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Founders and Political Leaders - Part 4
Garfield, James Abram, 1831-1881, lawyer, Union general. Lt. Colonel, 42nd Regiment Ohio Volunteers. Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio. Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. Twentieth President of the United States. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 599-605; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 145; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 8, p. 715; Congressional Globe)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GARFIELD, James Abram, twentieth president of the United States, born in Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, 19 November, 1831; died in Elberon, New Jersey, 19 September, 1881. His father, Abram Garfield, was a native of New York, but of Massachusetts ancestry, descended from Edward Garfield, an English Puritan, who in 1630 was one of the founders of Watertown. His mother, Eliza Ballou, was born in New Hampshire, of a Huguenot family that fled from France to New England after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685. Garfield, therefore, was from lineage well represented in the struggles for civil and religious liberty, both in the Old and in the New World. Abram Garfield, his father, moved to Ohio in 1830, and settled in what was then known as “The Wilderness,” now as the “Western Reserve,” which was occupied by Connecticut people. Abram Garfield made a prosperous beginning in his new home, but died, after a sudden illness, at the age of thirty-three, leaving a widow with four small children, of whom James was the youngest. In bringing up her family, unaided in a lonely cabin (see accompanying illustration), and impressing on them a high standard of moral and intellectual worth, Mrs. Garfield displayed an almost heroic courage. It was a life of struggle and privation; but the poverty of her home differed from that of cities or settled communities it was the poverty of the frontier, all shared it, and all were bound closely together in a common struggle, where there were no humiliating contrasts in neighboring wealth. At three years of age James A. Garfield went to school in a log hut, learned to read, and began that habit of omnivorous reading which ended only with his life. At ten years of age he was accustomed to manual labor, helping out his mother's meagre income by work at home or on the farms of the neighbors. Labor was play to the healthy boy; he did it cheerfully, almost with enthusiasm, for his mother was a staunch Campbellite, whose hymns and songs sent her children to their tasks with a feeling that the work was consecrated; but work in winter always yielded its claims to those of the district school, where he made good progress, and was conspicuous for his assiduity. By the time he was fourteen, young Garfield had a fair knowledge of arithmetic and grammar, and was particularly apt in the facts of American history, which he had eagerly gathered from the meagre treatises that circulated in that remote section. Indeed, he read and re-read every book the scanty libraries of that part of the wilderness supplied, and many he learned by heart. Mr. Blaine attributes the dignity and earnestness of his style to his familiarity with the Bible and its literature, of which he was a constant student. His imagination was especially kindled by the tales of the sea; a love for adventure took strong possession of him. He so far yielded to it that in 1848 he went to Cleveland and proposed to ship as a sailor on board a lake schooner. But a glance showed him that the life was not the romance he had conceived. He turned promptly from the shore, but, loath to return home without adventure and without money, drove some months for a boat on the Ohio canal. Little is known of this experience, except that he secured promotion from the tow-path to the boat, and a story that he was strong enough and brave enough to hold his own against his companions, who were naturally a rough set. During the winter of 1849-'50 he attended the Geauga seminary at Chester, Ohio, about ten miles from his home. In the vacations he learned and practised the trade of a carpenter, helped at harvest, taught, did anything and everything to get money to pay for his schooling. After the first term, he asked and needed no aid from home; he had reached the point where he could support himself. At Chester he met Miss Lucretia Rudolph, his future wife. Attracted at first by her interest in the same intellectual pursuits, he quickly discovered sympathy in other tastes, and a congeniality of disposition, which paved the way for the one great love of his life. He was himself attractive at this time, exhibited many signs of intellectual superiority, and was physically a splendid specimen of vigorous young manhood. He studied hard, worked hard, cheerfully ready for any emergency, even that of the prize-ring; for, finding it a necessity, he one day thrashed the bully of the school in a stand-up fight. His nature, always religious, was at this period profoundly stirred in that direction. He was converted under the instructions of a Campbellite preacher, was baptized and received into that denomination. They called themselves “The Disciples,” contemned all doctrines and forms, and sought to direct their lives by the Scriptures, simply interpreted as any plain man would read them. This sanction to independent thinking, given by religion itself, must have had great influence in creating that broad and catholic spirit in this young disciple which kept his earnest nature out of the ruts of moral and intellectual bigotry. From this moment his zeal to get the best education grew warmer; he began to take wider views, to look beyond the present into the future. As soon as he finished his studies in Chester, he entered (1851) the Hiram eclectic Institute (now Hiram College), at Hiram, Portage County, Ohio, the principal educational institution of his sect. He was not very quick of acquisition, but his perseverance was indomitable, and he soon had an excellent knowledge of Latin and a fair acquaintance with algebra, natural philosophy, and botany. He read Xenophon, Caesar, and Virgil with appreciation; but his superiority was more easily recognized in the prayer-meetings and debating societies of the college, where he was assiduous and conspicuous. Living here was inexpensive, and he readily made his expenses by teaching in the English departments, and also gave instruction in the ancient languages. After three years he was well prepared to enter the junior class of any eastern college, and had saved $350 toward the expenses of such an undertaking out of his salary. He hesitated between Yale, Brown, and Williams Colleges, finally choosing Williams on the kindly promise of encouragement sent him by its president, Mark Hopkins. It was natural to expect he would choose Bethany College, in West Virginia, an institution largely controlled and patronized by the “Disciples of Christ.” Garfield himself seems to have thought some explanation for his neglect to do so necessary, and with particularity assigns as reasons that the course of instruction at Bethany was not so extended as in the old New England colleges; that Bethany was too friendly in opinion to slavery; and — most significant of all the reasons he gave — that, as he had inherited by birth and association a strong bias toward the religious views there inculcated, he ought especially to examine other faiths. Entering Williams in the autumn of 1854, he was duly graduated with the highest honors in the class of 1856. His classmates unite with President Hopkins in testifying that in college he was warm-hearted, large-minded, and possessed of great earnestness of purpose and a singular poise of judgment. All speak, too, of his modest and unassuming manners. But, outside of these and other like qualities, such as industry, perseverance, courage, and conscientiousness, Garfield had exhibited up to this time no signs of the superiority that was to make him a conspicuous figure. But the effects of twenty-five years of most varied discipline, cheerfully accepted and faithfully used, begin now to show themselves, and to give to history one of its most striking examples of what education — the education of books and of circumstances — can accomplish. Garfield was not born, but made; and he made himself by persistent, strenuous, conscientious study and work. In the next six years he was a college president, a state senator, a major-general in the National Army, and a representative-elect to the National Congress. American annals reveal no other promotion so rapid and so varied.
On his return to Ohio, in 1856, he resumed his place as a teacher of Latin and Greek at Hiram Institute, and the next year (1857), being then only twenty-six years of age, he was made its president. He was a successful officer, and ambitious, as usual, beyond his allotted task. He discussed before his interested classes almost every subject of current interest in scholarship, science, religion, and art. The story spread, and his influence with it; he became an intellectual and moral force in the Western Reserve. It was greatest, however, over the young. They keenly felt the contagion of his manliness, his sympathy, his thirst for knowledge, and his veneration for the truth when it was found. As an educator, he was, and always would have been, eminently successful; he had the knowledge, the art to impart it, and the personal magnetism that impressed his love for it upon his pupils. His intellectual activity at this time was intense. The canons of his church permitted him to preach, and he used the permission. He also pursued the study of law, entering his name, in 1858, as a student in a law-office in Cleveland, but studying in Hiram. To one ignorant of the slow development that was characteristic of Garfield in all directions, it would seem incredible that he now for the first time began to show any noticeable interest in politics. He seems never to have even voted before the autumn of 1856. No one who knew the man could doubt that he would then cast it, as he did, for John C. Frémont, the first Republican candidate for the presidency. As moral questions entered more and more into politics, Garfield's interest grew apace, and he sought frequent occasions to discuss these questions in debate. In advocating the cause of freedom against slavery, he showed for the first time a skill in discussion, which afterward bore good fruit in the House of Representatives. Without solicitation or thought on his part, in 1859 he was sent to represent the counties of Summit and Portage in the Senate of Ohio. Again in this new field his versatility and industry are conspicuous. He makes exhaustive investigations and reports on such widely different topics as geology, education, finance, and parliamentary law. Always looking to the future, and apprehensive that the impending contest might leave the halls of legislation and seek the arbitrament of war, he gave especial study to the militia system of the state, and the best methods of equipping and disciplining it.
The war came, and Garfield, who had been farmer, carpenter, student, teacher, lawyer, preacher, and legislator, was to show himself an excellent soldier. In August, 1861, Governor William Dennison commissioned him lieutenant-colonel in the 42d Regiment of Ohio Volunteers. The men were his old pupils at Hiram College, whom he had persuaded to enlist. Promoted to the command of this regiment, he drilled it into military efficiency while waiting orders to the front, and in December, 1861, reported to General Buell, in Louisville, Kentucky General Buell was so impressed by the soldierly condition of the regiment that he gave Colonel Garfield a brigade, and assigned him the difficult task of driving the Confederate general Humphrey Marshall from eastern Kentucky. His confidence was such that he allowed the young soldier to lay his own plans, though on their success hung the fate of Kentucky. The undertaking itself was difficult. General Marshall had 5,000 men, while Garfield had but half that number, and must march through a state where the majority of the people were hostile, to attack an enemy strongly intrenched in a mountainous country. Garfield, nothing daunted, concentrated his little force, and moved it with such rapidity, sometimes here and sometimes there, that General Marshall, deceived by these feints, and still more by false reports, which were skilfully prepared for him, abandoned his position and many supplies at Paintville, and was caught in retreat by Garfield, who charged the full force of the enemy, and maintained a hand-to-hand fight with it. for five hours. The enemy had 5,000 men and twelve cannon; Garfield had no artillery, and but 1,100 men. But he held his own until re-enforced by Gens. Grander and Sheldon, when Marshall gave way, leaving Garfield the victor at Middle Creek, 10 January, 1862, one of the most important of the minor battles of the war. Shortly afterward Zollicoffer was defeated and slain by General Thomas at Mill Spring, and the Confederates lost the state of Kentucky. Coming after the reverses at Big Bethel, Bull Run, and the disastrous failures in Missouri, General Garfield's triumph over the Confederate forces at Middle Creek had an encouraging effect on the entire north. Marshall was a graduate of West Point, and had every advantage in numbers and position, yet seems to have been out-generaled at every point. He was driven from two fortified positions, and finally completely routed — all within a period of less than a fortnight in the month of January, 1802. In recognition of these services, especially acknowledged by General Buell in his General Order No. 40 (20 January, 1862), President Lincoln promptly made the young colonel a brigadier-general, dating his commission from the battle of Middle Creek. During his campaign of the Big Sandy, while Garfield was engaged in breaking up some scattered Confederate encampments, his supplies gave out, and he was threatened with starvation. Going himself to the Ohio River, he seized a steamer, loaded it with provisions, and, on the refusal of any pilot to undertake the perilous voyage, because of a freshet that had swelled the river, he stood at the helm for forty-eight hours and piloted the craft through the dangerous channel. In order to surprise Marshall, then intrenched in Cumberland Gap, Garfield marched his soldiers 100 miles in four days through a blinding snow-storm. Returning to Louisville, he found that General Buell was away, overtook him at Columbia, Tennessee, and was assigned to the command of the 20th brigade. He reached Shiloh in time to take part in the second day's fight, was engaged in all the operations in front of Corinth, and in June, 1862, rebuilt the bridges on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and exhibited noticeable engineering skill in repairing the fortifications of Huntsville. The unhealthfulness of the region told upon him, and on 30 July, 1862, under leave of absence, he returned to Hiram, where he lay ill for two months. On 25 September, 1862, he went to Washington, and was ordered on court-martial duty, and gained such reputation in this practice that, on 25 November, he was assigned to the case of General Fitz-John Porter. In February, 1863, he returned to duty under General Rosecrans, then in command of the Army of the Cumberland. Rosecrans made him his chief-of-staff, with responsibilities beyond those usually given to this office. In this field, Garfield's influence on the campaign in Middle Tennessee was most important. One familiar incident shows and justifies the great influence he wielded in its counsels. Before the battle of Chickamauga (24 June, 1863), General Rosecrans asked the written opinion of seventeen of his generals on the advisability of an immediate advance. All others opposed it, but Garfield advised it, and his arguments were so convincing, though pressed without passion or prejudice, that Rosecrans determined to seek an engagement. General Garfield wrote out all the orders of that fateful day (19 September), excepting one — and that one was the blunder that lost the day. Garfield volunteered to take the news of the defeat on the right to General George H. Thomas, who held the left of the line. It was a bold ride, under constant fire, but he reached Thomas and gave the information that saved the Army of the Cumberland. For this action he was made a major-general, 19 September, 1860, promoted for gallantry on a field that was lost. With a military future so bright before him, Garfield, always unselfish, yielded his own ambition to Mr. Lincoln's urgent request, and on 3 December, 1863, resigning his commission, and hastened to Washington to sit in Congress, to which he had been chosen fifteen months before, as the successor of Joshua R. Giddings. In the meantime Thomas had received command of the Army of the Cumberland, had reorganized it, and had asked Garfield to take a division. His inclination was to accept and continue the military career, which had superior attractions; but he yielded to the representations of the President and Sec. Stanton, that he would be more useful in the House of Representatives.
General Garfield was thirty-two years old when he entered Congress. He found in the house, which was to be the theatre of his lasting fame, many with whom his name was for the next twenty years intimately associated. Schuyler Colfax was its speaker, and Conkling, Blaine, Washburne, Stevens, Fenton, Schenck, Henry Winter Davis, William B. Allison, and William R. Morrison were among its members. His military reputation had preceded him, and secured for him a place in the committee on military affairs, then the most important in Congress. His first speech (14 January, 1864), upon a motion to print extra copies of General Rosecrans's official report, was listened to with attention; and, indeed, whenever he spoke upon army matters, this was the case. But the attention was given to the man for the information he possessed and imparted rather than to the orator; for in effective speech, as in every other matter in which Garfield succeeded, he came to excellence only by labor and practice. He was soon regarded as an authority on military matters, and his opinion was sought as an expert, experienced and careful. To these questions he gave all necessary attention, but they did not exhaust his capacity. He began at this time, and ever afterward continued, a thorough study of constitutional and financial problems, and to aid him in these researches he labored to increase his familiarity with the German and French languages. In this, his first session, he had to stand almost alone in opposition to the bill that increased the bounty paid for enlistment. He advocated liberal bounties to the veterans that re-enlisted, but would use the draft to secure raw recruits. History vindicated his judgment. In the same session he spoke on the subject of seizure and confiscation of rebel property, and on free commerce between the states. On 13 January, 1865, he discussed exhaustively the constitutional amendment to abolish slavery.
In the 39th Congress (1865) he was changed, at his own request, from the committee on military affairs to the ways and means committee, which then included Messrs. Morrison, of Illinois, Brooks and Conkling, of New York, and Allison, of Iowa. His reason for choosing this new field was that, the war being ended, financial questions would have supreme importance, and he wished to have his part in their solution. In the 40th Congress (1867) he was restored to his old committee on military affairs, and made its chairman. In March, 1866, he made his first speech on the question of the public debt, foreshadowing, in the course of his remarks, that Republican policy which resulted in the resumption of specie payment, 1 January, 1879. From this moment until the treasury note was worth its face in gold, he never failed, on every proper occasion, in the house and out, to discuss every phase of the financial question, and to urge upon the National conscience the demands of financial honor. In May, 1868, he spoke again on the currency, dealing a staggering blow to the adherents of George H. Pendleton, who, under the stress of a money panic, were clamoring for the government to “make the money-market easier.” It may be said that he was at this, as at later times, the representative and champion of the sound-money men in congress, and first and last did more than anyone else, probably, in settling the issues of this momentous question. In 1877 and 1878 he was again active in stemming a fresh tide of financial fallacies. He treated the matter this time with elementary simplicity, and gave in detail reasons for a hard-money policy, based not so much upon opinion and theory as upon the teachings of history.
In the 41st Congress a new committee — that on banking and currency — was created, and Garfield was very properly made its chairman. This gave him new opportunities to serve the cause in which he was heartily enlisted, and no one now seeks to diminish the value of that service. The most noticed and most widely read of these discussions was a speech on the National finances, which he delivered in 1878, at Faneuil hall, Boston. It was circulated as a campaign document by thousands, and served to win a victory in Massachusetts and to subdue for a while the frantic appeals from the west for more paper money. He served also on the select committee on the census (a tribute to his skill in statistics) and on the committee on rules, as an appreciation of his practical and thorough knowledge of parliamentary law. In the 42d and 43d Congresses he was chairman of the committee on appropriations. In the 44th, 45th, and 46th Congresses (the house being Democratic) he was assigned a place on the committee of ways and means. In reconstruction times, Garfield was earnest and aggressive in opposition to the theories advocated by President Johnson. He was a kind man, and not lacking in sympathy for those who, from mistaken motives, had attempted to sever their connection with the Federal Union; but he was not a sentimentalist, and had too earnest convictions not to insist that the results won by so much treasure and blood should be secured to the victors. An old soldier, he would not see Union victories neutralized by evasions of the constitution. On these topics no one was his superior in either branch of Congress, and no opponent, however able, encountered him here without regretting the contest.
