master psychologist, familiar with the race, had devised the 
plan of organization. Night meetings, impressive, flamboyant 
ceremonies, solemn oaths, passwords, every possible appeal to the 
emotions and senses, with negroes on guard down the road to 
challenge prowlers, much marching and drilling all mystery. 
And then incendiary speeches from Northern politicians promising 
the confiscation of the white man's land. Discipline, too iron 
discipline. Intimidation, likewise the death penalty for voting 
the Democratic ticket. Strangers arriving mysteriously in the 
night with warnings that the native whites were deadly enemies. 
Promises of arms* too soon to be fulfilled. And the negroes 

1 L. S. Berry. 2 McMinrmOe Erderpnse, June 9, 1867. 

3 Thomas W. Conway. < jy^ York World, July 12, 1807. 



CARPETBAGGERS AND A PROTEST 

moved as a race Into the clubs. And woe to the negro who 
held back, or asked advice of an old master. This* they were 
taught, was treason to race, to party. Persuasion failing, recourse 
was had to the lash, and many a negro had welts on his back. One 
stubborn black man found a notice posted on his door; "You mind 
me of the son of Esaw and who sold his birth Right for one mossel 
of meat, and so now you have sold your wife and children and 
yourself for a drink of Liquers and have come to be a Conserv- 
ative bootlicker. Tom I would not give a damn for your back 
in a few days; you Conservative. 5 

Many were coerced through the agreement of negro women 
neither to marry nor associate with men who were not members. 1 
Soon, nine tenths of the negroes were enrolled, oath-bound, im- 
pervious to reason, race-conscious, dreaming of domination. Soon, 
some of the Union or Loyal Leagues were refusing admission to 
whites, and others were quietly arming. 2 

A busy summer, that of 1867. Crassly ignorant or depraved 
organizers were exciting the passions of the blacks in Texas, 3 and 
in Alabama luring them with promises of social equality, and win- 
ning one doubtful Benedict with the promise of a divorce, which 
was kept. 4 Factions of the carpetbaggers worked at cross-purposes 
in Florida, competing in appealing mysteries and intimidations, 
with one group captivating the impressionable with initiations be- 
fore a coffin and a skull, the leaders of the other rolling over the 
savage roads behind a mule team making personal contacts in the 
cabins. 5 In North Carolina, under the leadership of Holden, the 
Leagues soon numbered eighty thousand members, who would 
soon make him Governor again. 6 With some of the clubs converted 
into military companies drilling day and night in the highways, 7 
and with the understanding that fully a fourth were armed with 
pistols and bowie-knives, the white men lived in constant fear. 8 
Thus all over the South the consolidation of the blacks against the 
whites went on through the spring and summer. 

* Doc. Hist., H, 23-27; Hamilton, 329-33. 2 Eckenrode, 79. 

3 Ramsdell, 167. 4 Fleming, 540. 5 Wallace, 42-47. 

6 Hamilton, 336. 7 Ibid., 337. 8 Worth, n, 963. 



204 THE TRAGIC EEA 

in 

To strengthen the incendiary speeches, inflammatory pamphlets 
were sent broadcast, on the strange theory that the negroes could 
read. Radical papers were established to accentuate the rapidly 
developing race antipathies. The Union League Clubs sponsored 
and published thousands of pamphlets, and Forney, of the * Wash- 
ington Chronicle/ advertised in the carpetbag press urging a large 
circulation of his paper among the blacks. 1 One pamphlet, in the 
form of a catechism, set forth a favorite appeal: 

Q. With what party should the colored man vote? 

A. The Union Eepublican Party. 

Q. What is tie difference between Radicals and Republicans? 

A. There is none. 

Q, Is Mr. Sumner a Republican? 

A. He is, and a Radical; so are Thad Stevens, Senator Wilson, Judge 

Kelley, Gen. Butler, Speaker Colfax, Chief Justice Chase, and all 

other men wlio believe in giving colored men their rights. 
Q. Why cannot colored men support the Democratic Party? 
A. Because that Party would disfranchise them, and if possible return 

them to slavery and certainly keep them in inferior positions before 

the law. 

Q. Would the Democrats take away all the negro's rights? 
A. They would. 
Q. The colored men then should vote with the Republicans or Radical 

Party? 
A. They should and shun the Democratic Party as they would the 

overseer's lash and the auction block. 

Lest the negroes had heard of the strong Republican States of 
the North voting down negro suffrage, another section was added: 

Q. What is the reason that several of the Northern States do not give 

negroes the right to vote? 
A. Chiefly because they have, in the past, been controlled by the 

Democratic Party. 

These questions and answers were read over and over again to 
the blacks and drilled into their memories. 

IV 

Out upon all this the brooding eyes of a strange woman looked 
critically from her plantation house of * Laurel Grove* on the west 

1 McMinniritte Enterprise, November 16, 1867. 



CARPETBAGGERS AND A PROTEST 05 

side of the St. Johns River, near the village of Orange Park, Flor- 
ida. Occasionally she wrote her observations to her brother in the 
North. * Corrupt politicians are already beginning to speculate on 
[the negroes] as possible capital for their schemes* and to fill their 
poor heads with all sorts of vagaries/ One day she wrote the 
Duchess of Argyll in praise of Johnson and in criticism, of the 
Radicals. *My brother Henry . . . takes the ground that it is un- 
wise and impolitic to endeavor to force negro suffrage on the South 
at the point of the bayonet' and so thought the writer. 

The lady writing from 'Laurel Grove 5 was Harriet Beecher 
Stowe, author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin/ who had taken up her resi- 
dence in Florida in 1866. 1 

v 

With most of the negroes now enlisted in clubs, and drilled to 
believe their freedom depended on Republican or Radical rule, 
the organization of the party went on apace. Long before, under 
the sway of Parson Brownlow 3 this had been effected in Tennessee, 
where Johnson's portrait in the House of Representatives had 
been removed to the Library, * among the curiosities/ as a carpet- 
bag paper phrased it. 2 

In Alabama, where there had been much fraternization of the 
races and talk of breaking bread at the same table, 3 a merger of the 
negro clubs and the Radical Party was arranged in Montgomery, 
where a joint committee from the Radical Convention and the 
clubs determined the personnel of the ticket. 4 

The first Republican Convention in South Carolina, over- 
whelmingly black, had but fifteen white members, eight of whom 
were carpetbag adventurers, and here a demand was made for re- 
presentation of the negroes on the national ticket, with an agent 
of the National Committee looking on as an unofficial observer. 5 

In North Carolina the negroes, carpetbaggers, and scalawags 
had arranged in the spring for the conversion of the various or- 
ganizations into a central machine. All the blacks were ordered to 
enroll in the Leagues or the 'Heroes of America/ and Holden 
emerged as leader with a battle-cry that carried a threat of con- 

1 Life of Mrs. Stowe, 395. 2 McMinnviUe Enterprise, November 9, 1867. 

8 Fleming. 506. * IfcwL 6 Reynolds, 62. 



206 ' 

fiscatlon and death to 'traitors. 5 Henry Wilson and 'Pig Iron' 
Kelley were stumping the State, and, in the fall, the first party 
convention, wildly Radical and predominantly black, was held at 
Raleigh. 

In Mississippi, the Radical Convention met at Jackson, with a 
third of the delegates negroes, and most of the others Bureau 
agents and carpetbaggers. 

In Arkansas, the party organization was perfected under the 
rigid discipline of the resourceful and unscrupulous Powell Clay- 
ton, with the negroes subordinated to a handful of Northern ad- 
venturers, and with the scalawags relegated, too. 1 This convention 
denounced the granting of the franchise to any one who had served 
in the Confederate army, 2 and refused to pledge itself against the 
confiscation of property. Having arranged for the launching of a 
party organ at Little Rock and papers in each district, the con- 
vention adjourned to witness the enormous mass meeting arranged 
for the negroes in the State House grounds as a conciliatory ges- 
ture for only three had sat in the convention. 3 

La Texas the convention found former Governor E. M. Pease on 
the mourners' bench, having repented his original hostility to 
immediate negro suffrage, and made his peace with Thad Stevens, 
and he was restored to favor, made chairman, and promised the 
place of Governor Throckmorton. 4 The bargain was carried out. 
The negro organizations flooded military headquarters with false, 
bizarre charges against the Governor, 5 and General Sheridan, 
acting on orders from Radicals in Washington, speedily decapi- 
tated Throckmorton, and Pease went in* 6 With carpetbaggers, 
scalawags, Bureau agents, and negroes swarming the streets of 
Austin in a festival of fraternity, the party in Texas entered the 
arena with a bang. 

In Louisiana, the Radicals had long been organized under the 
leadership of the able, eloquent, but saturnine Thomas J. Durant, 
with 57,300 negroes enrolled in ninety-four clubs, under the 
strictest discipline. 7 General Longstreet had gone over to the Re- 
publicans, bag and baggage, on the theory that 'we are a con- 
quered people* and c the terms of the conqueror 5 were tmescapable. 

1 Staples, 166. 2 I&wL, 164. 3 Ibid., 167. 4 Ramsdell, I, 69. 

6 Ibid., 167. * Ibid., 169. 7 Ficklen, 186, note. 



CARPETBAGGERS AND A PROTEST 07 

His letter was published with. Sclat by all the carpetbag papers of 
the South, and with his own people denouncing his desertion, he 
was soon importuning Lee for a blessing on his apostasy. *I can- 
not think that the course pursued by the dominant party is best/ 
wrote Lee., from his retirement, where he was abstaining from 
political activity, 'and therefore cannot say so, or give it my 
approval/ l Denied Lee's blessing, Longstreet consoled himself 
with the surveyorship of customs, and the new party, booted and 
spurred, was ready to mount and ride. 

In Virginia there was much groaning of spirit under the lash of 
the intolerable Hunnicutt, and conservative Republicans were 
turning hopefully to the brilliant John Minor Botts, a former 
Whig, and the *New York Tribune* was urging the negroes to 
follow him. 2 The national leaders had been alarmed by the in- 
flammatory speeches in a Hunnicutt convention in the spring, in 
which three fourths of the members were black. A year before, 
the party had been launched under Botts's leadership with a de- 
mand for the disfranchisement of all Confederates, but it had re- 
fused to recommend unqualified negro suffrage, and Hunnicutt had 
swept ahead. When his incendiary convention aroused the wrath 
of conservatives, who called another convention, the Union League 
Clubs of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, fearing a disrup- 
tion, hurried conciliators to Richmond to reconcile the factions. 
Thus fifty men sat down one day in the Governor's Mansion, 
with Henry Wilson representing the congressional end of the party, 
and John Jay, the Union League Clubs, and a compromise was 
proposed a new convention at Richmond in the late summer. 
Botts hesitated. Richmond was the hotbed of radicalism, and 
Hunnicutt had no scruples, but Jay and Wilson insisted, and Botts 
reluctantly agreed. 

The convention day arrived, the negroes on their toes, and with 
Hunnicutt's men jammed against the door of the African Church 
four hours before it was opened. With the opening of the doors, 
Hunnicutt's negroes rushed in and took possession, leaving Botts, 
his followers, and two thousand negroes outside. WitMn was 
Hunnicutt, raving and ranting. The excluded moved to Capital 
Square to organize under the leadership of Botts. Very well 

* Recollections and Letters, 26& 2 ]Bcteirode ? 69, 



208 THE TRAGIC ERA 

the two thousand negroes were on hand to elect a Hunnicutt man 
for chairman. Let Botts speak? 'No,' thundered the mob. Many 
were alarmed at the portent, the ( Richmond Enquirer 5 describing 
the scene as c a seditious Radical carnival/ and many old-line 
Whigs passed sadly over to the Democrats, but Botts remained 
regular, a pitiful trailer to the Hunnicutt train. 1 

In Florida, the factions under Osborne, Saunders, and Stearns 
were disproving the theory that there is honor among thieves, but 
the party was In absolute control. 

And in Georgia? There, with the negroes organized, the Re- 
publicans had found a leader in the most consummate of poli- 
ticians, Joseph E. Brown, Confederate War Governor, whose 
spectacular rise from poverty and obscurity had made him a pop- 
ular figure. That which his admirers called sagacity, Ms enemies 
denounced as trickery. Among the poor whites, he had an Impres- 
sive following. Physically frail, his chest thin, his voice weak, Ms 
throat bad, the clearness of Ms enunciation and the smoothness of 
Ms tone gave him an eloquence having nothing to do with volume. 
Self-possessed, dignified, earnest, he inspired confidence and made 
friends strongly devoted to Ms fortunes. His extreme State Rights 
views during the war had made him a thorn in the side of Jefferson 
Davis, but he returned from Ms imprisonment In WasMngton 
completely metamorphosed, urging absolute surrender to the rabid 
policies of the conqueror. Why continue the fight? he asked. The 
Jeffersonian Idea of the State was dead; State Rights were buried 
beyond hope of resurrection. 2 Soon he was responding to the toast 
'Reconstruction Let It proceed under the Sherman Bill with- 
out appealing to the Supreme Court, the arbiter of our civil rights 
and not of political Issues.' s Such complete apostasy caused a 
sensation. When Robert Toombs was told of Brown's attitude, he 
denounced the story as a lie, and when verification reached Mm, 
took to Ms bed. 4 Soon Brown was rivaling Thad Stevens in Ms de- 
nunciations of the Northern Democracy, and eliciting rapturous 
applause from the Republican National Convention of 1868. 
Horace Greeley was delighted* 'Governor Brown deserves the 
thanks of all his neighbors/ he wrote. 'That tMs gentleman Is by 

1 Eckenrode, 72-79. 2 Life of Brown, 426-27; Thompson, 172-73. 

3 Thompson, 175-76, * Stovall, 290, 



CARPETBAGGERS AND A PROTEST 209 

no means lacking in intelligence is proved by the fact that he has 
found out the Democrats and avows that he wants nothing more 
to do with them/ l Thus the Republicans in Georgia, with the 
negroes thoroughly consolidated, entered the field, shouting for 
Joe Brown. 

VI 

The action of Brown had this effect it led Georgia first into 
the field aggressively against the reconstruction policy. Most of 
the Southern leaders, utterly depressed, were in retirement. Lee, 
eschewing politics, was spending the summer quietly at a Virginia 
watering place, and riding 'Traveller' over the surrounding hills. 
Lamar, teaching at Oxford, was in hopeless mood. Only the South- 
ern press seemed articulate, and it was bitterly denouncing the 
Military Bill. c lt consigns three fourths of the Southern popu- 
lation to political Siberia/ said the "New Orleans Crescent/ 'The 
people of the South, if wise and prudent, can live for a time under 
such damnable tyranny as this, but if they consent, they deserve 
it/ said the e Louisville Journal/ * There is no more American 
Union. It died with the Constitution which was the life of its 
body. Yancey is triumphant/ said the 'Mobile Advertiser and 
Register/ 'No nation has ever yet given itself up body and soul to 
vindictive legislation that it has not eventually been punished 
by God most terribly for its scarlet sins/ said the 'Richmond 
Times/ * It is the funeral oration of the Republic/ thought the 
* Richmond Examiner/ of the Johnson veto. 2 

And then, from Georgia, a voice reverberating over the South 
and throughout the North the voice of Benjamin H. Hill. At 
Liberty Hall, Alexander H. Stephens sat in silent despair. Toombs 
was in exile. Howell Cobb was refusing the responsibility of ad- 
vising, and Joe Brown was toasting the oppressors of his people 
and denouncing their supporters in the North. It was at this junc- 
ture that Ben Hill closeted himself with a copy of the Military 
Bill, after promising to address the people of Atlanta on July 10, 
1867. 

Through all the years of the 'bloody shirt/ Hill's name was to 

1 New YvrJc Tribune, May 20, 1867. 

2 Quoted, New York World, March 6, 9, 15, 1867. 



210 TEAGIC 

be anathema to the ignorant and a byword and a hissing among 
the 'patriots.' His character and career deserve a better under- 
standing,, for he was an extraordinary man. Born of Irish- Welsh 
parentage, he had all the emotionalism that that implies. Held up 
to obloquy in the North as a disunionist, he had been a consistent 
champion of the Union in Legislature and Congress until the bugle 
called his people to the field. Fighting for the Union to the end, 
when he lost his battle, he cast Ms lot with his own people, and in 
the Confederate Senate, its youngest member, he was the spokes- 
man of the Administration. His was the last speech for the Union; 
the last speech for the continuance of the war; and with the close 
of the struggle, he had retired to his estate at LaGrange to await 
events. Not one of his slaves deserted; not one betrayed. Taken 
at length, he was soon paroled, and for two years he devoted him- 
self to Ms personal affairs. 

In 1867, he was forty-four, and in the full fruition of Ms power. 
It was at this time in the great CorintMan-columned house, in the 
midst of beautiful grounds reached by granite walks from a mas- 
sive iron gate, that a youth, Henry W. Grady, visited, and came to 
love, the master of LaGrange for Ms genial playfulness and affec- 
tionate nature. 1 Hill was a man of magnificent presence, six and a 
half feet in height and perfectly proportioned. His great head was 
covered with light brown hair, fine and straight, Ms complexion 
was clear, Ms forehead was Mgh and broad, and Ms gray eyes domi- 
nated, Voorhees, who saw Mm about tMs time, was impressed by 
the * intensity of Ms pale strong face and Ms firm determined fea- 
tures/ 2 In speech marvelously persuasive, he could be immeas- 
urably bitter when occasion called. The brilliant Vest of Missouri 
compared Mm to Vergniaud; 3 the eloquent Voorhees thought 
some of Ms speeches "as sublime as the words that fell from the lips 
of Paul on Mars HilP; 4 and John 3. Ingalls was charmed by 'Ms 
diction, Ms confident and imperturbable self-control/ 5 He was a 
giant in mind, as in body. 

vn 

Such the Tribune of the South who rose in a crowded hall, tense 
with excitement, with bayonets all about him, with the spies 

* Hill, 91. 



AND A PROTEST 

of the tyrannical General John Pope present to report his words to 
the Radicals in -Washington. One who heard Mm thought his 
tf soul and intellect were both aflame/ and knew he * lifted the peo- 
ple to their feet 5 and became 'a Greatheart to whom the new pil- 
grim turned 5 this man who 'had set himself to the task of re- 
volutionizing revolution.* l The hall was but dimly lighted when 
Hill stepped forth in full-dress suit, Ms face pale, Ms eyes burning, 
and defiantly swept with his glance the army officers in full-dress 
uniform in the front rows. 

6 Tinkers may work, quacks may prescribe, and demagogues 
may deceive, but I declare to you that there is no remedy for us 
. . . but in adhering to the Constitution'; and thus he threw this 
treason to the front rows. With a contemptuous thrust at the 
apostasy of Brown, he lunged at Thad Stevens, and hurried on. 
A great many Southerners/ he said, 'flippantly say the Consti- 
tution is dead. Then your rights and hopes for the future, and the 
hopes of your children are dead. . . . They say the Constitution 
does not apply to us? Then don't swear to support it. They say 
again that we are not in the Union then why swear to support 
the Union of these States? What Union does that mean? When 
you took the oath, was it the Union of the Northern States alone 
that you swore to support?' 

With a scornful look at the Bureau agents and carpetbaggers 
with the army officers, he went on. 'Oh, I pity the colored people 
who have never been taught what an oath is, or what the Consti- 
tution means. They are drawn up by a selfish conclave of traitors 
to inflict a death-blow on the Republic by swearing them into a 
falsehood. They are to begin their political life with perjury to ac- 
complish treason. . . . They are neither legally nor morally re- 
sponsible it is you, educated, designing white men, who thus 
devote yourselves to the unholy work, who are the guilty parties. 
You prate about your loyalty. I look you in the eye and denounce 
you . . . morally and legally perjured traitors. . . . Ye hypocrites! 
Ye wMted sepulchers ! Ye mean in your hearts to deceive him, and 
buy up the negro vote for your own benefit/ 

And then, to the Radicals: 'Go on confiscating; arrest without 
warrant or probable cause; destroy habeas corpus; deny trial by 

1 Joel Chandler Harris; Hill, 51. 



THE TRAGIC ERA 

jury; abrogate State Governments; defile your own race. . . . On, 
on with your work of ruin, ye hell-born rioters in sacred things 
but remember that for all these things the people will call you to 
judgment. Ah, what an issue you have made for yourselves. Suc- 
ceed, and you destroy the Constitution; fail, and you have covered 
the land with mourning. Succeed, and you bring ruin on your- 
selves and all the country; fail, and you bring infamy upon your- 
selves and all your followers. Succeed, and you are the perjured 
assassins of liberty; fail, and you are defeated, despised traitors 
forever. Ye aspire to be Radical Governors and judges. . . . I paint 
before you this day your destiny. You are but cowards and 
knaves, and the time will come when you will call upon the rocks 
and mountains to fall on you and the darkness to hide you from 
an outraged people.' 

And then, to the negroes : * They tell you they are your friends 
it is false. They tell you they set you free it is false. These vile 
creatures never went with the army except to steal spoons, jewelry, 
and gold watches. They are too low to be brave. They are dirty 
spawn, cast out from decent society, who come down here to seek 
to use you to further their own base purposes. . . - Improve your- 
selves; learn to read and write; be industrious; lay up your means; 
acquire homes; live in peace with your neighbors; drive off as you 
would a serpent the miserable dirty adventurers who come among 
you . . . and seek to foment among you hatred of the decent por- 
tion of the white race/ 

And what should the people do about registration and the Con- 
vention? Register, run up the registration, and do not vote on the 
Constitution, thus defeating the scheme, which fails unless fifty 
per cent of the registered, vote for a Convention. 1 

As these bitter, burning words went sizzling over the South and 
fell like bombs in Northern cities, General Pope was writing Grant 
urging that the orator be banished from the State. 

vm 

But they were not through with Hill. Having dynamitized the 
people with his oratory, he sat down to the writing of the Federal- 
ist of Southern rights, his brilliant, powerful 'Notes on the Situa- 

1 Hill, 294-307. 



CARPETBAGGERS AND A 13 

tion/ which Henry Grady was to pronounce *the profoundest and 
most eloquent political essays ever penned by an American.' * 
Beginning, artfully, in a minor strain, as one mourning over de- 
parted freedom, 2 he argued that the Military Bill led to 'the ulti- 
mate but complete change of all American government from the 
principle of consent to the rule of force* and to 'a war of races/ 3 
Pouncing savagely on Stevens's admission that the Constitution 
was ignored, he denounced the hypocrisy of giving the semblance 
of consent 'by disfranchising intelligence, by military rule, by 
threats and . . . bribery/ Yes, 'the negro race, duped by emissa- 
ries and aided by deserters ... is to give consent, for the white 
race/ More: all the guarantees of liberty wrung through the cen- 
turies from the hands of despotism 'are abrogated and withdrawn 
from ten million people of all colors, sexes, and classes, who live in 
ten unheard and excluded States; and that, too, by men who do not 
live in these States . . . who never think of them but to hate . . . 
never enter them but to insult/ 4 Do they say the South cannot 
help herself? Then, why bother about consent? But the South 
can fight with the Constitution in her hands. 'Better to brook the 
courts* delay for ten years than accept anarchy and slavery for 
a century/ 5 Danger of confiscation? Admitted. 'Those who out- 
law patriotism and intelligence would not scruple to rob/ And 
yet how absurd, proposing to confiscate the property of people 
when bread is sent them that they may live! 'The same train 
brings the bread to feed, the officer to oppress, the emissary to 
breed strife and to rob/ 6 

And the conquered, subject to the will of the conqueror? 'None 
but a very barbarous people, Northern radicals and Southern re- 
negades, ever said so. A conquered people are subject to the terms 
of the conquest, made known and demanded before, or at the 
time the conquest is admitted, and to no other terms or will 
whatever; and none but a treacherous conqueror would demand 
more/ 7 Every demand in the Military Bill originated after the 
war; 'not one of them was demanded during the war or made a 
condition of surrender. There is not a respectable publicist or 
law-writer, ancient or modern, heathen or Christian, who can be 
quoted to sustain them/ 8 

1 Hill, 51. 2 No. 1. 3 No. 2. 4 No. 3. B No. 4. 

6 No. 5. 7 No. 6. 8 No. 8. 



214 THE TRAGIC ERA 

And universal negro suffrage? * Ignorance Is more easily duped 
than intelligence, and . . . knaves have always been advocates of 
conferring power on fools; and so fools have generally thought 
knaves their best friends/ Yes 5 'they go like the fattened ox with 
pretty ribbons streaming from their horns, frisking to the slaugh- 
ter/ Do Radicals say they wish to elevate the black race? * These 
Radical traitors and their Southern tools alone desire to degrade 
the white race/ 

And the purpose? 'To secure these ten States to keep the Radi- 
cal Party in power in the approaching presidential election, ... to 
retain by force and fraud the power they are losing in the detection 
of their treason in the North/ Thus 'they annul the Constitution 
in the name of loyalty; exterminate the black race in the name of 
philanthropy; disfranchise the white race in the name of equality; 
pull down aU the defenses of life and prosperity in the name of lib- 
erty, and with blasphemous hosannas to the Union, they are rush- 
ing all sections and all races into wild chaotic anarchy; and all, 
that traitors may hold the power they desecrate, and riot in the 
wreck of the prosperity they destroy/ l 

And how combat it? First through the President, and then 
through the courts. 2 Yes, 'sue in damages for every injury; indict 
for every crime, 5 and 'be sure and include the thieving Treasury 
agents who were lately stealing your cotton/ No money for law- 
yers? 'Whenever you see me at court, understand I will aid you 
without fee or reward/ for 'the written Constitution is my client, 
and the preservation of its protection the only fee I ask/ 3 Then, 
for three numbers followed an excoriation of Brown, with logic 
that bites like acid. 4 And the concluding papers were appeals to 
Grant in whom the Military Bill then vested power. 5 'There are 
many now who insist that General Grant is not really a great 
man/ he wrote. ' The question of his greatness will soon be settled. 
... If he has the wisdom to perceive, and the courage to perform 
his duty now, neither Caesar nor Wellington nor Washington can 
be remembered longer or honored more/ 

In these remarkable papers, Hill reached the height of the con- 
troversial discussions of the ten-year period. There was art in the 
eloquence, erudition in the references, truth in the assertions, 

*No. 11. *No. 12. *No. 13. <Nos. 15-17. *Nos.l8-&2. 



AND A 215 

power in the logic. But there was more significance in the militant 
note they sounded. The desponding raised themselves on their 
elbows to listen, and something of pride and the fighting spirit re- 
turned. All over the South men were reading them with renewed 
hope and determination; in the Radical circles there was gnashing 
of teeth. "The Voice of the South uttering her protest/ says Henry 
Grady; and it was "discussed on the streets of London and the 
Boulevards of Paris/ 

Here was a man ready to give blow for blow, epithet for epithet. 
The stricken South was thrilled. 1 



In the mean time, under the autocracy of military masters, pre- 
parations were being made for registration, the calling of constitu- 
tional conventions, and the election of delegates. Many of the 
generals in control sought in every way to treat the people with 
respect, while others, lite Pope, predicting the transfer of intelli- 
gence from whites to blacks within five years, and intoxicated 
with power, were busy in the decapitation of civil officials. 2 The 
University of Georgia was closed because of a student's speech, 
and the sheriffs were removed in numbers. 3 In Arkansas and 
Mississippi, the decent instincts of General Ord were overcome by 
political pressure, and with the closing of the courts the least 
semblance of liberty passed from Arkansas, with crime rampant. 4 
In Louisiana and Texas, General Sheridan, reveling in his unpopu- 
larity, was replacing white city officials in New Orleans with 
negroes, 5 and, under the inspiration of an incendiary press and the 
Leagues, was permitting the Texas negroes to run amuck with guns 
and knives. 6 In Alabama, the military despotism was complete, 
with soldiers in posts at intervals of twenty and thirty miles, 
fraternizing with the negro mobs. 7 In Mississippi, with the courts 
open, forty-one men were tried by a military commission. 8 Every- 
where military authorities were interfering with the freedom of the 
press, and in Vicksburg an editor who had criticized Radical poli- 
cies was tried by a military tribunal. When, denied a writ of ha- 

1 Hill, 730-811. 2 Avery, 371. 8 IMd., 372. 

4 Staples, 120, 135, 141, 143. * Ficklen, 190. ,. 6 Bamsdeli, 188. 

7 Doc. Hist., i, 443-44. * Garner, 169-70. 



THE TRAGIC ERA 

beas corpus, lie appealed to the Supreme Court, Congress hur- 
riedly deprived that court of jurisdiction. 1 

Uglier still, these military autocrats were feeding the carpetbag 
press with public patronage, some restricting the publication of 
proclamations to Radical papers with meager circulations, and a 
carpetbag paper In Tennessee was announcing a forthcoming con- 
gressional enactment giving Government printing to party papers 
in the South. And why not? Had not Thad Stevens proposed that 
every American legation be supplied with Forney's paper at pub- 
lic cost? 2 

Under such conditions the people were registered and the vote 
on constitutional conventions cast. The negroes, under the drill- 
masters of the League, moved en masse to the polls, while multi- 
tudes of the whites, disgusted, and knowing themselves outnum- 
bered, remained away. Thus the news flashed that the Conven- 
tions had carried, with great numbers of negro delegates elected 
who could neither read nor write, and with carpetbaggers in con- 
trol. What though Stevens had lost the North, had not the South 
been won? and the glad tidings gave infinite satisfaction to the 
intelligentsia in New York and Boston. 



Never more astonishing conventions, in personnel, in a civilized 
nation. Negroes and carpetbaggers dominated, property and in- 
telligence excluded, and strangers in many cases represented dis- 
tricts they had never seen. In Alabama, an Ohioan, as temporary 
chairman, recognized a Pennsylvanian who nominated a New- 
Yorker for secretary* and the 'New York Herald' correspondent, 
glancing over the assembly, dubbed it 'The Black Crook/ 3 The 
irreverent described that in Arkansas as 'the bastard collection' or 
4 the menagerie/ 4 

Happily there was comedy to relieve the gloom. Thus, in Louisi- 
ana a reporter was excluded for calling the negro members "col- 
ored/ and a North Carolina delegate of color demanded the publi- 
cation of debates, since he wished to * expatiate 5 to the convention 
and desired his words recorded fi in the archives of gravity/ 5 In 

1 Garner, 168. * McMinnmile Enter-prise, February 16, 1867. 

3 Fleming, 51T-19, * Staples, 21. 6 Hamilton, 58, note. 



AND A 217 

Florida, members with, feet on desks and smoking heard from 
illiterate colleagues the 'pint ob orter* that *de pages and mess 5 - 
gers 5 had failed 'to put some jinal [paper]' on the desks. 1 Some- 
times in the Mississippi Convention, pistols and knives were as 
necessary as finals/ and there were frequent fights, and in Vir- 
ginia, arguments were not infrequently clinched with fists. 2 In 
Florida, legislation would be stayed to await the outcome of a 
pugilistic encounter while members puSed at their cigars and 
shouted encouragement to the combatants, 3 And everywhere, the 
delegates, having no taxes to pay and no stake in the State 3 were 
spending money with a lavish prodigality. 

The first act of the president of the Florida Convention was to 
appoint a 'financial agent/ who hastened with an order for money 
to the State Treasurer, but the military commander intervened. 
Whereupon the Convention issued fifty thousand dollars in script, 
of which fifteen thousand dollars was immediately put out, and 
ten thousand dollars retained by the president. Pages were paid 
ten dollars a day. One delegate, living three hundred miles away, 
was given $690 in mileage; another, living in the convention town, 
received $630; and an emissary of the Radical National Committee 
(Saunders) drew $649,53, though his alleged home was but twenty 
miles distant. In Mississippi, the convention cost a quarter of a 
million, and four obscure Republican papers were paid $28,518.75 
for publishing the proceedings, 4 In Arkansas, where each member 
was voted ten newspapers, the mileage graft was shameless, and 
the printing was let to a politician without competition at an as- 
tounding figure. 

There was graft everywhere; for the constitution-makers of the 
day expected to be office-holders on the morrow, and all were in 
training. 

Most of the constitutions were monstrosities, prescriptive, and 
franMy designed to serve the purposes of party. Incendiary talk 
marked the proceedings. While a Mobile delegate, supported by 
the carpetbaggers, clamored lustily for the legalization of inter- 
marriage, the scalawags opposed; but as a rule the negroes showed 
more judgment and a keener appreciation of the realities than the 

1 Wallace, 56. 2 Eckenrode, 97. * Wallace, 54. 

4 Garner, 203. 



218 TRAGIC 

wMte demagogues. 1 In some places, as in South. Carolina, there. 
was much wild talk of dividing the land among the freedmen* 2 
Everywhere, except in Georgia, the conventions centered on the 
disfranchisement of large blocks of whites, and wrote this infamy 
into the fundamental law for this was the real purpose of these 
conventions. In Louisiana, public conveyances were thrown open 
to both races theaters, public schools, and the university as 
well and the disfranchisements were sweeping. Again it was an 
intelligent negro who protested that his race asked no such pro- 
scriptions. The disfranchising scheme also encountered opposition 
from the scalawags of Arkansas, but these were powerless. The 
Virginia Constitution bristled with test oaths and disfranchise- 
ments, transferring power to the ignorant and proscribing intelli- 
gence, and even this was an improvement on the original plan, 
which had sent a chill through the politicians in Washington. 3 In 
Georgia, a reasonably conservative and sane document was framed 
because of the determining influence of Joe Brown. 4 

Ending their work to the satisfaction of the Washington Radi- 
cals, helping themselves to as much public plunder as was within 
reach, the conventions closed in jubilations, and in North Carolina 
there was a real thanksgiving, with the notorious General M. S. 
Littlefield, who was to get more than his share of the loot under 
the governments of "loyal men,' singing * John Brown's Body/ 

These documents, framed by ignorance, malevolence, and parti- 
sanship, sounded the death-knell of civilization in the South. 

XI 

Horrified by these fundamental laws, the conservatives every- 
where hastily organized against their adoption. In some States 
they stayed away from the polls, since a majority of votes regis- 
tered was required. In Georgia, they let the constitution go by de- 
fault; in South Carolina, they issued an appeal to the people; in 
Florida, they knew themselves to be overwhelmed. In Mississippi, 
under the sagacious leadership of General J. Z. George, a Herculean 
fight was made in the open, with a utilization of both press and 
platform in every nook and corner, and with as many as sixteen 

1 Fleming, 522-23. 2 Doc, Hist., i, 451. 

8 Eckenrode, 97; Stuart, 17. Thompson, 193; Avery, 377. 



AND A 219 

meetings a week in a country. 1 In Arkansas* the conservatives 
fought hard, denouncing the Radical leaders as bigamists and de- 
generates, intimate with the blacks. 2 There was no fighting chance 
in Louisiana and South Carolina, where the emissaries of the 
Union League had been moving familiarly in the negro cabins, the 
whiskey shops, and on the plantations. In Alabama, these agents 
warned the credulous negro that slavery for him was the alter- 
native to adoption, and that the failure of the constitution would 
deprive their wives of the privilege of wearing hoopskirts. The 
day before the election, they were warned that the military com- 
mander would punish them if they failed to vote 'right/ Thus 
they were mobilized and marched to the towns the night before 
election great droves of them armed with shotguns, muskets, 
and pistols and knives and they terrorized the people by firing 
through the night. 3 Radical politicians, as overseers, marched 
with them to the polls, glowering upon the weaklings. A spectator 
described the scene for the "New York Herald' : 'The voter got his 
ticket from the captain, the captain had it from the colonel, and he 
from the general, and the general of course had it from the owners 
and managers in Washington of the grand scheme to secure polit- 
ical supremacy/ 4 The whites were denied access to the polls on 
the first day. Thus the negroes eDtered upon their freedom. 

The result was ratification everywhere but in Mississippi, where 
it failed decisively, in Alabama, where the majority of the regis- 
tered did not vote to ratify, and in Virginia, where the masterful 
management of Alexander H. H. Stuart, before the date was fixed 
for the election, secured a postponement and paved the way for a 
compromise on the basis of * universal suffrage and universal 
amnesty/ In Georgia, it was the contention of Ben Hill that the 
constitution was lost by thirty thousand, 5 but no matter it was 
declared adopted; and Alabama was admitted by Congress despite 
the failure of her poll, because the Eadicals wanted her electoral 
vote in the election of 1868. 

Immediately, the political parasites and looters, scalawags and 
scavengers, knaves and fools, took possession of the State Govern- 
ments, and entered upon the pillaging of the stricken people. 

1 Garner, 213. . 2 Staples, 256. 3 Fleming, 514-16. 

4 October 14, 1867. B Bush Arbor speech, Hill, 308-19, 



XI 

4 PASSING PHASE 

i 

T TNFORGIVING and relentless as was Thad Stevens, Ms 
\J manhood gagged at the punishment of Vinnie Ream the 
petty persecution of a woman. On being ordered from the Capitol, 
she had appealed to Stevens's chivalry., not in vain* Without con- 
sulting his associates, he moved that her studio be restored to her, 
and, under the whip and spur of the previous question, he pre- 
vailed. 'Many of the Radicals were disgusted with Thad, but 
none of them attempted to cross swords with him/ said the cor- 
respondent of the 'New York Herald.* l But the flame was flicker- 
ing feebly now, and at times he seemed to soften toward his foes. 
It was at this time that James Buchanan died. Citizens of the 
same town, they had ridden the circuit together years before, 
when Stevens still lived at Gettysburg. One afternoon, at York* 
they had gone out for a stroll together, and they returned bitter 
enemies* Just what occurred no one seemed to know. Politics 
widened the breach. When Buchanan, weary, from the toils of 
State, returned to Lancaster in 1861, they had a common friend in 
Dr. Henry Carpenter, the physician of both; and both attended 
Ms second wedding in 1863. Stevens, who, strangely enough, was 
very sensitive, afterward complained to Carpenter that he had 
offered Ms hand to Buchanan, who had turned away. The physi- 
cian, knowing the unfailing courtesy of the former President, as- 
sured the offended Stevens there was some mistake, and, speaking 
to Buchanan about it later, found he had seen no proffered hand. 
He, too, was old, too old to harbor animosities. 'Doctor/ he said, 
Vou drive about the country. Drive Mr. Stevens out past 
"Wheatland" and 111 be sitting at the spring and will come out 
and greet Mm/ Just then Stevens was unexpectedly recalled to 
Washington, and the meeting never took place; but Stevens knew 
of Buchanan's proposal* So runs one story 2 extant in Lancaster to- 

1 My 21, 1808, s Told the writer % Judge Brown. 



A PASSING 

day. The daughter of Carpenter recalls that the two men met at 
the wedding and did shake hands. 1 When Buchanan's death was 
announced, the Senate instantly adjourned. In the House, such 
was the bitterness of the times a resolution of respect referring to 
the dead statesman's "patriotic motives 5 was voted down, with 
sixty-nine not voting. It was observed that Stevens seemed em- 
barrassed. He asked unanimous consent to offer a resolution on 
Buchanan's death, and was refused. Blaine made a similar re- 
quest, with the same result. Then Stevens rose again. 'I trust/ he 
said, ( T will be allowed to offer the resolution/ The objection was 
renewed. Just what Stevens would have offered is not known; but 
he did not vote with those who ta-bled the first resolution. 2 

Once or twice the flame brightened, and with, its old heat; as 
when he denounced the plan to pay the five-twenty bonds in gold, 
not stipulated in the bond. And his hate of Johnson was unrelent- 
ing. Toward the close of a speech on a new impeachment resolu- 
tion, bitter and well phrased, Ms tone changed to one of sadness. 
*My sands/ he said, 'are nearly run, and I can only see with the 
eyes of faith. I am fast descending the downhill of life, at the foot 
of which stands the open grave. But you, sir [the Speaker], are 
promised full length of days, and a brilliant career. If you and 
your compeers can fling away ambition and realize that every 
human being, however lowly or degraded by fortune, is your equal 
. . . truth and righteousness will spread over the land and you will 
look down from the top of the Rocky Mountains upon an empire 
of one hundred million of happy people/ 3 

His last public utterance was in support of the Alaskan Purchase 
Treaty. 

Adjournment found Stevens too feeble to return to Lancaster, 
but he stubbornly refused to take to his bed. Even his enemies re- 
spected certain robust traits of his character. c Of Mr. Stevens I 
have never suffered myself to speak but with a certain respect,* 
wrote the correspondent of the 'New York World/ in an article on 
the old man's hatred of hypocrisy. 4 On August 2, he was too weak 
to leave his apartment, but it was not until a week later that he 
went to bed. For two days, declining all conversation, he lay with 

1 Her story to the author. 2 Congressional Globe, June 3, 1868. 

3 Ibid., July 7, 1868. 4 July 5, 1868. 



TRAGIC 

hands crossed and eyes closed as though in sleep. 1 When, on the 
afternoon of the last day, he discovered his physician changing his 
medicine, he said grimly, "Well, this is a square fight/ With 
twiKght came two colored Sisters of Charity, attached to the 
Providence Hospital he had been instrumental in founding, and 
then two colored minister s, who asked to pray with him. A little 
bored, but considerate, he admitted them, and prayers were said. 
Evarts and Sumner were among the evening callers, but it was the 
colored people who dominated the death chamber. There were 
Lydia Smith and the two Sisters, Loretta and Genevieve. As he 
was sinking rapidly, the doctor asked how he felt. 'Very mean, 
Doctor/ 2 Then Sister Loretta asked permission to baptize him in 
the Catholic faith. Lydia Smith was kneeling at the foot of the 
bed; the two Sisters were on their knees reading the prayers for 
the dying. And thus Thaddeus Stevens passed to eternity. At the 
moment, his hand was in that of Sister Loretta, Ms breast heaved, 
he pressed her hand, and thus the end came. A year before he had 
said that when sick, he would rather send a hundred miles to have 
her with him at the end than most ministers he knew. 3 That night 
a company of colored Zouaves stood guard by his dead body. 4 At 
noon the Butler Zouaves, followed by about fifty persons, mostly 
colored, accompanied his body to the Rotunda of the Capitol, 
where in a rosewood coffin he lay in state while throngs filed 
slowly by till midnight. 5 The next morning a hearse drawn by 
four white horses moved with the casket to the station through 
crowds of spectators of the pageant. Thus Thad Stevens left 
Washington forever. 

As the train passed through Harrisburg, the bells tolled and the 
minute guns were fired; at Lancaster, he lay in state, again guarded 
by Zouaves. A procession of fifteen thousand people followed the 
casket to the simple old cemetery of the town. Baptized by a 
Catholic Sister, the burial service was read by a Lutheran minis- 
ter, and the sermon was preached by an Episcopalian clergyman, 
though the only church for which he had a sentiment was the 
Baptist, the sect of his mother. 6 



1 New York WoM, August 13, 1868. 2 JVW Y orJc Herald, August 13, 1868. 

3 Ibid., August 14, 1868. 4 New Yo rk World, August IB, 1868. 

5 IMd. t August 14, 1868. s $ m Y^ Herald, August 14, 1868. 



A PASSING 223 

In the will 5 Lydia Smith was given permission to occupy the 
house for five years and given an annuity of five hundred dollars 
for life, or five thousand dollars in a lump sum. The greater part 
of his fortune was left to a nephew on condition that he abstain 
from liquor for fifteen years a condition that could not be met. 
In New York, Georges Clemenceau, the young Frenchman, 
mourned him sincerely. 1 A short time, and a monument marked 
the spot where he was sleeping with an epitaph of his own com- 
position: 

*I repose in this quiet and secluded spot, not from any natural 
preference for solitude, but, finding other cemeteries limited by 
charter rules as to race, I have chosen this that I might illustrate 
in my death the principles which I advocated through a long life, 
Equality of Man before his Creator/ 

The faithful Lydia Smith lived some years, and, dying, was 
buried beside her husband in the Catholic Cemetery. And so the 
tale of Thad Stevens was told, and his movement passed to men 
less able, less sincere, and far more selfish. 

ii 

Stevens had lived to see the nomination of Grant and Coif ax by 
the Republicans. The nomination of Grant by one of the two par- 
ties had been assured for at least two years. The Republican poli- 
ticians, deciding on his nomination, had assigned to John W. For- 
ney the embarrassing task of establishing his Republicanism; and 
when the journalist, with the aid of Rawlins, submitted his five- 
column article launching the candidacy, Grant read it whimsically 
and expressed surprise to find himself so good a Republican. He 
had struggled with himself over the nomination. As General of the 
Army, he received twenty-five thousand dollars; if elected and re- 
elected, what would happen to him at the end of his second term? 2 
Nor was it absolutely certain that the Radical group would have 
him. Until the quarrel with Johnson, not only was the tone of its 
press unfriendly it was frequently scurrilous. Through 1867, 
Greeley in 'The Tribune' was cool to the suggestion. 

Inspired by the fear that Grant was not a dyed-in-the-wool 
Radical, the pretense was that he drank too much. It is amazing 

1 Clemenceau, 226. 2 Forney, i, 287-88. 



THE TRAGIC ERA 

to find how freely these extremists played with the topic. The 
story, previously referred to as a press rumor, that detectives were 
engaged to check up on his inebriety was true. In January, 1868, 
Ben Butler appeared at the home of Julian with "a young friend of 
his who is a sort of political detective, and who is hunting up facts 
as to General Grant's drunkenness.' l Just a week before, two o| 
Julian's friends had informed him that Grant had been seen in a 
befuddled state, but Julian had little hope that anything can 
arrest the popular madness which demands his nomination/ 2 
Wendell Phillips was writing in 'The Anti-Slavery Standard' that 
* rumors reach us from Washington . . . that General Grant has 
been seen unmistakably drunk in the streets of that city within a 
few weeks'; 3 and Theodore Tilton was writing in * The Independ- 
ent* that ' occasionally a presidential candidate is seen fuddled in 
the street 9 and that "one glass* of wine poured down the throat of 
the next President. . . may give this whole nation the delirium 
tremens.' 4 

But the Radicals were really not concerned with Grant's per- 
sonal habits so much as with his political trend, and, after his 
break with Johnson, they easily became reconciled to his drinking, 
and we hear no more about it. Colfax had been aspiring, but he 
soon faded from the picture, and Godkin had dismissed a sugges- 
tion of George William Curtis's availability, with the observation 
that his political ideas c all grow under glass and are feeble when 
exposed/ 5 

Thus the Convention met and nominated Grant; and, thanks to 
a Methodist Conference then in session in the city, Coif ax was 
named for the second place. 6 Stevens and Julian had preferred 
Wade, who failed, and passed from the scene. The platform was 
a sweeping endorsement of reconstruction policies, and little more. 
Julian's plank on land plunder was rejected as an affront to the 
railroads, though he was convinced 'the people want ... an end of 
thieving and corrupt monopolies' a mistake to which idealists 
are prone. 7 On negro suffrage, the platform asserted that all 

1 MS. Diary, January 12, 1868. 2 Ibid., January 5, 1868. 

5 Quoted, New York World, January 31, 1868. 4 January 23, 1868. 

5 Ogden, i, 98. 6 Life of Coif ax, to Dr. Eddy, 322. 

7 Julian, MS. Diary, May 24, 1868. 



A PASSING 225 

negroes should be given the vote in the South through congres- 
sional action, but that 'the question of suffrage in all the loyal 
States properly belong to the people of those States/ 

The feature of the Convention was the speech of Joe Brown, of 
Georgia, denouncing the Democrats,, and declaring that *the 
Hamiltonian and Websterian construction of the Constitution has 
been established by the sword/ and that he * acquiesced in that.' 
This operation of the conscience and intellect through the guid- 
ance of the sword was wildly acclaimed. 

The country now turned to the plans of the Democrats. 

in 

The Democrats were embarrassed by the money question and 
threatened to divide on sectional lines. In 1867, there had been 
much hot discussion as to whether the five-twenty bonds had to be 
redeemed in coin or 'money.' The law made no stipulation as to 
coin, and Thad Stevens, in charge of the bill, had explained that 
the bonds could be redeemed in money. Disregarding the law, Jay 
Cooke, in charge of the sale, advertised that the redemption would 
be in coin; and a functionary of the Treasury, when asked, had 
said that, since all other bonds had been so redeemed, he supposed 
the same policy would be followed in the case of the five-twenties. 
When this assumption of Cooke's that he could supplement or 
change the law was bitterly challenged, he haughtily wrote that 
'the pledge of my advertisements was equivalent in equity and 
honor to any one of the loan laws/ 1 In other words, he insisted on 
the right 'in equity and honor* to misrepresent the law in his ad- 
vertisements and thus commit the nation. These bonds had been 
sold to bankers at a discount of sixty and seventy per cent, and if 
paid in gold and silver the interest would be nearly trebled. Butler 
contended that this would be 'an enormous robbery of the people 
for the benefit of the bankers, without justice or reason/ 2 There 
was no possible misinterpretation of the law itself. Even John 
Sherman was momentarily shocked at Cooke's point of view. He 
had said the law made no provision for payment in gold; that 
* soldiers and sailors who shed their blood and saved the Union 
were paid with greenbacks'; that pensions to their widows were 

1 Oberholtzer, Cooke, n, 41. 2 Butler's Boole, 931. 



226 THE TRAGIC ERA 

thus paid; that all our people were forced by law to accept green- 
backs; and he could not understand why the money-lenders, who 
had taken the bonds at a cut-throat discount during the war, 
should be singled out from other creditors, and paid par in gold. 1 
When Cooke wrote him in protest, Sherman stood his ground. 'I 
will neither violate the faith of the nation nor put upon the nation 
a burden not demanded by the loan or founded upon equity and 
justice/ he wrote. Legally he knew he was right. In equity, he 
asked if it was right that "the holder of these bonds shall now re- 
fuse to receive the identical money in payment which he gave for 
the bonds/ 2 Whereupon Cooke had written sadly to his brother, 
he 'had no idea that Sherman was so fully committed to the miser- 
able policy of repudiation/ 3 

In the House, Thad Stevens, who had personally managed the 
bond bill, protested bitterly against payment in gold as a swindle. 
The meaning of the law was clear. He had explained it a dozen 
times on the floor at the time, and the whole House had agreed 
what it meant. 'I will vote for no such swindle ... no such specu- 
lation in favor of the large bondholders and the millionaires who 
took advantage of our folly in granting them coin payment in in- 
terest/ 4 Feeling was running high, for Welles's report had just 
shown that the rich were growing richer and the poor poorer. The 
nomination at the Democratic Convention was to turn largely 
upon this question. 

IV 

The outstanding candidates were George H. Pendleton, Thomas 
A. Hendricks, Horatio Seymour, Andrew Johnson, and Chief 
Justice Chase. There never was the slightest possibility of the 
nomination of Johnson, though there would have been consistency 
in the award, and he had "strong hopes of a nomination/ 5 More 
nearly possible would have been the nomination of Chase who 

1 Interview with General A. B. Nettleton, Oberholtzer, Cooke, n, 40, note. 

2 Oberholtzer, Cooks, n, 42-43. 3 Ibid., n, 43. 

4 Professor Woodburn, Stevens's biographer says (page 581): 'One may well doubt 
whether there was ever a more outrageous fleecing and robbery of a patriotic people than 
that perpetrated through the influence of capitalists and money lenders by the manipula- 
tion of government finance during and immediately following the American Civil War/ 

6 Welles, in, S96. 



A PASSING 227 

fundamentally was a Jeffersonian but for his views on negro 
suffrage. Able and experienced, lie had delighted* the Democrats 
by Ms course during the impeachment trial. No one ever had been 
more severely stung by the presidential bee, and this had been his 
undoing, Welles found, the previous winter, that Chase had 
strength * among bankers, speculators, and a certain class of capi- 
talists/ and some following c among the Southern Radicals and 
negroes/ l When his prospects for the Republican nomination 
dimmed, and a spontaneous movement among Democrats mani- 
fested itself, he was immensely pleased 6 taken . . . entirely by 
surprise/ 2 He agreed to meet Samuel J. Tilden in conference, 3 
and while something intervened, August Behnont, Democratic 
National Chairman., wrote him a long letter, "private and confi- 
dential/ to which he replied with a definition of his attitude toward 
the Democracy. 'For more than a quarter of a century/ he wrote, 
*I have been in my political views and sentiments a Democrat; 
and I still think that upon questions of finance, commerce, and ad- 
ministration generally the old Democratic principles afford the 
best guidance/ He affirmed his belief in. universal suffrage, but 
added, as a coaxer, that he was against the proscription of South- 
ern whites. 4 Two days later, he was writing Murat Halstead that 
he would 'not feel at liberty to decline * the proffered leadership of 
any party ' opposed to the present leadership/ He certainly had 
not committed himself to Grant's candidacy, as erroneously stated 
in Halstead's paper. As Mr. Webster once said, tf l will think of 
that; yes, sir, I will think of that/ 6 

Meanwhile the Democratic leaders were canvassing his pro- 
spects especially those in New York. If the contest was to be 
made on military as opposed to civil government, lie would be the 
ideal candidate. 6 On finance they thought Mm sound. In May, 
Tilden was informed that his nomination would mean an abun- 
dance of ' material aid/ and that his 'negro antecedents' could be 
got around s by adopting a plank . . . conceding to each State the 
management of the franchise question/ 7 Less than a month later, 
Tilden was assured that Chase was 'out of the question 3 and 

1 Welles, in, 44. 2 To Bryant, Schuckers, 588. 3 Schuckers, 568. 

4 Ibid., 584-86. 5 Warden, 700. * Seymour to Chase* Schuckers, 570-71. 

7 W. S. Hawlet to Tilden, Tilden Letters, 



228 TRAGIC 

"would be the weakest man we could have. 5 1 Another wrote that 
Chase had * great defects/ 2 Montgomery Blair thought that 
* Chase has not the slightest influence with the only class of Re- 
publicans who are disposed to go with us, namely, the Lincoln 
men/ 3 And, to make the situation more confusing, another cor- 
respondent wrote urging Tilden to see Chase, since a conference 
with men from "practically every State 5 had convinced the writer 
that he could win. 4 Thus the swaying fortunes of the Chase can- 
didacy up to the meeting of the Convention. 

Meanwhile the rank and file were partial to the handsome, dash- 
ing Pendleton for the same reason that made him poison to the 
New York intriguers he was a greenbacker and unable to see 
any reason for paying the five-twenty bonds in gold when it was 
not so stipulated in the bond. The Eastern Democracy had de- 
termined to prevent his nomination, and it was hinted then that 
the candidacy of Hendricks was used by New York to break 
Pendleton's strength in the West. 

Hendricks's candidacy required no explanation. A sound parti- 
san, able, popular, successful in contests before the people, he had 
all the usual qualifications for the nomination. Welles thought he 
would "unite as many as any one. 5 5 Even the 'New York Tribune' 
thought him 'able and plausible/ and less obnoxious than Pendle- 
ton because c he has no Eastern prejudices.' 6 Through all the pre- 
liminaries, New York flirted constantly with Hendricks, and the 
letters of Tilden fail to reveal the strategy. One of Tilden's cor- 
respondents wrote that 'in no case is it probable that Hendricks 
can be nominated and for success he should not be. 9 7 But at the 
same time one of the New York leaders was writing that 'the more 
I consider the quest, the more I am inclined to favor Hendricks/ 
since 'he would make a good candidate/ 8 The availability of Sey- 
mour was constantly being discussed, with that wily politician 
stoutly putting aside the crown. 

The Convention met, listened to Seymour's powerful speech as 
chairman, and settled down to a decision. Pendleton's forces were 
picturesque with ribbons and banners, but in the first days the 

1 S. E. Church, Tildm Letters, I, 228. * A. Loomis, ibid., i, 229. * Ibid., I, 232. 

4 Barlow, ibid., i, 231. * Welles, in, 394. July 17, 1868. 

7 Barlow, Tildm Letters, i, 216. * Chiirdb, ibid., i, 228. 



A PASSING 229 

Chase candidacy loomed large. The ' New York Herald 9 was sup- 
porting Mm, 'The World* was not unfriendly. The streets were 
noisy with festivities, with orators boon) ing in hotel lobbies and on 
street corners. Not a few of these were of the silver-tongued tribe 
from the South, and the eloquent Vance, of North Carolina, was 
tickling 'The Tribune* with his sarcastic flings at the suffrage 
plank of the Republican platform. It published, with evident zest, 
the lines with which he amused the crowd in Union Square: 

*To every Southern river shall Negro Suffrage come, 
But not to fair New England, for that's too close to hum.* * 

From the beginning, Chase's hopes ran high. He felt the prize 
within his grasp, and in his eagerness he wrote a friend on the 
ground that on suffrage 'I adhere to my old States' Rights doc- 
trine/ Meanwhile, the balloting had begun, with Chase held 
back as a dark horse. New York gave her vote on the first ballot to 
Sanford E. Church and then swung to Hendricks. On that ballot, 
Pendleton led, with Andrew Johnson second. By the eighth ballot, 
Pendleton had reached the climax of his strength, with Hendricks 
second and but eighty votes behind. By the sixteenth ballot, 
Pendleton had lost the lead to Hancock by six votes, and by the 
twenty-first, with Hancock still in the lead, but losing, Hendricks 
was but four votes behind. Then the Pendleton leaders went 
through the form of forcing Seymour, and on the next ballot he 
was named. Thus the charge of Elaine that the New York leaders 
never had favored Hendricks. 2 But the day after the nomination, 
Tilden wrote: 'I had no agency in getting Governor Seymour into 
his present scrape.* 3 Rutherford B. Hayes wrote that day in his 
diary that Seymour was named because 'more decidedly against 
the Greenback theory of Pendleton than any one;' 4 and Ben 
Butler was certain the convention was dominated by August Bel- 
mont in the interest of the bondholders. 5 

Johnson received the news of the nomination without emotion, 
though clearly 'disturbed and disappointed,' 6 and Chase, pausing 
in a game of croquet to read the telegram, asked, 'How does Kate 
take it?' and turned to his game again. 

1 New York Tribune, July 11, 1868. 2 Twenty Years, n, 392. 

8 Life of Tilden, i, 211. 4 Life of Hayes, i, 331. 

1 New YvrJc Herald, November 17, 1868. 6 Welles, in, 398. 



230 THE EEA 

'The die is cast/ commented the 'New York Herald. 5 "The 
Convention lias decided that our neit President shall be General 
Grant.' * It thought Chase might have won. Young Georges 
Clemenceau told the ' Paris Temps' that Hendricks would have 
polled the largest vote. 2 



It was a weird campaign. The candidates were opposite. Sey- 
mour was a profound student of government and politics; Grant 
knew nothing of either. Seymour was a tireless politician; Grant 
had voted but once before 1864. Seymour was a polished orator; 
Grant was Orator Mum. Seymour had a long public record in 
civil service; Grartt 5 none. In training and qualifications, there was 
no comparison. 

The early part of the campaign was deadly dull, and 'The Na- 
tion* tried to explain the apathy over Grant's nomination on the 
ground that he avoided 'the whole of the theatrical apparatus 
commonly used to excite "enthusiasm. 555 3 Seymour was busy 
with plans for organizing the young in clubs, 4 and Tilden was 
learning that thirty Washington correspondents could be bought 
for from three thousand to thirty-five hundred dollars a month 
through the campaign, since the Republicans conditioned payment 
on success at the polls. 5 Indeed, the campaign soon developed 
into a battle of money bags, with the heavier artillery with Grant. 
August Belmont, Tilden, and C, H. McCormick agreed to con- 
tribute ten thousand dollars each to Seymour, but, much to his 
discomfiture, Jay Cooke had been adopted as the angel of the Re- 
publicans. Close personal relations had been established between 
Grant and Henry Cooke, before whose bank the nominee often 
waited patiently in his carriage to drive the financier about town 
or out into the country; and early in 1867 the Grants had been 
regally entertained at Jay Cooke's castle near Philadelphia. The 
raid on Cooke began before the nomination, when he had been 
cajoled out of five thousand dollars for the spring election in New 
Hampshire by W. E. Chandler, the liaison officer between the 
politicians and the financier. Early in June, he was asking Jay's 

1 July 10, 1868. 2 Clemenceau, 05. 3 July 16, 1868. 

4 Tilden letters, i, 24& * R W, lathan, M.C., Tilden Letters, r, MO. 



A PASSING 31 

more approachable brother how much more than ten thousand 
dollars he could give, and promising immunity from further de- 
mands if the amount named were doubled. c lf you fix a large 
amount/ he added cunningly, 'we can get more than otherwise 
from M. O. Roberts and A. T. Stewart, etc.' 1 But as the cam- 
paign progressed, the demands increased, and Cooke found him- 
self the quartermaster-general. Then came the demand for State 
funds, particularly heavy from Pennsylvania, where Simon Came- 
ron was levying on the rich having governmental dealings, and 
building up the powerful machine which was to dominate the 
State for generations. Thus Chandler amassed an enormous fund 
for that day, sending as much as fifty thousand dollars to Indiana 
and forty thousand dollars to Pennsylvania. 2 

Meanwhile the press was fighting valiantly, and a young Ger- 
man cartoonist, Thomas Nast, in the employ of ' Harper's Weekly/ 
was doing such effective work that Grant afterward was to as- 
cribe his election to 'the sword of Sheridan and the pencil of 
Thomas Nast. 5 3 The Republicans were accusing Democrats of 
murdering negroes and 'loyal men/ and Democrats were retaliat- 
ing by declaring Republicans committed to the social equality of 
the races. 

VI 

In the midst of the campaign appeared the novel of Anna E. 
Dickinson, 'What Answer?' sympathetically telling the story of 
the marriage of a rich young white man with a colored woman, and 
the 'New York World' was in ecstasies. The novelist, beginning 
life as a factory worker, had educated herself, and lost her posi- 
tion because of her demonstrations against General McCleUan. 
Instantly adopted by the Radicals, she had taken to the stump 
and scored a brilliant success in the Northern States. Sophomoric 
and extravagant, she was saved from absurdity by her sincerity, 
grace, and prettiness. Thus her novel was accepted by the Demo- 
crats as authoritative Republican doctrine. Not least among the 
crimes of the Radicals, thought the 'New York World/ was their 
spoiling of this 'nice little woman.' The scolding of Democrats, 
bristling in the novel, was ascribed to Republican politicians as *a 

1 Oberholtzer, Cooke, 11, 69. 2 Ibid., n, 71. 3 Paine, Nast, 130. 



TRAGIC 

good investment for the New England market. 9 And the book ? 
* Three hundred pages of a literary mess which can only be likened 
to a hash of Sylvanus Cobb with the editorials of ** The Tribune/ 5 ' l 
And such filth! *In some countries such a book could not appear; 
in others, its authoress would only be laughed at as a dirty chatter- 
box.' And what treason to the Radicals, too, to make the heroine 
but three fourths black! Wendell Phillips should look after this 
straying sister. Some one should 'educate her up to the full glory 
of the wool head and the tar heel.' 2 The Republican press was 
chary in its praise, and retaliated by waving the 'bloody shirt' and 
filling its columns with * outrage' stories from the South. The 
'New York Tribune' was painting blood-curdling pictures of the 
savagery of the Southern whites. In Arkansas, 'the atrocious 
murder of thousands of good men, white and black,' with hun- 
dreds of unoffending blacks tied to trees, whipped unmercifully, 
and murdered. A reign of terror! 3 William E. Chandler was 
writing from New Orleans that 'lawlessness and violence rule the 
city * . . with Republicans of prominence in hiding from assas- 
sins/ 4 Shocking tales, too, from Alabama and Texas. To drama- 
tize the 'issue,' delegations of carpetbaggers hurried to Washing- 
ton to importune Johnson for protection against the slaughter of 
'loyal men,' 5 and even 'The Nation' 6 was waving the 'bloody 
shirt.' It was urging Grant's election to get rid of 'spiles* and 
'claims/ No mere politician, he. 'Bred in a very different and 
very much better school/ 7 

And so the fight in the North waxed warmer, with much parad- 
ing with banners and torches, with packed halls screaming ap- 
proval of all manner of foolishness, with orators straining their 
voices above the traffic of street corners. In Philadelphia, a vast 
outpouring of soldiers, marching, marching all day long, with 
flags, garlands, inscriptions everywhere, at an enormous cost. 
And the next night in New York the counter demonstration, with 
forty thousand marchers, allegorical floats, featuring the goddess 
of liberty, draped and beautifully posed. Tammany had staged 
this spectacle, and the goddess was 'a powerfully built Irish girl, 



1 New York World, September 24, 1868. * xm., October 4, 1868. 

* New York Tribune, October 21, 1868, letter from Little Bock. 

4 Ibid., November 3, 1868, ZWi, October 23, 1868. October 29, 1868. 



A PASSING 233 

wearing her red cap with an audacious air, one hand resting on a 
pikestaff, while she held some broken chains in the other.' Georges 
Clemenceau had seen both demonstrations and was amazed. 1 
Thus, on a smaller scale, throughout the North. 

VII 

And in the South? There, in anguish of spirit, the old-line Whigs 
were forced to go over to the despised Democrats, and some of 
these unwilling converts appeared on Democratic platforms with 
evident embarrassment and humiliation. 2 There was no measur- 
ing the bitterness toward the few old-line Democrats who went 
over to the negroes and the carpetbaggers. 

Under Wade Hampton's generalship, a gesture of conciliation 
toward the reasoning element in the North met only with jeers. 
A brilliant son of Charles Francis Adams, a brother of Henry, 
with the traditional Adams indifference to popularity, had cast 
his lot with the Democracy of Massachusetts, to become its leader. 
An eloquent speaker, delightful conversationalist, John Quincy 
Adams II had attracted national attention by his sane views on re- 
construction, and he was invited by Hampton to speak in South 
Carolina. 'What stronger reply could there be to the misrepre- 
sentations of the Radicals,' wrote Hampton, "than to hear John 
Quincy Adams talk of Union and fraternal relations on the soil of 
South Carolina? Would it not be as the past speaking to the pre- 
sent?' Thus Adams was invited to "a consultation upon the living 
principles of our free institutions/ since c it is no longer a question 
of party, but of social life.' 3 Speaking in Charleston, with Hamp- 
ton in the chair, Adams said that, after some days of intimate 
association with Hampton, it was safe to say that *if he is a rebel, 
he is just such a rebel as I am and no more.' 4 The orator pro- 
nounced the Southern people as loyal as the Northern, and as- 
cribed the trouble with the negroes to the work of the carpet- 
baggers. 5 The Adams speeches, soundest of their day, were pub- 
lished in the North without effect, albeit Greeley found in them 
'evidence of ability and an aptitude for public affairs.' 6 

1 Clemenceau, 249-51. 2 Mrs. Smedes, 240. 

New York Herald, October 9, 1868. 4 Ibid., October 0, 1868. 

8 Ibid. October 19, 1868. a 6 New York Tribune, October 19, 1868. 



234, , THE TEAGIC ERA 

The most aggressive fight of all was waged by the Democracy of 
Georgia, where high tide was reached in the Bush Arbor meeting 
in Atlanta. It was blistering hot, the air filled with stifling dust, 
but the uncomfortable plank seats were packed tight with men 
and women who sat five hours listening to the orators. 1 Ben Hill, 
summoned from his retreat at Indian Spring, weak from illness, 
and unprepared, was not expected by the twenty thousand people, 
who sprang to their feet on his arrival, in a five-minute demon- 
stration. Pale as death, he rose, and plunged into one of the classic 
invectives of American oratory. 

* There is not a single Southern man who advocates the accept- 
ance of this reconstruction scheme who was not bought, and 
bought with a price by your enemies,' he began. The issue was 
whether there should be a restored Union of equal States or a new 
Union of unequal States. Grant stood for the latter; Seymour, for 
the former. The Supreme Court had made up its mind that the 
reconstruction measures were unconstitutional, but it was *too 
cowardly to declare the decision/ Mincing no words, cutting and 
slashing, with sarcasm and invective, he held the twenty thousand 
literally spellbound, and closed with the admonition 'never to 
suffer a single native renegade who voted for the vassalage of these 
States and the disgrace of your children to darken your doors or to 
speak to any member of your family/ 2 As he concluded, the Old 
and New South sprang to its feet, the impetuous Toombs throw- 
ing his arms around the orator, while Henry Grady, then a boy, 
stood by the platform with burning eyes and flaming cheeks. Once 
more Ben Hill had dared the lightning, and dynamitized his party 
in Georgia. 

In North Carolina, old-line Whigs put on the armor for Sey- 
mour, though Governor Worth would have preferred Andrew 
Johnson or John Quincy Adams. 3 Sentiment everywhere there 
seemed for Seymour, but Holden would name the poll-keepers, 
*and Ms militia will, if possible, be used to overawe the timid.' 4 
Men like Vance would have swept over the State, but they were 
too poor to pay traveling expenses. 5 

Thus, despite the army, Democrats of the South, with former 

1 Avery, 39& 2 EGH 308-19. 3 Worth, to Baxter, n, 

4 Ibid., to Montgomery Blair, u, 1243. Ibid. 



A PASSING 35 

WMgs at their side for the first time, were in the field, and fight- 
ing. 

It was soon evident, however, that nothing could 'stem the tide, 
and with Frank Blair's uncompromising letter against the accept- 
ance of reconstruction, the Wise Men of the East among Demo- 
crats cringed and crawled, and cried mea culpa to the enemy, with 
Manton Marble's silly demand for Blair's removal from the 
ticket. Tilden sent an emissary to Johnson in an appeal for Ad- 
ministration support, and a satisfactory interview was granted, 
Seymour, persuasive and powerful, at length took the stump, 
while Grant sat in silence at Galena. When the October elections 
went badly, stupid Democrats again proposed to change the ticket 
and made their party ridiculous; and Grant won a signal triumph 
at the polls. Seymour had carried but four Northern States, but in 
Georgia, where his followers had not been too cowardly or too 
gentlemanly to fight, he won. Even with the victory, one im- 
pressive fact is found with 5,716, 08 votes cast, Grant had a 
popular majority of but 309,584. 

But the Radicals now had their President. 

VIII 

Meanwhile, Johnson, by no means deserted, observed his six- 
tieth birthday with an elaborate party for his grandchildren 
perhaps the most beautiful of the sort the mansion has ever seen. 1 
The Marine Band played, and Marini managed the dances and 
the grand promenade; and after dancing in their bright costumes 
in the East Room, the children marched into the State dining- 
room, where a long table was spread with all the delicacies. John- 
son entered joyously into the festivity, and his invalid wife, for the 
second time during her tragic life in the White House, descended 
from her room to look upon the pretty scene. But the Grant chil- 
dren, who had been invited, were not there. 2 

When, three days later, great numbers pushed through the rain 
to the New Year's reception, the wife of one of the impeachers was 
disgusted because the plain people had crowded in "a fearful 
crowd from the streets, their feet muddy and clothing dripping 

1 Crook, 144. 

2 Welles, in, 488; Mrs. Logan, 240; New York Herald, December 30, 1868. 



236 THE TRAGIC ERA 

from the rain/ l Quite early, a stern-visaged, bearded man was 
helped from Ms carriage by attendants, and the crippled Morton, 
who had voted for impeachment, warmly grasped Johnson's hand, 
and was cordially received. A little later, the crowd gasped its 
astonishment, as a bulky man with drooping eyelids hove in view 
and vigorously shook the hand of Johnson. Ben Butler, less em- 
barrassed than the spectators, stood for five minutes in smiling 
conversation with the man he had called a 'criminal.' The news 
that he had attended flashed over the town, and at Evarts's re- 
ception It was wickedly suggested the meeting must have been 
pleasant. 'Yes, sir: a very pleasant and cordial meeting,* said 
Butler. *My unpleasantness was political, not personal. I don't 
believe in carrying political disputes into social life. 5 2 

Thereafter, until the end, Johnson's popularity seemed to in- 
crease, and he was overwhelmed with visitors. 3 He was method- 
ically preparing for Ms departure, arranging Ms files and papers, 
calling in and paying bills. With steamsMp companies offering Mm 
transportation to any European port, he was longing for the quiet 
of the home in Greeneville. 4 His last reception, two days before he 
left, was most brilliant of all, with five thousand, including the 
charming Harriet Lane, mistress of the mansion during the 
Buchanan regime, in attendance. It was agreed that 'it exceeded 
any other ... in brilliancy and the immensity of the throng/ 5 

The last night the mansion was closed to all but intimates at 
six o'clock, and Senator Hendricks, with others, called. Johnson, 
planning to be up late for tardy bills from Congress, was in perfect 
health, his energies ^diminished. 6 He had refused two months 
before to ride in the carriage with Grant to the inauguration, and 
at length declined to attend the ceremonies, on the ground that he 
could not afford Ho witness the inauguration of a man whom he 
knew to be untruthful, faithless, and false/ 7 The morning of the 
4th found him working quietly among Ms papers, surrounded by 
the Cabinet, and a few minutes before noon he rose, grasped the 
hand of each Secretary, descended to the portico, entered a car- 



1 Mrs. Logan, 238. 2 jf^ York Herald, January 2, 1869. 

3 Ibid., February 27, 1869. 4 Crook, 145. 

5 New York World, New York Herald, March 3, 1869. 

6 New York World, March 4, 1869. 7 Welles, ra, 500. 



A 37 

riage, and was driven to the tome of Ms friend John F. Coyle, edi- 
tor of 'The Intelligencer/ where he remained until his departure 
to Tennessee. 1 

His storm-rocked Administration was over. 

IX 

Grant rode to the Capitol alone, and delivered his brief inaugu- 
ral address, which Julian thought f certainly nothing to brag on. 5 2 
It was observed that he bore himself with a frigid and repelling 
dignity *no geniality, no familiar jest, hardly a smile.' 3 His 
easy election had convinced him of his complete independence of 
the political forces with which he had been surrounded. 4 

Then, with the announcement of the Cabinet, the country 
gasped. 

There had been some uneasiness because of his reticence, and 
his curt refusal to give Henry J. Baymond a line on his policy, 5 but 
Julian, in familiar conversation at Grant's home a week before, 
had found him communicative on the squandering of public lands 
and the Tenure-of -Office Act. * Simple and natural as a child, * 
wrote Julian. 6 The speculation on the personnel of the Cabinet 
proved ludicrously wrong. The politicians, simulating confidence 
in his judgment, were trembling in their boots, and, when they 
approached him timidly with the suggestion that the leaders were 
curious about the Cabinet, Grant stopped puffing his cigar to say 
that Mrs. Grant shared that curiosity. William Cullen Bryant 
was almost pleased, delighted with Grant's * frankness' on politics, 
and was sure he was going to end plundering and corruption, 
though the purging process would cost him 'one third of the Re- 
publican strength.' 7 Others were fearful that he lacked 'affirma- 
tive qualities' and doubted that much good could come from fi a 
military sort of government, the only kind he comprehends.' s 
Thus the gossip ran, and then, with the announcement of the 
Cabinet, a bomb fell with a mighty boom. 

A commonplace Illinois Congressman, without a single qualifi- 
cation, for State Department; A. T. Stewart, the merchant prince, 

1 Welles, in, 436-42. 2 MS. Diary, March 7, 1869. 3 Badeau, 159. 

4 Ibid., 157. * Ibid., 156 6 MS. Diary, February 28, 1869. 

7 Godwin, n, 276. 8 Bigelow, Retrospections, iv, 187. 



238 THE TRAGIC 

with a distinct legal disqualification, for the Treasury; Borie, rich, 
but unknown to politics or public men, for the Navy these 
startled the politicians. No objections were heard to Rawlins foi 
the War Department; there was universal praise for Cox, for the 
Interior, able, clean, tested a delightful conversationalist, too; 
and while some mystery attached to the choice of Hoar for At- 
torney-General, he was a distinguished jurist of fine stock and 
flawless character. But how had Grant assembled such an aggre- 
gation of incongruities? Smug-minded reformers who had rejoiced 
over Grant's snubbing of the advice of practical politicians, began 
to be less cocksure of their wisdom. -Stewart why, no one really 
knew his politics, but every one, save the President, knew that be- 
cause of his engagement in trade and commerce, and his connec- 
tion with public lands and securities, his appointment was illegal. 
Borie no one knew him outside of Philadelphia, where he was 
known for his wealth and social standing, and it is said that one 
Senator had never heard his name before its announcement to the 
Senate. 1 No one had greater cause for astonishment than Borie 
, himself. Calling on Grant the day before the inauguration, he was 
asked facetiously, apropos of Grant's statement that a Pennsyl- 
vanian would be appointed, if he had called c to learn the name of 
the man from Philadelphia.* He laughingly disclaimed any such 
thought, and read of his appointment on the train en route home. 2 
*Who in the world is Borie?' asked the 'New York Herald. 5 

* Where does he come from? What's his business. Borie! Borie! 
That's a queer nomination. 9 3 As for Washburne as Secretary of 
State, it was to laugh. 

The reaction of the press reflected the general amazement. H, 
as said, Rawlins had warned Grant against raising a rival to the 
Cabinet, he was safe, 4 but he was not safe from ridicule. "The 
World 5 thought that in deviating from the beaten path, Grant had 

* deviated into absolute oddity 3 in making *such a Cabinet as no 
politician would have advised.' 5 *A little obscure,* the * Spring- 
field Republican* thought the selections. *A strange medley of 
obscure men, chosen without rhyme or reason/ thought the *A1- 
bany Argus/ The * Boston Post* was positive the country would 

1 McCulIoch, 350. * Badeau, 163. s March 6, 1869. 

4 Badeau, 164. 5 M^h a, 1869. 



A PASSING 239 

'not become excited over the cast/ *The Nation 9 was sure the 
selections 'did disappoint Ms [Grant's] friends and admirers, and 
probably Ms friends and admirers rather than Ms enemies. 9 But 
the 'New Haven Palladium' rejoiced that 'the reign of the poli- 
ticians has passed/ and the 'Philadelphia Enquirer' reassured the 
worried with the strange reflection that Grant 'is the possessor of 
those analytical powers wMch enable men to judge character 
with close and correct appreciation/ l Julian, a friendly critic, 
was forced to record that 'when the Cabinet was announced, the 
disappointment was deep and universal among Republicans/ and 
that 'every one tMnks that Grant has made a serious blunder 5 ; 'if 
he had consulted politicians . . . more, it would have been better/ 2 
Young Henry Adams, then in Washington, was to remember years ' 
later that ' Grant's nominations had the singular effect of making 
the hearer ashamed, not so much of Grant, as of Mmself / and to 
conclude that 'a great soldier might be a baby politician/ 3 Soon 
the impression became fixed that in two instances the appoint- 
ments had been inspired by Grant's deep reverence for money. 
Stewart and Borie were rich, and it appeared that the former had 
made considerable gifts to Grant, without an ulterior motive, and 
the latter had entertained him handsomely at his home. Bigness 
always appealed to the bluff soldier big fortunes particularly. 
It was a weakness born of Ms days of poverty. 

It was on the confirmation of Stewart that Grant was most de- 
termined, and he was not disconcerted by the reminder that the 
law forbade. The law? Then change the law! One day Carl 
Schurz found Grant writing. 'I am only writing a Message to the 
Senate, 5 he said, and it was the Message asking Congress to set the 
law aside. But Congress declined, and Stewart made way for 
BoutweU, the impeacher, and in a short while Borie retired and 
George M. Robeson, a New Jersey lawyer, not of the first order, 
became head of the Navy. Washbume was speedily transferred to 
the French mission, and Hamilton Fish was made Secretary of 
State an excellent choice. He had made a good record as a WMg 
in Congress, and Ms natural conservatism had held Mm to the old 
party till the last. Cultured, wealthy, and socially fitted, he was 

1 Press comments quoted in New York World, March 6, 1869. 

2 MS. Diary, March 7, 1869. 3 Henry Adams, 263. 



240 THE TRAGIC ERA 

invaluable not only as an official, but as a social mentor of the 
Grants. 

But the apprehensions of party leaders did not pass with the 
final organization of tlie Cabinet, for it was evident that Grant's 
unf amiliarity with government and reluctance to consult would 
get him into endless trouble. Both Hoar and Fish were embar- 
rassed by appointments urged upon them. The former, asked to 
make a soldier Chief Justice of a territory because he had lost a 
leg, managed to hint that 'mere absence of legs is not a sufficient 
qualification for a judicial position/ and Grant laughingly aban- 
doned the idea. 1 One day the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 
was considering the nomination of a Minister to Belgium. ' Can 
any member give us any information concerning Mr* Jones?' 
Stunner asked gravely. It had been whispered that he was in- 
terested in horses. "Well/ replied Morton, 'Mr. Jones is about the 
most elegant gentleman that ever presided over a livery stable.' 
The nomination was not confirmed. 2 The ' New York Herald/ com- 
menting, said the Senators were disgusted. 3 

More disturbing to reformers was the disposition to appoint the 
tf lame ducks' of Congress, * turned out by constituents for ex- 
cellent reasons/ 4 and when the disreputable Ashley, the im- 
peacher, was made Governor of Montana, 'The Nation/ shocked, 
denounced the confirmation by one vote as a scandal' all the 
more scandalous since Charles Sumner voted to confirm. 5 The 
more facetious 'New York World 5 explained that Ashley was 

* neither the cousin of General Grant, nor the aunt of Mr. Casey, 
for to him President Grant had truly been "a little less than kin 
and more than kind." ' 6 Indeed, there were grumblings about 
nepotism within a month of the inauguration; within two months 
the * Chicago Tribune' was saying that the Administration's moral 
power 'has been frittered away by small absurdities/ and that 

* there never was an administration with more good intentions at 
heart and less aptitude for carrying them into effect.' 7 Thus 
the Administration opened with the Opposition jeering, and its 
friends apologetic. It was not an auspicious start. 

1 Memoir of Hoar, 175. * Schurz, 809-10. * April 16, 1869. 

4 The Nation, April 15, 1869. jj ia>f Apri i 6j 1869> 

8 April 6, 1869. 7 Q uo ted, The Nation, May 6, 1869. 



A PASSING 241 

x 

Meanwhile, with the Opposition press quoting from Johnson's 
letter refusing the New York gift of an equipage and horses, John- 
son had gone home. Greeted cordially at Baltimore, he had said 
he would rather be a free citizen than be inaugurated President 
' over the ruins of the Constitution/ and 'rather be a free man than 
be President, and be a slave.' l Facing his old neighbors at Greene- 
ville, he spoke feelingly of his earlier years of poverty and struggle, 
and in conclusion he lifted his hands and quoted the words of 
Wolsey: 

'An old man, broken with tKe storms of state, 
Is come to lay his weary bones among ye; 
Give him a little earth for charity!' 

A little rest, and he was on his travels again, speaking in all the 
leading towns of Tennessee, the plain people massed about him 
enthusiastically everywhere. Was it mere curiosity? The old 
mountain friends had gone over to the Eadicals, but Johnson's 
activities were watched with misgivings in the North. 

1 New York World, March 12, 1869. 



XII 
WASHINGTON: SOCIAL BACKGROUND 

i 

NO one visiting Washington immediately after the war, or 
throughout the period with which we are concerned* would 
have carried away memories of physical beauty. The overgrown 
village of the fifties had not improved under the rough usage of 
the war ? and while Henry Adams thought it 'unchanged/ with 
nothing that 'betrayed growth/ 1 he was probably thinking of the 
inner social circles, for the four-year struggle had left its marks. 
The streets were streaks of mud, and at the second Lincoln inaugu- 
ration a diplomat's carriage had been mired to the hub on F Street, 
and curious crowds had amused themselves by watching the dig- 
nitary being carried, with all his gold lace., to safety in the arms of 
a servant* 2 The street was paved soon thereafter from the Treas- 
ury to Judiciary Square, and plans were on foot for the redemption 
of the avenue from the mud. This thoroughfare of the state pro- 
cessions had fallen into such disrepute that merchants had threat- 
ened to move elsewhere. 3 The curtailment of the army camps 
about only offered a better view of the ravages wrought. The 
surrounding forts, deserted now, were crumbling to decay, and the 
shed-like corrals for army horses and wagons were abandoned to 
the town toughs, who found them a convenient rendezvous. 4 
Street cars, with jingling bells, had displaced the old rickety omni- 
buses of pre-war days, mingling their rumbling and clanging with 
the cries of negro venders of oysters, milk, and vegetables in the 
streets. 5 The influx of population due to war had not diminished, 
and, for a time, there was a dearth of houses and rooms, but quite 
soon all this was changed. There was a building boom, and the 
rich, finding the capital entertaining, began the construction of 
pretentious homes. By the early seventies there was an air of 
smartness to the town. 



1 Education of H&my Adams, 245. 2 ]y w jork Herald, July 8, 1865. 

3 Nicolay, 388. * Im ^ $87-88. 

5 New York World, January L, 1870. 



WASHINGTON; SOCIAL BACKGROUND 243 

Drawn by the spectacular struggles, all sorts of men and women 
poured Into the capital, and the promenader found a stroll divert- 
ing, mingling with the laughing freedmen, listening to the noisy 
venders, laughing, as did Godkin, of 'The Nation/ at the pro- 
vincials who flocked a little awesomely to the Capitol to feast then- 
eyes on greatness. That which Impressed Godkin most in the 
members of the House was c the cleanness of their shirts,' and he 
was sure that 'we underrate their honesty and overrate their in- 
telligence.' l 

In front of the Willard, a long row of hacks with black drivers. 
Up and down the avenue, after it was paved, a great parade of fine 
equipages, for fashion had a weakness for such display. A favorite 
drive was out to the park of the Soldiers' Home, from which one 
could look down upon the town; 2 another to Rock Creek Park, as 
wild as the Rocky Mountains,' where 'here and there a negro log 
cabin alone disturbed the dogwood and the judas tree and the 
laurel.' 3 Ugly as was the sprawling town, there was charm enough 
in its environs, and Henry Adams thought that c the Potomac and 
its tributaries squandered beauty/ 4 Beauty, however, was less 
sought than entertainment by the official sojourners and the tour- 
ists, and of this there was enough. The streets were studded thick 
with bar-rooms, for it was a day of heavy drinking, and there had 
been times when 'the whole House was drunk/ 5 Gambling was 
the prevailing vice, and he who would tempt fortune had not far to 
go. At the close of the war, more than a hundred gambling-houses 
flourished, but with the passing of the soldiers these rapidly di- 
minished, and five years later there were but seventeen. The most 
exclusive of these, within a stone's throw of the Willard, catered 
only to the rich and prominent, and the stranger was turned away 
at the door. So thriving was the business of John Chamberlain with 
Senators and Congressmen that, In 1878, he acquired the former 
British Legation on Connecticut Avenue, at I and Seventeenth 
Streets, at a cost of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. It was 
a handsome brick structure, with broad bay windows, mansard 
roof, turreted towers, and massive gables, separated from the 
street by trees and shrubs, flowers and English ivy, the latter 
climbing the portico. This, for several years, was the favorite 

1 Ogden, I, 311-12. 2 New York World, June 13, 1871. 

8 Henry Adams, 268. 4 Ibid. 5 Marse Henry, n, 23. 



244 THE TEAGIC ERA 

lounging-place of many statesmen Mgli in the councils of the 
state. Chamberlain served meals which piqued the taste of the 
epicure; and after a satisfying dinner, and a smoke in the luxuri- 
ously furnished lounging-room, the statesmen could go upstairs, 
where were many small rooms, and sit down at the black walnut 
tables for play. At midnight, every night, the players paused, for 
obsequious and discreet waiters appeared with a lunch and the 
compliments of the master. Many were shocked at this dese- 
cration of His Majesty's Legation, at this invasion of the most ex- 
clusive residential neighborhood, and there was much shaking of 
heads and quiet laughing, until at length John Sherman presented 
his resolution on the vice of gambling. 1 If the tourist cat could not 
look at the kings at Chamberlain's, he could, if willing to pay the 
price, see them all in the famous restaurant of John Welcher, 
sacred still to the memory of statesmen sleeping in the dust. This 
incomparable Boniface of foreign birth was a gentleman of im- 
agination and taste. Dreaming over his bookkeeping in his wine- 
house in New York, and utterly ignorant of the business of run- 
ning a restaurant, he betook himself to Washington in war days to 
try his fortune. On the avenue he opened a restaurant, and soon 
the rumors ran that nowhere could be found such rich old wines, 
such lovely, witty women, as in the walnut-paneled rooms at 
Welcher's. Soon every statesman and politician and lobbyist 
found his way to its cheer. The lobbyists made it their head- 
quarters, close to the wine-cellars and the hearts of the Nation's 
lawmakers; and for ten years much of American history was made 
within the paneled walls. Here the lobbyist mellowed the hard 
heart of the Senator, the lover met his mistress, the friends of 
Chase plotted against Lincoln, the Radicals against Johnson, the 
Credit Mobilier conspirators against the Treasury. Here the 
fascinating Elaine, more than ever ingratiating in the easy, grace- 
ful talk of the table, wined and dined his way to the Speakership 
and party leadership, and it was here that Forney and the others 
planned the nomination of Grant. When the host passed on, it 
was to be written of Ms place that ( there is not a measure noted 
for importance in the last ten years but can be traced to these 
rooms 5 ; that "when the table was spread and the gas lit, what was 

1 New York World, March 20, 1870; February 3, 1875; January 15, 1876. 



WASHINGTON: THE SOCIAL BACKGROUND 245 

said or done or sought or pursued was of no interest to John/ He 
who furnished the rare wines, the epicurean dinners, the cozy at- 
mosphere, the seclusion, the charm and beauty of Welcher's de- 
serves to live in history, for he gave the setting for great events. 1 
And there, too, was the restaurant of Sam Ward, a veritable gen- 
tleman of the world, grand master in the management of a dinner, 
a genius in cuisine, a connoisseur in wines, and a famous raconteur, 
who exchanged confidences with Senators, and remained the soul 
of discretion. He moved among his guests with the grace and 
bonhomie of a private host, pausing in passing at a senatorial table 
to tell a story, gallantly presenting a bouquet to a lady, pressing 
some French candies on a child the friend of every one down to 
the negro on the hack outside Ms door. It was said of him that he 

* would have made a capital companion for Sheridan or Tom 
Moore.' 2 

Among the hotels, that of Wormley at H and Fifteenth Streets, 
was most exclusive, favoring family patronage and entertaining 
politicians like Colfax, statesmen like Caleb Gushing, and the 
diplomatic set. The Marquis and Madame de Noailles, and Senor 
and Madame Flores lived here and entertained. 3 But the Willard 
was most imposing, the new Ebbitt was to have its day, and the 
National, where Clay had died, still drew its full quota of public 
men. For a time, nothing was more popular than the hotel hops, 
managed by a select committee of the leaders of fashion, 4 and there 
was much private entertaining in the hotels, too. It was at the 
Willard, soon after Miss Foote became the wife of Senator John 
B. Henderson, that she entertained elaborately at receptions on 
the eve of her husband's farewell to senatorial life. 5 

This was the season that opened the era of extravagance which 
was to have its tragedies. Senator Zack Chandler startled the 
town, forgetful of the golden fifties, by the prodigality of his enter- 
tainments. His imposing house on H Street blazed with light from 
top to bottom many times that winter, and guests went away to 
gossip long over the music and the flowers and the elaborate table 

* looking like a miniature model of Pekin, with confectionery of all 

1 Washington Capital, April 4, 1875; quoted, New York World, April 7, 1875. 

2 Forney, i, 394. 3 New York World, January 18, 1873. 
4 New York Herald, July 8, 1865. 6 Ibid., January 29, 1869. 



246 - THE TRAGIC ERA ' 

kinds and colors framed into temples, towers, minarets, and pa- 
godas. 9 l It was a merry season for the daughter of the household, 
and soon, * unspoiled' by the adulation, she was the bride of young 
Eugene Hale, of Maine, described at the wedding as *pale like one 
who has worked too hard/ 2 Another year, and Washington was 
really gay again, with * diamonds in every hotel parlor, equipages 
on the Georgetown Road, capitalists in the Senate, state dinners 
unsurpassed among officials.' The old families that had at- 
tended Mrs. Gwin's balls in the pre-war days still held aloof, but 
never had toilettes been more sumptuous than those seen at the 
receptions of the ladies of the Cabinet, 3 and at the White House 
' young men in hemstitched shirt-fronts gazed inquisitively at 
promenaders with undergraduate freedom/ 4 There was in- 
dubitably a change in the tone of official society. The habituSs of 
the modest brick houses on I and J and K Streets, with their plate 
glass windows and shining doorsteps, donned their pink and blue 
dresses and pale gloves and sedately went to Grant's receptions as 
of old, 5 but there was more of the mob spirit in society, and this 
prevailed. True a few, like Kate Chase Sprague, were coldly to 
shut the door and become more exclusive, but few could afford 
such independence. Before the period was over, the mob, pushing 
into private houses to satisfy its curiosity, was to rush the Butler 
mansion on Capitol Hill, the home of a rich Senator, to stare, 
quite frankly, at the hostess, ' weary and heavy laden with pre- 
cious stones/ dig their feet into the rich nap of rugs and carpets, 
and finger the furniture and upholstery. 6 Social functions lost 
something of their distinction, and receptions became *an epi- 
demic/ great throngs moving from one to another. 7 The social de- 
mands on modest official salaries were severely felt and there was 
much complaining. 'Ten pairs of lavender kid gloves makes 
quite an item*; c a coach in livery, at five dollars a night and ten 
dollars on reception nights, cuts in'; 'one dinner at Welcher's 
takes all the money left/ 8 What with gambling, drinking, dining 

1 New York Herald, Febuary 2, 1869. 2 New YorJc World, December 23, 1871. 

3 Ibid., January 16, 1870. 4 Ibid., January 14, 1870. 

5 Ibid., January 16, 1870. 

6 Indianapolis News; quoted, New York World, March 24, 1876. 

7 New York Herald, February 14, 1870. 8 New York World, March 23, 1873. 



WASHINGTON: SOCIAL BACKGROUND 247 

at Welcher's, driving, entertaining, dressing, the budget of many 
a household failed to show a balance. 

ii 

Men of real distinction walked the avenue without attracting 
notice and were overlooked by the hostesses. One, too picturesque 
to escape attention, was frequently met on the street, tall, vigor- 
ous, portly, with bright eyes and florid complexion, swinging along 
like an athlete, and looking like Santa Glaus, with his flowing 
beard. ' There goes Walt Whitman/ a young lady is heard saying 
to her companion. She turns curiously. 'And is THAT the author 
of "Leaves of Grass" ? ? she says. *I might have known it/ 1 for 
6 Leaves of Grass 5 made him quite impossible, socially, and Har- 
lan, Johnson's Secretary of the Interior, and a high priest of his 
church, had sanctimoniously made it the pretext for dismissing 
the poet from his department. Now a clerk in the office of the 
Attorney-General, he, of necessity, lives cheaply, merely tf roost- 
ing/ as he said, in a tiny room of a lodging-house and eating in the 
cheaper restaurants. By day and night he may be seen striding 
along on long rambles which take him into the country, and from 
his little nook of an office, with pictures of Tennyson and John 
Burroughs over his desk, he can look out over the river to the Vir- 
ginia hills, and upon the unfinished Washington Monument. 2 
Later, his department moved from the Treasury to the Freed- 
men's Bank Building, where he was given a side room commanding 
a view of brick walls. 3 Ignored by the hostesses and the politicians, 
he had a friend holding a clerkship at the Treasury, and frequently 
John Burroughs would stride out into the woods with the poet. No 
one cared for the naturalist, either, and the cronies were left alone. 
It was about the time that a breezy Westerner lingered awhile in 
the rooms of Senator Stewart at Fourteenth and F Streets, to ter- 
rorize the landlady with his carelessness with matches and tobacco 
and to find infinite amusement in the Vanity Fair that had no in- 
terest in Mark Twain. 4 Julia Ward Howe would run in and out 
of the town, to be courted by the old Abolitionists and Radicals, 
and Gail Hamilton, plain, short, plump, with curls of light hair 

1 New York World, January 21, 1870. 2 Ibid., April 1, 1871. 

* Ibid., December 24, 1871. 4 Stewart, Reminiscences, 219, 



248 THE TRAGIC ERA 

clustering around her head, was invited to dinners because of her 
intimacy with the Blaines, but there was little literary atmosphere 
in the Washington of those times. 1 In a prosy little cottage in 
Georgetown, by the canal, dwelt a short-sighted, absent-minded 
little woman writing reams for Bonner's "Ledger/ but the stories 
of Mrs. Southworth have no association with literature. 2 Anna 
Dickinson, who wrote and lectured, was socially acceptable in 
political circles, for had she not thundered on the stump? 3 Those 
with an artistic urge found their way occasionally to the studio of 
Vinnie Ream, to see her ' Miriam, 5 but she had lost caste with the 
politicians during the impeachment. 4 

Ever and anon, the politicians had a literary evening with John 
W. Forney in his apartments at 'The Mills House* on Capitol 
Hill, and, let it be recorded as part payment for his sins, the poets 
and painters were invited, and he had a real salon. There one 
might meet Thad Stevens and Grant; Prentice, of the * Louisville 
Courier- Journal'; and Joseph Medill, of the 'Chicago Tribune 9 ; 
Elliott, the portrait painter; and Brady, the photographer of the 
war; and see Edwin Forrest and hear him recite. For there were 
recitations, vocal and instrumental music, and good conversation, 
and there were memories hovering about the rooms, for Lincoln 
had been a guest. 5 But, alas, the cynical smiled or sneered, and it 
was whispered about that these literary evenings were but real 
estate lobby parties, and that Grant should not countenance them 
by his presence. 6 Indeed, the cautious might well ponder on the 
motive behind some invitations, and a few did. When 'Boss 5 
Shepherd invited the scrupulously honest Michael Kerr to one of 
his parties, the latter indignantly replied that he 'would as soon 
enter a house of prostitution. 5 

Even so, those of literary tastes were not wholly in a desert 
where no fountain was springing. Fortunate was he who was in- 
vited to the table of Sumner, to spend an evening among his books 
and pictures, and listen to his monologues; and there was good 
talk and lofty thinking in the simpler home of Carl Schurz. Then, 
Horatio King was giving his famous literary parties with his 

1 New York World, February 25, 1872. 2 Ibid., January 30, 1872. 

3 Ibid., February 19, 1871. 4 Ibid., October 20, 1872. 

5 Forney, i, 75. 6 New Yorlc Herald, February 22, 1870. 



WASHINGTON: SOCIAL BACKGROUND 249 

daughter, where one might meet Henry Adams, and linger until 
the lights were turned out at midnight, without missing the 
dances. 1 

in 

The society of the period had its pathetic side a few women, 
once the toasts of the town, a little passSe now, were looking on a 
bit pensively, perhaps. Peering from the windows of a house on I 
Street near Twentieth, one might see a sweet-faced old lady* still 
handsome, in whose petticoats the Jackson Administration had 
become entangled, for Peggy O'Neal Eaton, home from her trav- 
els, was living there in seclusion. 2 At receptions and dinners, one 
was sure to encounter a strikingly interesting woman with gray 
hair, and be presented to the wife of Fremont, who had been the 
dashing Jessie Benton of the Bodisco wedding and the elopement. 3 
One year a * beautiful and fascinating' old lady, who had presided 
at the White House almost thirty years before, sat in the seat of 
honor at Grant's table, but Mrs. John Tyler had a lonely season, 
because wives of officials insisted she should call first on them. 4 

The old was passing, or had passed, and a new society had pre- 
empted the field. One day the old house where Sue Decatur 
played her harp, and Mrs. Livingston charmed the gravest men, 
and her daughter Cora was driven beneath the mistletoe by Van 
Buren, and Clay nursed his disappointment was reopened with a 
blaze of glory at a dinner costing one hundred and fifty dollars a 
plate. The salads were served in dishes of ice, and Roman punches 
in beautifully cut ice goblets. General Fitzgerald Beale, bringing 
his gold from California, with two dashing daughters, had taken 
the Decatur house, whence one of the girls sallied forth in colonial 
costume to the fascination of King Kalakaua, and another issued 
to delight all promenaders by strolling about with a Scotch stag- 
hound, the size of a small pony, the gift of a foreign nobleman. 
One was to become the wife of the last Ambassador of the Roman- 
offs, and the other of John R. McLean, and to remain a social 
leader for forty years. 

1 New York World, December 23, 1871. 

2 Cincinnati Commercial; quoted, New York World, September 20, 1868. 

3 Ibid., January 15, 1871. 

4 New York World, auoted from Louisville Courier- Journal, Aoril 26, 1874. 



250 TRAGIC 

In 1868, Henry Adams thought * Lafayette Square was society/ 
since * within a few hundred yards . . . one found all one's acquaint- 
ances/ and 'beyond the Square the country began/ But that was 
Henry Adams's society, and the other was not so circumscribed. 
At that time the invasion of the rich and fashionable had not be- 
gun, and 'no literary or scientific man, no artist, no gentleman 
without office . . . had lived there/ Few ,in the social set had 
known the society of a great city, and "the happy village was 
innocent of a club/ On bright spring mornings society fared forth 
to the Pennsylvania Station to see its friends depart. An easy 
society it was, simple, human, almost genial, able to find amuse- 
ment ' without houses or carriages or jewels or toilettes, or pave- 
ments or shops. 5 Such the almost pastoral picture of the capital 
in the last year of Johnson's stormy administration. 1 

Another year, and the change began, with society divided into 
the 'exclusives* and the mob; the former composed of the old 
residential families and such of the new as "met outside of poli- 
tics/ The politicians invited by these were gentlemen of some 
real distinction. The mob embraced all who crashed the gates. 2 
The politicians could not afford to be exclusive and had to smile 
on vulgarians and bores. 'Had a large dinner/ wrote Mrs. Elaine, 
'mainly of odds and ends I mean people to whom I owe a 
dinner. I was, with few exceptions, indifferent to the people/ 3 
Society had spread far beyond the vision of Henry Adams. The 
day of splurge had dawned, there was much competition in toi- 
lettes, though, in the case of the gowns of Mrs. Elaine and Mrs. 
Boutwell, more than one had 'felt the deadly pressure of an iron/ 
and, with alterations, rendered service throughout a season. 4 
Not a few of these shrank from the ceremonies of a winter. 5 Snob- 
bery had swished upon the scene. 

Thus, when a girl clerk in her teens, petite, dimpled, plump, with 
auburn hair worn in a single braid down her back, with rounded 
arms, superb bust, dark eyes, and the complexion of a healthy 
child, married Senator Christiancy, old enough to be her grand- 
father, the senatorial and official ladies determined to ignore her. 

1 Education of Henry Adams, 252-53, 256. 

2 New York World, December 15, 1869. 

3 Letters, i, 97. * Ibid., i, 81, 85. 5 Ibid., i, 70. 



WASHINGTON: SOCIAL BACKGROUND 251 

The kindly Mrs. Fish, taking Mrs. Logan with her, rebuked the 
snobbery by calling on the -girl at her simple home on Indiana 
Avenue; l but society was to see little of her, and the gossips had 
it that her venerable husband was 'not anxious for her to fare 
forth in the scanty costumes of society/ 2 

But the fashionable world, moving at a hectic pace, had little 
time to ponder the problem of the auburn-haired beauty. The 
leaders found the days all too short. Noon found them making 
the rounds of calls, and they turned homeward only with the set 
of sun to change hastily from calling dress to evening toilette for 
dinner and then the round of gaslight receptions and dances 
that often extended toward the dawn. 3 The end of the season left 
them haggard, and it was observed toward the close that "those 
who once could dance all night pant after the first round.' 4 Driv- 
ing madly on calls from house to house, dressing for Senate field 
days as for the opera, midday found them at elaborate luncheons 

and such luncheons! 'Oysters on the sheE . * . clear soup . . . 
sweetbreads and French peas . . . Roman punch . . . chicken cut- 
lets . . . birds . . . chicken salad . . . ices, jelly, charlottes, candied 
preserves, cake, fruit, candy, tea, coffee, and four kinds of wines 5 

such a luncheon at Mrs. CreswelTs. 5 

But it was when the gaslights were on that society took posses- 
sion of the town, loiterers crowding the streets before the houses of 
the receptions noise and commotion, horses stamping, doors 
slamming, drivers shouting until midnight. 6 Beautifully gowned 
women poured through the doors, laboriously fought their way to 
the dressing-room, squeezed themselves upstairs at a snail's pace, 7 
where pretty unmarried girls were in the receiving line. Then the 
peacock promenade, the sixty-five-inch. trains dragging the floor, 8 
bright, flirtatious eyes peering over the enormous fans then in 
vogue. 9 And then the dancing, eating, drinking, and more flirt- 
ing monstrous flirting. For had not Mrs. Schurz on leaving one 

1 Mrs. Logan, 269-70. 

2 New York World, quoted from Indianapolis Newx, March 26, 1876. 

3 Mrs. Belknap; New York World, December 30, 1875. 

4 Ibid., February 19, 1871. 5 Mrs. Elaine, Letters, i, 79. 

6 New York Herald, February 28, 1869. 

7 A reception at Mrs. Belknap' s, ibid., February 21, 1870. 

8 New York World, January 14, 23, 1870. 9 Ibid., March 1, 1878. 



252 THE TRAGIC 

reception observed "Monsieur Mori standing motionless, Ms arm 
tight around a young lady's waist? Imagine it!' * 

Society reporters were amazed at the extravagance in dress, the 
jewelry, the increasing elegance of the equipages, the epicurean' 
dinners, the spirit of abandon, so out of keeping with so many 
official salaries. Let us attend a composite reception and get a 
closer view of the women who dominated these gay scenes when 
there was so much suffering in the South. Let us make it a re- 
ception at Kate Chase Sprague's none less. 

IV 

This amazing woman, surpassed by none in history in the im- 
perial sway she held over men's imaginations, suggested in her 
career the brilliant daughter of Burr. She had been the mistress of 
her father's household at an age when many girls still find amuse- 
ment with their dolls. The public men she thus met at the table of 
Chase had greatly stimulated her intellectual growth, and the at- 
mosphere of politics had early become part of herself. While still 
in her teens, she was one of the most astute politicians in Ohio. 
The father, idolizing her from birth, had written in his diary the 
night she came: 'The babe is pronounced pretty. I think it quite 
otherwise.' 2 When she was four, he was praying with her after 
correcting her. 3 At five, she was listening to the reading of the 
Book of Job and seeming pleased 'probably with the solemn 
rhythm ' and the father was praying with her again. 4 At that 
age she was reading poetry to her father along with the Bible. 5 
When Chase entered the Cabinet, she took the social scepter 
from older hands, and at twenty-one she was the belle of the 
town. Her extraordinary beauty, grace, charm, her brilliant re- 
partee, made her the darling of the diplomatic corps, her suitors 
were legion, her triumph complete. 6 Even as her father was writ- 
ing that 'her good sense' would 'keep her aloof from politics/ 7 
she was deep in political intrigue, and Lincoln was paying homage 
to her judgment. Ambitious, brilliant, her imagination pictured 
her father President, and herself presiding at the White House. 

1 Mrs. Blaine, Letters, i, 90-91. * Warden, 290. s Ibid., 301. 

4 lUd., 3m. * Ibid., 30-3S. Mrs. Logan, 300. 

7 Chase to Mrs. Bailey Warden, 581. 




KATE CHASE SPRAGUE 



WASHINGTON: SOCIAL BACKGROUND 253 

That her marriage at twenty-four to Senator Sprague, whose for- 
tune was great, was dictated by ambition for her father seems 
probable. At that time she was the most dashing young woman in 
the country, the most popular in official society since Dolly Madi- 
son. Her wedding had been a social event, her trousseau that of a 
princess, her guests the most notable in the land, and Lincoln had 
claimed the privilege of a kiss. In less than a year, she was the ac- 
knowledged arbiter of the most exclusive society. 1 Reveling in her 
millions, astonishing by her splendor, importing her gowns from 
Paris, she dazzled the drawing-rooms with her jewels, and in 1865 
created a sensation by wearing a huge diamond on top of her 
bonnet. 2 And yet she dimmed the splendor of her raiment and 
outshone the brilliance of her jewels. The correspondent of the 
6 Chicago News' thought her the only woman with a vast number 
of gowns and jewels who rose superior to them all. 'Not a gown, 
not a chain, not an ornament ever attracted attention except in so 
much as it shared her beauty. . . . She had more the air of a great 
lady than any woman I ever saw. She could make all the Astors 
look like fishwomen beside her.* 

And yet a shadow fell upon her marriage early, her husband's 
inebriety humiliating her at social functions, but without disturb- 
ing the perfect poise of this radiant creature in pink satin, point 
lace, and diamonds. If romance died, ambition did not falter. Her 
position was in no sense endangered. She had her house at Narra- 
gansett, with eighty rooms magnificently furnished, and filled 
with works of art; her father's beautiful place at 'Edgewood/ on an 
eminence near the capital, had its forty servants; and in town her 
drawing-room more nearly resembled that of Madame de Stael 
than any ever seen in Washington. Statesmen, jurists, politicians, 
artists, diplomats mingled there with the cleverest and most 
charming women. There fashion and politics fraternized, and even 
the flirtations were political. Ever and anon she would arrange a 
parlor lecture as for Julia Ward Howe. 3 Her dinners were regal 
in magnificence. 4 She controlled her household and servants with 
an iron hand in velvet gloves, and her French cook was a dignitary 
in the minds of those who sat at her table. Sometimes, in warm 

1 New York Herald, July 8, 1865. 2 New York W&rU, February 20, 1870. 

3 Warden, 566. * Mrs. Logan, 239. 



254 TRAGIC 

weather, her dinners would be spread in the garden behind the 
house* and the gossips were thrilled when at one of her dinners a 
floral ornament costing a thousand dollars decorated the table* 
and was contributed to Grant's second inaugural ball. 1 Wherever 
this enchantress went, she dominated the scene and figured most 
conspicuously in the descriptions of the event. Did Madame de 
Catacazy give a dinner? Mrs. Sprague was there 'in pale blue 
silk, with an overdress of pale pink silk, the two colors harmoni- 
ously blending to produce beautiful combinations. Her ornaments 
were turquoises and diamonds. She wore a tiara of these stones.' 2 
Did she attend a dancing party at Mrs. Fish's? She was there 
c wearing a rose pink silk with train and silvery flounce brocaded; 
her ornaments pearls and diamonds, and two sprays of these jewels 
were fastened in her hair/ 3 Always she was the center of the pic- 
ture. Men hovered about her and, while there was no gossip, ex- 
cept in the case of Eoscoe Conkling, she was courted as much as 
married woman as when maid. The birth of her first baby was a 
national event, every woman in the country reading descriptions 
of the layette; and when the child began to talk, its amusing say- 
ings were passed from mouth to mouth. 

And yet, always the grand lady, she was a little aloof, haughty, 
frankly bored by commonplace people. She may at times have 
been the Marie Antoinette of the Little Trianon, but she was al- 
ways imperial When Grant appeared in Washington to be lion- 
ized after his military triumphs, and society was obsequious, she 
laid down the law on precedence and the General called on her 
father first. There was magic as well as majesty in her pointed 
finger. 4 

Such was the fascinating lady we are about to meet. 

v 

The house is crowded, and as we note members of the Cabinet, 
candidates for President, Senators and diplomats, and foremost 
journalists, such as Ben: Perley Poore and Donn Piatt, it seems a 
mobilization of all that is distinguished in our public life. The 
diplomatic corps not one is missing. The Senate? It seems to 

1 New York World, March 5, 1873. 2 Ibid., March 20, 1870. 

8 Ibid., April 23, 1871. * Badeau, 173. 



WASHINGTON: THE SOCIAL BACKGROUND 255 

have adjourned, en masse, to her drawing-room. Numberless wax 
candles with, the gaslights make as much brilliancy as possible. 
On stands and tables, the most gorgeous flowers. Somewhere 
music. And there, standing beside her father, Kate Chase Sprague* 
* dressed magnificently and yet so perfectly that the dress seems 
rather part of herself than an outside ornament/ Her hair is 
arranged with the usual simplicity, but across the front she wears 
a bandeau of turquoises and diamonds, and back of it feathers and 
flowers. 1 Her form is beautifully symmetrical, just plump enough 
for her height, the lines of bust and waist perfect, her hands and 
feet noticeably small. Her face is oval, and the texture of her skin 
smooth and firm. Her forehead is low and wide, and slender arched 
eyebrows set off the eyes, difficult to describe because of some- 
thing mysteriously subtle and hidden among the thick dark droop- 
ing lashes, and 'they have always the look as if they had been cry- 
ing hard without the redness the most fetching eyes on earth/ 
There is a slight saucy tilt to the nose, and the lips are very red and 
full, with fascinating tints at the corners. The hair, richly golden. 
The form and features of the most devastating and provocative of 
women. Perhaps the most expressive feature is the deep brown 
eyes that seem brooding in the shade of the veiling lashes. Her 
magnetism pervades the room. Maybe it is the mind behind the 
beauty that makes her stand out so regally among all the pretty 
women about her. 'When she is talking to you, you feel that you 
are the very person she wanted to meet/ thought Hugh McCulloch, 
and that was a secret of her popularity. She draws out the most 
reticent like strong wine; even the dull shine momentarily under 
her mysterious gaze. After all, it is not the mere physical beauty 
that makes her 'the enchantress/ but the distinctive intellectual 
charm of her manner, the proud poise of her exquisite head. 

We pass on into the library for punch, or up to the little room 
on the second floor for coffee. After a while, we shall file out into 
the grounds for supper in a pavilion, floored and covered with linen 
damask. 2 Meanwhile, we have time to gossip a bit about other 
interesting women who socially reflected the political spirit of the 
times. 

1 Description of one of Mrs. Sprague's receptions, New York World, April 28, 1872. 
* New York World, April 28, 1872, 



256 TRAGIC 

VI 

Now, there, surrounded by men, evidently is a woman of fasci- 
nating qualities Mrs. 'Puss* Belknap, wife of the auburn- 
whiskered Secretary of War, Romantic enough the story of how 
she came to be here. She had succeeded to the place of her dead 
sister, whose memory is still sweet to many about us. This sister 
was tall, slender, graceful, intellectually bright, with rare conversa- 
tional charm, a lovely brunette with brilliant color and dark eyes. 
She had been a belle of the Kentucky bluegrass, and had enjoyed a 
gay girlhood here and on the Rhine. 1 She had, on becoming a lady 
of the Cabinet, leased the old Rogers house on Lafayette Square, 
where she had literally taken the town by assault. Her receptions 
were crowded, and it was said that 'it is enough to enliven any one 
to see her face she appears so thoroughly to enjoy herself and to 
be on such good terms with all the world.' 2 The city rang in praise 
of her that first season, which was to be her last; correspondents 
had rhapsodized about her charm and beauty, and she burned the 
candle at both ends. The cordiality of her manner won the hearts 
of all. 3 The season had left her fagged, and it was noted that June 
at West Point at the Commencement, where she danced with gay 
abandon, that in repose her face seemed sad. In truth, as we shall 
learn later, her ambition had led her astray, and there was a bur- 
den on her heart. 4 Sk months later, Hamilton Fish, General 
Horace Porter, and General Sherman were among those who car- 
ried her casket into Saint John's. Her meteoric career was over. 5 

It was through her that the present Mrs. Belknap, coquetting 
over her fan here at Mrs. Sprague's to-night, was drawn to Wash- 
ington. On her sister's death, she had remained to care for her 
orphan baby, and to preside over the manage of her brother-in-law, 
and had become a familiar figure at dances and receptions. Before 
she was married, to be widowed soon, she had been a dashing 
Kentucky belle, lively, prettier than her sister, and kind-hearted. 
When the war came, she became a partisan of the Union, making a 
silk flag herself and presenting it to Colonel Landmm's regiment. 6 

1 New York World, February 20, 1870. 2 Ibid,, March 6, 1870. 

* Ibid., February 10, 1870. * Ibid., June 15, 1870. 

5 New York Herald, December SO, 1870. 

6 Quincy Whig, Isoutmtte Commercial', quoted, New York Herald, March 19, 1870, 



WASHINGTON: THE SOCIAL BACKGROUND 257 

Gossip had not missed this shining mark, nor spared her quite, but 
when the rumor spread of her engagement to the handsome Bel- 
knap, the Mrs. Grundys were frowned down, 1 None too eager to 
be caged, she had postponed her wedding for a year and gone to 
Europe, and Washington had lamented the loss of 'her beautiful 
face and witty conversation.' 2 Even the Parisian journey was to 
be rolled under the tongues of the scandalmongers and two men of 
political distinction were to be mentioned without justification. 3 
But with a gay group she had learned the giddy spendthrift ways 
of Paris, and enjoyed the luxury, fashionable profligacy, and per- 
sonal display; learned, too, from the courting something of her 
powers of fascination. One who had seen her in her widow's cap, 
and later in the delicate hues of the rainbow, striking an attitude 
in the Blue Room of the White House, was amazed that * women 
have so many natures.' 4 

Home she had come to marry, but not to settle down. Belknap 
took a house in the fashionable West End, filled it with the rare 
and costly furniture she had collected in Paris, and installed a French 
cook, and her ftes, dinners, and receptions were soon the talk of 
the town. With her Parisian costumes, her parasols with solid coral 
handles, and the forty pairs of shoes with which she shod the 
daintiest foot in Washington, 5 she is now rivaling the magnificence 
of Mrs. Sprague, and contesting her position as the arbiter of 
fashion. Her wardrobe is opulent from the loosest negligee to the 
most elaborate ball gown, and it is said that when Worth received 
the order for her trousseau c he retired to a cave and fasted for 
seven days/ 6 As she rides by in a carriage rivaling that of Mrs. 
Fish, her bright face beaming, pedestrians pause to prolong the 
pleasure. Clara Morris is to remember her as 'the most beautiful 
woman I ever saw in Washington or anywhere . . . perfect/ 

Note the Worth costume she wears, as she holds court now 
among her admirers. The petticoat of alternate stripes of white 
satin bordered with a heavy garland of ivy leaves, and green satin 
embroidered with gold wheat ears, the train of green satin bordered 

1 New York World, March 8, 1876. 2 lUd. t December 8, 1872. 

3 George H. Pendleton and H. Clymer; find., March 9, March 25, 1876. 

4 Mary Clemmer, in Cincinnati Commercial', quoted, New York World, March 18, 1876 

5 Ibid., March 13 ? 1870, e New York World, March. 28 ? 187$, 



258 TRAGIC 

with a heavy garland of ivy and wheat. Ivy leaves, too, in her 
glossy black hair, and sparkling eyes to match the emeralds she 
wears. If tragedy stalks her even as she smiles, it is not to crush 
her. 1 How her eyes flash above the feathers of her fan ! These men 
will linger long about her carriage door to fold her white cloak 
about her white arms and shoulders. 