In 1876, General Garfield went to New Orleans, at President Grant's request, in company with Senators Sherman and Matthews and other Republicans, to watch the counting of the Louisiana vote. He made a special study of the West Feliciana Parish case, and embodied his views in a brief but significant report. On his return, he made, in January, 1877, two notable speeches in the house on the duty of Congress in a presidential election, and claimed that the vice-president had a constitutional right to count the electoral vote. He was opposed to an electoral commission; yet, when the commission was ordered, General Garfield was chosen by acclamation to fill one of the two seats allotted to Republican representatives. His colleague was George F. Hoar, of Massachusetts. Garfield discussed before the commission the Florida and Louisiana returns, on 9 and 16 February, 1877. Mr. Blaine left the house in 1877 for the Senate, and this made Garfield the undisputed leader of the Republican Party in the house. He was at this time, and subsequently, its candidate for speaker.
The struggle begun in the second session of the 45th Congress (1879), when the Democratic majority sought to control the president through the appropriations, gave Garfield a fine opportunity to display his powers as a leader in opposition. The Democratic members added to two general appropriation bills, in the shape of amendments, legislation intended to restrain the use of the army as a posse to keep the peace at elections, to repeal the law authorizing the employment of deputy U. S. marshals at the elections of members of Congress, and to relieve jurors in the U. S. courts from the obligation of the test oath. The Senate, which was Republican, refused to concur in these amendments, and so the session ended. An extra session was promptly called, which continued into midsummer. Contemporary criticism claims that, in this contest, General Garfield reached, perhaps, the climax of his Congressional career. A conservative man by nature, he revolted at such high-handed measures, and in his speech of 29 March, 1879, characterized them as a “revolution in congress.” Against this insult to the spirit of the law he protested with unwonted vigor. Like Webster in 1832, he stood the defender of the constitution, and his splendid eloquence and resistless logic upheld the prerogatives of the executive, and denounced these attempts by the legislature to prevent or control elections, however disguised, as an attack upon the constitution. He warned the house that its course would end in nullification, and protested that its principle was the “revived doctrine of state sovereignty.” (See speeches of 26 April, 10 and 11 June, and 19 and 27 June, 1879.) The result of it was that the Democrats finally voted $44,600,000 of the $45,000,000 of appropriations originally asked — a great party victory, to which General Garfield largely contributed. His arguments had the more weight because not partisan, but supported by a clear analysis and statement of the relations between the different branches of the government. His last speech to the house was made on the appointment of special deputy marshals, 23 April, 1880. At the same time he made a report of the tariff commission, which showed that he was still a sincere friend to protection. He was already United States Senator-elect from Ohio, chosen after a nomination of singular unanimity, 13 January, 1880.
Where there is government by party, no leader can escape calumny; hence it assailed Garfield with great venom. In the presidential canvass of 1872, he, with other Republican representatives, was charged with having bought stock in the Credit Mobilier, sold to them at less than its value to influence their action in legislation affecting the Union Pacific Railroad. A Congressional investigation, reporting 13 February, 1875, seemed to establish these facts so far as Garfield was concerned. He knew nothing of any connection between the two companies, much less that the Credit Mobilier controlled the railway. Garfield denied that he ever owned the stock, and was vaguely contradicted by Oakes Ames, who had no evidence of his alleged sale of $1,000 worth of the stock to Garfield, except a memorandum in his diary, which did not agree with Ames's oral testimony that he paid Garfield $329 as dividend on the stock. Garfield admitted that he had received $300 in June, 1868, from Ames, but claimed that it was a loan, and that he paid it in the winter of 1869. It was nowhere claimed that Garfield ever received certificate, or receipt, or other dividends, to which, if the owner of the stock, he was entitled, or that he ever asked for them. The innocence of General Garfield was generally recognized, and, after the circumstances became known, he was not weakened in his district. Another investigation in the same Congress (43d) gave calumny a second opportunity. This was the investigation into the conduct of the government of the District of Columbia. It revealed startling frauds in a De Golyer contract, and Garfield's name was found to be in some way connected with it. The facts, corroborated in an open letter by James M. Wilson, chairman of the committee, were: In May, 1872, Richard C. Parsons, a Cleveland attorney, then marshal of the supreme court in Washington, having the interests of the patents owned by De Golyer in charge, was called away. He brought all his material to Garfield, and asked him to prepare the brief. The brief was to show the superiority of the pavement (the subject of patent) over forty other kinds, and did not otherwise concern the contract or have anything to do with its terms. The fraud, as is generally understood, was in the contract, not in the quality of the pavement. Garfield prepared the brief and delivered it to Parsons; but did not himself make the argument. Parsons sent Garfield subsequently $5,000, which was a part of the fee Parsons had received for his own services. As thoughtful people reviewed the case, there was no harsher criticism than that suggested by General Garfield's own lofty standard of avoiding even the appearance of evil — that he had not shown his usual prudence in avoiding any connection, even the most honest, in any way, with any matter that could in any shape come up for Congressional review. It was the cruel and unjust charges made in connection with these calumnies which sent the iron into his soul, and made wounds which he forgave but never forgot.
In June, 1880, the Republican convention to nominate a successor to President Hayes was held in Chicago, and to it came Garfield, naturally, at the head of the Ohio delegation. He sympathized heartily with the wish of that delegation to secure the nomination for John Sherman, and labored loyally for that end. There could be no criticism of his action, nor could there be any just criticism of his loyalty to his candidate, except (and that he never concealed) that he wished more to defeat the nomination of Grant than to secure that of Senator Sherman. He believed a third term such a calamity that patriotism required the sacrifice of all other considerations to prevent it. That view he shared with Mr. Blaine, also a candidate in this convention, whose instructions to his friends were, “Defeat a third term first, and then struggle for the prize of office afterwards. Success in the one case is vital; success in the other is of minor importance.” On the thirty-third ballot Grant had 306 votes, the remaining 400 being divided between Blaine, Edmunds, and Washburne. The hope of the Grant men or the Blaine men to secure the prize faltered, and in the thirty-fourth ballot Wisconsin broke the monotony by announcing thirty-six votes for James A. Garfield. This put the spark to fuel that had been unconsciously prepared for it by the events of the long struggle. In all the proceedings, peculiar fitness had put Garfield to the front as the counsellor and leader of the anti-Grant majority, and the exhibition of his splendid qualifications won increasing admiration and trust. His tact and readiness in casual debate, and the beauty and force of the more elaborate effort in which he nominated Sherman, won the wavering convention. On the thirty-sixth ballot the delegates broke their ranks and rushed to him. He received 399 votes, and then his nomination (8 June, 1880) was made unanimous. General Garfield left the convention before the result was announced, and accepted the nomination by letter. This was a thoughtful document, and acceptable to the Republican voters. Disregarding precedent, he spoke in his own behalf in Ohio, New York, and other states. He spoke sensibly and with great discretion, and his public appearance is thought to have increased his popularity. He was elected (2 November, 1880) over his competitor, General Winfield Scott Hancock, by the votes of every northern state except New Jersey, Nevada, and California. His inaugural address, 4 March, 1881, was satisfactory to the people generally, and his administration began with only one cloud in the sky. His cabinet was made up as follows: James G. Blaine, of Maine, secretary of state; William Windom, of Minnesota, secretary of the treasury; Wayne MacVeagh, of Pennsylvania, attorney-general; Thomas L. James, of New York, postmaster-general; Samuel J. Kirkwood, of Iowa, secretary of the interior; Robert T. Lincoln, of Illinois, Secretary of War; William H. Hunt, of Louisiana, Secretary of the Navy. There was bitter dissension in the party in New York, and Garfield gave much consideration to his duty in the premises. He was willing to do anything except yield the independence of the executive in his own constitutional sphere. He would give to the New York Senators, Conkling and Platt, more than their share of offices; but they should not be allowed to interfere with or control the presidential right of nomination. He made nominations to the Senate — as many, it is said, as twelve — in that interest, and then (23 March, 1881) sent in the name of William H. Robertson, a leader in the other faction, as collector of the port of New York. Senator Conkling protested, and then openly resisted his confirmation. Yielding to him in the interest of senatorial courtesy, his Republican colleagues, in caucus, 2 May, 1881, agreed to let contested nominations lie over practically until the following December. This was a substantial victory for Mr. Conkling; but it was promptly met by the president, who, a few days afterward (5 May), withdrew all the nominations that were pleasing to the New York senator. This brought the other senators to terms. Mr. Conkling, recognizing defeat, and Mr. Platt with him, resigned their offices, 16 May, 1881. On 18 May, Collector Robertson was confirmed. The early summer came, and peace and happiness and the growing strength and popularity of his administration cheered the heart of its chief. At a moment of special exaltation, on the morning of 2 July, 1881, he was shot by a disappointed office-seeker. The avowed object was to promote to the presidential chair Vice-President Arthur, who represented the Grant or “stalwart” wing of the party. The president was setting out on a trip to New England, anticipating especial pleasure in witnessing the commencement exercises of his alma mater at Williamstown. He was passing through the waiting-room of the Baltimore and Potomac depot, at nine o'clock that morning, leaning on the arm of Mr. Blaine, when the assassin fired at him with a pistol. The first ball passed through his coat-sleeve; the second entered by the back, fractured a rib, and lodged deep in the body. The president was carried to the White House, where, under the highest medical skill, and with every comfort that money and devotion could bring, he lingered for more than ten weeks between life and death. The country and the world were moved by the dastardly deed; and the fortitude and cheerfulness with which the president bore his suffering added to the universal grief. Daily bulletins of his condition were published in every city in the United States and in all the European capitals. Many of the crowned heads of Europe sought by telegraphic inquiry more particular news, and repeated their wishes for his recovery. A day of national supplication was set apart and sacredly observed, and the prayers at first seemed answered. His physicians were hopeful, and gave expression to their hope. His condition seemed to improve; but when midsummer came, the patient failed so perceptibly that a removal was hazarded. On 6 September, 1881, he was taken to Elberon, New Jersey, by a special train. He bore the journey well, and for a while, under the inspiration of the invigorating sea-breezes, seemed to rally. But on 15 September, 1881, symptoms of blood-poisoning appeared. He lingered till the 19th, when, after a few hours of unconsciousness, he died peacefully. A special train (21 September) carried the body to Washington, through a country draped with emblems of mourning, and through crowds of reverent spectators, to lie in state in the rotunda of the capitol two days, 22 and 23 September The final services held here were never surpassed in solemnity and dignity, except on 27 February, 1882, when, in the hall of representatives, at the request of both houses of Congress, his friend, James G. Elaine, then secretary of state, delivered a memorial address, in the presence of the president and the heads of all the great departments of the government, so perfect that the criticism of two continents was unqualified praise. In a long train, crowded with the most illustrious of his countrymen, which in its passage, day or night, was never out of the silent watch of mourning citizens, who stood in city, field, and forest, to see it pass, Garfield's remains were borne to Cleveland and placed (26 September, 1882) in a beautiful cemetery, which overlooks the waters of Lake Erie. The accompanying illustration represents the imposing monument that is to mark his last resting-place.
His tragic death assures to Garfield the attention of history. It will credit him with great services rendered in various fields, and with a character formed by a singular union of the best qualities — industry, perseverance, truthfulness, honesty, courage — all acting as faithful servants to a lofty and unselfish ambition. Without genius, which can rarely do more than produce extraordinary results in one direction, his powers were so many and well-trained that he produced excellent results in many. If history shall call Garfield great, it will be because the development of these powers was so complete and harmonious. It has no choice but to record that, by the wise use of them, he won distinction in many fields: a teacher so gifted that his students compare him with Arnold of Rugby; a soldier, rising by merit in rapid promotion to highest rank; a lawyer heard with profit and approbation in the supreme court; an eloquent orator, whose own ardent faith kindled his hearers, speaking after thorough preparation and with practised skill, but refusing always to win victory by forensic trick or device; a party leader, failing in pre-eminence only because his moral honesty would not let him always represent a party victory as a necessity of national well-being. In all these characters he was the friend of learning and of virtue, and would probably ask no other epitaph than the tribute of a friend, who said that, “among the public men of his era, none had higher qualities of statesmanship and greater culture than James A. Garfield.”
Garfield's speeches are almost a compendium of the political history of the stirring era between 1864 and 1880. Among those worthy of special mention, on account of the importance of the subjects or the attractive and forcible presentation of them, are the following: On the Enrolling and calling out of the National Forces (25 January, 1864): on the Reconstruction of the Southern States (February, 1866); on Civil-Service Reform, in the Congress of 1870 and other Congresses; on the Currency and the Public Faith (April, 1874); on the Democratic Party and the South (4 August, 1876), of which a million copies were distributed as a campaign document; the speech in opposition to the Wood bill, which was framed to break down the protective tariff (4 June, 1878); the speeches on Revolution in Congress (4 March and 4 April, 1879); on Congressional Nullification (10 June, 1879); on Treason at the Polls (11 June, 1879); and on the Democratic Party and Public Opinion (11 October, 1879). Among his speeches in Congress, less political in character, were that on the National Bureau of Education (8 June, 1866); a series on Indian Affairs, covering a period of several years; one on the Medical and Surgical History of the Rebellion (2 March, 1869); two on the Census (6 April and 16 December, 1879); one on Civil-Service Reform; many addresses on the silver question; and one on National aid to education (6 February, 1872). He found time to make frequent orations and addresses before societies and gatherings outside of Congress. His address on College Education, delivered before the literary societies of Hiram College (14 June, 1867), is an admirable plea for a liberal education, and on a subject in which the author was always deeply interested. On 30 May. 1868, he delivered an address on the Union Soldiers, at the first memorial service held at Arlington, Virginia. A eulogy of General Thomas, delivered before the Army of the Cumberland, 25 November, 1870, is one of the happiest of his oratorical efforts. On the reception by the house of the statues of John Winthrop and Samuel Adams, he spoke with a great wealth of historical allusion, and all his memorial addresses, especially those on his predecessor in Congress, Joshua R. Giddings, Lincoln, and Profs. Morse and Henry, are worthy of study. But in all this series nothing will live longer than the simple words with which, from the balcony of the New York custom-house, he calmed the mob frenzied at the news of Lincoln's death: “Fellow-citizens: Clouds and darkness are around him; His pavilion is dark waters and thick clouds; justice and judgment are the establishment of his throne; mercy and truth shall go before his face! Fellow-citizens! God reigns, and the Government at Washington lives.”
After the death of President Garfield, a popular subscription for his widow and children realized over $300.000. The income of this fund is to be paid to Mrs. Garfield during her life, after which the principal is to be divided among the children — four sons and a daughter. More than forty of Garfield's speeches in Congress have been published in pamphlet-form, as has also his oration on the life of General George H. Thomas. A volume of brief selections, entitled “Garfield's Words,” was compiled by William R. Balch (Boston, 1881). His works have been edited by Burke A. Hinsdale (2 vols., Boston, 1882). The most complete life of President Garfield is that by James R. Gilmore (New York, 1886).
A monument to President Garfield. designed by John Q. A. Ward, was erected in Washington, D. C., by the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, and dedicated on 12 May, 1887. It consists of a bronze statue of Garfield, 10½ feet high, standing on a circular pedestal, 18 feet in height, with buttresses, on which are three reclining figures, representing a student, a warrior, and a statesman. The U. S. government gave the site and the granite pedestal, besides contributing to the cost of the statues, and furnishing cannon to be used in their casting. (See page 602.) The unusual attitude of the arms is explained by the fact that General Garfield was left-handed. His wife, Lucretia Rudolph, born in Hiram, Portage County, Ohio, 19 April 1832, was the daughter of a farmer named Rudolph. She first met her husband when both were students at Hiram, Ohio, and was married 11 November, 1858. in Hudson, Ohio, soon after his accession to the presidency of the college. Seven children were born to them, of whom four sons and one daughter are living (1898). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 599-605.
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GIBBONS, Joseph, philanthropist, born near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 14 August, 1818; died there, 9 December, 1883. He was of a family of English Quakers who came from Wiltshire about the time of Perm's settlement of the colony. He was graduated at Jefferson Medical College in 1845, and in the same year married Phebe, eldest daughter of Thomas Earle, who was the first candidate of the Liberty Party for vice-president of the United States in 1840, the presidential candidate being James G. Birney. Dr. Gibbons's life was chiefly identified with the practical side of the anti-slavery movement. He was instrumental with his father in aiding over 1,000 runaway slaves to freedom by the system quaintly known as the " Underground Railroad." Some account of this peculiar institution may be found in William Still's " Underground Railroad" (Philadelphia, 1872), and Dr. Smedley's "History of the Underground Railroad in Chester and the Neighboring Counties of Pennsylvania" (Lancaster, 1883). Dr. Gibbons was also an earnest temperance advocate, and did much to popularize the public school system of Pennsylvania in its infancy. He was regarded as one of the founders of the Republican Party in his native state, and enjoyed the friendship and esteem of Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens, Joshua R. Giddings, David Wilmot, and Henry Wilson. He established the "Friends' Journal " in 1873, and, though partially deprived of speech by apoplexy soon afterward, conducted it until his death. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 637.
Gibson, W. H.