And now, observe the lady she displaced in the admiration of 
the men, walking by with fewer attendants the tall, shapely, 
handsome, brilliant brunette, with the fresh complexion and the 
graceful carriage, vivaciously trying her repartee on her compan- 
ions. Time was when that agreeable voice and ingratiating man- 
ner and keen intelligence promised her the scepter, but that was 
before the second Mrs. Belknap returned from Paris. She lives in 
some splendor in a great house on Rhode Island Avenue, where 
Saint Mark's is to stand, and men flock there to hear her talk. 
Later, some one, who probably had been snubbed by Mrs. Bel- 
knap, will describe Mrs. Williams, wife of the Attorney-General, as 
* smart' and add, *I do not know whether she will sell post-trader- 
ships or not, but if she does, she will not be caught.' 2 But she has 
the weakness of ambition, too, and, breezy Westerner though she 
is, she has aroused the deadly ire of Senators by announcing that, 
as a Cabinet lady, their wives must call first on her. Alas, the 
memory of that blunder is to send her to her bed one day when her 
husband's nomination for the Supreme Court will fail of con- 
firmation. 8 

Enters now a woman to whom deference is paid less boisterously, 
and of whom it has been said that 'Mrs. Hamilton Fish, wife of the 
Secretary of State, deserves to be a leader of the ton by virtue of 
her carriage, if nothing more. 5 4 Here is the happy woman who 
need not strive, for distinction is hers by nature. On her advice 
the lady of the White House leans. The style of her dress is regal 
enough, but in manner she has the simplicity, cordiality, and grace 
of high breeding 'the most superb woman of her time.' 5 Hers 
is the practiced art that puts the timid at ease without inviting 
familiarity. To her home on Fifteenth Street, at the corner of I, 

1 New York World, March 28, 1875. 2 Ibid., December 10, 1876. 

8 Ibid., December 17, 1871; Mrs. Logan, 72; Gail Hamilton, 244. 
4 New York World, January 23, 187Q, 5 Mrs. Logan, 208. 



WASHINGTON: THE SOCIAL BACKGROUND 259 

ladies and gentlemen of the stately old school find theb way and 
linger in an atmosphere of literature and art. 1 

The tall, spare woman with light hair and a radiant complexion, 
so quietly dressed, with Mrs. Fish? That is Lady Thornton, wife 
of the British Minister, at whose table Grant, a little bored, de- 
spite the elegance of the dinner and the toilettes, had sat rolling 
bread crumbs into balls one evening. 2 And the.pretty woman with 
the interesting face who speaks to Mrs. Fish? That is Madame 
la Marquise de Noailles, wife of the French Minister, noted for her 
cleverness and love of fun. 'Ah, madame/ said an admirer, "if 
only I spoke your language, what graceful compliments I might 
pay you!' *TeU them in your language/ she had replied with a 
roguish smile; 'I shall understand/ * And the beautiful woman 
with pretty arms and neck and the exquisite complexion, who now 
joins the group? It is Madame Potesdad, wife of the Spanish 
Secretary, a Miss Chapman, of Virginia, whose mother was a 
Randolph, and who has broken hearts in her time. 4 And note the 
young woman of exotic beauty who now joins the group about 
Mrs. Fish which conies and goes. A rounded, yet girlish, slender 
form, a perfect oval face, transparent skin of creamy whiteness, 
large, luminous dark eyes swimming with intelligence, soft brown 
hair, a perfect nose, and a rosebud of a mouth such a picture! 
It is Madame Flores, the popular wife of the Minister from Ecua- 
dor, who is the son of the first President of the Republic. She lives 
on G Street, above the War Department, and her guests carry 
away the haunting memory of a beautiful singing voice. She 
passes on, and many curious eyes are furtively turned upon an- 
other woman approaching Mrs. Fish, You haven't heard? This, 
then, is the story: Madame Garcia, for it is she, the wife of Jos6 
Antonio Garcia y Garcian, Peruvian Secretary, attending a re- 
ception at Mrs. Fish's and finding among the guests young Lopez, 
son of the tyrant, warmly received, had expressed astonishment to 
her hostess that such a cordial reception should be given the son of 
a tyrant. "Madame/ Mrs. Fish had said, in her most stately man- 
ner, "Mr. Lopez is a guest here. 5 Madame Garcia tad replied that 

1 New York Herald, May 81, 1869. 

* New York World, April 18, 1869; Mrs. Blaine, Letters, i, 88; Mrs. Logan, 261. 

8 New York World, March 2, 1873. * Ibid., March 11, 1870. 



260 THE TRAGIC ERA 

if he remained, site would have to leave. Mrs. Fish had bowed 
stiffly, and the Peruvian lady, gathering her friends about her, 
had departed. It was whispered about that the lady's irritation 
was caused by meeting a woman who had made an unsatisfactory 
English translation of one of Madame's novels, and had been re- 
fused payment; that words had passed, and just then Lopez had 
loomed before her eyes. 1 Thus the curiosity behind the fans. 

But there were other reasons, for Madame Garcia was most 
clever and attractive, vivacious, musical, an accomplished linguist, 
and, besides, was the niece of Rosas, once dictator of Buenos 
Ayres. While living in Paris, she had written a novel in French, 
'Love in the Pampas/ Not tall, yet weighing one hundred and 
sixty pounds, it was said of her that f Venus had little to do with her, 
but Minerva very much. 5 But she is pretty, too, with her fine eyes 
and fair complexion, set off by her very dark hair, and her hand- 
some white neck and shoulders. 2 At the grand ball for Prince 
Arthur, she had almost penetrated the defenses of Grant, 'restless, 
animated, brilliant as one of the metallic blue butterflies of Brazil, 
talking in her amusing, rapid fashion, tossing her diamond head- 
set, upturning her arch, dark face to the President, who watched 
her, amused in his quiet, grave, scarce-smiling way/ 3 It was 
about this time that she had a full-length portrait taken for Mrs. 
Grant, at her request. Her parties and receptions at her home, at 
Fifteenth and H Streets, were brilliant, unique, enormously popu- 
lar. 4 She had astonished Washington with a grand dinner served 
with thirty thousand dollars* worth of plate just received from 
Europe. 5 

But she lingers only a moment with Mrs. Fish, and is now lost 
in the crowd. Another has taken her place evidently a famous 
beauty with an interesting story, Madame Catacazy, wife of the 
Russian Minister. Now long past the fresh bloom of youth, this 
statuesque, golden-haired woman, with superb neck and arms and 
melting eyes, is still beautiful and enticing. The society reporters 
rhapsodize about her with the rest. We hear much of *the noble 
contour of her shoulders/ of her complexion * delicately tinted as 

1 New York Herald, January 21, 1870. 2 New York World, March 11, 1870. 

3 Ibid.. January 28, 1870. * Itid., January 14, 1870. 

5 Ibid., December 30, 



WASHINGTON: SOCIAL BACKGROUND 261 

the heart of the seashell/ of her gorgeous hair * with massive "braids 
shot through with a dead gold arrow,' of her features 'high-bred 
and queenly.' But mostly do we hear of her hair. 'The skein of 
pale yellow flossy silk sometimes hung up in manufacturers' cases 
to show how beautiful silk may be ... may set one dreaming of 
this woman's hair.' l Mrs. Logan will remember her as 'magnifi- 
cently dressed and crowned with that beautiful head of hair for 
which she was so generally admired.' 2 She dresses with perfect 
taste, with elegance, and always with the view to making the most 
of her charms which are abundant. Men are fascinated; 
strangely enough, women share their admiration. They flock to 
her home on I Street, near Fourteenth, the furniture and decora- 
tions for which had been brought over from Paris. In the salon 
hangs a splendid portrait of the Czar Alexander, by a Russian 
painter. 3 Here there is gayety and high play and a courtly tone, 
though the colleagues of her 'short, ugly, scrubby' consort do com- 
plain that the Catacazys play against each other, she staking high, 
he low, and Madame's partner always losing. 4 

Indeed, there is much in this bewitching lady to make her in- 
teresting to the romantic. Married in girlhood against her will to 
a wealthy Italian Prince of the diplomatic service old enough to 
have been her grandfather, she went as the wife of an ambassador 
to Dom Pedro's court. There young Catacazy was Secretary of 
the Russian Legation. The lady and the Secretary fell in love, she 
disappeared, to be found a week later living in a cottage with her 
lover on the outskirts of the capital. When her lover was recalled, 
she went along, and in time, following a divorce or death, the 
lovers were married. The story was known to the women of Wash- 
ington but it was so long ago, and she was so charming, it was 
resolved to confine the story to the boudoirs. 5 Catacazy was old 
and ugly now, and she was blooming still, handsome and entranc- 
ing, and gossip still played with her reputation a little. "When at 
length her husband was recalled, on the demand of Grant on purely 
diplomatic grounds, there was a disposition to ascribe the trou- 
ble to a Cabinet member's infatuation for Madame, 6 though 

1 N&w York Herald, February 31, 1870. * Mrs. Logan, 61. 

8 New York Herald, January 12, 1870. 4 Badeau, 374-76. 

8 lUd. 6 Brooklyn Eagle, and New York World, August 11, 1898. 



262 THE TEAGIC ERA 

Mrs. Elaine was sure the recall had nothing to do with, the lady* 1 
Happy she is to-night at Mrs. Sprague's, the center of admiring 
groups, but the drama of her life in Washington soon is to close, 
She is to remain to entertain the Grand Duke Alexis in a gorgeous 
manner, and the curtain is to fall upon this phase of her colorful 
life, with Madame, dressed in a pale lemon-colored silk tissue, or 
crpe de Paris of very fine texture, standing at the door of the 
Legation, according to tradition, with a silver salver bearing a 
small loaf of black bread, to greet the Grand Duke with the words, 
*l bring you bread and salt. 3 2 

The guests are now moving to the garden for supper, but we 
have seen the most unusual women of this tragic era. We get a 
momentary glimpse of Mrs. Elaine, looking very well despite her 
dress feeling 'the deadly pressure of the iron/ and Mrs, John A, 
Logan, fragile, with a mobile face, a mass of turbulent black hair, 
and eyes of keen intelligence, and Blanche Butler Ames, charming 
in her youth and her Persian gown, and Mrs. Robeson, pretty and 
effervescent, and Mrs, Carl Schurz, a stately German matron, not 
agreeably impressed by the extravagance about her, and . . . 

Thus, while the politicians were staking their reputations, and 
mobs were marching, and men were stealing in high places, there 
was festivity somewhere, and in the shadow of the Capitol. Some 

of these fine ladies will meet humiliation before our story is told. 

1 Mrs. Blaine, Letters, i, 50. 2 jy^ York WM, November 23, 187L 



CHAPTER XIII 

A SEASON OF SCANDAL 

i 

THE first summer of Ms Presidency, Grant was to suffer an 
Irreparable loss in the death of General John A. Rawlins, his 
Secretary of War, because no other living person was so warmly 
and wisely devoted to Grant personally. Impetuous, at times 
violent, uncompromising, and frequently domineering, he had 
been associated with the President throughout his military career 
in the capacity of friend and adviser. Wiser in many ways than 
his chief, he alone had dared to cross him, or to criticize. Time 
and again, in army days, he had remonstrated with him because of 
his drinking, and Grant never resented it. No one understood so 
thoroughly the strength and weakness of the great commander, or 
comprehended so completely his limitations. Others, convinced 
of his mistakes, were to be silenced by the grim reticence of the 
man with the black cigar; Rawlins never. Passionately he would 
protest, and Grant would listen, and be advised. Then, too, 
Rawlins was a better judge of men, and had he lived, the man he 
idolized, and yet did not idealize, would have been spared many 
of the associations that have so sadly marred the record of his 
Administration. 1 Sick on assuming office, Rawlins had gradually 
grown worse through the summer, and in the autumn he died* 
mourned by the Nation. 

This was the first, perhaps the greatest, tragedy in the Grant 
Administration. 

It was a season in which death was plucking busily at the lead- 
ers of men. The powerful, impressive, Cato-like Fessenden was 
no more. One night Henry 3. Raymond was mysteriously carried 
to his home and left in the hall, where, in the morning, he was 
found dying. Gossip was busy with its curious tidbits about Rose 
Eytinge, the actress, who appears to have had no connection with 

1 'How Judge Hoar Ceased to be Attorney-General/ by J. D. Cox, Atlantic Monthly, 
1805. 



264 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Ms stroke. 1 Ruined politically by Ms support of Johnson, Ms 
death carried no political significance. Even less political im- 
portance attached to the passing of three greater men who had 
played more important rdles more than a generation before. 
Franklin Pierce died in October, and in November, Amos Kendall, 
very old and long forgotten, and Robert 3. Walker, author of the 
famous tariff act that bears Ms name, passed away. One of the 
elder statesmen, MUlard Fillmore, was writing articles that sum- 
mer for 'The Western World/ on whether we were to have an 
empire, and Horace Greeley was commenting sneeringly that *his 
voice can now excite no other interest than the mild curiosity 
aroused by any voice from the tomb/ 2 

Among the politicians much grumbling was heard against Hoar 
because of Ms contemptuous refusal to name improper men to 
office on a mere senatorial demand. A stern, unbending Puritan 
of high professional ideals was manifestly out of place, and an 
Attorney-General who dared respond to a Senate resolution in- 
structing Mm to report on the status of certain cases with the 
curt comment that he was a subordinate of the Executive, and not 
a Senate clerk, was inevitably marked for slaughter. All through 
the summer and fall the clouds were darkening above him. 
Grant sat silently listening to the complaints and meditating a 
graceful way to rid himself of another adviser sadly needed. 3 
Very soon he would be nominated for the Supreme Court and 
refused confirmation, and James Russell Lowell would be pro- 
testing against the withdrawal of the nomination, insisting that 
'the responsibility lie with the knaves who hate you for your 
impregnability/ 4 and Godkin, of 'The Nation/ would be declar- 
ing that the secret of Ms offending was Ms refusal 'to degrade the 
Government by rendering dishonest opinions' and *to degrade 
the public service by placing incompetent men in office/ 5 But the 
nomination was to be withdrawn, and Hoar was to linger in the 
Cabinet yet a while. 

In the August mornings of that summer, people lingered 
longer than usual at the breakfast table over their papers con- 
taining columns of controversial matter concerning Harriet 

1 Bigelow, Retrospections, rv, 289. 2 New York Tribune, June 29, 1869. 

3 Memoir of Hoar, 183. * Ibid. t 198. 5 December 80* 1869. 



A SEASON OF SCANDAL 265 

Beeeher Stowe's amazingly frank volume defending Lady Byron, 
and describing her noble lord as a degraded wretch who had 
maintained incestuous relations with his sister. For the most part 
the criticisms were hostile, and the author's motives were roundly 
denounced by no one more than by Theodore Tilton, of 'The 
Independent/ He carried his defense of his fellow poet and Ms 
denunciations of Mrs. Stowe to the platform; and at the Suffrage 
Convention at Newport the proceedings were enlivened by an 
animated debate on Mrs. Stowe's action, Tilton attacking, and 
Mrs. Stanton as vigorously defending. The irreverent 'New York 
World/ discussing the verbal battle, asked why 'was the absurd 
Tilton, who revolts the prime instincts of womanhood, invited 
to a woman's suffrage convention at all.* And so the jolly contro- 
versy simmered and boiled through the broiling August days. 1 
Meanwhile, as the miasmic heat settled down on Washington 
like a hot, damp blanket, Grant had gone with his family to Long 
Branch, then the fashionable watering-place of the country. It 
was a place of much dancing and heavy drinking and billiard- 
playing, and, strangely enough, not so much given to bathing; 
albeit the ladies daily dressed with elaborate care to stand de- 
murely, or flirtatiously, on the sands of the beach and look on dis- 
creetly. When a heavier wave than usual rose and broke on the 
beach, the timid screamed and were reassured and consoled by 
some strong man. Meandering over the beach, or through the 
lobbies, or on the piazzas of the hotels, were young men with note- 
books jotting down descriptions and comments on the celebrities 
among the men and beauties among the women, for the brighten- 
ing of the press. The more sportive of the summer guests had their 
fast horses there; and, not to be outdone, Grant had his carriage 
horses, 'Egypt 5 and * Cincinnati/ behind which he proudly drove 
along the neighboring roads. 

And yet it was observed that first season, when he was living 
at the Stetson House, that he was not entirely happy. In the 
mornings he dressed in broadcloth and stood on the piazza bowing 
to smiling ladies who passed, and without lifting his hat. The 
glamour of the social life was a bit too glaring, and he was not 
the most self-possessed of the visitors. Dashing Phil Sheridan was 

YvrTc World, August 19, 9& 24, 27, I860. 



266 THE TRAGIC 

there cutting quite a swath with his dancing, and even Grant was 
inveigled into the lancers at one big dance, to cut a sorry figure. 1 
Just a little while before he had cut a sorrier figure when he had 
gone to the Boston Jubilee as the guest of Jim Fisk and Jay 
Gould, men deep in speculation, and one with a malodorous repu- 
tation. 

Never two men so different in so many ways as these. Gould, 
slight, almost shy, soft-spoken, retiring, with all the domestic 
virtues and singularly free from the familiar vices of his sex; Fisk, 
flamboyant, vociferous, vicious in morals, gaudy in peacock 
feathers, given to a defiant flaunting of his faults men of clash- 
ing temperaments with but one common instinct, that of acquisi- 
tion. In the pursuit of gain, one was no more scrupulous than the 
other, and neither had any scruples at all. New York was buzzing 
with the stories of their management of the Erie Railroad, and 
their speculations on Wall Street. Rumor was bruiting it abroad 
that in official circles they gained their ends through bribery. 

And yet, one June afternoon, Gould had called at the home of 
Abel E. Corbin, the brother-in-law of Grant, to escort the Presi- 
dent to the steamer Providence, of the Fall River Line, gayly be- 
decked with fluttering flags, and with Fisk, the owner, gorgeous in 
the gold braid and brass buttons of an Admiral, at the gangway to 
welcome the distinguished guest. Dodsworth's Band had been 
engaged for the trip, and other distinguished gentlemen had been 
invited to keep Grant company. That night, at nine o'clock, the 
party had descended to the dining-room, where an epicurean feast 
had been spread, with an abundance of the choicest wines and 
liquors. There Grant had sat in silence mostly, chewing at his 
black cigar, as Gould and Fisk expatiated on the patriotic need of 
keeping up the price of gold, that the crops might be moved with 
profit. It was a drama in which Grant was playing a r61e without 
his knowledge. 

From Boston, Gould, with other fish to fry, had hurried back to 
New York, but the dashing, gaudily bedecked Fisk lingered with 
the presidential party, moving with real gallantry through the 
ceremonies, overshadowing the modest, plain-bearded man he 
was attending; and so back to New York, where at night, in the 

1 New York World, July 19, 0, 23, 24, 28, 1869. 



A SEASON OF SCANDAL 267 

brilliant glare of the Fifth Avenue Theater, Grant, with his wife 
and daughter, sat in a proscenium box in familiar converse with 
the Corbins, Fisk, and Gould. And the spectators had looked on 
and marveled and spread the news of the intimacy of notorious 
speculators with the head of the Nation. Grant was on the stage 
that night without suspecting it. And he was playing in a 
tragedy shot through with the elements of farce. 

n 

No one, perhaps, was shocked or greatly astonished, for it was 
a decade of none too much sensibility, when strong men with the 
instincts and daring of pirates and buccaneers were amassing 
fortunes by hook or crook, to the admiring applause of the multi- 
tude. Out in Ohio, young John D. Rockefeller, with vision and 
audacity amounting to genius, was laying the foundations of a 
mighty fortune through relentless and dubious methods; the coal 
industry was being built up through means as heartless; railroads 
were being constructed on graft, milked and wrecked; and even 
from the cathedral quiet of the castle of Jay Cooke, with its retinue 
of clerics hovering about, went forth strange messages concerning 
public men and governmental grants to the Northern Pacific. 
Though not then known, Oakes Ames had already been busy 
distributing alms to statesmen of distinction in the interest of the 
Credit Mobilier. The North had gone money-mad, and glory be 
to him who had the gold, and no questions asked. Men with old- 
fashioned notions of morality, like Jonathan Worth, looked upon 
the scene following the election of 1868 with pessimism. 'Money 
has become the goddess of the country/ he wrote, 'and otherwise 
good men are almost compelled to worship at her shrine. 'The 
proof was manifest in the fact that legislators, State and National, 
"are bribed by money or controlled by corrupt rings. 5 1 The Capi- 
tol in Washington fairly teemed with lobbyists who were received 
on terms of familiarity by legislators and given the privilege of the 
floor. 2 Even the conservative William M. Evarts was impressed 
with 'the decline of public morality which presages revolution,' 
and Godkin, of 'The Nation/ was sure that in New York it had 

1 To William Clark, Worth, n, 1259, 

2 Hoar, Autobiography, I, 307, 



268 THE TBAGIC ERA 

* confessedly never been so low/ l He was losing faith even In the 
'loyal men' of the South, and was sure that c at the bottom of all 
these confiscation schemes there are rascals. 5 Boss Tweed was 
busy at Albany with his bl-partlsan corraptlonlsts, and the charge 
had been publicly made, without a libel suit, that Governor Fenton 
had been bribed by Gould to sign the Erie Bill. There had been 
a little wagging of tongues In Washington, whither Fenton had 
been promoted by a grateful people to the Senate, but no one 
suggested an investigation because 'too many Radicals in place 
here are tarred by this or a similar stick.' 2 The Washington corre- 
spondent of the 'Cincinnati Enquirer" was commenting pointedly 
on the number of statesmen building fine houses in the capital 
and regretting that 'we have sunk so low In our political system 
that the question of three-story brick and stone fronts must 
enter largely into a discussion of the merits of public men.' a 
Even the 'Chicago Tribune' was speaking bluntly. 'Why do we 
say these things?' it asked. *Xn the first place they are already 
known everybody is talking about them, In the streets, on 
horse cars, in the railroad trains, in the clubrooms, around euchre 
tables everywhere except in the Executive Mansion/ 4 That 
summer, the meticulously honest Julian, suffering physical tor- 
ment, was dragging his ailing body through the Far- Western 
country, and more than verifying his conviction that the public 
domain was being stolen with impunity. Fraud everywhere! 
'The saddest part Is that the public officials, both State and 
Federal, are In league with the capitalists in making the rich 
richer, and the poor poorer/ 5 But Julian was beginning to lose 
caste with the Radicals, and had made the fatal blunder of attack- 
ing the railroad lobby as corrupt the previous winter. 6 He was 
already marked for slaughter. The clear-thinking Matthew Car- 
penter was convinced a year before that the new slavery power 
was 'the combinations of capital, the consolidations of monopo- 
lies/ 7 
And meanwhile, the voice of Andrew Johnson was heard in the 

1 Godkin, to Norton, i, 301. 2 New York World, March 27, 1869. 

3 Quoted, New York World, December 11, 1869. 4 IUd., April SO, 1869. 

6 MS. Diary, August 11, 1869. Congressional Globe, February 5, 1869. 

7 Speech at Madison on 'The Growth of Monopoly, 5 Life of Carpenter, 145. 



A SEASON OF SCANDAL 269 

land, hammering away at the moral standards of the time. It 
was annoying to hear that familiar voice crying from the balcony 
of the St. Cloud Hotel, in Nashville: 

*I feel prouder in my retirement than imperial Csesar with such 
a corrupt Congress at his heels, for ... when degeneracy and 
corruption seem to control Departments of Government; when 
"vice prevails and impious men bear sway, the post of honor is a 
private station." When I accepted the Presidency ... I accepted 
it as a high trust. ... I did not accept it as a donation, or as a 
grand gift establishment; I did not take it as a horn of plenty, 
with sugar plums to be handed out here and there. Thank God, 
I can stand before the people of my State and lift up both hands 
and say in the language of Samuel, "Whose ox have I taken, or 
whose ass have I taken? At whose hands have I received bribes 
and had my eyes blinded? If there be any, let him answer."* 

And there was no answer. 

It was soon afterward that the news flashed over Washington 
that Johnson was in town and at the Metropolitan, and that night 
a great crowd marched on him in a serenade, and when he ap- 
peared on the balcony the welkin rang. It was an unmannerly 
speech, perhaps, for he denounced Congress as "tyrants standing 
with the heel of power on the necks of the freedmen, endeavoring 
to blot out the lines separating the States, and to wipe out the 
coordinate branches of the Government/ and he satirized Grant 
as 'the second Washington/ while the crowd laughed and cheered, 1 

The capital was still a lively place, fond of its cup and gossip 
and cards, and when a little scandal broke, it fairly rocked with 
glee. A young diplomat attached to one of the legations had 
taken the Radical philosophy of racial equality seriously, and had 
shocked the staid matrons of society by proudly escorting a beauti- 
ful mulatto to a party, and his chief, the Minister, was most ab- 
ject in his apologies. 2 

And then there was Senator Sprague, husband of Kate Chase 
Sprague, the Mrs. Bingham of her time he was both puzzling 
and amusing the country that spring and summer, too. 

1 New York World, July 2, 1800. 

2 Ibid., October 23, 1809. 



270 THE TRAGIC ERA 

in 

Senator Sprague has been neglected by history 5 albeit lie was an 
idol In war days as the dashing and efficient young War Governor 
of Rhode Island. Elected to the Senate, he had speedily fallen 
under the spell of Kate Chase's seductive beauty and suffered the 
eclipse that befalls men who mate with their superiors. Even so, 
his was the fortune that defrayed the cost of the elaborate enter- 
tainments and dinners given in the fine old house at Sixth and 
E Streets, where the Spragues lived with Chase a roomy old 
house with wide hall and ample apartments richly, elegantly, 
tastefully furnished. Prone to dissipation, he seemed older than 
Ms age in 1869. With small head and features, his eyes were large 
and lustrous, and he wore his hair long with an affected careless- 
ness. 

In April, he tad created a sensation in the Senate in a speech 
warning that money was becoming predominant in government 
and was tiureatening the economic liberties of the people. Attack- 
ing his colleague, Senator Anthony, as the tool of "Brown and 
Ivers/ business rivals of the Spragues in Rhode Island, In attempt- 
ing to destroy his credit, he charged corruption in the Senate, and 
baldly declared that Senators had taken employment with great 
corporations seeking government favor. 1 It took the Senate two 
weeks to prepare Its defense; but two weeks later, numerous Sen- 
ators attacked Sprague, who responded by reading thirty pages of 
commendatory letters into the * Globe. * 2 The replies, read to-day 
In the light of what we now know, are flimsy enough; for, ignoring 
the major charges, the Senators, replying, seized on an incidental 
reflection on the military record of General Burnside and flayed 
Sprague on that alone. 

On tie afternoon of the night the workingmen of Washington 
serenaded Mm in approval of his philippic, Sprague sat In his 
library before the fireplace at a table with many wonderfully 
carved paper-knives and odd-looking inkwells, with books piled 
on top of Bohemian vases, and with an enormous pile of letters 
before him, talking with the correspondent of the *New York 
Herald.' He was in jubilant mood was going to New York to 
arrange for the printing of sixty thousand copies of Ms speech 

1 Congressional Globe, April 8, 1869. * Ibid., April 2$, 1869. 



A SEASON OF SCANDAL 371 

a million if required. "Look there! there are my letters from 
every part of the Nation, from men of all parties and all 'condi- 
tions/ he exclaimed triumphantly. Would the correspondent look 
at them? Glancing at a few, the reporter concluded that, 'in 
spite of all that is said to the contrary, Sprague has touched the 
most vital chord in the popular heart/ His enemies had circulated 
the story that he was insane, but the reporter could see no indica- 
tions, and, on entering the house, Chase, the picture of placid 
benevolence, was descending the stairs evidently unworried. 1 
Indeed, that night, when the Senator denounced the 'money 
power' to a cheering multitude of workingmen, the Chief Justice 
stood beaming by his side. 2 Mysteriously embittered, Sprague 
persisted in frequent attacks on his associates. One day his wrath 
centered on Simon Cameron. *I used to meet Mm a great deal 
some time ago/ said Sprague. *He would take me down to his 
committee room and set out champagne and ask me to drink. 
Finally I said to him: "Cameron, you are a vicious old fellow* I 
am a young man and you are an old sinner, and you are always 
putting temptation in my way. Now, I don't intend coming to 
your room any more/* Since that I have had little to do with 
Cameron/ 3 

In this gasconading escapade, a duel was narrowly averted. 
Under the lash of senatorial attacks, Sprague had described the 
North Carolina carpetbagger Senator Abbott as a puppy/ He 
had left the Senate that night late, and after his departure Abbott 
rose to begin a counter-attack, when Charles Sumner stopped him 
on a point of order. The morning following found the town rife 
with wild rumors. Abbott had threatened to horsewhip the hus- 
band of Kate Chase Sprague; the latter, heavily armed, had left 
the town that morning at dawn; Abbott could not be found. In 
truth, Sprague was found in his library busy with his secretaries, 
and, renouncing the idea of engaging ia a street brawl, he an- 
nounced his determination to continue his customary walks and 
his disposition to defend himself if assaulted. 4 The next night, 
Sumner and John Sherman, sipping their claret in Surone/s 
library, assumed the rdle of peacemakers, and the threatened 

1 New York Herald, April 16, 1869. 2 Ibid., April 14, 1869. 

* Ibid., April 24, 1869. New York World, April 24,, 1869,, 



272 THE TKAGIC ERA 

bloodshed was averted. 1 Somehow the explanation that Sprague 
was demented failed to satisfy Horace Greeley, who was sure he 
was planning to go over to the Democrats* despite his denuncia- 
tion of both parties as 'rotten'; but a month later, when Sprague 
attacked free trade, the Man of the White Hat benignly beamed 
upon him again. 2 

Throughout the summer Sprague continued his mystifying at- 
tacks, and as late as July he was assailing the 'money power' at a 
Masonic picnic at Seituate, Rhode Islands as having supplanted 
the slave power, and charging Colax*s 'prosperity and happiness* 
talks to his subserviency to tie plunderbund. 3 Thus he went Ms 
way sowing the wind, and in due time he was to reap the whirl- 
wind in the withdrawal of credit, and the collapse of his business; 
but the incident reflects the tone and temper of the times. Right 
or wrong, the popular reaction was proof that he had voiced a 
general and growing distrust of the ruling forces* their purposes 
and integrity. And it was under these conditions that Black 
Friday cast a deep shadow on Wall Street, and, for a time, on the 
reputation of men in the highest stations. 

IV 

At the time Grant was the guest of Gould and Jim Fisk on the 
Providence, these speculators were engaged in a conspiracy to 
corner gold, and force merchants, compelled to have gold for the 
custom-house, to pay exorbitant rates. Even before the skeptical 
Fisfc had been drawn in, Gould had made a confederate of Abel 
Corbin, also a speculator, and husband of Grant's sister. To as- 
sure themselves of foreknowledge of the intent of the Treasury, 
these two had succeeded in securing the appointment of General 
Daniel Butterfield, a prominent Union League politician, as Sub- 
Treasurer in New York. Soon the latter was compromised. It 
was not until Fisk was convinced that the conspiracy involved the 
White House that he entered; and thereafter, through spring, 
summer, and early autumn, these conspirators were buying gold 
at a premium and making headway. In August, the necessity of 
strengthening the impression among speculators that Grant had 

1 New York World, April 27, 1869. - 2 New York Tribune, May 0, 1869. 
3 New York World, July 9, 1869. 



A SEASON OF SCANDAL 273 

definitely decided against the sale of gold was manifest. To these 
ingenuous souls the method was easy. Grant, passing through the 
city, had seen Corbin; and immediately afterward Gould and 
Corbin prepared an editorial captioned "Grant's Financial Policy/ 
and turned it over to the too credulous John Bigelow, of the 'New 
York Times/ who published it, after some modification by the 
financial editor, who was suspicious. Even so, it served its pur- 
pose. 

The fight now on, Gould bought heavily, handsomely providing 
for Corbin and Butterfield, and Fisk, still dubious, was reassured 
by the thought that there could be no possibility of loss, since 
Corbin had a working arrangement with Grant and Butterfieid. 
When Corbin stoutly told the flamboyant gambler that his sister 
was involved and Grant was In, Fisk was convinced. 

In truth, Grant had instructed the Secretary of the Treasury 
not to sell partly because he had been impressed by Gould's 
argument about the marketing of crops, and partly on the theory 
that, with only the bulls and bears involved, the Government 
should not interfere. Conferring with Corbin in New York, when 
about to return to Washington via western Pennsylvania, Grant 
had left a note for Secretary Boutwell, due in the city the next 
day, explaining the gold situation and suggesting again that it 
would be wise to 'move on without change until the present strug- 
gle is over.' l This was on September 12, and on the next night 
Boutwell appeared at a dinner of the Union League Club. On the 
morning of the 15th, Horace Greeley published a leaded edito- 
rial charging a gold conspiracy and demanding that Boutwell 
act. *The Treasury has gold to sell a good pile of it and 
it is the Secretary's duty to sell it when the market is highest/ 
he wrote. 'If then the conspirators put up the price, let him 
improve the opportunity to obtain such price for as many mil- 
lions of that commodity as the market will take. And to pre- 
clude all pretense that he thereby makes money [greenbacks] 
tight, let him buy bonds as fast as he sells gold, so as to leave 
the money market wholly unaffected.' 2 

A little apprehensive now, the conspirators persuaded Corbin to 
hasten an importunate letter to Grant, in his retreat near Pitts- 

* BoutweJI, n, 169. * New York Tribune, September 15, 1869. 



274 THE TRAGIC ERA 

burgh, imploring "him not to sell gold. The President then began 
to see a great light. At his instance, Mrs. Grant wrote Mrs. 
Corbin of his distress over Corbnfs speculations^ with the wish 
that he get out at once. When Gould saw this message, he knew 
the game was up, and he was thus able to save himself but he 
neglected to tell Fisk, who continued buying, while Gould was 
secretly selling. 

The scene in the Gold Room in Exchange Place on the 23d was 
one of panic. Business men, with pale, drawn faces, were confront- 
ing ruin. That day Greeley renewed his demand on Boutwell, 
and that night Grant reached Washington and summoned his Sec- 
retary of the Treasury, but even then it was agreed to do noth- 
ing unless gold went higher. Meanwhile, ugly rumors affecting 
the Administration were circulating in business circles, as Bout- 
well was informed by a trusted correspondent on the scene. 'Old 
conservative merchants looked aghast/ he wrote, describing the 
scene. "Nobody was in their offices, and the agony depicted on 
the faces of men who crowded the streets made one feel as if 
Gettysburg had been lost and the rebels were inarching down 
Broadway/ 1 When morning brought no relief, Boutwell gave 
orders to sell, and within a few minutes half of Wall Street was in 
ruins. Gould and Fisk, protected by hired thugs, were barricaded 
in their elegant offices against the vengeance of the threatening 
mob, for many had been heard to say they proposed to blow out 
Fisk's brains. Less culpable than Gould or Corbin, the brunt of 
the abuse fell on him his very flamboyancy made him a target. 
And, besides, had not Lucille Western and another of Fisk's 
women driven merrily through the financial section at the height 
of the frenzy to witness their lover's triumph? 2 



It was in the aftermath that the prestige of Grant and the 
Administration suffered most. The Tribune* paid a back-handed 
compliment to Boutwell, and "The Herald' bitterly attacked him 
and the Administration for the 'superfluous parade of purity/ in 
assuming that 'what was done in Wall Street was none of his 

1 Boutwell, n, 160. 

2 New York WarU, September 26, 



A SEASON OF SCANDAL 275 

business. 3 * Then Corbin' s sorry role became the sensation of the 
day and the report that Mrs. Grant had profited, along with 
Butterfield. Fisk was furious. Had not Corbin told him in his 
own house that the Grants were in on the conspiracy? Half- 
crazed, he rushed to Corbin' s home and upbraided him savagely , 
while the latter, holding a table between them, wrung his hands 
and wept. At length, overwhelmed with denunciation, and his 
life threatened/ Fisk did an audacious thing he summoned a 
reporter from 'The Herald' and made a clean breast, but charging 
that "members of the President's family were in with us' which 
was true of one and insisting that 'the President himself was 
interested with us in the corner.' Four days before the interview, 
Corbin had written the 'New York Sun' that he did not associate 
with Fisk, and Grant would not, and Fisk had replied that he had 
Visited [Corbin] on the very afternoon of the day he made these 
statements/ 2 A happy thought came to him, as he faced the 
6 Herald' reporter, George Crouch. Would the reporter accompany 
Fisk in his carriage to the Corbin home? He would and he sat 
in the carriage in front for the hour and a half Fisk remained 
within. This was on the 30th. Would Crouch make an affidavit 
to that effect? He would, and did. It was after this, and before the 
publication of the Fisk interview, that the same reporter called on 
Corbin, whom he found in bed. 

*I swear to you that Fisk and Gould have never been in my 
house since Gould called last summer when the President was 
here. I have no connection with such men/ 

*Then the statement that Fisk was here on the 30th was 
false? 5 asked the cunning reporter. 

* False, every word. I will solemnly swear that Fisk was not in 
my house that day/ 

There was no escape for Corbin Ms culpability was unmis- 
takably established. Was the rest of Fisk's story true? Three 
months later, James A. Garfield, approaching his task as chairman 
of the investigating committee of the House, was writing confi- 
dentially that the trail 'perhaps will lead us into the parlor of the 
President. I don't think it will touch Mm, but it may a member of 

1 New York Tribune, September 25; New York Herald, September 30, 1869. 

2 New York World, October 6, 1869. 



276 THE TRAGIC EEA 

Ms family. 9 1 Long before that the 'New York World 5 had exoner- 
ated Grant, with the comment that 'the President compromised 
his independence by indiscreet acceptances of courtesies/ 2 'The 
Nation 5 was less generous: 'One thing is certain bankers here 
see traces of the operation of the hand of somebody in authority. 
Let us know who that person is.* 3 Butterfield was hopelessly 
compromised, and caught. He resigned, without disgrace, and his 
statue stands to-day on Riverside Drive looking everlastingly at 
Grant's Tomb. Gould appeared before the congressional commit- 
tee, grave and soft-spoken, to insist that he speculated In the 
interest of the farmers' crops, and while no one believed it, he was 
let off lightly. Butterfield was given a love-tap, and Fisk, along 
with Corbin, was pronounced horrid. 

The outcome was the ruin of numerous men, financially; the 
resignation of Butterfield; the resumption by Gould and Fisk of 
their activities in other lines; the general condemnation of Corbin, 
who continued on visiting terms with the brother-in-law he had 
wronged; and the general agreement that Grant had not sinned at 
all. And yet there were skeptics even among fine young 
gentlemen like Henry Adams, who was to marvel, many years 
later, that one so cautious as Gould would have plunged so 
desperately on a gamble without some reason to believe that there 
would be no interference from Washington. He was sure that 
*any criminal lawyer would have been bound to start an investiga- 
tion by insisting that Gould had assurances from the White House 
or the Treasury, since none other would have satisfied him/ He 
was to recall that men like Secretaries Fish and Cox, lawyers like 
Evarts and Hoar, and publicists like Sumner were to remain 
mystified; that the congressional committee 'took a quantity of 
evidence which it dared not probe and refused to analyze. 5 
Even at the time he was not alone in the feeling he recorded many 
years later in cold deliberation: 'That Grant should have fallen 
within six months into such a morass or should have let Bout- 
well drop into It rendered the outlook . . . mysterious or frankly 
opaque to a young man who had hitched his wagon ... to the 
star of reform*; and that 'the worst scandals of the eighteenth 
century were relatively harmless by the side of this, which smirched 

1 Life of GarjieU, i, 449. 2 October 6, 1869. * October 7, 1869. 



A SEASON OF SCANDAL 277 

executive, judiciary, banks, corporate system, professions, and 
people ... in one dirty cesspool of vulgar corruption/ 1 To many 
such as Adams this episode weakened a fine faith in the Adminis- 
tration as rudely as the episode of the diamond necklace wrecked 
the reputation of Marie Antoinette and perhaps with as little 
justice to the rulers who were the victims. 

And that autumn the 'New York Evening Post 5 began its 
exposures of the corruption in the New York Custom-House. 

VI 

That summer, however, Virginia contributed a silver lining to 
the cloud. We have seen that the Hunnicutts there had framed 
the Underwood Constitution, bristling with test oaths and de- 
signed to disfranchise the real leaders of the people, and empower 
the ignorant. Under the brilliant leadership of Alexander H. BL 
Stuart, the conservatives, organizing for resistance, and unfurl- 
ing the banner of universal amnesty and universal suffrage, had 
marched on Washington in an appeal to the ruling powers. Few 
of the leaders were personally obnoxious to the Republicans. 
Stuart himself had been an uncompromising Whig; and enlisted 
with him was Gilbert C. Walker, an avowed Republican, a North- 
erner, but a resident of Norfolk, where he was a real figure 
in commerce and finance. A man of fine intelligence, imposing 
presence, and persuasive speech, he was ideally fitted to win the 
confidence of Republican leaders at the capital. 2 The Virginia 
committee sat daily at the National Hotel, and sent carefully 
chosen emissaries to the various congressional leaders; and later 
appeared before the committees of both houses. Grant, listening 
sympathetically to the Virginians, had agreed that the Underwood 
monstrosity meant negro domination. The outcome had been an 
agreement that the people should vote separately on all contro- 
versial clauses in the constitution. The conservatives Democrats 
and moderate Republicans had nominated Walker for Governor 
a powerful merger. The absurdities and incendiarism of Hunni- 
cutt had disgusted many Northern Republicans, and, with an 
avowed Republican nominee, these were hoping for the creation 
of a powerful white man's party in Virginia. In the midst of the 

1 Education of Henry Adams, 271-72. 3 Stuart, 33-34, 47. 



278 TRAGIC ERA 

triumphant campaign progress of Walker, General Canby threw 
a bomb with the announcement that under the Reconstruction 
Acts he would exclude from the Legislature any one elected who 
was unable to take the ironclad oath. The people rose in wrath. 
Appeals were made to Grant, who peremptorily commanded 
Canby to rescind. The General complied, the election was held, 
the more obnoxious features of the constitution were voted out, 
and Walker was voted in. Thus through the sympathetic co- 
operation of Grant, Virginia was to escape the more appalling 
curses of reconstruction. Walker telegraphed Grant: 'I congratu- 
late you upon the triumph of your policy in Virginia/ 1 and 
Northern Republicans were delighted with Walker's assurance 
that * seven eighths of the men who voted the conservative ticket 
are as far removed from the old Northern Democracy ... as they 
are from Radicalism. 5 For a moment it seemed that Grant would 
assist in creating a white Republican Party in the South and that 
darkness had fallen on the very dawn of the regime of the carpet- 
baggers and the blacks. 2 

But that illusion soon was dispelled. In Mississippi, where they 
were to vote again on the rejected constitution, and elect State 
officials, the Democrats, facing realities, proposed a merger with 
conservative Republicans on the basis of the acceptance of the 
Fifteenth Amendment, the guarantee of civil and political rights 
to the negroes, and a pledge to offer no partisan opposition to the 
Grant Administration. Seeking a leader, they turned to a Republi- 
can, a brother-in-law of Grant's, then living with the President in 
the White House. 

Judge Louis Dent had lived in Mississippi before taking up his 
residence in the capital and had impressed the conservatives with 
his sound common sense and judgment. Importuned to take the 
gubernatorial nomination, he accepted in a letter from Washing- 
ton, 3 and a hundred Democrats joined in a letter to the * Jackson 
Clarion,' urging Ms support. Here was a gesture no less friendly 
than that in Virginia, but the Radicals had determined to take 
a stand. Within a week, Dent's recommendations for appoint- 
ments were curtly rejected by Boutwell, with the blunt announce- 
ment that he had no respect for the kind of Republican Party led 

1 New York Herald, July 8, 1869, * Ibid., July 14, 1869. * Garner, &39. 



A. SEASON OF SCANDAL 279 

by the Judge. The disillusioned Dent left the Treasury in a rage, 
and Boutwell complacently hurried to a Cabinet meeting, where 
he had no reason to expect rebuke. 1 

Followed then Grant's historic letter to Dent from Long Branch,, 
repudiating the latter 5 s candidacy and the conservative move- 
ment he represented and with it the realization that the Presi- 
dent's Virginia policy was a mere incident. 2 The astonished 
candidate sent a sizzling reply, savagely attacking the Radicals. 
'To this class of men whom you foiled in their attempt to force 
upon the people of Mississippi the odious constitution rejected/ 
he wrote, 'you now give the hand of fellowship and spurn the 
other class, who, accepting the invitation of the Republican 
Party in good faith, came en masse to stand upon its platform and 
advocate its principles.' 3 The 'New York World' thought the 
reply 'justifies a doubt whether Judge Dent would not have been 
a better it certainly makes it clear that he would have been a 
less deplorably bad President than his brother-in-law/ 4 The 
'New York Herald' thought that, politically, 'it is Grant that is 
the brother-in-law,' and that Dent's letter 'puts the President's 
support of the extreme Radicals in a clear light as a mischievous 
step/ 5 It assuredly set Grant's feet in the path he was to follow 
for eight years as the militant champion of Radicalism at its worst. 

Undaunted, Dent plunged with vigor into the campaign against 
J. L. Alcorn, a native Republican with large plantations, who had 
negroes with him on his ticket. The nominees met in joint de- 
bates, and Dent, constantly on the stump, discovered unsuspected 
powers of sarcasm, but it was of no avail. The solid negro vote 
went to the Radicals, and Alcorn was easily elected with an over- 
whelming Republican Legislature, containing forty former slaves, 
most of whom had to make their mark. 6 

Mississippi thus passed into the hands of the carpetbaggers and 
blacks, and a black United States Senator was sent to sit in the 
seat of Jefferson Davis. 

In Tennessee, that summer, Andrew Johnson was waging a 
vigorous battle for the United States Senate, assailing Grant with 

1 New York World, July 15, 1869. 2 Garner, 241. 

3 Ibid., 242. 4 August 16, 1869. 

6 Ibid. 6 Garner, 246. 



280 THE TRAGIC 

devastating sarcasm on Ms acceptance of valuable gifts, and mobs 
were being organized by Loyal Leagues to break up Ms meetings. 1 

One picture: On a platform in a grove at Maryville stands a 
familiar figure. The eyes are a little more sunken than when we 
first saw them, four years before, the hair a little grayer, the face 
a little wMter, the form a little less sturdy and erect. In the milling 
crowd are many flushed faces of men of the lower order prone to 
shove and jeer. For a while these watch the speaker, fascinated, 
and then they begin to groan and yell drunkenly. The old man 
on the stand speaks on undisturbed. The blear-eyed * loyal men 5 
pause to consider. Their anger rises. Again the grove rings with 
drunken yells, and the members of the Loyal League move toward 
the stand threateningly. The speaker proceeds unconcerned. He 
had encountered such gentlemen in the cultural centers of the 
North. Suddenly a supporter of the orator, noting the threatening 
advance of the drunkards, springs on Ms chair and reaches for his 
gun. He is struck topples over. The man on the platform does 
not even pause. The 'loyal men/ awed by the indifference of 
Johnson, retire, and try to bribe a negro to pull him from the 
platform. Johnson continues, and finishes his speech. 2 

Thus, fighting Ms way always, Johnson canvassed the State and 
lost. Greeley was beside Minself with joy. 'To be defeated by 
Cooper [Johnson's opponent] is like being rejected by a lady who 
prefers your valet/ he wrote. 3 What a man ! said the editor, return- 
ing to Ms mutton. 'His verbs never agree with their nominatives 
or their hearers or anything else/ and, besides, he was * dishonest/ 4 
But Johnson had grown callous to the barbs of cultured black- 
guards, and after Ms defeat he smilingly gave a dinner at the Stacy 
House, in Nashville, for the members of the Legislature, and 
friend and foe broke bread with Mm. He had just begun to fight. 

In the North, startled eyes were turned on Massachusetts, 
where John Quincy Adams II had accepted the Democratic guber- 
natorial nomination and was speaking the language of statesman- 
sMp, after the fasMon of Ms family. His acceptance speech was 
more prophetic than acceptable to many, but none among the 
conservatives of either party but felt the force of his argument. 

1 New York World, June 7, 1869. 2 J M ., August 8, 1869. 

3 New York Tribune, October 21, 1869. * Ibid., October 25, 1869. 



A SEASON OF SCANDAL 281 

Reconstruction had to be accepted at least, then. Suffrage was 
settled. He turned his batteries on the extravagance in Washing- 
ton and everywhere, on the tax system with its inequalities and 
injustice, on the tariff. The Democratic organ accepted the 
speech as * clear and able.' A peculiarly attractive man this 
forgotten orator and political leader. 'One of the best talkers in 
Boston society, and perhaps the most popular man in the State, 
though apt to be on the unpopular side,' wrote his brother Henry. 1 
All through these dark days before us we shall occasionally catch 
a furtive glimpse of this brilliant figure, fighting against the cur- 
rent and destined to oblivion because 'apt to be on the unpopular 
side' in Massachusetts. 

VII 

The year ended like a melodrama. In December, Daniel 
McFarland walked into the office of the 'New York Tribune* and 
shot down Albert D. Richardson, a favorite journalist among the 
Radicals, said to have been living with the divorced wife of his 
assailant. Greeley himself was so shocked, he excused himself 
from attending an hilarious dinner being given a notorious 
character who had been appointed to a post abroad, where he 
speedily came to grief for attempting to put carpetbag theories 
into practice. Henry Ward Beecher hastened to the hot defense 
of the stricken man, denouncing the erstwhile husband as an 
adulterer, without justification. As Richardson lay dying, it was 
Beecher, not the minister of the stricken man, who married him 
to Mrs. McFarland and New York and the country gasped at 
the audacity of the thing. Vice-President Colfax shared with 
Beecher the general abuse poured forth from the pulpits; for it 
was Colfax, a friend of Mrs. McFarland, who had advised her on 
her divorce under the amazingly lax divorce laws of Indiana, and 
had sponsored her socially in Indianapolis. 2 Beecher, cringing 
before the public reaction, made matters more messy in an 
attempt to exculpate himself, and, while Colfax fell somewhat 
from grace, it was observed that he was 'far too prudent to put 
out any defense of his unfortunate conduct/ 3 A private scandal 

1 Education of Henry Adams, $5. 

2 New York World, December 4, December 16, 1869. 3 Ibid., December 11, 1869. 



THE TRAGIC EEA 

and yet it cast a shadow on the leaders of the forces of 'moral- 

ity.' 

The reformers, however, found a crumb of comfort before the 
year closed through the removal of the notorious Ashley, the 
impeacher, from the governorship of Montana. The "New York 
Tribune 5 ascribed the brevity of his tenure to some grave suspi- 
cion in the mind of the President/ l but corruption does not ap- 
pear to have been charged. Imbued with the Radical passion for 
racial equality, he found the people of Montana in revolt and his 
usefulness was over. 'The Nation' mournfully observed that this 
damaged him more than 'Ms corrupt partnership with Case/ and 
that the Case correspondence, known to every one, "does not seem 
to have damaged him at all, or very little/ 2 

The people along with the politicians were still wallowing in 
corruption and enjoying the feel of the ooze. 

1 December 17, 1369. 2 December 23, 1860. 



XIV 

WEIRD SCHEMES AND NEW LEADERS 
I 

NEVER since the war had society been so gay or so brilliant 
as during the Washington winter of 1869-70* Never had 
women been more in the minds of men, and lights burned brightly 
in the homes of hostesses until the dawn came to put them out. 
It was the season of the triumph of the first Mrs. Belknap a 
spectacular triumph* But triumphant women were not confined 
to social circles, for the capital swarmed with ladies of indifferent 
morality, representing perfectly respectable business organizations 
in pursuit of privilege. Attractive, fashionably dressed, and dash- 
ing were these women of the most daring lobby that had ever 
descended on a legislative body for the purposes of pelf. An alert 
correspondent observed that "from the capital parlors to George- 
town, influences ramify and wires work which draw their power 
from a common battery. 9 The more audacious of these women 
of the lobby took pretentious houses as for a social campaign. 
These, the Grand Duchesses of the tribe, were good to look upon, 
clever conversationalists, altogether pleasing, and, while most 
were unmarried, their God-and-morality employers had conven- 
iently provided them with husbands. Did the skeptical inquire 
as to their antecedents and credentials? Some one could always 
remember having met them in a distant city, where they were 
the models of the community. These had abundance on the 
board, wine and brandy, but it was the seductive charms of these 
ladies that lured statesmen to their parties. They subtly conveyed 
the impression that, tired of their prosy husbands, they were 
ready for a romantic interlude; and each observer was sure the 
lady's choice had fallen upon him. Flirt they certainly did f but it 
was just a flitting smile, the flicker of an eyelid, the faint sugges- 
tion of a blush. Was the lady 'prudishly quick to interpret any- 
thing as an insult? 3 All the more proof that she was of the aristo- 
cracy of her kind. And yet the cynical correspondent, studying 



284 THE TEAGIC ERA 

her methods, noted that 'she will flare up at a mere glance of cu- 
riosity from a stranger, and pardon, a kiss red-hot on the lips from 
a man who has a vote/ 

Many of this tribe were found in boarding-houses and hotels 
frequented by statesmen. Demure at first, and with eyes cast 
down; and then why not? since meetings were unavoidable in 
dining-rooms a friendly nod of recognition. But nods were 
reserved for members with votes. The more sensitive of these 
were easily lured, and dinners, with wine flowing freely, followed, 
Again the correspondent observed that "the lever of lust is used to 
pry up more legislators to the sticking point when money Itself 
does not avail to seduce/ That there was no little blackmailing we 
may be sure. But, on the whole, the system was by no means 
crude or vulgar. Some of the women with most finesse had their 
coachmen, and even footmen, and 'always a pew in Dr. Newman's 
church/ Such elaborate plans for the entertainment of susceptible 
statesmen were made only when there was a big killing in prospect 
at the capital. 1 

It was the winter when tariff lobbyists descended in force, when 
railroads were planning more pillaging, when Congressmen were 
selling cadetships to West Point, and when Governor Bullock was 
trying to buy congressional intervention to protect him and his 
bandits in their stealing in Georgia. Men like Trumbull were 
saddened by the low moral tone of the time, and Fessenden. and 
Grimes were corresponding pessimistically on the corruption of 
the day. * Why, the war has corrupted everybody and everything/ 
Grimes had written in August. c lt is money that achieves success 
. . . nowadays. Thank God, my political career ended with the 
beginning of this corrupt political era/ 2 The career of Julian, 
impeccably honest, was darkening because he would not acquiesce 
in the moral debauch. * The most frightful swindles are on foot and 
likely to go through/ he wrote in May, 'and the general wreck of 
the Republican Party through its espousal of these schemes is 
quite probable/ 3 A month later, he was sadly writing: e l have 
never seen such lobbying before as we have had in the last few 
weeks and such crookedness and complicity among members/ He 

1 New York World, January 2, 1870. * Life of Grimes, 377. 

3 MS. Diary, May 8, 1870} 



WEIRD SCHEMES AND NEW 85 

was disgusted with Congressmen who talked one way while * pri- 
vately laboring for the other side for a consideration/ * This 
attitude had been viewed with stern disapproval, and he had been 
marked for slaughter. His bitter attack on the railroad lobby 2 
had been the last straw. Julian was growing ' queer/ Soon Horace 
Greeley was to refuse him help for reelection because he was 'not 
sound on the tariff.' 3 That year the old Abolitionist was rejected 
by his party and retired no place for purists in the procession 
moving triumphantly on with the * bloody shirt' for a flag. 

The industrialists had marched en masse upon the capital 
iron, coal, wool, steel, leather in the making of the tariff act 
that year, and, with rumblings in the West, even Allison of Iowa 
grumbled that the rates were being fixed for private interests, and 
against the revenue. Greeley was a little disturbed, but not dis- 
couraged. ' A few leading journals have been carried over to the 
enemy 5 in the West, but "the popular heart throbs responsive to 
Protection/ 4 A few notable Republicans met in Washington to 
launch a tariff reform movement, but it was really a blowing 
against the .wind. While these intellectuals talked, men like 
Senator Sprague, who owned cotton mills, were quietly fixing the 
cotton yarn schedule which Allen G. Thurman was to describe 
as * a perfect swindle/ 5 GodHn, with fine satire, in referring to 
the reform movement, said that, * after the usual distribution of 
"British gold" from the Legation, the meeting separated/ 6 

The dominant wing of the party was not worried over the 
grumbling of the farmers. When the campaign approached, there 
would be much waving of the 'bloody shirt,' lurid talk of Demo- 
cratic butchery of inoffensive negroes, and out from the groves 
would float the familiar refrain "Every man who poisoned the 
wells of Union soldiers was a Democrat; the man who shot down 

your father or your son was a Democrat; every one who ' 

and it would suffice. Being practical politicians, they knew what 
the intellectuals did not suspect. 

That winter the Democratic minority made its protest, but it 
was as futile as Don Quixote tilting at the windmills. No one 
really cared. 

1 MS. Diary, June 26, 1870. 2 Congressional Globe, February 5, 1809. 

3 MS. Diary, March 27, 1870. 4 New York Tribune, April 23, 1870. 

5 Thurman to J. S. Moore, Thurman Papers. 6 The Nation, April 28, 1870. 



86 THE TRAGIC ERA 

n 

Grumbling, too, was heard about railroads looting through 
governmental action, but the sovereign people standing about the 
country stores were more interested in the latest 'outrages' in the 
South. Every one knew the railroad grants were steeped in 
corruption, and it was openly charged, 'All our railroad legisla- 
tion is procured by corrupt practices and is formed in the Interest 
of jobbery/ said the 'New York Herald/ without disturbing the 
serenity of Congress. 1 Greeley rebuked the New York Republican 
Club for petitioning against more grants to railroads, 2 but soon he 
was singing another tune and declaring that 'the sooner this land- 
grant business for railroads is stopped, the better/ 3 He had been 
shocked at the spectacle of the Senate wrangling 'for weary 
hours over a proposition to give a solid block of public lands fifty 
miles wide and two to three hundred miles long to comparatively 
useless railroad companies/ and was sure that 'a Senate that can 
do this can do anything. 5 4 When twenty-five of the proposed 
grants made by the Senate failed in the House, he was delighted. 5 
But nothing was permitted to interfere with the Northern Pacific 
grab of Jay Cooke and thereon hangs a tale of the utter sub- 
serviency to the counting-room ambitions of this pious feeder of 
the campaign chest. 

On assuming control of the Northern Pacific, it was characteris- 
tic of Cooke to call first of all for a history of the lobby that had 
backed Thad Stevens, author of the measure. 6 From that hour he 
had never calculated without the lobby, and he knew its cost. In 
1870, when he was seeking another handsome subsidy, an ugly 
fight developed. Henry Cooke, in the Washington bank, worked 
like a Trojan with the aid of William E. Chandler of New Hamp- 
shire. Circulating on the floor of the House could be seen the 
picturesque Ignatius Donnelly, a former member, presumably 
representing the labor element in Duluth, but really on Jay 
Cooke's payroll. Night after night he drew the blinds and wrote 
lengthy reports to his employer. Mingling with members as 
lobbyists in disguise were governors of States, and money was 



1 April 19, 1870. 2 New York Tribune, March 17, 1870. 

3 lUd., June 24, 1870. 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid., July 15, 1870. 

6 Oberholtzer, Cooke, n, 147. 



AND NEW 287 

used freely. In the case of some obstreperous statesmen under 
financial obligations to the house of Cooke, like Blaine, it was 
Jay himself who delicately conveyed a reminder; and not a few 
Congressmen found themselves discreetly remembered, and in 
possession of stock. 1 

Even so, the fight waxed warm until, in March* Donnelly 
reported that a land grant would have to be substituted for a 
subsidy, and this was satisfactory. In the Senate, where the battle 
was bitter, Allen G. Thurman, an intellectual giant, and new 
Democratic leader, with Senator Harlan, Republican, were 
causing distress in their opposition to bestowing an empire on 
Cooke. But Cooke had the votes. 'We have been at work like 
beavers/ wrote Henry to Jay, 'and have whipped the enemy on 
every vote. . . . We let the other side do most of the talking and 
we do the voting. 5 2 The cunning Cameron, the trader, suggested 
an amendment providing the exclusive use of American iron or 
steel, and it was adopted* Cameron spoke Cooke ? s language. 

But passage in the Senate did not end the fight, and under Jay 
Cookers instructions, Logan, Ben Butler, and Schenck of Ohio 
were especially cultivated, though the latter was always obsequi- 
ous as a butler to the banker. The attempt to bulldoze the meas- 
ure through without debate raised a tempest among Democrats 
and insurgents, and the plan was abandoned. Anxious days s 
these, in the house of Cooke, even Ben Butler erratic in his voting 
until Chandler of New Hampshire pointed out the possibility 
of a retainer. 3 And so the fight was waged, and the heathen raged, 
but Henry Cooke had his forces well in hand. 'Blaine is doing us 
a great service/ he wrote his brother. That very day he had 
considerately dropped in on Henry to explain that Jay had no 
occasion for concern. 4 That was the day of the stormiest opposi- 
tion. Thus the measure passed and Cooke got his * empire 5 
provided Grant did not veto the bill. 

But the financier in Philadelphia, serene in the incense of his 
clerics, was not in doubt. Had not Grant sent for members and 
lobbied in the interest of the bill? Besides, Henry was not neglect- 
ing the White House, nor the White House Henry. *I have talked 

1 Oberholtzer, Cooke, n, 176. 2 IWi., n, 178. 

9 170. * HM. 9 H, 179-80. 



290 THE TRAGIC 

described Mm not unhappily as the 'Couthon of his party/ 1 
He himself , strangely enough, would have preferred to have been 
called the Vergniaud. In early manhood he had become en- 
amoured of the brilliant leader of the Gironde while poring over 
the vivid pages of Lamartine. Not Mirabeau, who crushed all 
opposition, as Morton did; not Robespierre, who hated with an 
inveterate hate, as Morton hated; but Vergniaud, the polished 
orator of the conservative Republicans, the speaker of finesse, 
whom Morton resembled not at all, entranced him. It was 
Vergniaud's talk on immortality at the last supper of the doomed 
deputies that Morton treasured in his memory always. 

It will be recalled that Stevens was sounding the keynote of 
Radicalism at Lancaster in the summer that Morton was bitterly 
and convincingly assailing everything that Radicalism, meant at 
Richmond. Yet Morton was to wear Stevens's mantle. It is im- 
possible to believe that Morton underwent a change of sentiment. 
He was an opportunist, a partisan, and when his party took its 
stand, he veered to meet it without a blush. It was this savage 
subserviency to party prejudices that made him the power he 
became. 

As a politician, he was a rigid disciplinarian, autocratic, dicta- 
torial, absolute. He exacted unquestioning obedience to his will, 
and woe to the Republican that crossed him. Julian had dared 
anticipate him in the radicalism of reconstruction it wrecked 
him. Harrison had a pride of his own, and when Hayes wished 
to invite him into his Cabinet, it was Morton who turned thumbs 
down. He brooked no rivals. 2 Intensely practical, he was a genius 
in organization, and in every nook and corner of the State his 
followers slept upon their arms. His ambition was Napoleonic. 
He assumed the leadership of the Senate, won the complete con- 
fidence of Grant, who feared to cross him, and more than any other 
one man became the spokesman of the Administration. 

Unlike so many of his associates, money did not tempt him. His 
ambition did not center on material things. Despite his infirmity, 
the nights found Mm hard at work in simple surroundings, and he 
would not tolerate pretensions. When his coachman put on livery, 

1 Destruction and Reconstruction, 260. 

2 Ttirpie, mil Life qfHayeS. 



AND 291 

lie ordered It off, and continued Ms journeys to the Capitol in a 
primitive vehicle. No touch of scandal stained his toga. 'There is 
temptation, 9 wrote a Southern leader, "to dwell on Morton as one 
of the few Radical leaders who kept Ms hands clean of plunder/ 1 
He died as poor as when he entered public life. 2 Living for years 
in the shadow of death, he apparently had no religion. In youth, 
the * Evidences of Christianity' had shaken Ms faith, and he never 
recovered it. When he thought he was dying 9 he sent for a 
physician and a lawyer, but no minister. When a Quaker woman 
asked to talk with Mm about the state of Ms soul, he snappishly 
replied: "That has been attended to. 9 

During the period we have now reached in our narrative, Mor- 
ton lived at the Ebbitt House, and Ms rooms were the headquar- 
ters of the Southern carpetbaggers, and the negro politicians 
haunted Ms quarters. These all looked to Mm as their special 
champion, not without reason. 

A monumental figure, not lovable, but awe-inspiring in its 
primitive strength. 3 

IV 

Quite the antithesis of Morton was another champion of Grant's 
policies, Roscoe Conkling. Morton was force; Conkling was 
beauty. Women in the galleries were fascinated by the handsome 
Adonis, six feet three in height, erect, graceful, a magnificent head 
on splendid shoulders, a flowing blond beard, and the mannerisms 
of an actor. Morton was primitive nature; Conkling was all art. 
Morton knew the minds and hearts of common men; Conkling 
would have concealed the fact as a matter of pride if he had known 
them. He was the orator of the Administration, the incomparable 
sophist, and he swayed audiences with Ms eloquence while charm- 
ing them with Ms mere physical presence. Withal, he was as tem- 
peramental as a prima donna, nervous, arrogant. His egotism 
was sublime. Women were drawn to him, but his conceit protected 
Mm from the blandishments of most, though he succumbed nota- 
bly to one of the most remarkable women of Ms generation; men 
admired his ability while resenting Ms arrogance. Dashing, deb- 

1 Destruction and Eeconstruction, 260. 2 Turpie, 225. 

3 1 have made use of Foulke's excellent biography. 



292 THE TRAGIC 

onair, scintillating, lie was a true cavalier the Aramis of the 
Three Musketeers of the President, 

The third of the Musketeers lacked the intellectual qualities of 
Morton, and the polish of Conkling. But Zachariah Chandler was 
the master organizer of the three he was the engineer. He sym- 
bolized more than any other the alliance of business and politics 
then being consummated as never before. Bluff, gruff, a little 
swaggering, he had no false sense of dignity, and among his friends 
was all affability. He was ready with a hearty laugh or a good 
story. Intensely practical, with the business man's idea that 
things worth having may be bought or bargained for, he was to 
establish the partnership of favor-seeking industries and politics 
on the frank basis of a trade campaign contribution for the 
politicians, legislative and administrative favors for the contrib- 
utors. While Morton threatened and Conkling argued, it was 
Chandler who moved affably about the floor and the cloak-rooms 
trading and bargaining for votes. He was as extreme in his parti- 
sanship as Morton, as bitter in his sectionalism as Stevens or 
Wade* Much of Ms party work was done quietly, but it was on a 
big scale, and not a little sinister, and the effect of his policy in 
party management still abides. 



Opposing them, on the Democratic side, were two new men who 
had assumed the leadership. Hendricks had retired to Indiana, 
disgusted with the new atmosphere of the capital. With his de- 
parture the leadership passed to Allen G. Thurman, of Ohio, new 
to the Senate, who, in sheer intellect, character, and capacity, was 
the peer of the best and the superior of most of his colleagues on 
both sides of the chamber. Below the average height and heavy- 
set, with massive head and rugged features, with a rather shaggy 
beard and profuse locks of hair suggestive of a leonine nature, he 
looked the leader. His voice, though heavy, was pleasing. A little 
abrupt and brusque, he was inherently courteous and kindly, and 
in the heat of the debate maintained a cheerful good-humor. A 
gentleman of the old school, he made frequent visits to the Senate's 
snuffboxes, for he was an inveterate snuffer; this brought into view 
the red bandanna handkerchief he affected, and soon it became 
popularly associated with his fame. 





Allen G. Thurman 



Thomas A. Hendricks 




Thomas F. Bayard Daniel W. Voornees 

DEMOCRATIC LEADERS 



WEIRD SCHEMES AND NEW LEADERS 293 

His training had been of the best. In youth, he had sat in the 
inner circles of the Jacksonians in Washington, aroused the in- 
terest of Calhoun, and for years had been the trusted adviser of 
his uncle, William Allen, and of his party in matters of manage- 
ment and principles. A lawyer of erudition, a jurist of experience 
and distinction, few Senators cared to cross swords with him on 
legal or constitutional questions. ' When I speak of the law/ said 
Conkling, 'I turn to the Senator from Ohio as the Mussulman 
turns toward Mecca/ His method in. debate was that of a great 
lawyer; his speeches were as the expositions of a great judge. He 
indulged in no frivolities, and took the floor only when he had 
something to say. In reasoning robust, his blows were titanic, and 
when occasion called, his sarcasm and satire were destructive. 
Fair in statement, honest in his conclusions, sincere in purpose, he 
commanded universal respect. 

In political judgment, he was instinctively sound. On all the 
fundamentals of his party's faith he was safe. He not only had 
mastered the philosophy of the fathers; it was inherently his own. 
He believed in fighting the enemy cleanly but he believed in 
fighting. In general culture, he was above the average in the Sen- 
ate, an omnivorous reader, especially fond of the French masters, 
a lover of Moliere and Racine, and in moments of social relaxation 
wont to quote pages of humorous passages from Balzac. A devotee 
of music and the drama, he was one of the most constant play- 
goers of the capital. 

For the corruption and moral laxity of the times he had the ut- 
most scorn, and he was repeatedly to stand forth against the or- 
ganized forces of predatory wealth. His honesty was proverbial, 
and that made him loom large in his generation. He was of the 
race of giants a reminder of the elder day. 1 

Of less heroic stature, and yet of commanding ability, in the 
first rank of statesmanship and leadership, was Thomas F. Bay- 
ard, of Delaware. More suave than Thurman, with a little less 
power in his punch, he was a seasoned statesman, a clever de- 
bater, a sagacious political manager. Where Thurman was the 
warrior, Bayard was the diplomat. Of pleasing presence, moder- 

1 Historical and Biographical Cyclopedia of Ohio; Elaine, Twenty Years, n, 442; Thurwm 
Papers; New York World, December 20, 1869. 



TRAGIC ERA 

ate, urbane, dignified, he made an impressive figure on the floor* 
He never lost bis balance or struck a blow beneath the belt. So- 
cially a charming companion, fluent and interesting in conversa- 
tion, Ms familiarity with the French language made Mm a favorite 
in diplomatic circles. Like Thurzaan, he was a book man, liking 
nothing better than a quiet evening in his library, 

Hendricks, Thunoan, and Bayard these three led the minor- 
ity through tragic years when constitutional barriers were being 
brushed aside, when courts were in contempt, and our institutions 
were being remoulded by the fingers of prejudice and fanaticism. 
With but a little band behind them, they managed, through the 
force of intellect and character, occasionally to give pause to the 
mad spirit of the times. This, not the mere wrangling of the ma- 
jority, explains Grant's complaint that the dominant party was 
* allowing the few Democrats to be the balance to fix amendments 
to every important measure/ l It was something that Grant could 
not understand. 

VI 

This session witnessed the dramatic advent of another new Sena- 
tor who illustrated the full flowering of the policy imposed upon 
the South. An artist would have found an interesting study in the 
faces of women peering down upon the floor in the first days of 
February. Some registered curiosity; others something of repul- 
sion. For there, surrounded by admiring partisans, stood a black 
man Hiram R. Revels, new Senator from Mississippi, elected to 
the seat of Jefferson Davis. A man of some education, not without 
some culture 3 modest and dignified in demeanor, he impressed a 
correspondent as a man 'able to take care of himself . . . who will 
not suffer himself to be browbeaten even by Simmer/ 2 On his ar- 
rival, he had been honored at a dinner at which both races had 
mingled about the board. There were some senators, the entire 
Mississippi delegation, Adalbert Ames, soon to marry the daughter 
of Ben Butler and now awaiting his admission to the Senate as the 
black man's colleague, and Tig Iron' Kelley, who had found the 
negroes in the South the intellectual superiors of the whites. The 
diners had lingered long at the board in merry conversation and 

1 Grcmf s Letter* to a Friend, 66-07. 2 New Forfc W&rld, January 31, 1870 



AND NEW 295 

perfect fraternity , and there was muck lifting of eyebrows even 
among the political advocates of equality, 1 "When Revels appeared 
in the Senate, he was lionized by the Radicals, Summer the first to 
greet Mm with smiles and compliments, closely followed by Simon 
Cameron and the carpetbag Senators. 2 

That month John W. Forney gave his * social equality party, 3 
with the two races mingling as one. Grant dropped in, and mem- 
bers of the Cabinet, and chatted the evening away. The new 
Mississippi Senator was the center of attraction, and that vener- 
able journalist, Major Poore, made a grave social error. Arriving 
late tie turned to a colored man seated at a table. 

*Go and get me some wine, my good fellow/ he ordered. 

'Sir, I think we have met before at Stunner's,* replied the negro 
with dignity. "I believe I am addressing Major Poore, am I not? 
And the Major must remember that we dined together at Senator 
Summer's. 9 

c Oh, I beg your pardon. So we did, sir. How are you, Pro- 
fessor ?* 

It was Professor Vashon. Tinder the new social dispensation, 
such social errors were almost unavoidable, 3 

Soon Revels made his maiden speech to galleries packed with 
both races, speaking in excellent taste, in language many Senators 
could not have matched in grace of diction; and Morton, who had 
sought vainly to secure for the negro the very seat once occupied 
by Davis, rose to compliment the speaker who *so well vindicated 
the ability and intelligence of his race . . . and shows the country 
that in receiving Mm in exchange for Jefferson Davis, the Senate 
has lost nothing in intelligence/ 4 

Soon followed the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, and 
then, feverish activity among the Radicals. The Republican Club 
marched to the White House, and, responding to the serenade, 
Grant appeared at the door with Forney, to declare that *no con- 
summation since the Civil War affords me so much pleasure/ 5 
Negro orators planned stumping tours in the North; and it was 

1 New York Herald, February & 1870. 2 Ibid., February 3, 1870. 

* Ibid.. February 20, 1870, 

Congressional Globe, MarcE 16, 1870; New York Tribune, Mardi 17, 1870. 
5 New York Herald, April fc, 1870. 



90 TRAGIC 

said the Union League Club would begin the organization of secret 
leagues in the Northern States for the purposes of the approach- 
ing campaign. To the politicians the Amendment meant the re- 
clamation of some lost States Delaware, Maryland, and New 
Jersey. 1 

Two months later, when the Union League held its conference 
at the Arlington, the reports were encouraging, the finances satis- 
factory, and the national secretary was instructed to proceed forth- 
with to the South. 2 The dominant party had never been more 
jubilant; the freedmen, never so enthusiastic over the prospects of 
real equality. And yet there was a fly in the ointment when Revels 
appointed a colored boy a cadet at West Point. * A very foolish and 
cruel thing as far as the boy and his family is concerned, and a 
very injudicious thing as far as the colored race is concerned/ 
thought 'The Nation.* Of course, it said, the boy could not pass 
the examination. And all that came of it was a trip to West Point 
for the potential cadet, a breakfast at Couzzen's Hotel, 'with as 
much pomp and ceremony as any white cadet would have had 
shown him/ a courteous treatment by the authorities and the 
dream was over. 3 

VII 

United on negro suffrage, the dominant party was seriously dis- 
turbed when Grant dumped into the Senate hopper an amazing 
opera-bouffe proposition a treaty providing for the purchase of 
San Domingo for $1,500,000. Negotiated by General Orville E. 
Babcock, destined to much notoriety, signed by him as c Aide-de- 
Camp to his Excellency Ulysses S. Grant/ there had been no con- 
sultation with the Secretary of State. Just how the President be- 
came involved remains a mystery. Obsessed with a craving for 
territory, it is probable that speculators and gamblers financially 
interested managed to divert him from the thought of Cuba to the 
black republic. Behind, the screen the project had been brewing 
for two years. A friend of Senator Grimes had asked his advice 
about investing and had been dissuaded. 4 It was not until 1869 
that Grant became interested, when a man-of-war was ordered to 

1 New York Herald, April 3, 1870. 2 Ibid., June 1, 1870. 

" ""he Nation, June 9, 1870. 4 Grimes to Rich, Life of Grimes, 379. 



AND NEW LEADERS 297 

the ports of the Dominican Republic to ascertain the views of the 
people there of all parties regarding annexation and the sale or 
lease of the Bay of Samana, or of territory adjacent thereto. In 
July, General Babcock set forth on his diplomatic mission and a 
warship was instructed to give him the moral support of its guns. 
This may have been necessary to support the tottering regime of 
President Baez during negotiations,, but not for his persuasion, for 
he was eager to sell his country. It was not information as to 
popular sentiment that the gay Babcock was after, but a sale; and 
he soon returned with the protocol of a treaty in which Grant was 
pledged to exert all his power to secure a ratification of any agree- 
ment made. 

Shocked and disgusted by the proceedings behind his back, 
Secretary Fish wished to resign, but was dissuaded^ and Babcock 
returned with an adequate naval force to continue and close ne- 
gotiations, with the consent of the State Department. This was 
speedily accomplished; and, pending the ratification, warships 
were hurried to Dominican waters for the protection of the man 
who sought to sell his country. So precarious was his hold on 
power, that in February, 1870, Admiral Poor made a demon- 
stration at the Haytian capital and served notice that any attack 
on Baez would be considered a declaration of war against the 
United States. 

In his Message in December, Grant had painted an extravagant 
picture of the resources and value of San Domingo; and in early 
January, Charles Sumner, chairman of the Foreign Relations 
Committee, dining with Forney and Poore, the journalists, was 
interrupted by the sound of Grant's voice in his hall. Hastening 
to him, Sumner ushered the President into the dining-room. The 
guests rose to leave. Grant waved them to their seats* No ob- 
jection to discussing foreign relations with the chairman of the 
Foreign Relations Committee in the presence of the press. Or, 
was Sumner chairman of the Judiciary Committee? Grant had 
thus addressed him but no matter. He sought an offhand as- 
surance of Summer's active support for ratification. Dumb- 
founded, and yet forgiving something to Grant's simplicity in such 
matters, Sumner responded, *Mr. President, I am an Adminis- 
tration man, and whatever you do will always find in me the most 
careful and candid consideration/ 



298 THE TEAGIC ERA 

Grant was delighted Sumner was pledged! Had he not said 
lie was an * Administration man 5 ? And could an 'Administration 
man* do other than obey orders like a subordinate in the army? 
Of course, Sunnier, who took his duties seriously, had only pledged 
himself to * careful and candid consideration/ but Grant wearied 
on long sentences* The next day, Babcock, military ambassador, 
called on Sumner with the treaty, and, when it reached the Senate, 
Sumner laid it before his committee. In the informal discussion he 
expressed no opinion. The others were unfriendly all but Mor- 
ton, who had Grant's Idea of an 'Administration man. 5 

It was about this time that Senator Carl Schurz, calling at the 
White House, was casually solicited to support the treaty, and 
when the Senator, more amazed than Sumner, took his courage in 
both hands frankly to explain his objections, he observed that 
quite soon Grant's 'eyes wandered about the room 9 as though he 
were bored. 1 

The drama, which was to mean something to the Republican 
Party, was hurrying on. Stunner, hearing strange rumors that 
Baez was being sustained in power by the American Navy, has- 
tened to the Navy Department to find he had not been misled, 
and that the treaty had been made under duress. That was enough 
for Sumner. 

Meanwhile, with Sumner's committee falling to act. Grant, en- 
raged at the delay, and holding the chairman responsible, began to 
threaten vengeance. 'The idea has got abroad/ wrote Forney to 
Sumner, 'that he has marked you out for sacrifice, and it excites 
much feeling.* 2 

At length, despite the President's active lobbying, the commit- 
tee made an adverse report, and two days later, Grant appeared 
at the Capitol in belligerent mood. He appeared, said the 'New 
York World/ 3 'somewhat In the style of Oliver Cromwell/ and, 
handing a messenger a list of Senators, said, 'Send these men to me 
immediately/ There was some excitement and no end of gossip. 
The fact, too, that New York speculators had moved on the Capi- 
tol, created an ugly atmosphere. 4 On March 24, Sumner opened 
the debate in secret session with a powerful attack on the treaty, 

1 Schurz, 307-09. 2 pi erc e, iv, 439. 

3 March 20, 1870. New York World, March 4, 1870. 



AND NEW 299 

and the next day Grant was at the Capitol again summoning 
Senators from the floor, 'taking them Into committee rooms and 
out-of-the-way corners, buttonholing them to vote for the Grant- 
Baez Treaty/ 1 

The fight dragged on, increasing in bitterness, Morton cracking 
the party whip to no avail. Senator Wilson, supporting Grant for 
party solidarity, admitted that nine tenths of the people were 
against the treaty. When the Collector of the Port of New York 
attempted a popular demonstration for it at Cooper Union, it was 
a failure the speculators on the platform all too conspicuous. In 
the Senate, Morton was fighting hard, a large collection of San 
Domingo products on his desk, for he was taking his colleagues to 
the mountain-top. A large block of salt from the mountains of 
Neibia proved most interesting to the statesmen, and they gath- 
ered about to taste it * including Revels,' said the c New York 
Herald/ 2 But the opposition was thoroughly organized on a prin- 
ciple the plans perfected in the library of Summer's home by 
Sunnier and Schurz. 3 

Two weeks before the vote, Secretary Fish appeared at Sum- 
ner's home one night and sought until midnight to swerve him, 
from his purpose. * Why not go to London? * asked Fish suddenly. 
e l offer you the English mission; it is yours *; 4 or, 'How would you 
like to be Minister to England? * 5 None of the chroniclers of the 
incident describe it as an attempt to bribe, for Eish was above such 
methods. Badeau, never wholly reliable, offers the explanation that 
Fish found Sumner in tears, and assumed his condition due to Ms 
domestic or financial difficulties, and advised him, on adjourn- 
ment, to go to Europe and forget his troubles. With Summer's re- 
ply that he could not afford it, Fish impulsively blurted forth the 
offer. "No, I cannot disturb Motley/ was the reply. 'No, I see 
you are right/ said Fish. "You could not supplant Motley/ 6 

Even so, the day after the failure of the treaty, the blow fell on 
Sumner's friend Motley was dismissed! With amusing simplic- 
ity, Senator Wilson protested to Grant that the dismissal would be 
interpreted in Massachusetts as a How at Sumner. 7 And Sumner 

1 New York World, March 26, 1870. 2 March 26, 1870. 3 Schurz- 325. 

4 Pierce, iv, 443-44. s Badeau, 216. s Badeau, 216. 

7 Pierce, iv, 44@. 



300 THE TRAGIC ERA 

wrote Longfellow: *At last the blow has fallen on Motley. I am 
unhappy at the thought of the unhappiness in his house. . . . When 
I see you on the piazza, I will tell you the story of "Revenge."' 1 

While Sumner was sitting on the poet's piazza at Nahant telling 
him the story of * Revenge/ Grant was trout-fishing with Simon 
Cameron in Pennsylvania. The Democratic organ said: * Trout- 
fishing with an unscrupulous politician like Simon Cameron ex- 
hibits General Grant in a new light and Simon as a dexterous 
fisher of men. We do not know with what Simon baited his hook, 
but he has evidently caught a President.' 2 

And so he had, as we shall see later. 

VIII 

Quite as trying to party solidarity was the case of Georgia. Here 
we must pause for a hasty survey of events in that State under the 
government of the carpetbaggers, protected by the sword. These 
had bestowed the governorship on Rufus Bullock, a large man of 
pleasant manners, and in less than two years his administration 
reeked with corruption. The genius of his merry group of maraud- 
ers was H. I. Ejmball, who craved no office, distributed places to 
his retainers with a blessing, and only asked the small boon of 
looting the Treasury. Nor was he parsimonious. Through him a 
seat in the Legislature could be made lucrative. The politicians 
bowed low before this dashing, affable, successful man with the 
Midas touch and with something of the generosity of Dives. The 
negro members chuckled at his approach, and sang a song in his 
praise: 

*H. I. KimbalFs on de flo', 
'Tain'l gwine ter rain no mo*.* 

While building railroads with State money was his specialty, he 
was versatility itself. Thinking an opera house in course of con- 
struction wanton waste, he bought it, remodeled it, and sold it to 
Georgia as a State House at a handsome profit. The capital needed 
a fine hotel enough; he built the Ejmball House, and paid for it 
with the State bonds, over which, as semi-official financial agent 
of the Commonwealth, he had autocratic control, making no re- 

1 Pierce, iv, 448. 2 New York World, June fO, 1870. 







TIME WORKS WONDERS: 

DAVIS-.) "FOR THAT i DO SUSPECT THE LUSTY MOOR 

HATH LEAP*!) INTO MY SEAT: THE THOUGHT WHEREOF 
DOTH LIKE A POISONOUS MINERAL GNAW MY INWARDS'? o 



NAST S CARTOON OF REVELS IN THE SENATE 

About the colored Senator stand Henry Wilson, Oliver P. Morton 

Carl Schurz, and Charles Sumner 



WEIED NEW LEADERS 301 

ports. As railroad-builder with. State funds lie became a 
partner in the Tennessee Car Company, bought cars from him- 
self, paid himself out of the Treasury, and overlooked the detail of 
delivery. And yet, a charming gentleman, kindly, affable, ready 
with loose change for the appeals of penury. 

As railroad-builder, he was all romance. Money voted to roads 
on the completion of a stipulated number of miles was paid in 
great amounts without reference to the stipulation, and sometimes 
before a mile had been built. 1 In the classic case of the looting of 
the Brunswick and Albany, the rollicking marauders made mer- 
riest, allowing fraudulent claims for iron seized during the war, 
when it was the Confederacy and not the State that seized it, and 
when the Government had paid for it; allowing claims for carrying 
troops, when this was non-enforceable. The whole transaction was 
honeycombed with corruption. 2 Corrupt In building, the manage- 
ment of the State roads was crooked, and the thieving politicians 
in control plunged the State into debt three quarters of a million 
on a road that had regularly turned twenty-five thousand dollars 
a month into the Treasury before the war. 3 

And then the party press it above all had to be nurtured, and 
public money poured into the coffers of forty-two papers for the 
publication of orders and proclamations. So easy was this steal 
that the leaders bought the ' Atlanta New Era 5 and bestowed 
patronage on themselves with gleeful prodigality. 4 

Unhappily the State Treasurer was not of the inner circle, and 
his report on the finances in January, 1869, tended to cast doubt 
on Bullock's integrity. The Legislature of 1870, strongly Repub- 
lican, investigated. 

*EL I. KimbalFs on de fk>% 
'Tain't gwine ter rain no mo*.' 

Naturally there was a whitewash, but suppose the Democrats 
should control the next Legislature! It was this fear that drove 
Bullock to Washington to disturb party solidarity. 

Now, Georgia had been passing through many vicissitudes. 
The Legislature that had gone in with Bullock in 1868 was a cross 

1 Bainbridge, Cuthbert and Columbus Railroad; Thompson, 231; Cartersville and Tan 
Wert Railroad; ibid. 

2 IMd., 230. 8 Hid., 238-40. 4 IWd., 27. 



302 THE TRAGIC 

between a gambling-den and a colored camp-meeting. The over- 
seer then, and for years afterward, was a glib, subtle Uriah Heep I 
who manipulated the blacks. The scene sickened numerous Re- 
publicans, who joined with the Democrats in the expulsion of 
twenty-five negro members of the House and two of the Senate. 
Sumner moved and the State was remanded to military rule, 
with Bullock still in power. This was ideal. But Georgia's vote 
was needed in the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, and 
plans were made in Washington to have the Legislature recalled,, 
the expelled members reseated, and the State again taken under 
military rule. Bullock and his associates were appalled. This 
would mean an election in the fall of 1870; the Democrats might 
win and investigate. In December, Congress acted again on 
Georgia, excluding from the Legislature all whites who had not 
taken the disability oath, forbidding the exclusion of negroes, 
granting Bullock the use of Federal soldiers to execute the law, 
and providing that the State should be readmitted with the ratifi- 
cation of the Amendment. 

Thus the Legislature was summoned in one of the most gro- 
tesque sessions of all time. To supervise the organization of the 
House, Bullock found a Falstaff of from three to four hundred 
pounds, a Western carpetbagger, A. L. Harris. One of the em- 
ployees of the State roads, it was all in the day's work to this jolly 
soul. CooL, amusing, witty, not oblivious to the absurdity of the 
situation, he sat for days organizing the Legislature of a sovereign 
State, jeering away all parliamentary rules under the protecting 
shadow of Federal bayonets. 2 Thus the Legislature was organized, 
Foster Blodgett, one of the Bullock Ring, was sent to the Senate, 
and the next step would be the readmission of the State by Con- 
gress. We have now reached the drama of the present session. 

IX 

That summer and autumn, Bullock and his associates were 
closeted in many pow-wows. Anything but a Democratic Legis- 
lature, to investigate! At least, time was needed. Why not post- 
pone the elections due that fall for two years on the ground that 
there had been the intervention of a military government? Ben 

1 3. E. Bryant. 2 Avery, 427-28. 



AND NEW 303 

Butler undertook the task of convincing Congress. Bullock has- 
tened to Washington with an abundance of State funds to do his 
bit. Morton and Sumner espoused the cause of Bullock in the 
Senate and again the Republican majority split. 

Bullock was no amateur lobbyist, for he had been there in the 
early winter. Then he had taken expensive quarters at the Wil- 
lard, entertained with the prodigality of a nabob, wined and dined 
members of Congress, and charged the cost to Georgia. Daily he 
had lolled in his carriage to the Capitol, strolling about House and 
Senate, gorging himself and guests in the restaurants, entertaining 
at elaborate dinners in the evening. 1 His sensibilities had been im- 
pervious to the scorn of members and the merriment of the press 
gallery during the House debate, but in the Senate he had been 
unable long to maintain his defiant pose, and he had wandered 
possessively about the Chamber, finally finding a resting-place 
at Morton's side. But he had triumphed then, and it was he who 
carried the bill to Grant to sign without reading, 2 That night 
he had given a royal feast at the famous Cafe Frangaise, where 
every delicacy of the market was on the board, and wine flowed 
freely at the expense of Georgia. 

And now he was back again, and Butler was fighting to prolong 
his term and that of his minions in the Legislature for two years 
more; back again, as a correspondent phrased it, *to counteract 
the influence of a delegation of respectable citizens of Ms State/ 3 

But the decency of Congress was rising in revolt against this 
man's effrontery, and the oily manner of Ben Butler was without 
effect. The forthright Beck of Kentucky was saying that in 
Massachusetts such conspirators would be found hanging to every 
tree in Boston Common, 4 and Bingham,, openly charging that the 
prolongation plan was to protect the pillagers in their plunder, 
proposed to strike out this feature, and his amendment was 
adopted by a good majority. 

Desperate now, Bullock began to flood the press with tele- 
graphic stories of * outrages' in Georgia, and it was time. Trum- 
bull, Edmunds, and Schurz had joined the indomitable Thurman 
in the attack, and Trumbull was denouncing the scheme as * worse 

1 Avery, 422. 2 Ibid., 423. 3 New York Herdd, February 8, 1870. 

4 Congressional Globe, March 5, 1870. 



304 THE TRAGIC ERA 

than the Lecompton swindle.' l Simmer ascribed the opposition 
to the 'venom' of rebels, and Morton waved the * bloody shirt* 
again. The Bingham amendment? Monstrous, thought Morton. 
*In the interest of rebels' and desired by * every unrepentent rebel 
in the South/ 

Meanwhile, press correspondents were informing their papers 
that Bullock was resorting to 'the use of a female body in con- 
nection with the Georgia business/ 2 and in truth the desperate 
exploiters were hesitating at nothing. The red-whiskered vulga- 
rian had bought publicity in Forney's paper for $4459, and the ne- 
gro delegation he had summoned to protest against the Bingham 
amendment was living on the fat of the land and Georgia paid 
the bill. 3 And then, one day, Trumbull rose in a hushed silence 
solemnly to refer to the rumors of corruption and ask an inquiry; 
and the next day Zack Chandler, adopting the usual tactics of the 
unscrupulous, proposed to extend the inquiry to determine if 
* rebels' were using money for the amendment. The Judiciary 
Committee found that corrupt and improper means had been em- 
ployed by the Bullock leaders from Georgia, 4 but nothing was 
done. The Bingham amendment was strengthened, however, and 
the bill passed, and Bullock rushed back to Georgia to make his 
last stand in the election of 1870. 

x 

Verily a year of sinister significance, this of 1870. The corrup- 
tionists and spoilsmen were still on the trail of Hoar. On the Sen- 
ate's refusal to confirm his appointment to the Supreme Court, he 
had tendered his resignation, which Grant had waved aside. Four 
months had intervened. One June day a messenger entered Hoar's 
office with a curt note from Grant, demanding his resignation, and 
with no explanation. His dignity putting a curb on his indignation 9 
the fine old Puritan turned to his desk, wrote his resignation, and 
hurried it to the press to make it irrevocable. That afternoon 
Grant explained that the South was demanding a Cabinet post, 
and that Hoar had pried into the qualifications of men recom- 
mended for judicial positions in the South something intoler- 

1 Congressional Globe, March 14, 1870. * tf ew York World, March 18, 1870. 

3 Avery, 434. * Report 175, 41st Cong., fcd Sess. 



AND NEW 305 

able. 1 And so the Massachusetts jurist and purist took Ms de- 
parture. Bawlins was gone dead. Hoar had been thrust out. 
Only Cox remained to disturb the serenity of the spoilsmen, and 
he would linger but a little while. 

That month the bill to pension Mrs. Lincoln was again shunted 
aside, and the 'New York Herald 9 thought it c the most remark- 
able instance of petty malice ever evinced in any national legis- 
lature/ 2 Society was humming with the story of the suicide of 
the French Minister, and the chivalric reply of the German Minis- 
ter, Baron Geroldt, to the question whether he would attend the 
funeral, *I certainly will. After death, there is no war/ 3 Con- 
gress had passed an enforcement act to compel observance of the 
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and gone beyond its con- 
stitutional powers, and trenched still more on the rights of the 
States. 4 Centralization was moving triumphantly on. Congress 
had adjourned, and Grant had hurried to a cottage at Long Branch 
to escape the frivolities of the hotels. 

But before he went, he had been in secret conference with the 
two Senators from North Carolina and learned that political pro- 
spects there were none too bright. The plan had been devised to 
terrorize the people into submission with a military force, under 
the pretense of protecting 'loyal men. 5 The Senators wanted uni- 
forms and equipment, and the President was agreeable. He 
* warmly approved' and would support the project *with the full 
power of the Nation/ The visitors * never knew Mm so talkative' 
or c to talk so well.' Turning to his desk, 'with Ms own hand he 
wrote a page and a half letter to the acting Secretary of Wax, 
General Sherman, saying that, though the application was irregu- 
lar, he would sign any paper to validate it/ The conspirators con- 
gratulated one another. ' Heaven seems to smile on us and our 
undertaking/ they thought. 5 

Let us journey to North Carolina and join the troops. 

1 Hoar, M&mairs, 209-11. 2 June 18, 1870. 

3 New York World, July 23, 1870. 

4 Professor Burgess, 255; Dunning, 185. 

5 Holden Papers, W. J. Clark to Governor Holden, June 18, 1870. 



XV 
THE KLAN AND WAR 

i 

PICTURESQUE enough was the march of the ragamuffins of 
Colonel Kirk through North Carolina, foreshadowed by the 
visit of that State's Senators to President Grant. To understand 
the pretext for the march, however, we must pause hastily to 
survey the Ku-Klux Klan, figuring luridly in the Northern press. 
The night before Christmas in 1865, six young men, who had seen 
service in the war, were seated about the stove in a law office in a 
small brick building in Pulaski, Tennessee. Penniless, with poor 
prospects, with poverty and depression all about, a pall of sadness 
rested on the little town that Christmas Eve. Boys,* said one of 
the young men, 1 c let's start something to break the monotony and 
cheer up our mothers and girls. Let's start a club of some kind/ 2 
It was agreed, and plans were made to be perfected at another 
meeting. This was held in the home of a leading citizen, 3 where 
many merry initiations were to be had that winter. In considering 
a name for the club, some one suggested 'Eoiklio/ from the Greek 
word meaning a band or circle; another proposed adding 'Klan 9 
because all the members were of Scotch-Irish descent; and a third 
offered Ku Ku-Klux Elan. 4 Since the object was fun, why not 
costumes to deepen the mystery? Agreed and the young men 
joyously raided the linen closet and brought forth stiff linen sheets 
and pillow-cases. It was a period of much masquerading and the 
costuming was a natural instinct. And why not ride horses? 
and disguise these, as well, with sheets. Yes, and ride out into the 
black night and call at the houses of parents and sweethearts in a 
silent serenade? 

Thus for the first time the Ku-Klux rode, and every one was 
merry for the moment every one but the f reedmen, who, being 
superstitious, thought they had seen ghosts from the near-by battle- 

1 Colonel John C. Lester. z Authentic History, 6. 

3 Colonel Thomas Martin. * Authentic History* 8. 



KLAN AND WAR 307 

fields. Many of these, who had been Idling, hurried back contritely 
and subdued to their old masters* fields. At first the whites laughed 
over the fears of the blacks, and then, noting an improvement 
among them, with more industry and less petty pilfering, the 
serious possibilities of the society were envisaged. Within three 
months, the membership had outgrown its quarters, and an old 
house, half demolished by a cyclone, on the side of a MI at the 
edge of the town, was taken. The solitude, the ruins, the torn 
trunks of trees accentuated the weirdness of the scene at twilight. 
A fearsome awe fell upon the negroes. It was not the men they 
feared but ghosts. Merrily the night riders pressed their ad- 
vantage, parading the lonely roads at night. 

From the intimidation of the negroes it was an easy step to the 
challenging of the carpetbaggers and agitators who were lustily 
instilling into the black men's minds a hatred and distrust of the 
native whites. Thus, more than once, when the simple blacks were 
gathered in groups about an agitator of the lowest type, the Elans- 
men, lighted by torches, would appear, silently to circle the crowd 
until the black men fled in terror. One night an aged negro, riding 
his mule past a meeting in an old church l grove where a carpet- 
bagger was expounding the law of hate to the credulous blacks, 
overheard the discussion of a plan for the burning of certain houses. 
Hurrying home, he told his former master, a member of the Man; 
and soon the spectral horsemen rode into the meeting and the 
audience fled. 2 Thus the society, formed for amusement, and found 
effective in controlling the negroes* soon developed into an agency 
to combat the Loyal Leagues formed under the inspiration of the 
Union League Clubs of the Northern cities. 3 

The original intent was to act for regulation and not for punish- 
ment, 4 and there was desperate need for regulation. The crusade 
of hate and social equality, and more, was playing havoc with a 
race naturally kindly and trustful. Throughout the war, when 
men were far away on the battle-fields, and the women were alone 
on far plantations with the slaves, hardly a woman was attacked. 
Then came the scum of Northern society, emissaries of the politi- 
cians, soldiers of fortune, and not a few degenerates, inflaming the 

1 'Brick Church/ Giles County, Tennessee. 

2 Authentic History, 15-16. 3 Leslie, 79. 4 Ibid., 90. 



308 TRAGIC 

negroes' egotism, and soon the lustful assaults began. Rape Is the 
foul daughter of Reconstruction, Robert Somers, an Englishman 
visiting the South, observed the work of * agitators of the loosest 
type/ and noted the utterance of sentiments c in all the circum- 
stances anti-social and destructive/ and "a real reign of terror . . 
among the whites/ l An English woman living on a Georgia 
plantation saw an amazing change in the manner of her servants 
after the work of the Leagues began to have effect. They walked 
about with guns on their shoulders, spoke to their employers with 
studied familiarity, treated the women with disrespect, and worked 
when they pleased. Through 1869 this woman never slept without 
a loaded pistol under her pillow* 2 All over the Souths white women 
armed themselves in self-defense. 3 Before the K3an appeared., and 
after the Loyal Leagues had spread their poison, no respectable 
white woman dared venture out in the black belt unprotected. 
We are in the hands of camp followers, horse-holders, cooks 
and bottle-washers and thieves/ testified a reputable citizen of 
Alabama. 4 The spectacle of negro police leading white girls to jail 
was not unusual in Montgomery. 5 Among the poor, the white 
women of the farms taking their produce to the markets traveled 
in large companies as a protection against rape. 6 In places the 
military and the Freedmen's Bureau offered no relief. Negroes 
who had criminally attacked white women, tried and sent to the 
penetentiary, were turned loose after a few days* incarceration. 7 
It was not until the original Elan began to ride that white women 
felt some sense of security. 

Controlled in the beginning by men of character and substance, 
the plan was to manage the freedmen by playing on their fears 
and superstitions. Novel schemes were often tried. Thus a night 
traveler, provided with a rubber sack, would stop at a negro's hut 
and ask for water. After c drinking* three bucketfuls, to the con- 
sternation of the trembling black, the traveler would observe that 
he had 'traveled a thousand miles in twenty-four hours and 'that 
was the best water I have had since I was killed at the battle of 
Shiloh/ The negro, chattering, would take to his heels, and the 

1 Somers, 153. 2 Mrs. Leigh, 131. 3 Mrs. Smedes, 250. 

* General J. H. Clanton. 5 Doc. Hist., n, 269. * Ibid., n, 338-34. 

1 IMd. 9 n, 342-44; testimony of General Forrest. 



KLAN AND WAR 309 

local paper would significantly announce that lie was * a radical 
negro/ Tales would be told of white men sailing through the mid- 
night skies on white horses over neighboring towns. Could the bad 
negro escape? Not at all these ' spirits always follow them and 
catch them and no living man hears from them again/ The leader 
of this spectral band was unthinkably terrible "ten feet high, 
his horse fifteen/ and he carried *a lance and a shield like those 
of Goliath of the Philistines/ I Blood-curdling c General Orders* 
would be published in newspapers. 

Shrouded Brotherhood! Murdered Heroes! 

Fling the bloody shirt that covers you to the four winds. . . . Strike 
with the red-hot spear. . . . The skies shall be blackened. A single 
Star shall look down upon horrible deeds. The nigkt owl shall hoot a 
requiem over ghostly corpses . . , 2 

The negroes, clustered together in their cabins, recounted these 
awful stories and for a time grew humble, industrious, law-abiding. 

In some sections the Han was used to defeat the iniquitous 
cotton tax and the treasury thieves. Gins were built in the deep 
forests and Klansmen would haul the cotton there by night, hiding 
and guarding it. 8 The carpetbaggers were less pliable than the 
blacks, but where the Elan was strong, a notice to leave was often 
sufficient. One of these indulging in incendiary talk against his 
race was waited upon by members of the Klan, caught attempting 
to escape, given a stern lecture and warning, made to promise more 
carefully to guard his language, and let go. 4 Under the genuine 
organization, there was little violence, but in sections that were bad 
the more offensive of the whites and blacks were first warned, then 
punished if the warning was unheeded. 5 

In the pioneer West, vigilance committees were formed for the 
protection of horses and cattle; in the South, the Elan, was organ- 
ized for the protection of women, property, civilization itself. 

ii 

With the success of the Klan in Tennessee, the organization of 
the society spread rapidly over the South. In the spring of 1867, 

1 Doc. Hist., ii ? 365, from Planters 9 Banner. 

2 Published by Kyland Randolph in Alabama. 
a Authentic History, 5i, * Fleming, 681. 



310 THE TRAGIC ERA 

when Nashville was teeming with soldiers and officers, the first 
national gathering of the Kian was held in the Maxwell House 
without being suspected. General Forrest had been placed at the 
head, with the sanction of Lee, who strongly urged that the organ- 
ization be kept a purely 'protective organization.' l This famous 
soldier, 'The Wizard of the Saddle/ had more than a touch of 
military genius, and he was a stern disciplinarian and, morally, a 
superior man. He neither drank nor swore, and he had been known 
to dismiss an officer under his command for immorality. In the 
midst of war, his tent, on Sundays, was converted into a church, 
and he had his chaplain pray before a battle. A brilliant tactician, 
he brought Ms genius to bear in the organization of the Elan 
forces. No one knew better how, through elusive tactics, by 
marching and countermarching, to deceive the eye as to the 
number of men in the saddle with features concealed. 2 His pre- 
dominating trait was his reverence lor women. 

In the early phase only men of the highest order were in control. 
In Alabama, General James H. Clanton, an erstwhile Whig who 
had opposed secession but who had cast his lot with his own people 
when war came, was leader. A gallant soldier, a lawyer of distinc- 
tion, an advocate of power, a man of commanding courage, it was 
his genius for organization and conciliation that solidified the 
people of Alabama and ultimately redeemed them from alien rule. 
On his death the mantle passed to General John T. Morgan, who 
later became one of the most distinguished of Senators and states- 
men. In Mississippi, the head was General James Z. George, 
cavalry officer, able jurist, Senator and statesman, who organized 
and directed the ultimate redemption of Ms State. In Arkansas, 
General Albert Pike, poet and journalist, scholar and jurist, 
soldier and explorer, and a commanding figure in Masonry for half 
a century; in North Carolina, such men as Zeb Vance and William 
Laurence Saunders, silent, determined, effective; 3 in Texas, such 
as Roger Q. Mills, later a national figure in the House; in Georgia, 
General John B. Gordon, statesman, orator, military hero. Every- 
where men of a Mgh order, none of whom would have countenanced 
crime. 



Authentic History, 80-81. * lUd. 9 97. 3 Southern Exposure, 



AND 311 

in 

And yet It was inevitable that an organization with, its masks 
and secrecy would appeal to a lawless element and ultimately 
suffer from the use of the rope and lash. With the Union League 
secret societies of blacks and carpetbaggers it was impossible to 
prevent the Klan from drifting into politics. Spurious organiza- 
tions sprang up in far places, among men of the lower order bent 
on personal vengeance and violence. An eye for an eye and a tooth 
for a tooth became their motto. Ultimately cases were to be found 
where negroes, planning a personal chastisement of a fellow black, 
would don the white sheet and satiate their hate with whip or club. 
Soon the carpetbag politicians began bombarding the Northern 
press with stories of outrages. It was charged, and believed, that 
these occasionally organized bogus Klans to commit crime to the 
end that Federal bayonets could be had to sustain their rotten 
regimes in the stricken States. Cases there were, where men unable 
to give the password In the real Klan were stripped in Tennessee 
and found to be followers of Brownlow. 1 But it is indubitably true 
that the ignorant among the poor whites, who hated the negroes, 
crowded in, took possession in many places, and wrought deadly 
damage. 

Thus, in the autumn of 1869, General Forrest Issued a ringing 
denunciation of the lawless element. The order was being used, he 
said, to satisfy private vengeance, to break into jails, to interfere 
in family matters, to disarm harmless negroes having no thought 
of Insurrectionary movements, and to whip both whites and blacks. 
The mask had become a curse; and an order for unmasking was 
Issued. 2 But this availed not with the bogus Klans that had be- 
come virulent in sections Inhabited by the poor whites. 

Thus the outrages continued, furnishing a plausible pretext for 
the organization of State militias to serve the purpose of Radical 
politics. In Tennessee, an anti-Klan law was enacted that was 
stringent to the point of brutality and tyranny; and soon Brown- 
low's militia was scouring the State indulging In outrages of its 
own. In South Carolina, the odious Governor Scott was employ- 
ing the militia to protect the "good stealing.' In Washington, the 
politicians were planning supplementary legislation that would 

1 Authentic History. 109. 2 Ibid., 1S5-28. 



312 TRAGIC 

violate all fundamental constitutional rights. In North Carolina, 
the plans were made to terrorize the State with Holden's militia. 

It was in furtherance of these plans that Senators Pool and Abbott 
had made their arrangements for equipment with President Grant. 

IV 

Governor W. W. Holden was one of the tragic figures of his day, 
his career twisted all awry by the war tornado. Called * the Talley- 
rand of North Carolina politics/ he was essentially an opportunist, 
moved by an inordinate ambition, which aligned him with most 
parties and causes. A native of the State, with a distinguished 
record before the war, he personally was beyond the reach of cor- 
ruption. Born in poverty, educated in a printing shop, he arrived 
In Raleigh one moonlight night in a coach heralded with trumpets, 
with just seven dollars to his name. Employed by a Whig news- 
paper, we see him first in youth, an ardent champion of the policies 
of Clay. 1 A fluent, witty, satirical writer, the Democrats, in search 
of an editor for 'The Standard/ turned to him, and, to the amaze- 
ment of the Whigs, he accepted; nor was their astonishment abated 
by his stout assertion that he had always been a Democrat of the 
Jeffersonian school. He pronounced the Democrats 'the friends 
and supporters of equal rights . . . advocates of the many against 
the few. 5 More, they stood four square for the rights of the States. 2 

At the moment when the Whig aristocracy seemed hopelessly 
predominant, the militant tone of 'The Standard * aroused the 
Democracy to a will to victory. Never in his career had Holden 
seemed so effective and sincere. 'The fierce aristocratic pride of 
Southern society had been hard for him to surmount in his pro- 
gress/ 3 and the aristocracy was with the Whigs. Holden was In his 
element, working out his natural resentment with the lash. It 
was he who drove the Democracy to free suffrage, and when, in the 
ensuing campaign, his party almost won, his leadership was con- 
ceded. By this time he had come under the influence of Calhoun, 
and he was opposed to congressional interference with slavery in 
the Territories. 4 Nine years before the war, he declared the right 
of secession 'an original, preexisting, reserved sovereign right/ : 

1 Boyd, 43. * Hid., 45. 3 Old Days at Chapel Hill, 147. 

4 Boyd, 53-54. 5 Ibid., 55. 



KLAN AND WAR 313 

In 1858, Ms nomination for Governor was prevented by the 
aristocracy. 1 Through this decade he had been an ardent champion 
of the extreme Southern view. Suddenly, with his defeat, a strange 
silence fell upon him, finally to be broken by a declaration for the 
Union, and against secession. The Charleston and Baltimore Con- 
ventions found him against secession in the first, neutral in the 
second, though inclined to Douglas. 2 In the campaign, however, 
he voted for Breckinridge, as Johnson did, and for the same reason. 
With Lincoln's election he refused to acknowledge it a justification 
for secession; but when Lincoln called for troops, he opposed the 
plan of force. Two years more, and he was opposing the policies 
of the Confederate Government, and was urging peace, and 
Georgia troops were burning him in effigy and destroying his 
presses. 

And then, the war over, in the month of Appomattox, Holden, 
facing the race problem, proposed colonization, insisting that 
'the two races could not live in harmony together as free races.' 3 
In October, he was describing himself as a member of the party 
* of which Andrew Johnson is the head,' and immediately afterward 
he became the president of the Loyal League of North Carolina 
fighting the policies of Johnson. Whig, Democrat, secessionist 
and unionist, sponsor of colonization and negro suffrage, John- 
sonian and Radical, he had veered with the weather and thus 
far had escaped its inclemency. It was as an anti-Johnsonian 
Radical Republican, with the aid of the negroes, that he was 
elected Governor. 

Personally, he had the appearance and manner of a gentleman* 
His was a good figure of average size. His abundant black hair 
was fine, not coarse or curly. His dark blue eyes, kindly and 
steady, were his dominating feature. Dark eyebrows, long nose, 
long upper lip clean-shaven, with the lower face covered with 
a closely trimmed beard such the physical man. His voice, too 
weak for effective public speaking, was smooth and pleasing in 
conversation, in which he was entertaining. Among the poets he 
had his passions and prejudices. Shakespeare and Burns these 
came first; and then Byron and Ossian; but he could not abide 

1 Boyd, 56. 

2 Ibid., 63. 3 HoHen, Memoirs, 35. 



314 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Tennyson. Fond of music, he liked to entertain Ms friends with a 
musical evening. 1 

Here was a man on whose overweening ambition for place and 
distinction a wretched period played to Ms undoing. Caught in 
the eddies and whirlpools of Ms times, he was as a straw bobbing 
crazily upon the waters. His happiest days were those before the 
war, when he was the idol of the masses of the Democracy. He 
was not made for revolutions. Sensitive, easily flattered, proud, 
and always resentful of the old aristocracy* he was to pass through 
the fiery furnace of corruption personally unscathed 9 and to live 
into old age a dignified and patient old gentleman. 2 But he was 
neither keen enough nor strong enough to cope with the machina- 
tions of the party leaders about him. 



The evil genius of the Holden regime was John Pool, United 
States Senator. His colleague, Joseph C. Abbott, was a New 
Hampshire carpetbagger, mediocre, crafty, but not courageous. 
Inclined to gasconading, the warning that followed Ms inflam- 
matory advice to negroes to arm themselves, made Mm the most 
docile of sword-rattlers. 3 Pool was of more sinister significance, 
He gambled on the tragedy of Ms own people to Ms own profit 
a glutton for power. His brother, Solomon, was made president of 
the University, and the shadows fell deep on Chapel Hill, From 
his Senate seat Pool directed Holden in the distribution of patron- 
age. His letters were those of the dictator he did not recom- 
mend; he commanded. *I find it of the utmost importance for 
Mr. Rollins to modify the law on distilling. Let no time be lost/ 4 
*I answer the enclosed letter by sending you a list of proposed 
offices for Clay, made up of our discreet friends. I made a special 
inquiry as to each.' 5 In Washington, he wormed his way into the 
confidence of the most rabid of the Radicals; through Ms affilia- 
tions there, he made a deep impression upon Holden, to whom he 
seemed the cornucopia of all good. "I want to warn you about 

1 This description was furnished the author by Holden's daughter. 

2 Old Days at Ghapd Hill, 150. s Hamilton, 396. 

4 To Holden, August 27, 1868, Holden MSS. 

5 To Holden, September 1, 1868, Holden MSS. 



EXAN AND WAR 315 

Abbott/ wrote Deweese, the corrupt carpetbag Congressman. *I 
am satisfied that Abbott is trying to lay the mine to beat you out 
of the senatorship. Pool . . . and myself have watched him and to- 
day they [Pool's crowd] thought I had better write you to be on 
the lookout.' l 

The strength of Pool was in his domineering mastery, his revolu- 
tionary temerity. Constantly he inflamed the negroes, *Did it 
ever occur to you gentlemen of property ... to you, ye men, and 
especially ye women, who never received anything from these 
colored people but services, kindness, and protection did it ever 
occur to you that these same people . . . will not be willing to sleep 
in the cold when your houses are denied them merely because they 
will not vote as you do? * wrote Pool in an address to the people in 
1868. 'Did it ever occur to you that revenge which is sweet to 
you, may be sweet to them? Hear us ... did it ever occur to you 
that if you kill their children with hunger, they will kill yours with 
fear? * 2 This reference to the white women was fashionable in the 
threats and jibes of the Pool machine. One day 'The Standard* 
Holden's old paper went too far. The women cold to the 
carpetbaggers and the scalawags? it asked. Patience! 'Our ex- 
perience with female rebels is that with all their sins they have a 
vast amount of human nature, and only want to have it ap- 
preciated to be the most loving creatures imaginable. 5 By all 
means, then, cultivate the women. 'You are all good-looking 
and they know it, but with native modesty, like sweet New Eng- 
land girls, they like to be approached first. . . . Give them Shelley 
and Byron and you will have them in your arms if not in your 
party in less than a week.' 3 With the whites enraged and threat- 
ening, the publisher fled the city before nightfall. 

Such audacity was having its effect and there was enough in 
the record of the Radical regime to create uneasiness as the elec- 
tions of 1870 approached. 

VI 

It was a record of inefficiency and corruption, and the outstand- 
ing figure in the filth was the same General Littlefield, railroad 
builder and wrecker, whom we have encountered in Georgia, He 

* March 27, 1869, J3x>!deB MSS. 2 Hamilton, 365. z Ibid., 369, 



310 THE TRAGIC EEA 

had earned the privilege of looting by being the most conspicuous 
spokesman of the Radicals in the campaign of 1868. Thereafter-, 
he owned the Legislature until the Democrats recovered power. 
There was much of rollicking munificence in his bribery. In the 
State House a bar was opened in a little room at the top of the 
stairs, and visitors to-day are shown the broken stone of the stair- 
way due to the rough ascent of the whiskey barrels. There the 
mendacious and illiterate drank freely under the beaming coun- 
tenance of Littlefield. All he asked was the control of the railroads, 
the manipulation of the bonds, the right to steal. The stealing in 
the railroads was positively bizarre. 1 When attempts were made 
by the minority in the Legislature to investigate the frauds, the 
cry that it was *a stab at the Republican Party' was enough. 2 
When finally a fraud commission was created, a gay scene followed 
one night, with the blithesome Littlefield as host. Inviting a great 
number of Republican members, he fed them on oysters washed 
down with liquor. Then followed speeches and much denunciation 
of the * stabs/ and it was agreed to destroy the fraud commission 
on the morrow* That was in the spring of 1870. The trail was hot. 
The people were tired of the looting. The railroad swindlers were 
in close quarters threatened with indictments that spring when 
Holden made the arrangement with Grant for a little private army 
to deal with the Ku-Elux Elan. 