Giddings, Joshua Reed, 1795-1865, lawyer, statesman, anti-slavery U.S. Congressman, Northern Whig from Ohio, elected in 1838. First abolitionist elected to House of Representatives. Worked to eliminate “gag rule,” which prohibited anti-slavery petitions. Served until 1859. Leader and founder of the Republican Party. Supported admission of Florida as a free state. Opposed annexation of Texas and the war against the Seminoles in Florida. Argued that slavery in territories and District of Columbia was unlawful. Active in Underground Railroad. Was censured by the House of Representatives for his opposition to slavery. Opposed Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and against further expansion of slavery into the new territories acquired during the Mexican War of 1846. (Blue, 2005, pp. 69, 84, 86, 100, 163, 165, 188, 199, 201, 202, 216, 218-220, 221, 224, 245; Dumond, 1961, pp. 243-245, 302, 339, 368; Filler, 1960, pp. 103, 145, 186, 224, 247, 258, 264, 268; Locke, 1901, pp. 64, 175; Mabee, 1970, pp. 56, 63, 261, 305, 306; Miller, 1996; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 6, 23-26, 32-33, 45, 48-49, 54-55, 60, 61, 63, 65, 69-72, 131, 136, 162-163, 166-167; Pease, 1965, pp. 411-417; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 45, 47-49, 56, 173, 305, 316-318; Stewart, 1970; Wilson, 1872, pp. 446-455; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 641-642; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 260; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 8, p. 946)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GIDDINGS, Joshua Reed, statesman, born in Athens, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, 6 October, 1795; died in Montreal, Canada, 27 May, 1864. His parents moved to Canandaigua, New York, and in 1806 to Ashtabula county, Ohio, where the boy worked on his father's farm, and by devoting his evenings to hard study made up somewhat for his limited educational advantages. In 1812 he enlisted in a regiment commanded by Colonel Richard Hayes, being the youngest member, and was in an expedition sent to the Peninsula north of Sandusky Bay. There, 29 September, 1812, twenty-two men, of whom he was one, had a skirmish with Indians, in which six of the soldiers were killed and six wounded. Mr. Giddings afterward erected a monument there to the memory of his fallen comrades. After the war he became a teacher, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1820. He was elected to the Ohio legislature in 1826, served one term, and declined a re-election. In 1838 he was elected, as a Whig, to Congress, where he had hardly taken his seat before he became prominent as an advocate of the right of petition, and the abolition of slavery and the domestic slave-trade. He had been known as an active abolitionist before his election. His first attempt to discuss the subject on the floor of Congress, 11 February, 1839, was thwarted by the gag rule; but two years later, 9 February, 1841, he delivered a notable speech on the war with the Indians in Florida, in which he maintained that the contest was waged solely in the interest of slavery, the object being to enslave the Maroons of that state, who were affiliated with the Seminoles, and break up the asylums for fugitives. This subject he set forth more elaborately years afterward in his “Exiles of Florida” (Columbus, Ohio, 1858; new ed., New York, 1863). In the autumn of 1841 the “Creole” sailed from Virginia for Louisiana with a cargo of slaves, who got possession of the vessel, ran into the British port of Nassau, N. P., and, in accordance with British law, were set free. In the excitement that followed, Daniel Webster, secretary of state, wrote to Edward Everett, U. S. minister at London, saying that the government would demand indemnification for the owners of the slaves. Thereupon Mr. Giddings, 21 March, 1842, offered in the House of Representatives a series of resolutions in which it was declared that, as slavery was an abridgment of a natural right, it had no force beyond the territorial jurisdiction that created it; that when an American vessel was not in the waters of any state it was under the jurisdiction of the United States alone, which had no authority to hold slaves; and that the mutineers of the “Creole” had only resumed their natural right to liberty, and any attempt to re-enslave them would be unconstitutional and dishonorable. So much excitement was created by these resolutions that Mr. Giddings, on the advice of his friends, withdrew them, but said he would present them again at some future time. The house then, on motion of John Minor Botts, of Virginia, passed a resolution of censure (125 to 69), and by means of the previous question denied Mr. Giddings an opportunity to speak in his own defence. He at once resigned his seat and appealed to his constituents, who re-elected him by a large majority. In the discussion of the “Amistad” case (see Cinque), Mr. Giddings took the same ground as in the similar case of the “Creole,” and in a speech a few years later boldly maintained that to treat a human being as property was a crime. In 1843 he united with John Quincy Adams and seventeen other members of Congress in issuing an address to the people of the country, declaring that the annexation of Texas “would be identical with dissolution”; and in the same year he published, under the pen-name of “Pacificus,” a notable series of political essays. A year later he and Mr. Adams presented a report discussing a memorial from the Massachusetts legislature, in which they declared that the liberties of the American people were founded on the truths of Christianity. On the Oregon question, he held that the claim of the United States to the whole territory was just, and should be enforced, but predicted that the Polk administration would not keep the promise on which it had been elected — expressed in the motto “Fifty-four forty, or fight” — and his prediction was fulfilled. In 1847 he refused to vote for Robert C. Winthrop, the candidate of his party for speaker of the house, on the ground that his position on the slavery question was not satisfactory; and the next year, for the same reason, he declined to support the candidacy of General Taylor for the presidency, and acted with the Free-Soil Party. In 1849, with eight other Congressmen, he refused to support any candidate for the speakership who would not pledge himself so to appoint the standing committees that petitions on the subject of slavery could obtain a fair consideration; and the consequence was the defeat of Mr. Winthrop and the election of Howell Cobb, the Democratic candidate. Mr. Giddings opposed the compromise measures of 1850, which included the fugitive-slave law, and the repeal of the Missouri compromise, taking a prominent part in the debates. In 1850, being charged with wrongfully taking important papers from the post-office, he demanded an investigation, and was exonerated by a committee that was composed chiefly of his political opponents. It was shown that the charge was the work of a conspiracy. In 1856, and again in 1858, he suddenly became unconscious, and fell while addressing the house. His Congressional career of twenty years' continuous service ended on 4 March, 1859, when he declined another nomination. In 1861 President Lincoln appointed him U. S. consul-general in Canada, which office he held until the time of his death. One who knew him personally writes: “He was about six feet one inch in height, broad-shouldered, of very stalwart build, and was considered the most muscular man on the floor of the house. Whenever he spoke he was listened to with great attention by the whole house, the members frequently gathering around him. He had several affrays on the floor, but invariably came out ahead. On one occasion he was challenged by a southern member, and promptly accepted, selecting as the weapons two raw-hides. The combatants were to have their left hands tied together by the thumbs, and at a signal castigate each other till one cried enough. A look at Mr. Giddings's stalwart frame influenced the southerner to back out.” Mr. Giddings published a volume of his speeches (Boston, 1853), and wrote “The Rebellion: its Authors and Causes,” a history of the anti-slavery struggle in Congress, which was issued posthumously (New York, 1864). Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 641-642.
Chapter: “Coastwise Slave-Trade. - Demands upon the British Government - Censure of Mr. Giddings,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872.
The British government was assured by Mr. Webster that the case was one " calling loudly for redress"; that the " Creole" was passing from one port to another of the United States, on a voyage " perfectly lawful,'' with persons bound to service belonging to American citizens, and recognized as property by the Constitution of the United States and in those States in which slavery existed; that the slaves rose, murdered one man, and that the " mutineers and murderers " took the vessel into a British port. He declared that it was the plain and obvious duty of the authorities of Nassau to assist in restoring to the master and crew their vessel, and in enabling them to resume their voyage and to take with them the mutineers and murderers to their own country to answer for their crimes. This extraordinary position and claim were laid before the British government; but all efforts to secure compensation for the slaves, or the surrender of the men who had asserted and maintained their own liberty, were unavailing. England declined to act the ignoble part of a slave-catcher for the slave-traffickers of the United States.
Mr. Giddings, then a member of the House of Representatives, was so impressed with the positions of the President and Senate, that he deemed it to be a duty he owed to his country to combat them. He drew up a series of resolutions, setting forth that prior to the adoption of the Constitution each State exercised full and perfect jurisdiction over slaves in its own territory; that by the adoption of the Constitution no part of that jurisdiction was delegated to the Federal government; that by the Constitution each State surrendered to the Federal government complete jurisdiction over commerce and navigation; that slavery, being an abridgment of the natural rights of men, could exist only by positive municipal law; that, when a ship belonging to a citizen of any State left the waters of the United States and entered upon the high seas, the persons on board became amenable to the laws of the United States; that when the brig " Creole " left Virginia the slavery laws of that State ceased to have jurisdiction over the persons on board; that in resuming their natural rights they violated no law of the United States, nor incurred any legal penalties; that all attempts to gain possession of or to re-enslave these persons were unauthorized by the Constitution and laws of the United States; that all attempts to exert the influence of the nation in favor of the coastwise slave-trade was subversive of the rights of the people of the free States, unauthorized by the Constitution, and prejudicial to the national character.
These resolutions were submitted to the consideration of Mr. Adams. He avowed his readiness to support them, excepting the one denying the right of the Federal government to abolish slavery in the States. He held that the national government, in case of insurrection or war, might, under the war-power, abolish slavery, and, with statesmanlike sagacity and a wise forecast of possible contingencies, which subsequent events proved to be near at hand, he did not wish to give a vote that would be quoted by the friends of slavery as a denial of that power; " but," he added, " I will cheerfully sustain all but that which denies this right to the Federal government.''
When, on the 21st of March, the State of Ohio was called, Mr. Giddings introduced these resolutions, and gave notice that he would call them up for" consideration the next day. The reading of the resolutions attracted profound attention, and created much excitement. Mr. Ward, a Democratic member from New York, proposed to bring the House to an immediate vote by demanding the previous question, remarking that the resolutions were too important to be adopted or rejected without consideration, Mr. Everett of Vermont moved to lay them on the table; but his motion was defeated by a large majority. Mr. Holmes of South Carolina; rising under great excitement, remarked: "There are certain topics, like certain places, of which it might be said, ' Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.' “The House, by the large vote of one hundred and twenty-two to sixty-one, sustained the previous question. Mr. Everett asked to be excused from voting. As the subject was very important, and would probably come before the Committee on Foreign Relations, of which he was a member, he did not desire to express an opinion until he had examined it. He was a gentleman of high character, ripe age, large experience, and of much influence with his party and in the House. Usually moderate and cautious, on this occasion he seemed to be influenced by the excitement around him, and expressed his “utter abhorrence of the firebrand course of the gentleman from Ohio.'' Mr. Fessenden, then a young and rising member of the House from Maine, thought the resolutions were too important to be voted upon without greater deliberation. Mr. Cushing, then understood to be a special friend of the President and an exponent of his views, after reading the resolutions at the clerk's table, said: “They appear to be a British argument on a great question between the British and American governments, and constitute an approximation to treason on which I intend to vote ' No.'"
At the request of Mr. Fessenden, Mr. Giddings withdrew the resolutions, remarking that they would be published, and gentlemen would have time to examine them with care, and would present them the next day, when the resolutions would be in order. Mr. Botts then rose and, remarking that the withdrawal of the resolutions did not excuse their presentation, submitted a preamble and resolution; the first setting forth that Mr. Giddings, had presented a series of resolutions touching the most important interest connected with a large portion of the Union, then a subject of negotiation with the government of Great Britain of the most delicate nature, the result of which " might involve those nations and perhaps the civilized world in war," in which mutiny and murder were justified and approved in terms shocking all sense of law, order, and humanity; and the latter declaring that this House holds that "the conduct of the said member is altogether inconsistent and unwarranted, and deserving the severest condemnation of the people of this country, and of this body in particular." Objection being made to the consideration of the resolution, Mr. Botts moved a suspension of the rules, but was not sustained by a vote of the House.
As Ohio was still under the call for resolutions, under the rule, Mr. Weller, a Democratic member from that State, adopted Mr. Botts's resolution as his own, offered it, and called for the previous question. Several members questioned the propriety of ordering the previous question; but Mr. Weller, who was a Democrat of the most intense proslavery type, persisted in demanding it. The Speaker, Mr. White of Kentucky, decided that on a question of privilege the previous question could not cut off a member from his defence. Mr. Fillmore appealed from the decision; and the House overruled the Speaker by a large majority, and adjourned.
Thus, arraigned for a conscientious discharge of public duty, Mr. Giddings spent the entire night and the forenoon of the next day in preparing for his defence. Calling at the residence of Mr. Adams, for the purpose of consultation, he found, he says," the aged patriot laboring under great distress." He expressed to Mr. Giddings the fear that no defence would be permitted; that the question would be taken without debate, and the vote of censure passed. Mr. Giddings anticipated the vote of censure; but he suggested that the reflections of the night would convince members of “the impropriety of condemning a man unheard." To this suggestion, Mr. Adams made the discriminating and suggestive reply: "You are not as familiar with the slaveholding character as I am. Slaveholders act from impulse, not from reflection. They act together from interest, and have no dread of the displeasure of their constituents when they act for slavery."
On the assembling of the House, the Speaker remarked that the first business was on seconding the demand for the previous question. Mr. Weller said he would withdraw his demand for the previous question if Mr. Giddings would proceed with his defence, with the understanding that it should be called when he closed. But, Mr. Giddings refusing to make any terms to secure what he deemed to be his constitutional right, the previous question was ordered by seven majority. Mr. Weller then moved the suspension of the rules, to allow Mr. Giddings to make his defence; but the Speaker pronounced the motion out of order. To the suggestion of Mr. Adams that while the previous question cut off other members it ought not to apply to the member accused, the Speaker replied that the House had decided that the previous question applied to cases of privilege, and the privilege of one was the privilege of all.
The motion was made to hear Mr. Giddings by unanimous consent, and it was announced that such consent had been given. Mr. Giddings then said:" Mr. Speaker, I stand before the House in a peculiar position." Mr. Cooper of Georgia then objected to his proceeding, and he took his seat. Members gathered around Mr. Cooper, and persuaded him to withdraw his objection; but it was renewed by Mr. Calhoun of Massachusetts, who declared that he would not see a member of the House speak under such circumstances.
Mr. Giddings states that when he rose to speak he had intended to say: “It is proposed to pass a vote of censure upon me, substantially for the reason that I differ in opinion from a majority of the members. The vote is about to be taken without giving me an opportunity to be heard. It was idle for me to say I am ignorant of the disposition of a majority of the members to pass a vote of censure. I have been violently assailed in a personal manner, but have had no opportunity of being heard in reply. Nor do I ask for any favor at the hands of gentlemen; but, in the name of an insulted constituency, in behalf of one of the States of this Union, in behalf of the people of these States and of our Federal Constitution, I demand a hearing in the ordinary mode of proceeding. I accept no other privilege. I will receive no other courtesy."
The House, by a vote of one hundred and twenty-five to sixty-nine, adopted the vote of censure. Mr. Giddings then rose and, taking formal leave of the Speaker and officers of the House, retired from the hall. As he reached the front door he met Mr. Clay and Mr. Crittenden. Mr. Giddings states that "as Mr. Clay extended to me his hand he thanked me for the firmness with which I had met the outrage perpetrated upon me, and declared that no man would ever doubt my perfect right to state my own views, particularly while the Executive and the Senate were expressing theirs." Mr. Giddings immediately resigned, returned to Ohio, issued an address to the people of his district, was re-elected by a largely increased majority, and in five weeks took his seat in the House, “clothed with instructions from the people of his district to re-present his resolutions, and maintain to the extent of his power the doctrine which they asserted." He received a warm greeting from the friends of the freedom of debate, who had bravely stood by him in his time of trial.
The action of the House of Representatives, thus signally rebuked by Mr. Giddings's constituents, was also condemned by public meetings, whose proceedings were presented to Congress. Even some Democratic papers, among them the New York "Evening Post,'' asserted the right of Mr. Giddings to present his resolutions. And William C. Bryant, its accomplished editor, declared that if he was a resident of Mr. Giddings's District he would use every honorable means to secure his re-election. This action of the people produced most marked effects upon Congress. The majority who censured Mr. Giddings, fearing if the resolutions were again introduced they would be compelled to vote upon the principles embodied in them, voted, during the remainder of the session, when by the rules resolutions might be presented, to proceed to other business. Finding he could not present the resolutions, he reasserted and vindicated the principles embodied in them in an able and effective speech, which was listened to without interruption. Indeed; notwithstanding all their bluster and arrogant pretension, there seemed from that time a marked falling-off in their zeal, and a manifest disposition to desist from claims they had just declared their purpose to press even to and beyond the very verge of war. And this, notwithstanding the significant fact that the British ministry had not only refused the indemnity so clamorously demanded, but declined to deliver up Madison Washington and his compeers of the " Creole's" brave "nineteen," stigmatized by members of Congress as " murderers and mutineers." When Lord Ashburton was charged with the mission of settling all questions of difference between the two nations, the British government especially instructed him to hold no correspondence on points pertaining to this controversy.