Great was the Legislature in those days of Pool and Littlefield. 
One session adjourned amidst a memorable and inspiring scene, 
with two negroes presiding in turn, with members hurrying back 
and forth between the chamber and the wMskey barrel in the bar, 
with * loyal' speeches, dancing on the floor, singing from the seats 
in maudlin tones. Occasionally there would be silence to hear an 
obscene story then laughter, and more journeys to the barrel. 
Much could be, and was* forgiven these grotesque proceedings. If 
a law was passed to blackmail a foreign insurance company, were 
not the proceeds for the party campaign fund? s If thousands were 
squandered on the subsidization of newspapers, were they not 
'loyal*. newspapers? If unheard-of prices were paid in the furnish- 
ing of the State House, were not the purchases made of * Union 

1 Hamilton treats of these extensively, at pages 427-51; Boyd, 114-15. 

2 Hamilton, 403. a Ibid., 407. 



KLAN AND WAR 317 

men 5 ? And did not c loyal men" occupy the offices, feet on the 
tables and fingers In the pie? 1 Who dared complain of the $S7,- 
718.83 spent in two years on stationery? though the 'loyal* 
Secretary of State did sell a part and pocket the money. Wood 
purchased at twenty-five per cent above the market price? True 
but was it not a boon to the carpetbagger patriots who had the 
wood for sale? 2 This brazen corruption went hand in hand with 
unspeakable ignorance in many of the appointed officials, and one 
of the magistrates insisted that a prisoner accused of murder be 
taken to the scene of the crime to see if the victim's blood would 
run. 3 

Under these conditions, the people were growing restive and an 
election was approaching. Here and there an outrage was com- 
mitted by men in masks. To John Pool the path was plain 
armed men must terrorize the people under the pretext of enforc- 
ing the law. A man of decision and action, he prepared a bill pro- 
viding for the creation of an army to serve the purposes of politics, 
and, it is said, paid a Senator to sponsor it. Wrong in principle? 
Admitted, said the ruling party, but the conditions of the times 
demanded it. In private they said it was the only chance to save 
the party at the polls. 4 

vn 

And Holden hesitated that was his weakness. Nature had 
not moulded him for desperate enterprises. In normal times, freed 
from his entanglements and advisers, he would have made a good 
executive. JFor months, however, pressure had been brought to 
bear upon him by interested partisans. His manuscript corre- 
spondence teems with these importunities for force. * We are un- 
able to administer the laws, and we feel that unless you can get 
our country under military rule we cannot protect our people/ 
wrote Senator Stephens, one of the most daring of the conspirators, 
who was to meet a violent death. 5 'Have the peculiar provisions 
of the militia bill struck you in the same view as myself? 9 wrote 
another politician from Columbus. 6 *It seems to me, when the 
Governor "in his discretion 9 * declares a county to be in a state of 

1 Hamilton, 411. 2 Hid., 412. 3 Ibid., 417. 4 IW3. f 403. 

5 Holden MSS., May 2, 1870. 6 Judge Henry, January 31, 1870, Holden MSS. 



818 THE TRAGIC EEA 

Insurrection, lawlessness, and disorder., that it at once suspends 
the civil law and the right of voting and suffrage during the con- 
tinuance of such proclamation. Is that so? and if so, might it not 
be used with powerful effect in the approaching campaign?' 

But there were conflicting currents that made Holden hesitate. 
Another Republican wrote that agitators were urging negroes to 
bum houses and barns and that some had been given to the flames. 
*Two wrongs cannot make a right/ he wrote, *and such advice to 
negroes and bad white men will be ruinous to us unless put a stop 
to instanter/ Holden had read this note and written on the back 
that *in this as in other cases resort must be had to the grand 
jury/ l But John Pool knew that grand juries do not carry elec- 
tions, and he had been consulted. *I shall be with our friends at 
Raleigh on the 7th as you request/ he wrote on June 2, * unless 
prevented by accident. It is important that action be taken/ 2 

VIII 

Thus, on the appointed day a group of politicians, in desperate 
mood, sat behind closed doors in the Governor's office at Raleigh. 
Pool was the master mind of the moment. Holden was uneasy. 
He sat and listened. Pool had the plan had brought it from 

Washington for forming two regiments of regular troops to be 
employed in arresting disturbers of the party programme in the 
State. He would have the men arrested, tried by the troops, and 
certain counties put under military rule. Some of the conferees 
drew back from the suggestion of military trials. Nonsense! said 
Pool. Had not Powell Clayton done it with impunity in Arkansas? 
However, it might be well to send a judicial officer with the troops 
and try the accused by the soldiers only when that process failed. 
And the writ of habeas corpus? Pool had thought about that, too 
had talked it over with President Grant, he said. Manifestly, 
he thought, the writ should be answered, the bodies produced, 
and, if discharged, the victim should be rearrested on a new 
charge. That plan, said Pool, was favored by the President. 

The personnel of the troops was a bit disturbing. Negroes would 
be dangerous; the native whites unreliable. The troops would re- 
quire aggressive leadership a man of daring. There, for in- 

1 N. A. Ramsey, Hay wood, May 4, 1870, Holden MSS. * Holden MSS. 



KLAN AND 319 

stance* said Pool* was Ms friend MacLindsay? with. ' undoubted 
courage and capable of any desperate resolve. 5 Pleased with the 
thought, the Senator expanded. MacLindsay had been a sort of 
pirate, caught once, and saved only through Poofs influence. He 
could muster a hundred men in the community where he lived be- 
tween fires during the war who were as desperate as himself. Now 
there was a man who would give Holden no trouble. If he arrested 
men and they resisted, he would Mil them and they would be 'lost 
and never heard of again/ Holden, who had been seated, became 
excited and rose to walk the floor nervously. A moment of -silence 
and then one of the conferees declared hotly that such a course 
would forever damn the memory of Holden. Pool shifted quickly 
to the facetious mood. He had merely been joking! However, he 
had impressed the objector as 'meaning what he said until his 
project met with disfavor. 9 

A trying conference it was to Holden, who made more objec- 
tions than suggestions. 'Governor/ said Pool impressively, 'you 
do not know how they are talking about you in Washington. The 
Republicans there say you are a failure, and Grant says you and 
Smith in Alabama were made Governors by the Republican Party 
under the Reconstruction Acts and that you are sitting still and 
permitting these Ku-Blux to take them away from you, or cause 
them to slip away from you/ And so they were criticizing him in 
Washington! where his towering ambition might be thwarted. 
Really, he must pull himself together. Pool knew his man. 1 

Thus it came about that the command of the troops went to 
George W. Kirk, a dare-devil of thirty-three, residing in Tennessee, 
who had been notorious in the army as a man of brutality and de- 
sperate audacity. 

Pool hurried back to Washington to launch the usual campaign 
of misrepresentation in the Northern press. Lacking finesse, and 
essentially brutal, he shamelessly informed the 'New York Tri- 
bune 5 that 'we intend to use the military in the election and must 
get these statements (of alleged outrages) disseminated through 
the North/ 2 Always there was fear of Holden's indecision, and 

1 Badger's testimony in Impeachment Trial of Holden; Holden, Memoirs, 187-99; 
Hamilton, 497-98. 

2 Hamilton, 503. 



320 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Pool had to stiffen him somehow. *Onr Mends have been hoping 
to see you in Washington/ Pool wrote. *The President would be 
glad to see you* I think it would be to your advantage to come/ 1 
The Radicals of the North Carolina delegation had called on Grant 
and been assured of his sympathy with the movement, and Holden 
was warmly greeted at the White House. *Let those men resist 
you, Governor/ said the President* 'and I will move with all my 
power against them/ 2 Grant had been imposed upon by Pool, but 
Holden returned to Raleigh in high feather. 

IX 

His proclamation of martial law had unpleasant reactions in the 
North. The Democratic press ascribed lawlessness in North Caro- 
lina to its continued treatment as a conquered province. Imposed 
upon the people was *a government not of their choice, adminis- 
tered by men in whom they have no confidence, and supported by 
Federal bayonets in lieu of the public opinion of free men/ No, 
concluded the 'New York World/ 'men do not grow grapes from 
thorns, nor figs from thistles. Rotten boroughs will return rotten 
members/ 3 This, considering the source, could be borne with 
equanimity, but, alas, there were Republicans in the State who 
wavered before this show of force. 'For God's sake, don't send 
troops here/ wrote one from Orange. 'The town is quiet and all 
works well. Avoid strife/ 4 From another: 'The Republicans do 
not want troops in this section, Governor. It will kill us in the 
next election* * . . We have no outrages of consequence here and I 
have not heard of any for two months/ 5 And then, the reverse: 
'This is the only way to carry the State in the next election. . . . 
Will cause men to take a stand for you from fear.' 6 

Against the retention of Kirk in command, the protests were 
more earnest. 'Such men as Colonel Kirk do not do a political 
party any good. He is universally detested by the people as a 
military man. They fear and hate him/ wrote one correspondent. 7 

1 Holden MSS., June 28, 1870. 2 Holden, Memoirs, 187-99. 

s June 9, 1870. * Erom T. C. Evans, Holdea MSS. 

8 From Albert H. Dowell, Asfceville, Holden MSS. 

6 From W. F. Henderson, Salisbury, Holden MSS. 

7 From Dowell, Holden MSS. 



THE KLAN AND THE WAR 321 

From another community: *He Is very odious to a great many 
citizens oi this county. 1 hope you will at once revoke the com- 
mission/ * From still another : * I ask you, if you do send troops to 
this mountain county, not to have Kirk over them/ because in the 
late war the county was overrun by 'the very worst of troops,, or 
men pretending to be such/ under Ms command. 2 General Erastus 
B. Hampton added his protest; 'We look upon Colonel Kirk as a 
man of bad character/ and his presence would drive political sup- 
port away, 3 And then, again, the reverse. Thus, the President of 
the Western North Carolina Railroad,, hearing of petitions for the 
removal of Kirk, was distressed. * Don't do it/ he wrote. *It was 
the very best appointment that could have been made. The 
Republicans who ask his dismissal should be marked. . . . By the 
Eternal God, I say, deluge the State in blood from one end to the 
other rather than our people should suffer again the treatment of 
the last six months/ 4 

It was all very confusing to Holden. But was not Pool standing 
beside him? And had not Grant promised to stand behind him? 
And could he afford to have the leaders criticizing Mm as a milk- 
sop in Washington? On with the dance! 



And so Kirk proceeded with his plans. He was a swaggering, 
sword-rattling, violent type, noted for cruelty, and feared for out- 
rages committed during the war. 5 His men were no more inspir- 
ing. When they appeared for the clothing Grant had ordered for 
them, they were 'bad-looking and mighty ragged' and 'nearly all 
barefoot/ 6 Of the lowest order of poor whites, with a sprinkling of 
negroes, they were mostly morons at best. *The most ignorant and 
stupid creatures I ever talked with/ a witness was to testify later. 7 
'No intelligence among the privates as far as I could see/ said an- 
other. 8 'They were uniformed like an army/ another added, "but 

1 From W. N. Moore, Burnsville, Holden MBS. 

2 From David Proffit, Yancey County, Holdea MSS. 

3 Holden MSS. 4 J. J. Mott, Holden MSS. 

6 Holden Impeachment Trial Isaac E. Reeves, i, 275; W. M. Cooke, I, 279; W- W. 
Murdock, i, 280. 

6 Ibid., G. S. Rogers, i, 704. * End., Jesse Gant, I, 488. 

8 Ibid.> J. S. Scott, I, 609. 



TRAGIC ERA 

their actions were more like a mob/ 1 Such were the six hundred 
and seventy men who swaggered out of Morganton on one of the 
most bizarre adventures in history. Four hundred were under age, 
illiterate boys; two hundred were not even citizens of the State. 2 
Laughing, jeering, singing obscene songs, they lurched along the 
highways and through the villages on a gay lark of utter irresponsi- 
bility. As they swung along, an unregulated and awkward mob, 
holding their guns haphazard, and shouting insults to citizens 
they passed, a terror seized upon the people. But when they 
struck camp, there was a touch of comedy. Men on guard amused 
themselves by sticking their bayonets into the ground,, and calling 
to the officers that their time was up; then, cursing, squatted upon 
the ground. 3 The privates cursed the officers of the day with gay 
abandon, 4 and impressed beholders as *a parcel of vagabonds 3 in 
stolen clothing. 5 Sundays found them sitting about like tramps 
upon the green, playing cards, cursing their luck, and insulting wo- 
men on their way to church by undressing to wash in the open. 6 

But it was not all rollicking hilarity* As they swaggered along, 
threatening to burn Salisbury, and bullying the people of Newton 
with pointed pistols, 7 they were making arrests indiscriminately, 
with the courts wide open, and gratifying sadistic impulses by tor- 
turing prisoners. Refusing usually to give the reason for arrests, 
Kirk's men seldom failed to hint of a court-martial and probable 
execution. They simulated pity for the prisoners, since they would 
"never see their homes again.' 8 One of these was approached by a 
negro * soldier' with a pointed pistol and the exclamation, 'God 
damn him, let's hang him that is the orders we have got.' 9 
When Kirk was served with a writ of habeas corpus from the Chief 
Justice, he jauntily waved it aside with his sword. That kind of 
business, he said, was 'played out'; and so it seemed, since the 
Chief Justice ate humble pie. 30 

The climax of these outrages came with the attempt to force a 
confession from a prisoner with nothing to confess. The vaga- 

1 Holden Impeachment Trial, Thomas H. Holt, i, 629. 2 Hamilton, 504. 

3 Holden Impeachment Trial, A. C. McAllister, i, 587. 

4 Ibid., 3. S. Scott, i, 609. 5 Ibid., Jesse Gant, i, 488. 
3 Ibid., J. G. Moore, i, 646. 7 Hamilton, 504. 

8 Holden Impeachment Trial, J. S. Scott, i, 605. 

9 Ibid., J. H. Albright, I, 715. 10 Hamilton, 511. 



KLAN AND WAR 323 

bonds with guns crowded in upon him in the night. *If you don't 
tell, I'll break your damn neck to-night/ he was told. After mid- 
night, they returned with candles and ordered him out. 'Can I 
put on my shoes? 5 "No, you will not have use for them long/ 
Four pistols were aimed at his breast, "Now, will you confess?' 
Then, putting a rope around his neck, they drew him up until he 
lost consciousness. On recovering, he was again told to confess. 
Meeting dumb silence, the officer went into a rage. 'Then hang 
him on that limb till eight o'clock to-morrow morning and then 
cut him down and bury him under the tree on which you hang 
him/ But the officer changed his mind. 1 

Throughout this reign of terror, Holden was being savagely 
lashed daily by Josiah Turner, of the 'Raleigh Sentinel/ a journal- 
ist of much ability, with a gift for polemics, an instinctive sagacity 
in politics, ready, fluent, and calculating. He was bitterly de- 
nounced in the Holden press, his life was threatened, and his coun- 
try home was showered with stones. In the midst of the terror, 
Turner defied his enemy. Holden was increasingly unhappy. The 
mock hanging was without his sanction or approval, and he was 
becoming restive under the vagaries of his anarchistic military 
agent, but he was on a tide he could not turn. 2 Then, too, the 
campaign was hot, and had to be considered. Kirk was not failing 
to inform him of the political conditions. 3 He had marched his 
ragamuffins into a Democratic meeting at Yanceyville, terrorized 
the crowd, arrested the leaders, and announced he was to meet re- 
sistance by shooting women and children. 4 Something had to be 
forgiven to such party zeal. 

True the Democratic and independent press in the North was 
raging, the 'New York World' denouncing the march of the vaga- 
bonds as c a disgrace to the nineteenth century'; but it did not 
hurt Holden for 'The World' to make Grant a partner. 'The 
President/ said *The World/ *is smoking the weed of inepitude in 
the halls of indolence at Long Branch/ 5 It called upon him to 
corroborate or deny the Holden statement that he had authorized 

1 Holden Impeachment Trial, L. H. Murray, I, 660-63. 

2 Ibid., I, 660. 

3 Kirk to Holden, Holden MSS. 

< Holden Impeachment Trial, H. F. Brandon, i, 749, 764. 5 July %&> 1870. 



324 THE TRAGIC 

this making war upon a State. 1 "The Nation' was shocked at 
this 'specially levied body of men, mostly black/ under the com- 
mand of *a wandering adventurer, trained to command by bush- 
whacking in Tennessee/ and concluded that the enterprise was ' an 
electioneering dodge. 5 2 But the 'New York Tribune' was stand- 
ing by, defending the venture as called for by the outrages of the 
Elan, acting for the Democrats. c Governor Holden has taken 
measures that will effectually prevent the success of the game/ it 
said. * Hence the wrath he has aroused, and the storm of slander/ 3 

XI 

Then, in August, in righteous wrath. North Carolina went to 
the polls and the Democrats swept the Legislature, and, for the 
first time since reconstruction began, the Radicals were on the de- 
fensive. Holden realized, too late, what his action had done, 4 and 
in his fury he turned on Turner. While riding near Hillsboro, 
where his family lived, he was taken by Holden's troopers, and at 
midnight he was ridden into camp at Yanceyville amidst the 
shouts of Kirk's men and the negroes. For three days he was con- 
fined in the court-house. The weather was hot; the windows 
tightly closed. The "soldiers' amused themselves by pouring 
water upon him as he slept, and he was forbidden to speak unless 
to order food or water. Drunken sentries found entertainment in 
pointing loaded guns at prisoners. That was Turner's purgatory; 
he was soon transferred to hell thrown into an iron cage with a 
negro, condemned to execution on the morrow. The cell was 
filthy, swarming with vermin, and he was given stale water to 
drink. When Ms wife went to see him, the "soldiers' threw stones 
at her and he was forbidden to approach the window. 5 

Thus the terror died in a spasm of rage when the Federal Court 
intervened, and Holden's protest to Washington brought instruc- 
tions to yield. The jig was up Grant had weakened on his 
promise, if it had ever been given. Kirk, arrested, was permitted 
to escape by a Radical sheriff, and in Washington he found pro- 
tection and surcease from sorrow on the Capitol police force, 6 Less 

1 July 9, 1870. * August 4, 1870. 8 August 3, 1870. 

4 The Nation, December 24, 1870. 

5 Holden Impeachment Trial, Turner, I, 892-917. 6 Hamilton, 533. 



THE KLAN AND THE WAR 35 

happy the fate of the pious preacher who had been Ms chaplain. 
The army disbanded near the scene of his desertion of wife and 
children to flee with another woman, and he was arrested for 
bigamy. 1 
And when the Legislature met, Holden was impeached- 

XII 

The trial was political, though rules of evidence were better ob- 
served than in the case of Johnson. Some doubted the wisdom of 
impeachment and Zeb Vance, Democratic leader, took no part 
and expressed no opinion. 2 The evidence for the defense failed to 
connect politics with the outrages of masked men. Victims were 
paraded on the witness stand to tell their tales of terror and flog- 
gings, and a surprising number could conceive of no motive be- 
yond their devotion to the Republican Party. But the cross-ex- 
amination was devastating in uncovering other reasons. One victim 
had been insolent to the whites and had accumulated guns with 
which to kill E3ansmen. 3 A white man had been found in bed with 
a negro woman. 4 Another had compromised a bastardy suit with 
a sister-in-law, and had abused an old man. 5 A white woman, 
never married, had seven children, one colored, which she ad- 
mitted, while stoutly denying she ran a brothel. 6 Still another wo- 
man, unmarried and with children, denied she kept a loose house* 
C I notice/ said the attorney for the managers, *that you spit very 
much. Do you chew tobacco? 5 'Yes, sir,' she replied, demurely. 7 
Thus most of the assaults were on men and women who were not 
ornaments to their communities, and were not concerned with 
politics. 

And so, with courts open, with absolute peace in most places and 
reasonable quiet in communities on which Kirk's men worked, 
this outrage had been perpetrated to serve the purposes of party 
politics. Even Horace Greeley had been aroused by an * outrage * 
story given his correspondent by Governor Holden in a letter from 
Tourgee to Senator Abbott* When tihe author of the letter wrote 

* New York World, October, n, 1870. Nm Forfc Herdd* December, 5&7, 1870. 

8 Holden Impeachment Trial, Donaldson Worth,, n, 1&L5. 

4 Ibidn Leonard Bippey, n, 1334. 6 HM. 9 Jobn Shatterifc, H, 1341. 

6 Ibid., H, 1400. 7 Itrid., n, 



326 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Greeley that a cipher had been added to each figure he had given of 
the number of outrages* the editor demanded an explanation of the 
'garbling/ 1 A few days later, Senator Abbott gave Ms version. 
He had shown Tourgee's letter to Senator Pool in Holden's pre- 
sence in Washington, and the latter had requested a copy, which 
was furnished by a clerk who was *a most trustworthy and honest 
man/ And now, said Greeley, "perhaps the Governor will tell us 
who garbled it before he gave it to our correspondent/ 2 But the 
Governor was silent. He merely had followed the common prac- 
tice of the times, of which Greeley had made full use. 

Poor Holden was impeached and went to Washington, where 
Grant received him sympathetically. 3 Republican Presidents 
treated him kindly, but he soon passed from politics, to grow old 
gracefully and in grace; finding pleasure in Ms church, in acts of 
charity, and cherishing no resentments. He had wrecked his 
career on his ambition, but he had been no mercenary., and after 
all these years he is remembered kindly by the public, and Ms 
memory is cherished by the family to wMch he was tenderly 
devoted. 

Thus the elections of 1870 had given a gleam of light to North 
Carolina and Georgia, with Democratic legislatures in each, 
Holden was impeached, and Bullock fled, but only a beginning had 
been made in the fight for redemption. Even so, the Eadical poli- 
ticians in Washington, ruminating the significance of these vic- 
tories, determined that something more drastic still had to be 
done if the presidential election of 1872 was to be assured them. 

And the plans were instantly on foot. 

1 New York Tribune, August S3, 1870. 

2 Ibid., August 9, 1870. * Holden, Memoirs, 168, 



CHAPTER XVI 
SUMMER'S BACK TO THE WAIX 

i 

BEFORE Congress again convened, the country was startled 
with, the announcement that Secretary Cox had resigned 
from the Cabinet. Thoroughly honest, highly competent, and 
warmly devoted to reform, his unpopularity had been constantly 
deepening among the politicians and corruptionists. Petty ex- 
planations were on the tongues of the gossips. It was whispered 
about that Mrs. Cox had cut from a newspaper a letter attacking 
the assessment of clerks for party purposes, and sent it anony- 
mously to Mrs. Grant, overlooking the monogram on the envel- 
ope, and that it had been returned c with the compliments of Mrs. 
Grant.' 1 But the rupture required no such fantastic explanation. 
Cox had been anathema to the bosses always in the way. It was 
common knowledge that he had been painfully in the way in the 
case of the notorious McGarrahan claim. 

This claim on three square leagues of California land, rich in 
minerals, had been advanced years before by a disreputable party 
who contended that there had been a Mexican grant more than 
a quarter of a century before. This dubious pretense was not 
susceptible of documentary proof the papers had been burned! 
More than one Attorney-General had rendered opinions hostile to 
the claim and there had been a succession of adverse decisions in 
the Federal courts. With marvelous vitality, the thing survived 
to reappear under the name of McGarrahan, representing a 
stock company, and under the aggressive sponsorship of Ben 
Butler, in Congress and out. 

To Cox the claim was a transparent fraud, and he said so em- 
phatically in Cabinet. Grant astounded him with the assertion 
that Congress had the right to determine. This was the beginning 
of the open rupture. In an age of corruption, Cox had set his face 
against it, and his doom was sealed. There was nothing else to do 

1 New YvrTc Herald, November 5, 1870, 



828 THE TRAGIC ERA 

he resigned; and in Ms letter he made the reason clear. When 
the gossips began to make free with his reputation in undertones, 
he requested Grant to give the letters exchanged in the resigna- 
tion to the press* Grant refused on the novel ground that they 
were confidential; and Cox forthwith summoned the press and 
gave them out. Thus the cat was out of the bag. 'There is a 
strong feeling against Cox among all the Senators with whom I 
have talked/ wrote Senator Morton. 'They say lie has treated the 
President badly, and Chandler and others say very hard things/ l 
It was commonly understood that Chandler and Simon Cameron 
had been saying hard things to the President a long while. 2 With 
Cox out of the way, Congress was free to act on the McGarrahan 
claim, but it had been forced into a blighting light. The majority 
of the Judiciary Committee of the House reported against it; but 
Bingham of Ohio brought in a minority report and the business 
was threshed out openly in bitter debate. Garfield was impressed 
by the disciplined army of supporters that McGarrahan had upon 
the floor., and had no doubt "many . . . were corrupt/ and ob- 
served that * nearly all the worst class of carpetbaggers 9 voted 
with Bingham. 3 The claim went through by a small majority. 

If Grant was interested, it was a costly victory. In the debate 
Beck of Kentucky had savagely charged that Cox had been 
driven from the Cabinet because of his hostility to the steal. The 
'New York World* said the claim had passed because of e Presi- 
dential influence in abetting a notorious fraud/ 4 The resignation 
of Cox was ascribed by Garfield to the * surrender on the part of 
the President to the political vermin which infest the govern- 
ment/ 5 And, commenting on the rupture as due to Grant's re- 
fusal to support Cox in the prosecution of reforms, and denouncing 
'the corruption and dishonesty of the great body of persons who 
carry on the government/ 'The Nation 5 thought the incident 'a 
pitiful story/ "The wreck of General Grant's fame is a national 
misfortune/ it added. "That fame was a national possession/ 6 

1 To W. P. Fishback, Foulkes, n, 145, note. 

2 New York Herald, November 11, 1870. 

3 Garfield to Cox, Ufe of Garfield, i, 463-65. 

4 November 15, 1870. Garfield to Cox, Life of Garfield, I, 462. 
8 October 20, November 17, 1870. 



SUMMER'S BACK TO THE WALL 329 

ii 

Other events contributed to the uneasiness of the dominant 
group the elections had gone wrong. New York and Indiana 
had been swept by the Democrats, and for the first time since re- 
construction began, they had elected a Governor in Alabama, and 
a Lieutenant-Governor in Florida. In Congress the minority had 
lost the two thirds which had stood them in good stead. And, like 
an Old Man of the Sea on their backs, the San Domingo Treaty 
was still with them. 

When Congress convened, it was greeted with a Message from 
Grant urging the annexation as though nothing had occurred be- 
fore. It was evident that something had to be done to spare him 
humiliation, and the politicians agreed on a commission of in- 
quiry, though even this met stubborn opposition and evoked plain 
speaking. The President, forced into lobbying again, had sum- 
moned Elaine, among others, to the White House. The Speaker, 
making clear his hostility to * final acquisition/ agreed to support 
the resolution of inquiry. 1 Even so, it passed the House only after 
a prolonged night session, and when the agony was over, Colfax 
appeared at the White House door in the bitter cold of a winter 
morning to convey the news. 2 But no one was entirely happy. 
There were rankling wounds. Policy and not conviction had won 
the momentary victory. Garfield, Kke Blaiae, found his * sympa- 
thies . . . very strong with Sumner. 3 Julian was writing in his 
diary that * Grant has made a dreadful mistake about San Do- 
mingo and it will be hard work to save him in 1872/ 4 Three 
months later, riding in New York with Greeley, Julian was to hear 
him * denounce the San Domingo business and to declare that 
Grant is done for and the Republican Party probably ditto/ 5 It 
would have been much easier to have ignored the President's un- 
conventional diplomacy and to have taken the island and for- 
gotten it. It was all Sumner's work, and the skies were darkening 
above him. During the preceding summer, when he was strolling 
with Hendricks through the historic parts of Boston, chatting 
with Longfellow on the piazza at Nahant, or lecturing, his enemies 

1 Gail Hamilton, 248. 2 New York World, December 28, 1870 

3 Life of Garfield, i, 462. 4 MS. Diary, January 8, 1871. 

5 Ibid., April 2, 1871. 



830 THE TRAGIC ERA 

had been busy with Grant. The President had been told that Sum- 
ner had attacked him in his lectures, and the man of Appomattox 
had wrathfully declared that but for his office he would call his 
traducer to account. In truth, no such attack had been made, but 
Grant believed it. 

Then came the San Domingo matter again; and, rising to oppose 
the San Domingo Commission Bill, Sumner had startled the Sen- 
ate with his opening sentence e The resolution before the Senate 
commits Congress to a dance of blood/ Thence he plunged into 
one of the most bitter and eloquent philippics on the proceedings 
in San Domingo. Though he was said to have told Lieutenant- 
Governor Dunn of Louisiana that he feared personal violence 
from Babcock, Sumner never shone brighter in the vividness of a 
denunciation. General Babcock, * aide-de-camp' to the President 
he rolled the words like a sweet morsel on his tongue. Scoring 
and ridiculing the agreements between the * aide-de-camp* and 
Baez, * a political jockey/ he painted no flattering picture of Grant. 
He openly charged that Grant had planned the refraining of the 
Committee on Foreign Relations for the exclusion of Sumner from 
the chairmanship. 'Somebody told Trim this would not be con- 
venient/ Then he proposed the dismissal of Schurz ? c and he was 
told that this could not be done without affecting the German 
vote/ Then the dismissal of Patterson, c who unhappily was not 
German* and thus he went on. 

The Senators sat transfixed with wonder. *I protest against 
this resolution as another stage in a drama of blood/ he said,, in 
conclusion. *I protest against it in the name of Justice, outraged 
by violence; in the name of humanity, insulted; in the name of the 
weak, trodden down; in the name of peace, imperiled; and in the 
name of the African race, whose first effort at independence is 
rudely assailed/ * 

The champions of Grant withheld their fire until the night ses- 
sion, when all appeared for a concerted assault. Morton led off, 
amazed that any one dare assail one so unassailable as Grant. 
*The general results of the Administration are grand, grand almost 
beyond precedent/ A dance of blood, indeed! Could blood dance? 
And who had told Sumner that Grant had attempted an interf er- 

1 Congressional Globe, December 21, 1870. 




Roscoe Conkling 





Oliver P. Morton Zacbarlah Chandler 

GRANT'S THREE MUSKETEERS 



SUMMER'S BACK TO THE WALL 331 

ence with the personnel of the Committee on Foreign Relations? 
Morton had never heard any such suggestion. Who was Sumner's 
informant? As the attack proceeded, Zack Chandler and Conkling 
wheeling into line, it was manifest that the anger was directed no 
more at Sumner than at the Senator on the caucus committee who 
had told. 'Will the Senator give the name of that Senator?' de- 
manded Chandler, pounding the desk in front of Sumner with his 
fist. 1 fi l shall not/ Sumner replied firmly. Finally Thurman, 
speaking for the minority, sought to shame the Republicans for 
their attacks on a man who had fought their party's battles in the 
Senate when he had fought almost alone. 2 

That c dance of blood' philippic had left deep scars, and Conk- 
ling threatened the orator with party discipline. Nothing satisfied 
Sumner's vanity more than the chairmanship of the committee, 
and of that they could deprive him. But of course they would not 
dare. Garrison, hearing such rumors, wrote that, if a servile com- 
pliancy with the President was to be the test of party fidelity, *the 
sooner the party is dissolved, the better/ 3 

But Fate was playing pranks with Sumner in those darkening 
days. He had unwittingly offended Grant personally when the 
committee was considering the nomination of Cramer as Minister 
to Denmark. An exhorter in the West, before he went to Leipsic as 
consul, to have his face slapped in the street, Cramer's qualifica- 
tions for diplomacy did not appeal to Sumner, who said so. It 
was only then that he learned that Cramer was the President's 
brother-in-law. Others, including Harlan, had shared Sumner's 
opinion until Cramer's identity was established, and then Harlan 
became his champion, impressively reading letters from ministers 
and bishops of the Methodist Church in his praise. Sumner could 
not change. Finally on motion of Zack Chandler, the nomination 
was taken out of the hands of the committee and confirmed. It 
was a dagger-thrust at Sumner that had never happened before 
in the full decade of his chairmanship. 4 And the clouds grew 
darker. 

Meanwhile, it was being whispered about the cloak-rooms that 
the British Foreign Office had informed our Minister that there 

1 New York Herald, December 22, 1870. 2 Ibid. 

3 To Sumner, Pierce, iv, 461. 4 New York Herald, Feburary e, 1871. 



332 THE TRAGIC EEA 

could be no settlement of our differences with England as long as 
Sunmer remained chairman of the committee; and that the Minis- 
ter had informed Fish, who had told Grant; and that Grant had 
agreed Sumner should go. 1 The enemies were closing in. 

ixi 

Charles Sumner was a-n extraordinary man; his career colorful; 
his character sometimes inexplicable. Never a real leader or 
manager of men, he was persistent as the crusader for causes; and 
one of the most impressive of orators. His eloquence, however, 
was in his polished rhetoric he understood phrases better than 
psychology. Never from his earliest youth had he been quite as 
other men. As a boy, studious, reserved, disdainful of youthful 
pranks, he grew old before his time. He never rowed or fished; 
never danced or flirted; never cared for dogs or horses. No youth 
so insensible to the charms of women. *It was in vain for the 
loveliest and liveliest girl to seek to absorb his attention.' 2 In 
early manhood he felt the urge for a home and wife and talked 
frankly with his friends about it, but there was no romance. At no 
time was he ever to know anything of feminine psychology. He 
admired beautiful women enormously as he grew older, but some 
fell short of Ms ideal, and others seemed too much above him. 
*She is amiable and good and I doubt not possesses a judgment as 
fine as her character; but she does not seem endowed with the 
magical grace/ he wrote of one; and of another, 'I confess to a 
certain awe and sense of her superiority which makes me at times 
anxious to subside into my own inferiority. 5 3 There was no per- 
fect one who was not too perfect, and thus he was to lose the 
humanizing experience of domesticity. 

Then, too, he had no sense of humor. When he attempted it, he 
was heavy; when he tried repartee, he stumbled; and he could not 
relish a joke. Oliver Wendell Holmes was oppressed with his lack 
of 'imagination, wit, or sense of humor*; and another friend was 
to say that *if one told Charles Sumner the moon was made of 
green cheese, he would controvert the alleged fact in all sincerity/ 4 
An omnivorous reader, a brooding thinker, a fluent talker, he was a 

1 New York Herald, Mardb 13, 1871. 2 ^. W. Story, Pierce, l, 106. 

3 Pierce, H, 319, 320, 4 lUd., I, 164. 



SUMMER'S BACK TO THE WALL 833 

favorite of older men, and Ms association with, them did not tend to 
make Mm more exuberant. Never perhaps has a young American 
made a more favorable impression on British society than Sunnier 
in Ms youth. England entranced him. He loved its country houses 
and countryside, its Parliament and London parlors. Its statesmen 
and writers, and he lingered long on his first sojourn, welcomed 
everywhere. The coronation of Victoria found Mm present in 
court dress, the Garrick Club made Mm an honorary member, Ms 
feet were under the table at many of Rogers's breakfasts, the 
galleries of Parliament found Mm looking down upon Peel and 
Russell and listening delightedly to O'ConnelFs voice, 'rich in the 
extreme/ and to SheiPs * splendid bursts. 3 From the front row he 
heard Carlyle lecture and thought him 'like an inspired boy/ l 
Macaulay, whom he met occasionally at dinners, amazed Mm with 
Ms conversation "rapid, brilliant, and powerful/ 2 But it was 
Brougham with whom he became most intimate, visiting Mm at 
Brougham Hall, where he was shocked at Ms host's profanity and 
surprised at Ms temperate use of wine. 3 Soon the eager youth was 
making a round of visits to Wordsworth, in whose simple house 
he found more pleasure than *in the emblazoned halls of Lord 
Brougham 5 ; 4 to Carlyle, whose poverty impressed Mm; to Leigh 
Hunt, and to the poet Campbell in Chelsea, in fi an humble house 
with uncarpeted entry and stairs/ where the poet, then sixty, 
drank brandy instead of wine and swore like a trooper. 5 

That he was not a woman-hater is evident in the eagerness with 
which he sought the more famous of the sex. Lady Blessington, 
* elegant and sparkling'; 6 Mary Shelley, *an agreeable person with 
great cleverness*; 7 the Duchess of Sutherland, 'wonderfully 
beautiful'; and the Countess Guiccioli all intrigued Mm. Before 
he left England, he had affected the English style of dress, from 
which he never was to depart, and had tried fox hunting with 
Indifferent success. 

France poured her riches into Ms mind, and te tarried long in 
the galleries and studios of Italy, where he acquired a critical ap- 
preciation of art, and passed on to Germany, where he had long 
talks with philosophers and historians. 

1 Pierce, I, 318. * IW., i, 828. * Ibid., i, 849. * Ibid., I, 855. 

5 lbid. t ii, 47. 8 Ibid., n, 67. 7 Ibid., n, 21. 



334 THE TEAGIC EBA 

I have dwelt at some length, on this Continental journey because 
his familiarity with celebrities who had received him courteously 
on equal terms tended to feed his egotism and give him a sense of 
superiority which, too openly displayed, was not to contribute to 
his popularity. Some years were to intervene before the beginning 
of his political career, and he was to hold himself aloof from com- 
mon men. A sense of humor would have saved him from his 
greatest vice, but he had it not. 'His egotism was such as to make 
it impossible for him to admit that he had an equal in either House 
of Congress.' l Nor was his egotism that of self-love only that 
would have been passed over with an indulgent smile; his egotism 
was a flaming public proclamation of his superiority. "He did not 
exhibit respect or deference for the opinions of others, even when 
the parties were on a plane of equality/ 2 'Impatient of contradic- 
tion, his manner to those who differed with him was arrogant and 
offensive.' a Henry Adams thought him a "pathological study/ 
and was sure at the time with which we are dealing that his mind 
'had reached the calm of water which receives and reflects images 
without absorbing them; it contained nothing but itself. 5 4 Like 
most egotists, always self-conscious, he had the manner of an 
actor, and impressed many as one enacting a role on the stage. 
'He appeared to me an actor/ said one who knew him. * There 
appeared in him but little of the simply natural/ 5 Another 
thought him *an actor who played the martyr to the admiration 
of his friends/ 6 No one ever saw him off stage. Though not a fop, 
he dressed with meticulous care, with attention to every detail. 7 
No one would have more keenly resented the imputation that 
he was ruled by prejudices, and yet no one formed them quicker, 
with less investigation, and gave them freer reign. 8 An anony- 
mous letter from the South was enough to convince him that 
the Southerners were amusing themselves by killing inoffensive 
negroes. Nor was he a constructive statesman. He was a theorist, 
an idealist, a crusader, advocate, but no creator. He had no pa- 
tience with the details of legislation. His interest was in principles. 

1 Stewart, Reminiscences, 239. 2 Boutwell, n, 218. 

3 McCulIodi, 234. * Education of Henry Adams, 251-52. 

5 Warden, 80& 6 Stewart, Reminiscences, 239. 

7 Forney, H, 250. 8 McCulIocli, 234. 



SUMMER'S BACK TO THE WALL 335 

And in the furtherance of a principle he had no patience with legal 
obstacles. Indeed, he had an ' absolute disregard of constitutional 
restraints/ like most of his radical associates. 1 His hatred of 
slavery was sincere; his advocacy of negro suffrage and of equal 
civil rights was theoretical. He thought them sincere as well, but 
he loved the negro at a distance. Sumner was the last man to 
share his bed with a black man; and McCulloch, no doubt, was 
right in the conclusion that 'his sympathies were for races too 
lofty to descend to persons. 5 No member of the Senate could have 
been more fastidious in his social relations. 2 He thought of him- 
self as an American Cicero, and, indeed, his oratory was that of 
finished art. Here and there a touch of pedantry, an unnecessary 
allusion for the sake of the effect upon the groundlings, but there 
was much more than polished rhetoric, chaste diction, rounded 
periods in his finest speeches. He marshaled his material like a 
master, and in the preparation of these speeches, written out by 
his own hand, he was capable of prodigious labor. He liked to feel 
that after their utterance they were part of literature like those 
of Cicero and Burke. The 'dance of blood' speech may have been 
too severe it was oratory. 

In appearance he was a model of manly beauty, and when he 
rose to speak he was imposing. Six feet four inches in height, 
vigorous and graceful in his movements, his voice far-reaching and 
melodious, he easily commanded the attention of an audience. 
And now he was old and breaking. He had fought many battles 
and bore more scars than those that Brooks's cane had inflicted. 
He had accomplished both good and harm more harm than he 
imagined. He had reached the age where a certain veneration was 
due him from his party. Not usually given to the cherishing of 
resentments, he hugged few hates. In the midst of the war he had 
declared it improper to inscribe the names of victories over fellow 
Americans on regimental colors. Soon he was to propose a bill in 
harmony with this theory, and Massachusetts was to crucify Mm 
with a condemnatory resolution of its Legislature, and he was to 
suffer. A man of great ability, of good intentions, given to the 
making of great blunders, he is one of the most contradictory 
characters in our history. 

1 Hoar, Autobiography, i, 214. 2 McCulIocb., 34. 



336 THE TRAGIC EEA 

iv 

Many reasons were to be given for the degradation of Sunnier, 
but one was quite sufficient. He had crossed the President, and 
Grant hated him. It was said that at a dinner given to Englishmen 
in Washington, Summer had met an observation on Grant's popu- 
larity with the comment that he would *be impeached for high 
crimes and misdemeanors/ The next morning a Senator who had 
been present told Stewart, who summoned the chairman of the 
Republican caucus and suggested that Fish be invited to the 
Capitol to verify the story. The verification was forthcoming and 
a caucus was called. 1 The secret of the animosity was revealed by 
one Senator in his disclosures of the discussions of a caucus in 
which Summer's position on San Domingo figured largely. 2 The 
night before the committee reported, Horace White, of the 
'Chicago Tribune, 5 persuaded William B. Allison, then a member 
of the House, to accompany him to the home of Senator Howe, who 
was to submit it, and beg him for delay. Until midnight they 
labored in vain. 3 The caucus had one fixed purpose to punish 
Sumner and to please Grant. Two methods were considered 
one, to transfer Sumner to the chairmanship of a new committee; 
the other, to leave Tiim where he was with the committee packed 
against him. A few, like John Sherman, favored the latter course, 
but the rebuke would not have seemed severe enough. 4 Not a few 
Senators were saddened by the decision forced upon them. 
Morton was hard as flint. The caucus would be binding. Here was 
the oldest man in service in the Senate, a party founder, the very 
soul of the reconstruction scheme, and better fitted by training for 
the post he held than any other, and he was to be sent to the 
Tarpeian Rock. But Morton was obdurate Grant's will be 
done! 

Thus the stage was set in the Senate for a sort of tragedy when 
Senator Howe submitted his report and Carl Schurz rose to in- 
quire the reason for the change proposed. *I would answer/ 
whispered Morton. *I would not answer or say a word/ said 
Stewart. But Howe replied that Sumner, Fish, and Grant were 
socially not friendly. 5 'The Nation' described Howe as appearing 

1 Stewart, Reminiscences, 247-48. 2 Tipton Globe, March 10, 1871. 

* White, TrnmbuU, 3*& * Sherman, Recollections, i, 47$, 5 Jttd, 



SUMNER'S BACK TO THE WALL 337 

'like a gentleman engaged in a dirty piece of work.' l The Demo- 
crats smiled at the reason given; and when, to the indignation of 
the caucus leaders, Tipton blurted out the truth, they laughed. 
Then followed the debate. Wilson of Massachusetts begged and 
threatened. Schurz smashed the claim that Sumner would not 
meet Fish or Grant officially and shamed the Senate for bowing to 
presidential dictation in its own affairs. Administration Senators 
solemnly declared that Grant knew nothing of the proposed action 
of the caucus. Trumbull, recalling the former status of Sumner in 
the anti-slavery fight, asked if men's positions in the Senate were 
to be determined by their response to dinner invitations. Thur- 
man, speaking for the Democrats, announced that, since Re- 
publicans challenged the action of their caucus, the Democrats 
would vote. Bayard, from the Democratic side, solemnly pro- 
posed to change the name of the Committee on Foreign Relations 
to the Committee on Personal Relations, The roll was called 
and Sumner's head dropped into the basket after Morton had 
cracked the party whip. The Democrats voted against the de- 
capitation, and there was both irony and pathos in the action of 
the Republican carpetbag Senators from the South they voted 
to a man against the Senator who more than any other had made 
it possible for them to vote at all! 2 Thrifty souls, they knew on 
which side their bread was buttered. 

An artist would have been delighted with the expressions of 
Senators' faces during the roll-call. Henry Wilson's face was red 
with anger. * Morton screwed around in his chair in a most uneasy 
mood/ Sherman nervously tore paper to pieces, and then rose to 
walk the floor. Trumbull smiled sardonically over his gold-rimmed 
eyeglasses as upon an amusing spectacle of human folly. It was 
dark outside, and the galleries were in a blaze of light. That night 
there was rejoicing at the White House, and Grant was reported 
to be 'in high glee.' 3 Simon Cameron, of all men, had been made 
chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations he had landed 
his man on that fishing excursion with Grant in Pennsylvania. 
The day of the idealists was dead; that of the materialists had been 
born. 

1 March 16, 1871. 2 Congressional Globe, March 10, 1871. 

3 New York World, March 11, 1871, 



338 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Many thousands in the North were shocked, many hurt. *The 
Republican Party is no longer a party of ideas and principles, but 
the personal property of President Grant held together "by the 
cohesive power of public plunder/' * said the Democratic organ. 1 
Greeley, keeping a close rein on his indignation, thought the action 
'a mistake/ 2 *An act of the most stupendous folly/ wrote Gar- 
field to a friend. 3 And the next day, as the rain splattered in 
Lafayette Square, Sumner sat at the window of his library looking 
out upon the dreary scene, reading an avalanche of letters and 
telegrams. Then came the election in New Hampshire and New 
England spoke. The Democrats prevailed. 



; But Sumner did not take his punishment meekly. Within two 
weeks he had offered a set of resolutions denouncing our action in 
San Domingo and the use of the American Navy to sustain Baez 
in power. He spoke on the resolution to an animated and excited 
chamber. The avenues leading to the Capitol, the corridors, 
lobbies, galleries, were packed, and, on motion, women were ad- 
mitted to the lobbies and cloak-rooms. The greater part of the 
diplomatic corps were on the floor. The House adjourned, and 
Elaine, the Speaker, sat beside the Vice-President. More than 
two thousand people were within sight or hearing. As Sumner 
entered the chamber, the galleries burst into applause. 4 Sumner 
began with proof of the use of the navy to sustain the tottering 
power of the usurper; passed to a scathing characterization of him 
as 'an adventurer, conspirator, and trickster 5 ; told of meeting him 
when he was in exile, at his own home, when Baez was seeking 
* money and arms to aid him in the overthrow of the existing 
government*; and of his return to power through violence. 
Menaced again by the indignation of the people, he described the 
usurper's attempt to sell his country to England, France, or Spain. 
And then, said the orator, *he was relieved by an answering voice 
from our Republic/ C A young officer, inexperienced in life, ig- 
norant of the world, untaught in the Spanish language, unversed 
in international law, knowing absolutely nothing of the intercourse 

1 New York World, March 10, 1871. 2 New York Tribune, March 13, 1871. 

3 To T. J. McLain, Life ofGarfield, i, 469. 4 New York Herald, March 28, 1871. 



SUMMER'S TO WALL 339 

between nations, and unconscious of the Constitution of Ms 
country, was selected by the President to answer the cry of the 
Grand Citizen/ 

CorsHing and Carpenter, who in the beginning had simulated 
contempt by scribbling at their desks, became more restive as the 
speaker proceeded, until finally their audible conversation called 
for a rebuke from the Vice-President. 

Sumner was hurrying on with lurid stories of adventurers, 
speculators, comiptionists, with the recital of the incarceration of 
an American with the sanction of Babcock a sorry tale and a 
true one. From the diplomatic pouch he had extracted letters and 
reports; and thence he launched upon a powerful application of 
international law and usage to the case. 'Thus stands the case/ 
And then he lunged at Grant. 'Presidential visits to the Capitol, 
with appeals to Senators, have been followed by assemblies at the 
Executive Mansion, also with appeals to Senators; and who can 
measure the pressure of all kinds by himself or agents, especially 
through the appointing power, all to secure the consummation of 
this scheme?* 

Again loud talking on the floor Edmunds was interrupting 
and Sumner paused. Again the Vice-President had to intervene. 
With a stinging rebuke of the Ku-Elux methods of the Govern- 
ment in San Domingo and Hayti, Sumner sat down. 

Morton, replying for the Administration, 'would not attempt to 
argue this question/ but confined himself to attacking Sumner's 
motives and praising Grant. Sumner c could not strike a blow at 
him without striking a blow at the country ... at the great party 
that elected him . . . and no man need tell me he is a friend of 
liberty ... if he spends his time and talent for the purpose of 
putting the Government into the hands of the Democratic Party/ 
And that was that. 1 The answer of Sumner to Ms enemies had 
been made; and he had been unmade. 

VI 

More disturbing to many was the effect on the dominant party. 
All about was evidence of disaffection. Sumner was on a rampage; 
the incisive logic and brilliant mind of Schurz was playing havoc 

1 Congressional Globe, March 27 ? 1871. 



340 THE TRAGIC ERA 

with party plans; TmmbulFs sardonic smile was maddening. 
Everywhere rumblings about corruption. A disconcerting letter, 
purporting to be from Orville Grant to the President, concerning 
a proposal made to the President's brother to act as agent for the 
distillers, with the proposition that for twenty thousand dollars all 
papers touching on their guilt would be turned over to them, was 
going the rounds of the press. 

And just at this juncture, George W. Julian, another of the old 
idealists, defeated for reelection at the instance of the land- 
grabbers, made his farewell speech. He was the Charles Sumner of 
the West an old Abolitionist, with extreme views on universal 
suffrage, but with an inveterate hate of jobbery and corruption. 
His farewell speech was an astounding piece of invective. * Tariff 
laws for years past . . . framed in the interest of monopolists . . / 
A tendency in legislation 'to render the many dependent on the 
few, and to divide society into classes. . . . Over two hundred 
minion acres of public land given to railroads and other works of 
public improvement. . . / The ' ownership of labor by capital 
necessarily involves the ownership of the laborer himself, . . . 
Readiness of the Government to espouse the cause of monopolists 
and corporations/ l More revolt! And the Julian speech was at- 
tracting attention, too. Within two weeks after its delivery, a new 
edition of one hundred thousand copies had been necessary, and a 
special edition of twenty thousand in German had been printed. 2 

The old leaders and idealists were slipping. Grimes was gone; 
Sumner was rebuked and resentful; Trumbull was disgusted and 
sarcastic; Schurz was in revolt; civil service and tariff reformers 
were meddling and an election was approaching. Worse still, 
not a few were laughing, and a returning sense of humor might 
restore clear thinking and a sense of justice in dealing with the 
South. No time could be lost. 

VII 

And none was lost. 

On January 14, 1871, the executive committee of the Union 
League met in Washington with party leaders, including a negro 
Congressman from South Carolina, to plan the extension of its 

1 Congressional Globe, January 21, 1871. * Julian, MS. Diary, February 6, 1871. 



SUMMER'S BACK TO THE WALL 341 

work in the South; then they marched to the White House to talk 
it over with Grant, who gave his unqualified approval to the plans. 
The negro Congressman declared these indispensable in the South. 1 
Two days later, Senator Morton offered his resolution calling on 
the President for a report on * outrages' in the subjugated States; 
the President responded immediately, and the plans were instantly 
adopted. Once more the air was filled with denunciations of the 
Southerners as murderers and traitors; again orators evoked the 
bitter memories of the war; the bloody shirt again was afloat; and 
soon Congress was grappling with a new measure to be known as 
the Ku-Klux Act. The bill was reported to the House on March 
28. Meanwhile, the Union League executive committee was 
meeting in Philadelphia, with a flourish of trumpets and an un- 
furling of flags, to arrange to meet * conditions' in North Carolina, 
Arkansas, Missouri, and Florida, and petitions were received from 
negroes asking protection from persecution because of their poli- 
tics. 2 'The New York Tribune' fairly screamed over the 'out- 
rages.* The Republican mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, had been 
expelled. Outrageous! exclaimed 'The Tribune/ 'Mississippi is a 
strong Republican State; Meridian is a Republican city; and yet 
her Republican mayor is hunted out like a wolf/ 3 Putting all 
scruples aside, Greeley stormed over the turpitude of the South 
Carolinians in demanding that the unscrupulous Governor and his 
band of corruptionists return to their Northern homes. 4 Legisla- 
tion and an investigation into 'Southern outrages 3 to serve a party 
purpose? Ridiculous, said Greeley; at the same time declaring 
that the 'five thousand victims of the Ku-Klux outrages in the 
South are Republicans/ 5 

Four days before the debate on the Ku-Klux measure opened in 
the House, Grant issued a proclamation describing conditions in 
South Carolina as frightful, declaring the inability of State officials 
to correct them, referring to the appeal of the delectable Scott for 
the use of the Federal army, and calling upon the wicked to dis- 
perse within twenty days. 6 The timing of these various incidents 
calculated to reawaken sectional hatreds was so perfect that 

i New York Herald, January 15, 1871. z Ibid., February IS, 1871. 

8 March 17, 1871. 4 Ibid., March 21, 1871. 

* Ibid., Maircfc 22, 1871. 6 Messages and Papers, ix, 4080. 



342 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Democrats charged the team work to the management of poli- 
ticians. 

Thus, after six weeks, emerged a measure more despotic than 
any known since the Sedition Law of the first Adams Administra- 
tion which wrought the political revolution of 1800. It set aside 
the constitutional guarantees of the States as effectively as though 
they had never been written; turned over to the Federal courts 
those accused of assault, robbery, and murder; provided extraor- 
dinary means through which these courts and politicians could 
pack juries as effectively as in the days of Lord Clare in Ireland; 
authorized the President to declare martial law when he pleased 
and suspend the writ of habeas corpus when he wished. 

The debate was spirited in both House and Senate, and yet, 
despite the tremendous importance of the measure, little interest 
was taken in the discussions. Time and again speakers complained 
of the absence of a quorum. After all, no one was seeking informa- 
tion. The caucus had decided. And yet it was a great debate led 
by some of the greatest constitutional lawyers the Senate has 
known men like Lyman Trumbull, Allen G. Thurman, and 
Edmunds of Vermont. In the House, Beck of Kentucky and 
Voorhees of Indiana had thundered against * tyranny,' to no 
avail. "You tender General Grant the sword,' said Voorhees, "and 
tell him to wield it upon his countrymen in any direction he chooses; 
strike whenever his passions, his hates, his ambitions, or his inter- 
ests dictate, and upon such cause or provocation as to him alone 
may appear sufficient. Do you wish to establish lawless tyranny 
in this land? Here is its charter.' l Trumbull solemnly entered his 
protest, buttressed with constitutional arguments unanswered 
then or ever. To enter the States to punish individual offenders 
against their authority would be 'destructive at once of the State 
Governments/ 2 More complete and powerful was the masterful 
Thurman, throwing upon all the bizarre features of the measure 
the light of his learning. Suspend the writ of habeas corpus by 
executive decree? * A monstrous thing to do/ And the effect of the 
whole? The destruction of the States and with them "the liberties, 
the prosperity, and the happiness of the people. 3 That which 

1 Congressional Globe, Appendix, 42d Congress, 1st Sess., 180. 

2 Ibid., April 11, 1871. * HM., Appendix, 42d Congress, 1st Sess.. S16-24. 



TO THE 343 

Thurman and Trambull then said was afterwards eclioed by the 
Supreme Court, but Congress did not hearken. Great streams of 
* outrage '-mongers had been testifying, for the edification of the 
North, before a congressional committee, upon the savagery of the 
South, and in justification of this amazing measure, and it was 
no time to stumble on the Constitution. The purpose was to re- 
awaken the old war hates and re-create the old war state of mind 
in the interest of party solidarity. Did not Charles Sumner wheel 
into line with his old-time partisan vigor? Thurman was amazed. 
Only the other day Sumner had justly arraigned the President 
'for usurping the war power against the black people . . . of 
Hayti/ but he was insensible * when a bill proposes to confer upon 
the President the power to make war on the white people of 
America.* * Morton had manifested something of the fine audacity 
of Thad Stevens when he protested against the termination of the 
law until after the presidential election of 1872. *Why, 5 he de- 
manded, 'is not this law to be continued anyhow throughout the 
next year? Why terminate it just before the arrival of that season 
when the cause would most likely operate the strongest which pro- 
duces these troubles?* 2 Passing flippantly over the grave consti- 
tutional questions involving the governmental structure, he con- 
centrated his fire upon the Democrats. Their success in 1872 
would mean the repudiation of the national debt. In the midst of 
the debate he was serenaded by Indiana Republicans, and ap- 
peared on the balcony of the National Hotel, flanked on one side 
by Grant and on the other by Coif ax, the Marine Band in the 
crowd. 3 

And so the measure passed and the reaction came. Greeley had 
momentary tremors lest Congress shrink from the declaration of 
martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. Too 
much timidity! 4 Garfield, too, had shuddered for an opposing 
reason. To suspend the writ when there was neither rebellion nor 
invasion would be *a doctrine subversive of our government/ 5 
* The Nation * and the ' New York Evening Post ' thought the whole 
scheme 'a desperate attempt ... of political adventurers and cor- 

* Congressional Globe, April 13, 1871. 2 I&wL, April 11, 1871. 

3 New York Herald, April 9, 1871. 4 New York Tribune, April 6, 1871, 

, 5 To McLain, Life of Garfield, I, 489. 



344 THE TRAGIC ERA 

nipt speculators . . . to prevent the restoration of peace and 
order/ l and denounced it as a violation of the * entire spirit of the 
Constitution/ 2 The Democrats in Congress issued an address de- 
nouncing it as a menace to the liberties of the people and destruc- 
tive of local self-government. * Modeled on the sedition laws, so 
odious in history, they are at variance with all the sanctified 
theories of our institutions/ 3 

But the Elan investigations, partisan on both sides, and the 
debates, had opened the flood gates of hate again. What though 
men like John Quincy Adams II referred to the 'crowning and 
perfect infamy of the Ku-Klux Bill* 4 was not this copperhead 
talk? The way to handle the South, cried Wendell Phillips at 
Steinway Hall, New York, was *to march thirty million of men to 
the Gulf/ irrespective of men, women, and children, and *hang a 
few Generals/ 5 But General Sherman in New Orleans thought all 
the clamor absurd. The outrages 'had been enormously exag- 
gerated for political effect 9 and the Radicals fumed and raged. 6 
Ben Butler answered. Speaking to negroes in Boston, he hailed 
with joy the domination of the blacks in South Carolina. Any fair 
comparison of the races would show the negroes better fit to rule 
than the whites. 7 

VIII 

And it was "these South Carolina whites who were first to feel the 
lash of the new law. Grant had been urged by some of the most 
infamous characters in that State to give it a touch of martial 
law. 8 There was need, as we shall soon see, for aid to the in- 
comparably corrupt regime in that Commonwealth. The whites 
were ready for revolution. Many thought death preferable to such 
degradation and infamy. In the early autumn, Grant began issuing 
his series of proclamations on conditions in South Carolina, ending 
with a declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of 
habeas corpus in nine counties. These proclamations were clearly 
phrased to inflame the partisan spirit in the North and to intimi- 
date the conservatives in Carolina. 

1 April 6. 1871. * April 20, 1871. 

8 New York World, April 22, 1871. JKdL. May 20, 1871. 

15 New York, Tribune, May 15, 1871. New York Herald. May 4, 1871. 

7 Ibid., May 9, 1871. 8 The Negro in South Carolina, 200. 



SUMNER'S BACK TO THE WALL 845 

Came then the reign of terror, with, wholesale arrests, with busi- 
ness all "but suspended, with every citizen at the mercy of a dis- 
honest enemy with a private grudge. The trials were mockeries of 
justice, the United States Circuit Court at Columbia a shambles 
that would have shamed Jeffreys or Lord Clare. The juries were 
defiantly packed with partisans, and an astonishing number of 
Radical politicians became jurors. Thus a dastardly conspiracy 
was manipulated by officials of the Federal Government ! l In 
Charleston, the scenes were similar. As if by magic the Democrats 
and Conservatives seemed to disappear. The courts could find no 
one for jury service but negroes, carpetbaggers, and scalawags. 
Some of the accused were deservedly convicted; others were 
youths of little education who had joined the K3an for a lark with- 
out any real feeling of hostility to the blacks. 

A correspondent of the 'New York Herald 5 on the ground sent 
in some disconcerting reports. At Spartanburg, under martial law, 
he found there had been no Elan activities for four months; that 
in numerous instances Radicals wishing to wreak their spite upon 
some neighbor had donned the paraphernalia of the Han to put 
the blame upon it; that the Elan never had any thought of re- 
sisting the Federal Government ; that there was no necessity for the 
suspension of the writ of habeas corpus; that the Government of 
the State, against which the agitation was bitter, was in the hands 
of infamous adventurers. 2 The correspondent showed that most 
of the cases in the courts were political in purpose. Thus, a 
woman, at Rutherfordton, was advertised in the party papers in 
the North as a victim of political persecution resulting in a visita- 
tion of the Elan. On the dismissal of the case against the accused 
because of the lack of evidence, the North, reading its family paper, 
was told there was no justice for 'loyalists' in South Carolina. 
'The Herald* correspondent found it a queer case of 'political 
persecution/ The woman was a * common strumpet 5 who had 
inveigled an old man into marrying her. The night of the wedding 
disguised men appeared and whipped her. Two or three of the 
band were sons of the old man; one was a Baptist deacon. 3 As the 
correspondent continued his investigations, he reported, 'the more 

1 Reynolds, 211. 2 Ibid.. 190. 

8 New Y&rk Herald, May 24, 1871. 



346 THE TRAGIC ERA 

I am convinced that they [the whippings] are social in their nature. 
The Ku-Klux have spread dismay among the ranks of the im- 
moral and the worthless, both white and black/ * He found that 
the most abandoned wretches, by pleading political persecution. 
because of "loyalty/ had been made heroes in the North over 
whom good women wept and strong men raged. 2 The fatalities 
among the Lowry gang of desperadoes helped to swell the list of 
'outrages' for the Northern press; and the correspondent found 
that this degenerate family, with a mixture of white, black, and 
Indian blood, were Democrats and members of the Union 
League! 3 

Meantime, the courts were grinding away at the trials. Efforts 
to test the constitutionality of the Ku-Klux Law were thwarted. 
One case was dismissed by the Supreme Court on a technicality; 4 
another was withdrawn; in another, the Court was equally divided; 
in still another the prosecution was abandoned while the case was 
pending, .and dismissed. 

While the people were being subjected to this tyranny and law- 
lessness of the courts, the notorious political gangsters were mak- 
ing more than political capital everything was grist that went 
to their mill. So the Republican organ at Columbia published 
stenographic reports of the trials and the paper was paid hand- 
somely out of the public Treasury. The Legislature ordered five 
thousand copies in pamphlet form, and the order was placed with 
a printing company of the regime, which charged $45,788 for the 
work, and had its claim allowed. 

And this was the answer to the great constitutional arguments 
of Thurman and Trumbuli 

IX 

It was this summer that Clement Vallandigham startled the 
country with his proposal that the Democrats accept as settled the 
issues of the war and the reconstruction as embodied in the three 
Amendments, and invite the cooperation of all the people in a 
common fight against the destructive policies of the Radicals and 
corruptionists. It was in large measure a restatement of the f unda- 

1 New York Herald, 28, 1871, 2 Ibid., May 89, 1871. 

3 Ibid., June 12, 1871. * United States vs. Avery. 



TO THE WALL 347 

mental Democratic principles to which men like Chase and 
Trambull had subscribed before the slavery question became 
acute. The reaction was surprising. To the dominant party it 
was disturbing. * You have rendered a great service to your coun- 
try and party . . . God bless you for it,' wrote Chase to Vallandig- 
ham. 1 Julian commented in his diary: * Interested in Vallandig- 
ham's "New Departure/' which I hope will be accepted* Demo- 
cracy ... to be reorganized on the living issues of land and labor 
reform, civil service reform, revenue reform. . . . The country 
needs a thorough purification/ 2 The 'New York World 5 endorsed 
it in a leader, 3 Even Theodore Tilton spoke kindly of it in 'The 
Golden Age;' 4 Michael Kerr, in a letter to Jeremiah S. Black, 
gave it his approval. 5 'The Nation' thought it * entitled to rank 
as a political event of the first importance ' which Radicals would 
'contemplate with horror/ 6 A little later Vallandigham lay dying 
in an Ohio court-room from a bullet wound accidentally self- 
inflicted while handling a pistol used as evidence in a murder trial, 
and the press was more than generous to the man who had once 
been anathema. Even Greeley joined. 7 

Clearly it was no time to draw back from desperate enterprises 
now. So the summer and autumn passed and winter came a 
year of tragedy, comedy, and farce. Let us journey to South 
Carolina and to the South and observe the blessings of reconstruc- 
tion under the Radical politicians and corruptionists. 

1 Life of Vallandigham, 446. * MS. Diary, May 8, 1871. 

3 June 3, 1871 , 4 My 1, 1871. 5 Ibid., July 15, 1871. 

6 May 25, 1871. 7 New York Tribune, June 0, 1871. 



XVII 
LAND AND YEAR OF JUBILEE 

i 

TURNING South from Washington, we shall not pause in 
Virginia, where the skies are clearing somewhat, albeit Mrs. 
John A. Logan, looking in on the Legislature in Richmond found 
the spectacle 'repulsive/ l nor in North Carolina, which we have 
visited before, but hurry on to Columbia, South Carolina, where 
the policies of 'loyal men* are in full flower. 

The little capital is in a sorry state of debilitation, pigs grunting 
in the unpaved streets, the blackened ruins of flame-gutted build- 
ings here and there, and near the town the pillars of the portico of 
what had once been the baronial mansion of the Hamptons. The 
town is teeming with negroes, in from the plantations to enjoy 
their freedom, and a visit to their quarter reveals them living in 
one-room log cabins, with wooden shutters and mud chimneys, 
and lolling and strolling in the sunny streets, some clothed in 
gunny sacks, and not a few of the children stark naked. 2 In the 
fashionable section of the fallen society, which had impressed the 
cultivated LeConte as 'one of the most refined and cultivated * he 
had ever known, 3 the fine houses are strangely silent now, little 
merriment floating out of the open windows on the night. A new 
society has displaced it, and there is no merging of the two. The 
wives and daughters of the officers at the barracks are sternly 
frowned upon by the women of Columbia. 4 The new society, 
mixed in color, and composed largely of carpetbaggers, has gath- 
ered about the barracks, and this, known as the 'Gig Society/ 
parades the barracks grounds in its finery in the evening listening 
to the band, while politicians gather in groups in eager discussion 
of the latest swag. 

Near by, we find the grounds of the university so recently pre- 
sided over by the brilliant and eloquent Preston, but the buildings 

1 Mrs. Logan, 263. 2 The Negro in South Carolina, 8-9. 

* LeConte, 239. 



LAND AND OF 349 

are now In desperate need of repair, and the grounds are tragically 
sad, like a deserted garden overrun by weeds. The Legislature of 
1869, Illiterate and corrupt, had seized upon the old institutions 
for reasons of pillage, and soon the trustees had been involved in 
charges of corruption. 1 A few poorly dressed, underpaid professors 
and a handful of students are all that are left of the once flourish- 
ing university. 

Driving down the fine, wide street back of the State House, with 
Its great spreading oaks, where the aristocracy had blossomed in 
the old days, we find the blinds of the houses drawn. Occasionally 
we pass a scion of the old families on his blooded horse, the last of 
his luxuries, but it is the speculator and carpetbagger, sweeping 
by a little insolently behind a dashing team, that compels our 
notice. 2 At length we reach the beautiful white marble State 
House surrounded by a rough wooden fence, the grounds littered 
with all kinds of filth. 3 Here let us enter and pay our respects to 
His Excellency Robert K. Scott of Ohio, by the grace of bayo- 
nets Governor of South Carolina. 

ii 

A fine figure of a man is he who greets us, tall and erect as an 
Indian, with a manner arrogantly self-assertive. We are Impressed 
mostly by his shifty gray eyes, keen and penetrating, as they peer 
from beneath an overhanging brow. About his mouth are lines 
Indicative of struggle, bitterness, or meanness, but he greets us 
with a breezy cordiality. A soldier of fortune, this carpetbag 
Governor, who had elbowed his way in the California gold rush, 
worked as a common miner and prospector, practiced medicine, 
won his shoulder straps by gallantry in the field, and, entering 
South Carolina with the Freedmen's Bureau, had cleverly applied 
his demagogy to negro credulity and won his way to the State 
House, 4 Congenial souls had accompanied him Into office 
Niles G, Parker of Massachusetts, in flight from criminal prose- 
cution in his native State, in charge of the Treasury; Whittemore, 
purveyor of cadetships in Congress, and Frank Moses, Speaker of 
the House and Adjutant-General. In our meanderings we have 

1 Reynolds, 183. * New York Herald. June IS, 1871. 

a pj]^ 10. 4 Representative Men, 489-96. 



350 THE TRAGIC EEA 

heard much of Moses, member of a respected family, expelled from 
Ms college fraternity because of Ms low associations, 1 a fast liver, 
utterly unmoral, a gambler and libertine who had seized upon the 
opportunity to share in the plundering of Ms own people. The 
gossips have told us of his frequenting negro cabins, kissing negro 
babies, swirling through the dance with dusky maidens in his arms 
in negro dance-halls. He has none of Sumner's academic notions 
of social equality he lives what Sumner preaches. 2 Gambling- 
dens, saloons, and brothels catering to both races, furnish him 
with his amusements. His manner of living has so enhanced his 
popularity that he is even now striding toward gubernatorial 
honors, and as we linger with Scott, he glides gracefully into the 
room and is presented. TMs degenerate bears the marks of his 
reckless and low living. His immaculate dress, the fluency and 
suavity of his conversation convey a momentary impression of 
gentility, but there is something in his heavy gray-brown mus- 
tache and sMfty eye suggestive of his criminality and debauchery. 3 
Degraded women were important factors in redeeming South 
Carolina to the * loyal 5 cause. 

Even Scott was not without Ms weakness, for had he not signed 
hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of fraudulent convertible 
bonds in the room in the old St. James Hotel in New York under 
the persuasive influence of women and liquor? His reluctance had 
been overcome by the ringsters through the notorious Pauline 
Markham, of the burlesque stage, who had consented to seduce 
him for a percentage of the commission on the bonds. Saturated 
with wine and whiskey, he had signed and sealed while the delec- 
table charmer counted and piled the bonds. 4 

Enter now a third 'loyal 5 man, ironically known among the 
tMeves as * Honest' John Patterson, an alleged protege of Simon 
Cameron, with a discolorful record in the Pennsylvania Legis- 
lature, who had been denounced by his brother-in-law as a 
' swindler and cheat/ and had distinguished himself as pay-master 
in the army by stealing the money of the soldiers of an Ohio regi- 
ment. Thus had he qualified for the new statesmanship, and he 
is now looking forward to a seat in the United States Senate. 
6 Patterson will do what he says/ a friend explains, apropos of Ms 

1 Reynolds, 99. 2 p^ 45< 3 Mitchell, 325, * Ibid., 826. 



LAND AND YEAR OF 351 

sobriquet. 'If lie promises to pay you, hell do it; if he promises to 
steal for you, he will do it.' l 

But it is time for us to leave the three pillars of their party 
must confer. 

in 

Before visiting the Legislature, we shall have time to sense the 
social atmosphere of the reconstruction regime in Columbia. One 
of its first acts had been to forbid discrimination between races in 
street cars, trains, and places of amusement. Governor Scott and 
his lady had thrown open their official entertainments to whites 
and blacks alike, and the races had mingled cordially at the man- 
sion, to the delight of the educational director of the Freedmen's 
Bureau, who had reported enthusiastically to Washington. 2 There 
had been some defiance of the equality law in Charleston, which 
'The Nation 9 thought natural, if not proper, 3 but Columbia was 
the political center and white men there bowed low over the hands 
of colored women, and found their way to the salon of a brown- 
skinned Madame Roland. Let us follow the fashion. 

Once more we ride under the spreading oaks of the wide street 
near the State House, recalling the stories we have heard of the 
young women we are soon to meet. The Rollin sisters, Katherine, 
Euphrosyne, Marie Louise, and Charlotte, daughters of a French- 
man by a colored mother, were concededly pretty, their complex- 
ion that of a mixture of the white and the mulatto. Inordinately 
proud of their French blood, they preferred to be known as 
'Mesdemoiselles'; and in their exuberant moments with white 
callers dwelt mournfully on the pre-war days when slaves danced 
attendance on their pleasures. Two of the sisters had attended a 
school in Boston with a niece of Wendell Phillips, and Louise had 
gone to a convent school in Philadelphia. Carpetbaggers and 
negro politicians spoke admiringly of their learning as well as 
their beauty. True, one of the sisters had married the coal-black 
head of the militia, but the ladies of the salon spoke of her as of 
one dead. They could not abide her husband because of his color. 
Many amazing tales we have heard of the Rollin sisters. The talk 
of the lobby, romanticists insisted they really directed the destiny 

1 Reynolds, 229. 2 Ibid., 121. 3 January 27, 1870. 



352 TRAGIC 

of the State through their relations with Scott and Moses; others 
declared their salon a mere clearing-house for the lobby. But here 
we are, at the house. 

We draw up before a respectable white frame dwelling, to be met 
at the door by Marie Louise, the youngest, and conducted into a 
room and seated at an open window overlooking a garden in which 
a fountain is playing, A striking girl, with lustrous almond- 
shaped eyes, dimpled chin, and teeth white and shapely that flash 
in smiles. On a table, we observe Byron's poems, the books of Gail 
Hamilton, some of Miss Alcott's stories, a copy of the 'Atlantic 
Monthly/ . . . Almost immediately Charlotte Rollin enters, she of 
whom we have heard as the * Madame de Tench of South Carolina/ 
reputed to possess uncanny power over the statesmen of the new 
regime. The same voluptuous figure and lustrous eyes, but more 
at ease than the younger sister. Do we speak French? she inquires 
musically. Ah, it is the language of poetry, she thinks. But the 
papers, the dreadful papers, how dare they publish such stories 
about her and her sisters? We venture to ask if the Rollin manage 
really did determine the legislative policies of the State. Made- 
moiselle Charlotte smiles faintly, preferring to treat the suggestion 
as flattery. Then the lady bristles. What an outrage! that 
report that she had written a letter to Frank Moses in the interest 
of a questionable claim. Of course she had done nothing of the 
sort. Moses might have forged one. And that absurd story that 
her sister Katherine was a major on the staff of Moses and got a 
salary. A joke, of course, perpetrated by Elliott l when in charge 
of the enrollment of militia, and by Moses, 'then our intimate 
friend.' The lady of the salon chuckles reminiscently. 'He used 
to write us a number of notes 9 and she smiled. Pleased with the 
memories, she produces a letter from Moses informing her that he 
was getting her a salary as a clerk in his office as a personal compli- 
ment, and because of her sister's marriage to the negro militia 
chief. The lady grimaces at the mention of his name. Her family 
did not condescend to notice the brother-in-law, or Elliott they 
were negroes; her people were French. 

In glides Katherine, aged twenty-four, slender, graceful, her 
black silk rustling, her large black eyes shining, her long straight 

1 Later negro Congressman. 



LAND AND YEAR OF 353 

hair coiled behind. *I just came from the reception at Governor 
Scott's/ she says enthusiastically, "and had a very pleasant time 
there; he is a great friend of ours and we hope to see him President. 
He is a noble man, indeed/ Whereupon the three ladies of the 
salon draw their chairs in a semicircle about us, and forthwith we 
are in the midst of a literary conversation. Did we like Byron? 
* What a dear reckless fellow he was, to be sure!' exclaims Made- 
moiselle Charlotte. 'I love Mrs. Browning above all the poets, and 
I like Victor Hugo . . . but Whittier I adore . , / l 

But we must leave this literary atmosphere for the Legislature. 

IV 

We enter the House, where Moses, the Speaker, looks down 
upon members mostly black or brown or mahogany, some of the 
type seldom seen outside the Congo. 2 Some pompous in glossy, 
threadbare black frock coats, some in the rough, soiled costumes 
of the fields, others in stub jackets and rough woolen comforters 
tight-fitting about the neck to conceal the lack of linen. 3 A cozy 
atmosphere, too, with the members' feet upon their desks, their 
faces hidden behind their soles. Chuckles, guffaws, the noisy 
cracking of peanuts, and raucous voices disturb the parliamentary 
dignity of the scene. 

On one side a small group of whites, Democrats, representing the 
shadow of the old regime, ( good-looking, substantial citizens . . 
men of weight and standing in the communities they represent/ sit 
'grim and silent.' 4 Without influence here, they have even less in 
Washington. Mingling with the negroes we see ferret-faced 
carpetbaggers, eager for spoils; and, in the rear, * Honest' John 
Patterson, vulture-eyed, calculating the prices of members. 
Two years hence he will reassure his kind with his classic state- 
ment that 'there are five years more of good stealing in South 
Carolina/ 5 

Moses is hammering for order, members are shouting to one 
another, ridiculing the man speaking, asking silly questions. 
Ordered to their seats, the disturbers flop down with uproarious 
laughter, their feet upon their desks. Then, like a jack-in-the-box, 

1 Interview by New YvrJc Herald correspondent, June IS, 1871. 

2 Pike, 15. a Nrid., 10. 4 lUd, f 13. 5 Reynolds, 229. 



854 ' . THE TRAGIC ERA 

up again. It is a lark, a camp-meeting. The oily carpetbaggers 
simulate a share in the hilarity, * Honest 3 John smiles approvingly, 
the little group of native whites exchange melancholy glances. 

And now a negro orator is speaking, fluently, with many- 
syllabled words, ludicrously misplaced, flowing mellifliiously, and 
there is cheering, laughing. And then, silence, for the most able 
and eloquent of the negroes, of whom we have heard in the salon, 
is on his feet. Men listened to Robert Brown Elliott, idol of the 
negroes, who did much to inflame their ambition and cupidity 
with disturbing speeches on social equality. Even the carpet- 
baggers are obsequious. Moses had barely defeated him for the 
Speakership, but patience, he will yet preside. Meanwhile, his 
cunning and eloquence are being converted into money. His 
domination of the Railroad Committee had stood him in good 
stead, and rumor bruited it abroad that large bribes from the 
railroads had found their way into his rapacious pockets. An 
able man, educated in England, with morals as low as those of 
Moses, a power in the State. 1 But Elliott was an exception, for 
most of the negroes were illiterate, their intellectual level 'that 
of a bevy of fresh converts at a negro camp-meeting/ 2 Some 
laboriously had learned to sign their names; many made their 
mark. When 'The Nation' asserted that eighty per cent could 
neither read nor write, and Tilton, of 'The Independent/ and the 
* Charleston Daily Republican 5 protested, 'The Nation 9 asked the 
latter to * inform us plumply what number of members were . . . 
able to read a page of the "Pilgrim's Progress" decently or intelli- 
gently/ 3 

Meanwhile, amid the cracking of peanuts, the shouting, laugh- 
ing, stamping, members are seen leaving and returning in a 
strange state of exaltation they come and go in streams. Let 
us follow the trail to the room adjoining the office of the clerk of 
the Senate. We learn that it is open from eight in the morning 
till two or four the next morning, and now, as we push in, it is 
crowded. A bar-room! Solons are discussing politics over spark- 
ling glasses of champagne, supplied by taxpayers. Here gallons 
of wine and whiskey are consumed daily. Members enter blear- 
eyed in the early morning for an eye-opener or a nightcap 

1 Reynolds, 86. * p& ej 17> 3 |^ ay 26> 1870> 



LAND AND OF 355 

some are too drunk to leave at 4 A.M. Champagne? Wine? 
Whiskey? Gin? Porter? Ale? and the member orders to his 
taste. Does a special brand of liquor or fine cigars appeal es- 
pecially? Boxes are ordered to the member's hotel or boarding- 
house. 1 "'One box of champagne, one box port wine, one box 
whiskey, one box brandy, one box sherry wine, three boxes cigars* 
this the order for one negro member. 2 When the chairman of 
the Claims Committee found one box of wine delivered to his lodg- 
ings, he indignantly wrote: 'This is a mistake; the order calls for 
two boxes of wine. Please send the other.' 3 None but the finest 
brand of cigars was tolerated, and members, leaving, usually filled 
their pockets. Because of the visitors, lobbyists, State officials, 
enough liquor was consumed to have given each member a gallon 
daily, with no less than a dozen cigars. 4 

Since even 'good men and true 5 could not live on wine alone, the 
State was taxed to supply the refreshment-room with Westphalia 
hams, bacon, cheese, smoked beef, buffalo tongue, nuts, lemons, 
oranges, cherries, peaches much of which found its way to 
hotels and boarding-houses and the homes of the mistresses. 5 
'The State has no right to be a State unless she can afford to take 
care of her statesmen/ said Senator C. P. Leslie. 6 Yes, and their 
wives and sweethearts, too. Thus much of the taxpayers 5 money 
went into tapestries, rugs, table linen, imported chignons, ladies' 
hoods, ribbons, hooks and eyes, extra long stockings, bustles, rich 
toilet sets; and white and dusky sirens found the Golden Age. 7 

A clubby crowd, too, these "loyal men* of South Carolina; for 
when Speaker Moses and Whipper, a negro member who owned 
fast horses, arranged a race on a thousand-dollar bet, and Moses 
lost, did not the Legislature within three days vote a gratuity to 
the Speaker to cover his loss, 'for the dignity and ability with 
which he has presided'? 8 

Now that darkness has come, we must see the night life of 
Columbia. Bar-rooms and dance-halls are crowded with negroes, 
and a sprinkling of whites. In hotels and boarding-houses, sharp- 
faced men converse with legislators in low tones; in rooms behind 

1 Fraztd Report, 9; Doc. Hist, u, 60. 2 James A. Bowley, Fraud Report, 10- 

8 Ibid. 4 Ibid., 13. 6 Doc. Hist., n, 61-69. 

Fraud Report, 8. 7 Ibid. 8 Pike, 199. 



356 THE TRAGIC EEA 

locked doors, legislation is being determined. The open sesame 
to legislative favor is the rattle of coin. Let us listen at the key- 
hole of one of the locked rooms, where the lawyer of a mining 
company is explaining to a negro member that he wants a charter 
for a mine. It will be good for the State and help the people, he 
explains. *What is the thing worth? 5 asks the member. 'It has 
not yet been tried, but we hope to make it profitable/ A burst of 
incredulous laughter from the legislator. * You are green; I mean 
what are you willing to pay to get the thing through? * *I am not 
willing to pay anything/ replies the lawyer. 'You are legislating 
for our people and we demand our rights/ The member explodes 
with laughter, and the lawyer rises indignantly and makes for the 
door. 1 Clearly the man was ' green/ as 'Honest' John Patterson 
could have told him. "How did you get your money? 5 asked 
James Pike 'of a legislator. *I stole it/ was the brazen reply. It 
was safe to make such admissions in South Carolina with Federal 
bayonets to sustain the system. 



Thus stealing was a virtue, with decent citizens submerged and 
silenced. The only public opinion necessary to conciliate was that 
of thieves. Robbers included men in politics and out. Public 
officials made common cause against the Treasury. When one of 
these was charged with stealing, he replied, *Let them prove it/ 2 
'The Nation' was informing the North that South Carolina was 
'almost completely at the mercy of white and black corruption- 
ists/ 3 

To sustain the system a party press was required; the corrup- 
tionists created one, and then stole public funds to subsidize it. 
These papers got public printing at outrageous rates, and then 
collected more than was called for by the contracts. Thus the 
'Charleston Republican 5 should have received $24,538.20 under 
the rates, and received $60,982.14; 4 the ' Columbia Daily Record ' 
should have received $17,174.05, and was paid $59,987.64. 5 
Enough was squandered on the party press to have furnished each 
voter with a bound volume of the laws. 6 When the 'Columbia 



* Doc. Hist., ii, 54-55. p^ 28 . 3 May 12> 1870> 

4 Fraud Report, 241. IW. t 242. Ibid., 248. 



LAND AND YEAR OF 357 

Union-Herald' found Itself neglected, it blackmailed the Ring into 
including it in the loot. 1 

The corruption in State bonds, criminally issued and divided 
among official gangsters, mounted into the millions, but bribery 
and bond-looting was not enough for this avaricious horde, which 
had recourse to the pay certificate steals. With thirty-five at- 
taches in the Senate, pay certificates were issued for three hundred 
and fifty. Senators demanded and received these 'for friends and 
party workers* in their counties, who had never pressed the side- 
walks of Columbia. 2 When Moses, the Speaker, required more 
funds for his debauchery and made out a pay certificate for 
twenty-five hundred dollars, Lieutenant-Go vernor Ransier refused 
to approve unless included. A conference followed, and the five 
thousand dollars made out to 'John Gershon/ for 'room rent, 
fees, etc., for the Joint Investigating Committee in New York,' 
was divided between the presiding deities of the two houses. 3 

When bribery, illegal bonds, pay certificates did not suffice, the 
thieves bethought themselves of furnishing the State House. 
Within four years a people on the verge of bankruptcy was 
forced to pay out more than two hundred thousand dollars for 
the purpose. There was a $750 mirror to reflect the dissipated 
face of Moses, clocks for members in their private rooms at $480, 
and two hundred cuspidors at eight dollars each, for the use of 
one hundred and twenty-four members. The quarters of Moses 
at Mrs. Randall's rooming-house were elegantly furnished at the 
State's expense. 4 And yet, on the expulsion of the Radicals from 
power, there was less than eighteen thousand dollars in furniture 
to account for the two hundred thousand dollars spent; the rest 
was in the homes of the members and their mistresses, 5 

Meanwhile, the North knew precisely what was going on, and 
when the Charleston Board of Trade served notice that bonds 
issued by the criminals would be repudiated, 'The Nation/ com- 
menting, said that 'any one who takes these bonds not only helps 
to sustain a pack of thieves . . . but takes a thoroughly bad 
security.' 6 Even Horace Greeley, a bit disturbed, was accusing 
carpetbaggers of preying on the credulity of the negroes. 7 

1 Fraud Report, 253-55. 2 lUd., 418. 3 Ibid., 394. 4 Ibid., 14. 8 Ibid, 

8 April 6, 1871. 7 New York Tribune, July 19, 1871, August 14, 1871. 



858 THE TRAGIC 

VI 

And how did the corruptionlsts sustain themselves? The elec- 
tion of 1870 gives the answer. Because of the preponderance of 
negroes, South Carolina from the first had been the happy hunt- 
ing ground of the Northern bandits. In 1870 there were 415,814 
negroes to 289,667 whites. In Charleston there were 26,173 
negroes; in Columbia, 5291. 1 These were not uniform in intelli- 
gence. Those on the coast and rivers were little above the intellec- 
tual level of the mules they drove. Even their jargon was unin- 
telligible to the stranger. With abysmal ignorance and strong 
passions, they were easily organized and used by the Leagues and 
carpetbaggers. 2 In Charleston, negroes with mechanical skill had 
accumulated property, and this was true in a less degree in 
Columbia. 3 This more intelligent class sought to improve itself 
economically, and, in a meeting called for the purpose four years 
before, politics had not been mentioned. 4 It was not with these 
that the Eadicals dealt. They soon found among the negroes 
men of cunning, cupidity, and some ability, with whom they 
affiliated for the control of the great mass of ignorance, and this 
mass dominated the State. The political power of Charleston was 
nullified through the merging of its vote with that of the swamp 
negroes within a radius of thirty miles. When Governor Scott 
entered his second campaign in 1870, his chief reliance was on the 
blacks. On these he could depend, for woe to the negro who, re- 
taining respect for the native whites, dared give them political 
favor. Negroes supporting the Democrats were constantly as- 
saulted. 5 When Stephen Biley, a former slave, joined the Demo- 
crats in 1868, he was repeatedly mobbed and beaten, and the 
Radicals chanted their contempt through the streets. 

*Oh Riley, lie am straight and tail, 
He hab no bone in de back, 
He bend and scrape to de white folks all, 
An' forget dat he am black.* 6 

But 1870 developed some disaffection under the leadership of 
Senator R, H. Cain, a Northern black, artful in mimicking the 

1 The Negro in South Carolina, 7. 2 Pike, 263, 265. 

3 The Negro in South Carolina, $9, 4 Pike, 35. 

5 Reynolds, 105. ' New York Herald, May II, 1871. 



LAND AND YEAR OF 359 

Southern negro. A preacher, he had made himself a power through 
the "Missionary Record 5 he edited, and bis vigorous personality* 
unbounded energy, and organizing capacity. 1 No one had ap- 
pealed more shamelessly to the lowest passions of his race or 
made more incendiary attacks upon the whites. Usually corrupt, 
though destined to be a Bishop, he pretended to be shocked by the 
scandals of the Scott regime, albeit his real grievance was the 
subordination of the negro to the carpetbagger. 2 * These long 
lank sharp-nosed gents may prepare for defeat/ he told his black 
audiences. *The colored people have been sold often enough/ 8 
To offset this flank attack, Scott had with him on the ticket as 
candidate for Lieutenant-Governor, A. J. Ransier, a negro with 
no prejudices against pillage. 4 Another advantage he had, too 
James Lawrence Orr, a distinguished Carolinian, once Speaker 
of the National House of Representatives, and former Governor, 
went over to the Republicans in the vain hope that the corrup- 
tionists would reform themselves. He was to be rewarded with the 
mission to Russia, where he was to die, and the flag of the Union 
League Club of New York was to be lowered to half-mast when his 
remains reached New York. 5 

Even so the bitterness of a degraded people had become appall- 
ing they were as a smouldering volcano. * There is one recourse 
when all is lost I mean the sword/ wrote Dr. Myron Baruch 
from Camden. 'What boots it to live under such a tyranny, such 
moral and physical oppression, when we can be much happier 
in the consciousness of dying for such a cause?' 6 The contempt 
for the scalawags had become cruel. Describing the deathbed of 
one of these, 'his couch not cheered by sympathizing friends or 
even loving relatives/ Dr. Baruch confessed to a feeling of sadness 
'to see men made completely callous to the call of humanity by 
political differences/ 7 

VII 

But the carpetbaggers under Scott were not alarmed; the 
bayonet was master of the ballot. Preaching the virtues of the 
Winchester rifle in a speech in Washington, Scott returned home to 

1 The Negro in South Carolina, 114. 2 Reynolds, 109. 

3 The Negro in South Qarolina, 193. * Ibid., 195-D6. / 

& Ibid., 1867. 8 Baruch MSS. 7 Ibid. 



360 THE TRAGIC ERA 

turn the negro militia loose upon the State at the beginning of the 
campaign. More than seven thousand rifles were distributed 
among negro militiamen, and the only white company was driven 
to disbandment by having a negro officer put over it. 1 These 
armed negroes were stationed in communities where opposition 
was most feared; and the constabulary force of five hundred men 
was sent with Winchesters into doubtful counties, whence it 
reported regularly to Scott, not on lawlessness, but on the course 
of the campaign. Rough, swaggering bullies, with badges and 
bayonets, they promised to overawe the whites. The negro 
militia drilled constantly, parading the streets with fixed bayonets, 
forcing citizens from the highway. Not satisfied with these, 
Scott imported from New York a gang of gunmen under * Colonel 9 
James E. Kerrigan, and, later, he and some of his men were to 
testify they had been employed to defend Scott and to kill his 
enemies. 2 When even these did not satisfy, Scott called on Grant 
for Federal troops, and these soon appeared to reenf orce the gun- 
men, the blustering constables, and the negro militia. The Presi- 
dent assured Scott of all the military assistance required. 

An amazing campaign, with Scott silent, depending on the guns. 
The negro nominee stumped the State with belligerent demands 
for social equality. 3 An appointee of the Governor exhorted the 
blacks to * defend their rights 5 with the suggestion that 'matches 
are cheap/ 4 "Taxes too high?' said Beverly Nash, negro, to an 
audience of thousands. 'I tell you they are not high enough. 5 5 
Colored men opposing Scott were beaten and divorced, for the 
women had been enlisted. The result was inevitable Scott, 
reflected by thirty thousand majority, plunged deeper than ever 
into pillage. It was after this that the railroad and furniture 
scandals reached their peak. Senator Robertson was reflected to 
the Senate the purchase price about forty thousand dollars. 8 

Such was South Carolina let us hurry on to Louisiana. 

VIII 

En route we may as well make a hurried trip to Tallahassee in 
Florida and visit a Legislature, now familiar, composed of swin- 



1 Beynolds, 136. * i m . t 1 5 . 3 Im . t 143. 

6 Pike, 224. e Keynolds, 158. 



LAND AND YEAR OF JUBILEE 361 

dlers, stealing on mileage and dancing ostentatiously on auction 
blocks. Here again we meet the infamous Littlefield, busy with 
his railroad steals, and prodigal as need be with his bribery funds. 
He is interested in the Georgia Railroad and the Tallahassee 
Railroad, and legislation is required. No one knows better how 
to get it. The hotels and boarding-houses are filled with shabby 
strangers, the meanest of the carpetbaggers drinking champagne, 
and the poorest in possession of the finest of beaver hats. The 
lordly Littlefield, amiably accessible, keeps his carriage at the 
hotel door to facilitate responses to eager calls from members of 
the Legislature. 1 Nights find bright lights and abundant whiskey 
in hotel rooms, whence members, won by money, stagger joy- 
ously. 2 Having sold a United States Senatorship, these importu- 
nate statesmen are now blackmailing the purchasers with threats 
of exposure, and money is again forthcoming. 3 Negro members, 
suspecting a sliding scale of bribery to their disadvantage, have 
caucused and named a ' smelling committee' to investigate and 
exact justice. 4 Even the Northern Radicals are a little embar- 
rassed by their leaders in Florida M. L. Stearns, who as a 
Freedmen's Bureau agent, had made free with Government pork 
and flour, and Harrison Reed, the Governor, who was something of 
a hypocrite and everything of a scamp. These odious parasites 
had played, as elsewhere, on the credulity of the blacks for power. 
Nights found the carpetbaggers campaigning on plantations, kiss- 
ing the babies, while the old black mammies fervently exclaimed, 
'I will vote ebery day foh dat man/ for *dat man is a good 'publi- 
can 5 ; and the carpetbaggers would piously reply, 'Jesus Christ 
was a Republican/ 5 'The worst imaginable spectacle that could 
afflict the eyes of anybody/ thought 'The Nation' in 1875. 6 
That was the year William D. Bloxham, former slave-owner, who 
voluntarily had built the first negro school on his plantation, 
stepped forth to give cohesiveness and courage to the opposition 
and to revive the spirit of the native whites in a brilliant campaign 
of denunciation. 7 
Florida was putrid. 

i Wallace, 102. 2 Ibid., 94. 3 Senator Gilbert, Wallace, 97-99. 

4 Ibid., 104. B Wallace, 63. 6 February 10, 1875. 

7 Wallace, 17. 



362 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Putrid, too, was Alabama, where we may pause a moment at 
Montgomery, and look in on its Legislature. We have heard of the 
scenes of the first sessions under reconstruction, with galleries, 
windows, and seats packed with negro spectators voting with the 
members with shouts and hysterical laughter, and with colored 
members sleeping in their chairs, eating peanuts, and, soaked with 
whiskey, quarreling, fighting, pursuing one another with murder- 
ous intent. 1 Well, conditions have not greatly changed. Less 
festivity, perhaps, more concentration on the main chance; for 
we are now shown a room set aside where the lobbyists can inter- 
view members in seclusion and distribute the bribe money. 2 In 
the Exchange Hotel we learn that the lobby maintains four rooms 
for entertainment and business. 3 The carpetbag members, all 
* loyal men, 9 have their prices. Speaker Harrington boasts he had 
received seventeen hundred dollars for getting one bill through; 
a Senator had a fixed price of five hundred dollars for railroad 
bills; another exacted twice that sum; and a leader got thirty-five 
thousand dollars for the successful management of a railroad bond 
issue, most of it sticking to his hands. 4 

Alabama was saturated with corruption. 

IX 

And even worse was Louisiana. Here, even when thieves fell 
out, honest men failed to get their due. New Orleans, the recon- 
struction capital, is a city of charm, Canal Street with its imposing 
width and partly grass-grown dais in the center dominating all, 
the streets in the business section paved with large blocks. Close 
to the levee on Canal Street looms the Custom-House, important 
in our story, built of Maine granite, and presided over by Collector 
Casey, brother-in-law of the President, with a reputation none 
too good. Somehow through all its miseries the city has managed 
to preserve something of its Gallic gayety. Young blades still 
speed their racers over the famous Shell Road, "straight as an 
arrow, hard as flint, and smooth as a backgammon board/ 5 
pausing for a cocktail or a sherry cobbler in the shade of fragrant 
trees at the road-houses. The nights are lively with balls and 

1 Fleming, 783. 2 Ibid. * I6id., 591-605. 

4 Ibid., 739-40. Somers, 193. 



LAND AND YEAR OF 363 

masquerades., and the gambling-houses are never deserted except 
on Sunday, when a pensive serenity descends upon the town. 

Here in the capital sits Henry Clay Warmoth, ruling with a rod 
of iron. No ordinary person, this dashing young soldier of fortune 
who had drifted into town as blithesomely as a Gascon of the 
fourteenth century ever moved on Paris with his sword. Born in 
Illinois, he had just begun the practice of the law in Missouri, 
when the war swept him into the army, and at the close, in light- 
hearted mood, he moved on to New Orleans, where Ms command- 
ing person, courtly manners, and genius for politics smoothed his 
path to political preferment. His enemies have said he was penni- 
less when he reached the city; he himself insists he had enough, and 
had entered at once on a lucrative practice of Ms profession. 1 In 
the beginning it was all a lark caucuses, conferences, were to 
his liking, and, besides, was not tMs the land of the plum tree? 
The negroes, attracted to the merry young blade, elected Mm to 
Congress before the State's Representatives, were admitted, and 
he sallied forth to Washington to be cordially received by the 
Republican leaders and turned away. But it was ordained of 
destiny that he should have bigger fish to fry. When the Grand 
Army of the Republic was organized in Louisiana, he was made 
Grand Commander, and a few weeks later, at the age of twenty- 
six, he was elected Governor. His enemies soon were to comment 
significantly on his capacity to save one hundred thousand dollars 
a year on a salary of eight thousand dollars and to accumulate a 
million in four years. 2 But an English tourist, who found Mm *a 
young man of spirit and ability/ observed that c his wealth, if the 
wages of corruption, had been so deftly acquired that no one can 
lay his finger on the spot.'' 3 

The Legislature we find sitting in Mechanics 5 Hall is typical 
of the others we have seen in the land of jubilee. Here, presiding 
over the House, we find a shrewd, unscrupulous, audacious youth 
of twenty-six, Carr of Maryland. 4 And such scenes! The lobbies 
teem with laughing negroes from the plantations, with wMtes of 
the pinch-faced, parasitic type; and negro women in red turbans 
peddle cakes and oranges to the very doors of the chambers. 

1 Warmoth, MS. Reminiscences. 2 H. E. Report, 92-94, 42d Cong., 2d Sess. 

3 Somers, 228. 4 Ibid., 24. 



364 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Within, some coal-black members, but most of lighter hue, 
though Lieutenant-Goyernor Dunn, presiding over the Senate, is 
a black. 1 The abysmally ignorant eschew debate, some of the 
coal-blacks speak incoherently. It is a monkey-house with 
guffaws, disgusting interpolations, amendments offered that are 
too obscene to print, followed by shouts of glee. 2 Bad in the 
beginning, the travesty grows worse. The vulgarity of the 
speeches increases; members stagger from the basement bar to 
their seats. The Speaker in righteous mood sternly forbids the 
introduction of liquor on the floor. 3 A curious old planter stands in 
the galleries a moment looking down upon the scene, and with an 
exclamation, 'My God! 5 he turns and runs, as from a pestilence, 
into the street. Visitors from the North organize * slumming 
expeditions ' to the Legislature or go as to a zoo. A British member 
of Parliament, asking if there are any curiosities in the city, is 
taken forthwith to Mechanics' Hall. 4 

Corruption is inevitable, and members openly charged with 
bribery are not offended. 'I want to know how much the gentle- 
man gets to support this bill/ demands one member of another, 
and it is not an insult. 6 Measures involving millions, many 
criminal, and having to do with railroads, canals, and levees, are 
passed without examination, and members vote vast sums into 
their pockets openly, defiantly. The mileage and per diem for 
members and clerks leap from a quarter of a million in 1869 to 
half a million the next year. Careless with the people's money? 
Preposterous. 'What we give to the community, 5 exclaims an 
outraged member ' What we give to the community is without 
money and without price. It is so valuable that the price can- 
not be fixed there is no standard/ 'I should like to know/ 
says another, 'if there is a good thing, in the name of God, why 
not let the representatives of the State of Louisiana have a hand 
in it.' 6 When the Appropriation Bill reduces the printing bill to a 
mere one hundred and forty thousand dollars a tearful plea that 
legislators 'open their hearts' and embrace more newspapers 
brings an amendment adding sixty thousand dollars. 7 

1 Somers, 226-27. * Lonn, 23. Ibid., 25. 

4 Ibid., 26. 5 Ibid., 28. Lonn, 80. 

7 Ibid., 31, 



LAND AND YEAR OF 365 

For In Louisiana, too, the party press is heavily subsidized out 
of the Treasury. The Board of Printing Commissioners, domi- 
nated by the Governor, had been a godsend to Warmoth, who 
sent his agents to edit papers to which contracts were given, and, 
as fourth owner of the 'New Orleans Republican,' the chief bene- 
ficiary, he profited both politically and financially. Through his 
subsidized press he brought pressure to bear in favor of four 
measures intended to give him dictatorial power and prolong his 
reign. The Registration Bill made every parish registration offi- 
cial his minion, and gave them power to accept or reject votes 
without interference from the courts. Thus he could determine 
nominations. The Election Bill superseded sheriffs on election 
day with Warmoth*s appointees, forbade the courts to interfere, 
'and authorized him to deny certificates of election to successful 
candidates as he saw fit; and all this was climaxed by the creation 
of a returning board composed of members of the machine specified 
in the bill itself. The Constabulary Bill authorized Warmoth to 
name a chief constable in each parish who could name a deputy, 
and these were absolute. And the Militia Bill empowered him to 
organize and equip as many men as he wished and placed one 
hundred thousand dollars at his disposal for the purpose. 1 

These four revolutionary measures were the concentrated 
essence of Radicalism. The people in mass meeting protested 
violently, speakers denouncing the measures as designed for 
plunder and the perpetuation of pillage, and attacks on the 
legislators favoring them were greeted with cries of 'Kill them!' 
and 'Lynch them!' But behind the Legislature was Warmoth; 
behind him his militia and constables; and behind them Federal 
bayonets and the laws went into operation. 



But Warmoth had created a Frankenstein monster, and aroused 
the fiends of jealousy. His was a power worth fighting for, and in 
the Republican Convention of 1870 the struggle began. The 
Custom-House crowd, with the negro Lieutenant-Governor as 
its candidate, defeated Warmoth for the chairmanship, and almost 

1 In his MS. Reminiscences Warmoth says the Returning Board Law was *a dangerous 
LW J making possible the absolute control of elections. 



366 THE TRAGIC 

defeated a resolution endorsing Ms administration. 1 Never, how- 
ever, had Warmoth seemed stronger than when the Legislature 
met In January, 1871, with Ms Speaker packing the House com- 
mittees with Warmoth men, and with his followers in the Sen- 
ate depriving the Lieutenant-Governor of power and packing 
the committees there with minions of the Governor. But he 
had undergone a strange metamorphosis. He vetoed a gigantic 
swindling levee scheme in which members were financially inter- 
ested. The House raged and overrode the veto in a tempestuous 
session, but in the Senate the steal was stopped, and the defeated 
corraptionists turned on Speaker Mortimer Carr for vengeance. 
Bargaining with Democrats to seat their contested members in 
return for votes to unseat Carr, the latter was forced out, and an 
enemy of Warmoth, not one whit better, became the commanding 
figure of the House. 'Thus/ said the 'New York Tribune/ *by 
taking advantage of an outburst of virtuous indignation among a 
gang of thieves . . . was laid the foundation of ... the first system- 
atic organization in opposition to the power of Governor War- 
moth.' 2 

The defeat of the senatorial ambitions of Collector Casey by the 
Warmoth forces intensified the feud, 3 and the Governor's new- 
found passion for reform poured in as many as thirty-nine vetoes, 
only five of which were overridden. 4 Thus Warmoth stopped steals 
the veto of the Paving Bill alone saving the people a million and 
a half. Manifestly this man would not do. 5 When the session of 
1871 cost $958,956.50, where the average cost before reconstruc- 
tion had been one hundred thousand dollars, Warmoth denounced 
the squandering on extra mileage, on services never rendered, on 
publications in obscure newspapers, some of which did not exist, 
on elegant stationery, and on champagne. 6 It was civil war. 

Speedily came the clash of the Republican factions as, fighting 
viciously, they lunged toward the Convention of August, 1871. 
Bribery and bludgeons now played their part, with hired ruffians 
smashing meetings with clubs. When Casey added five hundred 

1 Lonn, 74. 2 December I, 1871. 

^ a Warmoth had agreed to support Casey if Grant, reputed to be interested, should ask 
him. MS. Reminiscences. 

4 Warmoth in his MS. Reminiscences says 'more than seventy. 
6 Lonn, 78. lUd. t 80. 



LAND AND YEAR OF 867 

names to the payroll of the National Government, Warmoth 
added as many to the city payroll. 1 The 'morning of the conven- 
tion found business suspended everywhere. Casey had -called the 
convention for the Custom-House, Warmoth for the State House. 
Casey prevailed, with the energetic assistance of Gatling guns and 
Federal marshals, and Warmoth and his followers held a conven- 
tion of their own. The Custom-House crowd read Warmoth out 
of the party, and Casey sent an explanatory message to Grant, 
his brother-in-law, at Long Branch. 2 A little later, the Warmoth 
delegation of whites and blacks reached Long Branch to make 
their explanation. The negroes were sparkling with diamond 
breastpins, as they pounded the pavement with their gold-headed 
canes, but Grant was visibly annoyed when they reached his 
cottage. Brusquely ordering an Associated Press reporter from 
the room, he received them coldly. He could not see what harm 
United States soldiers could do to a Republican convention and 
said so. 3 Standing by a piano, he listened impatiently to the 
reading of the petition, once banging the piano with his elbow. 
Once he stamped his foot, and the committee left convinced that 
Grant was committed to Casey. Consoling themselves with a 
feast at the Sans-Souci Beer Saloon, they hurried to New York 
and the war was on. Soon Warmoth will be leading the Republican 
insurgents in the campaign of 1872. 4 

Meanwhile, the propertied citizens of Louisiana could see none 
of the humor of the situation. Under confiscatory taxation, 
numerous parishes were seeing tracts of the richest land going 
under the tax collector's hammer at a dollar an acre. In numerous 
instances buyers could not be found at that price because of the 
taxes. Real estate had declined twenty-five per cent in value. 5 
It was costing half a million a year to collect six and a half million. 
Ruin everywhere enforced by Federal marshals, backed, if 
need be, by Federal soldiers. The school system was a wreck. 6 

XI 

Let us turn away and visit Mississippi. Jackson, the capital, 
impressed an English traveler with its 'many private residences 

i New York Tribune, December 1, 1871; Lorai, 97. 2 Loira, 96-104. 

3 Warmoth, MS. Reminiscences. 4 New York World, September 0, 1871, 

Lonn, 84. 8 Ibid., 81-82. 



368 THE TRAGIC ERA 

denoting a large proportion of people of taste and culture. 9 1 
Vicksburg and Natchez were in the shadows, and Meridian, 
sprawling oyer sandy mounds, the ridges covered with yellow 
pines, was growing rapidly because of the influx of negroes. 2 
Adelbert Ames, as Military Governor, had taken possession of the 
State House and Executive Mansion in the fashion of Bombastes 
Furioso, to rule supreme, and to pass on to the Senate to make 
way for James L. Alcorn, a handsome, vain, imperious planter of 
property, with forensic qualities of no mean order. But the Senate 
soon claimed him, too, and soon he and Ames will be found in a 
death struggle for Republican leadership. Though a native, there 
is little that Alcorn can do he has a Legislature, too. Nearly 
forty former slaves, forced to make their mark, are enacting laws 
in the spirit of a lark. These represent the wealthiest and most 
aristocratic counties. The carpetbaggers lead; these simple souls 
follow trustingly. A carpetbagger from New York, Dr. Frank- 
lin, sits in the Speaker's chair. The old governing element is 
hopeless, though a few determined spirits like J. Z. George still 
hope and plan. The gentle Lamar, depressed, is standing by the 
gate of his cottage at Oxford in the twilight, looking sadly across 
the solemn fields, watching his neighbors passing in the middle of 
the road for safety. 

Now let us cross over to Arkansas, the baronry of the most 
astute and stern of the carpetbaggers, Powell Clayton, who has 
just retired as Governor to enter the Senate, but whose work lives 
after him. No cowardly mediocrity he, but a daring, resourceful, 
unscrupulous man of vaulting ambition, with a touch of genius. 
A brave soldier, even when he dismounted and laid the sword 
aside he remained a cavalry dare-devil. The fighting had taken 
him into Arkansas, and when the firing ceased he settled on a 
plantation and remained. From that point of vantage, he cun- 
ningly studied the situation, and at the psychological moment 
he grasped his opportunity. Gathering the negroes and carpet- 
baggers behind him, he seized on power. Coldly calculating, un- 
sympathetic to suffering, autocratic, impatient of opposition or 
restraint, he ruled for three yfears as an absolute monarch. The 
argus-eyed Henry Watterson observed him critically. 'The dis- 

1 Somers, 248. 2 /^ 159. 



LAND AND YEAR OF JUBILEE 369 

tance between him and Washington, his friendliness to the 
Government, the ease with which his acts could be concealed, 
made him bold and careless. He knew his game. Clayton's 
policy was extermination. Nothing could divert him. He is not 
a milksop,, but a man of genius and his field is fruitful/ l His was 
the master mind that organized the Republican Party in Arkan- 
sas, that directed the framing of the constitution, making a despot 
of the Governor; and he took the governorship. He waved his 
wand, and a system emerged that destroyed civil liberty, and re- 
duced overwhelming majorities to impotency. 2 This Clayton 
system reserved the loaves and fishes for the carpetbaggers alone. 
Adventurers from abroad, including the Governor and two 
Senators, controlled the executive department, the courts, the 
Treasury, the military power. 3 Nowhere such concentration of 
power as in the hands of Clayton. He distributed printing 
patronage to party papers, exacting as a consideration absolute 
obedience to his will. In him was lodged the power to award 
millions c in aid of railroads, and he demanded that aid be given. 4 
His militia was so tied up with registration as to make it a 
partisan army. In one campaign he set aside the registration in 
eleven counties, ten with heavy Democratic majorities, on the 
ground of * interference with registration. 3 By the waving of his 
wand, this cavalryman wiped out a Democratic majority of almost 
three thousand. 5 When the people grumbled, he evoked the sword. 
His militia was frankly an instrument of party, his followers 
having demanded an instrument that f would strike early and 
strike hard.' The 'Daily Republican* boldly proclaimed that of 
course the militia was to be armed to enforce the policies of the 
party. 8 Immediately the negroes were enlisted and armed with 
the approval of Washington. The Republican Congressional 
Executive Committee was sending assurance that Federal troops 
were at Clayton's service whenever he declared martial law. The 
Northern press was being fed with stories of * outrages* in Arkan- 
sas. Soon the proclamation of martial law; soon two thousand 

1 Louisville Courier-Journal, January 25, 1869; quoted, Doc. Hist., n, 38-40. 

2 Staples, 278. 

3 'Arkansas Gazette, December 22, 1869; quoted, Doc. Hist, n, 279, 

4 Clayton, 28-49. * Staples, 287, 
6 April 20, 1868, quoted, Staples, 288. 



370 THE TRAGIC 

undisciplined negroes were preying on the people of ten counties, 
stealing, arresting, imprisoning, executing, looting Iiouses 5 and 
occasionally violating women. Clayton soon was sending the 
officers lists of men to be arrested, with the comment that many of 
them could be executed. 'It is absolutely necessary that some 
example be made,' he wrote. 1 So infamous did the brutality be- 
come that the 'Daily Republican 5 bitterly denounced the pro- 
ceedings, but when he was disciplined by his removal from the 
Speakership of the House, and deprived of public printing, the 
editor made a hasty recantation with the inspiring statement that 
'we'll make Arkansas Republican or a waste howling wilderness/ 2 
This political army, mobilized for partisan war, cost the people 
$330,676.43. 3 

With a military autocrat as Governor, with terror spread by 
gun-men from the mountains, and armed negroes posing as 
militia, with no recourse to the ballot, the people, oppressed with 
unbearable taxation, have no recourse to the courts for these 
too are packed with the tools of the system. Chief Justice John 
McClure, a notorious carpetbagger, is boasting of his guilt of 
bribery, editing the * Daily Republican* from his chambers, and 
handling the slush funds for the debauchery of the Legislature. 4 

xn 

Our Southern survey is over. We have met and mingled with 
the loyal men, and observed the saturnalia of corruption every- 
where. To understand the times, we must bear in mind that 
distinguished statesmen in Washington, honored with monuments 
to-day, were loudly defending the Scotts, the Moseses, Bullocks, 
Warmoths, Caseys, Ameses, and Claytons; that pious women 
in Northern villages, shamefully deceived, were praying for the 
success of these 'good men and true. 3 But some were growing 
weary of the sordid game, and Greeley, in the fall of 1871, was 
giving warning: 'Men and brethren, there is to be a general over- 
hauling of pretensions, a sweeping-out of dark corners, a dragging 
to light of hidden iniquities the coming winter. If there be those 
who dread such an ordeal, they may wisely put an ocean between 
them and the scene of their misdoings without delay/ 5 

1 Staples, 290; Doc. Hist., n, 73. * Staples, 302. 3 Ibid., 305. 

4 Staples, 365. 6 New York Tribune, November 13, 1871. 



XVIII 
THE RADICAL RANKS BREAK 

i 

/CONGRESS met In December in an atmosphere heavily 
\^/ charged with cynicism and corruption. The lobby was more 
than ever open and insolent, that of the railroads, under the vig- 
ilant eye of Tom Scott, the most brazen and defiant of all. A cor- 
respondent suggested that Congress permanently adjourn with an 
explanatory placard on the door: 'The business of this establish- 
ment will be done hereafter In the office of the Pennsylvania Rail- 
road/ Indeed, several of its attorneys were In Congress, and not a 
few press correspondents on its payroll. It was generally assumed 
that the Pacific Railroad had scored a triumph in the substitution 
of Williams, of Oregon, for Akerman as Attorney-General. 1 

Since the adjournment of Congress there had been colorful ex- 
posures of corruption in New York, the scandals involving the 
local Democratic organization In the case of Tweed, the National 
Republican organization in the case of Murphy and the Custom- 
House. Reformers had appeared In both parties to slay the dragon 
and the Democrats under Samuel J. Tilden and Charles O'Conor 
won. The Republican reformers went down before the Grant 
forces under the dynamic leadership of Conkling in the State 
Convention. Tweed was exposed and arrested, and of the two 
Democrats who led the fight against him, one was to be nominated 
as the straight-out Democratic candidate for President within a 
year, and the other was to be the presidential nominee of a united 
party In 1876. 

The triumph over the Custom-House Ring was not so easy. 
The Collector had been a personal appointee of the President, who 
had not consulted either Senator from New York. Tom Murphy 
had won his way to Grant's affections by his familiarity with 
horses. Bad as he was, he found he had inherited a worse system, 
due again to Grant's inability to judge men. 

1 New Forfe World, January 1, 1872. 



372 THE TRAGIC ERA 

Learning of Grant's Intention to appoint Moses Grinnell as 
Collector, a former member of Grant's staff, named Leet, with, the 
rank and pay of a colonel of the army, had solicited from the 
President a letter of introduction to Grinnell. It was with the pre- 
sentation of this letter that the latter first learned of his appoint- 
ment; and when Leet confidently requested the 'general order' 
business, Grinnell, assuming some connection between the letter 
and the request, agreed. It seemed to be an order from the 
President. When only a part of the business was assigned, Leet 
threatened the new Collector with dismissal, and the whole was 
given. The result was a wholesale looting of importers. They were 
forced to send their goods to the Leet warehouses and pay a 
month's storage, though the goods remained in the houses but a 
day. Soon Leet and his associates were reaping a rich harvest, im- 
porters were bitterly complaining, and Chicago merchants im- 
porting from Europe were using the Montreal route to escape the 
outrageous charges in New York. The New York merchants were 
wroth over the destruction of the commerce of the city and 
nothing was done to stop it. 1 This is the system Murphy had 
inherited. 

In the summer of 1871, in the midst of the clamor of the mer- 
chants, Tom Murphy was Grant's veritable shadow at Long 
Branch. 'If Grant goes to New York,' wrote a correspondent, 
'Torn puts in an appearance en route. If the President goes out for 
a walk, Tom accidentally meets him.. If Grant wants to take a 
peep at Monmouth Park Stables to look at the race-horses, Tom 
decides to look at them also.' 2 That was the summer Murphy 
opened a restaurant in the Custom-House in a room adjoining his 
office, where 'Leet and Stocking scored their great victory over 
Grinnell in securing the general order business,' and 'champagne 
flowed like water.' 3 

With the election approaching, the grumbling increasing, and 
merchants clamoring for an investigation, the Administration 
was forced to part with Murphy, though with frank reluctance, 
and Chester A. Arthur was appointed his successor in the latter 
part of November. Grant, in accepting Murphy's resignation, 

1 New York World, August 30, 1871. 2 Ibid., June 6, 1871. 

3 Ibid., July 27, 1871. 



THE RADICAL RANKS 373 

paid tribute to 'the efficiency, honesty, and zeal* with which he 
had ' administered the office/ and this shocked the sensitive. 
Even the appointment of Arthur, destined to the Presidency, was 
no reassurance to Greeley. ' The General/ he wrote, 'will be in the 
Custom-House a personal burlesque upon Civil Service Reform. 
He recently held a ten-thousand-dollar Tammany office from 
which he was only driven by the * Tribune's * exposure; and he is a 
devoted servant of the Murphy clique; but he is not personally an 
objectionable man. 3 * The abandonment of Murphy failed to pre- 
vent a congressional investigation, but it was noted that Ad- 
ministration Senators viciously cross-examined witnesses giving 
damaging testimony of which there was an abundance and 
that Senator Howe, cross-examining one important witness, had 
Leet at his side to prompt him. 2 

Then, in the midst of the investigation the bizarre James Fisk 
died in his seraglio, for love of a tainted lady, and 'The Tribune' 
said "his four-in-hand conveyed more spotted reputations than his 
own/ and 'his box at the Opera House was shunned as if infected 
by all who had any character to lose. 5 It was a back-hand slap at 
Grant, and 'The World* maliciously observed that he had been 
conveyed behind the 'four-in-hand' and had sat in the box "with- 
out fear of infection.' 3 

Thus the embarrassments of the Administration multiplied. 
The Custom-House mess had left a frightful stench, and 'The 
Nation y turned on the President. For two years, it said, while the 
abuses continued and merchants were protesting, 'he gave no sign 
of displeasure, paid no attention to the complaints . . . and let Leet 
go on for nearly two years preying on the commerce of the port till 
a second congressional investigation, obtained with great difficulty, 
and the savage assaults of the press on the eve of an election made 
the change we have just witnessed imperatively necessary.* 4 Soon 
the corruptionists and their respectable partisan apologists were 
whimpering that 'the public is tired of these Investigations/ and 
Godkin was surmising that 'the public, tired as it is, will endure as 
many more as may be necessary/ 5 Grant had developed a per- 

1 New York Tribune, November 21, 1871. 

2 New York World, January 5, 1872. 3 January 9, 1872. 

14, 1872, * The Natim, May 2, 1872. 