This sudden change of tactics of Southern members not only appears in marked contrast with their previous violent demonstrations, but provokes no very flattering estimate of the course of those Northern senators who had not a single vote to· cast against the resolutions of Mr. Calhoun, which defiantly demanded what even the South itself found it convenient to forget. Indeed, that absence of a single negative that unbroken silence, spoke louder than words. Trumpet-tongued it proclaimed the vassalage of the nation to the Slave Power, and the ignoble and cruel bondage under which the parties and public men of those days were held. It revealed the humiliating fact that they were obliged to smother their convictions and ignore the claims of truth, and were compelled to take the weightiest questions of government and those of national importance from the high court of reason and conscience into the secret conclave of party cabals, inspired by the spirit of slavery and under the discipline of the plantation. If the time ever comes when "things” shall be "what they seem," and conscience and candor shall take the place of mere policy and pretension, it will be regarded as among the marvels of history that men acting from such motives in their public capacity should ever exhibit anything honorable and hearty in their personal and social relations, or that a representation acquiescing and participating in such an administration of public affairs could be anything but demoralized and debauched in the personnel of which it was composed.
Mr. Giddings had been appointed, by the Speaker, chairman of the Committee on Claims, a position he held at the time of his resignation, when another was appointed for the remainder of the session. At the beginning of the next session, an unavailing effort was made by Southern members to induce the Speaker not to reappoint Mr. Giddings to this important post. Mr. White, a personal friend of Mr. Clay, and among the most liberal of Southern statesmen, had pronounced the vote of censure an outrage, and without hesitation made Mr. Giddings chairman again of the committee. Consisting of nine members, it was composed of four Northern and two Southern Whigs, one Southern and two Northern Democrats. The three Democrats and two Southern Whigs had given their votes for the censure, and they deemed it a humiliation to sit with him as chairman. They accordingly determined to revive an old rule of the House, which had practically become obsolete, authorizing the committees to choose their own chairmen. A member of the committee apprised Mr. Giddings of this purpose, and advised him to resign. Having, however, acted according to the dictates of his conscience, he chose to abide the result. Mr. Arnold, a slaveholding Whig of Tennessee, refusing to support a scheme which he styled an outrage on a member because he was opposed to slavery, the project fell through and Mr. Giddings was permitted to retain his position.
But Mr. Giddings's earnest and outspoken fidelity to principle and to the cause of human rights often involved him in conflicts and exposed him to personal dangers, which well-illustrated at once the coarse brutality and domineering violence of the slave-masters and the rough road they were called to travel who dared to question their supremacy and oppose their policy. A somewhat marked example occurred near the close of the session in 1845. For the purpose of exhibiting the rascality of slaveholding demands, and the guilty subserviency and complicity of the government in yielding to those demands, he referred to the treaty of Indian Spring, by which, after paying the slaveholders of Georgia the sum of $109,000 for slaves who had escaped to Florida, it added the sum of $141,000 as compensation demanded for " the off spring which the females would have borne to their masters had they remained in bondage." And, said Mr. Giddings, Congress actually paid that sum” for children who were never born, but who might have been if their parents had remained faithful slaves."
Mr. Giddings's characterization of these outrageous and indecent demands and of this utterly indefensible policy greatly nettled the Southern members. Mr. Black of Georgia, in a towering passion, poured forth a torrent of coarse invectives and insinuations. He charged that Mr. Giddings had been interested in the horses and wagon lost by Mr. Torrey in his attempt to aid escaping fugitives; that Torrey died in the penitentiary; that the member of Ohio ought to be there; and, if Congress could decide the question, that would be his doom. With low-minded impertinence, he advised him to return to his constituents to “inquire if he had a character," asserting that he had none in that hall. To this gross assault, Mr. Giddings replied with becoming dignity and force. Alluding to the policy which would throw around all executive and Congressional action in behalf of slavery the shield "of perpetual silence," he said he did not hold the member from Georgia so much responsible as he did "the more respectable members" who stood around him, for the display of that " brutal coarseness which nothing but the moral putridity of slavery could encourage.", What he had said, he contended, were historic facts that could not be disproved. To the personal assault, he should make no other reply than that he stood there clothed with the confidence of an intelligent constituency, while his antagonist, alluding to Mr. Black's failure to secure a re-election, had been discarded.
Of course, language so direct and severe did but fan to a fiercer flame the fire that was already raging, and a collision seemed inevitable. Mr. Black, approaching Mr. Giddings with an uplifted cane, said: “If you repeat those words I will knock you down." The latter repeating them, the former was seized by his friends and borne from the hall. Mr. Dawson of Louisiana, who on a previous occasion had attempted to assault him, approaching him and, cocking his pistol, profanely exclaimed: " I ‘ll shoot him; by G-d I 'll shoot him ' " At the same moment, Mr. Causin of Maryland placed himself in front of Mr. Dawson, with his right hand upon his weapon concealed in his bosom. At this juncture four members from the Democratic side took their position by the side of the member from Louisiana, each man putting his hand in his pocket and apparently grasping his weapon. At the same moment, Mr. Rayner of North Carolina, Mr. Hudson of Massachusetts, and Mr. Foot of Vermont, came to Mr. Giddings's rescue, who, thus confronted and thus supported, continued his speech. Dawson stood fronting him till its close, and Causin remained facing the latter until he returned to the Democratic side. Thus, demoralized and imbruted seemed the men, even those high in station, who assumed to be the champions of slavery and its policy. Upon such men, moral considerations were lost. The only forces they ever respected were those of physical power.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 446-455.
Gilbert, Abijah, 1806-1881, New York, advocate of abolitionism. Member of the Whig and Republican Parties. U.S. Senator from Florida, 1869-1875. (Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 644; Biographical Directory of the United States Congress)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GILBERT, Abijah, senator, born in Gilbertsville, Otsego County, New York, 18 June, 1806; died there, 23 November, 1881. His grandfather, Abijah, settled in Otsego (then Montgomery) county in 1787, and his father, Joseph, was engaged there in manufacturing and other business. The son entered Hamilton College, but did not complete his course, owing to illness. He engaged in mercantile pursuits in the country, and afterward in New York City, but retired in 1850. In politics he was a strong Whig, and afterward a Republican, and was an early advocate of the abolition of slavery. After the Civil War he moved to St. Augustine, Florida, and took an active part in the reconstruction of the state. He was elected to the U. S. Senate as a Republican, and served from 1869 till 1875, after which he retired to private life, continuing to reside in St. Augustine till just before his death. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 644.
Gillett, Francis, 1807-1879, Connecticut, U.S. Senator, co-founder of the Republican Party, anti-slavery advocate. (Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 652; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 490)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GILLETTE, Francis, senator, born in Windsor, now Bloomfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, 14 December, 1807: died in Hartford, Connecticut, 30 September, 1879. He was graduated at Yale in 1829 with the valedictory, and then studied law with Governor William W. Ellsworth. Failing health compelled him to relinquish this pursuit, and he settled in Bloomfield as a farmer. In 1882 and again in 1836 he was sent to the legislature, where he gained notice in 1838 by his anti-slavery speech advocating the striking out of the word "white" from the state constitution. In 1841 he was nominated against his own will for the office of governor by the Liberty Party, and during the twelve following years frequently received a similar nomination from the Liberty and Free-Soil parties. He was elected by a coalition between the Whigs, temperance men, and Free-Soilers, in 1854, to fill the vacancy in the U. S. Senate caused by the resignation of Truman Smith, and served from 25 May, 1854, till 3 March, 1855. Mr. Gillette was active in the formation of the Republican Party, and was for several years a silent partner in the "Evening Press," the first distinctive organ of that party. He was active in the cause of education throughout his life, was a coadjutor of Dr. Henry Barnard from 1838 till 1842, one of the first trustees of the State Normal School, and for many years its president. Mr. Gillette took interest in agricultural matters, was an advocate of total abstinence, and delivered lectures and addresses on both subjects. He moved to Hartford in 1852, and passed the latter part of his life in that city. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 652.
Gilmore, Joseph Albee
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GILMORE, Joseph Albee, governor of New Hampshire, born in Weston, Vermont, 10 June, 1811; died in Concord, New Hampshire 17 April, 1867. He enjoyed scanty educational advantages, and while a boy made his way to Boston and entered a store. At the age of twenty-one he was in business for himself. The railroad to Concord, New Hampshire, was completed on 1 September, 1842. and about the same time he moved to that place, and opened a wholesale grocery. On 3 August, 1848, he became construction-agent, and afterward superintendent, of the Concord and Claremont Railroad, and 24 November. 1856, superintendent of the Concord Railroad, which came to include the Manchester and Lawrence and Concord and Portsmouth Railroads and their branches, making a system of about 175 miles, of which he continued in charge until 11 August, 1866. He was politically a Whig; in 1858 was elected as a Republican to the state senate, was re-elected in 1859, and made president of the Senate that year. In March, 1863, he was the Republican candidate for governor; there was no choice by the people, but he was elected in June by the legislature, and re-elected by the people, in March, 1864. The two political contests were the severest ever known in New Hampshire, and he assumed the governorship at the darkest period of the Civil War. By his predecessors, Governors Goodwin and Berry, 16 regiments of infantry, 4 companies of cavalry, 1 light battery, and 3 companies of sharp-shooters, making over 17,000 volunteers, had been put into the field; but in 1863 patriotic fervor had somewhat abated, voluntary enlistments were few, and President Lincoln had ordered a draft. Governor Gilmore, however, raised and equipped the 18th Infantry, the 1st Cavalry , and the 1st Heavy Artillery, which, together with the recruits forwarded to existing organizations, made the number of men furnished during his term of office about 14,000, and the entire number from New Hampshire more than 31.000, from a population of fewer than 330,000. Governor Gilmore retired from office in June, 1865, in feeble health. His characteristics were restless activity, unbounded energy, impatience of restraint, liberality, and public spirit. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 658.
Gove, William Hazeltine
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GOVE, William Hazeltine, politician, born in Weare, New Hampshire, 10 July, 1817: died there, 11 March, 1876. He received a common-school education, taught in Lynn, Massachusetts, one Year, and an equal length of time in Rochester, New York. He also studied law a short time in Boston. He early became an active worker in the anti-slavery cause, a supporter of the Liberty Party, and later a prominent Free-Soiler. While connected with the latter party he became well known as a stump speaker, and gained the title of the " silver-tongued orator of New Hampshire." He was a member of the first Free-Soil Convention, held in Buffalo, New York, in 1848, was a candidate of his party for the legislature year after year, and in 1851, by a combination of Free-Soilers and Whigs, he was elected. He was re-elected in 1852 and 1855. After the Free-Soil organization was merged in the Republican Party, Mr. Gove was for many years an active Republican. During the administrations of Lincoln and Johnston he held the office of postmaster. In 1871, having become dissatisfied with his party, he engaged in forming a labor reform party, whose voters, combining with the Democrats, elected him to the lower branch of the legislature, of which body he was chosen speaker. In 1872 he was a delegate to the Liberal Republican Convention at Cincinnati, and acted thence forth with the Democratic Party, which elected him to the state senate in 187&-'4." In the latter year he was made its president. As a young man Mr. Gove was engaged in the Washingtonian temperance movement, and spoke and wrote eloquently in aid of the cause. He edited for a short time the "Temperance Banner." published at Concord. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 697-698.
Granger, Amos Phelps
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GRANGER, Amos Phelps, cousin of Francis, politician, born in Suffield, Connecticut, 3 June, 1789; died in Syracuse, New York, 20 August, 1866, settled in Manlius, Onondaga County, New York, in 1811, and engaged in mercantile business. He raised and commanded a company of militia that served at Sackett's Harbor in the war of 1813—'15. He moved to Syracuse in 1820, and acquired a fortune through real-estate investments. He was chairman of the Whig delegation from New York in the National Convention of 1852 that nominated Winfield Scott for the presidency, in the Auburn Convention of 1853 he wrote and offered the resolutions which, it is claimed, originated the Republican Party. He was elected to Congress in 1854 and in 1856. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, p. 706.
Grant, Ulysses S.
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GRANT, Ulysses S., eighteenth president of the United States, born at Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio, 27 April, 1822; died on Mount McGregor, near Saratoga, New York, 23 July, 1885.
…Republican Convention met in Chicago, 20 May, 1868, he was unanimously nominated for the presidency on the first ballot. In his letter of acceptance, dated nine days after, he made use of the famous phrase, “Let us have peace.” The Democratic Party nominated Horatio Seymour, of New York. When the election occurred, Grant carried twenty-six states with a popular vote of 3,015,071, while Seymour carried eight states with a popular vote of 2,709,613. It was claimed that the state of New York was really carried by Grant, but fraudulently counted for Seymour. Out of the 294 electoral votes cast for president, Grant received 214 and Seymour 80 — Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia not voting.
[...] On 4 March, 1869, Grant was inaugurated the eighteenth president of the United States.
General Grant had never taken an active part in politics, and had voted for a presidential candidate but once. In 1856, although his early associations had been with the Whigs, he cast his vote for James Buchanan, the Democratic candidate; but this was on personal rather than political grounds, as he believed that the Republican candidate did not possess the requisite qualifications for the office. So much doubt existed as to his political proclivities that prominent Democrats had made overtures to him to accept a nomination from their party only a few months before the nominating conventions were held. But he was at heart in thorough accord with the principles of the Republican Party. He believed in a national banking system, a tariff that would fairly protect American industries, in the fostering of such internal improvements as would unite our two seaboards and give the eastern and western sections of the country mutual support and protection, in the dignifying of labor, and in laws that would secure equal justice to all citizens of the republic, regardless of race, color, or previous condition.
As early as August, 1863, he had written a letter to Elihu B. Washburne, member of Congress, in which he said: “It became patent to my mind early in the rebellion that the north and south could never live at peace with each other except as one nation, and that without slavery. As anxious as I am to see peace established, I would not, therefore, be willing to see any settlement until this question is forever settled.” In his inaugural address he declared that the government bonds should be paid in gold, advocated a speedy return to specie payments, and made many important recommendations in reference to public affairs. Regarding the good faith of the nation he said: “To protect the national honor, every dollar of government indebtedness should be paid in gold, unless otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract. . . . Let it be understood that no repudiator of one farthing of our public debt will be trusted in public place, and it will go far toward strengthening a credit which ought to be the best in the world, and will ultimately enable us to replace the debt with bonds bearing less interest than we now pay.” Congress acted promptly upon his recommendation, and on 18 March, 1869, an act was passed entitled “An act to strengthen the public credit.” Its language gave a pledge to the world that the debts of the country would be paid in coin unless there were in the obligations express stipulations to the contrary. Both in his inaugural address and in his first annual message to Congress he took strong ground in favor of an effort to “civilize and Christianize” the Indians, and fit them ultimately for citizenship. His early experience among these people, while serving on the frontier, had eminently fitted him for inaugurating practical methods for improving their condition. He appointed as commissioner of Indian affairs the chief of the Six Nations, General Ely S. Parker, a highly educated Indian, who had served on his staff, and selected as members of the board of Indian commissioners gentlemen named by the various religious denominations throughout the country. Although such men were not always practical in their views, and many obstacles had to be overcome in working out this difficult problem, great good resulted in the end; public attention was attracted to the amelioration of the condition of our savage tribes; they came to be treated more like wards of the nation, were gathered upon government reservations, where they could be more economically provided for, the number of Indian wars was reduced, and large amounts were saved to the government.
The 15th Amendment to the Constitution, adopted 26 February, 1869, guaranteed the right of suffrage without regard to race, color, or previous condition of servitude. It was ratified by the requisite three fourths of the states, and declared in force, 30 March, 1870. The adoption of this amendment had been recommended by President Grant, and had had his active support throughout, and it is largely due to his efforts that it is now a part of the constitution. He proclaimed its adoption by the somewhat unusual course of sending a special message to Congress, in which he said: “I regard it as a measure of grander importance than any other one act of the kind from the foundation of the government to the present day.” He also urged in this message that Congress should encourage popular education, in order that the Negro might become better fitted for the exercise of the privileges conferred upon him by this amendment.
In the summer of 1869 a representative from Santo Domingo informed the president that the government and people of that republic favored annexation to the United States. The president sent several officers of the government to investigate the condition of affairs there, and became so clearly impressed with the advantages that would result from the acquisition of that country that he negotiated a treaty of annexation, and submitted it to the Senate at the next meeting of Congress. In May, 1870, he urged favorable action on the part of that body in a message in which he set forth the reasons that had governed him, and again called attention to it in his second annual message. He claimed, among other things, that its admission into the Union as a territory would open up a large trade between the two lands, furnish desirable harbors for naval stations, and a place of refuge for Negroes in the south who found themselves persecuted in their old homes; would favor the abolition of slavery in the West Indies, would be in harmony with the Monroe doctrine, and would redound to the great benefit of both countries and to civilization, and that there was danger, if we failed to receive it, that it would be taken by some European power, and add another to the list of islands off our coast controlled by European powers, and likely to give us trouble in case we became engaged in war. The measure was debated for a long time, but the Senate did not act favorably upon it. In 1871 a commission of distinguished citizens was sent to investigate and report upon all matters relating to Santo Domingo and the proposed treaty. They visited that country, and made an exhaustive report, which was highly favorable to the plan of annexation; but the treaty was constitutionally rejected, having failed to receive the necessary two-third vote, and was never brought up again. The president declared that he had no policy to enforce against the will of the people. He referred to the subject in his last annual message to Congress, and reviewed the grounds of his action, not in order to renew the project, but, as he expressed it, “to vindicate my previous action in regard to it.” Many outrages had been committed in the south against the freedmen, and Congress spent much time in considering measures for the suppression of these crimes. On 31 May, 1870, a bill was passed, called the Enforcement act, which empowered the president to protect the freedmen in their newly acquired rights, and punish the perpetrators of the outrages. Several supplements to this were subsequently enacted, and a most onerous and exacting duty was imposed upon the executive in enforcing their provisions.