374 THE TEAGIC 

secutlon complex, and Mrs. Elaine observed at dinner that he 
* talked incessantly about himself 5 and felt 'dreadfully assailed/ l 
The investigation trailed along in the slime, but nothing hap- 
pened. 

ii 

Then it was that Sumner offered his resolution for an investiga- 
tion of the charge that American officials not only had violated the 
law of neutrality in the Franco-Prussian War, by selling arms to 
France, but had profited by the transaction. Nothing was to come 
of this either nothing but a deeper cleavage in the Republican 
ranks through the bitter debate. The investigating committee was 
packed, Schurz and Trumbull excluded, two carpetbaggers in- 
cluded, and but one Democrat selected. The brilliant debate was 
as appallingly bitter as those of the factions in the death struggles 
of the French Revolution. The dramatic climax was in Conkling's 
eloquent defense, and Schurz's crashing reply. Ladies of fashion 
occupied the seats of Senators as they spoke. These extraordinary 
men were well balanced, and not dissimilar, both polished orators, 
viper-tongued in verbal combat, striking in appearance, and both 
with a bit of the peacock strut. Running through, and dominating, 
the speeches was the political note it was the opening skirmish 
in the campaign of 1872. It was evident that the Administration 
was worried by the possible effect of Schurz's disaffection on 
the German vote. 

'The Senator will take no offense, I hope, at my reading an ex- 
tract from a German paper published in Chicago, the "Staats 
Zeitung," ' said Conkling. 

*Yes, sir, 3 replied Schurz, amidst laughter, 'and it is edited by 
the collector of internal revenue there/ 

When Conkling explained that he read the extracts to show how 
the actions of the Senate affected the minds of the people, Schurz 
corrected him: "the minds of revenue collectors/ he said. 2 

Accused of endangering party prospects, Schurz replied with 
spirit the next day. Danger to the party? 'It lies with the 
sycophants who, by covering up every abuse . , . defending every 

1 To Walker Blaine, February 18, 1872, Letters, I, 90. 

2 Congressional Globe, 42d Congress, 2d Sess., Appendix, 58-66. 



THE RADICAL RANKS 375 

violation of the law . , . have produced , . . an atmosphere in which 
corruption can grow and thrive/ Conkling had said no one owned 
the Germans. *No politician owns them/ said Schurz ? *BO Sena- 
tors do; not even the President of the United States; but least of 
all are the Germans of this country owned by that class of politi- 
cians who desperately cling to the skirt of power through what- 
ever mire that skirt may be trailed 5 and the galleries cheered, 1 

Schurz's closing defiance of the party whip was accepted by 
Morton as a challenge, and he wielded it as vigorously as Stevens 
at Ms best. When he said he was informed that the first break 
of Schurz with the President was over patronage, the German- 
American authorized him to tell his informant * on my own author- 
ity, and on my own responsibility, that he lies/ Such was the 
savagery of the debate. Insisting that the arms sale was merely a 
hook on which to hang a political attack on the Administration, 
Morton closed with a furious assault on the Liberal Republicans. 2 
But he was nonplussed when Trumbull entered the debate on the 
political side, attacking the Administration's hostility to investiga- 
tions, and hotly denouncing the attempt to prevent disclosures in 
the Custom-House frauds by warning witnesses they * would be 
prosecuted themselves as participants in the frauds they expose/ 3 

It was at this time that Morton, in a long personal letter, re- 
ferred to the insurgents as * soreheads/ and explained tow the 
Administration took over the investigating committee. The whole 
thing was intended as a "Smut Machine/ The press correspond- 
ents were 'from some cause unfriendly to the Administration/ 
The 'malcontents' had 'fired off their ammunition at a very early 
day and nobody has been hurt/ Indeed, c Grant is stronger than 
ever/ 4 But a little later, Morton was compelled to report that the 
struggle is still going on/ with 'Summer, Schurz, and Trumbull . . . 
doing all in their power to divide and distract the party/ Trum- 
bull had 'surprised everybody by a speech , - . in which he gave 
his adherence to the Missouri movement.' He had * displayed more 
feeling 5 than Morton 'ever before saw him manifest upon the 
floor/ 5 

1 Congressional Globe, 42d Congress, 2d Sess., Appendix, 67-74. 2 Ibid., 74-88. 

s Ibid., 8fc-87. 4 Morton MSS., to Simon Powell, December 19, 1871. 

6 lUd., February 26, 1872. 



376 .THE TRAGIC EEA 

Even so, Tmmbull's adhesion to the Insurgent movement was 
not of recent origin. Two months before, lie had written privately 
that only Grand Army members and office-holders were satisfied 
with Grant, whose * indecent interference in Missouri and Louisi- 
ana, . . . disgusting nepotism, . . . indefensible course in regard to 
San Domingo, and recent complimentary letter to Collector 
Murphy have produced the conviction he is intellectually and 
morally unqualified for his present position. 9 l 

Even among those certain to be regular there were grave mis- 
givings on the reaction to Grant's renomination. Garfield confi- 
dentially admitted he looked "forward with positive dread to the 
work that will be required ... to defend him from the criticisms 
which will certainly be made upon his course/ Too bad, he 
thought, that the Administration should be run by ' a few Senators 
who represent a low level of American politics, such men as 
Cameron, Chandler, Morton, and Conkling.' 2 

Meanwhile, the spirit of insurgency was moving toward the 
Cincinnati Convention. 

in 

The Liberal Eepublican movement, having its origin in the 
party divisions in Missouri over the removal of the political disa- 
bilities of those who had sympathized with the South during the 
war, was, in its broader aspects, a general revolt against privilege 
and corruption. It came as a protest against a system of taxation 
which tended to the monopolization of industry and to the ad- 
vantage of one industry over another. A conference of Republican 
tariff reformers had met in Washington to discuss the possibilities 
of a union of the Republican revenue reformers with the Demo- 
crats to capture the House of Representatives. Learning of the 
call of the meeting, Blaine, the Speaker, hastened to Chicago to 
promise Horace White, of the 'Chicago Tribune,' two tariff re- 
formers on the Ways and Means Committee, thus giving them a 
majority. He kept his word, and even urged reform himself, but 
to no avail. Even so, the tariff was not the only cause of discontent 
the reformers wished to end the miserable misrule of the South, 
reform the civil service, purge the Government of corruption. It 

* Horace White, 371. * TO Hall, Life of Garfield, I, 498. 



THE EADICAL BANKS 377 

was a major movement against the dominant party as organized 
and entrenched. In the early autumn of 1871, Schim was urging 
Summer to revolt, because his party was 'ruled by selfish interests' 
and it would be impossible to prevent Grant's renomination, since 
'the men who surround him will stop at nothing/ As for himself, 
he would not support Grant, nor the Democrats. The way out was 
through a third party. 1 This thought had been behind all the 
heavy skirmishing in Congress. Thus came the Liberal Republican 
movement, built on the theory that the nomination of a candidate 
not obnoxious to the Democrats would secure their endorsement. 

Under these conditions the most intelligent liberal sentiment of 
the country turned to Charles Francis Adams. A Democrat him- 
self in early life, he had gone over to the Whigs on the slavery 
question In 1836. As our Minister to England during the war, he 
had brilliantly measured up to his obligations, and, returning to 
America in 1868, he had escaped entanglements with the early 
reconstruction policies. As the foremost American arbitrator of 
the Alabama claims, he had greatly extended his reputation In 
diplomacy. His background was perfect one of culture, scholar- 
ship, statesmanship, and varied experience in the public service. 
No one of his day symbolized so completely the fine austerity of 
the early Republic. With an instinctive sense of right and wrong, 
he had the courage of Ms convictions. Never an intense partisan, 
he had been completely out of harmony with his party's policies 
from the close of the war. Indifferent to office, he had unhesitat- 
ingly responded to every call to public duty. On the tariff and 
civil service reform, on corruption and reconstruction, he was more 
In accord with the Democrats than any Republican of his day. 
His son has painted his portrait in a paragraph, disclosing a man 
* singular for mental poise absence of self-assertion or self- 
consciousness the faculty of standing apart without seeming 
aware that he was alone a balance of mind and temper that 
neither challenged nor avoided notice, nor admitted question of 
superiority or inferiority, of jealousy or personal motives, from any 
source, even from great pressure. 3 2 The very absence of the con- 
ventionalities of a politician made him the ideal leader for the Op- 
position. 'It has always been obvious that Mr. Adams would be 

1 Schurz, Reminiscences, 338. 2 Education of Henry Adams, 37. 



378 THE TRAGIC ERA 

among the best of Presidents/ wrote Manton Marble, of the 'New 
York World/ to Schurz, and he 'has been growing during the last 
few months into the best of candidates/ l August Belmont, Demo- 
cratic National Chairman, had written in a similar vein. 2 In March 
the Democratic organ had said that 'no one would more surely 
restore to the [Presidency] the dignity it possessed in the better 
days of the Republic.' 3 When attacks were made upon Adams, it 
was 'The World* that went to his defense. An Eastern man? 'He 
has not merely a national but a European reputation [and] he no 
more belongs to Massachusetts than to Washington or Virginia/ 
Cold? 'This is but another way of saying that Mr. Adams is not a 
demagogue/ 4 When he wrote his super-independent letter declin- 
ing to be 'negotiated for/ and the 'New York Times 3 described 
it as 'throwing a few sentences of bitter contempt into the faces 
of the scheming politicians/ the 'Boston Globe' interpreted it 
as a 'covert bid for the support of the Democratic Party'; the 
'Springfield Republican' thought it would set all revolutionary 
blood tingling; 5 * The World ' hailed it as evidence of 'the elevation 
and moral robustness of the man/ 6 Thus one thing was evident 
no man could be named so calculated to appeal to Democrats when 
victory rested with their rank and file. After Adams, the best ap- 
peal would have been made with Trumbull or Justice David 
Davis; because the first was fundamentally a Democrat, and, 
though tarred with reconstruction, had found his way to the 
mourners' bench, and the latter's decision in the Milligan case was 
a fine exposition of the Democratic position on the supremacy of 
the civil power. 

The Convention met, and Schurz opened the proceedings with a 
powerful speech. But what a conglomerate mass of incongruities 
sat before him! 'Long-haired and spectacled doctrinaires from 
New England*; 'short-haired and stumpy emissaries from New 
York'; 'brisk Westerners'; and 'a few overdressed persons from 
New Orleans, brought up by Governor Warmoth/ 7 a conven- 
tion composed of 'delegates without constituencies/ 8 The leaders, 

1 Horace White, 373. 2 Ibid., 373; Schurz, Reminiscences, 344. 

3 New York World, March 14, 1872. 4 April 24, 1872. 

6 Quoted, New York World, April 25, 1872. Ibid. 

7 Marse Henry, I, 242. 

8 Thurman MSS., Robert Chinselet to Thurman, May 7, 1872. 



RADICAL BANKS 379 

most of them amateurs In practical politics Bowles, Halstead, 
Watterson, and White undertook to manage the convention ac- 
cording to blue-prints. They resolved to confine the nomination 
to Adams or Trumbull, until Whitelaw Reid persuaded Watterson 
to include Greeley. Gliding among the delegates in the interest of 
the sage of Chappaquack was the debonair figure of Theodore 
Tilton. The stage was set just right according to the theorists. 1 
Judge Davis should be eliminated, said the gentlemen of the quill. 
Thus the pens of Watterson, Halstead, Bowles, and White moved 
feverishly one night, and the next day public opinion seemed 
unanimous, with editorials from widely separated cities pro- 
nouncing Davis's doom. The mimic politicians imitated the real- 
ists, mingling, meeting in their various rooms to drink and smoke. 
It was Watterson who first began to doubt the efficacy of their 
dreams. Colonel Alexander K. McClure had piqued their curiosity 
by his seeming cultivation of the group about the bottle, until, at 
length, Watterson blurted out, 'What in the devil do you want 
anyhow?* "What? 5 snorted McClure. "With those cranks? No- 
thing.' 2 A declaration of principles? What principles? There 
were as many principles as delegates, each of these clamoring for 
his own, each chattering incessantly no one listening. That 
dinner 'over the Rhine' in the German quarter of Cincinnati 
was a burlesque. 'Coherence was a missing ingredient/ thought 
Watterson in his wiser years. 3 

And, alas, the elimination of Davis only brought Greeley to the 
fore. What though Schurz's speech had described Adams without 
naming him, some practical politicians, Frank Blair and Qratz 
Brown of Missouri, were speeding to Cincinnati. Julian was 
polishing his nominating speech for Adams; but speeches were 
dispensed with, and the balloting began. 4 Reid's and Tilton's 
activities had not been fruitless; TrumbulFs supporters hung on 
too long; and the man with the Tall White Hat emerged the victor. 
The tariff reform plank was abandoned on demand of New York 
and Pennsylvania and a protectionist of the worst sort nominated. 

That night Reid's love feast of jubilation was a study in ex- 
pressions. There sat Horace White "like an iceberg/ and Bowles 

1 Marse Henry, i, 243-44, 2 IW&, i, 249-50. 

3 Ibid., 1, 251, 4 Julian, MS. Diary, May 7, 1872, 



380 THE TRAGIC ERA 

'diplomatic but ineflusive/ and Schurz 'like a death's-head 'at the 

board,' while Watterson and Halstead simulated joy in vain, and 
the celebration ended early and the reformers turned sadly home- 
ward tf reformers hoist by their own petard/ 1 

'We suppose/ said 'The Nation/ 'that a greater degree of 
incredulity and disappointment . . . has not been felt . . . since the 
news of the first battle of Bull Run/ 2 In the House, at Washing- 
ton, Hoar ironically congratulated the Democrats on having a 
protectionist to follow. 3 Bryant, of the 'New York Evening Post/ 
thought it incredible that such a blunder could be made by men in 
their right senses, 4 and to Trumbull he predicted that an Ad- 
ministration of Greeley 'cannot be otherwise than shamefully 
corrupt' since 'his associations are of that sort/ 5 Trumbull re- 
plied that the nomination was 'a bombshell which seems likely to 
blow up both parties' good riddance to bad rubbish. 6 

IV 

Tall, awkward, with big round face of infantile mildness, with 
spectacled blue eyes that gave him an owl-like appearance, with a 
fringe of white whiskers, a slouching movement, disheveled in 
clothing, his pockets bulging with papers, a common cotton 
umbrella in his hand such was the physical Horace Greeley. 
His character was a medley of contradictions. Honest, emotional, 
dogmatic, cruel and humane, petulant, magnanimous, he reasoned 
frequently with his heart and confused his prejudices with princi- 
ples. The most effective journalist of his age, he had his intellec- 
tual limitations, but there were no boundaries to his self-confi- 
dence. Erratic to a degree, it was not easy to calculate his con- 
duct from his antecedents. No one could be more abusive when 
he willed. With all his brilliance in polemics, he was always a 
potential bull in a china shop. 

His election depended on the united support of the Democrats 
of the rank and file, and a minute search of his record failed to 
find anything in common with the Democracy. 

1 M arse Henry, i, 257. May 9, 1872. 

3 New York World, May 4, 1872. 

4 To Dr. Powers, Life of Bryant, n, 323. 

8 Horace White, 386-87, Ibid., 387. 



THE RADICAL 381 

v 

Between the Cincinnati Convention and the Baltimore Conven- 
tion of the Democrats, Sumner hurled another savage philippic 
at Grant from the Senate. Silent as to Greeley, it was inconceiva- 
ble that the orator could support Grant after such an attack. Two 
months before, Whitelaw Reid had urged Sumner's adherence to 
the combination against the President. 1 Perhaps the answer came 
when Sumner rose in a sweltering Chamber to open war on Grant. 
On the floor to hear him were Belknap, Creswell, and Robinson, of 
the Cabinet. The speech was a protest against the consolidation 
of the power of a Caesar and a bitter attack on gift-taking and 
nepotism. A dozen members of the family * billeted upon the 
country/ he said; a military ring at the White House, military 
interferences in elections, San Domingo, interference in local 
politics, 'New York the scene and Thomas Murphy, the Presi- 
dential lieutenant. 5 Means well? 'That is not much. It was said 
of Louis the Quarreler that he meant well; nor is there a slate head- 
stone in any village burial-ground that does not record as much 
of the humble lodgers beneath/ 

As the ferocious assault proceeded, Morton, Conkling, and 
Carpenter conferred audibly in a group, occasionally moving to 
the cloak-rooms or lobby. Now and then, Conkling and Carpenter 
would station themselves near the orator to converse aloud. At 
times Sumner stopped in rebuke, glared at them savagely, until 
they would retire to their seats. 

*I protest/ he concluded, 'against him as radically unfit for the 
presidential office, being essentially military in nature, without 
experience in civil life, without aptitude for civil duties, and with- 
out knowledge of republican institutions, all of which is perfectly 
apparent unless we are ready to assume that the matters and things 
set forth to-day are of no account and then declare in further 
support of the candidate, boldly, that nepotism in a President is 
nothing, that violation of the Constitution and of law Interna- 
tional and municipal is nothing . . . that all his presidential pre- 
tensions in their motley aggregation, being a new Csesarism or 
personal government, are nothing. But if these are nothing, then 
is the Republican Party nothing; nor is there any safeguard for 
republican institutions.' 2 

1 Pierce, iv, 51. 2 Congressional Globe, May 81, 1872. 



882 

He sat down; no one answered. 

The popular reaction was not good, many thinking the speech 

too heated, rancorous, and exaggerated/ l and Longfellow the 

poet found it 'a terrible speech/ though he thought *the terror of 

it is in its truth/ He felt that *the feeble attempts at reply must 

convince every one that no reply Is possible/ 2 

VI 

Quite as sensational was the attack on Greeley's candidacy be- 
fore the Baltimore Convention by a Democratic leader in the 
House. For months robust Democrats had been protesting against 
the proposed endorsement of Greeley, and the use of their party as 
a mere reserve "to be brought up at the last moment to decide a 
contest between two wings of the Republican Party/ 3 And merge 
under Greeley of all men! The idea seemed grotesque. His own 
sense of humor had dismissed the possibility in a letter to a Virginia 
Democrat some months before. * I am ferociously protectionist/ he 
had written; *I am not the man you need/ 4 Scarcely more than a 
month before the Cincinnati Convention, he had been debating 
protection with Professor A. L. Perry before the Liberal Club at 
Williams College. 5 Even after the Cincinnati nomination "The 
World' refused its allegiance. It would have supported Adams, 
but the Greeley nomination did not bind the Democracy. The 
general tone of the Democratic press was hostile. But unhappily 
for party solidarity, a portion of the Democracy was always finger- 
ing the white flag, eager to hoist it, and others were ravenous for 
the loaves and fishes. But Greeley! It seemed absurd to accept Ms 
leadership. One of Tilden*s correspondents could 'even support 
Charles Sumner/ but could see no way to preserve his self-respect 
and vote for the man 'who is directly against us upon the great 
living issues. 9 6 

But no open protest was heard until one day the most popular 
orator of the House, whose voice a woman had described as 
'better than the Boston Jubilee/ 7 rose to throw an explosive into 

1 The Nation, June 13, 1872. 2 Pierce, iv, 528. 

3 New York World, December 8, 1871 * Seitz, 379. 

5 New York World, April 6, 1872. 6 J. J. Taylor to Tilden, letters, i, 306. 

7 Neic York World, March 4, 1872. 



THE RADICAL RANKS 383 

the camp of the amalgamationists. This striking man, with hair 
and beard partly red, always had an audience, and the room was 
jammed when Daniel Wolsey Voorhees, in an atmosphere of tense 
excitement, rose to make his protest. 'Am I expected to support 
Mr. Greeley because he has been a lifelong champion of doctrines 
I have always opposed? 9 he began; and then presented his bill of 
particulars a devastating indictment of the 'Democracy 3 of the 
Liberal nominee. Even Grant had been less cruel to the South. 
'Sir, he has simply executed the laws which the Cincinnati nomi- 
nee asked this Congress to enact/ In behalf of three and a half 
million Democrats he entered his protest 'against any attempt to 
transfer them to a camp where they have nothing to gain and 
everything to lose/ Hastening home to Terre Haute, Voorhees 
continued his crusade, denouncing the journalist as 'the best 
embodiment of the principles of radicalism now living/ as c an 
older and far abler Republican than Grant/ l 'The Nation/ 
unimpressed by Greeley, commented that 'Voorhees appears to 
have lost none of his courage/ 2 and that if the Democracy raised 
'the old white hat* as its standard, the only thing for Republicans 
'of our way of thinking to do is to choose the less of two evils and 
vote for General Grant/ 3 John Forsyth, the able editor of the 
'Mobile Register/ was pleading with his party not to nominate 
Greeley and ditch its principles/ but it was a hopeless protest. 

Thus the Baltimore Convention, a little surly, discouraged, be- 
muddled, set its jaw a bit stupidly and went through with the 
programme. Not, however, without a solemn protest from Bayard, 
one of its greatest leaders. Rising from a sick-bed, he entered the 
hall pale, emaciated, almost ghastly, his eyes abnormally bright 
with fever, his hair disheveled, and spoke with a persuasive 
eloquence. Sympathetically but silently they heard him they 
were demoralized and paralyzed. The brilliant and impassioned 
M. P. O'Connor, of Charleston, replied in the oratorical triumph 
of an otherwise drab convention, as the delegates stood and 
cheered. 5 And thus the Democracy went over bag and baggage 
to the leadership of him who opposed all its principles. 

1 New York World, four columns, first page, May 26, 1878. 

2 May SO, 1872. 3 June IS, 1872. 

* June 20, 1872. 5 O'Connor, 56-65. 



384 THE TRAGIC ERA 

VII 

General Sherman, observing events from the vantage-point of 
Paris, wrote his brother in laughing mood, * Grant, who never was 
a Republican, is your candidate, and Greeley, who never was a 
Democrat, but quite the reverse, is the Democratic candidate/ 1 
Others, observing the same thing, were less amused. Schurz was 
talking madly of calling another convention to nominate Adams 
and ask a Democratic endorsement, even writing Greeley of his 
plans. But the latter blithesomely replied with the assurance that 
he would sweep New York, New England, and the South and have 
a fighting chance in Pennsylvania. 2 And so the die-hards among 
the Liberals met in conference in New York to smooth the wrinkles 
of disaffection, Bryant sleeping in the chair, Schurz and Trumbull 
sourly accepting Greeley as a choice of evils, but leaving no doubt 
of their opinion of him as a reformer. 5 3 Watterson wrote the candi- 
date a sweet and clever letter to soothe the smart of Schurz's 
criticism. 4 

Among the Democrats there was a brave show of fidelity, 
though it limped on parade. Voorhees, who had burned his 
bridges, hastily built a pontoon and retreated, though it required 
all his eloquence to satisfy his constituents, 5 and "The Nation 5 
belabored him pitilessly for his reversal. 6 *We have been singing 
Democratic hymns for forty years down here,' explained the 
brother of Zeb Vance, of North Carolina, 'and since the Baltimore 
Convention puts Greeley in our hymn book we'll sing it through 
if it kills us/ 7 After all, thought Governor Randolph, of New 
Jersey, Democrats supporting Greeley would 'be guilty of nothing 
more serious than "eccentricity."' 8 Democratic papers that had 
reared and snorted like war horses at first settled down as burden- 
bearers of 'The Tribune 9 as gracefully as possible. Lamar could 
find no enthusiasm in Mississippi over the man who had been 'the 
embodiment and concentration of all ... Democrats are accus- 
tomed to regard as unsound/ 9 Charles O'Conor of New York 

1 Sherman, Letters, 337. 2 Horace White, 391. 

* The Nation, June 27, 1872; Horace White, 393. 

Life of Reid, i, 220. New York Herald, September 27, 1872, 

6 July 25, 1872. The Nation, July 4, 1872. 

8 Ibid. 9 itj e O f Lamar, 170-72, 



THE RADICAL RANKS BREAK 385 

wrote Tllden that 'the tender-hearted Moloch whose lifelong mis- 
sion of hate has filled the land with fratricidal slaughter of the 
white race/ could never have his vote; l and, late in the campaign, 
Horatio Seymour found it impossible to 'work [himself] into a 
heat 5 about the election because Greeley ? s abuse 'has been so 
gross. 5 2 

Even so, the plan of the regular Democrats to unfurl their own 
flag in the Louisville Convention was sternly frowned upon, and 
denounced by Voorhees as 'countenanced by Morton and upheld 
by the money of the Administration Ring/ 3 In truth, Morton was 
jubilantly predicting to a correspondent that the Greeley move- 
ment would 'demoralize the Democracy much more than the 
Republicans/ 4 Thurman was appealing to Tilden to dissuade 
O'Conor from accepting the Louisville nomination, 'which is 
wholly in the interest of Grant/ 5 The 'regulars 5 met and nomi- 
nated O'Conor with John Quincy Adams II, but it was an idle 
gesture. 

Meanwhile, in the realignments, the Republicans were strug- 
gling with their problems, and Greeley had some accessions. Charles 
Sumner urged the negroes to support Greeley. He was an aboli- 
tionist, Grant voted for Buchanan; Greeley had long manifested 
friendship for the negroes, Grant never; Greeley wanted negro 
suffrage, Grant was opposed. Thus ran the letter. Instantly 
Sumner's old abolition comrades were deep in their ink-horns, and 
Garrison in a bitter reply was excoriating Greeley, shaming Sum- 
ner, and praising the 'illustrious administration of Grant/ 6 Wen- 
dell Phillips conceded that Grant had made blunders, but he 
had ' a Christian attitude toward the Indians/ and had done much 
for business and against the Ku-Klux Klan/ 7 Elaine, evoking sec- 
tional hates, charged Sumner with making an 'alliance with 
Southern secessionists in their effort to destroy the Republican 
Party/ and asked if he had forgotten Preston Brooks. 8 'And 
what has Preston Brooks to do with the presidential election? 5 

1 Ufe of Tilden, i, 218. 2 Tilden, Letters, i, 311. 

New York World, September 2, 1872. 

* Morton MSS., To Powell, May 10, 1872. 

5 Tilden, Letters, I, 311. 6 New York Herald, August 6, 1872. 

7 Ibid., August 17, 1872, 8 Gail Hamilton, 271-72. 



386 THE TRAGIC ERA 

retorted Sunnier, in a scornful reply. He had not missed Elaine 
among the Republicans joining in the support of Greeley until he 
'reported absence, 5 1 

Thus the bewildered negro, finding Greeley, Chase, and Sumner 
on one side, and Garrison and Phillips on the other, appealed to 
the gentle poet Whittier, who replied in a letter that could be read 
either way. It was not without agony of spirit that the partisans 
accommodated themselves to the abnormal conditions of the 
campaign. 

VIII 

The effect upon the negro vote in the South was interesting alike 
to psychologists, sociologists, and politicians. The reaction in 
North Carolina, which voted in August, was soon felt. The 
Grant forces put the negro forward as never before, and James H. 
Harris, a negro demagogue, presided at the State Convention and 
demanded complete social equality "on your cars, on your steam- 
boats, and at the tables and in the parlors of your hotels.' This 
became the keynote, and the orator was sent on an inflammatory 
speaking tour, inciting hatred of negroes who aligned themselves 
with Greeley, the Abolitionist. 2 These were ostracized, deserted 
by their wives, hooted and assaulted when marching in Greeley 
processions, and driven from their homes at the instigation of 
carpetbaggers. 3 The Loyal Leagues were too powerful, as an 
organization of intimidation, to combat- 
In South Carolina, the alliance of the Grant forces with negroes 
and carpetbaggers was complete and invincible. The negroes had 
dominated the State Convention, the correspondent of the 'New 
York Herald' finding but a sprinkling of white faces, and these 
bearing the imprint of depravity. The heat and odors of the room 
drove some of the more sensitive to the open air. Negro delegates 
were gorged on the choicest luxuries, washed down with the finest 
wines, and the debauchery continued through the night preced- 
ing the convention, corruptionists plying delegates with bribery 
money. Wanton women were to be had for the asking, and with- 
out cost. The unhappy Orr denounced the proceedings at the peril 

1 New York Herald, August 6, 1872. 2 Hamilton, 583, 

9 New York Herald, July 18, 1872, 



THE RADICAL 387 

of Ms life., and when the negro leader Elliott, in the chair, drew his 
pistol, it was Whittemore, the purveyor of cadetships, who bade 
him return the pistol to the pocket. Frank Moses, the degenerate, 
bought the gubernatorial nomination, the victory acclaimed in a 
ten-minute demonstration, while a negro band played 'Hail to the 
Chief/ The disillusioned Orr passed from the hall, followed by 
jeers and hisses. 1 Clearly, the Greeley reformers had no chance 
here. 

In Louisiana, Warmoth, who led for Greeley, had lost his grip, 
Longstreet was ostracized, the Custom-House gangsters under 
Casey were in the saddle, and Pinchback, the Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor, a cunning negro, with some money and no character, who had 
begun life as a waiter on a Mississippi River boat, and was dream- 
ing of the Senate and the Vice-Presidency, had been lured from 
Greeley by a trade. 2 

In Mississippi, an epochal candidacy Lucius Q. C. Lamar 
had been enticed from his retirement, and was in the field as a 
candidate for Congress. Here and there, some ray of hope; and 
Texas was in the sunshine, having wrought her complete redemp- 
tion the year before. In Tennessee, Andrew Johnson was attacking 
Grant with fierce invectives on the corruption and centralization 
of his regime, and for the acceptance of specified gifts. 3 His 
candidacy for Congressman-at-large was overshadowing the na- 
tional contest as he traversed the State with his two opponents, 
entering the rooms of 'miserable little taverns' with as much 
dignity as in the White House. 4 

But North Carolina with her August election politicians 
looked to her for the trend. Both parties hurried their heavy 
artillery to the battle Boutwell, Senator Wilson, Secretary 
Delano, and Fred Douglass, for Grant; Carl Schurz and Colonel 
A. K. McClure, for Greeley. But the Democrats were cold to their 
nominee. Senator Pool had collected a big slush fund; the Ad- 
ministration was hectically busy with Ku-Elux indictments, and 
there were three thousand arrests just before the election. The 
Republican gubernatorial nominee, driven from the stump, was 

1 New York Herald, August 23, August 31, September 16, 1872. 

2 New York World, April 8, 1872. 3 Ibid., August 18, 1872. 
4 New York Herald, September 27, 1872. 



388 THE TRAGIC ERA 

relying on the negro vote, and blacks were imported to swell the 
number, nine hundred being sent from the capital of the Republic. 1 
An amazing campaign meetings extending from morning till 
darkness; mails burdened with campaign literature from the North 
and transported in wagons from post-offices to headquarters. 2 
And then, the election and the news flashed that the Repub- 
licans had lost. After days of jubilation in the Greeley camp, the 
last 'returns' turned the tide. * Radical frauds! 5 cried the friends 
of Greeley. But no matter the election was lost. This had a de- 
pressing effect in the North Greeley had not drawn the Hacks. 

IX 

The campaign continued with unabated fury in the North, the 
Greeleyites suffering nothing in comparison with their foe in the 
mastery of men at the guns. Schurz was firing with deadly 
precision in the West, Trumbull opened and maintained a raking 
bombardment on corruption and privilege, the brilliant O'Connor, 
of South Carolina, captivated Boston in a plea for sectional 
reconciliation that anticipated by many years that of Henry 
Grady, s and in New York a rising young orator, Chauncey M. 
Depew, was impassionedly denouncing Grantism with the asser- 
tion that 'the scum of society has been brought to the surface in 
the Government in the three years of Grant's Administration.' 4 
With Hendricks and Julian leading the fighting in Indiana, 
Morton, in dire distress, was sending forth the Macedonian cry to 
Elaine. 5 

But Grant's Three Musketeers were at their best, according to 
their natures, Morton, evoking war hates, was solemnly charg- 
ing that Greeley's election would mean the reenslavement of the 
blacks and the assumption of the Confederate debts. 6 Conkling, 
with less temerity, was pouring forth sonorous phrases in fault- 
less elocution about Grant the soldier, not the statesman. 'While 
Senators that now hawk at him, 5 he said, f were lolling on cushions, 
and eviscerating encyclopedias, books of quotations, and the 

1 Hamilton, 587-90. 2 New York World, July 27, 1872. 

3 O'Connor, 330-46. * $ ew York World, September 12, 1872. 

6 Julian, MS. Diary, October 8, 1872; Gail Hamilton, 302. 
6 Julian, Recollections, 342. 



THE RADICAL RANKS 389 

classical dictionaries, the tanner of Galena swept rebellion from 
the valley of the Mississippi, and the father of waters goes un- 
vexed to the seas/ Gifts? Why, England gave millions to Welling- 
ton, thousands to Cromwell, a stately mansion to Marlborough 
why should Grant not take gifts from private citizens? l 

But Zack Chandler was engaged in more important work, and 
doing it well. As Chairman of the Republican Congressional 
Committee, he had been perfecting a remarkable organization, 
raising money, spreading propaganda, feeding the press in the 
interest of uniformity, strengthening the hard-pressed carpet- 
baggers doing it with mouse-like stealthiness. Beside him, the 
* Bismarck of the campaign/ James M. Edmunds, tall, spare, 
plain, tireless, silent. It was he who proposed the searching of 
the 'Tribune* files for material damaging among Democrats; it 
was Chandler who advanced thirty thousand dollars for the 
purpose; it was Edmunds who directed the pens of three hundred 
writers. 2 The influence of this organization was felt in every town- 
ship in the North, and in the counting-room of every favor-seeking 
industry. It was at this time that Chandler permanently married 
politics to business. With ineffable finesse, he worked on the fears 
of business -men. *Who knows what Greeley might do?' Again, 
and more than ever before, collectors found their way to the 
strong-boxes of Jay Cooke. At times the old man, in the midst of 
his ecclesiastics, writhed a bit, and cried out, calling W. E. Chand- 
ler * Oliver Twist/ and Grant and the Cabinet laughed over the 
thrust. Before long, Cooke himself was passing the hat among the 
rich. Even Congressmen were begging at Cooke's door Blame 
especially clamorous. 'Elaine is so persistent . . . that I feel . . . 
he should be conciliated/ wrote Henry Cooke to his brother. *He 
is a formidable power for good or evil, and he has a wide future 
before him. However unreasonable in his demands . . . my con- 
viction Is irresistible that he should in some manner be appeased/ 3 

Thus Cooke was a never-failing fount. The Secretary of the 
Navy demanded ten thousand dollars for his State of New Jersey, 
for had he not given Jay Cooke 5 s house the naval account? 'If 
New Jersey went Democratic/ wrote a partner of Cooke, *R/s 

* Conkling, 437. 2 Life of Chandler, 314-15. 

8 Oberholtzer, Cooke, n, 352-54. 



390 THE TRAGIC ERA 

influence would be at an end. ... Of course this would probably 
result in a change of account.' * 

The power of money in elections was beginning to alarm the 
old-fashioned, and there was some murmuring. A. H. H. Stuart 
of Virginia was writing in the 'Staunton Spectator' that 'capital 
has got possession of the Government/ to the detriment of agricul- 
ture and commerce, and 'is supplying the sinews of war for the 
Presidential contest.' 2 The State Chairman of the New York 
Liberal Republicans was asserting that the combined slush funds 
of all parties in previous presidential elections did not equal the 
sums being spent by Grant's followers in doubtful States. 3 "No 
Credit Mobilier has dexterously transferred millions to our 
pockets/ he said. This reference to the Credit Mobilier was 
unhappily denounced by Coif ax as tf a campaign lie.' The Whis- 
key Ring was raising campaign funds for Grant, though its ac- 
tivities were well covered. Money was with the President* and 
Wall Street was circularizing business men in his behalf. 4 

And never such personal abuse; the worst offender the cartoon- 
ist Thomas Nast, the genius of 'Harper's Weekly/ whose ridicule 
of Greeley and his friends exceeded the bounds of decency. The 
young German had visited Washington in the winter and had been 
beside himself with droll ecstasy over the flattery of the great. 
*It certainly is funny the way the Senators are in a flutter about 
my being here/ he wrote his wife. 'Every one knows me, every one 
is glad to see me, from the President down. They are trying to 
keep me as long as they can/ 5 And Nast went back to New York 
to do his best, and it was brutal. Frequently the editor, George 
William Curtis, protested against the abuse of friends like Sumner, 
but Nast was defiant, and Fletcher Harper decided with him. 
When Curtis protested against a cartoon of Greeley shaking 
hands 'with the worst element of Irish Romish/ Harper wrote 
the cartoonist, * If it is right to hit Pat, hit him hard/ 6 Even 
Mark Twain was delighted with these appeals to prejudice, think- 
ing them in the interest 'of civilization and progress/ 7 That 
the cartoons were effective cannot be doubted; and Matt Morgan, 

1 Oberiholtzer, Cooke, u t 357. 2 Quoted, New York World, October U, 1872. 

3 Ibid., October 15, 1872. * Ibid., October 20, 1872. 

5 Paine, 221-26. Ibid., 250. 7 Ibid., 263. 



THE RADICAL RANKS 391 

brought over from England by "Leslie's Weekly/ was not quite 
able to match Nast in cruelty and savagery. 

Even campaign songs were colored a dirty hue, those of the 
Republicans besmearing Greeley with 'free love and free farms 

and all that/ and the Liberals having Grant arm In arm with 
Tom Murphy, * shouting the battle-cry of plunder. 5 1 

x 

With despair creeping upon him, the weary Old Man of the 
White Hat took to the stump, and his friends trembled. But not 
for long. He made a gallant figure, pitching his appeals on a lofty 
plane, expressing himself persuasively. Somehow the eccentricity 
and irritability were all gone. The country gasped its astonish- 
ment. The super-critical Watterson thought these speeches * mar- 
vels of impromptu oratory'; 2 and the none too friendly Voorhees 
thought that "for elevation of thought, propriety of sentiment, 
for broad philanthropy, and general benevolence/ they had 'no 
parallel in American history/ The 'New York World' described 
them as 'suffused with the healing spirit of magnanimous patriot- 
ism/ 3 But it was a sadly broken old man, bowed with sorrows 
and concern over a dying wife that gave way to lamentations 
when alone, and he hurried home to keep a sleepless vigil at her 
side until the end. When, election night, Grant sat with Jay 
Cooke rejoicing over the returns, something in the bosom of the 
old man of Park Row snapped. With mind and body broken, he 
sank rapidly, and in a few days he was dead. Sumner's request 
to utter a few words of tribute in the Senate was denied. But when 
the old man of 'The Tribune 5 lay in state in the City Hall, forty 
thousand passed the casket, and many that had ridiculed and 
abused him hastened with smug hypocrisy to bow at his bier. 

When the Electoral College met, Greeley was dead, and most of 
his electors cast their votes for Hendricks, just elected Governor 
of Indiana. These Democrats, having browsed a while on poor 
rations in strange pastures, were glad to get back home. 

1 The Nation, October 10, 1872. 2 Man* Henry, i, 262. 

3 September 22, 1872. 



THE TBAGIC ERA 

XI 

Saddest of all, Greeley had accomplished nothing in the South, 
where the negroes had persecuted the few blacks who favored the 
old Abolitionist. Lamar was elected in Mississippi, which was 
something; but the degraded Moses had won in South Carolina, 
and it was predicted that he would 'in two years take the last of 
the sap out of the tree. 5 l The reform movement had not touched 
that unhappy State, and this year saw the elevation of "Honest 5 
John Patterson to the Senate. His election was a flaming scandal. 
Skilled in corruption, he had maintained a free house of entertain- 
ment over a saloon near the State House. The legislators were 
susceptible, because crassly ignorant. Many "came fresh from the 
com fields and the log cabins . . . clad in the homely garb of labor 
and anxious to change to fine clothes/ Soon it was known that 
the 'house of entertainment' exchanged money for votes for 
Patterson. Later, one legislator after another was to testify to the 
saturnalia of corruption in the rooms over Fine's saloon. 2 Arrested 
for bribery, and taken before a trial justice, Patterson's friends 
created a commotion during which he escaped. Taken again, and 
sent to jail for twelve hours for contempt, a complacent judge 
from another circuit issued a writ of habeas corpus. All this was 
common knowledge in Washington, where he was known as a 
protege of Simon Cameron, 3 but he was seated in the Senate, soon 
to become more potent in the White House than the taxpayers of 
his State. 

In Alabama quite as black a senatorial scandal resulted from 
the election of George E. Spencer, carpetbagger from Iowa, who 
bought his seat with money furnished by Zach Chandler's com- 
mittee, and with Government funds, taken from the internal 
revenue offices of Mobile and Montgomery, and from the post- 
office of the former city. The collectors and postmaster were his 
appointees, and when he refused to reimburse them for the 
more than twenty thousand dollars taken, they were ruined. 

1 New York World, October 11, 1872. 

2 Fraud Report, Testimony of Senator Gaillard, 889; J. C. Tingman, 890; Jos. J, Gant, 
890; E. B. Artson, 894; C. S. Minor, 894; W. L. Leggett, 895; J. J. Maxwell, 898; S. Ran- 
dall, Jr., 904; Henty Eiley, 914. 

3 New York World, December 12, 1872, 



THE RADICAL RANKS 393 

More than thirty members of the Legislature were given Federal 
jobs. 

In Louisiana, where the Democrats had formed a coalition with 
the Warmoth faction, there was a shocking scandal involving a 
drunken Federal Judge; and a dual government, with Federal 
interference with bayonets, was the result. Of this, more later 
for the confusion and chaos extended into 1875. 

The election of 1872 was a sweeping triumph for reaction; and 
the South found itself in more dire straits than ever, as the corrup- 
tionists and carpetbaggers, triumphant, mounted and rode. 



XIX 
DEGRADATION AND 

i 

A LMOST immediately after the election, the political leaders 
JLlL who so gleefully and successfully had denounced the Credit 
Mobilier charges involving their integrity as * campaign lies' be- 
gan to sing small. But Charles Sumner found himself paying 
the penalty of his insurgency when Congress met. Julian was 
shocked at his physical condition. Instead of remaining in Europe 
to recover completely through rest and fresh air, he had returned 
to his post and was keeping himself alive by * taking drugs/ Ig- 
nored by the party he had helped to create, and humiliated in his 
committee assignments, he had just been denounced by the Legis- 
lature of Massachusetts because of the most generous act of his 
career. In the interest of ' national unity and good will among 
fellow citizens/ he had introduced a bill providing that 'the names 
of battles with fellow citizens shall not be continued in the Army 
Register, or placed on the regimental colors of the United States/ 
He set forth that *it is contrary to the usages of civilized nations 
to perpetuate the memory of civil war/ Hale had presented 
a counter-bill in the House, which was passed! by a party vote, 
leaving Sumner alone with the Democrats, and the lawmakers of 
Massachusetts had condemned Sumner's gesture of conciliation. 
It was this rebuke from his own people that hurt him most. *I 
know I never deserved better of Massachusetts than now/ he 
wrote. *It was our State which led in requiring all the safeguards 
of liberty and equality; 1 covet for her the other honor of leading 
in reconciliation/ l Nothing could have illustrated better the 
impracticality of Sumner the politician. His party's strategy at 
the moment called for a more flamboyant waving of the bloody 
shirt. *I fear his continued hard work and his mental trouble will 
end his days prematurely as in the case of Greeley/ wrote Julian. 2 
As Sumner sat in Ms library nursing his sorrows, Whittier the poet 

1 To W. P. Phillips, Pierce, iv, 552. 2 MS. Diary, December 8& 1872. 



DEGRADATION AND 395 

launched a movement to rescind the offensive resolution of re- 
buke, and Wendell Phillips, strangely touched, was writing., *I 
would despise a Southerner who would march under such a flag, 
despise yet more heartily a North that would ask him to do it/ 1 
Soon Whittier was able to send Sunaner reassuring news. "The 
country is coming all right on thy flag resolution/ he wrote. "The 
pitiful folly of our State Legislature is already repented of. Be- 
lieve me, thee never stood higher with the best people of the State, 
of all parties, than now/ And he added a line that partly explains 
Summer's unpopularity and isolation in a day of brazen corrup- 
tion: "Amidst the miserable muddle of the Credit Mobilier, it is 
something to be proud of that the smell of fire has not been upon 
thy garments/ 2 

In time the resolution was rescinded, but the scar of the wound 
remained. And there were other wounds that still bled espe- 
cially that inflicted by his wife, and he was bitter. At this time he 
was reading in the press of her activities in Europe, where she was 
* occupying her time . . . chiefly in doing good to others/ It was 
reported that 'more than one American family to whom dire 
disease has come in a foreign land has found a faithful and efficient 
nurse 9 in her, and that "at one time she traveled from Florence to 
Vienna to nurse a family/ 3 But she had done no good to Sum- 
ner, and that spring he secured a divorce in Boston on the ground 
of desertion. 4 Desertion everywhere, by Massachusetts, by the 
Republican Party, by his wife. One night that spring, Wendell 
Phillips lingered with the lonely man till after midnight, and even 
then Sumner clung to him and would not let him go. When re- 
minded that he was to take a footbath, he replied, 'Well, I will 
take it if you don't go/ And so, with Phillips looking on, the fallen 
idol bathed his feet, and the friend remained to solace him. 5 The 
shadows were closing in and deepening about the abandoned 
leader whose party deserted him to concentrate on a desperate 
effort to save the leaders caught in the net of the Credit Mobilier, 

1 Pierce, iv, 554. 

2 Ibid., iv, 561. 

3 New York World, February 1, 1873. 

4 Ibid., May 10, 1873. 

5 Pierce, tv f 591. 



896 THE TRAGIC ERA 

ii 

There had been scandal enough In the Government's relations to 
the Union Pacific Railroad, which had been loaded down with land 
and loans on terms of extraordinary liberality. The Credit Mobilier 
was a corporation formed to take over the contract for the building 
of the road, and the stockholders of the two companies were iden- 
tical. The stockholders then made a contract with themselves to 
build the road at a price that would exhaust the resources of the 
Union Pacific, including the proceeds of all the bonds, and the 
profits were then divided among the stockholders of the Credit 
Mobilier. This meant that the railroad would be mortgaged to 
the full extent of its resources, and stripped of the endowment 
provided by the bounty of the Nation. Then came the quarrel 
between the thieves and litigation, and ultimately publicity for 
the fact that Oakes Ames had been given a quantity of stock to 
distribute among influential members of Congress as a precaution 
against an investigation. It was the plan that these statesmen 
should buy at par, but since a large dividend had been assigned 
the stock, and another dividend was soon due, it meant, in reality., 
a 'purchase' at a price far below par, and an assured profit. It 
was, in truth, intended as a bribe. It was a bribe. 

Then came the investigation, and startling disclosures involving 
the Vice-President, the Vice-President-elect, the chairmen of the 
most important committees of the House, party leaders such as 
Patterson, Dawes, Boutwell, Garfield, 'Pig Iron' Kelley, Bing- 
ham, Allison, Wilson of Iowa, Scofield, and Brooks, the floor 
leader of the Democrats in the House. Wheik the investigating 
committee began its labors, a spirit of gloom descended on the 
capital, and, as one distinguished leader after another was in- 
volved, the impression was painful. At first the Democrats seemed 
jubilant in spite of the involvement of Brooks, but so appalling 
were the revelations that this joy soon passed. Awed by the 
dreadful possibilities, and the significance of it all, real patriots 
trembled for the honor of the Nation. 1 The day that Oakes Ames 
drew his fatal memorandum from his pocket, with its shocking 
disclosures of the stupidity or turpitude of the leaders, it was re- 
marked that the committee ' seemed to shrink from the depth of 

1 The Nation, January 30, 1873. 



DEGEADATION AND 897 

shame which disclosed Itself. 5 1 As the evidence appeared day 
after day, 'The Nation 5 surveyed the result. "Its effect on con- 
gressional reputations may be briefly summed up in this way: 
total loss, one Senator; badly damaged and not serviceable for 
future political use, two Vice-Presidents and eight Congressmen/ 2 
Caught red-handed, the strategists sought from the beginning to 
concentrate public contempt on Ames for tempting simple-minded 
statesmen who knew not what they did. Deserted by most, Ames, 
who was to tell the truth, was literally heartbroken, and we have 
a picture of him seated before the fire in the home of Elaine, 6 silent 
and stunned into immobility/ his head bowed on his breast while 
the younger man sought means to solace and save him. 3 

But, alas, for Ames there was no escape. To save the party 
chiefs there had to be a victim thrown to the sharks; and by turn- 
ing State's evidence he had committed the one crime which, 
throughout this period, seemed the most unpardonable. At first 
prone to defend himself, he soon noted with amazement and grow- 
ing bitterness the plan of the prominent party leaders to turn upon 
him with well-simulated indignation as the wicked man who had 
played upon their impeccable purity and childlike credulity. Soon 
he determined to tell the truth, and his conduct thereafter was in 
striking contrast with the evasiveness and too apparent conceal- 
ment of the others. His letter to H. S. McComb definitely fixed 
his purpose in the distribution of the stock. 4 By all accounts, he 
suggested no obligation when he transacted business with his 
colleagues. This was to be urged by the whitewash committee as 
proof of the innocence of the others; but no such conclusion was 
permitted in his case. 

The extent of the implication of most was clear. Bingham of 
Ohio bought in the belief that the investment would bring large 
profits, and he had no apology to make. 5 Wilson of Iowa, admit- 
ting his purchase, solemnly insisted that he had no idea of the 
value of the stock. 6 Allison, notoriously a representative of the 
railroads, admitted having had possession and receiving dividends, 
and of having returned the stock under fire from motives of politi- 

1 The Nation, January 30, 1873. 2 January 3, 1873. 3 Gail Hamilton, 286. 

4 House Report 77, 42d Cong,, 3d Sess., 4. 5 Ibid., 191, 195. 

6 im. 9 216. 



398 THE TRAGIC ERA 

cal expediency, not morality. 1 Dawes of Massachusetts, testifying 
that Ames had guaranteed Mm ten per cent on his stock, had 
pledged himself to buy it back if the purchaser wished to unload, 
conveyed the impression that there was nothing suspicious in such 
generosity in a business deal, and the committee pretended sim- 
plicity as amusing. 

But politicians and historians have been embarrassed in ex- 
plaining away the strange transaction with James A. Garfield and 
'Pig Iron' Kelley. In the case of both not one penny had been 
paid for the stock. It had been held by the marvelously accommo- 
dating Ames until, with the proceeds of dividends, he was able to 
mark the debt canceled, and to deliver cash dividends to the two 
men. Kelley stoutly insisted that he could see nothing amiss in a 
member of the House voting on the Union Pacific measures get- 
ting Credit Mobilier stock in this bizarre fashion. 'It was just 
like buying a flock of sheep,' he said. 2 

But Garfield was not so frank, insisting, contrary to the evi- 
dence, that he never owned stock or received a dividend. 3 The 
committee was to find that he had owned stock, did receive a 
dividend, and had perjured himself and was therefore innocent. 

The case of James Brooks differed, in that he was charged, not 
only with having owned stock, but with thus betraying the Gov- 
ernment he represented as a director of the Union Pacific. He 
offered explanations quite as plausible as those of the others, but 
his were brushed aside. 

.in 

No one became so hopelessly enmeshed as Vice-President Coif ax, 
who had politically capitalized his sanctimony, and had sweep- 
ingly denied the charge in the campaign in the fall. Ames testified 
that Colfax had got twenty shares and in June, 1868, had been 
paid twelve hundred dollars in cash dividends, a check for which 
had been given him on the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House. 4 Simu- 
lating utter astonishment, Colfax dumbfounded Ames by the au- 
dacity of his cross-examination. Did Ames really regard him as 
the owner of the stock? 'Certainly/ said Ames, 'you paid for it; 

1 House Report 77, 42d Cong., 3d Sess., 307. 2 Ibid., 00. 

3 Ibid., 129. 4 



AND DEPRESSION 399 

it belongs to you; It has never been returned. 9 1 Then the evidence 
in corroboration of Ames began to pour in. The Sergeant-at-Arms 
testified that there was a check for twelve hundred dollars bearing 
Colfax' s initials; 2 and the cashier of Ms bank testified that at the 
time he had deposited twelve hundred dollars in United States and 
banknotes. 3 The Nation was stunned, and even Colfax's friends 
were momentarily silenced. For ten days he was silent, too, com- 
placently leaving town to attend some religious meetings. 'The 
Nation/ losing all patience, sharply suggested that if the money 
deposited had been paid from some other sources 'the answer 
could be made in five minutes.' 4 Who paid him the twelve hun- 
dred dollars if Ames did not? Clearly a point worth considering; 
and ten days later, Coif ax appeared again before the committee, 
having at length remembered the source of the money. It was a 
strange story almost too strange, many thought. One day, it 
seems, he opened his mail at the breakfast table, and there, in a 
letter, was a thousand-dollar bill. It surprised Mm, he admitted. 
Indeed, he held it up to the family and explained that it was a gift 
from George F. Nesbitt, in New York, who was in the habit of 
sending him money for the campaign chest. This Nesbitt he 
scarcely knew a printer who admired the Vice-President be- 
cause he, too, had been a printer. About that time Colfax had 
borrowed two hundred dollars from a member of his family, who 
testified to that fact after ten days. It all came back to him 
now there was the twelve hundred dollars deposit! But how 
unfortunate that Nesbitt was dead and could not testify! 5 Colfax 
smiled, and the lawyer he had employed sat triumphantly at his 
side. Ames listened grimly, smiling contemptuously, and then 
cross-examined. And so the philanthropist had sent money fre- 
quently? he asked. He had. Then why did this one donation make 
such a vivid impression on the entire family when none other had? 
Because it was a bill and not a check. Then the others had all been 
checks? They had. Could Colfax account for this one at this 
particular time having been sent in money? He could not. *H& 
must have been a very singular man/ commented Ames sarcas- 
tically. 'He was a very large-hearted one/ said Colfax. And the 

* House Report 77, 42d Cong., 3d Sess., 383. 2 UwL, 309. 

3 Ibid., 341-42. 4 February 6, 1873. 5 House Report, 501-07., 



400 THE TRAGIC ERA 

committee listened without a smile. 1 But 'The Nation" thought it 
*a most singular thing 5 that 'the whole matter should have been 
entirely forgotten by Mr. Colfax when it was most necessary for 
him to recollect it'; and even more significant that c he refused to 
put in Ms answer until Oakes Ames had come back and it had been 
ascertained through cross-examination that he was not likely to 
submit any previously unsuspected proof/ 2 Most of the Republi- 
can press rushed to the defense, however. "All fuss and parade/ 
growled the "Boston Advertiser.' Who would hesitate on a ques- 
tion of veracity between Ames and men like Colfax, Garfield, and 
Kelley? asked the 'Albany Journal/ 3 George William Curtis, the 
purist, had begun by denouncing the committee* then had con- 
fessed a shock at the shiftiness of Coif ax, and had ended with the 
conclusion that, except in the case of the wicked Ames, and the 
Democratic Brooks, nothing was wrong but the foolish attempt to 
conceal perfectly innocent transactions. 4 This was the keynote for 
the pure of heart among the partisans. It figures in the correspon- 
dence of Thomas Nast, who had raged in righteous wrath over 
the turpitude of Tweed, but now kept a close rein on his virtue. 
'The whole subject offers a rich theme for your pencil/ wrote a 
friend, 'but I doubt the wisdom of availing yourself of it/ 5 But 
he did make his contribution in the most comical of all his car- 
toons depicting Justice standing protectively before the statesmen 
caught, and, with flashing eyes, pointing contemptuously at the 
press, represented by Watterson, Reid, Bennett, Dana, and Man- 
ton, with the stern rebuke: 'Let him who has not betrayed the 
trust of the people and is without stain cast the first stone/ Q 

Not for nothing had the leaders in Washington given Nast a 
patronizing pat on the back. 

IV 

The Report was a partisan whitewash. 

Blaine was properly exonerated, but almost all who had ac- 
cepted of Ames's generous bounty, while acting indiscreetly, had 

* House Beport 77, 42d Cong., 3d Sess., 513-14. 2 February 20, 1873. 

3 Quoted, New York World, February 8, 1878. 

4 Harper's Weekly, February 15, 1873. 

5 Chapman to Nast, Paine, 270. * Harper's, March 15, 1873. 



DEGRADATION AND 401 

been perfectly Innocent of an evil thought. The cases of Garfield 
and Kelley were difficult. It did seem 'they must hare thought 
that there was something out of the ordinary course of business in 
the extraordinary dividends they were receiving as to render the 
investment itself suspicious' ignoring the fact that there had 
been no 'investment/ Of course, if they had been 'aware of the 
enormous dividends upon this stock, and how they were to be 
earned, we could not thus acquit them/ It must be observed that, 
in concluding that Garfield did get stock and dividends the com- 
mittee found him guilty of perjury, since he had sworn he had not 
but nothing was made of it. 1 Having skated gingerly over thin 
ice in the case of the others, the committee turned its holy wrath 
on Ames, who had told the truth, and Brooks, recommending their 
expulsion with a Cato~like sternness. 

The day the Report was read was bright and sunny and society 
went to the play en masse* the floors and galleries filled. Ames, 
excited for the first time, and despising not a few of his colleagues, 
sat, strangely enough* between the chaplains of the House and 
Senate; and Brooks, seriously ill, ghastly pale, his hands of blood- 
less hue, betrayed his mental and physical suffering. During the 
reading of the report, Ames smiled derisively, while Garfield, *Pig 
Iron 5 Kelley, and Dawes sat 'smug and sanctimonious/ Brooks 
rose at the conclusion in a broken, bitter protest that he was 
innocent. 

That night Ames, in an interview, offered a classic characteriza- 
tion of the findings: c lt's like the man in Massachusetts who com- 
mitted adultery, and the jury brought in a verdict that he was 
guilty as the devil, but that the woman was as innocent as an 
angel. These fellows are like that woman/ 2 



The Report was a whitewash so recognized at the time. 
* Hardly worth discussing/ said Godkin in The Nation/ 3 White- 
law Reid, in the c New York Tribune/ found in the case of Coif ax 
'another coat of whitewash/ 4 and ridiculed the findings. 'They 
found the prisoner on the highway rummaging the pockets of his 

1 Bepoit, 129. 2 New York World, February 19, 1878. 

3 February 27, 1873. * February 25, 1873. 



402 THE EEA 

dead victim, tried Mm for murder In the first degree, and found 
Mm guilty of breaking the peace. 5 1 

The partisan nature of the Report was glaring. The Vlce-Presi- 
dent. Vice-President-elect, the Chairman of the Ways and Means 
Committee, the Appropriation Committee, the Judiciary Commit- 
tee, the Naval Committee, the Banking and Currency Committee, 
and 'Pig Iron 3 Kelley, party leader, all exonerated; but Brooks, 
the lone Democrat, was tied tight to Ames, who had no political 
significance. More space was given to analyzing the Infamy of 
Brooks than to all the Republican leaders combined, and the 
*New York Tribune 9 commented on the strategy. Voorhees was 
reminded of a partisan melodrama. 'The Republicans were given 
minor roles and allowed to slip off the stage unnoticed, but when 
Brooks came on the sheet thunder was sounded, the calcium 
lights were burned, and he was shown up in the most gorgeous 
colors as the cMef villain of the plot/ 2 

Such brazen partisansMp aroused the Democrats, for they had 
not defended Brooks, the 'New York World* had bitterly attacked 
him in January, 3 and the Democratic members of the committee 
had shown Mm no mercy. But the Report was a challenge much 
too smug. 'The Republican Party, 5 said 'The World/ 'has de- 
termined to punish Oakes Ames for exposing the venality of the 
Republican leaders, and James Brooks, the only Credit Mobllier 
Congressman who was NOT bribed, because he Is a Democrat.' 4 
There were meditative citizens who could only wonder how a 
transaction between Ames and others could be perfectly innocent 
on the part of the others and reprehensible on the part of Ames, 
and why the perfidy of Brooks was so much blacker than of Col- 
fax. It was suggested that the committee had sounded a warning 
'to corrupt Congressmen against turning State's evidence * and 
'against being Democrats/ 5 Describing Coif ax as the Credit 
Mobilier Pecksniff, 5 6 the 'New York World' demanded Ms im- 
peachment, and a resolution was offered In the House. 