The reconstruction of the states recently in rebellion now progressed rapidly under the 14th amendment, which guaranteed equal civil rights to all citizens, and in July, 1870, all the states had ratified this amendment and been readmitted to the Union. The votes of Arkansas and Louisiana were not received by Congress in the presidential election of 1872; but this was on account of fraud and illegal practices at the polls. In the president's annual message to Congress, December, 1869, he recommended the passage of an act authorizing the funding of the public debt at a lower rate of interest. This was followed by the passing of an act, approved 14 July, 1870, which authorized the secretary of the treasury to issue bonds to the amount of $200,000,000, bearing interest at the rate of 5 per cent., $300,000,000 at the rate of 4½ per cent., and $1,000,000,000 at the rate of 4 per cent. Under this act, and subsequent amendments thereto, the national debt has been refunded from time to time, until the average rate of actual interest does not exceed 3½ per cent.
In 1870 President Grant sent special messages to Congress urging upon that body the necessity of building up our merchant marine, and the adopting of methods for increasing our foreign commerce, and regarding our relations with Spain, which had become strained in consequence of the action of Spanish officials in Cuba. In August of this year, soon after the beginning of the war between France and Germany, he issued a proclamation of neutrality as to both of those nations, and defined the duties of Americans toward the belligerents. He directed the U. S. minister to France, Elihu B. Washburne, to remain at his post in Paris, and extend the protection of the American flag to peoples of all nationalities who were without the protection of their own flag — an act that saved much suffering and loss to individuals.
In his annual message in 1870, the president took strong ground in favor of civil service reform, saying: “I would have it govern, not the tenure, but the manner of making all appointments,” and “The present system does not secure the best men, and not even fit men, for public place.” This subject gave rise to a spirited controversy in Congress, many declaring the principle to be wholly un-American, and calculated to build up a favored class, who would be in great measure independent of their executive chiefs, etc. But on 3 March, 1871, an act was passed authorizing the president to appoint a civil service commission, and to prescribe rules and regulations governing the appointments of civil officers. He appointed seven gentlemen on this commission, selecting those who had been most prominent in advocating the measure, and transmitted their report to Congress, with a special message urging favorable action. The plan recommended, which provided for competitive examinations, was approved, and was put into operation 1 January, 1872. An appropriation was procured for the expenses of the commission and the carrying out of the plan, but Congress gave little countenance to the measure. Up to 1874 the president continued to urge that body to give legislative sanction to the rules and methods proposed, and declared that it was impossible to maintain the system without the “positive support of Congress.” He finally notified Congress that if it adjourned without action he would regard it as a disapproval of the system, and would abandon it; but he continued it until its expenses were no longer provided for. The agitation of the question had been productive of much good. The seeds thus sown had taken deep root in the minds of the people, and bore good fruit in after years. In March, 1871, the disorders in the southern states, growing out of conflicts between the whites and the blacks, had assumed such proportions that the president sent a special message to Congress requesting “such legislation as shall effectually secure life, liberty, and property, and the enforcement of law in all parts of the United States.” On 20 April Congress passed an act that authorized the president to suspend, under certain defined circumstances, the writ of habeas corpus in any district, and to use the army and navy in suppressing insurrections. He issued a proclamation, 4 May, ordering all unlawful armed bands to disperse, and, after expressing his reluctance to use the extraordinary power conferred upon him, said he would “not hesitate to exhaust the power thus vested in the executive, whenever and wherever it shall become necessary to do so for the purpose of securing to all citizens of the United States the peaceful enjoyment of the rights guaranteed to them by the constitution and the laws.” As this did not produce the desired effect, he issued a proclamation of warning, 12 October, and on the 17th suspended the writ of habeas corpus in parts of North and South Carolina. He followed this by vigorous prosecutions, which resulted in sending a number of prominent offenders to prison, and the outrages soon ceased. The most important measure of foreign policy during President Grant's administration was the treaty with Great Britain of 8 May, 1871, known as the treaty of Washington. Early in his administration the president had begun negotiations looking to the settlement of the claims made by the United States against Great Britain, arising from the depredations upon American vessels and commerce by Confederate cruisers that had been fitted out or obtained supplies in British ports, and the questions growing out of the Canadian fishery disputes and the location of our northern boundary-line at its junction with the Pacific ocean, which left the jurisdiction of the Island of San Juan in controversy. Neither of the two last-mentioned questions had been settled by the treaty of peace of 1783, or any subsequent treaties. The fishery question was referred to arbitration by three commissioners, one to be chosen by the United States, one by Great Britain, and the third by the other two, provided they should make a choice within a stated time, otherwise the selection to be made by the Emperor of Austria. The two commissioners having failed to agree, the third was named by the Austrian emperor. The award was unsatisfactory to the United States, the decision of the commission was severely criticised, and the dispute has from time to time been reopened to the detriment of both countries. The San Juan question was referred to the emperor of Germany as arbitrator, with sole power. His award fully sustained the claim of the United States. A high joint commission had assembled at Washington, composed of American and English statesmen, which formulated the treaty of Washington, and by its terms the claims against Great Britain growing out of the operations of the Confederate cruisers, commonly known as the “Alabama claims,” were referred to a court of arbitration, which held its session at Geneva, Switzerland. In September, 1872, it awarded the United States the sum of $15,500,000, which was subsequently paid by the British government. War had at one time seemed imminent, on account of the bitterness felt against Great Britain in consequence of her unfriendly acts during our Civil War; but the president was a man who had seen so much of the evils of war that he became a confirmed believer in pacific measures as long as there was hope through such means. In his inaugural address he said: “In regard to foreign policy, I would deal with nations as equitable law requires individuals to deal with each other. . . . I would respect the rights of all nations, demanding equal respect for our own. If others depart from this rule in their dealings with us, we may be compelled to follow their precedent.” The adoption of the treaty was a signal triumph for those who advocated the settlement of international disputes by peaceful methods. The adoption of the rules contained in the treaty for the government of neutral nations was of far more importance than the money award. These rules were to govern the action of the two contracting parties, and they agreed to bring them to the notice of other nations, and invite them to follow the precedent thus established. The rules stipulated that a neutral shall not permit a belligerent to fit out, arm, or equip in its ports any vessel that it has reasonable ground to believe is intended to cruise or carry on war against a nation with which it is at peace, and that neither of the contracting parties shall permit a belligerent to make use of its ports or waters as a base of operations against the other. The two nations also agreed to use due diligence to prevent any infraction of these rules.
On 22 May, 1872, the amnesty bill was passed by Congress, restoring their civil rights to all but about 350 persons in the south who had held conspicuous positions under the Confederate government. President Grant's first administration had been vigorous and progressive. Important reforms had been inaugurated, and measures of vital moment to the nation, both at home and abroad, had been carried to a successful conclusion in the face of opposition from some of the most prominent men of his own political party. Not a few Republicans became estranged, feeling that they were being ignored by the executive, and formed themselves into an organization under the name of “Liberal Republicans.” This opposition resulted in the holding of a convention in Cincinnati, and the nomination of Horace Greeley as its candidate for the presidency, which nomination was afterward adopted by the Democratic Party. The Republican Convention met in Philadelphia, 5 June, 1872, renominated President Grant, and adopted a platform approving the principles advocated by him in his previous administration. When the election took place, he carried 31 states, with a popular vote of 3,597,070, the largest that had ever been given for any president, while Greeley carried 6 states with a popular vote of 2,834,079. Grant received 286 electoral votes against 66 that would have been cast for Mr. Greeley if he had lived. The 14 votes of Arkansas and Louisiana were not counted, because of fraud and illegality in the election. The canvass had been one of the most aggressive and exciting in the history of the country, and abounded in personal attacks upon the candidates. General Grant, in his inaugural address on 4 March, 1873, said, in alluding to the personal abuse that had been aimed at him: “To-day I feel that I can disregard it, in view of your verdict, which I gratefully accept as my vindication.” His second term was a continuation of the policy that had characterized the first. His foreign policy was steadfast, dignified, and just, always exhibiting a conscientious regard for the rights of foreign nations, and at the same time maintaining the rights of our own. He instructed the ministers to China and Japan to deal with those powers as “we would wish a strong nation to deal with us if we were weak.” During the insurrection in the Island of Cuba, which had lasted for several years, a number of American citizens had been arrested by the Spanish authorities, under the pretence that they had been furnishing aid to the insurgents, and American vessels plying in Cuban waters had at times been subjected to much inconvenience. Then matters culminated in the seizure by Spain, without justification, of an American vessel named the “Virginius.” The excitement created in the United States by this outrage was intense, and many statesmen were clamorous for war. But the president believed that pacific measures would accomplish a better result, and, by acting with promptness and firmness, he soon wrung from Spain ample apology and full reparation.
Political troubles were still rife in certain states of the south. The result of the election in Louisiana in 1872 was in dispute, and armed violence was threatened in that state. Early in 1873 the president called the attention of Congress to the inadequacy of the laws applying to such cases, saying that he had recognized the officers installed by the decision of the returning-board as representing the de facto government, and added: “I am extremely anxious to avoid any appearance of undue interference in state affairs, and if Congress differs from me as to what ought to be done, I respectfully urge its immediate decision to that effect.” Congress, however, took no action, and left with the executive the sole responsibility of dealing with this delicate question. The next year the trouble was renewed, and the fierce contest that was waged between the Republicans under Kellogg and the Democrats under McEnery, their respective candidates for the governorship, resulted in armed hostilities. Kellogg, the de facto governor, called upon the Federal authority for protection, and General Emory was sent to New Orleans with U. S. troops, and the outbreak was for a time suppressed. But difficulties arose again, and the president sent General Sheridan to Louisiana to report upon the situation of affairs, and, if necessary, to take command of the troops and adopt vigorous measures to preserve the peace. General Sheridan became convinced that his duty was to sustain the government organized by Kellogg, and, on the demand of the governor, he ejected some of McEnery's adherents from the state capitol. The president submitted the whole history of the case to Congress, asking for legislation defining his duties in the emergency. Getting no legislation on the subject, he continued his recognition of the government of which Kellogg was the head, until the election of a new governor; but there was afterward no serious trouble in Louisiana. Difficulties of the same nature arose in Arkansas and Texas, which were almost as perplexing to the executive; but these attracted less attention before the public. Difficulties of a somewhat similar kind were encountered also in Mississippi, but the president in this case avoided interference on the part of the general government.
In April, 1874, Congress passed what was known as the “Inflation bill,” which increased the paper currency of the country, and was contrary to the financial principles that the president had always entertained and advocated in his state papers. Many of his warmest political supporters had approved the measure, and unusual efforts were made to convince him that it was wise financially and expedient politically. The president gave much thought and study to the question, and at one time wrote out the draft of a message in which he set forth all the arguments that could be made in its favor, in order that he might fully weigh them; but, on reading it over, he became convinced that the reasons advanced were not satisfactory, and that the measure would in the end be injurious to the true business interests of the country, and delay the resumption of specie payment. He therefore returned the bill to Congress, with his veto, 22 April. The arguments contained in his message were unanswerable, the bill was not passed over his veto, and his course was sustained by the whole country. Perhaps no act of his administration was more highly approved by the people at large, and the result amply proved the wisdom of the firmness he exhibited at this crisis. About two months after this, in a conversation at the executive mansion with Senator Roscoe Conkling, of New York, and Senator John P. Jones, of Nevada, the president entered at length upon his views concerning the duty of the government to take steps looking to the return to specie payment. His earnestness on this subject, and the advantages of the methods proposed, so impressed the senators that they asked him to commit his views to writing. He complied with this request by writing a letter addressed to Senator Jones, dated 4 June, 1874, in which he began by saying: “I believe it a high and plain duty to return to a specie basis at the earliest practical day, not only in compliance with legislative and party pledges, but as a step indispensable to national lasting prosperity.” Then followed his views at length. This letter was made public, and attracted much attention, and in January, 1875, the “Resumption act” was passed, which, to a large extent, embodied the views that had been suggested by the president. There were doubts in the minds of many as to the ability of the government to carry it into effect; but it proved entirely successful, and the country was finally relieved from the stigma of circulating an irredeemable paper currency.
During 1875 the president had reason to suspect that frauds were being practised by government officials in certain states in collecting the revenue derived from the manufacture of whiskey. He at once took active measures for their detection, and the vigorous pursuit and punishment of the offenders. He issued a stringent order for their prosecution, closing with the famous words, “Let no guilty man escape.” Many indictments soon followed, the ringleaders were sent to the penitentiary, and an honest collection of the revenue was secured. Some of the revenue officials were men of much political influence, and had powerful friends. The year for nominating a president was at hand, and the excitement ran high. Friends of the convicted, political enemies and rivals for the succession in his own party, resorted to the most desperate means to break the president's power and diminish his popularity. The grossest misrepresentations were practised, first in trying to bring into question the honesty of his purpose in the prosecution of offenders, and afterward in endeavoring to rob him of the credit of his labors after they had purified the revenue-service. But these efforts signally failed.
In September, 1875, Gen Grant, while attending an army reunion in Iowa, offered three resolutions on the subject of education, and made a speech in which he used this language: “Let us labor for the security of free thought, free speech, free press, pure morals, unfettered religious sentiments, and equal rights and privileges for all men, irrespective of nationality, color, or religion; encourage free schools; resolve that not one dollar appropriated to them shall go to the support of any sectarian school; resolve that neither state nor nation shall support any institution save those where every child may get a common-school education, unmixed with any atheistic, pagan, or sectarian teaching; leave the matter of religious teaching to the family altar, and keep church and state forever separate.” This was published broadcast, and was received with marked favor by the press and people.
In 1876 Samuel J. Tilden, of New York, was nominated for the presidency by the Democrats, and General Rutherford B. Hayes, of Ohio, by the Republicans. When the election was held in November, the result was in dispute, and a bitter contest was likely to follow in determining which was the legally elected candidate. After an exciting debate in Congress, a bill was passed providing for an electoral commission, to whose decision the question was to be referred. It decided in favor of General Hayes, and he was inaugurated on 4 March, 1877. During all this time the political passions of the people were raised to fever-heat, serious threats of violence were made, and the business interests of the country were greatly disturbed. President Grant took no active part in the determination of the question, but devoted himself to measures to preserve the peace. There were many changes in the cabinet during Grant's two administrations. The following is a list of its members, giving the order in which they served: Secretaries of state, Elihu B. Washburne, of Illinois; Hamilton Fish, of New York. Secretaries of the treasury, Alexander T. Stewart, of New York (appointed, but not confirmed, on account of the discovery of an old law rendering him ineligible because of his being engaged in the business of an importing merchant); George S. Boutwell, of Massachusetts; William M. Richardson, of Massachusetts; Benjamin H. Bristow, of Kentucky; Lot M. Morrill, of Maine. Secretaries of war, General John M. Schofield, U. S. Army; John A. Rawlins, of Illinois; William W. Belknap, of Iowa; Alonzo Taft, of Ohio; J. Donald Cameron, of Pennsylvania. Secretaries of the navy, Adolph E. Borie, of Pennsylvania; George M. Robeson, of New Jersey. Postmasters-General, John A. J. Creswell, of Maryland; Marshall Jewell, of Connecticut; James A. Tyner, of Indiana. Attorneys-General, Ebenezer R. Hoar, of Massachusetts; Amos T. Akerman, of Georgia; George H. Williams, of Oregon; Edwards Pierrepont, of New York; Alonzo Taft, of Ohio. Secretaries of the interior, General Jacob D. Cox, of Ohio; Columbus Delano, of Ohio; Zachariah Chandler, of Michigan. (See articles on each of these cabinet officers) During President Grant's administrations the taxes had been reduced over $300,000,000, the national debt over $450,000,000, the interest on the debt from $160,000,000 to $100,000,000; the balance of trade had changed from $130,000,000 against this country to $130,000,000 in its favor; the reconstruction of the southern states had been completed; the first trans-continental railroad had been finished; all threatening foreign complications had been satisfactorily settled; and all exciting national questions seemed to have been determined and removed from the arena of political contests. General Grant, while president, exhibited the same executive ability as in the army, insisting upon a proper division of labor among the different branches of the government, leaving the head of each department great freedom of action, and holding him to a strict accountability for the conduct of the affairs of his office. He decided with great promptness all questions referred to him, and suggested many measures for improving the government service, but left the carrying out of details to the proper chiefs. While positive in his views, and tenacious of his opinions when they had been formed after due reflection, he listened patiently to suggestions and arguments, and had no pride of opinion as to changing his mind, if convincing reasons were presented to him. He was generally a patient listener while others presented their views, and seldom gave his opinions until they were thoroughly matured; then he talked freely and with great force and effect. He was one of the most accessible of all the presidents. He reserved no hours that he could call his own, but was ready to see all classes of people at all times, whether they were high in position or from the ranks of the plain people. His patience was one of the most characteristic traits of his character, and his treatment of those who came in contact with him was frank and cordial to the highest degree. His devotion to his friends was proverbial, and his loyalty to others commanded loyalty from them, and accounted, in great measure, for the warmth and devotion of his followers. Wherever he placed trust he reposed rare confidence, until it was shaken by actual proofs of betrayal. This characteristic of his nature led him at times to be imposed upon by those who were not worthy of the faith he placed in them; but persons that once lost his confidence never regained it.
After retiring from the presidency, 4 March, 1877, General Grant decided to visit the countries of the Old World, and on May 17 he sailed from Philadelphia for Liverpool on the steamer “Indiana,” accompanied by his wife and one son. His departure was the occasion for a memorable demonstration on the Delaware. Distinguished men from all parts of the country had assembled to bid him good-by, and accompanied him down the river. A fleet of naval and commercial vessels and river boats, decorated with brilliant banners, convoyed his steamer, crowds lined the shores, greeting him with cheers, bells rang, whistles sounded from mills and factories, and innumerable flags saluted as he passed. On his arrival in Liverpool, 28 May, he received the first of a series of ovations in foreign lands scarcely less cordial and demonstrative than those which had been accorded him in his own country. The river Mersey was covered with vessels displaying the flags of all nations, and all vied with each other in their demonstrations of welcome. He visited the places of greatest interest in Great Britain, and was accorded the freedom of her chief cities, which means the granting of citizenship. He received a greater number of such honors than had ever been bestowed even upon the most illustrious Englishman. In London he was received by the queen and the Prince of Wales, and afterward visited her majesty at Windsor Castle. While he was entertained in a princely manner by royalty, the most enthusiastic greetings came from the masses of the people, who everywhere turned out to welcome him. His replies to the numerous addresses of welcome were marked by exceeding good taste and were read with much favor by his own countrymen. Upon leaving England he visited the continent, and the greetings there from crowned heads and common people were repetitions of the receptions he had met ever since he landed in Europe. The United States man-of-war “Vandalia” had been put at his disposal, and on board that vessel he made a cruise in the Mediterranean, visiting Italy, Egypt, and the Holy Land. He sailed from Marseilles for India, 23 January, 1879, arrived at Bombay, 12 February, and from there visited Calcutta and many other places of interest. His journey through the country called forth a series of demonstrations which resembled the greetings to an emperor passing through his own realms. He sailed in the latter part of March for Burma, and afterward visited the Malacca Peninsula, Siam, Cochin China, and Hong-Kong, arriving at the latter place on 30 April. He made a tour into the interior of China, and was everywhere received with honors greater than had ever been bestowed upon a foreigner. At Pekin, Prince Kung requested him to act as sole arbitrator in the settlement of the dispute between that country and Japan concerning the Loo Choo Islands. His plans prevented him from entering upon the duties of arbitrator, but he studied the questions involved and gave his advice on the subject, and the matters in dispute were afterward settled without war. On 21 June he reached Nagasaki, where he was received by the imperial officials and became the guest of the Mikado. The attention shown him while in Japan exceeded in some of its features that which he had received in any of the other countries included in his tour. The entertainments prepared in his honor were memorable in the history of that empire. He sailed from Yokohama, 3 September, and reached San Francisco on the 20th. He had not visited the Pacific Coast since he had served there as a lieutenant of infantry. Preparations had been made for a reception that should surpass any ever accorded to a public man in that part of the country, and the demonstration in the harbor of San Francisco on his arrival formed a pageant equal to anything of the kind seen in modern times. On his journey east he was tendered banquets and public receptions, and greeted with every manifestation of welcome in the different cities at which he stopped. Early in 1880 he travelled through some of the southern states and visited Cuba and Mexico. In the latter country he was hailed as its staunchest and most pronounced friend in the days of its struggle against foreign usurpation, and the people testified their gratitude by extending to him every possible act of personal and official courtesy. On his return he took his family to his old home in Galena, Illinois. A popular movement had begun looking to his renomination that year for the presidency, and overtures were made to him to draw him into an active canvass for the purpose of accomplishing this result; but he declined to take any part in the movement, and preferred that the nomination should either come to him unsolicited or not at all. When the Republican Convention met in Chicago in June, 1880, his name was presented, and for thirty-six ballots he received a vote that only varied between 302 and 313. Many of his warmest admirers were influenced against his nomination by a traditional sentiment against a third presidential term, and after a long and exciting session the delegates to the convention compromised by nominating General James A. Garfield. General Grant devoted himself loyally during this political canvass to the success of the party that had so often honored him, and contributed largely by his efforts to the election of the candidate.
In August, 1881, General Grant bought a house in New York, where he afterward spent his winters, while his summers were passed at his cottage at Long Branch. On Christmas eve, 1883, he slipped and fell upon the icy sidewalk in front of his house, and received an injury to his hip, which proved so severe that he never afterward walked without the aid of a crutch. Finding himself unable with his income to support his family properly, he had become a partner in a banking-house in which one of his sons and others were interested, bearing the name of Grant and Ward, and invested all his available capital in the business. He took no part in the management, and the affairs of the firm were left almost entirely in the hands of the junior partner. In May, 1884, the firm without warning suspended. It was found that two of the partners had been practising a series of unblushing frauds, and had robbed the general and his family of all they possessed, and left them hopelessly bankrupt. Until this time he had refused all solicitations to write the history of his military career for publication, intending to leave it to the official records and the historians of the war. Almost his only contribution to literature was an article entitled “An Undeserved Stigma,” in the “North American Review” for December, 1882, which he wrote as an act of justice to General Fitz-John Porter, whose case he had personally investigated. But now he was approached by the conductors of the “Century” magazine with an invitation to write a series of articles on his principal campaigns, which he accepted, for the purpose of earning money, of which he was then greatly in need, and he accordingly produced four articles for that periodical. Finding this a congenial occupation, and receiving handsome offers from several publishers, he set himself to the task of preparing two volumes of personal memoirs, in which he told the story of his life down to the close of the war, and proved himself a natural and charming writer, and a valuable contributor to history. The contract for the publication of the book was made on 27 February, 1885, and the work appeared about a year afterward. The sales were enormous, having reached up to this time 312,000 sets. The amount that Mrs. Grant has already (June, 1887) received as her share of the profits is $394,459.53, paid in two checks, of $200,000 and $150,000, and several smaller amounts, the largest sum ever received by an author or his representatives from the sale of any single work. It is expected by the publishers that the amount of half a million dollars will be ultimately paid to the general's family. In the summer of 1884 General Grant complained of a soreness in the throat and roof of the mouth. In August he consulted a physician, and a short time afterward the disease was pronounced to be cancer at the root of the tongue. The sympathies of the entire nation were now aroused, messages of hope and compassion poured in from every quarter, and on 4 March, 1885, Congress passed a bill creating him a general on the retired list, thus restoring him to his former rank in the army. He knew that his disease would soon prove fatal. He now bent all his energies to the completing of his “Memoirs,” in order that the money realized from the sale might provide for his family. He summoned all his will power to this task, and nothing in his career was more heroic than the literary labor he now performed. Hovering between life and death, suffering almost constant agony, and speechless from disease, he struggled through his daily task, and laid down his pen only four days before his death. At this time the last portrait was made of the great soldier, which appears on page 713.
On 16 June, 1885, he was moved to the Joseph W. Drexel cottage on Mount McGregor, near Saratoga, New York, where he passed the remaining five weeks of his life. (See illustration on page 721.) The cottage was offered by its owner as a gift to the U.S. government. As it was not accepted, Mr. Drexel keeps the cottage and its contents in the condition they were in at the time of the general's death, and will continue to do so. On Thursday, 23 July, at eight o clock in the morning, Grant passed away, surrounded by his family. The remains were taken to New York, escorted by a detachment of U.S. troops and a body of the Grand Army of the republic composed of veterans of the war. A public funeral was held in New York on Saturday, 8 August, which was the most magnificent spectacle of the kind ever witnessed in this country. The body was deposited in a temporary tomb in Riverside park, overlooking the Hudson River, where it is proposed to erect an imposing monument, for which about $125,000 have already (June, 1887) been subscribed. In Chicago a bronze equestrian statue of the general, executed by Rebisso, will soon be erected near the centre of Lincoln park, overlooking Lake Michigan. The illustration on page 723 is a representation of the statue, and on the following page is a view of the eastern façade of the structure, designed by Whitehouse, which is surmounted by the statue. The large collection of swords, gold-headed canes, medals, rare coins, and other articles that had been presented to General Grant passed into the possession of William H. Vanderbilt as security in a financial transaction shortly before the general's death. After that event Mr. Vanderbilt returned the articles to Mrs. Grant, by whom they were given to the United States government, and the entire collection is now in the National museum at Washington. Among the many portraits of the great soldier, perhaps the best are those painted by Healy for the Union league club about 1865, and another executed in Paris in 1877, now in the possession of the family, those painted in 1882 by Le Clear for the White House at Washington and the Calumet club of Chicago, and one executed by Ulke for the U. S. war department where is also to be seen a fine marble bust executed in 1872-'3, by Hiram Powers. See “Military History of Ulysses S. Grant, from April, 1861, to April, 1865,” by Adam Badeau (3 vols., New York, 1867-81); “Life and Public Services of General U.S. Grant,” by James Grant Wilson (1868); revised and enlarged edition (1886); “The Ancestry of General Grant and their Contemporaries,” by Edward C. Marshall (1869); “Around the World with General Grant,” by John Russell Young (1880); and “Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant,” written by himself (2 vols., 1885-'6); also various biographies and numerous addresses, among them one by Henry Ward Beecher, delivered in Boston, 22 October, 1885. —
Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872, journalist, newspaper publisher, The New York Tribune. American Anti-Slavery Society. Major opponent of slavery. Co-founder, Liberal Republican Party in 1854. Supporter of the Union. (Blue, 2005, pp. 62, 110, 147-149, 159, 182, 253, 258, 262; Dumont, 1961, p. 352; Filler, 1960, pp. 6, 45, 56, 88, 112, 117, 163, 219, 237, 259; Greely, 1866; Greely, 1868; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 33, 54, 78, 81, 86, 96, 98, 116-117, 136, 138, 143, 146, 153, 154, 199, 204, 217-220, 227-229, 233; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 65, 67, 69, 141, 324, 476, 692-695; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II, pp. 734-741; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 4, Pt. 1, p. 529; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 370-373; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 9, p. 647)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
GREELEY, Horace, journalist, born in Amherst, New Hampshire, 3 February, 1811; died in Pleasantville, near New York City, 29 November, 1872. His birthplace is shown in the accompanying engraving. On both sides his ancestors were of Scotch-Irish origin, but had been settled in New England for some generations. His father, Zaccheus Greeley, was a small farmer, always poor, and, by the time Horace was ten years old, a bankrupt and a fugitive from the state, to escape arrest for debt. Horace was the third child, four followed him, and when the little homestead of fifty acres of stony land at Amherst was lost and his father became a day-laborer at West Haven, Vermont, the united exertions of all that were able to work brought the family only a hard and bare subsistence. Horace had been a precocious child, feeble, and not fond of sports, but with a strong bent to books. He could read before he could talk plainly, when he was not yet three years old, and he was soon after the acknowledged chief in the frequent contests of the village spelling-match. He received only a common-school education, and after his sixth year had schooling only in winter, laboring at other times in the field with his father and brothers. When six years old he declared he would be a printer, and at eleven he tried to be apprenticed in the village office. He was rejected then on account of his youth, but tried again, three years later, at East Poultney, Vermont, in the office of the “Northern Spectator,” and was accepted as an apprentice for five years, to be boarded and lodged, and, after six months, to be paid at the rate of $40 a year. He learned the business rapidly, became an accurate compositor, gained the warm regard of his employer and of the whole village, showed a special aptitude for politics and political statistics, rose to be the neighborhood oracle on disputed points, took a leading part in the village debating-society, and was intrusted with a portion of the editorial work on the paper. Meantime he spent next to nothing, dressed in the cheapest way, went without a coat in summer and without an overcoat in winter, was laughed at as “gawky” and “stingy,” and sent almost every cent of his forty dollars a year to his father. At last, in June, 1830, the paper was suspended, and young Greeley, then in his twentieth year, was released from his apprenticeship, and turned out upon the world as a “tramping jour printer.” Fourteen months of such experience sufficed. He visited his father, who had now moved to the “new country” near Erie, Pennsylvania, worked with him on the farm when he could not find employment in country printing-offices, sent home most of his earnings, when he could, and at last decided to seek his fortune in New York. With his wardrobe in a bundle, slung over his shoulder by a stick, he set out on foot through the woods, walked to Buffalo, thence made his way, partly on canal-boats, partly by walking the towpath, to Albany, and then down the Hudson on a tug-boat. With $10 in his pocket, and his stick and bundle still over his shoulder, on 18 August, 1831, he entered the city in which he was to be recognized as the first of American journalists. He wandered for days from one printing-office to another vainly searching for work. His grotesque appearance was against him; nobody supposed he could be a competent printer, and most thought him a runaway apprentice. At last an Irishman at the cheap boarding-house he had found told him of an office where a compositor was needed; a Vermont printer interceded for him, when he was about to be rejected on his appearance, and at last he was taken on trial for the day. The matter assigned him had been abandoned by other printers because of its uncommon difficulty. At night his was found the best day's work that anybody had yet done, and his position was secure.
He worked as a journeyman printer in New York for fourteen months, sometimes in job-offices, for a few days each in the offices of the “Evening Post” and the “Commercial Advertiser,” longer in that of the “Spirit of the Times,” making friends always with the steady men he encountered, and saving money. Finally, in January, 1833, he took part in the first effort to establish a penny paper in New York. His partner was Francis V. Story, a fellow-printer: they had $150 between them, and on this capital and a small lot of type bought on credit from George Bruce, on his faith in Greeley's honest face and talk, they took the contract for printing the “Morning Post.” It failed in three weeks, but they had only lost about one third of their capital, and still had their type. They had therefore become master job-printers, and Greeley never worked again as a journeyman. They got a “Bank-note Reporter” to print, which brought them in about $15 a week, and a little triweekly paper, “The Constitutionalist,” which was the lottery organ. Its columns regularly contained the following card : “Greeley and Story, No. 54 Liberty street, New York, respectfully solicit the patronage of the public to their business of letter-press-printing, particularly lottery-printing, such as schemes, periodicals, and so forth, which will be executed on favorable terms.”
Mr. Greeley had renewed his habit of writing for the papers on which he was employed as a compositor. He was thus a considerable contributor to the “Spirit of the Times,” and now, by an article contributed to the “Constitutionalist,” defending the lotteries against a popular feeling then recently aroused, he attracted the attention of Dudley S. Gregory, of Jersey City, the agent of a great lottery association, whose friendship soon became helpful and was long-continued. His partner, Story, died after seven months, and his brother-in-law, Jonas Winchester, was taken into the partnership instead. The firm prospered, and by 1834 Mr. Greeley again began to think of editorship. The firm now considered itself worth $3,000. With this capital and the brains of the senior partner, the “New Yorker,” the best literary weekly then in America, was founded. Shortly before its appearance James Gordon Bennett visited Mr. Greeley and proposed to unite with him in establishing a new paper to be called the “New York Herald.” In declining, Mr. Greeley recommended another partner, who accepted and continued the partnership with Bennett until the “Herald” office was burned, when he retired. The “New Yorker” appeared on 22 March, 1834, sold one hundred copies of its first number, and for three months scarcely increased its circulation from this point over one hundred copies a week. By September, however, it had risen to 2,500. At the end of a year it was 4,500, at the end of the second year 7,000, and of the third 9,500. It was steadily popular with the press and people, and steadily unsuccessful pecuniarily. The first year showed a loss of $3,000, the second year of $2,000 more, and the third year of a further $2,000. Mr. Greeley became widely known and respected as its editor, was able to add to his income by furnishing editorials to the “Daily Whig” and other journals, and within four years had attained such prominence that the tow-headed printer who was mistaken for a runaway apprentice and dismissed from the “Evening Post” office, because the proprietors wished to have “at least decent looking men at the cases,” was selected by William H. Seward and Thurlow Weed as the best man available for the conduct of a campaign paper, which they desired to publish at Albany, to be called the “Jeffersonian.” He continued his work on the “New Yorker,” but went back and forth between New York and Albany each week. The “Jeffersonian,” for a campaign paper, was unusually quiet, calm, and instructive; but it seems to have given the Whig central committee satisfaction, and it still further brought its editor to the notice of the press and of influential men throughout the state. The “Jeffersonian” lasted until the spring of 1839, and Mr. Greeley was paid a salary of $1,000 for conducting it. A few months later the country entered upon the extraordinary popular excitements attending the presidential canvass of 1840, and when Mr. Greeley, prompt to seize the opportunity, issued simultaneously at New York and Albany, under the firm-name of “H. Greeley & Co.,” the first number of a new campaign paper called the “Log Cabin,” it sprang at once into a remarkable circulation; 20,000 copies of the first issue were printed, and this was thought to be an extravagant supply; but it was speedily exhausted. Other editions were called for, and finally, the type having been distributed, the number had to be reset, and in all 48,000 copies were sold. In a few weeks 60,000 subscriptions had been received, and the advance did not cease until the weekly issue had risen to between 80,000 and 90,000 copies — a circulation then absolutely unprecedented. The “Log Cabin” was a vivacious political journal, much more aggressive than the “Jeffersonian” had been, and displaying many of the personal peculiarities of its editor, his quaintness, his homely common sense, and an extraordinary capacity for compact and pungent statement. It printed rough caricatures of Van Buren and other Democrats, gave a good deal of campaign poetry, with music attached, and yet made room for lectures upon the “Elevation of the Laboring Classes.” In all the heat and fury of that turbulent campaign its editor set in one respect an example of moderation not always followed in contests of a much later date. In answer to a correspondent he said flatly: “ Articles assailing the personal character of Mr. Van Buren or any of his supporters cannot be published in the 'Log Cabin.'” Meantime, Mr. Greeley was widely consulted, was appointed on campaign committees, asked to make speeches, and called hither and thither to aid in adjusting political differences. He had become a person of influence and a political factor. He continued his paper for one week after the term promised, in order to send to his readers a complete account of the victory, the election of General Harrison as president, with as full returns of the vote as possible. After an interval of a few weeks it was resumed as a family political paper, and continued until it was able, on 3 April, 1841, to announce that “on Saturday, April 10th instant, the subscriber will publish the first number of a new morning journal of politics, literature, and general intelligence. 'The Tribune,' as its name imports, will labor to advance the interests of the people and to promote their moral, social, and political well-being. The immoral and degrading police reports, advertisements, and other matter which have been allowed to disgrace the columns of our leading penny papers will be carefully excluded from this, and no exertion spared to render it worthy of the hearty approval of the virtuous and refined, and a welcome visitant at the family fireside. Horace Greeley, 30 Ann Street.”