1 February 28, 1873. 

2 New York Tribune, February 19, 1873. 

3 January 29, 1873,. 

4 February 17, 1873. 6 New York World, February 19, 1873. 
6 January 25, 26, February, 9, 1873. 



403 

VI 

And yet there was much sympathy for Brooks, whose Integrity 
tad never before been questioned, who had refrained from voting 
on Union Pacific legislation or had voted against the road's wishes, 
and who was hastening to the tomb. The door of the committee 
room, opened three times to Colfax with an attorney, was sternly 
closed in Brooks's face when he sought a second hearing. Once or 
twice he had fainted in the corridor* 

In the midst of the tragedy, the festivity and comedy of society 
continued, and between the submission of the Report and its con- 
sideration a magnificent ball was given at the home of Henry D. 
Cooke in Georgetown on the night of the day the Report was 
read. It was the gayest, most brilliant of the season, and Kate 
Chase Sprague, with a band of her abundant hair bound round her 
head with a sprig of flowers at the side, was the belle as usual. 
There, too, were the Grants, and the attractive Mrs. Belknap, but 
most eyes were fixed on a less dashing woman, the wife of Brooks, 
whose "sweet, kindly face' was e bright and cheery 5 the most 
tragic picture of the night. 1 

The debate on the Report opened on a crisp, cool day of sun- 
shine, and the Capitol was crowded two hours before the galleries 
were opened. The scene was that of ' a stage view of the parquet of 
an Opera House/ because of the silks, ribbons, and furbelows 
blending in all colors. Ladies occupied chairs by members' seats 
and sat on documents piled high in the aisles, while in the rear men 
stood on sofas. In the Diplomatic Gallery, Mrs. Fish and Gail 
Hamilton sat with members of the legations, and, standing near 
the western door, in the midst of a fashionable group, Kate Chase 
Sprague looked down upon the scene. Opera-glasses constantly 
were turned on Ames. The dying Brooks, deathly pale, worked his 
way down the center aisle, sank into his seat, and buried his face in 
his hands. 2 

Dramatically, yet drearily, the debate dragged on through two 
days, with just two high spots. Ben Butler cynically defended 
Ames in a speech interspersed with witticisms that brought laugh- 
ter. On the second day, Voorhees rose to make a plea for Brooks. 
The 'New York Tribune/ commenting on his marvelous voice, 

* New York World, February 28, 1873. 2 Ibid., February 26, 1873. 



404 THE TRAGIC ERA 

thought that 'he could not have been more earnest and careful if 
Mr. Brooks had been his client before a jury/ l His was a sober s 
lawyer-like analysis of the evidence, with purple patches of mov- 
ing pathos, touched at times with indignation when he compared 
the treatment of Brooks and Coif ax. The galleries applauded when 
he concluded the only applause of the debate. 

A resolution to condemn all who had dealt with Ames was voted 
down, though eighty-two supported it; and resolutions absolutely 
condemning 5 Ames and Brooks were adopted. The attempt to 
impeach Coif ax failed. In the Senate, action was taken in the case 
of Patterson. The drama was over. 

VII 

Julian reached Washington after the curtain fell and was amazed 
at the evidence of suffering on the faces of c the criminals/ and, like 
many others he was convinced that Ames was "on the whole the 
best of the lot.' 2 He, at least, had not added perjury to bribery. 
In a few weeks Brooks was dead, and in a few days Ames followed; 
and men like Curtis, of 'Harper's Weekly/ set themselves to the 
task of rehabilitating Coif ax, without much success. Brave efforts 
were made to laugh away the memory of the scandal. Senator 
Carpenter of Wisconsin from the platform was sneering at the 
investigations into 'private matters/ and complaining that they 
had 'diseased the public mind' and produced 'morbid public 
morality.' 3 But more prescient politicians were worried, and one 
of them, talking confidentially to the Washington correspondent 
of 'The Nation/ was not sure his party could survive what had 
happened, and knew it could not 'survive another such thing/ He 
was afraid that 'worse things are in store/ 4 And, indeed, about 
this time the Freedmen's Bank crash came, and the negroes were 
plucked by the 'patriots/ 

VIII 

A hectic summer with the Beecher scandal breaking and 
the Democratic 'World' vehemently defending the Republican 
preacher and the Freedmen's Bank and the lying in state at 

1 February 26, 1873. 2 MS. Diary, March 16, 1873. 

3 Janesville Speech, Life of Carpenter, 467. 4 March 13, 1873. 



DEGRADATION AND DEPRESSION 405 

the City Hall of James L. Orr, the South Carolina Republican, 
while the Union League Club flag fluttered at half-mast. In poli- 
tics, the Democrats swept Connecticut in April; and the same 
month the Supreme Court handed down decisions on the relations 
of the States to the Federal Government under the Reconstruction 
Amendments which gave no little comfort to the minority party. 
The skies were clearing for the Democrats if they could but unite 
a possibility that seemed remote. That summer the 'New York 
World 5 made a gallant fight to rally the party against protection, 
protesting that "the Pennsylvania influence has hamstrung it' and 
urging that the Democrats 'count on accessions from the West/ 1 
Soon the Democratic papers were too busy hammering one an- 
other to concern themselves with the Republicans, who had a 
breathing spell. The Southern and most of the Western press 
fought with 'The World/ while that of Pennsylvania and a part of 
the papers of New England and New Jersey lined up with the 
opposition. The 'Cincinnati Enquirer' and the 'Cleveland Plain 
Dealer' went for protection. 

A new wrinkle, soon to become commonplace, had been discov- 
ered in the way of propaganda. The Industrial League of Penn- 
sylvania had been interrogating presidents of colleges as to the 
textbooks they used on political economy, and the 'Industrial 
Bulletin' had been publishing the replies. A Colorado college 
asked advice. One in Pennsylvania reported nothing in its li- 
brary on economics beyond a volume of the speeches of 'Pig 
Iron' Kelley. Some mentioned certain books presenting the pro- 
tection argument with the blunt suggestion that 'it would be to 
the interest of your industrial league to place such books in our 
library.' 2 Even higher education was soliciting a seduction. 

IX 

And higher education might be needed, for there was a rising in 
the West just now, with infuriated farmers demanding railroad rate 
regulations and a reduction of the tariff. The domination of agri- 
culture in government ended with the passing of the Jeffersonian 
Republic in 1860; and the rule of the industrialists and capitalists 
had come with the war. The now dominant party had formed 

i April 22, 1873. 2 New York World, July 7, 1873. 



406 THE ERA 

offensive and defensive alliances with these new groups,, and felt as 
certain of the farmers, however neglected, as of the negroes of the 
South, for Radicalism had blossomed richest in the West. But the 
farmers of the grain-growing States were now in real distress, their 
homesteads falling under the hammer of the auctioneer, the banks 
foreclosing on the mortgages. The railroads were exacting rates 
for transportation that made it impossible to sell at a profit, and 
the tariff had increased the price of everything the farmer had to 
buy. Enraged at the conditions and the indifference of the Gov- 
ernment, State and National; convinced that monopolies were in 
the saddle and their horses fed at the public trough; certain that 
the railroads owned legislators, executives, and courts, and not far 
wrong, they suddenly rose, and organizations of revolutionary 
militancy sprang up in all agricultural sections, North, South, 
East, and West. While occasionally demanding tariff reform, 
they centered their fire on the railroads and it was time. Al- 
most every State Legislature had its Credit Mobilier; the roads 
owned some of the governors, and many of the courts. Having 
been built at public cost, they scoffed at the regulation of rates, 
evoking Marshall's decision in the Dartmouth case to show that 
regulation was none of the public's business. Public men every- 
where were riding on free passes. It was the day when Money de- 
cided to rule, regardless of elections, and it was making a success 
of the experiment. 

Illinois pointed the way out in the spring of 1873. Three years 
before, the new constitution had made it mandatory on the Legis- 
lature to enact laws prohibiting extortion and unjust rate dis- 
crimination; two years before, such laws had been enacted; that 
spring, the Supreme Court set the law aside; and that very 
month the challenge was accepted. The State Farmers' Associa- 
tion of Illinois was launched with a militant programme predi- 
cated on the pledge of the members to use their power at the polls 
against their enemies and for their friends regardless of party 
affiliations. When the Legislature met to make a law to meet the 
objections of the Supreme Court, the farmers met in Springfield in 
convention with the announcement that they were there *for the 
purpose of attending to our interest in the Legislature, and of 
giving that body and the Governor to understand that we mean 



DEGRADATION AND 407 

business, and are no longer to be trifled with/ l Conservatives 
were shocked, legislators trembled in their boots, and responded 
with more radical regulatory laws than before. 

But that was not enough for this was a farmers 9 revolution. 
These embattled farmers, convinced by the action of the Supreme 
Court that the courts were in the hands of their enemies, marked 
these enemies for slaughter at the polls. The Chief Justice and one 
of his associates, then up for reelection, were defeated, and hostile 
judges in seven or eight circuit court districts went down before 
the farmers' fire. The Eastern press protested loudly against the 
"packing of the judiciary in the interest of a class/ and the farmers 
asked when the press had protested against the packing process 
for another class. Encouraged by the triumph, the farmers en- 
tered tickets in more than half the counties of the State in the fall, 
merging in numerous instances with the Democrats; and other 
Western States followed the example. Coalitions with the Demo- 
crats were made in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and 
a working arrangement was perfected in other States. The whole 
Western country was on fire with a new spirit. The Fourth of July 
was taken over by the farmers for picnics and all-day rallies, and 
thousands listened to speeches and sang songs, and at every meet- 
ing listened to the fervent reading of a farmer's paraphrase of 
the Declaration of Independence, pulsating with specifications of 
outrages, throbbing with insurgency. No more railroad steals 
tariff steals salary-grab steals, they cried. The governmental 
regulation of railroads was demanded; equal banking privileges 
were asked; and the ending of land grabs for the railroads was in- 
sisted upon. 

The result sent a chill to the hearts of the allied industrials and 
politicians. In Illinois, the farmers swept almost every county 
they contested, and had they made a State-wide fight and main- 
tained their ratio, they would have carried the State by twenty- 
two thousand majority. In every other State the Republican 
majorities were enormously reduced; in Kansas a reformer was 
sent to the Senate; in California a coalition of Democrats and in- 
surgents sent to the Senate an insurgent Republican 2 and an anti- 
monopoly Democrat. 3 

1 Buck, 88. 2 Governor Booth. 8 John S. Hagcr. 



48 THE TRAGIC ERA 

TMs was something that called for the most prayerful medita- 
tions of the dominant party; and, in the mean while, the panic had 
struck, and amidst the crash of financial institutions intimately 
identified with the party organization, the politicians were para- 
lyzed with fear. Henry Ward Beecher, always as much politician 
as preacher, was moved almost to un-Christian wrath in a lecture 
on the theme that it is good to get rich, sneering at the idea that 
farmers were more honest than speculators. Indeed, he said, they 
were the easiest of the legislators to buy or seduce. 1 'The Nation 5 
thought the farmers' * denunciation of the railroad men as thieves 
and swindlers when they want them to carry their grain for a 
trifle ... is at least immodest/ 2 Better take a lesson from Jay 
Cooke, and from John D. Rockefeller, who was then making a 
profitable secret arrangement with the roads to carry his oil for 
more than a trifle less than was being charged competitors. 



The panic came because there were too many who thought with 
Beecher that it was good to get rich. Just a little while before, Sen- 
ator Morton had told the Republican State Convention in Ohio that 
'the standard of public morals to-day is higher in this country than 
it has ever been before. 9 3 Less than a month later 'The Nation 5 
was to explain that one of the causes of the panic was c the closing 
of the English markets to American railroad securities under the 
influence of repeated cases of American rascality such as the 
Emma Mine, fathered by the American Minister, and General 
Fremont's swindling Texas enterprise, and the default made by 
several new roads in the payment of their coupons.' 4 This, how- 
ever, was but one of many contributing causes. There had been an 
abnormal and unhealthy absorption of circulating capital, with 
railroads, docks, factories being built on a tremendous scale, with 
too much capital invested in projects offering no immediate or 
early returns. Railroads, wastefully and sometimes criminally 
built, had been built greatly beyond the demand for their services. 
Overtrading, expansion of credits, rash investments, and un- 

a Delivered October 20, 1873. 

2 October 23, 1873. 

3 New York World, August 27, 1873. 4 September 25, 1873. 



DEGRADATION AND DEPRESSION 409 

reasonable speculation on the part of those who thought It good to 
be rich, all enter Into the explanation of the collapse. 1 

The crisis came to a head with the fall of the house of Cooke. 
There had been a wild day of deep anxiety on the New York Stock 
Exchange, and that night Grant arrived at 'Ogontz/ Jay Cooke's 
home in Philadelphia. The two men sat at breakfast the next day 
listening, over a private wire, to the disturbing news from the 
financial center. After breakfast the President was driven to the 
station by the banker; and that very day the New York branch of 
Cooke closed its doors, and Jay Cooke thereupon ordered the clos- 
ing of the doors in Philadelphia. The Washington bank, in charge 
of Henry Cooke, closed, too. 2 

This tragedy did not descend without premonitions. Cooke's 
institutions were carrying the accounts of many politicians, and, 
two years before, the Importunate Colfax had written the banker 
for a loan on which to carry his Northern Pacific assessments. 
Early in 1873, it had become necessary to call in loans, and there 
was some correspondence between Jay and Henry on the em- 
barrassments of the necessity. Elaine had been given a loan on 
property that did not begin to cover it. * Elaine will be a hard nut 
to crack/ wrote Henry/ . . . You will have to be very careful not 
to offend him. He is figuring for the Presidency. Has he paid Ms 
Interest?' 3 With the announcement that the Cookes had closed, 
the excitement was intense, and that night great crowds of finan- 
ciers milled about the corridors of the Fifth Avenue Hotel, the 
sidewalks in front crowded, the bar-rooms as well as lobbies 
packed. In Washington, great crowds surged about the First 
National Bank, where the political leaders had so long found gen- 
erous accommodation and congenial company. Among the crowd 
were many depositors In ugly mood, and the police were hurried to 
the scene. 4 The next day It was even worse in New York, with the 
suspension of twenty more firms, and with pandemonium on the 
Stock Exchange. In a drenching rain crowds of haggard men 
tramped in the neighborhood of Wall and Broad Streets. 'The 

1 Burton, Financial Crises, $87-89; The Nation, September 25, 187S. 

2 Oberholtzer, Cooke, n, 421. 

3 Ibid., n, 416. 

4 New York World, September 19, 1873, 



410 

nearer one got to the Stock Exchange, the more ghastly did the 
faces become/ 1 

Another day, and more failures, but thus far only the moneyed 
class had been hit. Salvini, the actor, played through all these dis- 
mal happenings to crowded houses. 2 And then, the next day, came 
the suspension of Henry Clews and Company. The collapse was 
complete. Grant, with Secretary Richardson, had hurried to New 
York for conferences with financiers and business men and was 
urged to issue part or all of the so-called reserve of $44,000,000 in 
greenbacks retired and canceled by McCulloch. Senator Morton 
was present and urged the issue of the whole amount. Grant re- 
fused, but decided to use the other surplus greenbacks in the 
Treasury to purchase bonds. The President and Richardson re- 
turned. Morton remained, constantly exchanging telegrams with 
Grant and the head of the Treasury. No one was more con- 
spicuous in the lobbies of the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and not infre- 
quently he was seen moving nervously in the throng on Wall 
Street. The collapse of Cooke and Clews, both built up to no lit- 
tle extent by party favor, and hitherto to a never-failing source of 
party sinews, was more than a national calamity it was a party 
tragedy. It was being recalled that Cooke and Clews a year be- 
fore had signed the circular letter to business men and bankers 
warning that the election of Greeley would disturb the * unprece- 
dented prosperity. 5 3 

And then came other disclosures that seemed to an excited na- 
tion a little queer. It had developed that, with the Treasury itself 
across the street, Secretary of the Treasury Richardson had kept 
a balance of $287,782 in Government money with Henry Cooke, 
holding security for but $100,000 of that amount, though the law 
demanded that there be no deposit of Government money with- 
out the deposit of United States bonds or other security to cover 
it. Thus, said "The Nation,' Richardson or the Administration 
had unlawfully lent $187,782 of Government money to a political 
friend. 4 

Then, with the appointment of a receiver, it was found that the 
bank contained but $67,000 in currency of all kinds, while the last 

1 New York World, September 20, 1873. 2 lUd., September 22, 1873. 

3 IUd., October 6, 1873. October 9, 1873. 



DEGRADATION AND 411 

bank statement had sliown It held $140,000 In greenbacks of the 
$300,000 It was bound to hold as a reserve. The public clamor- 
ously Inquired what had become of the money. Charges were 
openly made that influential depositors had been paid off before 
the funds were turned over to the receiver, under the pretext that 
they were special depositors. 1 It was said that Grant had with- 
drawn his $40,000 because of the precarious condition of the bank 
at the very time the $187,782 of Government money was literally 
loaned to the institution without legal security. 2 Why, asked the 
critics, when the National Banking Law forbade a bank to ad- 
vance more than one tenth of Its capital, in this case $50,000, had 
the Cooke bank been permitted to become debtor for thirteen 
times the amount. 3 Under this bombardment, Richardson was 
silent but not indifferent. He managed to persuade Jay Cooke 
and Company to deposit securities to the amount of $200,000, thus 
making the Treasury safe. Whereupon 'The Nation 5 sharply 
commented: c Where Jay Cooke and Company got this money, no 
one seems to know, as the firm are insolvent and making terms 
with their creditors; and the creditors . . ., who find the Govern- 
ment treated as having a preferred claim, are naturally alarmed. 
Altogether it Is a very mysterious piece of business. 9 4 

The case of Clews came in for criticism as severe. Some time be- 
fore the naval account had been withdrawn from the Barings in 
London and given to Henry Clews and Company; and soon this 
was being denounced as fi a political job. 5 It was recalled that 
Clews had appeared as a banker but nine or ten years before and 
had been given the Government account as a reward for political 
services. Instead of the banker's credit drawing the Government 
balance, the balance was given to help the credit. At this time 
John Swlnton, the journalist, was telling John Bigelow that the 
transfer from the Barings to Clews was managed by Orville Grant 
In consideration of the cancellation of a debt owing to the Ameri- 
can banker and telling him on the authority of the manager 
himself. 5 Certain it is that the politicians were profoundly moved 
by the misfortune of Clews. *I would not have had it happen for 

1 The Nation, October 16, 1873. 2 New York World, October 13, 1873, 

3 The Naiwn, October 16, 1.873, 4 November 13, 1873. 

8 Retrospections, v, 131, 



412 THE TRAGIC ERA 

five thousand dollars/ said Tom Murphy. * Henry's failure is the 
hardest blow the President has yet had/ said Senator Morton. 1 
Out of it all one irresistible conclusion emerges the laws had 
been laxly enforced or utterly ignored in the interest of great 
financiers who had been generous with campaign funds and easy 
on private creditors of political distinction. 

Almost immediately the effect of the crash reached business 
generally, and factories not dealing in necessities found that the 
bottom had dropped out of their business. A few weeks, and the 
house of Sprague, manufacturers of Rhode Island, was a heap of 
ruins, and the daughter of Chase entered upon the lean years. No 
more would epicurean dinners be spread in the garden behind the 
Sprague house in Washington. 

XI 

A dismal winter, one of several, turned its bitter blasts upon the 
unemployed. Men, women, and children were soon walking the 
streets in fruitless search of work, and the employment agencies of 
cities were jammed from morning until night. The placards dis- 
played at a mass meeting at Cooper Union in December did not 
exaggerate: 

10,000 homeless men and women in our streets. 
7,500 lodged in the overcrowded 'charnel* station houses per week. 

0,50 idle men from 11 trade unions, while only 5950 are employed. 
18^,000 skilled workmen belonging to trade organizations of the State 

idle. 
110,000 idle of all classes in New York City. 

And there were other placards having political significance: 

Civil Rights have passed, now for the Rights of Work. 

Freedom for Labor, Death for Monopolies. 

Does Speculation or Labor produce wealth? 

We demand suspension of Rent for three months. 

When Workmen begin to think, Monopoly begins to tremble. 2 

Drawn to the capital by the failure of Cooke's bank, Andrew 
Johnson was serenaded one night at the Metropolitan Hotel. The 
request of the serenaders for the use of the Marine Band to honor 

1 The Nation, October 2, 1873. 

2 New York W&rld, December 12, 1873. 



DEGRADATION AND 413 

a former President was refused, albeit a similar request had been 
granted just before to friends planning a dinner for Henry Cooke 
which had to be abandoned now. 1 Without the band an im- 
mense crowd assembled to cheer Johnson. The grim warrior ap- 
peared upon the balcony. 

"What kind of government have we now?' he asked. 2 
The answer came with the elections, with tremendous losses to 
the ruling party everywhere, and with a sweeping victory for the 
Opposition in New York. 

XII 

But in Mississippi the Republicans made an advance in the 
election of General Adelbert Ames to the governorship. The two 
most conspicuous beneficiaries of Republican domination there 
were Ames and Alcorn, both having passed from gubernatorial 
honors to the Senate, where their rivalry became acute. Alcorn 
was a Mississippian, Ames a carpetbagger. Alcorn was a wealthy 
planter, Ames a soldier of fortune. Alcorn was a man of fine foren- 
sic ability, Ames was worse than mediocre on the platform. Al- 
corn was keen, Ames dull. The two had crossed swords on the 
Ku-Klux Bill, Ames supporting, Alcorn opposing it, and their bit- 
ter altercation led to the resignations of both, to test the temper of 
their party in a contest for the nomination for Governor. A few 
white Republicans aligned themselves with Alcorn, the Radicals 
went to Ames, and the Democrats, choosing between evils, made 
no nomination and lent support to Alcorn. Lamar defined the 
attitude of the Democrats when he wrote: *I am for Alcorn. He 
has from the aggressive and combative qualities of his character, 
combined with the prominence of his position and his senatorial 
collisions with Ames, assumed the leadership of the conservatives 
of this State. 5 3 

Alcorn immediately challenged Ames to joint debates, but the 
duller man declined on the ground that his opponent was not 
the nominee of a regular party. The attempt of Alcorn to get the 
negro vote by telling the colored people he had secured them the 
right to ride on cars with the whites alienated thousands of Demo- 

i New York World, October 18, 1873. 

* Ibid., October 24, 1873. 8 Letter to E. D. Clarke, Life of Lamar, 177. 



414 THE TRAGIC EEA 

crats for Ms support. Radicals, carpetbaggers, and negroes went 
In solid mass to Ames, who won overwhelmingly. On the ticket 
with him were three negroes the Lieutenant-Governor, the 
Secretary of State, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. 
All were elected, and Cordozo, thus placed in charge of the schools, 
was at the time under indictment for larceny in Brooklyn, New 
York, the indictment signed by Benjamin F. Tracy, District At- 
torney, and later to be a member of the Harrison Cabinet. 1 

Thus was notice served on Mississippi that the negroes would 
rule the State, and the worst element immediately demonstrated 
its ability to dominate the flabby Ames. The darkest days of 
Mississippi had dawned, and soon, driven to desperate resolves^ 
we shall find her people in revolutionary mood making stern pre- 
parations for the elections of the next year. At the time Ames was 
thus imposed upon them by the organized ignorance of the State, 
the loyalty of the Mississippians was beyond all question. Voor- 
hees, trying a lawsuit there, was writing home that, in the event of 
a war with Spain, 'the South will fight under the old flag in a way 
to command the admiration of the world.' 2 

The election of Ames, with all it meant, sounded the death- 
knell of the Republican Party in Mississippi. All over the North, 
thinking men were beginning to resent the policy of imposing 
ignorant and criminally corrupt governments on the Southern 
people. The scandalous contest over the Louisiana election of 
the previous year was still on, and many were shaking their 
heads in disapproval of the part played in Washington. It was 
the year Andrew D. White, visiting the South, was disgusted by 
what he saw and "for the first time began to feel sympathy with 
the South/ after seeing personally how he had been deceived by 
partisan prejudice and dishonest propaganda. 3 

After all, the Republican victory in Mississippi was but the 
forerunner of redemption. So ended a memorable year. 

1 Gamer, 93. 2 To W> E> Mblack, Life of lamar, 178. 

3 White, Autobiography, i, 176. 



XX 

SLIPPING SCEPTER 

i 

THE year 1874 was not a happy one for the dominant party, 
and the gloss of Grant's military renown had been worn off in 
the harsh contacts of partisan politics. Even the most arrogant 
were a little dubious of the popularity of the Administration, and 
men like Bigelow were writing that it was impossible 'to give a 
good account of our government/ since c Grant does not compre- 
hend his position neither its privileges nor responsibilities.' 1 
The third-term gossip was being greeted with ugly hisses, and 
Bancroft, the historian, was saying that a third term * would . . . 
be a long stride toward changing our republic into a monarchy/ 2 
Grant blundered again, in the nomination of a successor to Chief 
Justice Chase, by seeking without avail to force the superficial 
Williams, his Attorney-General, upon the Senate. Despite the 
almost universal protest of lawyers and public men, Grant 
stubbornly persisted in seeking his confirmation, and it was not 
until a third nomination had been made that the Senate gave 
consent. Bitter as the blow was to Grant, it was more bitter to 
Williams, and still more bitter to Mrs. Williams, consumed with 
pride and ambition, and within two months she was to take to her 
bed, crushed and heart-broken. 3 The appointment of Waite, while 
unexpected, met with no objections, but William Cullen Bryant 
could not forget 'what inconsiderate nominations the first two 
were/ and concluded that Grant lacked 'the discernment neces- 
sary for putting proper men in their proper places/ 4 

Very soon, however, the most popular act of Grant's two admin- 
istrations promised for a moment the restoration of his earlier pop- 
ularity. Hard times had seemingly come to stay, and there was 
prostration in business and suffering among the people. Finan- 

1 To Von Bursen, Retrospections, v, 143. 2 To Bigelow, Retrospections, T, 167. 

3 Missouri Republican; quoted, New York World, April 8, 1874. 

4 To Miss Dewey, Life of Bryant, n, 339. 



416 THE TRAGIC ERA 

ciers were urging the resumption of specie payment, but the clam- 
orous multitude was passionately demanding more paper money. 
The politicians in Congress, cringing before the tide* went with it, 
with much demagogic shouting, and it was assumed that Grant 
would sign the inflation bill. The East, home of the financiers, 
was for resumption, the West for expansion of the paper currency; 
the South had more pressing perils to consider. 'Of course Grant 
would sign/ Great, therefore, was the astonishment when he re- 
turned the measure with a vigorous veto. The East shouted its 
approval and praise; the Republican West was sullen, but its 
fidelity to the party was taken for granted. For a moment Grants 
veto overshadowed his blunders. 'I have seen nearly all the pro- 
minent bankers, bullion dealers, and brokers/ wrote the financial 
editor of the 'New York Herald. 5 'They unanimously applaud/ l 
The final reaction was yet to be seen. There was no rejoicing 
among the unemployed, and suffering among the masses threat- 
ened sinister possibilities. The silk workers of Paterson, New 
Jersey, in mass meeting were demanding an immediate tariff re- 
duction of twenty per cent. 2 The miners, in convention in Ohio, 
and later at Wilkes-Barre, were calling on their fellows to organize 
against the encroachments of organized wealth. 3 The jobless and 
hungry, with communists and socialists, were marching and 
countermarching in the streets of the larger cities; and, frightened 
by the omen, the press was beginning to treat poverty and suffer- 
ing as a crime to be handled with the mailed fist. The day the 
marchers went back and forth from Union Square to Tompkins 
Square, the entire police force of New York was kept on duty, 
and the press announced that detectives were watching 'trade- 
unionists and communists/ 4 When penniless heads of families, 
threatened with eviction in mid- winter, demanded the suspension 
of rents until the first of May, the 'New York World 9 declared 
they were merely trying to rob their landlords and should be 
handed over to the police. 6 

Infuriated by the callous indifference to their plight, the un- 
employed resorted to mass meetings, where defiant resolutions 

1 April 4, 1874. 2 New York World, January 15, 1874. 

3 Ibid., January 19, 1874. 4 Ibid., January 9, 1874. 

6 January 10, 1874. 



THE SLIPPING SCEPTER 417 

were passed and speeches made. When a great throng gathered 
in New York, with a captain of the Union army in the chair, 
detectives were on hand to take down 'incendiary statements/ 
but arrests could scarcely be made because of resolutions protest- 
ing against 'the despotism of class rule/ and threatening the tools 
of monopolists in legislatures with punishment at the polls. 1 The 
New York Central Council of Labor fanned the fury with the 
assertion that "the recent alarming development and aggression of 
aggregated wealth . . * will inevitably lead to the pauperization 
and degradation of the toiling masses/ 2 Under the provocation 
of such assertions, the police denounced all labor leaders as "com- 
munists/ and charged that c French radicals ' were in control; and 
Labor replied that the charge was a lie and that the press was 
deliberately deceiving the people. 3 The result was an outrageous 
assault by the police on a peaceable meeting, where eight thousand 
jobless men were ordered to disperse, and did not stir. The police 
charged with clubs, beating down many who were weak from hun- 
ger. 4 

Such tactics played into the hands of a little group of commun- 
ists and embittered thousands of law-abiding workers against 
the Government. For conditions could scarcely have been worse. 
A survey by the 'New York World' showed that thousands were 
living on from seventy cents to fourteen dollars a week; that clerks 
were receiving from five dollars to fourteen; that hundreds were 
existing on the refuse of the city, veritable scavengers. Some were 
found to be managing on thirty cents a day, and seeking station 
houses in which to sleep at night. 5 Occasionally groups, losing all 
control under the pangs of hunger, rushed the groceries, and the 
press described them as vagabonds men who asked nothing 
better than a job. This condition, together with that of the em- 
battled, organized farmers, was causing no little concern among 
the politicians at Washington. And to add to their discomfort it 
was at this time that an amazing book, "A Prostrate State/ 
appeared, with graphic and relentlessly true descriptions of the 
barbarous government maintained in South Carolina through the 

1 Now York WorU, January 11, 1874. 

2 Ibid., January 12, 1874. 3 Ibid., January 13, 1874. 

4 Ibid., January 14, 1874. 5 Ibid., January 21 and 22, 1874. 



418 THE TRAGIC 

power of Federal bayonets. It was the 'Uncle Tom's Cabin 3 of the 
redemption of the South, and the author was James S. Pike, an 
Abolitionist, a Republican, an appointee of Lincoln as Minister to 
The Hague. Soon thoughtful men throughout the North were 
reading the truth which had been denied them. Democrats had 
declared it but here was Republican authority! 

Even so, the year had its light and amusing side. All through 
the summer, men and women were thrilling to the exotic story of 
Henry Ward Beecher and Theodore Tilton running in the press, 
and, strangely enough, the warmest defender of the * Chaplain of 
the Radicals/ was the 'New York World.' The Frankfort, Ken- 
tucky, 'Yeoman 3 was asking why 'The World/ 'which claims to 
be a Democratic journal, is so ardent an admirer, advocate, and 
defender of the Radical apostle"; 1 and there was no answer. 

That summer Charlie Ross, a child, mysteriously disappeared, 
to furnish a topic for the gossips for sixty years. 

ii 

And that spring Charles Sumner ceased from troubling. He 
was still anathema to the party he had helped to create. Even the 
negroes had gone over to Grant, with the politicians. He was 
alone, deserted by wife, by party, by his old associates alone 
in the house on Lafayette Square, with his pictures and books. 
The antipathies he had created even curtailed his social life, and 
when asked to attend a dinner for Godkin, of 'The Nation/ he 
almost kicked the bearer of the invitation from the room. 2 There 
was ineffable loneliness in these closing days, and physical debility. 
He had been growing weaker day by day, when, one evening, the 
servants heard a fall, and found Mm in his chamber in great pain. 
Drugs were administered to alleviate the suffering, and two col- 
ored men were engaged as nurses. With the spreading of the 
news of his serious illness, crowds gathered before his house, all 
sorts and conditions of men, with the negroes predominating. 
These intercepted visitors emerging from the house, with anxious 
inquiries. A correspondent observed, however, 'that no one 
connected with the White House, nor any member of the Cabinet, 
gave any sign of interest/ 3 It was evident that his summons had 

1 Quoted, New York World, August 29, 1874. 

2 Letter by Godkin, Ogden, I, 311. New York World, March W f 1874. 



THE SLIPPING 419 

come. Former Attorney-General Hoar sat by Ms bedside holding 
Ms hand. 'Judge, tell Emerson how much I love and revere him/ 
murmured the dying man. 'He said of you once/ Hoar replied, 
"that he never knew so white a soul/ To all who were admitted he 
kept saying over and over again, * You must take care of the Civil 
Rights Bill* his last thought. Just as Schurz entered the room, 
the soul of Sumner broke from the clay, and Hoar, laying Ms hand 
down gently, said, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! enter 
thou into the joy of thy Lord! 9 1 

And now, the White House was interested. Nellie Grant sent 
violets. 2 The body was borne to the Capitol in a procession led 
by a body of negroes, including Fred Douglass, and there in the 
Kotunda it lay in state. An immense throng attended the funeral, 
Grant and the Cabinet foremost, but the colored people outnum- 
bered the others, Julian thought the services 'cold and hollow and 
anything but a fit response to the popular feeling/ Some Scrip- 
tural passages were read, some c drawling prayers, 3 but there was 
neither music nor a sermon. *A grand opportunity lost,' wrote 
Julian, c of appealing to the sympathies of the multitude and im- 
pressing great moral and spiritual truths upon the minds of all.* 3 

Thus Sumner passed from the scene of Ms greatness to rest in 
the quiet of Mount Auburn. Six weeks later, irreverent crowds 
pushed into his home to a sale of Ms household effects. The 
dining-room furniture familiar to so many of the great was 
bought by Wormley, the negro hotel-keeper, with the view to 
fitting up a Sumner Room. 4 

But Sumner' s Civil Rights Bill failed of enactment that session. 
All over the South the 'poor wMtes* were up in arms against it 
particularly in Tennessee, where the Radical mountaineers were 
bitterest. The bill was thought destructive of the public schools, 
and intended to force the two races to live together. In the Fed- 
eral Cemetery at Knoxville, fifteen thousand mountaineers, meet- 
ing in protest, forbade the negroes to appear. 5 When the most 
rabid of the Radicals, Parson Brownlow, now Senator, was de- 
nounced by a negro convention at Nashville for Ms opposition, to 

i Hoar, Memoir, 39; Pierce, iv, 598. 2 New York World, March 14, 1874. 

* MS. Diary, April 14, 1874. 4 New York World, June 4, 1874. 

6 Ibid., July 13, 1874. 



420 THE TRAGIC 

the measure, lie replied defiantly. These negroes, he said, were 
reversing the Dred Scot decision and holding that the white man 
had no rights the negro was bound to respect. Their conduct 
made for racial animosities that could only operate against the 
blacks. Their demands would be destructive of the public schools,, 
Political reprisals? The Tennessee Republican Party could get 
along without the negro as well as the negro could get along with- 
out the party; and without the party there would have been no 
negro vote. Besides, * twenty-five thousand white Republican 
voters of East Tennessee have resolved to get along without the 
colored voters sooner than submit to this sum of villainies and 
quintessence of abominations known as "the co-education of the 
races.' 5 ' 1 

Thus ' party principles' were passing with the Stevenses and 
the Sumners. There was no deep grief for Sumner on the Republi- 
can side of the House; it was from the Democratic side and from 
a Southerner that the tribute came. 

in 

When Lucius Q. C. Lamar, of Mississippi, rose to pay Ms 
memorable tribute, he faced an audience of more than ordinary 
distinction. The floor was full, the galleries thronged, the Diplo- 
matic Gallery brilliant with colors; and intellect and fashion sat 
expectant, when the commanding figure of the bearded orator with 
the great gray eyes rose in the silence. It was a serious moment in 
Lamar's career. His friends had grave misgivings; his opponents, 
not unmindful of his fire-eating days, were cold and critical. No 
speaker ever undertook a more difficult task. In personal appear- 
ance he was impressive, his profile and features regular but 
massive, his abundant hair and pointed beard both brown, his 
eyebrows heavy. Practice with the sword and gloves had given 
him the solid powerful shoulders of a pugilist, though his hands 
and feet were slender and sensitive. Though an impassioned 
nature, his outer appearance was that of a dreamer; his manner 
always that of a cultivated gentleman. Unless intolerably pro- 
voked, he was gentle, and his heart was as tender as that of a 
young girL His oratory was natural and at times inspired, and he 

1 New York Herald, May 18, 1874. 



SLIPPING 421 

combined the qualities of a deeply analytical and philosophical 
mind with those of a master of exquisite English which clothed his 
arguments in beauty. Like Sargent S. Prentiss, he was at his best 
in extemporaneous speech. Such was the knight of Mississippi 
who rose to speak on Sumner, of Massachusetts. His voice was 
soft and musical, modulated to the solemnity of the occasion. 
Referring to the softening of Sumner in the later days he said: 

*It has been the kindness of the sympathy which in these later 
days he has displayed toward the impoverished and suffering 
people of the Southern States that has unveiled to me the gener- 
ous, tender heart which beat beneath the bosom of a zealot, and 
has forced me to yield to him the tribute of respect I might even 
say of my admiration/ 

The brilliant audience sat in rapt attention as the Southerner 
proceeded with a brilliant analysis of Sunmer's character, without 
reflecting on his own people or yielding aught to the foe. 

'The South, prostrated, exhausted, drained of her life blood, 
as well as of her material resources, yet still honorable and true, 
accepts the bitter award of the bloody arbitrament without reser- 
vation, resolutely determined to abide the result with chivalrous 
fidelity; yet, as if struck dumb by the magnitude of her reverses, 
she suffers on in silence. The North, exultant in her triumph, 
and elated by success, still cherishes, as we are assured, a heart 
full of magnanimous emotions toward her disarmed and discom- 
fited antagonist; and yet, as if mastered by some mysterious spell, 
silencing her better impulses, her words and acts are the words 
and acts of suspicion and distrust. Would that the spirit of the 
illustrious dead whom we lament to-day could speak from the 
grave to both parties to this deplorable discord in tones which 
would reach each and every heart throughout this broad territory: 
"My countrymen, know one another and you will love one an- 
other/" 

Elaine, motionless as a statue, with his face turned away, did 
not try to conceal the tears running down his cheeks, and on both 
sides of the House men wept openly. When Lamar closed, there 
was a deathlike silence, and then a burst of applause, as one 
Northerner said to another, 'My God, what a speech! It will ring 
through the country/ 



422 THE TRAGIC ERA 

And ring It did, party and section for the time forgotten in the 
universal praise. For a moment it seemed that a miracle had been 
wrought but just for a moment. The exigencies of politics 
would soon unfurl the bloody shirt again, and Elaine himself 
would wave it, despite his tears. 

XV 

For the scandals of the Administration were accumulating, and 
even as Lamar spoke, the Foster Committee was just closing its 
investigation of the Sanborn contracts. Acting under a law 
authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to employ no more than 
three men to assist officials in the discovery and collection of 
money due the Government, a contract had been awarded John D. 
Sanborn, of Massachusetts, then a special agent for the Treasury. 
The Secretary was to determine the conditions of the contract 
and to pay no compensation save for the money recovered. 
Having in his official capacity acquainted himself with the dis- 
tillers, rectifiers, and purchasers of whiskey who had withheld 
taxes, Sanborn obtained a contract for collection in the case of 
thirty-nine. Finding the picking profitable, officials complacent, 
and his authorization Irom the Secretary of the Treasury sufficient 
to* open the books of all the revenue offices to his inspection, San- 
born asked the Secretary to add to his contract the names of seven 
hundred and sixty persons charged with failing to pay taxes on 
legacies, successions, and incomes. They were added *as a mat- 
ter of routine/ Delighted with his easy conquest, he asked to 
have five hundred and ninety-two railroads added and this was 
done. In a little more than a year he had collected $427,000, of 
which he received half. 

The evidence disclosed that Sanborn had a political character, 
being a friend of Ben Butler, who had introduced Mm to the Com- 
missioner of Internal Revenue, and that he had been a constant 
contributor to the campaign funds. When he was arrested in 
Brooklyn, it was Butler and W. E. Chandler, with whom we are 
familiar, who went on his bond. Summoned before the committee, 
the Secretary of the Treasury, William A. Richardson, disclosed 
an appalling ignorance. He was ignorant of the transactions in his 
office no time to investigate. He had signed the instructions 



THE 423 

to supervisors and revenue collectors, placing them at the disposal 
of Sanbora without reading had no recollection of it. 1 'What/ 
asked the committee, 'you sign contracts without reading? 3 'Oh, 
yes, sir. 5 2 He had not answered the letter of the Commissioner 
protesting against the privileges of Sanborn, because he had never 
seen it. Had he inquired into the details of the railroad collections 
when he signed the order for the payment to Sanborn of forty- 
nine thousand doEars? Not at all *I signed in the regular 
course of business/ 3 The evidence of the other Treasury officials 
showed an Ignorance or culpable indifference quite as amazing. 
With characteristic effrontery, Ben Butler, whose name had 
bobbed in and out of the testimony, appeared before the coTn.rn.it-' 
tee one day In a bulldozing mood, to receive shot for shot from 
Beck of Kentucky. 4 

There was but one thing to do. The committee found that the 
Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, and the Solicitor * deserve 
severe condemnation for the manner in which they have permitted 
the law to be administered/ Thus Richardson's position became 
untenable In the Treasury. When It was proposed to proceed 
against him in the House, Grant summoned the committee, with 
a plea to withhold action until he could find a successor and 
another official position for the Secretary ! Thus Richardson was 
transferred to the Court of Claims and Bristow entered the 
Treasury to play havoc with the peace of the Administration. 



Meanwhile, with Pike's book on the savagery of government in 
South Carolina sinking in on the consciousness of the North, an 
incident soon disclosed that no impression had been made on the 
President. For almost two years Frank Moses, a lecherous degen- 
erate and corruptionlsV had been In the gubernatorial chair at 
Columbia. The black sheep of a decent family, notoriously dis- 
honest In the Legislature, he had been elevated to the executive 
office with the aid of the National Government and had entered 
into the land of milk and honey with an Insatiate appetite. Al- 
most immediately, this penniless adventurer had purchased a 

1 EL B. Keport, 559, 43d Cong., 1st Sess., 88. 

2 Ibid., 89. 3 Ibid., 92. 4 MA., 176-77. 



424 TRAGIC 

f orty-thousaixd-dollar mansion, furnished it with elegance, main- 
tained the grounds and buildings perfectly, and indulged himself 
in every luxury. Driving through the streets in an expensive 
equipage drawn by a span of the finest horses, he conveyed the 
impression of opulence. He was living at the rate of about forty 
thousand a year, and, while his debts had reached almost a quarter 
of a million, he was not without resources in the crimes he was 
committing. 1 A natural actor in the princely r61e, a correspondent 
described his domestic establishment as *a well-trained corps 
dramatique.* In the presence of minister or bishop, he was all piety 
and humility and the good man was impressed with his sanctity 
and the charms of a pious household. When occasion called, he 
could * preface a meal with a lengthy and unctuous grace and roll 
off a well-written family prayer/ Even the domestics enjoyed the 
comedy. 2 And yet this "frowsy, hatchet-faced, pale young man of 
a debauched exterior, suggesting the celebrated Dick Swiveller/ 
with a big mustache and thin hair 'like a dried moss/ could be 
seen with negroes and low whites puffing cigarettes, and sitting 
down among the blacks with a hunchback billiard-player. 3 His 
was the golden age of stealing in South Carolina he in the 
executive mansion, ' Honest 3 John Patterson in the Senate. 
Reeking with corruption, he and his followers in public station 
lived on the fat of the land, with fine wines and liquors, blooded 
horses and luxurious homes. Elliott, the negro Speaker of the 
House, dwelt in a white trellised cottage in the fashionable section, 
with his 'green vines, magnolias, mock orange, and long-thistled 
Carolina stem grass/ and *a pretty, rose-tinted light mulatto/ 
This house was in his wife's name. 4 Scott, the former Governor, 
and Patterson, and the other pillagers, had homes in the capital, 
and a correspondent, surveying the sorry scene, described Colum- 
bia as 'an out-of-door penitentiary, where the members browse 
voluntarily, like the animals in the Zoological Garden/ 5 

And the taxpayers? They were ground to powder their very 
civilization in peril. In Charleston alone, this year, two thousand 
pieces of real estate were forfeited for taxes, and in nineteen 
counties, 93,293 acres were sold, and 343,891 acres went to the 

1 Reynolds, 70. 2 New York World, August 25, 1874. 

3 New York Herald, October 13, 1874. 4 Ibid., October 17, 1874. B Ibid. 



THE SLIPPING SCEPTER 425 

tax collector. 1 All attempts to reach Moses through the law were 
vain. Indicted for complicity with a county treasurer to rob the 
State, he defied arrest, and for three days three companies of 
negro militia guarded his house and office; and the courts declared 
him immune from arrest, and only liable to impeachment by the 
corrupt Legislature he controlled. 2 Under these shocking condi- 
tions, the taxpayers met in protest at Columbia and formulated an 
appeal to Congress. This set forth the exclusion of taxpayers from 
the Government, the constant increase in taxes until they con- 
sumed more than half the income from the property, and the fact 
that the exploiters boasted that the great body of the land would 
be taxed out of the possession of the owners. More: that public 
plunder was open and defiant, with the living standards of two 
governors only possible on stolen money. 3 

This was not news in the North. The "New York Tribune, 3 
"Herald, 5 * World/ 'Sun/ and 'Nation 'had been drawing stronger 
indictments and describing Moses as a consummate thief. But 
there was no relief in Washington. A committee of the most re- 
putable and distinguished citizens presented their petition to 
Congress, along with a copy of Pike's 'Prostrate State/ Nothing 
happened. The petition was flippantly laid on the table without 
discussion. The committee then turned to Grant. 

Just before its arrival at the White House, the slouching figure 
of 'Honest' John Patterson sneaked into the Executive Office to 
prepare the President for the visitors and advise him. One of the 
speakers in the Taxpayers* Convention had severely reflected on 
Grant, and it was enough for Patterson. It served his petty pur- 
pose. Balancing himself with one foot on a chair, Grant listened 
impatiently to the spokesman, interrupting occasionally with tart 
reproaches, and then bursting into an extraordinary discussion of 
Ms personal grievance against one man in the convention. Even 
the 'New York Sun/ he said, had not been so villainous in its 
attacks. And perhaps the taxpayers had themselves to blame. 
Had they not refused to amalgamate with the carpetbaggers and 
the negroes refused to affiliate with the Administration Party 
in South Carolina? Another speaker, resorting to manuscript lest 
under the provocation he lose his temper, tried to talk, only to 

1 Williams, Columbia State, August 8, 1927. * Reynolds, 270. 3 JWi., 250-53. 



426 THE TRAGIC ERA 

be interrupted. In sheer disgust the committee, of as high-minded 
men as South Carolina had produced, turned from the presidential 
presence. 1 

But again Grant had blundered. * It is a new thing in our his- 
tory, even after all these recent years of scandals in high places* 
for an American President to insult his fellow citizens coming be- 
fore him on a lawful errand/ said the 'New York World/ 2 This, 
following on Pike's exposS, hastened the awakening of the North. 

Nor was the bad impression brightened by the reply to the 
taxpayers by the Republican State Committee a partisan 
tirade evading the issue. Among the signers were some disre- 
putable characters, fourteen of the twenty-four being notorious 
bribe-takers. It was common knowledge. When the representa- 
tives of this group appeared before Grant, they were received with 
courtesy, and assured that their reply seemed satisfactory. The 
spokesman was a carpetbagger who had participated in the rob- 
bing of the Treasury, and afterward was to be convicted of for- 
gery. 3 

Thus, with the appeal of the taxpayers worse than ignored, the 
conviction grew that the South would have to fight. 

VI 

The character of the campaign being waged in the North 
accentuated the fact. With Lamar's speech forgotten, desperate 
politicians were waving the "bloody shirt/ The embattled farmers 
were on the march; the unemployed of the cities were in an ugly 
mood; the small business man struggling against bankruptcy was 
rebellious now; and the masses were beginning to sicken at the 
multiplying scandals. The third-term aspirations of Grant were 
impressing stout Republicans as unendurable, 4 and this was to 
align Whitelaw Reid and 'The Tribune* behind the gubernatorial 
candidacy of Tilden in New York. 5 To arouse the dominant party to 
a fighting fury, Andrew Johnson was on a rampage again, waging 
a vigorous battle for the Senate in Tennessee, with the multitude 
reacting rapturously to his denunciations of the Administration. 6 

1 Richard Lathers, Reminiscences, 321-24. 2 April 13, 1874. 3 Reynolds, 265. 
4 To Weed from Dix, Weed, Memoirs, n, 505. 5 Cortissoz, i, 284. 

6 New York Herald, November 2, 1874. 



THE SLIPPING 427 

Again the Nation rang with sectional assaults. A letter to the 
editors of Administration papers in Indiana was found and pub- 
lished: C I desire to call your attention to the horrible scenes of 
violence and bloodshed transpiring throughout the South and 
suggest that you give them as great prominence as possible in your 
paper from this time until after the election.' Signed by Thomas 
J. Brady, State Chairman, it was charged that the author was 
Senator Morton, the powerful leader of the Administration 
forces. 1 Attorney-General Williams through his office was giving 
currency to such falsehoods. But the North had become skeptical 
at last, and for the first time since the beginning of the war the 
Democrats wiped out the Republican majority in the House of 
Representatives; and in the election of Tilden in New York, a 
commanding figure had been given to the leadership of his party. 

VII 

The spirit of Alabama that year sent a chill to the heart of 
Administration leaders. With no more than four thousand whites 
in the Republican Party, the blacks met in high feather at Mont- 
gomery and demanded their choice of nominations in the negro 
counties, and a proportionate distribution of the plums in others. 
With the State Supreme Court deciding that intermarriages were 
legal, they noisily clamored from the platform for the Civil Rights 
Bill. The State was flooded with the Radical speeches of Morton 
and Boutwell in favor of mixed schools, and colored orators were 
parroting the words of Morton. The Union League Clubs, in a 
spurt of new life, again were promising a division of property, and 
campaign speakers were boasting that it would be taxed out of the 
possession of the owners. Negroes who could read were seriously 
perusing circulars, purporting to come from Grant, making con- 
tinued freedom conditional on the support of the Republican 
Party. The colored preachers and women were declaring any other 
affiliation incompatible with eternal salvation, and colored Demo- 
crats were expelled from the churches. Children were withdrawn 
from schools having Democrats as teachers, and women pledged 
themselves to desert their husbands if they dared vote with the 
native whites. 2 , 

i New York World, October 14, 1874. 2 Fleming, 772-76. 



428 THE TRAGIC ERA 

And the challenge was accepted. The taxpayers were ready to 
go up against guns or bayonets now, 

The spirit of revolt in the South flamed in the bitter editorial of 
the * Atlanta News' 1 demanding White Leagues in every city 
and hamlet, and organization for a tremendous struggle. We 
have submitted long enough to indignities, and It Is time to meet 
brute force with brute force/ it said. Thus all the county con- 
ventions met and acted in belligerent mood. The race Issue had 
been forced upon them. Very well, it would be met. The Civil 
Rights measure would not be tolerated, and all whites supporting 
the negro party, or the bill, would be relentlessly ostracized. 2 

And thus it was ostracism, the most complete. Business 
relations were broken; the honesty and honor of the deserter 
denied; his children were considered tainted; and the presence of 
the deserters in public meetings, even at church, was enough to 
drive the others out. 3 

In convention, the Democrats nominated for Governor George 
S. Houston, a North Alabamian who had been a mild Unionist; 
the Republicans renominated Lewis and the fight was on. 

Moving with determination, but caution, the Democratic State 
Committee issued its rules of conduct. No one was to be Injured; 
all causes for just complaint were to be avoided; personal conflicts 
were taboo, but, ran the orders, 'If forced upon us, act In that line 
of just self-defense which is recognized and provided for by the 
laws of the land. 9 4 

Abundant cause there was for caution, for the tf outrage fac- 
tories' were again at work, the North deluged with weird imagin- 
ings of Infamies and slaughter. Hawley, of the * Hartford Courant/ 
had solicited some choice morsels for his people from Charles 
Hays, a Congressman from Alabama a former slave-owner who 
had been ostracized by his neighbors because of his cruelty to his 
slaves. The Connecticut editor wanted something from *a gentle- 
man of unimpeachable honor/ And the man of ' unimpeachable 
honor' set to work with a zest. Soon the country was shuddering 
over stories of brutal outrages In Alabama. The spirit of rebellion 
was still rampant. Everywhere were murders, riots, torturmgs 
never so much before. For a moment the Hawley-Hays corre- 
spondence was a national sensation. 

1 Doc. Hist., n, 387. 2 Ibid., n, 388. 8 Fleming, 781. * Ibid., 786. 



THE SLIPPING SCEPTER 429 

But, alas, the 'New York Tribune/ choosing 'a lifelong Re- 
publican" as its emissary, sent him to investigate and report 
and the report was more sensational than the story. There were 
no murders, no torturings, no riots, no rebels, and the Hays story 
was a lie out of whole cloth. More: 'Hays knew that his state- 
ments were lies when he made them 5 and he suffered for the 
sins of his Northern brethren who needed such stories at home. 1 

And yet there were outrages in Alabama on the other side. 
Taking advantage of the spring flood of the Alabama, Warrior, 
and Tombigbee Rivers, which had inundated a large section of 
the country, causing distress among the negroes, Congress had 
been asked for an appropriation for relief. Eighty thousand dol- 
lars was thus available for the purchase of bacon to be distributed 
under the supervision of the Republican politicians of the State. 
The flood was in the spring, the bacon money was soon available, 
but there had been no distribution, and the Democrats in Congress 
called for a report. An investigation showed that the bacon was 
being used, not so much in the flooded section as in communities 
where it would do the most good politically. The army captain 
sent to investigate seized 5348 pounds sent to dry territory eighty 
miles distant from the nearest flooded section, and 17,430 pounds 
in other communities untouched by the flood. Even so, there was 
enough left for bacon suppers in negro churches for all who 
pledged themselves to vote the Republican ticket. But the scandal 
broke, the supply was exhausted, and there was weeping and 
gnashing of teeth among hundreds of whites and blacks who had 
failed to get their quota. 2 

All this but intensified the campaign of the Democrats. With a 
perfect organization, they were abundantly supplied with money, for 
every white man contributed to his limit, and Northerners with 
Alabama investments increased the fund irrespective of politics. 
Tons of literature deluged the State, and since postmasters were 
not above the pilfering 'of the mails, messengers, wagons, and 
the express were used in getting the material to the voters. Every 
one who could took to the stump, and all but ten of the seventy- 
five lawyers of Montgomery were busy on the platform. 

Through it all the Democrats measurably respected the in- 

1 Fleming, 787-88. * H. E. Doc. 110, 4Sd Cong., 2d Sess., 10-11; Fleming, 763-65. 



430 THE TRAGIC ERA 

junction against physical conflicts. Here and there* they tore 
opposition posters down, and egged on the more obnoxious' in- 
cendiary speakers, and, seated on the front row at carpetbag 
meetings, with guns on their laps, interrogated the speakers about 
bacon. But Grant, thoroughly aroused by the threat of defeat, 
preferred to believe Mr. Hays, the man of * unimpeachable honor/ 
and in September he had ordered Secretary Belknap to hold troops 
in readiness to deal with the ( atrocities' in Alabama and South 
Carolina. The Attorney-General began urging United States 
Marshals to make arrests under the Enforcement Act; and in 
October, the State was overrun with deputy marshals, agents of 
the Department of Justice, and secret-service men, many of the 
lowest order. With from ten to twenty-five deputy marshals in 
each county, vouched for as "good Republicans' by the State 
Chairman, the making of wholesale arrests began. Federal 
soldiers, with warrants from the United States Commissioner, 
dragged citizens from political meetings and their homes, removed 
them to distant parts with handcuffs on their wrists, and threw 
them into jails. Among the victims of this policy was John T. 
Morgan, who was afterward to win the admiration of the Nation 
In the United States Senate. 1 

i Whipped by such persecution into a frenzy of determination, 
the people rose and marched, en masse, to the polls, defying the 
attempts at intimidation, and, electing Houston and a Democratic 
Legislature, swept the carpetbaggers and scalawags from power. 

Alabama had joined Virginia* Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas, 
and was free. 

VIII 

And this year Arkansas joined the procession of the redeemed. 

For six years that State had been a happy hunting ground for 
the adventurers. Taking possession with $319,000 in the Treasury, 
and the counties practically free from debt, they had run the 
State into an indebtedness of $15,700,000, and most of the coun- 
ties were In debt to the verge of bankruptcy. One looked In vain 
for evidence of legitimate expenditure. No new public buildings 
could be seen, and the old State House was In a state of dilapida- 

1 Meming, 793-98; New York World, October 8, 1874. 



' SLIPPING 431 

tion. Nothing had been done for science or art, and the schools 
were all but closed, since the school funds had found their way into 
the pockets of the rulers. Little Rock, unpaved, presented a 
dreary prospect. Only in the new, or 'court ' end, of the town, one 
found a number of pleasant new dwellings built by the political 
hucksters who had handled the railroad bonds. It was through the 
State-aid bonds for the railroads that the carpetbaggers had en- 
riched themselves a process with which we are familiar, and on 
which Clayton had insisted in the beginning. There was still much 
laughing over the cleverness of a Speaker of the House who, per- 
suading the people of one county to issue one hundred thousand 
dollars in bonds for a road of which he was president, hurried with 
them to New York, where he found a banker willing to give eighty 
per cent on the bonds, provided he could get a bank to guarantee 
payment of interest for five years. The Speaker had deposited 
thirty thousand dollars with a bank to guarantee the six per cent 
interest for five years, received the eighty thousand dollars and 
with fifty thousand dollars profit he hied himself to Colorado to 
enjoy his fortune. 1 Visitors to Little Rock were