Until this time Mr. Greeley had acquired great reputation, but no money. In spite of the brilliant success of the “Log Cabin,” and the general esteem for the “New Yorker,” neither had ever been profitable, and their editor, always talked of as “able, but queer,” began also to be recognized as lacking in business qualifications. He gave credit profusely, loaned money when he had it to almost any applicant, made his paper sometimes too good for the popular demand, and had no faculty for advertising his own wares. Once, when admitting that his paper was not profitable, he frankly said: “ Since the 'New Yorker' was first issued, seven copartners in its publication have successively withdrawn from the concern, generally, we regret to say, without having improved their fortunes by the connection, and most of them with the conviction that the work, however valuable, was not calculated to prove lucrative to its proprietors. 'You don't humbug enough' has been the complaint of more than one of our retiring associates; 'You ought to make more noise, and vaunt your own merits. The world will never believe you print a good paper unless you tell them so.' Our course has not been changed by these representations.”
Mr. Greeley, although eccentric enough in his appearance and habits, had thus far developed but few eccentricities of thought. He was temperate almost to the verge of total abstinence, partly, no doubt, from taste, partly also, perhaps, from his observations on the intemperate habits common about his father's early home in New Hampshire. He was opposed to slavery, but rather deprecated northern interference: approved of the Colonization, and opposed anti-slavery societies at the north. He believed prohibition impracticable, but was warmly in favor of high license. He was vehemently in favor of a protective tariff, and always, as he expressed it, “an advocate of the interests of unassuming industry.” He had been captivated by vegetarian notions, and was for a short time an inmate of a Grahamite boarding-house. There he met Miss Cheney, a young teacher from Connecticut, who was making a short stay in New York, on her way to North Carolina. She was a highly nervous, excitable person, full of ideas, prone to “isms.” and destined to have a strong and not always helpful influence on his life. He continued the acquaintance by correspondence, became engaged, married her in North Carolina, and made a short wedding-journey, of which his first visit to Washington was the principal feature. About the same period he contributed a good many verses to the “Log Cabin” — “Historic Pencillings,” “Nero's Tomb,” “Fantasies,” “On the Death of William Wirt,” etc. They are not destitute of poetic feeling, but in later years he was never glad to have them recalled. In 1859, learning that Robert Bonner, of the “New York Ledger,” proposed to include them among representative poems in a volume to be made up from authors not appearing in Charles A. Dana's “Household Book of Poetry,” Mr. Greeley wrote: “Mr. Bonner, be good enough — you must — to exclude me from your new poetic Pantheon. I have no business therein, no right and no desire to be installed there. I am no poet, never was (in expression), and never shall be. True, I wrote some verses in my callow days, as I suppose most persons who can make intelligible pen-marks have done; but I was never a poet, even in the mists of deluding fancy. . . . Within the last ten years I have been accused of all possible and some impossible offences against good taste, good morals, and the common weal; I have been branded aristocrat, communist, infidel, hypocrite, demagogue, disunionist, traitor, corruptionist, and so forth, and so forth, but cannot remember that any one has flung in my face my youthful transgressions in the way of rhyme. . . . Let the dead rest! and let me enjoy the reputation, which I covet and deserve, of knowing poetry from prose, which the ruthless resurrection of my verses would subvert, since the unobserving majority would blindly infer that I considered them poetry.”
In establishing the “Tribune,” Mr. Greeley had considerable reputation, wide acquaintance among newspaper men and practical politicians, one thousand dollars in money borrowed from James Coggeshall, and the promise from another source of a thousand more, which was never realized. He had employed, some time before, at $8 a week, a young man fresh from the University of Vermont. This young man, Henry J. Raymond, now became his chief assistant in the conduct of the new paper, and gradually a considerable force of people of similar fitness gathered about him, the paper always having an attraction for men of intellect and scholarly tastes. In the early years it thus enjoyed the services of George William Curtis, William Henry Fry, Charles A. Dana, Margaret Fuller, Albert Brisbane, Bayard Taylor, Count Gurowski, and others. Of its first number, 5,000 copies were printed, and, as Mr. Greeley said, “with difficulty given away.” About 600 subscribers had been procured through the exertions of his personal and political friends. Being published at first at one cent a copy, it was regarded as a serious rival by the cheap papers, and the “Sun” especially undertook to interfere with its circulation by forbidding its newsboys to sell the new paper. The public considered this unfair, and the “Tribune” was greatly helped. In four weeks it reached a circulation of 6,000; in four weeks more its circulation had risen to the limit of the press, being between 11,000 and 12,000. Its business management was chaotic, but by July the chances for a permanent success were so clear that Thomas McElrath, a business man of excellent standing, was taken in as an equal partner. A weekly issue was projected, and on 20 September the “New Yorker” and the “Log Cabin” were merged in the first number of “The New York Weekly Tribune,” which soon attained considerable circulation and ultimately became a great political and social force in rural communities, particularly in the period of the anti-slavery discussion prior to and during the war for the Union. From this time forward Mr. Greeley's business prosperity was secure, but the “Tribune” might easily have been far more successful from the mere money point of view if its editor had been less outspoken and indifferent to the light in which the New York public might regard his opinions. The controlling influences in the city were then largely favorable to free-trade; but he made the “Tribune”\ aggressively protectionist. A commercial community was necessarily conservative, but the “Tribune” soon came to be everywhere regarded as radical. New York had close business connections with the south, but the “Tribune” gradually became more and more explicit in its anti-slavery utterances. The prevailing religious faith among the better educated classes was orthodox; Mr. Greeley connected himself almost from the outset with a Universalist Church. He aimed always to practise the utmost hospitality toward new ideas and their exponents, so that people soon talked of the “isms” of the “Tribune.” Sympathizing profoundly with workingmen, he was led constantly to schemes for bettering their condition, and became interested in the theories of Fourier. Before the “Tribune” was a year old he had discussed the subject of “Fourierism in France” in an article beginning thus: “We have written something, and shall yet write much more, in illustration and advocacy of the great social revolution which our age is destined to commence, in rendering all useful labor at once attractive and honorable, and banishing want and all consequent degradation from the globe. The germ of this revolution is developed in the writings of Charles Fourier.” In March, 1842, he began publishing, under a contract with a number of New York Fourierites, one column daily on the first page of the “Tribune” on Fourierite topics, from the pen of Albert Brisbane. The theories here advanced were also occasionally defended in the editorial columns. Mr. Greeley became a subscriber to one or two Fourierite associations, notably that of the “American Phalanx” at Red Bank, New Jersey, and occasionally addressed public meetings on the subject. When the famous Brook Farm experiment was abandoned, its chief, George Ripley, sought employment on the “Tribune,” and was soon its literary editor. Another of its members, Charles A. Dana, became in time the “Tribune's” managing editor. Another, Margaret Fuller, contributed literary work and occasional editorials, and lived in Mr. Greeley's family; and another, George William Curtis, was also employed. In 1846 Henry J. Raymond, who had now, owing to some disagreement, left the “Tribune” and become a leading editor on the “Courier and Enquirer,” saw that Fourierism offered an inviting point for attack upon the “Tribune.” Mr. Greeley, whose conduct of the paper was always argumentative and pugnacious, responded to some criticism by challenging Mr. Raymond to a thorough discussion of the whole subject, in a series of twelve articles and replies, to be published in full in all the editions of each paper. Mr. Raymond accepted, and made therein his first wide reputation in New York. Mr. Greeley's articles were undoubtedly able, but he was not so adroit a fencer as his opponent, and he had the unpopular side. The discussion left on the public mind the impression that Mr. Raymond was the victor, and the Fourierite movement from that date began its decline in America. Mr. Greeley was always careful to mark his dissent from many of Fourier's propositions. In the discussion Mr. Raymond endeavored to force him into the position that no man can rightfully own land (substantially the doctrine of which Henry George has since been the apostle), but Mr. Greeley indignantly repudiated it. In later years he dwelt upon the principle of association as the only one in Fourier's scheme that particularly attracted him; and in the form of co-operation among working-men this always received his zealous support.
The rappings and alleged spiritual manifestations of the Fox sisters at Rochester early attracted attention in the “Tribune,” and were fairly described and discussed without absolute incredulity. In 1848, at Mrs. Greeley's invitation, the Fox sisters spent some time in his family as his guests. He listened attentively to what they said, inquired with interest into details, but hesitated to accept the doctrine of actual spiritual communications, and at any rate failed, he said, to see that any good came of them. Nevertheless, the open-minded readiness that he displayed in investigating this, like any other new subject presented to him, led to his identification for some time in the public mind with the spiritualistic movement, so that as effective a weapon as could be used against the “Tribune” in commercial and conservative New York was to call it a Fourierite and spiritualistic organ. With all his radicalism, however, there were two subjects on which, then and throughout life, he was steadily conservative. He constantly defended the sanctity and permanence of the family relation, and protested against anything in legislation or public practice tending to break down the sanction of the Sabbath as a day of rest.
Meanwhile, the “Tribune” prospered moderately and almost continuously, and if Mr. Greeley had not been hopelessly incapable in business mailers, should soon have placed him in a position of comfortable independence. In twenty-four years it invested from its earnings $382,000 in real estate and machinery, and divided among its owners a sum equal to an annual average of over $50,000. But Mr. Greeley inherited his father's tendency to reckless indorsements for his friends, was readily imposed upon by adventurers, and found it easier to give a dollar to every applicant than to inquire into his deserts. In spite of an income liberal for those days, he was thus often in serious straits for money, and lived in an extremely plain if not always economical fashion. Presently, as his property became more valuable, he contracted the habit of raising money for immediate necessities by parting with some of it. After it was clear to practical men that the “Tribune” was a success, he sold half of it to Thomas McElrath for $2,000. By the time it was seven years old he owned less than a third of it. In 1860 his interest was reduced to three twentieths, in 1868 to less than one tenth, and by 1872 he actually owned only six shares out of the hundred into which the property was then divided. Meantime, though always hampered by his business ideas, the property had advanced in value until in 1867 he was able to sell at $6,500 a share, and his last sale was at $9,600. The price of the daily “Tribune” was kept at one cent until the beginning of its second volume, when it was advanced to two cents for a single number, or nine cents a week. It then had 12,000 subscribers, and did not lose 200 of them by the increase in price. A year later it had reached a circulation of 20,000, and advertisements were so numerous that frequent supplements were issued. After a time the price was again advanced to three cents, and finally to four. The circulation rose to a steady average of 35,000 to 40,000, and there were periods of extraordinary interest, especially during the Civil War, when for months it reached from 60,000 to 65,000. The weekly edition, being free then from competition, with strong weekly issues in the inland cities, gained a wide circulation throughout the entire north, being probably more generally read for some years in the northern states and territories than any other one newspaper. During political canvasses it sometimes reached a total circulation of a quarter of a million copies, and often for years ranged steadily above 100,000 copies a week. A semi-weekly edition was begun for the benefit of weekly readers enjoying mail facilities that led them to want their news oftener, and this edition ultimately attained a steady circulation of from 15,000 to 20,000 copies.
First Whig, then Anti-slavery Whig, then Republican, the “Tribune's” political course was generally in accord with the more popular and aggressive tendency of these parties. But it was also a highly individualized journal, constantly representing many opinions advocated by its editor irrespective of party affiliations, and sometimes against them. He held that the worst use any man could be put to was to hang him, and for many years vehemently opposed capital punishment. He favored the movement for educating women as physicians, and sought in many ways to widen the sphere of their employments. But he opposed woman suffrage unless it could be first shown that the majority of women themselves desired it. He assailed repudiation in every form, north or south, and was the bitterest critic of the repudiating states. In practice a total abstinent, he always favored the repression of the liquor traffic, and, where possible, its prohibition. He did not believe prohibition possible in states like New York, and there he favored high license and local option. He thought popular education had been directed too much toward literary rather than practical ends, and earnestly favored the substitution of scientific for classical studies. He gave the first newspaper reports of popular lectures by Professor Louis Agassiz and other eminent scientists; but he thought ill of theatres, and in the early days of the “Tribune” would not insert their advertisements. He encouraged the discussion of a reformed spelling; but, while allowing the phonetic system to be commended in his columns, refused to adopt it. He gave much space to accounts of all co-operative movements among laborers, and sought to encourage co-operation in America as a surer protection for labor than trades-unionism. He sought to remain on good terms with the latter, and even accepted the first presidency of Typographical Union No. 6; but when subsequently, under this union, a strike was ordered in his office to prevent the insertion of an advertisement for printers by a rival paper, he gave notice that thenceforward he would tolerate no trades-union meddling, should mind his own business, and require them to mind theirs. He was a warm friend to every movement in behalf of the Irish people, and particularly for the restoration to them of a greater measure of self-government. He advocated judicious but liberal appropriations for internal improvements, and was conspicuous in urging government aid for the construction of the first Pacific Railroad. He strove to diffuse knowledge of the west and promote its settlement, giving much space to descriptions of different localities, and making removal to the west his panacea for all sorts of misfortune and ill-luck in the east. He actively encouraged one of his agricultural editors to establish a colony in Colorado on land that could be cultivated only by irrigation, and was proud that the successful town founded by this colony was called by his name, and that its first newspaper bore as its title the “Greeley Tribune.” in an enlarged facsimile of his own handwriting. He had personally a great fondness for farming, but little success at it, though he derived great comfort and recreation from his experiments on the farm that he bought at Chappaqua, thirty-three miles north of New York, where his family resided in the summer, and where for many years he spent his Saturdays chopping down or trimming his trees, and occasionally assisting at other farm labor. He favored an international copyright. He constantly watched for new men in literature, was one of the first editors in America to recognize the rising genius of Dickens, and copied a sketch by “Boz” in the first issue of his first newspaper. He was one of the earliest in the east to discover Bret Harte, and perhaps the earliest to recognize Swinburne. He held frequent public discussions — one with Samuel J. Tilden and Parke Godwin on protection, another with Robert Dale Owen on marriage and divorce. He frequently addressed, in his editorial columns, open letters to distinguished public men, promptly printed replies if any came, and was apt to follow these with a telling rejoinder. Thurlow Weed, Benjamin P. Butler, Oliver P. Morton, John J. Crittenden, Samuel J. Tilden, and many others, were thus singled out. He was fond of taking readers into his confidence. Thus he published details of his experiments in farming, and printed serially a charming autobiography. He announced his intended movements, particularly his trips to Europe and through the west. The latter proved an ovation, especially in the territories and in California. Being arrested once in Paris as a director of the American world's fair, at the suit of a disappointed French exhibitor, he published a graphic and amusing account of his imprisonment in Clichy. He admired Fenimore Cooper, and yet was involved in the series of libel suits instituted by that novelist, through a letter (written by Thurlow Weed) published anonymously in the “Tribune”; whereupon he pleaded his own case, and promptly published an amusing report of the trial and the adverse verdict. Sometimes, especially in discussion, he was less good-humored. In an angry letter to a state officer about some public documents advertised in the New York “Times,” he referred to its editor as “that little villain, Raymond.” Replying to a charge against him by the “Evening Post” of some corrupt association with the slave interest, he began, “You lie, villain, wilfully, wickedly, basely lie.” A subscriber in Aurora, New York, discontinued his newspaper on the ground of Greeley 's opposition to William H. Seward, and angrily said his only regret in parting was that he was under the necessity of losing a three-cent stamp to do it. Greeley published the letter with this reply: “ The painful regret expressed in yours of the 19th inst. excites my sympathies. I enclose you a three-cent stamp to replace that whose loss you deplored, and remain, Yours placidly.” Quaint letters like this, the oddities of his excessively crabbed handwriting, peculiarities of dress, his cravat (apt to be awry), his white coat, his squeaky voice, his shuttling manner, came to be universally known, and only seemed to add to the personal fondness with which his readers and a large portion of the general public regarded him. He became, in spite of almost every oratorical defect, a popular speaker, always in demand, and always greeted with the loudest applause on whatever occasion, social, educational, reformatory, or political, he appeared. As early as January, 1843, he was announced as a lecturer on the subject of “Human Life,” the advertisement being accompanied with the request, “If those who care to hear will sit near the desk, they will favor the lecturer's weak and husky voice.” He was afterward able to make this weak and husky voice heard by mass meetings of thousands, and by the delivery of lectures throughout the west he often more than doubled in a winter the annual salary that he received from the “Tribune.” But he went, whenever he could, wherever he was asked, whether paid or not. He was always ready to write for other people's papers, too, sometimes for pay, because he needed the money, but almost as readily without it, because he craved new audiences.
In 1848 he was elected to the National House of Representatives, to fill a vacancy for three mouths. Regarding as an abuse the methods then pursued by Congressmen in charging mileage, he published a list of the members' mileage accounts. This caused great indignation, which was heightened by the free comments on Congressional proceedings contributed daily to the “Tribune” over his signature. Thus he said that if either house “had a chaplain who dared preach of the faithlessness, neglect of duty, iniquitous waste of time, and robbery of the public by Congressmen, there would be some sense in the chaplain business; but any ill-bred Nathan or Elijah who should undertake such a job would be kicked out in short order.” He broke down the mileage abuse. He also introduced the first bill giving homesteads, free, to actual settlers on the public lands. In 1861 he was a candidate for U.S. Senator against William M. Evarts, defeating Evarts, but being defeated in turn by the combination between Evarts's supporters and a few men favoring Ira Harris, of Albany, who was elected. In 1864 he was one of the Republican presidential electors. In 1867 his friends again put him forward for the Senate, but his candor in needlessly restating the views he held on general amnesty, then very unpopular, made his election impossible. The same year he was chosen delegate-at-large to the convention for revising the state constitution. At first he took great interest in the proceedings, but grew weary of the endless talk, and finally refused either to attend the body or draw his salary. Two years later he was made the Republican candidate for state comptroller, at a time when the election of the ticket was known to be hopeless, and in 1870 he was again nominated for Congress by the Republicans in a hopelessly Democratic District, where he reduced the adverse majority about 1,700, and ran largely ahead of the Republican candidate for governor. On the death of Charles G. Halpine (“Miles O'Reilly”), he accepted an appointment to the city office that Halpine had held, and discharged the duties gratuitously, turning over the salary to Colonel Halpine's widow. With one notable exception, this completes his career as office-holder or candidate for office.
Mr. Greeley's hostility to slavery grew stronger from the beginning of his editorial career. In 1848 he was intense in opposition to the Mexican War, on the ground that it was intended to secure more slave territory. In 1852 he sympathized with the Free-Soil movement, and disapproved of the Whig platform — “spat upon it,” as he said editorially — but nevertheless supported the Whig candidate, General Winfield Scott, because he thought that better than, by supporting a ticket that he knew could not be elected, to risk the success of the Democrats. In 1856 he was an enthusiastic supporter of John C. Frémont, and during the next four or five years may be said to have been the chief inspiration and greatest popular leader in the movement that carried the Republican party into power. He was indicted in Virginia in 1856 for circulating incendiary documents — viz., the “Tribune.” Postmasters in many places in the south refused to deliver the paper at all, and persons subscribing for it were sometimes threatened with lynching. Congressman Albert Rust made a personal assault upon him in Washington, and no northern name provoked at the south more constant and bitter denunciation. Throughout the Kansas-Nebraska excitement the “Tribune” was constantly at a white heat, and its voluminous correspondence and ringing editorials greatly stimulated the northern movement that made Kansas a free state. Still, he favored only legal and constitutional methods for opposing the aggressions of slavery, and brought upon himself the hostility of the Garrison and Wendell Phillips abolitionists, who always distrusted him and often stigmatized him as cowardly and temporizing.
Up to this time the popular judgment regarded Seward, Weed, and Greeley as the great Republican triumvirate. But in 1854 Mr. Greeley had addressed a highly characteristic letter to Governor Seward complaining that Seward and Weed had sometimes used their political power to his detriment, and shown no consideration for his difficulties, while some of Seward's friends thought Greeley an obstacle to the governor's advancement. Having labored to secure a legislature that would send Mr. Seward to the U. S. Senate, it seemed to him “a fitting time to announce the dissolution of the political firm of Seward, Weed, and Greeley by the withdrawal of the junior partner.” The letter showed that the writer was hurt, but it was not unfriendly in tone, and it ended thus: “You have done me acts of valued kindness in the line of your profession; let me close with the assurance that these will be ever gratefully remembered by Yours, Horace Greeley.” Governor Seward's friends claimed that on account of Greeley's disappointment as an office-seeker, as shown in this private letter, he had resolved to prevent Seward's nomination for the presidency in 1860. Mr. Greeley denied this emphatically, but declared that he did not think the nomination advisable, and that in opposing Seward he discharged a public duty, in utter disregard of personal considerations. At any rate, he did oppose him successfully. The Seward men prevented his reaching the National Convention as a delegate from New York; but he secured a seat as delegate from Oregon in place of an absentee, and made such an effectual opposition to Mr. Seward that he may fairly be said to have brought about the nomination of Abraham Lincoln. In the canvass that followed, the “Tribune” was still a great national force. Immediately after the election Mr. Greeley said: “If my advice should be asked respecting Mr. Lincoln's cabinet, I should recommend the appointment of Seward as secretary of state. It is the place for him, and he will do honor to the country in it.”
When the Civil War approached, Mr. Greeley at first shrank from it. He hoped, he said, never to live in a Union whereof one section was pinned to the other by bayonets. But after the attack on Fort Sumter and the uprising at the north he urged the most vigorous prosecution of the war, to the end that it might be short. He chafed at the early delays, and the columns of his paper carried for weeks a stereotyped paragraph, “On to Richmond!” demanding the speediest advance of the National armies. Rival newspapers hastened in consequence to hold him responsible for the disaster at Bull Run, and his horror at the calamity, and sensitiveness under the attacks, for a time completely prostrated him. He subsequently replied to his critics in an editorial, which became famous, headed “Just Once,” wherein he defended the demands for aggressive action, though denying that the “On to Richmond” paragraph was his, and saying he would have preferred not to iterate it. Henceforth he would bar all criticism on army movements in his paper “unless somebody should undertake to prove that General Patterson is a wise and brave commander.” If there was anything to be said in Patterson's behalf, he would make an exception in his favor. He continued to support the war with all possible vigor, encourage volunteering, and sustain the drafts, meantime making more and more earnest appeals that the cause of the war — slavery — should be abolished. Finally he addressed to President Lincoln a powerful letter on the editorial page of the “Tribune.” which he entitled “The Prayer of Twenty Millions.” He made in it an impassioned appeal for the liberty of all slaves whom the armies could reach, and said: “On the face of this wide earth, Mr. President, there is not one disinterested, determined, intelligent champion of the Union cause who does not feel that all attempts to put down the rebellion, and at the same time uphold its inciting cause, are preposterous and futile; that the rebellion, if crushed out to-morrow, would be renewed within a year if slavery were left in full vigor; that army officers who remain to this day devoted to slavery can at best be but half-way loyal to the Union; and that every hour of deference to slavery is an hour of added and deepened peril to the Union. I appeal to the testimony of your ambassadors in Europe. It is freely at your service, not mine. Ask them to tell you candidly whether the seeming subserviency of your policy to the slave-holding, slavery-upholding interest is not the perplexity, the despair of statesmen and of parties; and be admonished by the general answer.” This appeal made a profound impression upon the country, and drew from the president within two days one of his most characteristic and remarkable letters, likewise published in the “Tribune.” Mr. Lincoln, after saying that “if there be perceptible in it [Mr. Greeley's letter] an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right,” continued: “My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to save or destroy slavery. . . . What I do about slavery and the colored race I do because I believe it helps to save this Union, and what I forbear I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. . . . I have here stated my purpose according to my views of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere should be free.” The emancipation proclamation was issued within a month after this correspondence.
In 1864 Mr. Greeley became convinced that the rebels were nearer exhaustion than was thought, and that by a little diplomacy they could be led into propositions for surrender. He accordingly besought the president to send someone to confer with alleged Confederate commissioners in Canada. Mr. Lincoln finally sent Mr. Greeley himself, subsequently dispatching one of his private secretaries, Colonel John Hay, to the spot to watch the proceedings. It was found that the so-called commissioners had not sufficient authority. The negotiations failed, and Mr. Greeley's share in the business brought upon him more censure than it deserved. As soon as the surrender did come he was eager for universal amnesty and impartial suffrage, and he thought the treatment of Jefferson Davis a mistake. When, after imprisonment and delay, the government still failed to bring Mr. Davis to trial, Mr. Greeley visited Richmond and in the open court-room signed his bail-bond. This act provoked a storm of public censure. He had been writing a careful history of the Civil War under the title of “The American Conflict.” The first volume had an unprecedented sale, and he had realized from it far more than from all his other occasional publications combined. The second volume was just out, and its sale was ruined, thousands of subscribers to the former volume refusing to take it. On the movement of George W. Blunt, an effort was made in the Union League club to expel Mr. Greeley. This roused him to a white heat. He refused to attend the meeting, and addressed to the president of the club one of his best letters. “I shall not attend your meeting this evening. . . . I do not recognize you as capable of judging or even fully apprehending me. You evidently regard me as a weak sentimentalist, misled by a maudlin philosophy. I arraign you as narrow-minded blockheads, who would like to be useful to a great and good cause, but don't know how. Your attempt to base a great enduring party on the heat and wrath necessarily engendered by a bloody Civil War is as though you should plant a colony on an iceberg which had somehow drifted into a tropical ocean. I tell you here that, out of a life earnestly devoted to the good of human kind, your children will recollect my going to Richmond and signing the bail-bond as the wisest act, and will feel that it did more for freedom and humanity than all of you were competent to do, though you had lived to the age of Methuselah. I ask nothing of you, then, but that you proceed to your end by a brave, frank, manly way. Don't sidle off into a mild resolution of censure, but move the expulsion which you purposed and which I deserve if I deserve any reproach whatever. . . . I propose to fight it out on the line that I have held from the day of Lee's surrender. So long as any man was seeking to overthrow our government, he was my enemy; from the hour in which he laid down his arms, he was my formerly erring countryman.” The meeting was held, but the effort at any censure whatever failed.
Mr. Greeley did not greatly sympathize with the movement to make the foremost soldier of the war president in 1868, but he gave General Grant a cordial support. He chafed at the signs of inexperience in some of the early steps of the administration, and later at its manifest disposition to encourage, in New York, chiefly the wing of the Republican Party that had been unfriendly to himself. He disapproved of General Grant's scheme for acquiring Santo Domingo, and was indignant at the treatment of Charles Sumner and John Lothrop Motley. The course of the “carpet-bag” state governments at the south, however, gave him most concern, and brought him into open hostility to the administration he had helped to create. In 1871 he made a trip to Texas, was received everywhere with extraordinary cordiality, and returned still more outspoken against the policy of the government toward the states lately in rebellion. Dissatisfied Republicans now began to speak freely of him as a candidate for the presidency against General Grant. Numbers of the most distinguished Republicans in the Senate and elsewhere combined in the formation of the Liberal Republican Party, and called a convention at Cincinnati to nominate a national ticket. Eastern Republicans, outside of New York at least, generally expected Charles Francis Adams to be the nominee, and he had the united support of the whole revenue reform and free-trade section. But Mr. Greeley soon proved stronger than any other with western and southern delegates. On the sixth ballot he received 332 votes, against 324 for Adams, a sudden concentration of the supporters of B. Gratz Brown upon Mr. Greeley having been effected. Immediate changes swelled his majority, so that when the vote was finally announced it stood: Greeley, 482; Adams, 187. In accepting the nomination, which he had not sought, but by which he was greatly gratified, Mr. Greeley made the restoration of all political rights lost in the rebellion, together with a suffrage impartially extended to white and black on the same conditions, the cardinal principle of the movement. His letter ended with this notable passage: “With the distinct understanding that, if elected, I shall be the president, not of a party, but of the whole people, I accept your nomination in the confident trust that the masses of our countrymen, north and south, are eager to clasp hands across the bloody chasm which has too long divided them, forgetting that they have been enemies in the joyful consciousness that they are and must henceforth remain brethren.”
Mr. Greeley's nomination at first caught the popular fancy, and his canvass promised for a time to resemble that of 1840, in the enthusiastic turmoil of which he had first risen to national prominence. But, contrary to his judgment (though in accordance with that of close friends), the Democrats, instead of putting no ticket in the field, as he had expected, formally nominated him. This action of his life-long opponents alienated many ardent Republicans. The first elections were considered in his favor, and when in the summer North Carolina voted, it was believed that his friends had carried the state. The later official vote, however, gave the state to the Grant party, and from that time the Greeley wave seemed to be subsiding. At last, on appeals from his supporters, who thought extraordinary measures needful, he took the stump in person. The series of speeches made in his tour, extending from New England through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, evoked great enthusiasm. All sides regarded them as an exhibition of brilliant and effective work unprecedented in that generation. But they were not enough to stem the rising tide. Mr. Greeley received 2,834,079 of the popular vote, against General Grant's 3,597,070; but he carried none of the northern states, and of the southern states only Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas.
He had always been more sensitive to attacks and reverses than the public imagined, and now the strain proved too great. The canvass had been one of extraordinary bitterness, his old associates reviling him as a turn-coat and traitor, and some of the caricatures being unparalleled for their ferocity. His wife, always feeble, and of late years suffering greatly from a combination of nervous and other diseases, fell ill while he was absent on his tour. On his return he watched almost continuously for weeks at her bedside, and he buried her in the closing weeks of the canvass. For years he had been a sufferer from insomnia; he had necessarily lost much sleep, and during and after his wife's illness he scarcely slept at all. He was not disappointed in the election, for he had known for weeks that defeat was inevitable. Nor did this act, though generally disapproved by his friends, weaken his friendships. Henry Ward Beecher wrote: “You may think, amidst clouds of smoke and dust, that all your old friends who parted company with you in the late campaign will turn a momentary difference into a life-long alienation. It will not be so. I speak for myself, and also from what I perceive in other men's hearts. Your mere political influence may for a time be impaired, but your own power for good in the far wider fields of industrial economy, social and civil criticism, and the general well-being of society, will not be lessened, but augmented.” But Mr. Greeley's nervous exhaustion resulted in an inflammation of the upper membrane of the brain. He resumed his editorial duties, but in a few days was unable to continue them. He remained sleepless, delirium soon set in, and he died on 29 November, 1872.
The personal regard in which he was held, even by his bitterest opponents, at once became manifest. His body lay in state in the city hall, and a throng of many thousands moved during every hour of the daylight through the building to see it. The president, vice-president, and chief justice of the United States, with a great number of the leading public men of both parties, attended the funeral, and followed the hearse, preceded by the mayor of the city and other civic authorities, down Fifth avenue and Broadway. John G. Whittier described him as “our later Franklin,” and the majority of his countrymen have substantially accepted that phrase as designating his place in the history of his time, while members of the press consider him perhaps the greatest editor, and certainly the foremost political advocate and controversialist, if not also the most influential popular writer, the country has produced. In 1867 Francis B. Carpenter painted a portrait of Mr. Greeley for the “Tribune” association; a larger one, executed by Alexander Davis, was exhibited in the Paris salon, afterward became the property of Whitelaw Reid, and is now (1887) in the “Tribune” counting-room. At the time of Mr. Greeley's visit to Rome, Hiram Powers made a portrait bust, and at a later date Ames Van Wart executed one in marble, on a commission from Marshall O. Roberts. The bronze bust in Greenwood cemetery was presented by the printers of the United States. John Q. A. Ward is now (1887) completing a colossal sitting figure, to be cast in bronze and placed at the entrance of the “Tribune” building. The accompanying portrait is from an excellent photograph by Bogardus. Mr. Greeley's works are “Hints Toward Reforms” (New York, 1850); “Glances at Europe” (1851); “History of the Struggle for Slavery Extension” (1856); “Overland Journey to San Francisco” (1800); “The American Conflict” (2 vols., Hartford, 1864-'6); “Recollections of a Busy Life” (New York, 1868; new ed., with appendix containing an account of his later years, his argument on marriage and divorce with Robert Dale Owen, and miscellanies, New York, 1873); “Essays on Political Economy” (Boston, 1870); and “What I Know of Farming” (New York, 1871). He also assisted his brother-in-law, John F. Cleveland, in editing “A Political Text-Book” (New York, 1860), and supervised for many years the annual issues of the “Whig Almanac” and the “Tribune Almanac.” Lives of Horace Greeley have been written by James Parton (New York, 1855; new eds., 1868, and Boston, 1872); L. U. Reavis (New York, 1872); and Lewis D. Ingersoll (Chicago, 1873). There is also a “Memorial of Horace Greeley” (New York, 1873). [Appleton’s 1900].